Posts Tagged ‘time’

Resurgent NBC Sets Sights on Two Remaining Weak Spots: Thursdays and Comedies

January 18, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt started at the network in 2011, things looked bleak. NBC has now clawed its way back to first place in the 18-49 demographic, thanks to Sunday Night Football, The Voice and hits like The Blacklist. But the entertainment chairman knows his network still has two big problems to fix if it wants to remain on top: addressing the network's comedy woes and restoring luster to Thursday night, which has gone from Must-See TV to Barely Seen TV. "I think we're moving along nicely, but it's far from a done deal. We're in much better shape than we were two years ago, but we still have a lot of row to hoe," Greenblatt said at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour this week. At the top of his list: shoring up his comedy development. "We are really challenged by the comedy brand that we're trying to build on this network," said Greenblatt, who is going away from single-camera sitcoms (he already gave the network's single-cam Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to Netflix, to the delight of creator Tina Fey ) and back to multi-cam shows, including One Big Happy, debuting March 17. "Some of the best shows on NBC in its history were multi-cams." While the refocus on comedy will take months or years to bear fruit, NBC is taking more immediate steps to save Thursdays, which "used to be the big night of television for NBC," Greenblatt said. "It's an important night for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is it is a great, desirable night for advertising." But the network has languished on the night with low-rated, quickly canceled comedies like The Michael J. Fox Show and this season's Bad Judge and A to Z . "Putting comedies we love there and having them fail started to feel like the definition of insanity," said entertainment president Jennifer Salke. Instead, Greenblatt is making a bold but perilous gamble, moving his biggest scripted series, The Blacklist, to Thursdays at 9 p.m., where it will face-off against Scandal on ABC beginning Feb. 5. "It's a risky but necessary move for us to make," said Greeblatt, who pointed to other big Thursday-night shifts that seemed potentially disastrous at the time but paid off, including Fox's The Simpsons, CBS' CSI and most recently Grey's Anatomy, which laid the groundwork for ABC's TGIT. "The only way to really reinvigorate that night is to jumpstart it with something like The Blacklist," Greenblatt said. "If you don't start that move at some point, you'll never get there." Looking beyond those two giant holes, Greenblatt announced several projects with big-name stars. He has given a 13-episode series order to Telenovela, a Soapdish -like comedy about a diva star (played by Eva Longoria, who will also produce) that is set behind the scenes of a telenovela production. And Jennifer Lopez will star in a new drama, Shades of Blue, about a single mom and detective who is recruited to work undercover for FBI's anti-corruption task force.

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ABC’s Success With Diversity Comes From Focusing on Creators, Not Just Stars

January 15, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

ABC has changed mainstream television's diversity makeup more than any of its broadcast counterparts in recent years, and executives say the commitment is paying off not just in ratings, but also in quality. Already seeing success with shows like Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Black-ish and Cristela, which star a variety of minority actors and have brought underrepresented perspectives to prime-time, the network will soon add midseason series Fresh off the Boat (prime time's first Asian-American sitcom since Margaret Cho's All American Girl in 1994) and American Crime (created by 12 Years a Slave scriptwriter John Ridley). "I think it's our job to reflect America," said ABC entertainment president Paul Lee at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour this week. "I really believed from the beginning that the demographic changes in America were just as important to our revolution as the technological changes." (A skeptic could still point to ABC's dating competition shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, which remain predominantly lily white. "You are going to see diversity as we go through that," vowed Lee, though this wasn't the first year he'd made that promise.)

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From Stage to Superhero: The Flash’s Grant Gustin Has Always Been on the Fast Track

January 12, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's the biggest show on the CW and on track to become the network's most-watched series ever. The Flash, it appears, really can outrun everything. As with any prime-time property, especially one on the vanguard of a comics-driven movement reshaping the television landscape, it is essential to get the right guy to play the lead. The network found an unlikely—but ideal—superhero in Grant Gustin, whose most recent major role had him playing a conniving villain, the backstabbing Sebastian Smythe, on Fox's Glee. In The Flash, the six-foot-plus, 24-year-old theater veteran plays a crime-fighter who hasn't quite grown into his mask yet. It agrees with him. You started out dancing before you played a superhero who runs, right? Yeah, kind of from an early age I just did what I loved to do, which, at 8 years old, became tap dancing. Why was that? Because of Gene Kelly and Singin' in the Rain, specifically, and Donald O'Connor

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History Channel Heads West With New Texas Series, Shot in Classic CinemaScope

January 10, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Following the success of Hatfields & McCoys, History has another Western miniseries premiering on Memorial Day, this time focusing on

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Five Shows Premiering This Winter That You Need to See

January 8, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Another new year, another bumper crop of slots on your DVR waiting to be filled with shows that haven't been canceled or started to smell funny after a few episodes. But where to look? We figured we'd look everywhere, so below, please check out our best bets for the first part of 2015 (yes, we cheated slightly—that new Amazon show premiered last month, but it's on demand and it's really good). Of course, you'd be unwise to count out broadcast entirely—there's a new cop show from no less than Vince Gilligan, and we liked the pilot a lot. And iZombie (which, oddly, still doesn't have a premiere date) is one of the best shows we've seen all season.

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‘Shameless’ Season 5 Preview: What’s Ahead for the Gallaghers?

December 24, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

The troublemaking Gallagher clan returns to Showtime on January 11, and after a particularly dark fourth season — which found Fiona in jail and Frank dying of liver failure — the series’ stars say things are looking up this time around. “Things have to get better for Fiona,” says Emmy Rossum, “because they got really rough... Read more

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Will a Wide Audience Tune In to Hockey’s Most Rugged Game of the Year?

December 16, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Every New Year, the National Hockey League takes one of its regular-season games outdoors—an old-school showdown in the freezing-cold elements. And this time, it's looking for innovative ways to draw fans to the Winter Classic. The promotion begins at 10 tonight with the first of a four-part reality series called 2015 Road to the Winter Classic. In the past, the special aired on HBO, available only to subscribers. But after negotiations broke down with HBO over that point, the NHL decided to take its show to Epix—and a wider audience. Viewers will get a fly-on-the-wall look at the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals as they work their way toward a New Year's Day game at Washington, D.C.'s Nationals Park. In addition to airing on Epix, a relative newcomer that stands to benefit from hockey's 60 million U.S. fans, the series will be available to stream on the teams' websites, Epix.com, and NHL.com. Fans can also easily find the show through both company's Facebook pages; the NHL App for Android and iPhone; and the Epix App for Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Roku and Windows 8

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‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: An Eye For An Eye

December 1, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Spoiler Warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “The Walking Dead” season five, episode eight, titled “Coda.” Well, that was inevitable. In true “Walking Dead” style, after the show spent hours building up a character, taking the time to make them empathetic and tying them into the emotional fabric of the story, the guillotine... Read more

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Netflix Pulls Bill Cosby Special Amid Rape Allegations

November 19, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Netflix has decided to postpone its Bill Cosby special as the embattled comedian faces several accusations of sexual assault, the latest from former supermodel and TV host Janice Dickinson. “At this time we are postponing the launch of the new stand up comedy special ‘Bill Cosby 77′,” a Netflix spokesman said on Tuesday. The announcement came... Read more

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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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