After a two-week blackout, Fox signal was restored in some 3 million Cablevision homes just before the start of Game 3 of the World Series. Fox just announced that the two sides have reached "an agreement in principal for a new distribution agreement." The agreement covers Fox O&Os WNYW in New York and WTXF in Philadelphia as well as MyNet's WWOR in New York and cable channels FOX Deportes, FOX Business Network, and Nat Geo WILD. It will also allow Cablevision customers in the New York area to watch home NFL team, the New York Jets, in tomorrow's match-up with the Green Bay Packers on Fox. The deal comes a day after Fox reached an agreement in its other carriage dispute with DISH Network. In its statement, Cablevision called the terms of the deal "unfair" and took a swipe at FCC for not intervening in the standoff. It also indicated that the rates in the final agreement were lower than the "unprecedented" fees Fox had initially asked for and that it would pass the rate increases on to its customers. (Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed but Fox had been seeking retransmission fees in the $0.50-$1 range per subscriber for its O&Os from cable and satellite providers.) Earlier this week, Cablevision offered to match the terms of Fox's carriage agreement with Time Warner Cable for the network's O&O stations but Fox turned it down as it wanted its MyNet New York station and 3 lower profile cable channel covered under the terms too. Here is Cablevision's statement:
In the absence of any meaningful action from the FCC, Cablevision has agreed to pay Fox an unfair price for multiple channels of its programming including many in which our customers have little or no interest. Cablevision conceded because it does not think its customers should any longer be denied the Fox programs they wish to see.
Cablevision thanks its customers for understanding the reasons for the dispute and for staying with us. We are also grateful to the 175 government leaders who raised their voices to urge government intervention and binding arbitration to prevent this blackout. It is clear the retransmission consent system is badly broken and needs to be fixed.
In the end, our customers will pay more than they should for Fox programming, but less than they would have if we had accepted the unprecedented rates News Corp. was demanding when they pulled their channels off Cablevision.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
CW's Smallville continues to fly high as it approaches the end of its 10-season run. The comic book adaptation (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.9 million) was up 20% in 18-49 and 12% in total viewers from last week. Its lead-out, Supernatural (1.1/4, 2.5) was flat. The network finished third for the night in 18-49 and tied for No.1 in 18-34.
ABC's Primetime: What Would You Do? (1.7/5) led the rise of the newsmagazines this week. With a stronger lead-in, a rerun of It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1.6/6) vs. a No Ordinary Family repeat (0.9/3) last week, the newsmagazine surged 31%. At 10 PM, 20/20 (1.6/5) was up a tenth. ABC finished close second to CBS' dramas at 9 and 10 PM and won the 8 PM hour with Charlie Brown for a Friday season high in 18-49 and total viewers.
Like Primetime, NBC's Dateline (1.3/5) from 9-11 PM was also up from last week by 30% but no thanks to its lead-in. New reality series School Pride (0.6/2) continued its slide in Week 3 with a new low, finishing dead last in the 8 PM hour and raking as the lowest-rated program on the night. The show that has been the regular holder of the unenviable title, Fox's The Good Guys (0.7/2) was up a tenth from last week's series low. It followed a House repeat (0.8/3), which was also up a tenth.
CBS' drama lineup was virtually unchanged. At 8 PM, Medium (1.4/5, 6.9 million), whose order was just reduced to 13 episodes for what would likely be its final season, CSI: NY (1.8/6, 10.4 million) and Blue Bloods (1.8/6, 11.5 million) were all flat in the demo, with Medium and Blue Bloods slightly up in total viewers.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Onetime 24 terror mastermind Arnold Vosloo is taking his evildoer act over to Bones. The actor has been cast as this season’s Big Bad — an elite sniper named Jacob Ripkin Broadsky who is accused of assassinating a pivotal recurring character.
“We’ve got someone worse than the Gravedigger coming,” Bones creator Hart Hanson told me over the summer. “And if the Gravedigger is Evil Brennan, this [guy] is Evil Booth. Remember, Booth was a sniper.”
Vosloo — who also played the title role in the Darkman films as well as Brendan Fraser’s nemesis in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns — is slated to appear in at least three episodes beginning in early ’11.
It appears Izzie Stevens has cheated death once more.
In an effort to give Alex/Izzie fans some closure in the wake of Katherine Heigl’s abrupt departure last spring, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes contemplated bringing their love story to a tragic end this season. She stops short of saying cancer survivor Izzie would’ve died off screen, but — keep reading and do the math.
“We discussed a lot of options, and the one we settled on felt like the [best idea] without having Izzie actually there,” she explains. “But it also felt like the cruelest possible thing.”
Ultimately, Rhimes couldn’t go through with it. “It was ready to go, but then I went home and literally couldn’t sleep,” she recalls. “It just felt so mean. It wasn’t closure; it just felt brutal. Alex might have never recovered from it. And the audience who loved Izzie would’ve been devastated. So we didn’t do it.”
What now? “I’m open to seeing Izzie again,” she says. “So if [Katherine] were to come back, we would be thrilled to [wrap up her story]. But if she doesn’t, we’ll just move on.”
HBO has picked up Veep, a D.C.-set comedy pilot about a female Vice President of the U.S. from British comedian, writer and director Armando Iannucci. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is in talks for the lead in the project, set "very near the White House" and centered on former Senator Selina Meyer who finds being Vice President is nothing like she expected and everything everyone ever warned her about. Iannucci will co-write and direct the pilot as well as executive produce with Chris Godsick and Frank Rich under the New York Times columnist's deal with HBO. Iannucci has long political satire experience. His popular and BAFTA-winning British comedy series The Thick of It satirizes the inner workings of the British government. (Ianucci is writing Veep with one of his top writers on that series, Simon Blackwell). The Thick of It spawned the 2009 feature spinoff In the Loop starring Tom Hollander and James Gandolfini that earned an Oscar nomination for its script, co-written by Iannucci and Blackwell. ABC attempted to adapt the series during the 2006-07 development cycle with Mitch Hurwitz. The project went to pilot, which was directed by Christopher Guest and starred John Michael Higgins and Oliver Platt. After ABC passed on the pilot, several other networks, including HBO expressed interest, and Iannucci had conversations with the pay cable channel. By his reaction to the ABC pilot, he appears much better suited for cable. "It was terrible...they took the idea and chucked out all the style. It was all conventionally shot and there was no improvisation or swearing," he said of the ABC version. He won't have any problem with swearing on HBO.
Seinfeld alumna Louis-Dreyfus has been in high demand after her CBS comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine ended its 5-season run in May, with a number of writers courting her to star in a new series project. She has had a steady presence at HBO where she has recurred on Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm playing herself. Iannuci and Louis-Dreyfus are repped by CAA. In addition to Veep, HBO has been close to picking up another female-centered comedy pilot, Kate Robin's Fall/Spring starring Tea Leoni.
CBS and CBS Prods. have made a blind deal for Eugene Levy and Martin Starr to produce and star in a project for the network.
Ben Feigin of Anonymous Content paired the duo and will executive produce. Feigin also brought in fellow exec producers Eric and Kim Tannenbaum.
Levy is best known for co-writing and starring in films including "Waiting for Guffman," "Best In Show" and the "American Pie" franchise. He's working on the feature film "Goon" opposite Seann William Scott and Jay Baruchel.
Starr's recent credits include "Adventureland," "Knocked Up," "Superbad," "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" and the Starz series "Party Down." He's now shooting the feature "Lawless."
Levy is repped by Anonymous Content and ICM. Starr is repped by Anonymous and UTA.
FX is working on a series project based on the 2007 Korean movie Soo (aka Act of Revenge) with Barry Josephson (Life as We Know It) on board to executive produce. A History of Violence writer Josh Olson is writing the adaptation, a drama exploring the nature of identity through the lens of twin brothers -- one a detective and one a hitman. After witnessing the killing of his estranged twin brother, a hitman decides to assume his life and become a policeman to find those responsible. Olson is executive producing with Josephson Entertainment's Josephson and Alexander Young as well as Ted Kim and Jiwon Park from Korean entertainment giant CJ Entertainment which distributed the movie based on the South Korean graphic novel Double Casting by Shin Young-woo. Olson, repped by UTA and Benderspink, has several feature projects in development, One Shot at Paramount, Oz at Warners and a script he is working on with the directing team of Neveldine/Taylor. He is also attached to direct his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s short story Until Gwen. On TV, Josephson is executive producing Bones, now in its sixth season on Fox.
Eric and Kim Tannenbaum are fashionably late to the marketplace in their first development season at their new home, CBS TV Studios. But their last-minute comedy sale to CBS is a big one: a half-hour starring Rob Schneider in his first TV series gig in 13 years. The untitled project, to be written by Lew Morton (Saturday Night Live, Big Lake) and Schneider, is based on Schneider's life and centers on a solitary guy who marries into a huge Mexican-American family. Morton, Eric and Kim Tannenbaum are executive producing, with Schneider and his brother John Schneider producing through their From Out of Nowhere Prods. CBS TV Studios and the Tannenbaum Co. are producing the comedy, which has received a script order.
SNL alum Schneider's last major TV gig was as a star of the comedy Men Behaving Badly, which ran on NBC from 1996-97. He has since been focused on films, often collaborating with SNL cohort Adam Sandler, including on this summer's hit Grown Ups. This feels like a familiar territory for Eric and Kim Tannenbaum. The last time they landed a last-minute pickup at CBS for a comedy about a single guy that had an actor with a TV and feature comedy background attached as the lead, it resulted in long-running hit Two and a Half Men. Schneider is with Gersh. Morton and the Tannenbaum Co. are with CAA.
ABC has picked up a drama project from Private Practice star Taye Diggs.
Diggs is partnering with writers Kiersten Van Horne and Cara Haycak for Match, an ensemble drama centering on the ethically complex world of adoption. The show will examine how families are made and broken as the protagonists -- a Los Angeles-based team of lawyers, doctors and caseworkers -- struggle to make dreams come true.
Haycak wrote the young-adult novels Red Palms and Living on Impulse, and Van Horne penned last season's Pretty Little Mistakes for NBC/UMS.
Van Horne and Haycak will produce with O'Taye's Abe Hoch, Jennifer Bozell and Diggs. Van Horne and Haycak are repped by APA, Rain Management Group and attorney Loan Dang.
What's coming up on Glee's November 9 episode that is so big and top-secret that creator Ryan Murphy sat the whole cast down to tell them to keep their mouths shut? We'll find out mid-way through this Kurt-centric episode, titled "Never Been Kissed."
"It's so big that we had a full meeting about it that we can't say anything," says Chris Colfer (Kurt). "That's never happened before. I will say it's about Kurt."
When he read the reveal in his script, Chris went through a rollercoaster of feelings. "At first I was very surprised," he says, "And then I thought, 'This is so terrific.' It's going to send a whole other message to the world."
Since this episode features a game of spin-the-bottle and introduces actor Darren Criss as Blaine, a new gay character from a rival glee club, are we talking about a boy-on-boy kiss? "Maybe," says Chris. "It leads you to believe that...but maybe something else happens that's even bigger. Don't let the title lead you the wrong way. The title of the episode has nothing to do with Kurt."
Apparently, Castle is about to get a new queen: I’ve learned exclusively that Laura Prepon has just been tapped to play Natalie Gray, the actress who’s been cast as Nikki Heat in the movie version of our hero’s book Heat Wave.
Go ahead and read that again: I realize it’s a lot to take in.
As you know, the author based Nikki on his actual partner in crime-fighting — and obvious true love — Beckett. So you can well imagine the sparks that will fly when, in essence, a second Beckett, this one bearing a striking resemblance to the hot redhead from That ’70s Show, arrives on the scene early next year.
Seattle Grace is about to experience a Code Noel: Scott Foley has booked a multi-episode arc on Grey’s Anatomy!
The Felicity (and Unit) alum will play a patient named Henry who, according series creator Shonda Rhimes, “stirs things up” with Kim Raver’s Teddy.
I know what you’re thinking: It’s Denny/Izzie all over again! Not quite, insists Rhimes. “He’s very different from Denny,” she says. “But I guess in the sense that he’s a patient who comes in and has an effect on one of our doctors, I guess that’s similar.”
Thursday, October 28, 2010
via press release:
ACCLAIMED HBO DRAMA SERIES BIG LOVE
TO RETURN FOR FIFTH AND FINAL SEASON JAN. 16
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 28, 2010 – The acclaimed HBO drama series BIG LOVE will return for its fifth and final season SUNDAY, JAN. 16, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming.
“It has been an honor and pleasure to work with series creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer on this unique and provocative series, and I’m happy that they will be able to bring the story to its close the way they always envisioned,” noted Lombardo. “We look forward with great anticipation to collaborating with Mark and Will on their next venture.”
“When we created BIG LOVE in 2002, we had a strong conception of the journey the Henrickson family would make over the course of the series, of the story we had to tell,” said Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer. “While we were in the writers’ room this year shaping our fifth season, we discovered that we were approaching the culmination of that story.
“BIG LOVE has been our all-consuming labor of love for the past eight years. We are very grateful for HBO’s continuing support and for the collaborative effort of our partners at Playtone, our producers, our fine cast and our fellow craftsmen and crew for making this show the exceptional and joyful experience that it’s been. This coming January, we look forward to presenting our audience with the most vibrant and satisfying final season of a television series that we can produce.”
“BIG LOVE has been a truly rewarding experience in every way for Tom Hanks and me,” observes executive producer Gary Goetzman. “We’ve been so fortunate to have had such a tremendous cast over the five seasons, and we’ve never been less than amazed with their brilliance and willingness to take risks. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our partnership with Will and Mark and have always been blown away by their storytelling abilities. We believe this final season of BIG LOVE will be the best ever.”
BIG LOVE tells the story of Salt Lake City businessman Bill Henrickson, who balances the needs of his three wives – Barb, Nicki and Margene – their nine kids and three houses, and his own entrepreneurial ambitions. Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin star in the series, which is executive produced by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, David Knoller, Bernadette Caulfield and series creators and show runners Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer.
Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer have a continuing relationship with HBO, and their next project for the network will be announced when it is confirmed.
Emmy®- and Golden Globe- nominated in the category of best drama series, BIG LOVE continued to inspire critical acclaim for its fourth season, which concluded in March 2010. The Wall Street Journal hailed the series’ “spectacular performances,” while the Salt Lake Tribune called the show “one of the finest hours of drama on any network,” and Entertainment Weekly termed it “bracing,” praising “the mighty performance of Bill Paxton.”
BIG LOVE is produced by HBO Entertainment in association with Playtone and Anima Sola Productions; created by Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer; executive producers, Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, David Knoller, Bernadette Caulfield and Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer; supervising producer, Patricia Breen; producer, Seth Greenland; producer, Peter Friedlander; co-producers, Dauri Chase and Don Bensko; co-producers, Melanie Marnich and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; executive story editor, Julia Cho; story editor, Jami O’Brien; staff writer, Aaron Allen; casting, Junie Lowry Johnson, C.S.A., Libby Goldstein and Lisa Soltau.
Jemima Kirke and Allison Williams have landed the two leads opposite Lena Dunham in Dunham's HBO comedy pilot executive produced by Judd Apatow and Jenni Kohner. Also cast in the pilot in a supporting role is Adam Driver (HBO's You Don't Know Jack).
The untitled comedy, which 24-year-old prodigy Dunham wrote and will direct/co-executive produce, is about the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of three girlfriends in their early 20's: Hannah (Dunham), an eternal intern at a publishing house in SoHo and a hopeful writer; Marnie (Williams), a sexy, bitchy and ambitious assistant at a slick political PR firm whose goal id to practice environmental law; and Jessa (Kirke), a space cadet with hippie tendencies who wants to be an artist/educator. Driver will play a handsome but slightly off carpenter with whom Hannah has been sleeping for the past 7 months.
Kirke co-starred opposite Dunham in Dunham's much buzzed about feature Tiny Furniture, which won the top prize at this year’s South by Southwest and just earned two Gotham Film Awards nominations. Dunham was the writer, director and star of the film, with Kirke playing her friend. (photo of the two from the movie is above; the trailer for the movie, which features Dunham and Kirke, is at the bottom of the story.) This seems to be the first major professional acting gig for Williams who graduated from Yale earlier this year and is pursuing a career as an actress and a singer. The daughter of the NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has gained online popularity with several videos, including the viral That's Why I Chose Yale and her recent performance of the Mad Men theme song
Just like its family-friendly Monday lineup posted week-to-week gains against the monster Monday NFL game on ESPN, ABC's Wednesday comedy block last night logged ratings increases facing the opening game of the World Series on Fox. The Halloween-themed quartet was led by Modern Family (5.1/13 in 18-49, up 9% from last week's fast national; 13.1 million viewers), which hit a series high in total viewers and matched its series high in 18-49 from earlier this fall. At 8 PM, The Middle (2.8/9, up 8%; 9.4 million) logged its most-watched telecast and its second highest 18-49 delivery ever. Freshman Better with You (2.5/7) had a nice 19% post-full season-pickup bounce to match a series demo high. Cougar Town (3.3/9, up 6%) posted its best numbers since the season premiere. ABC's boisterous ratings performance ended at 10 PM where recently cancelled legal drama The Whole Truth (1.2/4) was down 8%, falling sharply from the first to the second half-hour.
Just like on Monday against football, CBS' more male-skewing Wednesday lineup felt the effect of the World Series with moderate ratings declines. Survivor: Nicaragua (3.4/10) was down 6%, Criminal Minds (3.4/9) down 8% and The Defenders (2.1/6), down 9%.
NBC's Undercovers (1.4/4) was down a tenth from last week and remarkably ranked as NBC's highest-rated program of the night as the network aired Law & Order: SVU (1.3/3) and Law & Order: LA (1.2/4) repeats.
Fox is projected to win the night with Game 1 of the World Series, which posted 4.5/12 and 14.5 million viewers in preliminary ratings. More on the game's ratings shortly.
At the end of The Mentalist's November 18 episode, titled "Red Moon" and directed by series star Simon Baker, something will happen at CBI that casts suspicion on the organization's employees.
Enter Agent J.J. Laroche, played by character actor Pruitt Taylor Vince, the head of CBI's Internal Affairs. He arrives December 9 and will recur in five or six more episodes this the season. The character is described as quirky, charmless, professional, socially awkward and Patrick Jane's intellectual equal.
Pruitt, who has appeared in the films Mississippi Burning and Wild at Heart, previously had recurring roles on Deadwood and Murder One, for which he won a 1997 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor. And you won't need Jane's keen perception to detect Pruitt's trademark quality: a condition called nystagmus that causes his eyes to move involuntarily.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Fox's Glee didn't miss a beat in its return from hiatus. The Rocky Horror-themed episode of the musical dramedy (4.8/13) was up 4% from the fast national result for its last original 2 weeks ago (up 2% from the final as Glee tends to go up a tenth). It also topped the night in adults 18-49 as it has done with every fresh episode this fall. The Halloween-themed episode of comedy Raising Hope (2.6/7) was even with its fast national result for its previous fresh episode 2 weeks ago. It wad followed by another Raising Hope original (2.3/6), which did 64% better than time slot's regular, Running Wilde, did the last time it aired after a first-run Raising Hope.
ABC's recently renewed new drama No Ordinary Family (2.0/5) continued to slide, down 9% from last week for a new low. Dancing with the Stars result show, which featured the surprise elimination of The Hills star Audrina Patridge, was down 6% for its lowest result this season. (It is expected to regain some ground in the finals.) ABC's other newly renewed freshman drama, Detroit 1-8-7 (2.0/6) was up a tenth from its fast national number last week. The cop drama tends to lose a tenth of a rating point in the finals when the Dancing overrun is taken out.
After posting across-the-board increases last week, CBS' drama lineup lost some ground. NCIS (4.1/11) was down a tenth from its fast national last week when it went up a tenth in the finals, a very good hold against an original Glee vs. a repeat last week. It also drew a massive audience: 19.9 million, the largest on the night and the show's largest since January. NCIS: LA (3.4/9, 16 million) was down 13% to a season low. The Good Wife (2.4/7, 12.5 million) was down 8% also for a season low. Both NCIS:LA and The Good Wife won their time slots in 18-49 and viewers, with CBS taking the night in total viewers (16.2 million) and finishing second behind Fox in 18-49 (3.3/9)
NBC's The Biggest Loser (2.4/6) was down 8% to log its lowest rating for a regular original telecast in four and a half years. Parenthood (2.0/6) was up a tenth.
TNT has greenlighted another drama pilot, Mike Robe's Bird Dog, which has received a cast-contingent order. The project, from Warner Horizon, is a mystery fashioned around an unlikely partnership of two cops who happen to be father and daughter. It centers on Gail McGrath, who followed in her father's footsteps in becoming a police officer but had little else in common with him. She left the big city she grew up in to move to a small Pacific Northwestern town where she was patrolling the streets until her dad, a NYC cop, showed up on her front doorstep and join her as her new partner. Now this father-daughter team, call sign "Bird Dog," is being put to the test -- not only in solving crimes, but with each other. Robe (Shake, Rattle & Roll) wrote the script and is attached to direct and executive produce the pilot. The pickup comes on the heels of the network putting one of its recently ordered pilots, noir PI drama Hollywood & Vine, on hold because of difficulties casting it. Word spread quickly that TNT was planning to make another pickup in its place. Bird Dog is in the same crime/mystery genre and from the same studio, Warner Horizon, as Hollywood & Vine. Bird Dog joins 3 other pilots ordered by TNT last month: Dallas, Perception and an untitled project from Allan Loeb.
HBO has renewed sophomore comedies Bored to Death and Eastbound & Down for a third season. With drama Boardwalk Empire already picked up for Season 2, HBO has now renewed its entire current Sunday lineup. The second season debut of Eastbound & Down averaged 1.7 million viewers, up 150% from the show's series premiere, while Bored to Death's season premiere audience was more modest, 1.1 million, despite following Boardwalk Empire. While not hits, the shows have remained relatively steady in the ratings, averaging 1 million viewers (Bored) and 1.44 million (Eastbound) this past Sunday, in addition to garnering critical praise for their sophomore seasons. Bored was created by Jonathan Ames and stars Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis. Eastbound was created by Danny McBride, Jody Hill and Ben Best and stars McBride.
It's over for Syfy's Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica. The cable network said today that it will be pulling the show off the schedule effective immediately. The final five episodes of the sci-fi saga will air in the first quarter of 2011 and will mark the end of the series' one-season run. "We appreciate all the support that fans have shown for Caprica and are very proud of the producers, cast, writers and the rest of the amazing team that has been committed to this fine series," said Mark Stern, Syfy's EVP of original programming. "Unfortunately, despite its obvious quality, 'Caprica' has not been able to build the audience necessary to justify a second season." After a soft start with the first part of its freshman season at the beginning of the year, Caprica returned with the second half of the season earlier this month to disappointing 889,000 viewers and a 0.4 rating with adults 18-49. That was down from where it ended in the spring, with the series falling even further in the ratings since, raising speculation about pending cancellation. But Despite Caprica's cancellation, the Battlestar Galactica legacy will live on at Syfy, at least for now. The cable network just greenlighted a two-hour pilot for Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, about the young years of Ensign William Adama, which hails from Battlestar Galactica exec producer David Eick.