Talk about being late to the party. Two new series, CBS comedy Bad Teacher and ABC drama Black Box, premiered last night with only two weeks to go until the upfronts. With the final days before the presentations usually dedicated to firming up the schedule, the two series have two weeks to convince network brass that they deserve to be pieces of the scheduling puzzle. Neither took themselves out of the running after the first airing. Comedy Bad Teacher opened with a 2.1 in adults 18-49 and 7.9 million viewers, improving on The Crazy Ones‘ average in the 9:30 PM time slot by +24% and posting the best 18-49 rating in the half-hour since January 9 when Two And A Half Men was still airing there. However, that qualifies as one of the lowest-rated in-season comedy debuts for CBS and was below the rest of CBS’ Thursday comedy block – The Big Bang Theory (4.3, -7% from last original), The Millers (2.5, even) and Two And A Half Men (2.5, +4%). Still, given the fact that it is a fish out of water — a single-camera comedy paired with multi-camera sitcoms — and that it held onto a respectable 84% of its lead-in while The Millers‘ hold has been in the 50%, it was an OK start for the newbie. Elementary (1.6) flat.
With Hollywood director Bryan Singer at the center of accusations of molesting a minor 15 years ago, his name will not be used to promote new ABC drama series Black Box. A small portion of the promos in circulation for the series, which premieres next Thursday, featured the X-Men director’s name. They have now been pulled, at least for the time being, according to sources. Former House executive producer Singer serves as an executive producer on the straight-to-series drama starring Kelly Reilly as a famous neuroscientist who is bipolar. Below is the official long trailer for the show, widely available online, in which Singer is indirectly referenced as Black Box being “from the executive producer(s) of House.”
In addition to Black Box, Singer also executive produces the upcoming CBS drama series Battle Creek, from Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and House creator David Shore. On that direct-to-series project he also directed the opening episode. Singer just completed work on the pilot, which has been getting good early response. CBS is yet to start airing promos for Battle Creek, which is not slated to launch until fall. On the feature side, Singer has his next movie, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, opening in five weeks.
Global Showbiz Briefs: XYZ Boards ‘Redeemer’; ‘Testament Of Youth’ Gets Underway; ‘Black Box’ Sells; More
XYZ Films has joined Spanish-language actioner Redeemer as executive producer and sales agent. The movie, Redentor in Spanish, stars Chile’s Marko Zaror (Expendables 2, Machete Kills). He’s teaming for the fourth time with writer director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza. This time around, the story follows a former hitman who has made a deal with God: Every day he will hold a gun to his own head and pull the trigger; each time he does not die, he will take it as a sign that he is meant to continue hunting down the men he used to work for. Principal photography starts on March 24 in Chile. Zaror is a highly trained martial artist across multiple disciplines who performs all of his own fight and stunt work without any wires or CGI tricks. Espinoza recently was editor on Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno and his credits as director also include Kiltro, The ABCs Of Death anthology and Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman. Espinoza, Zaror and Diego Moral Heimpell are producers.
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of landing his first pilot order last year with ABC’s Big Thunder, hot feature writer Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift) is returning to television with a conspiracy thriller drama at TNT. Written by Fuchs and produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV, Black Box, now in development, centers on three strangers whose lives are forever changed after the accidental crash of a civilian airliner over the Long Island Sound when clues begin to emerge that the crash may not have been accidental. Fuchs and Amblin’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank exec produce. Black Box (not related to ABC’s upcoming drama series of the same name) is geared toward TNT’s action-adventure Sunday slot anchored by Amblin’s Falling Skies. The company also has TNT cop drama pilot Public Morals, written, directed by and starring Ed Burns.
On the feature side, Fuchs’ Peter Pan origin story, Pan, for Warner Bros, recently landed on the Black List and is prepping in London for a July 17, 2015 release with Joe Wright directing and Hugh Jackman starring as the villainous pirate Blackbeard. Garrett Hedlund is rumored for the role of a young Captain Hook. Fuchs is repped by WME and Brookside Artist Management.
New ABC drama series Black Box will succeed Scandal in the Thursday 10 PM slot, launching on April 24. Scandal is finishing its season a little earlier as its order had to be reduced because of star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. Fellow new drama, Mind Games, originally slated to premiere on March 11 in the Tuesday 10 PM slot, will start two weeks earlier, on February 25, as ABC is cutting short the run of underperforming drama Killer Women. The series stars Christian Slater and Steve Zahn. Veteran Dancing With The Stars will return on March 17. And the network is banking on new Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis, expanding the February 24 episode to two hours, and adding a two-hour special on February 25, leading into the premiere of Mind Games. ABC also announced today a new Disney-Pixar holiday special, Toy Story That Time Forgot for the 2014 holiday season, a follow up to Toy Story Of Terror.