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Epic Sets English-Language ‘Thale’ Sequel
Epic Pictures is partnering with Norway’s Yesbox Productions to finance and produce an English-language sequel to Norwegian thriller Thale. The sequel will be written and directed by Thale‘s Aleksander Nordaas. Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson are producing alongside Bendik Heggen Strønstad of Yesbox. Thale appeared in Toronto and SXSW last year and told the story of two crime-scene cleaners who discover a tailed female creature in a concealed cellar who has been held captive for decades. Thale was based on a mythical character in Nordic folklore called the “huldra,” a beautiful creature with female attributes that is said to seduce men by humming a beautiful song, but the men never return to their villages. Epic’s Patrick Ewald says the budget will be upped for the sequel “so that Aleksander and Bendik’s vision can be accomplished on a grand scale.” Read More »
As Simon Cowell put it yesterday, Britain’s Got Talent has “gotten some stick” in the past few weeks. Viewers have reacted to what they perceive as inappropriate acts on the show, and also to the fact that some current contestants have previously appeared on TV. Cowell took to Twitter on Sunday to address the latter complaints, saying, “We try and have a no rules policy on the show… Would it be right to say to someone who has appeared on a show before you can’t audition?” Referring to BGT‘s biggest breakout star, he added, “I believe Susan Boyle had appeared on another tv show years ago. Nothing happened. Bgt gave her another go. Is that wrong? I am not whining. Simply wanted to explain there is no hush hush plot. I just think everyone deserves a second chance.” Read More »
Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent dropped slightly on Saturday from its debut last week, scoring 10.3M viewers for a 47% share, UK network ITV said. The show peaked with an audience of 12.1M, but that was down from a high of 13M on April 13. After going head-to-head with BGT last week, rival show The Voice UK moved out of its way on Saturday. The two shows jockeyed for position last year and this year has been no different with time slots frequently shifting. But the BBC this weekend set The Voice to start at 8:20 PM (BGT starts at 7 PM) and according to overnights, its ratings grew with a season high of 7.92M viewers. That was up 1.25M on the week prior. It peaked at 9.08M.
Meanwhile, controversy seems to be following BGT this season. Last week’s episode featured two acts that were deemed inappropriate by some in the Twittersphere and by a group that campaigns for family values in the media. This Saturday, a five-year-old moved through to the next round with a dance routine, spurring viewers and a child protection group to wonder about his coping mechanisms. A spokesman for BGT told The Daily Mail that contestants’ welfare is the show’s “number one priority.”
Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent returned to ITV with much fanfare on Saturday night, beating rival BBC show The Voice UK and causing some controversy in the process. BGT had its second biggest launch in seven years scoring an average 10.5M viewers and peaking at just over 13M. Only the 2010 start was bigger with a 10.6M average.
But two acts have been deemed inappropriate by some in the Twittersphere and by a group that campaigns for family values in the media. The performances in question saw an 11-year-old girl sing the one-night-stand-themed “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls, while a 40-something woman did a semi-striptease and gave Cowell a mini-lapdance. Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch UK, told The Daily Mail that ITV appeared “to have completely ignored” guidelines set up by regulator Ofcom which has warned broadcasters about sexually explicit content ahead of the 9 PM watershed. But an ITV spokesman tells Deadline, “In its seventh series, Britain’s Got Talent celebrates variety and showcases a wide range of different acts. Mindful of our family audience, the performance was carefully edited to ensure it was suitably inexplicit.” Ahead of this weekend’s controversy, an ITV source told me the network chose to air BGT at 7 PM despite a clash with the BBC’s The Voice, because otherwise it “would have had to go late” and risk losing the family audience. Read More »
UPDATE, WRITETHRU, 9:23 AM PT: The seventh season of Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent kicks off in the UK on April 13 and has set the scene for yet another showdown with The Voice UK, shifting timeslots and pitting the two shows head-to-head. The Voice debuted on BBC One on March 30 in the 7-8:35 PM slot, the same space it occupied last year. Then yesterday, it was revealed that ITV would air BGT at the identical hour when it debuts, despite traditionally starting an hour later. The BBC in turn has confirmed that it will back The Voice up by 15 minutes to 6:45 PM starting on April 13 to avoid a direct clash (this also moves Doctor Who back to about 6 PM). Given the flexibility of British broadcast schedules – and how much jostling there was last year – this is unlikely to be the last change in the ongoing battle between the two competition shows. A BBC insider calls ITV’s move “disappointing” saying “it’s not in the best interest of the fans.” An ITV source contends that the BBC “deliberately” slotted The Voice in the spring, where BGT has been since 2006 meaning an overlap was inevitable. To avoid a clash, ITV “would have had to go late” and risk losing the family audience.
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Simon Cowell is adding another stream to his talent scouting business. Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment’s joint venture, Syco, is hooking up with YouTube to launch global online talent contest, The You Generation. The contest opens to the public March 20 and will run for one year in an experiment aimed at discovering new talent. Entries are solicited from people with “unconventional and original talents” including musicians, photographers, makeup artists, magicians and chefs, Syco said. Wannabes will upload their videos to the You Generation YouTube channel in a different category every two weeks. They’ll then be judged by “professionals associated with Syco.” Prizes will be awarded every two weeks – though it’s not clear yet what the prizes will be – and there will be a grand prize at the end. The contest is available in 15 languages and 26 countries. Cowell’s already juggling the X Factor and Got Talent shows in the U.S. and the UK where he’s returning to judge Britain’s Got Talent‘s seventh season that kicks off in the spring. Click over for The You Generation promo in which Cowell freaks the hell out of some early contestants: Read More »
The first season of The Voice UK was the BBC’s most successful new entertainment show in over a decade, but it was also locked in a ratings battle last year with Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent which aired on rival net ITV. ITV originally set a challenge to The Voice when it moved Britain’s Got Talent ahead several weeks so the two shows would debut on the same night. This had followed an earlier bidding war in which both networks were vying for broadcast rights to The Voice. The show held its own against BGT, but endured a ratings decline when the live episodes started. The second season will have four key stages, including a new Knockouts round, but there will be just three live shows. Coaches will.i.am, Jessie J, Danny O’Donoghue and Tom Jones will select 2 more artists each for their teams and will also have the chance to steal one losing artist from a rival coach. It’s not yet confirmed when The Voice UK will start airing this spring, but the live shows are reportedly set for June 8, the same date it’s believed ITV is airing the Britain’s Got Talent finale, meaning there would again be overlap. In December, ITV confirmed Cowell would return to BGT as a judge for the show’s seventh season. … Read More »
Fox‘s reality chief Mike Darnell, well known for his premiere anxiety, slept only an hour last night, nervously awaiting the ratings for the Season 12 debut of American Idol with new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. When they came in this morning, Idol posted a 6.0/16 among Adults 18-49 and 17.9 million viewers, down 19% from last year’s opener but still higher-rated in the demo than ABC, NBC and CBS combined. “I’m relieved this morning,” Darnell said. “We knew the show would be down but god bless it did a very good number; it was much bigger than The Voice’s premiere.” He attributed the decline, despite the infusion of new judges, to having two singing competition series both in the fall (The Voice, X Factor) and the spring (The Voice, American Idol), in addition to America’s Got Talent in the summer. As a result, “they are all eroding,” Darnell said.
He is encouraged by early reaction and optimistic about Idol’s ratings performance this season. “There is so much talk and buzz about the new judging panel that I’m bullish that we will cut the (ratings) deficit,” Darnell said. He teased the much talked-about feud storyline between diva judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, which he said starts at the Chicago auditions and culminates in Charlotte. He also touted the talent, highlighting a heavily stuttering contestant on tonight’s episode who … Read More »
British reality TV producer Sam Donnelly has signed with ICM Partners. The agency has already booked Donnelly’s first U.S. gig, recently closing a deal for her to join NBC’s America’s Got Talent as an executive producer. In her native UK Donnelly executive produced the local Talent version, Britain’s Got Talent; BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, on which ABC’s Dancing With The Stars is based; and The Magicians.
ITV has confirmed that Simon Cowell will return to Britain’s Got Talent as a judge for the show’s seventh season. Cowell will reunite with judges Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams after coming back to the show in 2012 to give it a boost as it faced off with BBC1’s The Voice UK. Last May’s BGT season 6 finale was seen by a peak of 14.5M viewers and was the most watched show of the year up to that point. Cowell’s full-time return to BGT in January comes just as the impresario is facing a big ratings slip at his other ITV talent show, The X Factor. On Sunday, that show’s finale fell to its lowest ratings since 2006 igniting calls for Cowell to return to the series he left in 2010 to concentrate on its U.S. version which airs on Fox. Both BGT and The X Factor’s contracts with ITV are up after their upcoming seasons. Read More »
Euro 2012 is now one for the history books. The entire soccer tournament roundly scored a TV ratings bonanza for broadcasters in Europe. In the U.S., ESPN has been doing increasingly hefty numbers and is expected to report a strong turnout for the final when those figures come in tomorrow.
After netting 14.18M viewers during regulation play in Spain’s semifinal against Portugal last week, Spain’s Telecinco swept primetime Sunday with an average of nearly 15.5M watching the final — good for 83.4% of the audience share. In Italy, RAI’s broadcast of the semifinal match when it bested Germany last week was seen by about 20M viewers for a 68.4% share. On Sunday night, more than 22M Italians watched as their team was routed by Spain in the 4-0 shutout. The victory made La Roja the first team to win three major international titles in a row (after taking Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010). Read More »
ITV boss Adam Crozier is still pushing his way through a 5-year transformation plan at the network home of Downton Abbey. In a first quarter results report this morning, ITV said it had external revenues of £565M for a 13% increase over the same period in 2011. Crozier noted that ITV Studios, the production arm of the network, had done particularly well with revenues up 61% to £212M. The net, which airs Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent, was down 2% in viewership. That show has been locked in a ratings battle with BBC1′s The Voice, although it’s recently pulled ahead. Crozier said, “We remain confident in our schedule with Euro 2012 in June and a strong Autumn line up.”
Has Simon Cowell blinked? With BBC One’s The Voice UK steadily gaining on Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent over on ITV, the latter network will step out of the line of fire for upcoming episodes. Beginning April 21, BGT will kick off 30 minutes later than it has for the past several weeks, and 10 minutes after The Voice ends. ITV originally set a challenge to The Voice when it moved BGT ahead several weeks so the two shows would debut on the same night. This had followed an earlier bidding war in which both networks were vying for broadcast rights to The Voice. BGT also brought back Cowell as a judge this year in a widely touted move.
As I reported on Tuesday, although BGT’s ratings were originally ahead of The Voice, the BBC One show beat BGT in the overall ratings for the first time this past Saturday and has been steadily adding viewers over its three frames. Key however is the fact that the shows only overlapped for a 20-minute period with The Voice airing from 7-8:20pm and BGT from 8-9:20pm. It’s that 20-minute space where The Voice has soared past BGT each week, Read More »
On May 14, Howard Stern will debut as a judge on NBC’s new-look America’s Got Talent. That show will follow the week-earlier season finale of The Voice, also on NBC. But the UK versions of those shows, which air on rival networks, are not playing together quite so harmoniously. America’s Got Talent impresario Simon Cowell recently returned to the UK as a judge on local ITV series Britain’s Got Talent, to give it a shot in the arm. While ratings are strong for BGT, it debuted lower this year than last and had to concede the Saturday night crown this past weekend to The Voice UK, which airs on BBC One. Cowell on Sunday singled out BBC Controller Danny Cohen and tweeted the following: “A slightly irritated congrats to Danny and the BBC.”
The Voice UK has steadily added about 500,000 viewers week-on-week since its March 24 debut, but BGT was down 850,000 this week (not factoring in time shift viewings). Premiering strong on March 24 and building on March 31, The Voice still lost out in the overall ratings to BGT on both of those Saturdays. But, what’s become highly notable is the fact that The Voice is consistently beating BGT during the key 20 minutes when the shows overlap (The Voice airs from 7-8:20pm, BGT airs from 8-9:20pm). In their first 20-minute standoff, The Voice led … Read More »
When Fox’s Cops premiered in 1989, there were original series on all of the Big 4 networks. By the turn of the century, only Fox and CBS were carrying first-run series, with NBC and ABC surrendering the night to movies. By the mid-2000s, every network but Fox had switched to a mix of series repeats/movies/newsmagazines. Fox held the court with veterans Cops and America’s Most Wanted until last May when it canceled AMW in favor of repeats. It has preempted Cops several times this season for sports coverage and, most recently, the Jennifer Lopez-Marc Anthony reality series Q’Viva! And there are a lot more pre-emptions on the horizon as Fox Sports will be taking over Saturday night in 28 of the next 32 weeks for NASCAR, MLB, NFL, college football and UFC coverage. In doing that, Fox joins ABC, which too has been airing sports programming on Saturday night for the past few years. Twenty four seasons in, Cops still is delivering decent numbers for Saturday night, an average of 1.2 18-49 rating which often is enough to top the night in the demo. But, instead of managing the decline, the network is looking for a franchise that it feels it could grow. Fox is not canceling Cops outright, instead cutting back the order for Season 25, whose time slot is TBD.
While inevitable, it is sad to see the network’s entertainment divisions throwing in the towel on Saturday, which once … Read More »
The UK version of singing competition show The Voice premiered on Saturday night to strong ratings, but only beat Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent for 20 minutes. The Voice, airing on BBC1, drew an average 8.43 million viewers in its debut in the 7-8:20pm time slot. Britain’s Got Talent, over on ITV, nabbed an average 9.43 million pairs of eyeballs in the 8-9:20pm slot. When the two shows went head-to-head from 8-8:20pm, however, The Voice had a hard lead with an average of 8.96 million viewers compared to Britain’s Got Talent’s 6.56 million. Overall, Britain’s Got Talent had a 41.1% share; The Voice took a 37.6% share. Simon Cowell has returned to Britain’s Got Talent to give it a shot in the arm, but the launch numbers this year did not line up with 2011 when 9.9 million Brits tuned in. New judges alongside Cowell include comic actor David Walliams and singer Alesha Dixon. The Voice has singer Jessie J, hip hop artist Will.i.am and Welsh crooner Tom Jones. Last year, the BBC and ITV were locked in a bidding war for The Voice with BBC1 ultimately winning out. The two broadcasters have since waged a scheduling battle as ITV moved the return of Britain’s Got Talent to air on the same day as The Voice launch. Britain’s Got Talent usually debuts in April. Meanwhile, it’s been reported … Read More »
NBC’s The Voice earned bragging rights tonight as all 4 of its musician coaches received Grammy nominations: 4 for Cee Lo Green, 2 each for Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera and one for Adam Levine’s band Maroon 5 (it is for the group’s collaboration with Aguilera Moves Like Jagger). In contrast, none of the judges of the other signing competition series, including The Voice‘s main rivals American Idol and The X Factor, landed a single nomination. The recent crop of American Idol contestants also failed to earn recognition though the series’ 2 best-selling alums, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson earned a nom each, as did another star of a reality competition, Susan Boyle of Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent.
The drama continues. After she was dropped from the U.S. X Factor and declined to return to the original British show, Cheryl Cole now may rejoin the Fox version. British papers and TMZ are reporting tonight that Cole has been asked to come back to the U.S. X Factor. Speculation is that if Cole turns down the offer, the producers of the Fox series would be off the hook for the $1.5 million the British singer was guaranteed for the gig. The latest twist in the saga may explain why Fox, Cowell or X Factor co-producer FremantleMedia never officially confirmed Cole’s exit. Cowell normally relishes controversy, but this is a bit too much even for him. With the Cole drama still ongoing, over the past couple of days he also has been forced to defend himself from accusation that the current season of Britain’s Got Talent has been rigged.