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October 31, 2014

Free Agents

Fall TV: A Mid-Season Report

by Stephanie Earp, posted Nov 1st 2011 11:47AM


It's always tempting at this time of year to look for patterns where perhaps none exist. With four confirmed cancellations ('Charlie's Angels,' 'The Playboy Club,' 'How to be a Gentleman' and 'Free Agents') and several on-the-bubble new shows ('Pan Am,' 'Prime Suspect,' 'Body of Proof'), the only real theme (besides being awful) is a tendency to take themselves too seriously. I do take some satisfaction from seeing all the nostalgia shows die an early death. Apparently the one thing 'The Playboy Club' team didn't look up about 'Mad Men' were the ratings -- a couple million viewers. It was also the only thing they were able to duplicate.

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NBC Cancels 'Free Agents'

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 6th 2011 1:20PM
Free Agents NBC has canceled 'Free Agents.'

The workplace romantic comedy has been bleeding viewers since its debut. The Wed., Oct. 5 episode was watched by 3.3 million viewers and had a 1 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

This is NBC's second cancellation of the season. The network pulled the plug on 'The Playboy Club' after three episodes. 'Free Agents' only fared one episode more.

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Which New Shows Have You Already Given Up On? Our DVR Discards

by AOL TV Staff, posted Oct 5th 2011 12:00PM
There's a moment of hope in the air right before the weather starts getting cooler, leaves start changing, back-to-school pencils get sharpened and new TV shows premiere for fall. In that blissful time, pilots seem like seedlings of hope, bursting with the possibility of something great, something must-see, something worthy of six seasons and a movie.

And then the shows all premiere and we quickly lose interest in a good majority of them. It's the law of DVR averages -- you just can't record everything.

'Pan Am': hit or miss?
We've already seen the first pick-up (Fox's 'New Girl') and first cancellation (NBC's 'Playboy Club') of the new fall TV season, but which of the new shows have we already given up on?

One of those (ahem -- you know who you are, bunnies!) dropped off all our season pass lists, while the adorkable one at the other end of the spectrum won most of us over ... but not all. Check out our gallery to see which new shows the AOL TV staff has said goodbye to*, and share your own failed attempts at finding entertainment in the comments.

*Editor's note: We haven't all said goodbye to all of these shows. We got one pick per person, and the opinions of each person do not reflect the opinions of the entire staff. Except where 'Playboy Club' is concerned. That was just bad.

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Cancellation Watch: Which New Show Should Get the Axe First?

by Chris Harnick, posted Sep 30th 2011 3:15PM
Which Show Should be Canceled?We're well into the new 2011-2012 TV season and there are a few hits (ABC's 'Pan Am,' CBS's '2 Broke Girls') and a number of flops (The CW's 'H8R,' NBC's 'The Playboy Club'), and the cancellation axe will start swinging very soon.

In terms of ratings, many of NBC's new shows are sinking. Coupled with critical appeal, it looks like the network is having the least luck this season. 'Free Agents' and 'The Playboy Club' are on death watch, yet NBC boss Bob Greenblatt seems to be content on watching, not canceling.

CBS has had some luck in finding an audience for its new dramas like 'Person of Interest,' as well as comedy '2 Broke Girls,' but the premiere of 'How to Be a Gentleman' did nowhere near 'Girls' numbers ... nor anywhere near the now-canceled '$#*! My Dad Says' that lived ever-so-briefly in that timeslot last season.

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NBC Not Cancelling 'Playboy Club' and 'Free Agents' (Yet)

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 30th 2011 8:20AM
'The Playboy Club' cast'The Playboy Club' launched on NBC this fall amid much fanfare and some controversy. After its ratings verged from bad to disastrous, we'd normally be expecting to report that the fledgling drama had been cancelled right about now.

However, NBC boss Robert Greenblatt is reportedly going to stay the executioner's hand. For now, anyway.

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'Modern Family' Beats 'The X Factor' in Ratings

by Chris Harnick, posted Sep 22nd 2011 12:20PM
Modern Family Beats The X Factor in Ratings'The X Factor' is Fox's biggest fall series debut in five years, but it wasn't exactly a ratings hit.

The network says the reality singing competition premiered to 12.5 million viewers, 4.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Comparatively, January's 'American Idol' Season 10 premiere -- the first without Simon Cowell -- was watched by 26.2 million viewers and had a 9.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

In the 9PM hour, 'The X Factor' was bested by ABC's one-hour Season 3 premiere of 'Modern Family,' which had a 6 rating in the 18-49 demo and a total of 14.3 million viewers. Helped by the buzz after multiple Emmy wins, the series even outperformed CBS's stalwart 'Criminal Minds.'

'Modern Family' co-creator Steve Levitan took to Twitter to share his joy about the ratings news.

"It's extremely gratifying that a scripted comedy finally beat an overhyped karaoke contest," he said. "Thank you, #ModernFamily fans!"

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'Up All Night' Off to a Nice Start in Ratings

by Chris Harnick, posted Sep 15th 2011 2:00PM
Up All NightViewers stayed up and gave 'Up All Night' a chance on NBC.

The comedy's debut episode, which aired at 10PM ET following the 'America's Got Talent' finale, was seen by 10.9 million viewers.

The show moves to its normal timeslot next Wed., Sept. 21 at 8PM ET.

However, NBC's other new offering, 'Free Agents,' was seen by 6.3 million viewers, wuite a big drop from 'Up All Night.' The series moves to Wednesdays at 8:30PM ET on Sept. 21. The 'America's Got Talent' finale was seen by 14 million viewers.

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Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio Book NBC Crime Drama, 'Lost' Actress Heads to 'Hawaii' & More Casting News

by Chris Harnick, posted Sep 15th 2011 10:40AM
Ethan Hawke Vincent D'OnofrioEthan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio: the new dynamic duo?

According to Deadline, the two will star in and produce 'Blue Tilt,' a cop drama from writer/producer Chris Brancato. NBC has reportedly snapped up the project.

Hawke and D'Onofrio will play homicide detectives. One is married, one is divorced, and their family issues will go along with the police cases. Deadline reports the title, 'Blue Tilt,' is a reference to a police term about officers who deal with brutal crimes and are later deemed a danger to themselves and put under observation.

In other casting news ...

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'Free Agents' Premiere: Secret Sex Partners Make for Interesting Work Days (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 15th 2011 5:00AM
'Free Agents' - 'Pilot'['Free Agents' Season 1, Episode 1 - 'Pilot']

'Free Agents' (Wed., 10:30PM ET on NBC) is a perfectly acceptable new comedy. It's just also rather unremarkable so far. For the most part, it's another office ensemble, but so far no one in the office has managed to break beyond the second dimension.

Even Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn are so deep in their individual, but very similar, character quirks, that they forgot to be well-rounded characters we could believe in. There were a few laughs, though, like when Alex (Azaria) was put on the spot in the morning meeting about his exploits the night prior and he made up a series of sexual positions he supposedly explored.

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Hank Azaria Previews 'Free Agents' and Talks About His 'Adult Relationship' (VIDEO)

by Nick Zaino, posted Sep 14th 2011 1:50PM
Hank Azaria talks about 'Free Agents' on 'Today'Hank Azaria's character on the new sitcom 'Free Agents' is a very emotional guy, as Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb pointed out Wednesday morning on 'Today' (weekdays, 7AM on NBC). He is recovering from a divorce and commiserating with his friend, played by Kathryn Hahn, as the two contemplate getting involved with each other.

So how emotional is Azaria's character? "He is profoundly sad," said Azaria. "There's an exchange in the pilot where Kathryn is telling me, 'You're too emotional to do anything,' I'm like, 'No I'm fine,' and she's like, 'Are you aware that you're crying right now?'"

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'Free Agents' Stars Talk 'Party Down' Parallels & Being the Anti-Romantic Comedy

by Maggie Furlong, posted Sep 14th 2011 11:00AM
Hank Azaria & Kathryn Hahn, 'Free Agents''Free Agents' is not 'Party Down' ... but it does share some very key elements with that cult favorite, canceled-too-soon show.

First and foremost: creator John Enbom, who shared creator credit on 'Party Down' with Paul Rudd, Dan Etheridge and Rob Thomas, whom Enbom first teamed up with after working in the writers room on Thomas' other other cult favorite series 'Veronica Mars.'

But possibly even more important than pedigree here is set-up. Much like the Casey-Henry 'Party Down' romance rollercoaster, 'Free Agents' PR execs Alex (Hank Azaria) and Helen (Kathryn Hahn) get the wham-bam-thank you ma'am out of the way really early on. It's the "what now?" that drives their relationship -- at work and in the bedroom -- as opposed to the more popular "will they/won't they" dilemma. They did already, and as Enbom, Azaria and Hahn all promise, they will again and again.

And thirdly, well, let's just say they'd welcome any 'Party Down' alums to stop by for a guest spot.

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Reviews: 'Free Agents' & 'Up All Night' Stars Contend with Babies, Scene Stealers and Meltdowns

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 13th 2011 11:00AM
The good news about 'Up All Night' (10PM ET Wednesday, NBC) and 'Free Agents' (10:30PM ET Wednesday, NBC) is that they are among the better comedy offerings for fall.

It's true that the broadcast networks' half-hour offerings for fall are not strong, but I'm not trying to damn these two shows with faint praise. Given time to work out a few kinks and settle into a rhythm, they may provide some quality guffaws going forward.

To their credit, neither show overindulges in sentimentality. It's hard to walk that fine line between sincerity and sarcasm in a comedy, and though each show is a bit broad here and there, neither of these shows overindulges in the kind of false, cynical patter or the unearned, warm-and-fuzzy mawkishness that sinks so many network sitcoms.

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EXCLUSIVE: 'Mad Men' Star John Slattery Coming to 'The Simpsons'

by Maggie Furlong, posted Aug 30th 2011 8:00PM
John Slatter, 'Mad Men'Not everyone in Hollywood really knows each other, but it's pretty darn close. Take, for example, my day on the set of NBC's new sitcom 'Free Agents.' Knowing that they're shooting at the same studios where 'Mad Men' shoots was one thing, but the 'Mad Men' ties don't stop there.

I caught up with star Hank Azaria who plays Alex on 'Free Agents' (previews Wed., Sept. 14, 10:30PM ET), a PR exec whose unlucky-in-love personal life starts to bleed into his work life. We talked a lot about the show -- more to come closer to premiere -- but he also had a few tidbits to share about some of the 'Mad Men' cast.

In a brief moment of 'Simpsons' conversation, Azaria talked about guest stars for the show's upcoming season (premieres Sun., Sept. 25, 8PM ET on Fox). "We're actually recording our 23rd season now, and it's hard to remember anything, because we don't memorize anything, and we've done so many. I just assume every major recording and movie star and television star has been through there -- and they pretty much have -- but I run into John Slattery a lot, and I know he did a voice this year."

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NBC Announces Fall 2011 Premiere Dates

by Chris Harnick, posted Jul 6th 2011 2:30PM
Up All NightNBC has unveiled its new fall schedule and it kicks off with football ... if there's a season!

The new scripted shows begin Tues., Sept. 13 with 'Parenthood.' New comedies 'Up All Night' (starring Will Arnet and Christina Applegate, right) and 'Free Agents' premiere after the 'America's Got Talent' finale on Wed., Sept. 14.

'The Playboy Club' bows Mon., Sept. 19. NBC's Thursday night comedy heavy-hitters return on Sept. 22 with new addition 'Whitney.' 'Prime Suspect' anchors Thursday nights.

Fan favorite 'Chuck' moves to Fridays at 8PM on Oct. 21.

Look for Tina Fey's '30 Rock,' 'Awake,' 'Smash' and more mid-season.

Check out the full schedule below!

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NBC Pilots Snap Judgments: Our First Reactions to the New Shows

by Maggie Furlong, posted Jun 16th 2011 12:00PM
NBC Pilots: Smash, Grimm & Up All NightWe've seen the network's new fall pilots, and while they're not for review (things often change drastically before the shows are set to premiere), we do want to share our first reactions with you.

This is designed to get you excited for some new shows ... and to warn you to curb your enthusiasm for others. Just keep in mind that we'll have full reviews of the final pilots closer to airdate in the fall or midseason. For now, here are our snap judgments of all of NBC's new shows for the 2011-2012 TV season. (Read up and watch previews here)

There are nine new scripted shows -- the good (we want 'Smash' now!), bad (the 'Grimm' headline writes itself) and holy-hell-remember-how-funny-Will-Arnett-is ('Up All Night' is a delight) -- and plenty of varying opinions from Mo Ryan, Maggie Furlong, Jean Bentley, Chris Harnick, Alex Moaba and Laura Prudom.

Here's how we're breaking these down:
Watch It - awesome show, can't wait for more
Skip It - it's either horrible or just totally not their thing
DVR It - there's potential, will give it a second chance

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