Cannes: Lineup Has Few Surprises, Big Canadian Presence & Lots Of Female Helmers

Cannes Lineup Announcement 2014Canadian, French and European helmers dominate the Competition roster for the 67th Cannes Film Festival. And, in what could be a record, there are 15 female directors across the entire Official Selection which was unveiled this morning in Paris. In total, 50 movies out of 1,800 submissions make up the Official Selection that encompasses the Competition, Un Certain Regard and the special screenings sections. Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week are announced next week. Many of the titles revealed today had been tipped, and there were no major surprises. But, as is Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux‘s habit, more films may be added before Grace Of Monaco kicks off the Riviera proceedings May 14.

Related: Cannes: 67th Cannes Film Festival Lineup Unveiled

the homesman1Two movies that were highly anticipated from U.S. directors are in the mix: Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman and Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. Occupying the big Hollywood slot, DreamWorks Animation, as expected, will premiere How To Train Your Dragon 2 Out Of Competition. Frémaux, who first programmed DWA’s Shrek in Competition in 2001, said having the Dragon sequel in town was a way to “celebrate 20 years of DreamWorks” and a way “for us to thank them for the films they’ve given us over the years.”

Some movies that looked like long-shot possibilities welcome to new yorkcoming in were indeed left out. There was no mention of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice today, despite what we’ve heard was a full-court press by Frémaux. He noted that neither Terrence Malick (with Knight Of Cups) nor Emir Kusturica (with On The Milky Road) were ready. When asked what had become of Abel Ferrara’s Welcome To New York, the controversial film inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Khan scandal and starring Gérard Depardieu, he said tradition held that we “only talk about the films that we’re showing, so I’m not going to talk about Ferrara’s film.” However, scuttlebutt in the UGC Normandie theater this morning was that the film may be a late addition to the Out Of Competition lineup.

Related: Cannes: Official Selection Buzz Sharpens Ahead Of Thursday’s Reveal

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FilmLA: Feature Production Surges In Q1 2014 While TV Sitcoms Fall

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 12:07pm PDT

Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - April 01, 2014It isn’t the golden days of the 1990s, but FilmLA. reports today that feature film production is on the rise in Los Angeles while TV production slipped from last year. A Q1 2014 report released today by the nonprofit permitting group said on-location feature production in LA County jumped 24.2% over Q1 2013 and that the category had a big leap of 39.4% over its five-year quarterly average. Despite the small number of tentpole pics made in California and the lure of hefty incentives in other states like Louisiana and NY as well as Canada and the UK, the latest results build on similar advances in past quarters and shows increasing traction from the all-time lows of 2009.

Related: Bring Blockbusters Back to California With Increased Film Incentives, Says FilmLA

imgres-12__130108220458__130410052538It is no coincidence that 2009 was also the same year California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program was first introduced. With overall production steady with Q1 2013 and  legislation presently moving ahead in Sacramento to expand and evolve the program, FilmLA today praised California’s incentives as helping to stem the tsunami of exiting production. “This quarter’s report hints at what would be possible if California were to truly step up and compete for new film projects and jobs,” said the organization’s President Paul Audley in a statement. “Just imagine where we could be five years from now if current efforts to expand the state’s incentive program are successful.”

Related: New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill Unanimously Passes First Hurdle In Sacramento

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Cannes: Official Selection Buzz Sharpens (& Sprawls) Ahead Of Thursday’s Reveal

22x30_Cannes2014On Thursday, Thierry Frémaux will unveil the lineup for the 67th running of the Cannes Film Festival. Speculation, comme d’habitude, has been rife for at least the past month as to which titles may make the trip to the Croisette. While one exec with movies in contention says, “It’s going to the wire this year,” some contenders are coming into sharper focus. Although nothing is confirmed until Frémaux says so, among the titles I hear consistently cited as near faits-accomplis are DreamWorks Animation‘s How To Train Your Dragon 2; the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night with Marion Cotillard; Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher; Mike Leigh‘s Mr Turner; Tommy Lee JonesThe Homesman; and David Cronenberg‘s Maps To The Stars. There are many, many more required to fill the Competition, Out-of-Competition, Un Certain Regard, Special Screenings and other sections. Here’s a primer for what’s looking likely, and what isn’t, to make the cut in an official category on Thursday:

Related: Cannes: 67th Fest Poster Celebrates Marcello Mastroianni In Fellini’s ‘8 1/2’

We know that Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco is the opening-night film. French distributor grace of monacoGaumont is planning a classic Cannes soirée which will follow the official screening and dinner on May 14. In other certainties, French debut feature Party Girl is opening the Un Certain Regard sidebar; a less showy title than 2013’s Bling Ring, but one that fits with UCR jury president Pablo Trapero’s take on the section this year. Jane Campion, the only woman ever to win a Palme d’Or (for The Piano in 1993), is president of the Competition jury whose other members will be revealed shortly.

how-to-train-your-dragonAmong the high-profile Hollywood titles expected is DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon sequel, which I hear is getting a special screening. The studio isn’t commenting, but DWA and Cannes have a long history – going back to when Frémaux took over the selection in 2001 and caused a stir by putting Shrek in the Competition. We’ve heard that Frémaux has put a full-court press on Paul Thomas Anderson to get Inherent Vice (Warner Bros) to the festival. But with a release date at the end of 2014, this could be a long shot, and some I’ve spoken with believe it won’t be ready for next month. Some wonder if Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys jersey boyscould make the trip. Eastwood has been to Cannes several times before and is esteemed by Frémaux who gave him the inaugural Lumière Prize in 2009 at the October festival he oversees in Lyon with Bertrand Tavernier. Although I’m told Jersey Boys isn’t a typical Cannes film, I wouldn’t fully rule it out — it’s also got a timely June release. Read More »

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Patric Verrone’s Campaign E-Mailers To WGA Members Raise Questions

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 8:31am PDT

verroneEXCLUSIVE: Thousands of emails sent to Writers Guild members from former WGA President Patric Verrone soliciting donations for his run for a seat in the California state senate are raising questions about how he got those email addresses and about the ethics of using his years of service to the guild to acquire them. Verrone, who led the guild in a contentious 14-week strike six years ago, is in a tight primary race to represent California’s 26th senatorial district. Numerous guild members report that they have received emails from Verrone soliciting donations and giving updates on his campaign. The WGA says it didn’t supply Verrone with a mailing list.

Related: Patric Verrone Eyeing California State Senate Seat With ‘I Won The Strike’ Boast

wgaw“We have had some members ask about this and we have made it clear that we have not provided him with a mailing list,” said WGA spokesman Neal Sacharow. “Outside of official guild business, we allow use of our list in two instances. As required by federal law, guild members may use the list in connection with internal union election campaigns. We also make the list available during awards season to studios, networks and certain publications for the purpose of mailing screeners or other awards-related communications. In both of those situations, we do not provide the list itself but rather, arrange for the mailing through a guild-approved mail house.”

Verrone told Deadline that he sent his campaign emails to “a couple of thousand” WGA members. Asked if a “couple of thousand” is two or three thousand, he said, “between two and three thousand.” He also acknowledged that he came by those email addresses in the course of his service to the guild. pv“I was president and secretary-treasurer and a board member for all those years,” he said. “I communicated with hundreds of members and they communicated with me. I have their email addresses. I didn’t get anything from the Writers Guild.” Read More »

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Draws 6.3 Million Viewers To Shocker; ‘Silicon Valley’ & ‘Veep’ Steady

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 12:05pm PDT

hbo45__130924185923-275x112HBO‘s Game Of Thrones on Sunday drew 6.3 million viewers at 9 PM, a 48% gain in comparison to last season’s second episode. Last night’s installment, which features yet another shock surprise (we won’t tell you about that in this post — but you can read about it here) that the series is becoming known for, Game-of-Thrones__140319040101-275x407added another 1.7 million across a pair replays later in the night, bringing the viewer tally to 8 million viewers. Those totals are steady with last week’s Season 4 premiere, which garnered a record-breaking 6.6 million viewers – not only was the most watched GoT episode ever but the second-best result HBO has seen since the 11.9 million who watched the series finale of The Sopranos in 2007.

Related:
 ‘Game Of Thrones’ Director Talks Shocking Episode, Teases Season 4 Finale
Spoiler Alert: Was ‘Game Of Thrones’ TV’s Best Offing Ever?

In its second week, the Mike Judge comedy Silicon Valley last night averaged 1.7  million viewers at 10 PM and 2.2. million viewers including replays. It bowed last week with an average of 2 million viewers, the best debut HBO for a half-hour at the network since 2.8 million watched the Hung premiere in 2009.  Veep starring Julia Louis-Drefus followed at 10:30 last night also with its second episode, drawing 860,000 … Read More »

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Dominique McElligott To Star In ABC’s ‘The Astronaut Wives Club’

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 10:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ncelligottHell On Wheels alumna Dominique McElligott is set for a starring role in ABC’s 10-episode drama series The Astronaut Wives Club, from Fake Empire, Groundswell Productions and ABC Studios. Written by Stephanie Savage based on Lily Koppel’s non-fiction book and directed by Nick Cassavetes, it tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. CAA-repped McElligott will play Louise Shepard, a real life “Sabrina” whose father was the head of maintenance at the Duponts’ Longwood Gardens estate. She struggles to uphold her “perfect” image and her complicated marriage once her husband Alan becomes the first American in space. Louise and Alan had one of the few marriages that survived the space program, staying together for 53 years. Originally scheduled to launch this summer, the series was recently pushed to midseason as its scope has been expanded from covering only the wives of the astronauts from the Mercury missions to also including the Gemini and Apollo missions, which also are profiled in the book.

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Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin Exits To Become CEO Of Atlanta Hawks

By | Sunday April 13, 2014 @ 4:08pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

kooninAfter 14 years as Turner Broadcasting, Tuner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin is leaving for what he describes as a dream job, to become CEO of NBA team Atlanta Hawks. A native Atlantan, Koonin has spent his career so far holding top positions at two blue-chip Atlanta-based companies, Coca-Cola and Turner, spending 14 years at each. He now plans to finish his career in his hometown with the post at Atlanta Hawks. The gig stemmed from conversations he recently had with the sports organization about coming in as an investor which grew into Koonin joining as CEO and Part-Owner. Koonin has had a 28-year association with the NBA, including his stint at TEN, whose network TNT carries the league’s games.

Koonin’s departure comes a month before TEN’s upfront presentation where he has been a staple. (Who can forget his memorable improv when the network’s video system temporarily shut down three years ago). In a memo, Turner Broadcasting Systems president David Levy said a search for Koonin’s replacement will start right away with both internal and external candidates expected to be considered. He indicated that the company would use the changeover at the top to bring in “fresh eyes” for evaluating TEN’s positioning in a rapidly changing media landscape. The process needs to be relatively quick so the networks have a leadership in place for the important upfront buying process when advertisers make the bulk of their commitments for the next year.

Koonin joined Turner in February 2000 as a head of TNT, eventually taking over the entire entertainment division, which also includes TBS, TruTV and TCM. He led both TNT and TBS into original scripted programming and spearheaded their rebrands with slogans “We Know Drama” (TNT) and “Very Funny” (TBS). He leaves the division in good shape. TNT traditionally has commanded the highest ad prices in basic cable and has produced a string of major hits in the past decade with The Closer, spinoff Major Crimes and Rizzoli & Isles, while TBS has been running high with off-network Big Bang Theory. TruTV is going through some rough times, with Koonin last year tapping MTV’s Chris Linn to lead a turnaround. Here is Koonin’s internal memo announcing the departure, in which he quotes Green Day’s Time Of  Your Life, as well as the memo by Levy:

Steve Koonin:

I set my guiding principle as a very young man that living in Atlanta, the home of my family and friends for multiple generations, was the key for lifetime happiness. For the past 28 years, I have been able to live and work in a senior leadership role in my hometown for two fantastic companies. I was very lucky to be a part of Coca-Cola’s incredible global growth in the 80′s and 90′s.

In February 2000, I walked into Turner Broadcasting after being invited to run TNT. I was 42 years old, had a full head of brown hair and dreams of taking the consumer lessons I learned from Coca-Cola and apply them to TV. I am truly gratified in saying that TNT, TBS, TCM and truTV have become familiar and beloved brands to TV viewers all over the USA.

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PILOTS 2014: Early Buzz Edition

By | Saturday April 12, 2014 @ 1:52pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

panic-buttonWith less than a month until the upfronts, we’re kicking off our annual Pilot Buzz series. As usual, the first edition only includes a limited number of projects that have been garnering early attention as many pilots are still filming. So, if a pilot is not mentioned, it probably means it is too early to weigh in or the feedback I’ve received is inconclusive at this time.

ABC_logo_2007Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis. Need we say more? ABC’s sexy suspense legal thriller How To Get Away With Murder, executive produced by Rhimes and starring Davis, is packing some heat early on. Secret & Lies starring Ryan Phillippe also is getting encouraging early response. It also has a seven-figure penalty and is directed by Charles McDougall, whose strong pilot record includes Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and most recently, Resurrection last season. Then there is Marvel’s stealth Agent Carter project. Last year, the company went into Fort Knox mode on its Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, which was kept under lock and key. They took that a notch further this year with carterAgent Carter. Because there is a prototype — the project is inspired by a one shot, which was featured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3word has been that it would forgo a pilot and go straight to series. The script was finished more than three months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star Hayley Atwell came up and was extended, but the green light never came. Now there is talk that a pickup for Agent Carter may come along with a renewal for Marvel’s freshman Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the new series possibly serving as a bridge between the fall and spring portions of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Also getting various level of early traction at ABC is mystery Sea of Fire and several dark horses, alien drama The Whispers (aka The Visitors), medical drama The Warriors and mystery Clementine. Read More »

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Leonard Roberts Joins VH1′s ‘Drumline’ Sequel; Amazon’s ‘Cosmopolitan’ Recasts Role

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 6:16pm PDT

Leonard Roberts has been castleonardroberts in VH1‘s Drumline 2: A New Beat, co-written by Karen Gist and Regina Hicks. The sequel to the 2002 feature Drumline feature focuses on a new set of characters at a fictional New Orleans university. The story follows Danielle (Dani) Bolton, an upper-class Brooklyn girl who defies her parents in order to attend a college in Louisiana so she can join – and revitalize – their once-prominent drumline. Roberts will reprise his role of Sean Taylor from the 2002 pic. Fox TV Studios is co-financing and looking at the project as a possible back-door pilot. Leonard, repped by Greene & Associates and Evolution Entertainment, can be seen in upcoming features Any Day and My Favorite Five.

Related: 2014 Amazon Studios Pilots
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UPDATE: TCM Expands Its Tribute To Mickey Rooney

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 3:45pm PDT

O'BRien RooneyUPDATED, 3:45 PM:Turner Classic Movies is expanding its salute to the legendary actor, who died Sunday at 93. The cable channel has announced a “multi-tiered” tribute to Mickey Rooney that includes adding an April 13 screening of his National Velvet — the 1944 hit that made Elizabeth Taylor a star — at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. The 9 AM screening at the TCL Chinese Multiplex will be followed by a conversation with Rooney’s longtime friend Margaret O’Brien, an Oscar winner for Meet Me In St. Louis. The TCM festival starts tonight and runs through Sunday. Watch TCM’s brief montage of Rooney’s movies below.

Related: A Mickey Rooney Appreciation From Pete Hammond

Mickey_Rooney_in_Babes_in_Arms_trailerPREVIOUSLY: Turner Classic Movies will honor Mickey Rooney with a 13-film marathon on Sunday, April 13.  Rooney died Sunday at age 93 with more than 300 credits to his name and two honorary Oscars, becoming a household name with the dozen Andy Hardy movies in which he starred for MGM starting in 1938.  Additionally, getTV, which had previously scheduled three Rooney movies, has re-themed them as a remembrance of the actor, running tonight. Rooney was working until the end, most recently on the feature Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde film which is set to be released this year. Click through for the schedule: Read More »

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CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet Despite Practically Perfect Stephen Colbert Hire

CBS Late Show marqueeCBS’ announcement today that Comedy Central rock star Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman as host of its late-night show in 2015 caps a whirlwind week in which the network jumped from being just a little footnote in the coverage of The Battle Of The Two Jimmys to the undisputed star of the late-night drama. But don’t get out of your seats yet – the drama’s not over. CBS execs are thought to be frustrated with Craig Ferguson’s show that follows Dave’s (it is co-produced by CBS and Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, which will depart as Late Show producer when its boss retires.) Ferguson’s numbers have not broadened out as CBS had hoped, and there are rumblings that CBS isn’t done yet and we should expect another move to come. On the bright side, Ferguson will now benefit from the lucrative (reportedly in the neighborhood of $5M) succession clause in his contract, CBS having made its other choice.

Related: David Letterman On Stephen Colbert’s Hire

Asked about Ferguson’s future at the network, CBS chief Leslie Moonves today acknowledged Ferguson’s contract is up soon, adding, “we’re having conversations” and “there is nothing to report now.”

Craig Ferguson LettermanMoonves being a confirmed showman, his network went into information lock-down the instant Letterman announced his retirement last Thursday. Since then, until this morning’s Colbert news, network execs approached by reporters with succession questions took on the cautious reserve usually seen in cbs-logo__120711164808__121116195436__130108233101__130716162250__130926192712__131121001522better breeds of canines when offered a piece of green leafy vegetable by a stranger of whose bona fides they are not convinced. The reporters, who had flung themselves at their computers and pounded out their Dave Is Leaving copy in an ecstasy of Era-Ending Grief, tore through the list of supposed candidates, most of whom were dismissable:

* Leno, who went out on top in the late-night ratings — a storyline worth sticking with.

* Chelsea Handler, who had a jump-start over the others, having already begun her E! Is a Sad, Sad Place To Live Tour in search of a new late-night job, but who is one of those tough modern female comics, with their sardonic eyes and their freedom of speech and breadth of vocabulary, which made her a lousy fit for Moonves, who is passionate about legacy and prestige.

* Neil Patrick Harris, consummate song-and-dance man and a longtime player at The Les Moonves Repertoire Theatre, who, though a much better fit than, say Handler, took himself out of the running when he said late-night would be an insane amount of work, and he hadn’t actually been approached.

* Tina Fey, a member of The Lorne Michaels Repertory Theatre, who would have had to competing against Michaels’ exec produced The Tonight Show, now hosted by her former SNL Weekend Update partner Jimmy Fallon.

* Louis C.K., who only made the list because, on his FX comedy, he once played a version of himself who was in line to replace Letterman, and the media loves art-imitates-life gags.

* Jimmy Kimmel, who only made the list because he told TV Guide last month, “I’d definitely consider it,” when asked if he’d go to CBS to replace Dave, adding, “I am loyal to ABC and grateful to them for giving me a shot… I’m not looking to flee. But just getting a call from Dave would be big for me. So it’s definitely something I would listen to.”

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Vertical Entertainment Grabs Nat Wolff-Selena Gomez Comedy ‘Behaving Badly’

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 2:02pm PDT

Behaving BadlyThe company has picked U.S. rights to Tim Garrick’s comedy about a guy who’s so smitten that he makes a bet with a mobster’s son. Vertical Entertainment plans an August theatrical release for Behaving Badly, which stars Nat Wolff as the guy trying to land the woman of his dreams (Selena Gomez). Along the way he deals with his best friend’s randy mom (Elisabeth Shue), his drug-abusing boss (Dylan McDermott), a perverted principal (Patrick Warburton), a priest with a ecret (Jason Lee), a sultry defense attorney (Heather Graham), and a patron saint who dispenses cryptic advice (Mary-Louise Parker). Cary Elwes and Gary Busey also co-star. Garrick wrote the screenplay with Scott Russell based on Ric Browde’s book While I’m Dead … Feed The Dog. Andrew Lazar and Miri Yoon produced the pic, which was executive produced by Barry Quart and Kevin Tang. Vertical’s recent films include Anna (Mindscape), Hairbrained and Boys of Abu Ghraib.

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 4 Premiere Hits New High, ‘Silicon Valley’ Debuts Strong, ‘Veep’ Returns Down

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 12:17pm PDT

game of thrones season 4 debut 2With swords in hand and palace intrigue in the shadows, HBO’s Game Of Thrones was back for its fourth season last night with a record-breaking 6.6 million viewers. That’s up 52% over the 4.4 million who tuned in for the Season 3 debut on March 31, 2013 – no wonder GoT crashed HBO Go last night. Sunday’s viewership result is not only the most watched GoT episode ever but is the second-best result HBO has seen since the 11.9 million who watched the series finale of The Sopranos back in 2007. The Season 4 opener also soared 23% up from the 5.4 million viewers the Season 3 finale drew on June 9. Until last night, the most-watched GoT episode ever was the May 5, 2013, airing that pulled in an audience of 5.5 million. With two more plays last night, GoT had a gross audience of 8.2 million on Sunday.

Related: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Gets “Welcome Back” From ‘House Of Cards’

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Sony Pictures Lands New Republic Article For Film On China’s First American Football League Championship Team

Mike Fleming

fatbabyEXCLUSIVE: As The New Republic turns 100 years old, Sony Pictures and Escape Artists have made a pre-emptive acquisition of “The Year Of The Pigskin,” a just-published feature by Christopher Beam about the unlikely success of the Chongqing Dockers, one of the first teams in the very first American football league to form in China. The catalyst was a 26-year-old American, the son of police detectives whose pro football dreams were dashed after a shoulder injury incurred while he was a star player at the University of Michigan. He became the team’s coach and star player. The feature is a template for a Bad News Bears-like film that will be shot in China, as the Dockers and its players with names like Fat Baby, Bobo, and Weezy get molded from undisciplined players afraid to hit one another into a group of warriors that battled for the championship against archrival Shanghai Warriors. Read More »

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‘Saturday Night Live’ On Par With Anna Kendrick As Host

By | Sunday April 6, 2014 @ 9:33am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

snl_kendrick_littlemermaidBoth Anna Kendrick and last week’s Louis C.K. have received solid marks for their hosting, but Saturday Night Live‘s streak of suppressed ratings, which started with the Lena Dunham episode, continues. Last night’s episode, with host Kendrick and musical guest Pharrell, drew a 4.0 household rating in the metered markets and a 2.2 in adults 18-49 in the markets with Local People Meters. That was even in households with last week’s show hosted by Louis C.K. (4.0), matching the second lowest result of the season, and up a tenth in 18-49. The Lena Dunham episode averaged a 4.1 and 2.1.

Related: ‘SNL’: ‘Fox And Friends’, ‘Les Jeunes de Paris’, And George R.R. Martin (Video)

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Who Will Inherit David Letterman’s Late-Night Seat? (Slideshow)

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 5:05pm PDT

Letterman Late Night Replacements

Related:
David Letterman Through The Years: Video
Watch David Letterman Announce His Retirement

Unlike NBC, with its Tonight Show host training camp (aka SNL) and clear heir apparent in Jimmy Fallon, CBS does not have as evident a line of succession for David Letterman‘s late-night throne — though Craig Ferguson hosts CBS’ other late-night program which, like Late Show, is produced by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants (it’s now a co-production with CBS). He has a succession clause in his contract, but that contract is set to expire this summer. Presumably, he’d seek the same in his next contract. Should CBS balk, the network might find itself looking for two late-night hosts within months of each other — which would be tough, and not the image of stability CBS has so carefully cultivated. Additionally, Ferguson has won a Peabody Award for his show and has hosted the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and that kind of prestige appeals to Moonves. Regardless, almost immediately after Letterman announced on his show tonight he’s stepping down sometime in 2015, The Reporters Who Cover Television began playing The Replacement Game. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert name keeps popping up; he’s said to be well-liked by CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves and, with his contract coming up in mid-2015, Colbert could be available if his network does not sign him to a new contract by the time Letterman bows out. Ditto Comedy Central’s Jon Stewartwhose contract also is set to expire at around the same time and who, years ago, was under option at CBS as that network was looking for a Late Late Show host – CBS went instead with then-Daily Show host Craig Kilborn. (Ferguson won the companion-show gig, from a slew of auditioners, after the network threw in the towel on Kilborn.) Some sources speculated the April Fools’ Day job-swap of Ferguson and CBS’ Price Is Right host Drew Carey might actually have been Carey’s first late-night audition at the network. Others on the list are known to be looking for employment elsewhere – like E!’s Chelsea Handler, who has said her show will be toast at the end of the year because the network has become a “sad, sad place.” Another name that popped up this afternoon: Neil Patrick Harris, the versatile How I Met Your Mother star who has demonstrated a knack for talk shows when he sat in with Kelly Ripa on her syndicated daytime talker and is highly regarded at the network for his stints hosting the Tony and Emmy Awards. And don’t forget Louis C.K., who during the third season of his FX series was offered a chance to take over Letterman’s show by the head of CBS (played by Gary Marshall) — until everything goes wrong for Louie, and Letterman re-ups for 10 years and declares his wannabe replacement persona non grata. Read More »

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Discovery Channel Unveils New Slate, Including Motor Mondays

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT

Discovery_Channel_2000 (1)Discovery Channel touted its 2014-15 season slate to advertisers this morning at its upfront presentation, including Motor Mondays and the previously oredered The West with exec producer Robert Redford. The highlights of Discovery Channel’s 2014-2015 slate, unveiled ahead of its upfront presentation today, includes the following:

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‘House Of Cards’, ‘Scandal’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Bridge’, ‘Key & Peele’, ‘Orphan Black’, ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Win Peabodys

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 7:08am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Netflix and BBC America each has two scripted series on the list PeabodyAwardsof a record 46 programs to receive Peabody Awards this year. Joining Netflix’s Washington drama House Of Cards and prison comedy Orange Is The New Black is another DC drama, ABC’s soapy Scandal; BBC America’s clone thriller Orphan Black and Broadchurch, which is being remade by Fox as an event series; FX’s The Bridge, which itself is a remake of the Danish-Swedish series; Danish political drama Borgen; acclaimed French zombie drama The Returned; AMC’s Breaking Bad, awarded a second Peabody for its final season; Comedy Central’s hit sketch comedy Key & Peele; CNN’s travel docu-series Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; as well as Burka Avenger, the Pakistani animated series about a girl superhero; and two documentaries from newcomer Al Jazeera America. Additionally, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, who recently announced he is battling cancer, will receive an individual Peabody Award. Here is the full list of recipients of the 73rd Peabody Awards, bestowed by the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism. They will be presented May 19 at a luncheon ceremony hosted by Ira Glass at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. A special on the Peabodys will air later on Pivot, which recently inked a rights deal through 2016: Read More »

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BBC America Picks Up Second Season Of Drama ‘The Musketeers’ Ahead Of U.S. Debut

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 7:42am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The MuskateersBBC America today set a June 22 premiere date for The Musketeers and a second-season pickup for the series, which it co-produces with BBC Worldwide. The Musketeers, a BBC Drama production for BBC One, already was renewed by the flagship BBC network last month. A contemporary take on the classic Alexandre Dumas characters, The Musketeers, created by Adrian Hodges (My Week With Marilyn), is set on the streets of 17th century Paris, where law and order is an idea more than a reality. In addition to being King Louis XIII’s personal bodyguards, Athos, Aramis and Porthos stand resolutely for social justice, honor, valor, love — and for the thrill of it. Luke bbc-america-logo__130325101911-200x105Pasqualino (The Borgias) stars as D’Artagnan alongside Tom Burke (Great Expectations) as Athos, Santiago Cabrera (Heroes) as Aramis and Howard Charles (Royal Shakespeare Company) as Porthos. Peter Capaldi, Maimie McCoy, Tamla Kari and Hugo Speer also star. Likely boosted by the familiar premise, the 10-episode Musketeers got off to a strong start in the UK where the premiere drew 9.3 million viewers to become BBC’s biggest new drama launch in two years. Ratings subsequently dipped, with the finale this past Sunday averaging 3.9 million viewers.

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