CBS’ Undercover Boss (1.9/9 in adults 18-49, 8.6 million viewers) dropped 21% in 18-49 from its big Friday premiere last week but still ranked as the top program of the night in the 18-49 demographic. The reality series was …
When it announced its midseason plans last month, CBS slated reality series Undercover Boss as a bridge between the two cycles of The Amazing Race on Sunday, beginning Jan. 15. Today, the network set a return date for The Amazing Race, Feb. 19. After 3 original telecasts on Sunday, Undercover Boss will relocate to Fridays at 8 PM, taking the slot of struggling freshman drama A Gifted Man, which will shift to 9 PM. Beginning Feb. 17, the Friday 9 PM time period’s occupant, CSI: NY, will go on hiatus until March 30 after A Gifted Man, which received a short 3-episode back order, finishes its freshman run. Here is CBS’ tweaked midseason schedule for Friday and Sunday:
TV Castings: Will Chase Joins ‘Smash’, Raul Esparza Boards ‘Gifted Man’, Judy Greer To Do ’2.5 Men’, FearNet’s ‘Holliston’ Adds 2
Broadway actor Will Chase has joined NBC’s upcoming Broadway-themed drama Smash as a recurring. On the show, which chronicles the mounting of a Broadway musical and stars Debra Messing as the musical’s lyricist, he will play Steven, who has a history with Messing’s character. Chase, repped by Gersh and AC Management, has appeared in such Broadway productions as Billy Elliot, High Fidelity and Rent. On TV, he recurred on Rescue Me.
Another veteran Broadway actor, Raul Esparza, will do an arc on another new series, CBS’ medical drama A Gifted Man, about a neurosurgeon (Patrick Wilson) whose dead wife (Jennifer Ehle), the former head of a free clinic, starts appearing to him. Esparza will play Ehle’s boyfriend, who is on the board of the clinic. Esparza, repped by ICM and Elin Flack Management, recently starred in Arcadia on Broadway.
Judy Greer has been tapped for an arc on CBS’ revamped Two and a Half Men, playing new lead Ashton Kutcher’s soon-to-be-ex wife. This is the second time Greer plays a love interest on the show. She once played a squeeze of the former lead character, Charlie Sheen’s Charlie Harper.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
There have been some changes on CBS’ A Gifted Man, starring Patrick Wilson as an ultra-competitive surgeon whose dead ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle) begins appearing to him, since the pilot for the supernatural medical drama written by Susannah Grant and directed by Jonathan Demme was shot. ER and Law & Order: SVU veteran Neal Baer was brought in as showrunner; actress Rachelle Lefevre was cast as a new regular, as a doctor, in as part of the effort to beef up the medical procedural element of the show; Pablo Schreiber was upped from guest star to regular; and Julie Benz, who plays Wilson’s sister, renegotiated her deal to change her status from regular to recurring. Despite all the changes, “we didn’t retool,” Baer, who is a licensed pediatrician, said at the show’s TCA panel this afternoon. “It’s the same show, the same characters. The pilot sets up the relationship between (Wilson’s and Ehle’s characters), and the next episode is a week later. … So there’s no retooling at all. There’s medicine in the pilot and there’s medicine in the next episode.”
EXCLUSIVE: John Corbett and Julie Benz lead the cast of TNT’s two-hour movie Ricochet, based on the best-selling book by Sandra Brown. Gary Cole and Kelly Overton co-star in the project, the second entry in the network’s recently announced new TNT Tuesday Night Mystery movie franchise slated to launch in November that will feature six contemporary crime dramas, from true-crime stories to fictional mysteries. Det. Sgt. Duncan Hatcher (Corbett), a sexy Savannah homicide cop, falls hard for Elise Laird (Benz), a dishy damsel-in-distress. She’s married to corrupt Judge Cato Laird (Cole), who consistently subverts Hatcher’s efforts to bring a local drug lord to justice. Things get complicated when Hatcher and his feisty partner, Det. DeeDee Bowen (Overton), are called to the Laird home after Elise supposedly shoots an intruder in self-defense. Production on Ricochet begins next week in New Orleans.
Benz, who is coming off ABC’s superhero drama No Ordinary Family, was available to take on the role because of a recent change in her status on CBS’ upcoming supernatural medical drama A Gifted Man.
Pablo Schreiber has joined the cast of CBS’ new drama A Gifted Man as a series regular. He plays Anton, a shaman and New Age spiritual healer to Michael Holt (Patrick Wilson). Schreiber was a guest star in the Jonathan Demme-directed pilot and is now being upped to regular. Schreiber, repped by ICM and D/F Management, is currently filming a five-episode arc on Weeds and also stars in the upcoming feature Recalled.
Stephen Root has been cast as a new regular in the FX drama pilot Outlaw Country, which is undergoing tweaking and some reshoots directed by Adam Arkin. The crime thriller/family drama, set against the backdrop of Southern organized crime and Nashville royalty, stars Luke Grimes as twentysomething Eli Larkin, who tries to leave a life of crime; John Hawkes as Eli’s uncle Tarzen Larkin, a big-time player in the Southern crime world; Haley Bennett as a country singer; and Mary Steenburgen as her overprotective mother. Root, repped by Gersh and Grillstein, will play Jack Folcum, a shrewd businessman gangster associate and rival of Tarzen’s.
Running out of slots for comedy series and striking out with new dramas in the fall, NBC and ABC in midseason expanded their existing two-hour comedy blocks on Thursday and Wednesday, respectively, to three hours, to largely uninspiring results. Going into next fall, the 10-11 PM comedy hours are being scrapped in favor of opening up more traditional 8-9 PM comedy blocks on other nights. In another sign of the resurgence of the comedy genre, for the first time in six years, each of the Big Four broadcast networks will have two comedy blocks on the fall schedule. Interestingly, both NBC and ABC opted to launch their new comedy blocks in the time periods where they most recently ran comedies. And just like the last time, both NBC and ABC populated the blocks with new comedies. In fall 2006, NBC launched 30 Rock and Twenty Good Years from 8-9 PM on Wednesday, the same time slot the network is using this year for new comedies Up All Night and Free Agents. ABC, which is going with the Tim Allen vehicle Last Man Standing and Chris Moynihan’s Man Up Tuesdays 8-9 PM, last tried comedies on the night in the fall of 2007, with then-newbies Cavemen and Carpoolers.
Something else happened this season: the return of the 10 PM drama. Scores of new dramas met their demise trying to get off the ground in the hour over the past few years, with the only shows to make it were modest hits Brothers and Sisters, Castle and The Good Wife. Uncertain about the prospects of 10 PM dramas, NBC even tried a Jay Leno talk show in the slot two seasons ago and had since kept the hour comedy/reality branded. But this season, all four freshman dramas to make it to Season 2 were 10 PM shows: CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods, ABC’s Body of Proof and NBC’s Harry’s Law. What’s more, for the first time in five years, all Big 3 networks have scheduled dramas in the 10 PM slot every night Sunday through Thursday.
We already told you what several advertisers thought of NBC’s and Fox’s upfront presentations. As for the last two major networks, the people with whom we spoke were much more impressed by CBS than ABC and identified four shows that seem to have a better-than-even shot at succeeding: CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, How To Be A Gentleman and A Gifted Man, and ABC’s Man Up. Some dinged ABC for providing little insight into the eight shows the network will introduce this fall. “I guess you throw something against the wall and hope,” says Brad Adgate of Horizon Media. By contrast, he says that CBS demonstrated that “the shows they’re really high on are protected” in time slots where they either face anemic competition or where they are flanked by hits. Targetcast’s Gary Carr says that CBS “did a great job” of explaining the strategies behind its five new shows. ABC, he added, ”was down and dirty — one hour with no entertainment and no celebrities.”