An old Conan promo that simulated the nails-on-chalkboard sounds of the Emergency Alert System looks have cost TBS $25,000. The Federal Communications Commission this week alerted TBS it is slapping the cable network with a fine in that amount over a 2012 Conan promo it telecast that used the well-known sounds intended to warn viewers of national emergencies.
The FCC — the government agency charged with fining those who misuse the distinctive EAS sounds — has given Turner notice of the fine for “the transmission of false distress signals,” unless it can dissuade the commission within 30 days.
The FCC this past February launched an investigation into a viewer complaint about a 2012 promo for TBS’s Conan O’Brien late-night show. Turner admitted, the FCC said, that it produced and distributed a promotion, for use prior to April 26, 2012, that included a “sound effect” in part derived from an online source, which the network insisted was not part of the actual EAS code, but did include a prerecorded “sound burst” followed by a “bars and tone” sound. Turner “admits that the promotion was not made in connection with an actual national, state or local emergency or authorized test of the EAS,” the FCC said. Turner also argued the promo was produced within such a “tight timeframe” that the production team never submitted it for S&P review. Since May of ’12, all promos for Conan’s show have undergone S&P scrutiny, TBS pledged, according to the FCC.
Turner declined comment on Wednesday. Read More »
TBS’ new late-night entry, The Pete Holmes Show, opened to 407,000 viewers at midnight on Monday, 245,000 of them in the adults 18-49 demographic. That was below the debut of the other new late-night cable show, Comedy Central‘s @midnight, which premiered last Monday to 549,992 total viewers and 260,876 adults 18-49, and Pete Holmes‘ predecessor in the post-Conan slot, Lopez Tonight, which clocked in 425,000 viewers and 269,000 adults 18-49 in its final week. Pete Holmes, which is produced by Conan O’Brien’s Conaco, only held half of its Conan lead-in, 782,000 total viewers, 482,000 adults 18-49. In the first midnight face-off last night, the Funny Or Die-produced @midnight topped Pete Holmes in every category, including adults 18-49 (393,000 vs. 245,000), helped by a stronger lead-in from The Colbert Report (628,000 adults 18-49). @midnight’s dominance is strongest in the younger demos, as it beat all late-night cable shows, including lead-ins The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Colbert Report, in persons 18-24 where it drew 127,000 viewers last night. Colbert was No. 2 with 106,000, while Pete Holmes had 51,000.
According to GLAAD‘s 7th annual Network Responsibility Index, which rates LGBT content on networks during the 2012-2013 TV season, Fox, the network of Glee, was the most inclusive broadcast network with 42% of primetime programming hours having included LGBT images. ABC, which airs Modern Family, came in second, with 33% of inclusive hours. On cable, ABC Family, which has new series The Fosters, was the most inclusive network with 50% of its original programming including LGBT impressions or storylines, followed by FX at 40%. The index, released today, didn’t award any network the highest Excellent rating. Fox, ABC, ABC Family and FX were among the networks given a Good score, while TBS and History received a Failing grade (full network list by grade below). GLAAD’s other report released today, Where We Are On TV, which counts the number of LGBT characters in the new 2013-2014 television season, found that 3.3% of primetime broadcast scripted series regulars will be LGBT characters, down from the record high of 4.4% last season. Overall, this season there will be an equal number of women and men among LGBT characters. ABC and Fox are the only networks to show increases this year and have the highest percentage of LGBT characters at 5.4% each. The CW is in third place at 3%. CBS is no longer last, averaging 1.9% and surpassing NBC, which dropped from last year to 1%. On cable, HBO will have the most characters with a total of 11, followed by Showtime with 8. Read More »
Thom Hinkle, who ran Steve Carell’s Carousel Television, has joined TBS as VP Comedy. Based in Los Angeles, he will oversee scripted development for the comedy-focused network, reporting to Brett Weitz, SVP Scripted Development for TBS and TNT. TBS had been without a dedicated scripted executive since VP Comedy Development Kathy Busby moved to TNT & TBS Original Prods last year. “We found ourselves doing a lot of business with Thom while he was at Carousel, and we loved his taste and the style with which he handles talent,” said Weitz. “It became very clear to us that we would be lucky to have him on our team, leading TBS’ scripted comedy department as we prepare to launch our new comedy Ground Floor and build on the success of our sitcom hits Cougar Town, Sullivan & Son and Men At Work.” Read More »
TBS has given the green light to an untitled multi-camera comedy pilot (aka Living The Dream and Most Likely) written by Josh Heald. The post-recession comedy revolves around charismatic twenty-something Connor Logan and his best friends, who reinvigorate a town on the verge of losing its identity by acquiring and re-opening the local brewery. Warner Horizon and Conan O’Brien’s studio-based Conaco are producing; with Conaco’s O’Brien, David Kissinger and Jeff Ross executive producing and Heald co-exec producing.
TBS has ordered third seasons of its original sitcoms Sullivan & Son and Men at Work. The network also has picked up a second season of the Howie Mandel-produced summer hidden-camera series Deal With It. Read More »
BREAKING … TBS continues to boost its slate to provide better primetime lead-ins to its flagship talk show Conan. The network announced today that has picked up Fox’s animated comedy American Dad! and will air it beginning in 2014 — the Turner net has ordered 15 episodes of the 20th Century Fox TV-produced series’ 11th season. The Seth MacFarlane comedy premiered on Fox in 2005 and has been a long-standing member of that network’s Sunday animation block. American Dad! will kick off its 10th (and now last) season on Fox on September 29. Under the new deal, fellow Turner network Adult Swim will present encores of each episode after initial airings on TBS. TBS and Adult Swim already air reruns of American Dad! and MacFarlane’s Family Guy throughout the networks’ lineups.
“American Dad! is a great fit for TBS, a favorite of comedy fans who like smart, irreverent humor with ample doses of biting wit and skewering satire,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movie, in announcing the deal. “We look forward to welcoming Seth MacFarlane and the rest of his team as they bring this iconic show to TBS.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy veteran Jeff Astrof (Grounded For Life) has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of TBS’ new comedy series Ground Floor, from Bill Lawrence’s Doozer and Warner Horizon. Additionally, Astrof has signed a two-script development deal with Warner Bros. TV. Ground Floor, which Cougar Town co-creator Lawrence wrote with Greg Malins, is a workplace comedy with a romantic twist that stars Skylar Astin, Briga Heelan and John C. McGinley. Astrof will serve as executive producer alongside Lawrence and Jeff Ingold. The project, which received a 10-episode series order last month, has been looking for a showrunner as Lawrence also landed two new series on the broadcast networks for next season, Undateable on NBC and Surviving Jack on Fox. Astrof, repped by ICM Partners and Michael Gendler, most recently wrote and executive produced the multi-camera version of John Leguizamo’s family comedy pilot King John, which was shot and was in serious contention for a series pickup. Last season, he also sold multi-camera comedy project Fat, Forty And Fired to ABC with a put pilot commitment.
In his first TV gig since leaving Current TV, Keith Olbermann has been tapped by Turner Sports as host of TBS’ Major League Baseball postseason studio show, joining analyst and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Additionally, Ron Darling, who joined TBS as an MLB analyst in 2008, has inked a long-term extension. And Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. will transition from the studio to the broadcast booth full time this postseason. Ripken, who primarily has served as a TBS studio analyst for the last six years, will join Ernie Johnson (play-by-play) and Darling as a three-man commentator team throughout the 2013 MLB Postseason, including the network’s coverage of the Division Series and exclusive telecast of the National League Championship Series. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Steve Agee is set as the sidekick host alongside Diablo Cody on her TBS pilot Me Time With Diablo Cody. Agee also will serve as a writer on the project, a take on Hollywood and celebrities tailored around Cody’s perspective on all things pop culture. 51 Minds is producing, with Mark Cronin, Courtland Cox and Cody executive producing. Agee, repped by Caliber Media, also just closed a deal to do Beef, a web series written by and starring Michael Ian Black and Joe Lo Truglio, with Chris Meloni also starring. He also has a recurring role on NBC’s Craig Robinson comedy pilot, which remains a possibility, and a role in FX presentation Complex Morgana.
“The demo didn’t evolve, it’s just endured” since the 1960s when ABC promoted the measurement to sell ads on American Bandstand, Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin told ad buyers this morning at his company’s upfront presentation. That’s a problem he says because “demos just measure eyeballs. Today it’s about engagement.” For example he noted how Conan O’Brien uses social media to rally fans and how TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles inspires viewers to write stories based on the characters, “There’s so much more we can do with analytics,” Koonin says. He says that his company is working with Facebook “in an unprecedented way” to generate “the type of deep research that hasn’t been done before.…The more we know, the faster we move from delivering demos to delivering engagement.”
Related: Will Ferrell And Conan O’Brien Mock TV Biz At Upfront
Koonin said is a good time to change the measurement paradigm, he says, now that cable networks have reached a “tipping point” in their relationship vs broadcast. “Over the past decade the term ‘basic cable’ has become an oxymoron. There’s nothing basic about it.” Continuing the industry’s embrace of technology, Koonin also touted the streaming initiative his company announced this morning. It will “make our brands even stronger,” he says.
Related: … Read More »
Related: TNT & TBS Announce Scripted & Unscripted Development Slates
TBS and TNT are about to become the first national entertainment networks in the industry to stream on-air content live across multiple platforms 24/7, including through the networks’ websites and a pair of newly created Watch TNT and Watch TBS apps. The announcement was made during TNT and TBS’s annual Upfront presentation today in New York. Live streaming is the latest phase in the rollout of TV Everywhere, the industry-wide initiative that gives subscribers to cable, satellite and telco video services access to more of their favorite shows across a wide range of digital platforms.
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At its upfront today, TNT and TBS unveiled scripted and unscripted development slates, which include projects from Steven Spielberg, Steve Carell, Diablo Cody, Denis Leary, Sylvester Stallone, Dick Wolf, Nicholas Sparks, Marcia Clark, Dee Johnson, Walt Becker, Jamie Foxx and James Duff. Here is the list with details:
Related: TBS & TNT To Offer Live Streaming 24/7
SCRIPTED SERIES DEVELOPMENT
This project is the story of a group of young scientists who, while investigating what they believe to be a haunted house, stumble upon a portal into the time-space continuum. Things then take a turn for the worse when one of their own vanishes into the portal.
– Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Scott Rosenberg (writer), Jeff Pinkner (writer), Josh Appelbaum (writer) and Andre Nemec (writer)
– Production Company/Studio: Amblin Television
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EXCLUSIVE: The week keeps getting better for Bill Lawrence. After getting a series pickup at Fox for Surviving Jack on Wednesday and at NBC for Undateable earlier this morning, he also just received a series order for comedy pilot Ground Floor at TBS, which recently renewed his Cougar Town. Ground Floor, which the Scrubs and Cougar Town creator wrote with former Friends and How I Met Your Mother executive producer Greg Malins, is a workplace comedy with a romantic twist that stars Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect), Briga Heelan (Cougar Town) and John C. McGinley (Scrubs). Ground Floor, which has received a 10-episode order for a 2014 launch, is being produced by Lawrence’s Doozer in association with Warner Horizon TV, with Lawrence and Jeff Ingold serving as executive producers. This marks a second series pickup for Heelan today, who also has a supporting role on Undateable. She is in first position on Ground Floor but, given the fact both series hail from the same studio and producer, it is conceivable that she might do both. TBS’ other comedy pilot, Do It Yourself, remains in contention.
Related: TBS Greenlights CeeLo Green Unscripted Series Read More »
The CeeLo Life will follow the singer and former The Voice coach as he tackles his packed schedule of producing, recording and performing, and also looks at the creative partnership with his longtime best friends — Big Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo — as they prepare to revive their iconic hip-hop group Goodie Mob. TBS has ordered six episodes for a 2014 premiere.
Comedians D.L. Hughley and Michael Ian Black have signed on to host the TBS original series from Mark Burnett’s One Three Media and London-based Monkey. Trust Me, I’m A Game Show Host has a bit of a twist in which the two hosts duel to deceive contestants. “This is a game show where a host is legitimately trying to convince a contestant to choose the wrong answer,” said Burnett. “D.L. and Michael’s comedic styles are perfect for pulling this off”. Hughley and Black will each present the single contestant with a bizarre and seemingly implausible fact, one of which is true, the other of which is not. The contestant must then choose the true fact to be rewarded in the game. The players who prove themselves to be super-human lie detectors will go home with a cash prize. Burnett and Monkey founders Will MacDonald and David Granger serve as executive producers. Trust Me, I’m A Game Show Host is slated to premiere in late 2013. Read More »
Among recent TV castings, Pitch Perfect‘s Alexis Knapp was set to co-star in TBS’ comedy pilot Ground Floor, from Bill Lawrence and Greg Malins, which is toplined by another Pitch Perfect cast member, Skylar Astin, and Briga Heelan. She plays Tori, a sexy co-worker of Jennifer (Heelan) who hits the clubs at night and catches up on her sleep at work. Knapp, repped by CAA and Untitled, recently guest starred in the ABC comedy pilot Super Fun Night opposite her Pitch Perfect co-star Rebel Wilson and in the Lifetime pilot Cinnamon Girl.
Robin Givens has joined the cast of ABC Family’s new drama Twisted as a recurring. She will play Judy, the hip and outgoing divorced mom of Lacey (Kylie Bunbury). Givens, repped by Don Buchwald/Fortitude and The Marshak/Zachary Co, also is recurring on the CW’s 90210.