In fact, pretty much everyone who works in entertainment journalism thought of Finke; she's reclusive, opinionated, confrontational, litigious, and likes to punctuate news that corroborates with her inside info with a big fat "TOLDJA!" in all caps. So it's not a surprise to think that more than one person had to wonder if Finke was involved in this show, and if she wasn't, would she sic her lawyers after HBO and anyone else within subpoena-shot.
Gawker called Finke, who, in between threats to sue the site's writer and corporate parent, said she'd talk about her involvement (or lack therof) with the project soon. But The Hollywood Reporter managed to find out that Finke wasn't involved, leading to their wondering if Finke has the right to sue over this series.
(UPDATE: TV Guide Magazine says this deal is confirmed.)
TMZ is reporting that NBC signed Jay Leno to a contract to host The Tonight Show from 11:35 PM - 12:35 AM. Of course, TMZ being TMZ, this might just be a rumor.
However, given the fact that -- if Nikki Finke is to be believed -- that Jeff Zucker and the execs at NBC are trying to take a hard line with Conan, and Bill Simmons is saying that Conan's version of Tonight will end next Friday, the pieces of this puzzle might be falling into place.
I don't think we need to go over all the bloody details again, but we all know that Conan is getting the shaft here. Even if you weren't a fan of Conan's Tonight (Conan fan Bryan Curtis of The Daily Beast did a great piece today on why the show just isn't working), the guy doesn't deserve to get jerked around like this.
Now, here's the question: Did Jay get what he ultimately wanted, which was to never leave 11:35?
Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily scored a copy of the audition packet the show's producers sent out to prospective comedy writers that included a few choice bits that would make David Letterman's Sarah Palin punchline squad blush.
These are not bits that have been confirmed as part of Sykes' first show. They are just examples designed to guide the prospective writer towards the kind of work they are looking to produce when the show hits the air next fall. But even for random examples, they make my diseased mind wonder what could actually get on the air and how many strokes it will cause for elderly housewives across the nation.
When I first saw the headline from this Nikki Finke report on NBC's Parks and Recreation, the highly-anticipated collaboration between Amy Poehler and the folks who write and produce The Office, I thought the story might be about set tension or significant rewrites or even those ever-so-useful "notes" from the network.
But it turns out that the article was about notes the network got as part of a "Consumer And Market Intelligence Research Summary." Basically, the pilot went through audience testing, and the test audience saw some problems. In the 12-page report (nine of which are charts and graphs, as Finke takes pains to point out), the test audience liked a lot of the pilot, but thought it dragged in parts, was too similar to The Office in tone, that Poehler's character needed to have "more energy and enthusiasm," and that there are "there are no 'datable' men in the cast."
To that, I say: who gives a flying crap?
As everyone else in the industry is saying: What the hell?
Mad Men just finished its second season with record ratings. It's the first basic cable show to win an Emmy for Best Drama, and Weiner is the show's heart and soul. Believe me when I tell you that it's his vision and attention to detail that you see in every scene. Weiner gave critics a tour of the sets during the July TCAs, and he was able to speak about the look and feel of the show as easily as he was able to talk about the stories and characters. I can't imagine anyone else running the show, even if it's someone that's already on staff.
I don't think it's really going out on a limb to predict that NBC is going to find itself back in that familiar fourth place spot once this new season gets underway. It's become almost comical to look at what has happened to the network since the days of the unstoppable Must See Thursdays. Now though, as we head into the new season, I find that I only have interest in two of their new shows.
With one of them, My Own Worst Enemy, I seem to be in the minority. I'm having trouble finding anyone else that doesn't want to dismiss it out of hand as an inferior Jekyll. And the other, Kings, won't be premiering any time soon. The network isn't without its prizes. Chuck, Heroes, and The Office are all very good, but I don't expect any giant gains in ratings for any of them. Those would have to come from the new shows, and I'm just not seeing that happening. It's not a good way to kick off a new season, and that's just the start of the troubles. Nikki Finke is now reporting that the impending doom of the new schedule, combined with a host of other troubles, will bring about a shakeup at the top of the network.
Moonlight is not going to just go away quietly and join that long list of one-and-done shows. People keep saying it's over, but apparently not everyone is listening. The latest rumor, from Nikki Finke's blog, has the show landing at the CW. And how would that work, considering that the CW has already made their schedule? I'm glad you asked.
You may recall a post from a few days ago about the network throwing in the towel on Sunday nights. That has now been confirmed with their upfront announcements. Sundays have now been outsourced. Moonlight comes back into the picture as a possibility to fill one of those two hours for Media Rights Capital, the new programmers for Sunday nights. If they could get even 60 to 70 percent of the show's viewers to make the move with them, it could be the most watched show on the network. Something that sounds very plausible given the loyal following the show has developed. It's still firmly in long-shot territory, but has the makings of quite a story.
NBC executives had been looking for a way to renew their low-rated show, mostly through cost-sharing deals with other networks. They finally found a partner: DirecTV. No details of the deal were given; all we know right now is that the satellite company and the Peacock folks will share the costs of producing the show and will both air the show across multiple platforms.
And that might be a problem. According to Nikki Finke, she's hearing that the rank-and-file members of the guild have been expressing displeasure at the terms of the contract in today's meetings, with the feeling that the union leadership is "ramming this deal down our throats," as one of her sources told her.
Still, Finke does give a timeline of how she's been informed the next few days will go; tomorrow seems to be the crucial day, as the WGA membership on both coasts will have "informational meetings" before the governing board of each coast's guild decides whether to put the tentative deal up for a vote. If the informational meetings go well, the union bigwigs may call off the strike before the vote, anticipating the deal will win with the rank-and-file.
I saw this picture over at Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily site and I had to post it here. It's Jerry Stiller on the picket lines in New York City, supporting the writers during the current strike.
But something strikes me as wrong about the photo. It's fine and dandy that it says "Solidarity," but wouldn't it be even funnier if it said "Serenity Now!"? His famous line from Seinfeld not only fits the situation but would also illustrate that, hey, that line was actually written by a television writer. I'm sure that someone in that picket line must have said that to him during the day.
- TV Guide's Matt Roush predicts the winners of tonight's Emmy Awards.
- Speaking of the Emmys, Joan Rivers won't be on the red carpet this year...she's blogging instead!
- Jaime Weinman compares various seasons of several Miller-Boyett shows, including Perfect Strangers, Angie, and Full House.
- Did you know that Mike Nelson has a blog?
- Nikki Finke is still not a fan of Jon Stewart hosting the Oscars.
- Anthony Bourdain is blogging Top Chef.
- The Futon Critic lists the 10 things you need to know about the new season.
Over the weekend, Nikki Finke of LA Weekly reported on her blog that Reilly will be replaced by two people: producer Ben Silverman, whose company brought The Office and Ugly Betty to the U.S., will be in charge of the entertainment side and Marc Graboff, currently NBCU Television's West Coast chief, will run the business side. Bill Carter of The New York Times is also reporting on the change, but in a less definitive manner.
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