Staffing Season Highlights: Who Got Hottest Jobs, Which Shows Attracted Most Writers

Nellie Andreeva

Another TV staffing season is coming to a close as, one by one, writers rooms of new and returning series are convening to work on the 2011-12 orders. Overall, “it was a healthy staffing season,” one industry insider said, while another was lamenting the system, in which prospective writers meet on 80+ pilots in the run-up to the upfronts, only a quarter of which would make it to series and actually hire scribes.

Of the new series, comedies New Girl on Fox, Two Broke Girls on CBS and Apartment 23 on ABC were sought after by writers this year. Joining New Girl creator Liz Meriwether are Joe Port and Joe Wiseman as co-executive producers as well as J.J. Philbin and Josh Malmuth. Three established comedy writer-producers will work alongside Two Broke Girls co-creator/executive producer Michael Patrick King — Greg Malins, Jhoni Marchinko and Michelle Nader, all as consulting producers. On ABC’s Apt. 23, joining EPs Nahnatchka Khan and Dave Hemingson are Casey Johnson & David Windsor (It Takes a Village) and Sally Bradford as co-executive producers.

Writers seemed split on the drama side this year. “Some gravitated toward the big-idea, big-swing shows like Once Upon a Time, The River and Pan Am, others wanted nothing to do with them, opting to go for more standard procedurals like Person of Interest, Prime Suspect and Unforgettable,” one source said. “A lot of writers are thinking about job security.” Also of note is that Josh Friedman’s Locke & Key script was a favorite among writers looking for staff jobs this season despite Fox passing on the pilot. Read More »

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Critics’ Choice Awards Honors 8 New Shows

Nellie Andreeva

Seven broadcast and one cable series made the cut in the Most Exciting New Series category at the inaugural Critics’ Choice Television Awards. The category, voted by broadcast journalists who have seen the pilots and any available episodes, recognizes shows premiering after June 1, 2011. Some of the most buzzed-about new series, including NBC’s Smash and Fox’s New Girl and Terra Nova, made the list, while others, including CBS’ Person of Interest and 2 Broke Girls and ABC’s Pan Am, didn’t. Here are the honorees (there will be no winner in the category, with all eight shows acknowledged at the awards show June 20):

Alcatraz – Fox – Warner Bros.
Apartment 23 - ABC – 20th Century Fox
Awake – NBC – 20th Century Fox
Falling Skies – TNT – DreamWorks
New Girl – Fox – 20th Century Fox
Ringer - CW – CBS Studios
Smash - NBC – DreamWorks/Universal Media
Terra Nova – Fox – 20th Century Fox Read More »

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Final Thoughts On The Broadcast Upfronts: Wind Of Change

Nellie Andreeva

Exactly 20 years ago, German rock band Scorpions released Wind of Change, which became an anthem for our generation of young Eastern Europeans going through a dramatic political change: the fall of communism. Coming back from the broadcast upfront presentations in New York last week, I’ve been having a hard time getting the catchy tune out of my head. While less far-reaching and profound, there is a clear sense of changing of the guard and a new direction for the broadcast networks this year. I can’t remember a time where the majority of the networks had new heads at their upfront presentations. Paul Lee took over for Steve McPherson at ABC, Bob Greenblatt for Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad at NBC, and Mark Pedowitz is succeeding Dawn Ostroff at the CW. There is a similar changing of the guard among the top TV producers this year. Upstart Chernin Entertainment and DreamWorks TV, which is re-entering the broadcast arena, topped the pods with the most new series, three each, with another recently launched company, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, scoring two new shows. And in its first season, Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods.got one pilot, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, picked up to pilot, with another, Fox’s Family Album, in serious contention. Meanwhile, such longtime upfront fixtures as Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Mark Gordon Co. and Wonderland didn’t land any new series for next season. Read More »

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ABC To Extend New Tuesday Comedy Block To 2 Hours In Midseason With ‘Cougar Town’

Nellie Andreeva

ABC Unveils 2011-12 Primetime Schedule
We may have the first head-to-head faceoff of two-hour comedy blocks in years this spring. ABC, which is launching a new Tuesday 8-9 PM comedy block with the Tim Allen starrer Last Man Standing and Chris Moynihan’s Man Up, leading into the Dancing With the Stars result show, plans to extend the block to two hours between the two cycles of Dancing, ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee announced at a press conference this morning. In what could be dubbed “men vs. women,” the two comedies with male leads will be followed by Courteney Cox’s Cougar Town and freshman Apartment 23 starring Krysten Ritter. Fox, of course, already has a 8-10 PM comedy block anchored by Glee at 8 PM and announced yesterday that it will convert it into a four-show block in March when Glee goes on hiatus. Since Dancing usually returns at the end of March, there is a good chance for the two four-comedy blocks to go toe to toe for a couple of weeks, a return to the old times when comedy ruled primetime with blocks on virtually every night of the week. Read More »

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