Things we know – the Olympics are long done, the Oscars have come and gone and awards season is over (for now) and ABC dominates Fridays. However, even though the network won the night among adults 18-49 with a 1.6/6 rating, ABC still stumbled a bit compared to last week – both down from its season demo high and with individual shows. With pitches for bicycle lighting and one for the baby knee pads Shark Tank (2.0/7) easily led the night as the highest rated show. With a 5% dip from its February 28 show, the entrepreneurial reality series basically stayed steady with last week. Though with 7.49 million watching it was down from its second best viewership result ever of 7.7 million from last week. Among the rest of ABC’s night, the only show to stay total even with last week was 20/20 (1.8/6) Comedies Last Man Standing (1.3/5) and The Neighbors (0.9/3) were up 8% and down 10% respectively from their February 28 shows.
Amazon.com today announced a licensing deal with BBC Worldwide North America that will make Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-only subscription home for streaming Season One and future seasons of the dramatic thriller Orphan Black. The series returns to BBC America on Saturday, April 19, at 9 PM EST. Prime Instant Video is the exclusive online-only subscription home for PBS series Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, FX drama The Americans, CBS summer series Under The Dome and later this summer, Extant, among other programs that include Veronica Mars, Justified, Falling Skies, Grimm, Workaholics, Suits, Covert Affairs, etc., as well as Amazon’s first original series Alpha House and Betas.
Fox recently cleared some prime summer 2015 real estate for its reboot of Marvel’s Fantastic Four, now it appears to have its actors. After a long search — Chronicle‘s Josh Trank was announced as the director at the 2012 Comic-Con — Fruitvale Station breakout Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller (Divergent), Kate Mara (Transcendence) and Jamie Bell (Nymphomaniac) are working on deals to star as the ’60s-spawned superhero quartet. The deals aren’t in cement yet, but Jordan and Bell look pretty solid. The roles as they stand would be Jordan as Johnny Storm (aka the Human Torch), Teller as Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Mara as Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman) and Bell as Ben Grimm (the Thing). The latest script is from X-Men: Days of Future Past scribe Simon Kinberg.
NBC’s ‘Chicago Fire’, ‘Parks & Rec’, ‘Grimm’ And ‘Parenthood’ Go Digital To Keep Fans Engaged During Games
NBC announced today it will offer digital series for four of its primetime series; Chicago Fire, Parks And Recreation, Grimm, and Parenthood to keep fans focused in February while Olympics take over NBC’s primetime. All digital series will be streamed on NBC.com, Hulu and YouTube.
From today’s announcement:
UPDATE: Congressman Apologizes For Threatening To Throw TV Reporter Off Balcony After State Of The Union (Video)
UPDATE, 9:40 AM: New York Rep. Michael Grimm told a gaggle of reporters outside his office this morning he expects his mother to remind him he was not raised to threaten to throw reporters off of balconies. and that he’s scheduled a lunch with the NY1 reporter to whom he made the offer, Meanwhile, NY1 reporter Michael Scotto tweeted he’s accepted Grimm’s apology.
PREVIOUS, 7:53 AM: Time Warner Cable landed one of the biggest scoops of the State of the Union address last night, when a congressman offered to throw one of its reporters off the balcony in the hall, and/or break him in two, during a post-address interview (see video below). It’s believed to be a State of the Union Address first and understandably is the subject of some talk on the morning news show circuit today. “He did seem angry, he seemed angrier than I have ever seen a politician talk to a reporter about a question that he or she didn’t like,” NY1 reporter Michael Scotto reminisced this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“He” is New York Rep. Michael Grimm, whose campaign finance issues have been of interest to some news outlets of late — the FBI arrested his fundraiser Diana Durand earlier this month, according to published reports. Scotto told various TV news outlets this morning that Grimm has been dodging the media but, after President Obama’s speech last night, he agreed to give Scotto an interview — at the end of which Scotto tried to ask him about allegations about his campaign finances. Grimm can be seen telling Scotto he won’t discuss anything but the POTUS speech and the stalking off. Scotto may have pitched it a little too strong to his viewers when he wrapped up with: “Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances, we wanted to get him on camera on that, but he, as you saw, refused to talk about that. Back to you.”
The success on other nights this fall has made NBC‘s ratings struggles on Thursday even more glaring. “Thursday night is a real challenge for us, something that we’re well aware of as we head into pilot season and start to think about the fall schedule next year,” NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt said at TCA today. “Comedy has proven to be very difficult for us.” No kidding. This past Thursday, The Michael J. Fox Show hit a series low of 0.6 rating in 18-49, a number a show rarely logs and lives to see another airing. ”We’re, obviously, not happy about a .6 for any show and especially for Michael J. Fox,” Greenblatt said. “We like that show. We like Sean Hayes’ show a lot. Creatively, we think they’re good shows, and we’re really unhappy that we can’t find an audience for them in those time periods. So we’re going to still work hard to see what we can do on Thursday nights. It is a real, real uphill battle.”
Greenblatt’s initial assessment of Michael J. Fox Show‘s renewal chances was pretty grim: “Obviously, we have to see how it plays out for the next few months and then get in the scheduling room and make some hard decisions. It’s not anywhere near where we’d like it to be.” He got more optimistic as the session went on. “I’d love to figure out a way to bring it back,” he said. “We may move it around the schedule a little bit.”
UPDATED: NBC at the upfronts established a genre block on Friday from 9-11 PM with Grimm at 9 PM and Dracula, to be followed by pirate drama Crossbones in midseason. The network is keeping the block’s theme, but has now slotted Hannibal to succeed Dracula in the 10 PM time slot in midseason. (Hannibal’s first season aired on Thursday.) The 13-episode second season of Hannibal will debut after the Winter Olympics on February 28. There is no scheduling decision yet on Crossbones. From creator Bryan Fuller, Hannibal stars Mads Mikkelsen as brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lector, who is working with the FBI and gifted criminal profiler Will Graham, played by Hugh Dancy, to look into the mind of serial killers.
NBC‘s Celebrity Apprentice star Donald Trump, America’s greatest living political tease, appeared on Fox News’ Fox & Friends this morning to say, “I’ll make a decision at some time pretty soon” in re whether he will run for governor of New York. That news comes a couple weeks after a group of GOP politicos met with Trump to discuss the possibility of his taking on Gov. Andrew Cuomo next year. In press reports before the meeting, Trump’s EVP Michael Cohen had said Trump had already stated on several occasions that he’s not interested in running for governor of New York. After the meeting, Cohen told Daily News “We had a very interesting meeting and Mr. Trump has agreed to meet with them again at a later date.”
For years now Trump has been savvily mulling a race for governor or POTUS, generating pots of publicity for his various businesses, including the business of co-owning/starring in Celebrity Apprentice and Miss Universe Pageant – both on NBC. “I will not be running for president — See you for a great season!” Trump famously announced in May 2011, turning NBC’s unveiling of its new primetime schedule into a political news conference and demoting NBC’s pitch to advertisers about new dramas The Playboy Club, Prime Suspect and Grimm, and comedies Up All Night, Free Agents and Whitney to BTW status in media coverage of the presentation.
NBC’s Robert Greenblatt On ‘The Sound Of Music’s Profitability & Follow-up Plans, Midseason Expectations & Thursday Woes
The surprising success of The Sound Of Music helped NBC hit a milestone last week, winning six of the seven nights in adults 18-49 for the first time in 11 years in-season with no help from Winter Olympics. A follow-up live musical for next year’s holiday season with Sound Of Music executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron is already in the works, with the title choices narrowed down to three, according to NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt. Rights issues are currently being sorted out, with the network and the producers expected to make their selection after the first of the year. Not surprisingly, stagings and other live entertainment events are all the rage right now, with everyone looking to jump in. But don’t expect those to start popping up often. “I’d love to do more but it is not that easy to put them together,” Greenblatt said. They’re also expensive; The Sound Of Music staging reportedly cost just under $10 million. But when they hit it big, it does pay off.
“The Sounds Of Music will be profitable with modest return from the DVD,” which is about to be released, Greenblatt said. Because the ratings blew out expectations — NBC had been projecting internally mid-1 demo rating, with 2 considered overly optimistic, and instead, the musical drew a 4.6 in Live+Same Day — “the advertising revenue alone was enough to push the show to where we wanted it to be (financially),” Greenblatt said. The Sound of Music is getting an encore tomorrow night. Also, “we own it, and if we run it once a year for the next few years, even at a modest rating as an annual special it adds up to a nice little business,” he said. Still, “we have to do these specials more efficiently,” Greenblatt admitted, noting that the budget for the next one likely would not be as big because it won’t need the R&D costs associated with doing such a live musical production for the first time in 60 years. Also helping with containing the cost on the marketing side — NBC parent NBCUniversal. Greenblatt stressed that NBC spent “very little or no money on off-air promotion” for The Sound of Music, instead of relying on promotion across all divisions of NBCU as part of the company’s so-called “symphony” synergy initiative.
For a second year in a row, NBC is heading into the new year as the ratings leader year after a strong fall, fueled by Sunday Night Football and The Voice, with some help from new shows (Revolution last year, The Blacklist this fall). Last December, Greenblatt was careful about managing expectations, warning that the network won’t sustain the ratings momentum in January. That was an understatement as the wheels really came off in early 2013. Greenblatt is far more optimistic this time around, and that’s not only because NBC has the Winter Olympics coming up in February. “I think we’re in better shape than before,” he said, pointing to The Blacklist, which has held up better than Revolution did last fall; Chicago Fire, which has grown in Season 2 with help from The Voice; and Grimm, which is still solid.
EXCLUSIVE: NBC is developing a contender for it Friday supernatural block anchored by Grimm, which is currently paired with Dracula. It hails from Dracula executive producer/head writer Daniel Knauf and is based on Universal Pictures’ Scott Stuber-produced 2010 feature The Wolfman starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, which in turn was a remake of the 1941 movie. The WolfMan is one of two projects Knauf has at NBC, along with a supernatural telenovela produced by Electus that is part of the company’s 3-for-1 telenovela deal at NBC, intended to result in a 13-episode order.
The WolfMan, produced by Universal Pictures sibling Universal TV and Stuber’s studio-based Bluegrass Films & TV, is described as a supernatural thriller that explores what it means to be a man and to be human. It centers on Lawrence Talbot, who is afflicted by an ancient curse and jacks into the powerful, primordial soul of the alpha-predator (watch the trailer for the 2010 movie below). Knauf is writing and executive producing with Stuber and Quan Phung. Bluegrass also has a comedy at NBC with writer Will Calhoun.
The untitled telenovela is an original concept that chronicles the ruthless supernatural machinations of the six governesses of an exclusive Hancock Park women’s club, the true powers behind every throne in The City of Angels. Knauf is writing and will exec produce with Electus’ Ben Silverman and Jimmy …
Global Showbiz Briefs: BT Nets NBA Games; Comedy Central Has New Overseas Projects; Salman Khan; BAFTA; More
BT Sport Scores NBA Games In Multi-Year Deal
Britain’s aggressive BT Sport has closed a multi-year, multi-platform deal with the NBA for up to 200 games a season including regular and playoff action. Although BT has been facing off with rival Sky, which previously had the NBA games under a short-term deal, I understand the News Corp-controlled company did not bid on rights for the coming basketball seasons. BT will broadcast up to seven live games per week in the UK and Ireland starting with the Pacers at the Clippers on December 1st. Sunday games will air in UK primetime. Also included in the partnership will be several magazine shows like NBA Action, NBA Inside Stuff, NBA Tonight and NBA Countdown, while some games will stream live online.