More good news for Fox’s Bones, which on Friday was renewed for next season. The crime dramedy solidified its status of Fox’s ultimate utility player with a strong return from a long hiatus in a new time slot. In its Monday 8 PM debut, Bones (2.5/7 in adults 18-49, 8.2 million viewers) was up 4% from its most recent Thursday outing in January, when it was used to launch spinoff The Finder. House (2.2/6) didn’t get much of a bounce in moving back to 9 PM, up a tenth from its last original at 8 PM two weeks ago.
NBC’s The Voice (4.1/11) and ABC’s Dancing With The Stars (2.8/7) continue to cannibalize each other. The Voice was down 9% from last week to a season low, Dancing was down 13% to tie an all-time performance show low. ABC’s Castle (2.2/5) and NBC’s Smash (2.2/5) finished in a tie among adults 18-49. Castle was down two tenths from its fast national last week, Smash was even. Because of overruns from the performance shows that precede them, both dramas will likely be adjusted down in the finals like they were last week. CBS is expected to dominate the night with the NCAA championship game. CBS Sports is yet to release time-adjusted numbers but in the fast nationals, the game is running 7% above last year’s final in 18-49.
No down-to-the-wire renewal for Bones this time — Fox has given an early eighth-season pickup to the procedural dramedy. “Over the past seven seasons, Hart Hanson, Stephen Nathan and the incredible Bones cast and crew have redefined the traditional crime procedural with an irreverent and adventurous sensibility and I’m really happy to have this distinctive, fan-favorite on our schedule for another season,” Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said. Bones returns to the schedule on a new night this coming Monday. While Fox has had hard-fought negotiations with Bones producer 20th Century Fox TV in the past, with House gone, Terra Nova cancelled and Alcatraz and The Finder unlikely to return, Fox moved in quickly this time to secure its strongest utility player.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
At tonight’s PaleyFest panel on Fox’s forensic series Bones, creator/executive producer Hart Hanson and executive producer Stephen Nathan could not reassure fans that the series, now in its seventh season, will definitely make it to a Season 8, or a Season 9. But Hanson was bold enough to say he believes the show will be back. “There’s always the business side between the studio and the network, and they have to figure our license fees and things,” Hanson said. “But, I hate to say this, in many, many ways, Bones is Fox’s most successful hour-long scripted drama. I’m pretty confident that we’ll be back for Seasons 8 and 9, yeah.” Anticipating a Season 8, the producers said Bones would end Season 7 with a cliffhanger although they would not reveal details. “There will be a large cliff that people will be hanging from,” Nathan deadpanned. “It’ll change the course, certainly the beginning, of season 8.” Read More »
Kiefer Sutherland will not be returning to his old Monday 9 PM slot where his previous Fox drama, 24, aired. The network has made a scheduling change, moving Sutherland’s new series, Touch, to Thursdays where it will air after American Idol beginning March 22. Touch will bump utility player Bones, which will be on the move yet again, this time to Mondays where it will lead the night at 8 PM beginning April 2. That same night, House will slide back to 9 PM where it will finish its run. Fox also announced that its 25th anniversary special will air April 22.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Bones creator Hart Hanson sounded pretty confident that Fox would greenlight an eighth and likely final season of the quirky drama for next fall. “Oh hell yes!” he replied to a question of whether he was looking for the show to come back “if those negotiations work out.” He made the comments today during the TCA panel for his upcoming Bones spinoff The Finder, in which he participated via Skype due to a recent motorcycle accident. He added that he was “very confident” an agreement would be reached and that he and the producers had plenty of ideas left in the tank. “Putting Booth and Brennan (David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel) together and having a child as far as we’re concerned reinvigorated the series,” Hanson said. “There are still very good stories to be told in the Bones universe, stories that our characters generate. So that’s a long way of saying ‘Yes, I’d like it to come back.’ And I’m not even on painkillers right now.” Hanson wasn’t at the panel in person and was shown to be pants-free during the session. Earlier in the day, Fox’s entertainment president Kevin Reilly was less committal. “We need to do a new deal with Bones for next season if we’re going to keep it going,” he said. “I’d like to keep it going.” He also said that this season of Bones, cut to 17 episodes because of star Deschanel’s pregnancy, may go back to 22 episodes if the producers can deliver 5 extra segments. Read More »
The launch strategy for new drama The Finder was probably the most puzzling element in Fox’s midseason announcement last week (that and seeing flash-mob series Mobbed on the schedule, after American Idol no less). Fox had originally scheduled the Bones spinoff, which premieres January 12, to follow a Bones rerun. Now the network has switched the repeat with an original Bones, which will no doubt boost the Finder debut. But the move will disrupt the run of Bones as the January 12 episode is the fall finale, originally scheduled for December 15. A repeat of Bones’ Finder spinoff episode will air next week instead. Starting January 19, The Finder will run behind American Idol on Thursday while Bones goes on hiatus.
After downsizing the upcoming seventh season of Bones from 22 to 13 episodes because of the pregnancy of star Emily Deschanel, Fox has now increased the order to 17 episodes, our sister site TV Line reports. The additional episodes will likely not air this season but over the summer or may be held for next season.
Not that there was ever any doubt that Tim Kring’s Fox pilot Touch starring Kiefer Sutherland would get on the air, but the network wanted to reserve final judgement until after it sees the finished pilot. Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly told reporters at TCA today that he saw the pilot last night and it was “extraordinary”, firmly sealing the project’s midseason series pickup. “It’s a new character but it does have some dose of Jack Bauer in it,” Reilly said about Sutherland’s new role.
While Touch will be joining Fox’s schedule this season, veteran medical drama House might exit it. “I can’t confirm that this is the last season of House,” Reilly said during the Q&A session, adding that a decision on that will be made in “late fall.” The contract of star Hugh Laurie is up after the end of this season, and creator/executive producer David Shore had indicated that he signed a new deal for the upcoming eighth season because he wanted to give the show a proper ending. Reilly alluded to that, noting that the original creative team of the show “that has kept the quality strong” has remained intact and “they want to go out strong, not limp on for several more seasons as a vestige of itself.” Reilly also hinted that there is a scenario where House end its run on Fox this seaosn but producer Universal Media Studios tried to continue it on another network.
There is also no decision on the future of Fox’s other veteran drama, Bones, but Reilly sounded far more upbeat about its future. As for cult favorite, Fringe, “I don’t expect Fringe to grow, but if it does exactly what it did last year, we will be very, very happy,” Reilly said. The fate of another fan favorite, comedy Breaking In, remains up in the air after the network canceled the series starring Christian Slater after a short midseason run but then shouldered the cost of extending the options on the cast with studio Sony TV. Today, Reilly said that Breaking In will be a contender for Fox’s 2-hour midseason comedy block along with series Raising Hope, I Hate My Teenage Daughter and New Girl and pilots Little In Common and Family Album. “We will revisit what makes that 2-hour block later in the fall and make a decision (on Breaking In)”, Reilly said. Read More »
As the 51st Monte Carlo Television Awards confirmed, TV procedurals remain the world’s most popular drama format. CSI was crowned the world’s #1 television franchise at the 6th International TV Audience Awards. It pulled in 65.3 million viewers worldwide in 2010. The only other shows that came near it were CSI Miami and House. And both of those are procedurals, too. According to TV consultancy TAPE, the various CSI strands were top of the U.S. imports in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Meanwhile procedurals NCIS, Hawaii 5-0, and House were among the most popular U.S. imports in Italy. So what is it about the format that makes it so appealing to international audiences?
For a start, procedurals are the TV equivalent of comfort food. By the end of each episode, justice is done, the disease contained, order restored. They’re reassuring for viewers. Crucially for foreign audiences, the format is easy to understand. Also, there’s hardly any serial component, so shows like CSI Miami and NCIS can be viewed in any order. Go on vacation, miss a couple of episodes? No problem, nothing has changed. That’s why Blue Bloods – a show which sounds a bit dull on paper — does so well internationally compared to a critics’ darling such as Mad Men. CBS Studios International president Armando Nunez has praised Blue Bloods as “perhaps not as sexy to talk about, but it has proven a success both on the network and in terms of global distribution”. Blue Bloods has sold around the world not just to tiny channels but to big ones like Sky Atlantic in the UK, Australia’s Network Ten, and Discovery Latin America. John Peek, director of TAPE, whose clients include ABC, NBC and cable channels A&E and TNT, says Blue Bloods’ popularity stems from mixing up a police procedural with a family drama. CBS recently tapped Law & Order veteran Ed Zuckerman to make the show even more procedural. Peek says: “The continuing trend is for procedurals because they use a predictable structure. You know what you’re getting, which makes them palatable when they’re dubbed. Shows that obey the basic rules are easier for audiences overseas to get to grips with.” Read More »
Fox will stick to a mostly traditional fall rollout, with the bulk of its series launching during the official premiere week of Sept. 19, including a two-night, four-hour premiere of The X Factor on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 that is consistent with the way Fox’s American Idol debuts. One surprise: The two-hour premiere of Terra Nova will not air Sept. 19, using the promotional platform of the Primetime Emmy Awards that air on Fox the night before, but a week later, on Sept. 26. Fox also has set November premiere dates for I Hate My Teenage Daughter and Bones, which will follow X Factor once it segues from two-night, two-hour episodes to its regular pattern. Here is Fox’s fall premiere schedule: Read More »
Fox and 20th Century Fox TV have made Saffron Burrows’ departure from the upcoming Bones spinoff The Finder official. The producers of the show had put off making the final decision on her future until after the upfronts, but her character in the episode of Bones, which served as a planted spinoff for The Finder, was controversial, drawing polarizing reaction from fans of the show. That led to talk about completely reconceptualizing the character. The Finder star Geoff Stults and his sidekick Michael Clarke Duncan were the only ones approached about joining Bones while star Emily Deschanel is on maternity leave as a backup plan if The Finder hadn’t gotten a full-blown series order. And Fox only flew in Stults and Duncan for its upfront presentation last week where the carefully edited clip for the show practically didn’t feature Burrows.
Right after NBC, it is Fox’s presenting its fall schedule tomorrow. After making some major scheduling moves last year with shifting American Idol to Wednesdays and Thursdays and launching a Glee-anchored comedy block on Tuesdays, the network is expected to bet on stability this year, especially after both gambles this season largely paid off. Idol is expected to keep its Wednesday-Thursday airing pattern, which would be mirrored in the fall by The X Factor, whose 90-minute Wednesday show will probably be used to launch a new comedy the way American Idol has done it.
I hear the most anticipated new Fox series, prehistoric drama Terra Nova, which had been rumored to launch either on Monday or Thursday, looks Monday-bound. Conventional wisdom has it that Fox should use a reliable performer like House to launch its highest-profile new series, and that has been the scenario most speculated about. But Terra Nova has tested great as a four-quadrant show with a very broad appeal, so I won’t be surprised if Fox decides to make a switch and put Terra Nova at 8 PM to capture the family audience. Terra Nova doesn’t really need a lead-in — after all, it’s a Steven Spielberg-produced show with dinosaurs — so it could be a self-starter like Glee proved to be this season. And House is probably better suited for 9 PM.
Speaking of Glee, it is expected to once … Read More »
Fox made the renewal official this morning after star David Boreanaz broke the news via Twitter last night.
FOX has renewed the hit series BONES for a seventh season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.“BONES is creatively fresh, it’s a rock-solid player every time it airs and this season it has helped us win on Thursday nights for the first time in our history,” said Reilly. “Hart Hanson and the fantastic cast and crew, as well as the millions of loyal BONES fans, make this show really special, and I’m excited to have it on our air for another stellar season.”
BONES is a darkly amusing procedural centered on a highly skilled forensic anthropologist who can read clues left behind in victims’ bones and an FBI agent. These unlikely partners take on homicide cases involving human remains that most forensic specialists can’t handle. The series stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor and John Francis Daley.
Given that the last time around Bones‘ two-year renewal closed hours before Fox’s upfront presentation after long and sometimes contentious license-fee negotiations, this time the two sides seem ahead of schedule with a pickup two weeks before the upfronts. “Season 7 is GO for Bones,” star David Boreanaz tweeted tonight. Fox, Bones producer 20th TV and the show’s Twitter-fanatic creator/executive producer Hart Hanson have yet to weigh in but word is the studio and the networks came to an agreement shortly before Boreanaz tweeted the news and are expected to make an announcement in the morning. While the renewal was never in doubt since Bones is Fox’s second-highest-rated drama series behind House, a single-year renewal is somewhat surprising but I hear a second consecutive two-year pickup was never on the table. And Fox still has a House renewal to close.