Last time we checked on Grimm the week before the Thanksgiving holiday, the rookie NBC drama seemed to be bottoming out, holding steady week-to-week to stop its post-premiere slide. But then the fairytale procedural was benched once for the holiday, which is understandable, and then again last night for original movie Game Of Your Life, which is not so much. Last night, the latest of the Procter & Gamble/Walmart-funded family movies that air on NBC as time buys drew a meager 0.5/2 in adults 18-49 from 8-10 PM and 2.2 million viewers. It is tied as the lowest-rated such movie to air on NBC on Friday or Saturday, in- or off-season. The first one, Secrets Of The Mountain, averaged a respectable 1.3/5 in 18-49 and 7.8 million viewers in April 2010. The Jensen Project posted a 0.9 and 3.9 million in summer 2010. Both aired on Friday. Field Of Vision (0.5/2, 2.7 million) and A Walk In My Shoes (1.3/4, 4.9 million) aired on Saturday this past summer. To keep airing those movies, NBC no doubt is making money on the time buys (and let’s face it, it’s not that NBC has cupboards stacked with originals after a brutal fall riddled with cancellations). But I’d question the scheduling choice for Game Of Your Life, which extends unnecessarily the hiatus of a freshman series so early into its run. With Dateline (1.0/3, 4 million) at 10 PM, NBC finished fourth for the night in 18-49. READ MORE »
This year’s Emmy race for Outstanding Drama Series will continue cable’s dominance in this most prestigious category. Cable claimed 10 of the 13 nomination spots over the past two years, and 13 of 19 since 2008. By contrast, cable earned a mere nine nods combined in the seven years between 2001 and 2007 when the networks still ruled. The shift from broadcast is so extreme in 2011 that CBS’ The Good Wife is considered the only network series with a solid shot to earn its second nomination in as many years. (Though not in that league, NBC/DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights, NBC’s Parenthood, and CBS’ Blue Bloods deserve consideration while ABC has entered a rebuilding phase.) The sad reality is that the broadcast networks, which just signed a new eight-year deal with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to carry the Emmys, are facing a possible first-ever shutout from the top drama series category. That’s because of the continuing strength and ambition of programming on cable — in particular, HBO in a return to form, and AMC still on a roll.
HBO’s Prohibition-era hourlong Boardwalk Empire drew the most critical attention this Emmy season because of its pedigreed producer team, headed by the legendary Martin Scorsese and creator/showrunner Terence Winter, a Sopranos alum. How interesting that the pay channel’s expensive serial will compete against another period drama from that other Sopranos alum Matt Weiner. AMC’s first acclaimed original series, Mad Men, has won this category three years running and is bidding this year to be the first series to win four in a row since NBC’s The West Wing (2000- 2003). Though the frontrunner, Mad Men could be hurt by a long hiatus.
AMC has seized the mantle from HBO as TV’s preeminent quality-drama purveyor with a pair of newcomers that could crack the series field this year: the zombie-themed hour The Walking Dead, and the dark murder mystery The Killing. Even though two-time category nominee Breaking Bad is not eligible for 2011, AMC could still land three nods, becoming the first network in 10 years to do so in this category, after NBC scored the hat trick in 2001 with The West Wing, ER, and Law & Order. No cable network has ever managed the feat to date.
And then there’s Showtime, whose Dexter is in the running for its fourth consecutive Outstanding Drama nomination, along with first-season Shameless. FX is pushing its increasingly buzzed-about Western, Justified and, to a lesser extent, Sons Of Anarchy. TNT wants attention for The Closer, Men Of A Certain Age, and Southland. USA is pressing Covert Affairs and White Collar. Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s drama series in alphabetical order:
More fresh blood is being added to CBS’ Blue Bloods as the cop/family drama is undergoing creative tweaks going into its second season. Veteran series director-producer Michael Pressman has joined the CBS TV Studios-produced series as co-executive producer/director. He directed two episodes of Blue Bloods‘ first season and has a …
Opening the CBS upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall today was a video of David Letterman, Steve Martin and Paul Shaffer rehearsing a music tune, “It’s gonna be a big, big season…” until CBS CEO Leslie Moonves walks in and tells them that their number has been cut. But CBS went the extra mile this year with a second video with the characters from freshman drama Blue Bloods. The CBS fall schedule had been stolen, and the entire Reagan clan is summoned to track it down. The hooded thief is apprehended and roughened up before his identity is revealed: It’s Regis Philbin. “I want to be on the schedule,” he said. “I’m in the apartment all day; Joy is driving me crazy.” After an elaborate pursuit enhanced with classic movie car chases, Tom Selleck personally delivers the schedule to Moonves on the stage of Carnegie Hall.
No Two and a Half Men jokes in Moonves’ intro, only a subtle reference with the opening line: “I’ll be here for a very short time: tops 2.5 minutes.” The other more memorable line in his speech: “At CBS, we don’t rebuild, we reload.”