Monday saw a primetime mix of live shows, encores, finales, premieres and prayers for those in the path of the tornado in Oklahoma. On ABC, the last performance show of Dancing With The Stars (2.5/7) before tonight’s Season 16 results finale saw the final four couples strut their stuff once last time. DWTS certainly flexed some muscle as the show was up 25% from its series performance low tie of May 13. The most watched program of the night with 14.73 million viewers, the two-hour show was down 14% from its one-hour May 21, 2012 performance finale and dipped 7% from its last performance show of last season on November 26, 2012. Although the show was up from last week, it appeared last night like the total votes might be down. Online “technical difficulties” saw voting on ABC’s website temporarily suspended, forcing viewers to cast their ballots via text, Facebook and phone. The online voting was restored before the show was over and viewers were encouraged to hit the website to decided who gets the Mirrorball trophy. Afterward, new crime procedural Motive (1.4/4) did not benefit from its lead-in. The Canadian import was down sharply from the 2.2/6 of Castle’s season finale last week and down 30% from Scandal’s April 5, 2012 debut. ABC won the night in total viewers and in adults 18-49.
CBS 2013-14 Schedule: Thursday Comedy Block Expanded To Two Hours, ‘Person Of Interest’ To Tuesday, ‘Hawaii’ To Friday
UPDATED: CBS‘ fall schedule features five new series. After considering expanding its Thursday comedy block to two hours last years, the network did it this year, with The Big Bang Theory and Two A Half Men flanking newbies The Millers starring Will Arnett and The Crazy Ones starring Robin Williams. Missing from the fall schedule is Mike & Molly, which has a 22-episode order, and new series Friends With Better Lives (comedy) and Reckless (drama) on tap for midseason. Here is CBS’ fall schedule, followed by analysis and show descriptions:
CBS FALL 2013-2014 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; NT=New Time)
8-8:30 PM – How I Met Your Mother
8:30-9 PM – WE ARE MEN
9-9:30 PM – 2 Broke Girls
9:30-10 PM – MOM
10-11 PM – HOSTAGES / INTELLIGENCE (Midseason)
8-9 PM – NCIS
9-10 PM – NCIS: Los Angeles
10-11 PM – Person Of Interest (NT)
8-9 PM – Survivor
9-10 PM – Criminal Minds
10-11 – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
8-8:30 PM – The Big Bang Theory
8:30-9 PM – THE MILLERS
9-9:30 PM – THE CRAZY ONES
9:30-10 PM – Two And A Half Men (NT)
10-11 PM – Elementary
8-9 PM – Undercover Boss
9-10 PM – Hawaii Five-0 (NT)
10-11 PM – Blue Bloods
8-8:30 PM – COMEDYTIME SATURDAY
8:30-9 PM – COMEDYTIME SATURDAY
9-10 PM – Crimetime Saturday
10-11 PM – 48 Hours
7-8 PM – 60 Minutes
8-9 PM – The Amazing Race
9-10 PM – The Good Wife
10-11 PM – The Mentalist
EXCLUSIVE: A month after CBS Corp acquired 50% of TV Guide, the company that encompasses TVGN (formerly TV Guide Network) and TVGuide.com, I hear CBS is in the process of taking full ownership of TVGuide.com. CBS has been in a 50-50 partnership with Lionsgate on TV Guide since buying the stake previously owned by One Equity Partners for about $100 million in late March. I’ve learned that CBS is in negotiations with Lionsgate about acquiring its half of TVGuide.com. The website had been valued at about $20 million, and I hear CBS is paying a little shy of $10 million for Lionsgate’s half of the Web property. I hear DirecTV had been in exclusive negotiations to acquire TVGuide.com, but the talks did not result in a deal. CBS then decided to step in and incorporate TVGuide.com into its CBS Interactive division, which includes the similar-focused TV.com as well as CNET, CBS.com, CBSSports.com, GameSpot, BNET and Last.fm.
It’s pilot screening week, with the networks’ executives huddled in rooms watching the fruits of their development teams’ labor. The networks are still going through the process, with testing results just starting to pour in, but here is the latest pilot buzz I’ve compiled from various sources around town.
NBC had the breakout new drama of last fall, Revolution, and now the network has what could be the strongest drama pilot this season with Blacklist. I hear Blacklist and Crisis (aka untitled Rand Ravich) are considered front-runners on the drama side at NBC, buoyed by very strong testing. In fact Blacklist might be the highest-testing drama pilot at NBC in about a decade, and I also hear the male lead played by James Spader is one of the highest-testing characters ever for producing studio Sony TV. Also in the running are the J.J. Abrams-produced Believe; TV star vehicles Ironside, with Blair Underwood, and I Am Victor, with John Stamos; as well as medical drama Night Shift (aka After Hours). Also possibilities are late deliveries The Sixth Gun and the Chicago Fire spinoff.
It’s pilot screening time. CBS just started viewing its pilots, with the other networks slated to follow over the next few days. Feedback from the screenings and extensive focus group testing inform the networks’ series pickup decisions and are capable of catapulting a pilot from an also-run to frontrunner status overnight, as it happened with CBS’ Blue Bloods three years ago. Here is what I hear as of this weekend, with information still missing on a few late pilots.
Drama Lucky 7 may live up to its name. The blue-collar ensemble about gas station employees who win the lottery seemed a little off brand for ABC and its glitzy dramas. But I hear the project based on a British format, which hadn’t drawn much attention, came in above expectations, making it a contender in what’s shaping to be a very tight race. It’s tight because two slots have already been penciled in for Marvel‘s S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Once Upon A Time spinoff, whose early footage I hear ABC brass liked. Also boosted by corporate synergy is major contender Big Thunder, based on the Disney ride. Word is ABC may choose one of its two soapy pilots, Westside and Betrayal, with Westside having the edge at the moment. (However, Betrayal‘s David Zabel has two irons in the fire as he is also behind Lucky 7.) The gothic soap Gothica has cooled off a bit while high-concept The Returned, about deceased coming back to life as their old selves, is heating up after another great pilot directing performance by Charles McDougall who, in his typical fashion went over on filming days (by 4 I hear) but delivered a strong pilot. Among the character procedurals, Murder In Manhattan, Doubt, Killer Women and Influence all seem in the mix.
3RD UPDATE, 3:40 PM: Psy is the only act to get 1 billion hits on YouTube with his “Gangnam Style” video, and his follow-up video “Gentleman” is already past 232M views. He has been tapped to join CBS News’ table at tomorrow’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner alongside the likes of Homeland‘s Claire Danes and her husband, Hannibal‘s Hugh Dancy.
2ND UPDATE, 8:10 AM: One day before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Fox News Channel has said who from Hollywood it is bringing to the event — and it’s a big list. While Greta Van Susteren is passing on this year’s dinner, Fox News stars Bill O’Reilly, Chris Wallace, Geraldo Rivera and Bret Baier will be in attendance, as will the likes of Oscar-winner screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and a contingent from sister studio Fox’s latest X-Men movie: director Bryan Singer and producer-writer Simon Kinberg. See who will be sitting at FNC’s 14 tables below. Also check back for more last-minute additions as we head into the final hours before Saturday’s dinner.
UPDATE, THURSDAY PM: TV comedy king Chuck Lorre will be making his first White House Correspondents’ Dinner appearance this year while waiting for series-pickup news for his hot CBS pilot Mom. Lorre, who is behind the CBS series The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men and Mike & Molly, will be sitting with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
Related: Conan O’Brien Tweets Pic From DC
PREVIOUSLY: Hollywood is again the guest everyone seems to want at their table for this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Returning headliner Conan O’Brien is set to take up the court-jester role that Jimmy Kimmel played last year and news organizations have begun to reveal guest lists for the April 27 event. There’s a lot of Tinseltown glitter already set alongside generals and top-tier cabinet secretaries — as well as power players like Harvey Weinstein. We know President Obama and the first lady will be there; here’s who else we know is going from Hollywood so far:
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
The Voice came at a good time for NBC. One of the few shows keeping the lights on at the network, it replaced coaches Christina Aguilera and Ceelo Green with Usher and Shakira without missing a beat. Just last week, it achieved its highest ratings since March 2012. Coach Adam Levine said at today’s NBC Summer Press Day closing panel he was happy rather than relieved that the chemistry brought by the new judges has proven so effective. “It’s a different chemistry than before,” Levine added, “but it’s there.” Added coach Blake Shelton: “One thing that you can’t fake is chemistry. And I’ll be damned if it isn’t as strong as it’s ever been with the four of us.” Someone asked what the formula is these days for “kicking ‘American Idol’s’ ass. Exec producer Mark Burnett stressed that he thinks it’s because The Voice has “been claimed by young America. It’s young America’s show. Everyone knows it’s fresh, it’s now, it’s authentic, it’s real. And everyone is just being themselves and having fun, and that comes across on the screen.”
We’re about a week from starting to get more definitive feedback on this year’s pilots when the networks start screening them. That is probably my favorite part of pilot season, when dark horses and underdogs that had stayed largely under the radar suddenly race to the front of the pack. Until then, here are how pilots stack up now based on inherently subjective intel.
Chuck Lorre’s Mom stamped its ticket to the fall schedule with a very well received taping on Friday night, so there goes the assured multi-camera CBS slot for next season, likely Mondays 8:30 PM. The Robin Williams starrer Crazy Ones looks pretty solid on the single-camera side. If CBS decides to go with multiple new multi-camera series, Friends With Better Lives and the untitled Greg Garcia project appear particularly strong (It is still early on the Tad Quill pilot starring Matthew Broderick). On the single-camera side, The McCarthys has buzz, with Ex-Men, Bad Teacher, Super Clyde and Rottenberg/Zuritsky also in the mix.
On the drama side, Beverly Hills Cop is entering the screening stage as a frontrunner. Hostages also looks strong, possibly for midseason given its serialized nature. The in-house CBS contenders include the NCIS: LA spinoff, The Surgeon General and The Ordained, while Intelligence is led by the type of hunky actor, Josh Holloway, CBS brass love. (Alex O’Loughlin anyone?) Wild cards include Hart Hanson’s Backstrom.
EXCLUSIVE: Jean Smart has become a late addition to NBC‘s untitled Craig Robinson comedy pilot. She replaces Jane Adams who exited after the table read last week. The single-camera comedy is executive produced by Greg Daniels and Owen Ellickson, who wrote the script. It centers on a rough-edged musician Craig (Robinson) who’s adjusting to his new life as a music teacher in a big-city middle school where he encounters teacher politics and the temptations of single moms. Smart will play Jeannette, an erratic, stressed-out junior high principal who’s constantly in damage control mode. Multiple Emmy-winner Smart, repped by WME and Untitled, recently recurred on Hawaii Five-O and Harry’s Law.
Relax, Android and Windows 8 users: CBS says you’ll get a similar smartphone and tablet app later this year. But Apple customers will be first to take advantage of the program which handles streamed full episodes of certain CBS shows, and so-called “second screen” features for people who are watching conventional live TV. The network says that its daytime and late night shows will be available within 24 hours after they air, and most primetime shows will be up after eight days. “We have been methodically and strategically finding new ways to satiate the appetite for our content on new platforms, while tapping into the tremendous revenue provided by doing so,” CBS chief Les Moonves says. “Our announcement today achieves both of these objectives, while protecting our very healthy current ecosystem.” By this fall’s TV season the new app will integrate features from the current CBS Connect App.