Nearly 9 million tuned in to A&E Networks one-hour Duck Dynasty Christmas special last night. While that’s not the show’s biggest crowd this year — the Season 4 premiere clocked nearly 12 million -- it’s a nearly 40% spike compared to last year’s holiday special. In its 10 PM slot, that 9 million included 4.6 million in the 25-54 demo and 4.5 million in the 18-49 demo, a jump of 21% and 15%, respectively. That’s great news for A&E — and for the makers of Chia Pet, who are promoting Duck Dynasty Chia Pets during the holiday shopping season. The show’s Season 4 debut is still on the books as the No. 1-rated nonfiction series telecast in cable history and is the series’ best season to date, ratings-wise. Season 5 is set to premiere January 15.
Remember the good ratings for David Blaine’s ABC magic special a couple of weeks ago that we felt would spur more magic programs? A&E Network picked up Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne, a new unscripted series featuring magician Andrew Mayne. The series, which will premiere January 13 at 10 PM with back-to-back episodes, has Mayne performing illusions designed to help people get even by teaching a lesson to those who’ve wronged them. Mayne employs anything from explosions to disappearing cars and slight-of-hand, with one large illusion and five smaller illusions per episode. They include cars “melting away”, iPhones winding up in a “pickle” and someone’s precious motorcycle getting shot out of the sky. Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne is produced by Joke Prods., with Joke Fincioen, Biagio Messina, Mayne and Mary Jaras exec producing.
EXCLUSIVE: A&E Network’s upcoming drama Those Who Kill doesn’t debut until March, but this weekend there’ll be sneak peek shown during the network’s two-part Bonnie & Clyde miniseries. Why wait until then to see Chloë Sevigny as police detective Catherine Jensen in the series from Imagine TV and Fox 21. Here’s the clip:
It took awhile but A&E and Warner Horizon finally closed a deal for a 10-episode third season of the network’s most-watched drama series ever, Longmire. The announcement comes after Longmire executive producer John Coveny tweeted back in August, shortly after the series’ second-season finale: “The call just came: SEASON 3 for .” is a GO!In its second season, Longmire averaged 3.7 million total viewers with the season finale episode August 26 delivering a season high of 4.4 million total viewers. “Longmire has become one of the most compelling dramas on television with a devoted audience and we are so proud of the show,” said A&E GM David McKillop.
A&E Networks, revving up for its first ever triple-cast, of new four-hour two-night miniseries Bonnie & Clyde, announced today it had lined up six “premium sponsors” on the project — including the 20th Century Fox release of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, as well as, ironically, Match.com, plus Jeep Cherokee which will use the time to position itself as the “ultimate escape vehicle.”
Lifetime, A&E and History channels will simulcast the miniseries starting Sunday, December 8 at 9 PM ET. Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) and Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) star in the title roles of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, the infamous Depression-era outlaw couple; the cast also includes Holly Hunter (The Piano) and William Hurt (Too Big to Fail).
From today’s announcement:
A&E announced today it will premiere its latest homage to the Wahlberg brothers on January 22; Wahlburgers will show brothers Mark and Donnie heading back to Boston to join forces with brother Paul in a hamburger restaurant that’s already working on its second location, and serves as home base for the gang from the old neighborhood, including, A&E says, the real Johnny “Drama” Alves, Henry “Nacho” Laun, Mark’s chidhood pal Billy Leonard, and family matriarch Alma.
This is not to be confused with the teamsters reality-series pilot A&E had ordered from Mark Wahlberg, the Boston-set six-episode reality series about four female friends struggling to break through their blue-collar surroundings that A&E ordered from Mark Wahlberg, or Donnie Wahlberg’s reality series Boston Finest that somehow escaped A&E’s notice and wound up on TNT.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the entire Wahlberg family as they graciously lift the curtain to share this new side of their story,” said A&E exec vp and GM David McKillop of the series, on which Mark and Donnie Wahlberg are among the executive producers.
Wahlburgers is produced for A&E Networks by 44 Blue Productions, in association with Closest to the Hole Productions, Leverage Entertainment and Donnie D Productions. In addition to the two Wahlberg’s Stephen Levinson is exec producing. For 44 Blue Productions, exec producers are Rasha Drachkovitch and Jym Buss. Executive Producers for A&E are Lily Neumeyer and Devon Graham.
EXCLUSIVE: Jerry Bruckheimer Television is venturing into cable with a drama project at A&E. Written on spec by Ian Sobel and Matt Morgan, Harvest centers on a mild-mannered cemetery caretaker who finds his small-town life in jeopardy when his estranged criminal father forces him into the body-trade business. Bruckheimer TV and Warner Horizon TV are producing, with Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman executive producing, KristieAnne Reed co-executive producing and Sobel and Morgan serving as supervising producers. This marks a rare cable project for Bruckheimer TV, which has been focused on broadcast, locking a number of sales again this season, including put pilot commitments at Fox for a family thriller written by Aron Eli Coleite, and at NBC for a Pam Veasey comedy. In cable, Jerry Bruckheimer TV previously produced the TNT drama Dark Blue. Sobel and Morgan are with ICM Partners and Rain Management, JBT with CAA.
A&E Network announced today it will roll out a new brand identity and new tagline: “Be Original” on December 11, during its Duck Dynasty Christmas special. In its announcement, the network noted its programming is 100% original in primetime — compared to, say, USA Network (11% original), TNT (20% original), FX (14% original) and TBS (7% original). “As the A&E brand continues to evolve, it has become increasingly important to let both the consumer and trade know what A&E stands for,” said Guy Slattery, EVP Marketing, A&E Network. “Our new tagline embodies who we are and not just what we do,” chimed in David McKillop, General Manager & EVP of A&E Network. “From Duck Dynasty to Bates Motel, we are 100% original with the most unique characters and content in television. ‘Be Original’ is much more than a tagline, it’s a rallying cry for our programmers and marketers to always take creative risks, perpetually innovate, inspire and engage the next generation of viewers.” Wish we had a buck….
Anyway, see if you can remember which networks had these taglines:
EXCLUSIVE: Hit French series The Returned (Les Revenants) is getting an American remake. A&E Network has nabbed rights to the supernatural/suspense drama, which will be developed as a co-production between A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America. There is no writer in place but I hear the network is in discussions with Carlton Cuse, executive producer/co-showrunner of A&E’s breakout hit Bates Motel to take on the adaptation.
Created by Fabrice Gobert, Les Revenants was inspired by the 2004 feature film by the same name directed by Robin Campillo (English-language title They Came Back). It focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, having not aged and unaware of their own fatality. As they attempt to resume their lives, strange phenomena and gruesome murders begin to occur. “The Returned takes an incredibly unique approach, filled with suspense and twists and turns, to the subject of the living dead,” said A&E’s EVP and general manager David McKillop. Added FMNA CEO Thom Beers, “Having seen Fabrice Gobert’s original version and the success the series has had in France, we’re thrilled to be partnering with the team at A+E to bring this enigmatic thriller to U.S. audiences.”
The four-hour two-part Bonnie & Clyde mini is set to air Sunday, December 8th and Monday, December 9th at 9 PM simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and History. Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild) and Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) star in the title roles of outlaw couple Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The killer cast also includes Holly Hunter as Bonnie’s mother, Emma Parker, and William Hurt as Frank Hamer, the Texas Ranger pursuing the Barrow gang. Bonnie & Clyde follows Barrow, Parker and the notorious Barrow Gang as they sweep through the Central and Southern United States committing small-time robberies and daring bank heists, leaving murdered police officers and civilians in their wake. Cast also includes include Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), Lane Garrison (Prison Break), Elizabeth Reaser (The Twilight Saga), Austin Hebert (True Blood) and Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone). The miniseries is produced by Sony Pictures Television and executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. John Rice and Joe Batteer penned the script and Oscar-nominated Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies, Breaker Morant) directed.
Jay McGraw and Dr. Phil McGraw are executive producers on The Marriage Test, a 90-minute special that explores the troubled relationships of four couples who agree to live together under one roof for seven days of in-depth counseling to try to save their marriages. A&E Network will premiere the special1 at 10 PM September 2 as a backdoor pilot. Led by husband-and-wife marriage coaches Will Craig and Laurie Gerber, the couples take part in a series of exercises that include individual and group therapy sessions all aimed at salvaging their troubled unions. At the end of the week, each twosome will have to decide whether recommit and stay together and or break up and go their separate ways. Marriage Test is produced for A&E Networks by Ghost Mountain Prods and Bienstock Young Media. Executive producers are the McGraws, Carla Pennington, Eugene Young and Jay Bienstock; Drew Tappon serves as exec producer for A&E.
A&E Network has ordered eight one-hour episodes of Crazy Hearts: Nashville, an unscripted series that will follow the lives of aspiring country music artists and insiders as they balance life, love and their pursuit of stardom in Nashville, one gig at a time. Production begins immediately. The series is produced by Eastern for A&E. Executive producers are Toby Barraud and Stefan Springman for Eastern, and Drew Tappon, Fred Grinstein and Evan Lerner for A&E.
Dave Hester can move forward with the wrongful termination portion of his wide-ranging lawsuit against A&E and the producers of Storage Wars, a judge ruled today. In a hearing Tuesday in LA Superior Court, Judge Michael Johnson rejected the network’s free speech related attempt to dismiss the wrongful termination aspect of the former reality cast member’s nearly 10 month old legal action. Citing the First Amendment and California’s anti-SLAPP statute, A&E had argued that Hester’s suit would effectively hand him control over who they could put on the hit reality show. Johnson didn’t agree. “Plaintiff’s contract expressly states that Defendants had no obligation to use Plaintiff on the program during the term of their agreement. Plaintiff is suing to recover money, and not to inject himself into the program,” wrote Johnson in a tentative ruling issued before this morning’s hearing. Hester sued A&E and Storage Wars’ producers Original Productions back in December 2012. At the time he called the show a staged “fraud on the public” and claimed he was suddenly kicked off the storage locker auction series before the fourth season when he complained about their methods. Hester is seeking over $750,000 plus punitive damages that could add up to millions more. The judge today also rejected A&E’s motions to dismiss the punitive damages. …
There will be no fifth season for A&E‘s veteran drama The Glades despite the series hitting season highs in its most recent season finale. Glades appeared unlikely to continue, and I hear the network made the call this morning. Like its companion Longmire, Glades posted season highs in its finale earlier this week, averaging 3.4 million total viewers, 1.1 million adults 18-49 and 1.3 million adults 25-54. But year-to-year, Glades was down double digits in key demos while Longmire posted gains, likely contributing to A&E’s decision to renew Longmire and end Glades. Still, The Glades, from Fox TV Studios, performed respectably over its run. It was the first A&E scripted series to stick and helped establish the network’s scripted brand.
Daniella Alonso, who had a major role on the first season of NBC‘s Revolution, is joining another freshman NBC drama. Alonso has been tapped as a new regular on the midseason NBC medical drama Night Shift, from Sony TV. On the show, set during the night shift at San Antonio Memorial’s emergency department, Alonso will play Landry, a tough Texas girl and the lone Psychiatrist on the weekend night shift. She is with Gersh and Luber/Roklin.
Michael Eklund (The Call) is joining the cast of A&E’s Bates Motel for a recurring role in Season 2. He will play Zane Carpenter, a new upper level player in Dylan’s drug family. Eklund, repped by RED Management and Greene & Assoc., joins fellow new Bates Motel recurring players Rebecca Creskoff, Kenny Johnson and Michael Vartan. He is just completing the untitled Eadweard Muybridge picture.
A&E has cast the three major new roles on the upcoming second season of Bates Motel. Rebecca Creskoff (Hung), Kenny Johnson (Sons Of Anarchy) and Michael Vartan (Hawthorne) have been tapped for recurring parts on the series, a prequel to Psycho. Creskoff will play Christine who befriends Norma, pulling her into the upper circle of White Pine Bay Society. Charming, witty and intelligent, Christine is the first female friend Norma has ever had. Alias alum Vartan plays George, Christine’s recently divorced older brother who develops a crush on Norma. Johnson, who also recurs on the final season of Dexter, plays Caleb, Norma’s estranged brother.
A&E‘s unlikely hit Duck Dynasty returns for its fourth season on Wednesday, August 14, the network announced this morning, while salary talks with the Robertson clan continue. Back in April, the Season 3 finale logged an average of 9.6 million viewers – a record for the series and the network. The season ender was up 48% over the 6.5 million who watched the Season 2 finale on December 5, 2012. With a 4.3 rating, it was the highest-rated show on both cable and broadcast Wednesday, easily beating American Idol’s 3.2 that night. The starring Robertson clan had been demanding an increase in salary to as much as $200,000 per episode.
Bad tattoos and bad times in Sin City are coming to A&E. The channel’s new Bad Ink series is set to debut on August 11, A+E Networks announced today. The series will premiere with a double shot of back-to-back episodes at 10 PM and 10:30 PM on the Sunday night. The unscripted show features tattoos artist Dirk Vermin and his friend Ruckus as they go on the hunt for Las Vegas’ worst ink jobs. Some Vermin tries to fix himself while discovering how the victim in question got such bad ink, as the title says. Matt Sharp and Dan Adler for Sharp Entertainment are the EPs on Bad Ink. Randy Jones is co-executive producer. Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Lily Neumeyer and Evan Lerner.