Posts Tagged ‘networks’

Robert Greenblatt on Surviving Last Year’s Sound of Music Live! Gamble, and Doubling Down on Peter Pan

December 2, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt went to bed last Dec. 5, after watching his network pull off The Sound of Music Live!, he had no idea what the 18-49 ratings would look like the next morning—but he was preparing for the worst. "I was thinking, 'I'm praying for a 2 rating, because I could defend a 2,'" he told Adweek. "And then I thought, 'Oh God, I could probably spin a 1.7 or 1.8 to probably being almost a 2.' I really was hoping it would be a 2.'" Instead, Greenblatt awoke the next morning to massive numbers that didn't need spinning. Instead, the special, which starred Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp, earned a 4.6 (with 18.5 million total viewers), a number that jumped to 5.6 in live-plus-seven. The rating, which almost tripled Greenblatt's modest hopes, was NBC's best non-sports Thursday night in the 18-49 demo since the ER series finale aired on April 2, 2009. A year later, he's at it again, with Peter Pan Live!—featuring Allison Williams as Peter Pan and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook—airing Thursday, Dec. 4. He's also developing other live events for the network, including The Music Man in 2015; a Sean Hayes-produced sitcom, Hospitality, that would air live every week; and a live staging of Aaron Sorkin's play A Few Good Men.

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Here Comes Katherine Heigl’s New Show

November 18, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

State of Affairs, as we observed back in September, has some problems. But it also has a high budget, a bankable star and a time slot after NBC's flagship show, The Voice, as well as viewers who probably forgot The Blacklist is on hiatus until next year. So the question at the moment is pretty simple: can State of Affairs win over enough viewers looking for the next big, flashy, action-packed drama? The answer at the moment is "possibly." With the time slot ready to go, the show pulled a solid 2.2 rating last night, down significantly from The Blacklist's 2.69 average but above everything else on the network so far this season. The 10 p.m. spot on Monday isn't a terribly competitive one, and The Blacklist has owned it in a big way this season (legacy shows on CBS and ABC—NCIS: Los Angeles and Castle, respectively—are both sagging in the ratings and unlikely to get canceled this season. Neither The CW nor Fox programs the 10 p.m. hour). Reviews of the show haven't been kind, though a few have noted the show makes canny use of Heigl's difficult reputation. (It's also been a troubled production—showrunner Ed Bernero left because he didn't get along with creator Joe Carnahan, an action-movie director responsible for stuff like Smokin' Aces and the bigscreen remake of The A-Team.) The question is mostly how upset audiences will be over the mid-fall changeover. Is it a major bait-and-switch, or a pleasant interlude? State of Affairs has a potential full season ahead of it (well, full-ish. It's starting mid-November so it can't be that full), and it could find a spot on the NBC schedule, oddly, alongside a number of other CIA-minded series, including CBS's Madam Secretary and NBC's own Allegiance. Heigl herself has been on a charm offensive in the TV news magazines, telling Mario Lopez she watches former boss Shonda Rhimes' Scandal every week and that she wants to mend fences over her departure from Grey's Anatomy. "I'm sorry she is left with such a crappy impression of me," she said . "I wish I could do something to change that. Maybe I will be able to someday." Maybe!

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How The Simpsons Saved FXX

November 17, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When FX Networks CEO John Landgraf sealed the deal last November to secure exclusive cable, VOD and non-linear rights to The Simpsons for his fledgling cable network FXX, he was elated ("It's arguably one of the greatest shows ever made!")—but terrified. "I was really nervous about it. If it hadn't worked, it would have been a financial drain on the company's competitive abilities and resources for the better part of a decade…. There was a lot of sticker shock associated with the price we paid," said Landgraf, who shelled out an estimated $750 million for the long-term deal. Plus, given that The Simpsons was in its 25th season at the time, "there was no way to calculate how many times people had already watched. There was no way to calculate the nostalgia factor for people that might have fallen off the Simpsons train. And, by the way, we chose to put it on a channel that didn't exist, essentially." That would be FXX, the former Fox Soccer network, which relaunched Sept. 2, 2013 as FX's younger, edgier sibling. But early on, even Landgraf seemed unsure of what defined an FX series versus one that aired on FXX. By Nov. 13—almost exactly a year ago—things seemed bleak for FXX's future when the network canceled its late-night talk show, Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which was drawing as few as 10,000 total viewers per night after relocating from FX.

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#TBT: Sorry Jar Jar, the Star Wars Holiday Special Is George Lucas’s Most Embarrassing Creation Ever

November 13, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

A long, long time ago—Nov. 17, 1978, to be exact—in a television galaxy far, far away (one that only had three major networks), Star Wars unleashed what would become its single most embarrassing artifact upon 13 million unsuspecting CBS Friday night viewers. More embarrassing, even, than the title The Force Awakens . It was the Star Wars Holiday Special, the subject of this week's Throwback Thursday. Forget Jar Jar Binks, the rest of The Phantom Menace, Princess Leia making out with her brother Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, and the immortal Revenge of the Sith line " Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo! " None of those ignominious Star Wars moments can compare to this debacle, which aired only once. A year after Star Wars became the highest-grossing film ever, George Lucas was sold on the notion that the special, airing on CBS the Friday before Thanksgiving, would help tide fans over until The Empire Strikes Back's 1980 release—and sell some toys along the way. His name doesn't actually appear on the Holiday Special, though he reportedly insisted on the show's ridiculous storyline, about Chewbacca's efforts to return to his family and tree-house home on Kashyyyk

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Why No One Comes Back to See Your Great Second Season

November 11, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Very few TV series emerge fully-formed. Most shows take at least a season to figure themselves and their characters out, or to course-correct after a rocky beginning. Often by Season 2, a series—like FX's The Bridge or ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—can finally complete its necessary adjustments and become the outstanding show it was always meant to be.

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For Gotham’s Ben McKenzie, No Gadget Beats a Good Traffic App Or a Nice Scotch

November 10, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who

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Ex-Fox Chairman Lands a Top Job at Turner Running TNT and TBS

November 4, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Kevin Reilly, the former chairman of Fox, has been out of a job since just after the upfronts in May. Now, he's landed one of the most interesting gigs in cable television—running TNT and TBS. The executive has been named chief content officer.

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Can Kid Chefs Help Fox Salvage What’s Left of the Fall?

November 4, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Fox knew that its fall season was going to be awful—it’s now very clear why Kevin Reilly stepped down as Fox entertainment chairman just weeks after May upfronts—but the network can't have known it would be downright cataclysmic. Four out of its five new series have already tanked: the network finally canceled its $50 million reality series Utopia on Sunday after the show pulled a miniscule 0.5 18-49 rating, and newbies Gracepoint and Red Band Society aren’t fairing much better—production on Mulaney is reportedly shut down. So

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Why Terry Bradshaw Doesn’t ‘Tweet or Twit’

October 29, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who Terry Bradshaw Age 66 Claim to fame Co-host of Fox NFL Sunday ; former NFL quarterback and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Base Aubrey, Texas, and Love County, Okla. What’s the first information you consume in the morning? The first thing I do is gather all the sports information that I can get. I turn on the television set, go to Fox Sports 1, then I’ll go online and read The Dallas Morning News, and then I’ll read USA Today online. Are you on Twitter or any other social media? No. Absolutely not. I don’t tweet, twit or anything. I want nothing to do with it. I don’t have any desire to express my opinions on social media, and I certainly don’t have this idea that people are curious about what Terry Bradshaw is doing. I find that you can get yourself in quite a bit of trouble, too, if you’re too honest or not careful on there. Fox tried to get me to do it; I just said, nah. So no posting selfies for you. No, no selfies. I just found out what a selfie is! And I’m glad because I would have had to ask, “What is that?!” Do you have an iPhone or an iPad? I have an iPhone 4 which everyone laughs at because they say that it’s so outdated. And I do have an iPad, which is really important for me because I travel so much. I’ve always just thought of iPhones as a way for people to text me because they always say, “I can’t get you on the phone.” Well, I don’t keep a phone with me! My phone always stays charging on a windowsill.

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TV’s Worst Prime-Time Debuts, From 2000 to Present

October 27, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Canceled: Oct. 24, 2014 after four episodes Two unlikable New Yorkers (Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman) start a relationship, with voiceovers that reveal their innermost thoughts (spoiler: she like purses; he likes sex).

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