Take a look through your program guide and there is probably at least one channel you've never watched/heard of. You're not alone.
I was excited to find out new programs were coming to Investigation Discovery and when I shared the news with some other TV Squadders, people said, "Huh? That's a channel?" Yes it is and I love it.
Did you know there's a whole channel just for babies? Of course. Check out the rest of the channels that we weren't too familiar with.
Now the networks are squeezing every buck that they can out of TV actors by a new process called "test deals."
Basically, the networks are getting their actors to agree to residual payments and checks before they even audition for a pilot or a new series. So now they have no leverage to negotiate a fair price. This is a great idea ... if the people getting paid were Goldman-Sachs employees. Somebody get Nathan Ford on the line!
THR puts 'Community' in the safe category, giving it a 90% chance of renewal. It also put 'Chuck' in the 90% category.
Joe Adalian wrote about bubble shows on The Wrap, and he has 'Chuck' slam-dunking another renewal out of NBC. The surprises on his list was a death blow for 'Gary Unmarried' and 'Rules of Engagement.'
Really? That's not a certainty considering that 'Rules' hasn't even aired yet. It did well in the ratings last spring, enough to be a midseason renewal. And 'Gary' has performed on par with 'The New Adventures of Old Christine,' which has a good shot at being renewed.
It's all part of the Entertainment Industry Foundation's "iParticipate" campaign. Variety reports that more than 60 of this week's primetime and daytime shows have agreed to work volunteerism into this week's plots, either via casual references or central storylines.
Just a couple weeks into the fall television season, the prognosis is not looking good for NBC. To wit:
• The 'Jay Leno Show' experiment at 10PM is flailing. The premiere attracted 18 million viewers; now it averages in the 5-6 million range. And its getting trashed by the critics, like Nancy Franklin of the New Yorker, who scathingly writes, "The forensic evidence so far indicates that a kind of death is taking place before our eyes; the only question is whether what we're witnessing is an accident or a crime scene.
• The once-beloved 'Heroes' started season 4 with its weakest premiere numbers yet, falling an astonishing 46 percent from last year's opener. Consider that season 2's premiere netted 17 million viewers. NBC would kill for just half that these days.
The White House has another address scheduled for Tuesday, and the networks are raising holy hell over having to shift their schedules to make room for him.
Tuesday is a prime choice cut for the four major networks (five if you count the CW) and shows like American Idol, Bones and The Biggest Loser are having to play musical chairs because of his address.
Time for an impromptu poll, boys and girls. Something that will shake you out of those holiday blahs that the egg nog, Christmas cookies, and constant replays of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer have caused. Something that will get your brain working again and make you think about your television viewing habits.
I want to know where you are watching most of your shows. Are you still one of those people who focus their attention on the major 'over the air networks' of ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and, on occasions when the month ends in a capital 'A', CW? Or, are you one of those new-fangled hippies who do nothing but watch everything and anything on cable? Or, perhaps, it's a bit of both.
Will ABC and CBS be compelled to cover the night, when NBC and Fox have the option of using their cable outlets and keep entertainment on the broadcast side?
Or Chuck, or Pushing Daisies, or Private Practice for that matter. With the announcement that FOX was going to offer a marathon of The Sarah Connor Chronicles starting on August 10th I got to wondering about the other freshman shows that made an impression on viewers before the Writers Strike abruptly ended their seasons. Many of these shows haven't been seen since the end of last year.
For Life, the last original episode to air was December 5th. With the second season premiere slated to air during the first week of October, it will be nearly a year since viewers had a chance to bond with Detectives Charlie Crews and Dani Reese. That's a bit of a concern when it comes to this show. On the surface Life is a criminal procedural. However, underneath there has been an second story about Charlie's quest to clear his good name for a murder he didn't commit. While the first arc of this story was completed in its "season finale," there is plenty of story to tell.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that The Thick of It, a new pilot from Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz that was rejected by ABC, may still have a fighting chance.
The Thick of It is based on a British series about folks working for a low-level congressman. The series boasts some amazing comedic talent, including John Michael Higgins, Oliver Platt, Alex Borstein, and Michael McKean. The pilot was also directed by Christopher Guest.
You know, one of the great/sad things about satire is that sometimes it's almost too close to real life. Take this Onion headline:
Funny, yes, but given a television landscape riddled with unoriginal concepts, the idea of one network doing it's own version of another network's show (which, in turn, is based on another show) doesn't seem that unrealistic.
When YouTube was first launched, there was no way its founders could have predicted how popular it would become, or that TV networks and cable channels would use the service to provide clips to the masses. But, what of those independent and unknown filmmakers and aspiring comic actors who make their own videos with their friends? It's bad enough those uploaded videos are so easily lost in the shuffle among the millions of other videos, but the presence of NBC and CBS don't exactly help, either.
That is, unless you're sneaky.
Oliver Platt, last seen in the Showtime series Huff, will star in the ABC comedy pilot The Thick of It, about workers for a low-level congressman. The show is executive produced by Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz and based on the British comedy of the same name.
Chris Lowell (Veronica Mars) will join previously cast Tim Daly and Taye Diggs in the two-hour Grey's Anatomy episode meant to serve as a springboard to a possible Grey's Anatomy spinoff.
Steve Howey of Reba has been cast in The Beast, about a womanizing veterinarian who hates animals. Tucker Cawley, a writer and executive producer for Everybody Loves Raymond, will also write and executive produce the comedy pilot for FOX. The series is based on the British comedy Beast.
VH1 and BET, both Viacom-owned channels, are splitting production costs and sharing airtime for a new series called Wifey, a drama set inside the hip-hop business. Queen Latifah is on board as a producer through her company Flavor Unit (which would also be a cool name for a restaurant, but I digress). Production on the series kicks off next month.
A pilot for the series has been ordered, and if it gets picked up for a full season the episodes will air simultaneously on both VH1 and BET, presumably to woo people interested in black culture and people interested in how comedians feel about ALF and the Rubik's Cube.
As the Hollywood Reporter points out, the obvious risk is that one network will be watched by a majority while the other one will be left high and dry. The people behind the new series also admit it's a gamble.
NBC, FOX and ABC have each ordered up new pilots.
The pilot for M.O.N.Y., a new NBC drama about an average joe who becomes Mayor of New York, will be directed by Spike Lee, who also directed the pilot for the CBS series Shark and has a development deal with NBC.
Other pilot orders include Philadelphia General for FOX, directed by P.J. Hogan (My Best Friend's Wedding, 2003's Peter Pan) a comedy/drama focusing on a team of nurses; and Lipstick Jungle (NBC) and Cashmere Mafia (ABC), both of which Anna wrote about here.
Reading over the brief description of all these new shows, I can't help but notice there are a lot of series these days labeled as "comedic dramas" or something similar. It makes me wonder if perhaps it would be better to do away with such labels all together and let the audience decide for themselves whether a show is worth checking out. I understand networks and studios have to give people some idea what's on tap, but I think more and more genres are starting to meld together, and there are very few "straight comedies" or "straight dramas" left. These days it seems the effort is put toward just making an entertaining show, and not trying to remain within the confines of a "drama" or "comedy."
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