The day after CBS’s bombshell announcement that Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman on Late Show, when things calmed down a bit and reason returned to her throne, industry pundits began to contemplate the deeper meaning of the shift in the late-night landscape. Practically speaking, it means Comedy Central is now one late-night show short — and CBS may be as well, if Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, or the network, decides to call it a day now that Craig’s for sure not getting the 11:35 PM timeslot. We’ve all been brought up to speed on the clause in Craig’s contract that landed him a pot of cash if the network settled elsewhere on its Letterman replacement. But Ferguson was quick to tweet his congratulations to Colbert the morning the news broke. That night, Ferguson opened his show with another shout out to Colbert, after which he teased viewers with cracks about resigning — but only for the length of a commercial break.
ABC‘s Jimmy Kimmel Live will be in repeats all next week — except Thursday, when he will interview Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes from the set of her show in what’s being billed as a Jimmy Kimmel Live: Behind The Scandalabra special. The ABC late-night star has tended to do his best numbers, in total viewers and the demo, on Thursdays because his program has been branded Scandal Thursdays on that night, featuring guests from Rhimes’ Thursday hit. Scandal is airing its season finale that night. The episode will also feature a Scandal blooper reel and the full anthology of Kimmel’s Spanish-language spinoff, Escandalo.
After directing three episodes of the second season of House Of Cards, director-producer John David Coles (The West Wing) is joining the Netflix drama series full time for Season 3 as executive producer/director. Coles previously was co-executive producer/director on CBS’ Elementary and executive producer/director on NBC’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He most recently helmed episodes of A&E’s Bates Motel and Starz’s upcoming drama series Power. On MRC-produced House Of Cards, Coles — repped by UTA and Rain Management Group — will serve as an EP alongside star Kevin Spacey, director David Fincher and writer Beau Willimon as well as Josh Donen, Eric Roth, Dana Brunetti, Lord Michael Dobbs and Andrew Davies.
After a lengthy deal-making process, Comedy Central has formally given the green light to Duty, a half-hour pilot from a group of Happy Endings auspices — creator/executive producer David Caspe, writers Matthew and Daniel Libman, executive producer Jamie Tarses and studio Sony Pictures Television. Written/co-executive produced by brothers Matthew and Daniel Libman, Duty centers around Kyle (Mike O’Gorman), a former football star who loses everything and is forced to start anew by moving back to his hometown and taking a job on the local police force opposite his childhood best friend Lonnie (Gil Ozeri). Laura Steinel plays Jamie, Kyle’s old flame. Tarses of Fanfare and Caspe of Shark v. Bear executive produce. Caspe and Matthew have been childhood friends since elementary school, with Daniel, who is eight years younger than his brother, constantly hanging out with the older guys. Daniel went on to become his brother’s writing partner. The two worked on Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken before Caspe brought them over to ABC’s Happy Endings. O’Gorman is repped by UTA, Mosaic and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY 7:20 PM: Piers Morgan wrapped his three-year CNN run tonight with (gasp!) a full hour of discussion about the missing plane. But in his four-minute final remarks, he couldn’t resist taking a parting shot at the NRA. “I assumed that after 70 people were shot in a movie theater, and then, just a few months later, 20 first-graders were murdered with an assault rifle in an elementary school, the absurd gun laws in this country would change,” he said. “But nothing has happened. The gun lobby in America, led by the NRA, has bullied this nation’s politicians into cowardly, supine silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms. This is a shameful situation that has made me very angry.” He continued to rail and wrapped it with this: “But I’ve made my point. … Now it’s down to you. It’s your country; these are your gun laws. And the senseless slaughter will only end when enough Americans stand together and cry: Enough!” As the camera began to pan out, the British expat delivered his final words on the ratings-challenged Piers Morgan Live: “Goodnight, thank you, and God bless America. Oh, and while I’m at it, God bless Great Britain too.” Here’s the full transcript of Morgan’s “cheerio” to American television:
This is the final episode of Piers Morgan Live. After 3yrs, 2months, 11 days and over 1000 shows, I am departing to spend more time with my cricket bat. I would like to thank my amazing team, led with great skill and tireless enthusiasm by my friend and Executive Producer, Jonathan Wald. And John Ferriter, my irrepressible manager, who landed me this fascinating, unpredictable, challenging but hugely enjoyable job. We won some, we lost some, but we gave it everything we had, and I have loved every minute. Well, almost every minute!
I’d also like to thank you all for watching. Even those who implacably disagreed with me, or just found my funny accent annoying. Regular viewers will know that the issue of gun control has been a consistent and often very controversial part of this show.
And I want to say something more about that before I bow out.
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Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin To Topline Netflix Comedy Series From ‘Friends’ Alumna Marta Kauffman, Paula Weinstein & Skydance
By Nellie Andreeva – Former Nine To Five co-stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are reuniting on screen in Grace And Frankie, Netflix‘s next original series.
ABC Family Pilot ‘Alice In Arabia’ Not Going Forward After Pressure From Muslim Advocacy Group
By Nellie Andreeva – Four days after giving a pilot greenlight to drama Alice In Arabia, ABC Family is pulling the plug on the project about an American teenage girl kidnapped by her extended royal Saudi Arabian family and forced to live with them.
PILOT SEASON 2014: Network Casting Chiefs On This Season’s Biggest Challenges, Casting Coups & Fresh Faces
By Nellie Andreeva – Spring arrived yesterday, bringing the end of the annual two-month mad dash known as pilot casting season. Heading into pilot season this year, there was a lot of concern that the proliferation of original scripted programming on cable and digital platforms would put an additional strain on broadcast pilot casting, further depleting the talent pool.
Alfre Woodard To Play US President In NBC Pilot ‘State Of Affairs’
By Nellie Andreeva – Alfre Woodard is taking on a presidential turn opposite Katherine Heigl in NBC‘s drama pilot State Of Affairs.
USA Picks Up Medical Drama Pilots ‘Rush’ & Complications’ To Series, Confirms ‘White Collar’ Renewal
By Nellie Andreeva – Dr. Lawson, meet Dr. Rush and Dr. Ellis. USA Network has given 10-episode series orders to two medical dramas whose protagonists share DNA with the lead in Royal Pains, ER physician-turned-concierge doctor Hank Lawson.
Vanessa Aspillaga (Law & Order) is set for a guest recurring role on Starz‘s ballet drama Flesh And Bone. The series follows Claire (Sarah Hay), a young dancer with has a distinctly troubled past, as she joins a prestigious ballet company in New York. Aspillaga will play Monica, the company’s assistant manager, who is stable, extremely good at her job and at managing her boss. The actress, whose credits include Elementary, The Good Wife and CBS’ Untitled Jim Gaffigan pilot, is repped by Paradigm.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
Leah Renee (The Playboy Club) has booked a role in NBC‘s comedy pilot Mission Control, from exec producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Set in 1962, the workplace ensemble examines what happens when a strong woman (Krysten Ritter) butts heads with a macho astronaut (Tommy Dewey) in the race to land on the moon. Renee will play the Ritter character’s secretary Jessica, a bombshell who tries to get her boss to learn flirting to advance her career. Renee, who also has joined the cast of Lifetime’s telefilm Mr. Fiction, is repped by Intellectual Artists Management and Innovative Artists.
CBS this morning announced season finale dates, starting with the previously set one-hour series finale of long-running comedy series How I Met Your Mother on March 31, and ending with the two-hour season finale of Survivor on May 21 – which, unless some network blinks, looks to pit the Survivor finale against the finale of Fox’s American Idol , given that AI’s final performance night is expected to fall on May 20, and the season finale traditionally falls on the next night. Two CBS freshman comedies — Mom and The Crazy Ones — will air their season wrap-ups in April:
Monday, March 31
8-9 PM - How I Met Your Mother (One-Hour Series Finale)
10-11 PM – Intelligence
Monday, April 14
9:30-10 PM – Mom
Thursday, April 17
9:01-10:01 PM – The Crazy Ones (One-Hour Season Finale)
TV Land has given a pilot order to Teachers, a comedy based on the popular web series of the same name. Community co-star Alison Brie is attached to executive produce the project, which revolves around six elementary school teachers who are trying to mold the minds and lives of America’s youth, but they don’t really seem to have their own lives together at all. From making their class help them stalk exes online to altering a grade because the art teacher is “kind of a b****,” these teachers are certainly changing the world, one student at a time. (Watch a sizzle reel for the web series below.) The stars of the web series — Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien and Katie Thomas — aka The Katydids (their names are all variations of Katie) – are signed on to reprise their roles. “From the second this project came across my desk, I’ve been in love with it,” said TV Land president Larry W. Jones. “The tone of the show is unlike anything we’ve had on TV Land. I’m really excited about the idea of building this unexplored world, where teachers are the eccentric characters you always hoped they weren’t.”
Related: 2014 TV Land Pilots
Sony Pictures TV‘s breakout drama The Blacklist is looking to join the elite handful of series that have been sold into off-network syndication in their first season on the air. The studio is putting together a pitch to cable networks and broadcast stations and has begun running ads in preparation for taking the NBC series out to buyers, which has not started yet. The Blacklist is a successful new broadcast procedural drama, which has been a rare breed during the past five years as the networks have gravitated toward more serialized fare. It would also be a rare non-franchise drama to sell in syndication in its freshman year. The two recent dramas to sell that quickly were CBS TV Studios’ NCIS: LA — a spinoff from a proven off-network procedural, NCIS — which sold to USA seven weeks into its run, and Hawaii Five-0, also a recognizable title being a remake of a popular cop drama, which was sold to TNT in April of the series’ first season.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic
For the first time in a decade, the Peabody Awards has a TV home. Pivot, Participant Media’s TV network targeting millennials, has signed a deal to telecast the University of Georgia’s George Foster Peabody Awards through 2016, which marks the Peabody’s 75th anniversary. Broadcasting the awards, which honor excellence in TV, radio and webcasting, is challenging since winners traditionally are announced well in advance of the trophy ceremony. This year’s winners, for instance, will be announced April 2, but the medallions will be dispensed May 19 at a luncheon ceremony at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria. The 2014 Peabody Awards special, the two parties announced, will “blend highlights from the presentation ceremony with exclusive interviews with featured award winners. A date for that telecast was not announced.
CBS Renews 9 Drama Series, 5 Comedies, 2 Reality Shows For Next Season; No ‘Mentalist’, ‘Crazy Ones’ Or ‘Intelligence’
“With the addition of the NFL on Thursday night our schedule is pretty darn tight,” CBS’ CEO Les Moonves told investors this week, indicating the network planned to only add two new drama and two new comedy series for next season. Here is the proof of just how tight the network’s 2014-15 schedule is shaping up to be. As it does every year, in one fell swoop the network has renewed the bulk of its lineup. That includes nine drama series — flagship NCIS, NCIS: LA, Criminal Minds, Person Of Interest, Elementary, CSI, Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods and critical darling The Good Wife — and five comedies: 2 Broke Girls, freshman The Millers and the three Chuck Lorre series, veteran Two And A Half Men, Mike & Molly and freshman Mom. They join Lorre’s The Big Bang Theory, which was just given a big three-season pickup. On the reality side, The Amazing Race and Undercover Boss are being renewed, joining Survivor, which is set for a milestone 30th cycle next season, as well as newsmagazines 60 Minutes and 48 Hours. All in all, 20 programs.
Not picked up is The Mentalist, the veteran procedural’s first time not being among the early renewals. The long-running drama has been on the bubble and, unlike Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods or The Good Wife, whose ratings have been on par or lower, Mentalist is not owned by CBS, making off-network money for the company the way the other three shows do. But The Mentalist is a very important property for Warner Bros TV with a very lucrative syndication deal and strong international sales, so expect the studio to fight hard for a seventh-season renewal, especially after the post-Red John creative reboot of the show was deemed successful. (The Mentalist creator/showrunner Bruno Heller’s expected departure to run his new series, Gotham at Fox, is not expected to be a major factor in the decision-making.)
CBS Sets Summer Premiere Dates For ‘Big Brother’, ‘Unforgettable’ & ‘Reckless’, Pushes ‘Extant’ Debut By Week
CBS is mounting its most aggressive summer schedule with four original scripted dramas and three nights of Big Brother. As the network announced in January, last summer’s breakout Under The Dome will return for a second season on June 30, airing in its old Monday 10 PM slot. The new sci-fi drama series from Under The Dome executive producer Steven Spielberg, Extant, was originally slated to debut two days later, on July 2. That has now been pushed back a week to July 9 so the new series starring Halle Berry can get a longer promo push of its own, after Under The Dome has already premiered, including ads in three more Big Brother originals. CBS’ summer reality staple is back in its old Wednesday-Thursday-Sunday airing pattern beginning June 25. For years, Big Brother had launched after July 4. CBS was happy with the results from last summer’s move of the premiere date two weeks earlier and is sticking with the same early rollout this year. The reality veteran will be used to launch two new drama series, Extant on Wednesday and Reckless on Sundays. The soapy legal drama, originally picked up for midseason, has been pushed to summer, premiering on June 29. CBS’ only midseason drama slot available was the undesirable Friday 8 PM, so the network opted for a summer run instead. Unforgettable, which aired in the post-Big Brother Sunday slot last year, will shift an hour to 10 PM this summer. It’s probably too early to read much into the CBS summer repeat schedule (Friends With Better Lives has not even premiered yet) but still, encouraging news for the network’s Monday comedy block as of next month, with 2 Broke Girls, Friends With Better Lives, Mike & Molly and Mom all listed, along with the certain-to-be-renewed Big Bang Theory and The Millers on Thursday.
Here’s the network’s summer schedule:
VH1 is expanding its scripted portfolio with Hindsight, handing out a 10-episode series pickup to the hourlong scripted drama pilot from writer Emily Fox (Jane By Design) and Timberman-Beverly for a premiere in early 2015. The project, previously developed at NBC, marked the first scripted pilot order for VH1′s new head of development Susan Levison. Now it is her first scripted series pickup and a followup to the network’s first hourlong scripted series, the Queen Latifah-produced Single Ladies, and summer breakout Hit the Floor. The network most recently had scripted success with the highly rated TLC biopic and just greenlighted a Drumline sequel with Nick Cannon.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic
Hindsight, whose pilot was directed by Michael Trim, is set in 1990s New York and stars Laura Ramsey, Legend Of The Seeker‘s Craig Horner and Sarah Goldberg.