ABC has staffed up its scheduling team with the appointment of Whitney Holland as VP Program Planning & Scheduling. She will report to Andy Kubitz, EVP Program Planning & Scheduling, who took over ABC’s scheduling department late last summer, replacing long-time topper Jeff Bader who went to NBC. One of ABC’s scheduling VPs, Steve Kern, followed his boss Bader to NBC. Holland will fill the position, working alongside VP Wendell Foster. Holland previously was VP Scheduling & Acquisitions at OWN, Hallmark Channel, Bravo, Animal Planet and TLC.
UPDATE: NBC’s ‘Guys With Kids’, ‘Up All Night’, ‘Whitney’ & ’1600 Penn’ Cancelled, ‘Parks & Recreation’ Renewed
2ND UPDATE, 2:45 PM: More cleanup at NBC. Freshman comedy Guys With Kids and sophomore Up All Night also are gone. It comes down to Go On, The New Normal and Community on the comedy side, on which NBC is yet to make a decision… Hannibal looks promising on the drama side, and people are cautiously optimistic about Community among half-hours. The cancellation of both Whitney and Guys With Kids means that NBC won’t have an existing multi-camera companion for the only multi-cam new comedy series it has picked up so far, Sean Saves The World. It may be paired with another multi-cam comedy project that is awaiting word on a pickup, pilot Undateable. As for Up All Night, the cancellation is a formality as the series died when the plan to convert it from a single- to multi-camera format fell apart. The axing gives CBS the free and clear to pickup its untitled Greg Garcia comedy pilot, starring Up All Night‘s Will Arnett, to series.
Related: NBC’s New Series Pickups
UPDATE, 1:58 PM: The axe has begun to fall on NBC’s bubble comedies: Whitney and 1600 Penn. The cancellation of Whitney frees up two comedy pilots to get series orders — NBC’s Undateable, which stars Whitney‘s Chris D’Elia, and CBS’ Friends With Better Lives, which stars Zoe Lister Jones. Whitney has been a lightning rod since its launch, drawing polarizing reactions and getting mostly panned by critics. It started off OK in the ratings last season but gradually fizzled. It returned late last fall and did decent business on Wednesday but its long-term prospects remained dim. Not much to say about freshman 1600 Penn, whose cancellation was a mere formality after a dismal midseason run.
Love You, Mean It With Whitney Cummings has made a quiet exit on E!. A rep for the network confirmed that production on the weekly talk show has wrapped and last week’s episode was its last. Love You, Mean It With Whitney Cummings, produced by Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing Prods, launched in November with a six-episode order. The network picked up six more episodes in January but has now opted not to order more. At the time of the renewal, E! brass touted Cummings’ ability to not only attract E!’s core female audience with her show but also develop a strong male following. The weekly series featured Cummings and sidekick Julian McCullough. Its guests included Mindy Kaling, Will Ferrell, Lizzy Caplan and Ginnifer Goodwin. Cummings still has her NBC sitcom and is consulting on CBS hit 2 Broke Girls, which she co-created.
Grammy Awards executive producer Ken Erlich announced today at TCA that CBS will present a documentary on “what happened this year” in music, including the Whitney Houston story. “The footage came in after the fact — we didn’t plan to do it ahead of time, but we had a meeting with [entertainment president] Nina Tassler, we put together a reel [and she thought] that would make a great show.” - Diane Haithman
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has given Whitney a pickup for 3 additional episodes, bringing its second-season order to 16 episodes. In May, the multi-camera comedy received a 13-episode second-season. It was originally scheduled to air in the Friday 8 PM slot but in October it was upgraded to the higher-profile Wednesday 8 PM berth, which it previously occupied. Then early last month, before Whitney‘s second season had premiered, the show was given an order for five more scripts. Now that order has been converted into 3 episodes. The back order comes as Whitney‘s fifth episode of the season last night drew a 1.4/4 in 18-49, matching its season high and up 8% versus last week while most other shows were down. It was the series’ second consecutive week-to-week gain. Whitney joins its time slot mate, fellow multi-camera comedy Guys With Kids, which also received a partial back order, 4 episodes, though the freshman debuted two months before Whitney.
NBC’s attempt to improve its fortunes on Wednesday by replacing underperforming (and already cancelled) newbie Animal Practice with sophomore Whitney is not working, at least not from the get go. In its second season premiere last night, Whitney (1.4/4 in adults 18-49) matched the debut in the Wednesday 8 PM slot of its predecessor Animal Practice. It was down 30% from Whitney‘s debut in the time period last spring and tied as its series low. Guys With Kids (1.3/4), the only Wednesday series to still be awaiting a decision on a back order, was flat with two weeks ago and also tied as a series low. Law & Order: SVU (1.6/4) was down 6% from two weeks ago, and it too tied its series low. After the big ratings jump last week when it followed an original Voice, newly picked up Chicago Fire (1.6/5) retreated 27% for a net gain of .1 vs. its original two weeks ago. But it held onto 100% of its lead-in, something no other 10 PM rookie drama has been able to do this season.
The other new Wednesday 10 PM drama that received a full-season order over the past week was ABC’s Nashville (1.8/5), which reversed its ratings downtrend last week with a .2 uptick. But the rise was short-lived as the soap dropped .2 last night to return to the series low level of two weeks ago. The entire ABC Wednesday lineup was in negative territory last night. The Middle (2.5/8) was down 7%; The Neighbors (1.9/5) down 10% to tie its series low; Modern Family (4.6/12) down 4% and Suburgatory (2.4/6), which continues its pendulum swings, down 17% from last week’s season high to tie its season low.
Things continue to get better for NBC’s Whitney. In May, the multi-camera comedy received a 13-episode second-season order and a Friday 8 PM slot. Last month, it was upgraded to the higher-profile Wednesday 8 PM berth, which was previously occupied. And now the network has given it an order for five more scripts, increasing the show’s chances for a back episodic order. Whitney, which will open its second season next Wednesday, joins its new time slot mate, freshman comedy Guys With Kids, which also has a five-script order as does new NBC drama Chicago Fire.
That 1.0 adults 18-49 rating last night didn’t do flailing new NBC comedy Animal Practice any favors. The network just announced that Animal Practice will be replaced by Whitney, whose second season will premiere November 14. Animal Practice will remain on the air until then.
It has been a fast fall from grace for Animal Practice, whose pilot was previewed during NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics’ Closing Ceremony. But the comedy starring Justin Kirk and Crystal the monkey never found traction when it launched last month. Meanwhile, NBC signaled that it may have other plans in store for returning comedies Whitney and Community last week when it pushed back the shows’ scheduled Friday debut. Whitney and Guys With Kids are the only multi-camera comedies on NBC, and now they will run together. The move brings Whitney to the Wednesday 8 PM slot where it aired for the second half of last season. Will Community re-join NBC’s Thursday night next?
NBC has put its Friday comedy block on hold. The network announced in May that it would premiere Community and Whitney on October 19 and air them in the Friday 8 PM hour. Now both shows’ return has been postponed, with Grimm reruns slated in the Friday 8 PM slot for the time being. The idea of launching a comedy block with younger-skewing comedies on the low-trafficked Friday night raised eyebrows in May. It was a decision made before the arrival of Jeff Bader as NBC’s new head of scheduling in August. In its statement today, NBC hints that Community and Whitney may be relocated to a higher-profile night Monday-Wednesday as replacements. So far, NBC has given new comedies Go On and The New Normal, which air on Tuesday, full-season orders. Guys With Kids and Animal Practice have struggled on Wednesday, though both posted week-to-week increases last Wednesday. Here is NBC’s statement:
CBS has announced We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute To Whitney Houston, a one-hour special dedicated to Houston’s life, artistry and most memorable performances through interviews with and performances by artists paying homage to the six-time Grammy winner. Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson and Usher are the first performers set for the special, which will tape October 11 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE and air during the November sweep November 16. It will feature highlights of Houston’s career as well as never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews, along with artists sharing their memories of her. AEG Ehrlich Ventures is producing, with Ken Ehrlich executive producing and Louis J. Horvitz directing. The show represents a throwback to times when music specials were a staple of sweep programming.
Whitney regular Maulik Pancholy has been let go from the comedy after one season. However, the actor is staying on NBC, jumping back to 30 Rock. On the 13-episode seventh and final season of 30 Rock, Pancholy will reprise his role as Jack’s intrepid assistant Jonathan, which he played on a recurring basis from the pilot through the end of Season 5 when he segued to Whitney. He first appears in 30 Rock’s season premiere.
On Whitney Cummings’ Whitney, Pancholy played Lily’s (Zoe Lister Jones) boyfriend Neal who came out as gay towards the end of the season. His exit was explained with creative changes the show is undergoing heading into Season 2, with Will Calhoun on board as new showrunner, replacing Betsy Thomas. Whitney was renewed for 13-episodes to air on Friday.
Friends alum Wil Calhoun has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of NBC’s comedy series Whitney, which is heading into its second season. The stint is part of his overall deal with Universal TV, which produces Whitney. Calhoun, who will work with series creator/star Whitney Cummings, replaces Betsy Thomas, who has moved to NBC’s new comedy series Guys With Kids as a co-executive producer. There has been a change at the helm of both NBC freshman comedies that were renewed for a second season. Up All Night has Tucker Cawley as new executive producer/showrunner.
NBC is bringing back 13 comedy series — seven new and six returning — vs. 9 dramas — five new and four returning, so it was clear its schedule was going to be comedy-heavy. But the network is making a big statement with comedy blocks on four nights: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That is a very rapid expansion since for a number of years the network had comedies solely on Thursday until opening a second night on Wednesday last season. This fall, the network is launching two more blocks, one from 9-10 PM on Tuesday, following The Voice results show, with Go On and The New Normal, and one on Friday at 8 PM with Whitney and Community. Loading up on comedies was intentional, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “Comedy once was the backbone of NBC, and I think we need to really plan for the future. It is good for the health of the network. People are open to comedy more than they have been in long time.”
With the exception of The Office and Parks & Recreation, which were picked up with full-season, 22-episode orders, most NBC returning comedy series have 13-episode orders, including Community, 30 Rock and Up All Night. Greenblatt was quick to note that “a 13-episode order …
UPDATED: Whitney‘s renewal today was a big victory for the freshman NBC sitcom, which had been in serious danger of cancellation. But it also represents a major feat for the multi-camera genre on a broadcast network other than CBS.
This is the first time a freshman multi-camera comedy has made it to Season 2 outside of the format’s traditional home, CBS, in five years, since ‘Til Death was awarded a second season on Fox in 2007. What’s more, we could have two freshman sitcoms accomplishing that this year as ABC’s Last Men Standing is awaiting a renewal too.
UPDATE: Whitney now has also been officially picked up. The order for Parks & Rec is for a full-season 22 episodes. No definitive word on the size of the orders for the two freshmen shows yet, but they may be for 13 episodes in line with Community. UPDATE: Up All Night star Christina Applegate indicated on her Twitter feed that the show’s order is indeed for 13 episodes.
PREVIOUS: NBC has resumed the renewal of comedy series with the pickups of Parks & Recreation and Up All Night for season five and two, respectively. There is talk that freshman Whitney also is getting renewed but no confirmation on that yet. And still no renewal for NBC’s flagship comedy series The Office. Up All Night co-executive producer, Everybody Loves Raymond veteran Tucker Cawley, is expected to be upped to executive producer/showrunner on the family/workplace comedy for Season 2, succeeding Jon Pollack, who left to join new NBC comedy series Go On as co-executive producer. Cawley is with CAA.
Should a teenage girl grieving over the passing of her mom be the subject of a reality series? Three months after Whitney Houston’s sudden death, her family has signed on to do a reality series. Lifetime has picked up The Houston Family Chronicles, a 10-episode docu-series to premiere later this year. It will follow the lives of Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law and manager, who now manages her estate; Pat’s daughter Rayah; Whitney’s brother Gary; daughter Bobbi Kristina; and mother, Grammy-winning singer Cissy Houston, as they try to pick up the pieces after the pop star’s untimely death. The series will follow Pat and her husband, Gary, as they try to support Whitney’s teenage daughter Bobbi Kristina. In that, Pat enlists the help of her and Whitney’s inner circle, including Grammy-winner Dionne Warwick and gospel legend CeCe Winans. “The tragic loss of Whitney Houston left a void in the hearts of people all over the world, but certainly none more so than her beloved family,” said Lifetime’s EVP Rob Sharenow. “In this series, the multi-generations of the Houston family will bravely reveal their lives as they bond together to heal, love, and grow.”
Pat Houston said that over the past few years she had been developing an unscripted project about her and her family with producers Tracey Baker Simmons and Wanda Shelley. “The unexpected …
E! Picks Up Nigel Lythgoe & Kevin Jonas Reality Series, Whitney Cummings Talk Show, Unveils New Logo, Tagline & Branding
UPDATED: E!, which is holding its upfront presentation today, has picked up Opening Act, a new talent competition headlined by American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, R&B singer Mary J. Blige and producer Antonina Armato from Rock Mafia. Additionally, the cable network has greenlighted a reality series starring Kevin Jonas for summer and has given the long-gestating Whitney Cummings talk show a pickup as a weekly half-hour series titled Love You, Mean It With Whitney Cummings. E! also is unveiling a new look, logo and tagline (Pop Of Culture). The new branding campaign, part of the transformation of the channel under the leadership of NBC Uni cable maven Bonnie Hammer, will kick off on July 9 with the premiere of Opening Act.
In Opening Act, Lythgoe, Blige and Armato will comb the Internet to find talented amateurs and give them a chance to open for an A-list music star. Music acts on board to take in aspiring musicians to open for one show on their current tours are Nicki Minaj, Rod Stewart, LMFAO, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Jason Mraz and Gym Class Heroes. The unsuspecting band or solo acts will get the news of their big break in person by TV personality Olivia Lee (The Tonight Show With …