Academy Dinner Honors 2011 Nicholl Fellowship Winners

Pete Hammond

Academy Announces Winners Of 2011 Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships

Although they are certainly best known for those other awards they hand out in February, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences do a lot more throughout the year. One of its prized events happened Thursday evening at a dinner at the Beverly Wilshire, where the 26th annual Don and Gee Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships were awarded to what Academy president Tom Sherak described as the “Academy’s Magnificent 7.”

The Nicholl Fellowships were established in 1985 and are now chaired (and hosted) by new Academy governor Gale Anne Hurd, who told me she’s been on the Nicholl committee since 1989. Each of the writing fellows (or teams) will receive a $35,000 prize in order to continue developing their scripts (checks are handed out in installments with the understanding that the recipients will  complete a feature-length screenplay during their fellowship year), and the Academy is not involved otherwise commercially with the scripts in any way and holds no rights to them. Even with the Oscars in the mix, Sherak opened the program by saying: “This is my favorite event. It’s nights like this that I wish I were an agent. You want to sign every one of them.” He added these few winners were chosen from among a record 6,730 entries by the 24 judges and committee members who read everything.

It was quite a night that also included a rousing keynote address from David Seidler, this year’s reigning Best Original Screenplay winner for The King’s Speech and “new Academy member” at age 74. At the reception before the dinner, I asked Seidler how the Oscar has changed his life at this age. He joked, “Producers now owe me more, but it takes them longer.” Seidler is red-hot, though, having completed two new scripts over the summer and now embarking on two rewrites. He asked me who I thought was the front-runner to win Original Screenplay this year and I suggested probably Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris. “Well, he has me beat then,”  Seidler said.  Allen at 76 would usurp Seidler as the oldest winner ever in that category, meaning that Seidler’s record could be short-lived. His speech, which he said was working on right to the last minute, won over the crowd and certainly provided inspiration for the writers in attendance. Read More »

Comments (3)

RATINGS RAT RACE: NBC’s ‘Rock Center’ Starts Low, ‘Castle’ Up In Sea Of Declines

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Brian Williams’ new primetime newsmagazine Rock Center appears not to be the answer to NBC’s ratings woes. Halloween played a ratings trick on the new show, which opened with a low 1.0/3 in 18-49 and 4.1 million viewers at 10 PM last night. That is below the average for the canceled The Playboy Club that Rock Center replaced (down 38% in the demo from The Playboy Club premiere last month) and lower than the performance of NBC’s veteran newsmagazine Dateline on the less-trafficked Sunday night. It marked NBC’s lowest Monday debut ever. Rock Center‘s lead-in, The Sing-Off (1.4/4), was down 7% from last week to log its lowest rating ever. NBC (1.2/3, 4.3 million) once again finished fifth on Monday among adults 18-49 behind the other major English-language broadcast networks and Univision. Read More »

Comments 40

Ratings Rat Race Update: ’2.5 Men’ Reverses Downward Trend As All CBS Comedies Gain

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 2:45 PM: As expected, most CBS series were adjusted down in the finals after a bump in the fast nationals from a NFL pre-emption in Baltimore. But even with the adjustment, all CBS comedies posted gains vs. last week. The news is especially important for Two And A Half Men, which had been sliding every week since its hugely rated season premiere. Last night, Men logged a 5.5/13 in 18-49, up 4% from last week, and 15.3 million viewers, up 1%. The comedy starring Ashton Kutcher is still comfortably ahead of the performance the same week last fall with leading man Charlie Sheen, up 25% in 18-49. Mike & Molly (4.2/10 in 18-49) was up 8% week-to-week, 2 Broke Girls (4.5/11) was up 2% and How I Met Your Mother (4.3/12) also was up 2%. Hawaii Five-0 (3,1/8) was flat. For the night, CBS (4.1/10) edged Fox (3.9/10) in 18-49. Fox’s coverage of Game 4 of the World Series stretched beyond primetime, averaging a 4.2/11 from 8-11:40 PM. Read More »

Comments 21

RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Two And A Half Men’ Slides As Most Series Rise, CBS Wins Night

Nellie Andreeva

Broadcasters largely rebounded last night after being hit by a double whammy last Monday with a big NFL game on ESPN and baseball playoffs bleeding into primetime on Fox. The only series to buck the upward trend was CBS’ Two And A Half Men (5.2/13, 14.9 million), which is still finding the bottom after a blockbuster fall relaunch with new star Ashton Kutcher. The comedy was down 10% from its fast national last week when all CBS series hit season lows (down 12% from the final) but was still the highest-rated program of the night in 18-49. Veteran How I Met Your Mother (4.1/12) continues its rocking seventh season, up two tenths from its fast national last week (a tenth from the final). 2 Broke Girls was up a tenth from the fast national (flat with the final), and Mike & Molly (3.9/9) was also flat with its final last Monday but down a tenth from its fast national. Male-centric 10 PM drama Hawaii Five-0 (3.1/8), which was the hardest hit last Monday with a 19% decline, posted the biggest rebound this week, up 15%. Its time-slot rival, ABC’s Castle (2.6/7), was also up — 8% from its fast national and 24% from the final (the series’ fast nationals are often inflated by Dancing With The Stars overruns, so fast national-to-final comparisons are always skewed). Read More »

Comments 22

RATINGS RAT RACE: Broadcasters Hit By Baseball Overrun/Football Double Whammy

Nellie Andreeva

This was supposed to be Fox’s strong baseball postseason year as it’s the network’s turn to carry the American League Championship Series, a big audience draw with marquee teams the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. But both the Yankees and Red Sox were eliminated early, and now the ALCS has been hit with bad weather. Game 2 was rained out Sunday, leaving Fox scrambling to fill primetime with repeats at the last minute. And then a 52-minute overrun from the rescheduled Game 2 wreaked havoc on the network’s Monday primetime lineup, with both rookie Terra Nova and veteran House significantly impacted. The currently available non-time-zone-adjusted fast nationals for 9-10 PM (2.6/6), where most of Terra Nova aired, and 10-11 PM (2.3/6), where the bulk of House ran, are both expected to rise in the finals.

It was a rough night all around as the broadcast networks had to deal with baseball overrun as well as a strong Monday Night Football game on ESPN, where the Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions posted a 11.3 metered market average, the second-best rating so far this season. ABC’s Dancing With The Stars (3.1/8, 17 million total viewers) was flat with last week but may end up being down in the finals. ABC’s fast nationals were possibly inflated as the network’s Detroit station carried the football game. That doesn’t bode well for Castle (2.4/6, 10.2 million), which currently runs 8% below its fast national from last Monday. ABC (2.9/7, 15.1 million) seems on track to top the night in total viewers, while CBS (3.9/9, 11.1 million) is projected to win in 18-49. Read More »

Comments (11)

RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Terra Nova’ Holds In Week 2, ‘House’ OK In Return, CBS Rocks

Nellie Andreeva

After its lackluster debut last Monday, there has been a series of encouraging news for Fox’s Terra Nova in the past 24 hours. First, the prehistoric drama yesterday rose to the top spot in 18-49 among all new drama series premieres in Live+3 ratings. Then the data from the international markets came in, showing a strong launch for Terra Nova in almost every territory. In Canada, the two-hour opener drew 1.4 million viewers on CityTV to become the most-watched drama in the network’s history. And then the first ratings for last night were released this morning with more good news for the rookie drama: In its second outing on Fox, Terra Nova (3.0/8) matched the fast national for its two-hour premiere despite airing from 8-9 PM vs. 8-10 PM last week. (Last week, the premiere was adjusted up in the finals, which will probably happen again today, so the 100% hold will likely carry on in the final ratings.) UPDATE 9:25 AM: Fox just released final numbers for Terra Nova, and it indeed rose to a 3.1 rating. This is the best Week 1-to-Week 2 retention for a new series this fall. At 9 PM, veteran House (3.9/9) was down a modest 7% from last fall when it aired in the more challenging 8 PM hour. Read More »

Comments 26

Ratings Rat Race: ’2.5 Men’ Still Big, ‘Terra Nova’ Premiere Just OK, ‘Playboy’ Dives

Nellie Andreeva

PREMIERE WEEK: Comedies In Comeback, Dramas Mixed While NBC & CW Struggle
CBS’ comedies stayed red-hot in Week 2 of the season. Two and a Half Men (7.2/17 in adults 18-49, 20 million viewers) was down 30% from its gigantic season premiere for a demo number that is still way higher than any scripted series can score in Live+Same Day these days. It boosted the second-season premiere of Mike & Molly (4.9/11, 14 million) to series highs in 18-49 and total viewers, up 26% from its series premiere last fall. At 8 PM, How I Met Your Mother (4.4/12, 10.6 million) continues to excel in its seventh season, down only 6% from its biggest season premiere ever last week. 2 Broke Girls (4.5/11, 11.6 million) settled nicely in its new 8:30 PM slot. It was down 37% from its big debut behind Men last week but did something that CBS hammock shows have rarely done — build on its HIMYM lead-in. At 10 PM, Hawaii Five-0 (3.3/8) was down only a tenth from its season premiere last week. CBS (4.6/11, 13 million) won every half-hour in primetime in both 18-49 and total viewers.

The two-hour premiere of Fox’s dinosaur drama Terra Nova drew a 3.0/7 and 9 million viewers, which was OK but slightly below expectations. In its defense, the male-skewing drama had to face the Washington-Dallas Monday Night Football game on ESPN. And it stayed consistent throughout the night, logging a 3.0 rating at 8 PM, 8:30 PM and 9 PM and climbing to a 3.1 at 9:30 PM. Speaking of the MNF game, it drew a 11.9 metered market household average. UPDATE: In the finals, Terra Nova was adjusted up to a 3.1 rating in 18-49.

NBC’s Monday lineup already started very low last week. It dropped even further last night. The Sing-Off (1.7/4) was down a relatively modest 11%, but The Playboy Club (1.3/3) plunged 19% to reach Lone Star ratings levels and join fellow new NBC series Free Agents on the cancellation block. Read More »

Comments 96

‘Two And A Half Men’ Premiere Is Huge, ‘Playboy Club’ Debut Dangerously Low

Nellie Andreeva

‘Two And A Half Men’ Premiere: What Did You Think?, ’2.5 Men’ Premiere Is A Hit In Canada Too

UPDATED: The debut of Two and a Half Men with new star Ashton Kutcher lived up to the hype ratings-wise, while NBC hit a major bump on the opening night of the season. The ninth-season premiere of Two and a Half Men last night drew 27.7 million viewers and posted a 10.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic in the fast-nationals, numbers rarely seen for show not named American Idol these days and a series record for Men by a large margin. (UPDATE: In the final ratings, which include same-night DVR viewing, Men‘s premiere climbed to 28.7 million viewers and 10.7/5 in 18-49). In 18-49, Men more than doubled its season-premiere number last fall, up 110%. This was the highest-rated season premiere on any network in six years, since Desperate Housewives‘ second-season opener in September 2005.

Two and a Half Men provided a great lead-in for CBS’ new comedy 2 Broke Girls, which drew a 7.0/13 in 18-49 and 19.5 million viewers in its premiere behind Men before it moves to the 8:30 PM slot next week. (In the finals, the numbers were adjusted to a 7.1/16, 19.4 million). The comedy starring Kat Dennings posted the largest audience for a fall comedy debut in 10 years, since NBC’s Inside Schwartz, which launched behind mega-hit Friends.

And while Men is bound to steal all ratings headlines today, another veteran CBS comedy, How I Met Your Mother, also was off to a very hot start. It opened the night at 8 PM with a 4.7/13 in 18-49. That was the comedy’s highest-rated season premiere ever, up a whopping 31% from last fall, a surge rarely seen for a series in its seventh season. A second HIMYM episode at 8:30 PM rose even further to a 5.1/13 (5.2/13 in the finals). And if it starts to seem like the Two and a Half Men tide was lifting all the CBS boats last night, that wasn’t quite the case. Somewhat surprisingly, the second-season premiere of Hawaii Five-0 at 10 PM (3.4/8) was down 13% from its series debut last year despite having a lead-in twice as big as last fall’s. Two and a Half Men and CBS easily dominated the opening night of the 2011-12 season. But, because of the big curiosity factor associated with the public firing of former Men star Charlie Sheen and his replacement Kutcher, the show was expected to open well. The question is where it will settle when the novelty wears off. As for Sheen himself, we’re awaiting to see the ratings for his roast on Comedy Central, which also aired last night. (UPDATE: Comedy Central’s Roast Of Charlie Sheen Highest-Rated In Franchise History)

On the other broadcast networks last night, NBC’s The Playboy Club got off to a disappointing start with a 1.6/4 in 18-49 and 5 million viewers at 10 PM. It was down 30% from the premiere of NBC’s short-lived drama Chase in the same slot last year and did only a little better than last fall’s big flop, Fox’s Lone Star, which opened with a 1.3/3 and 4.1 million. The Playboy Club tied another short-lived show, Crusoe, as NBC’s lowest-rated fall drama premiere ever. The Playboy Club didn’t get much help from its lead-in, a two-hour The Sing-Off, which managed a 1.9/5 in the demo and 5.2 million viewers. (Chase had a stronger lead-in last year from The Event.) Sing-Off, whose only previous run was as a limited holiday series, was down 32% from its December debut to log the show’s lowest-rated telecast. Overall, NBC’s Monday lineup was down 30% from last fall, a troublesome sign for the network, which is looking to mount a ratings turnaround. Read More »

Comments 283

TNT Acquires Off-Network Rights To ‘Castle’

By | Wednesday June 8, 2011 @ 1:35pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: In the second high-profile drama off-network sale this year following TNT’s recent acquisition of Hawaii Five-0, TNT has picked up the rights to ABC’s crime dramedy Castle, which is heading into its fourth season in the fall. The … Read More »

Comments (11)

Ratings Rat Race: ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Leads ABC Against Finales

ABC’s Dancing With the Stars spoiled the party for a slew of shows offering their season finales Monday in primetime, drawing a preliminary 21.4 million viewers and a 4.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic. It provided a solid lead-in for the season finale of Castle, which got a 3.3 rating … Read More »

Comments (1)

RATINGS RAT RACE: CBS Hits Low; ‘Castle’, ‘Chicago Code’ Only Gainers Amid Declines

Nellie Andreeva

A competitive NBA playoff game on TNT that went into overtime, Miami vs. Boston, took a toll on the broadcast networks last night, with most series down from last week. The disintegration of CBS’ once-formidable Monday lineup continues. How Read More »

Comments 24

Ratings Rat Race: ‘House’, ‘Chicago Code’, ‘Mike & Molly’ & ‘Hawaii Five-0′ Hit Lows

Nellie Andreeva

CBS has got to fix its Monday 9 PM problem as it is starting to seriously impact the 9:30 PM and 10 PM shows. Last night, freshmen Mike & Molly (2.3/6) at 9:30 PM and Hawaii Five-0 (2.4/6) at 10 … Read More »

Comments 40

RATINGS RAT RACE: NCAA Championship Game, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Down

Nellie Andreeva

It was all about hoops and hoofs last night as the NCAA men’s basketball championship game and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars were the two main attractions, while  Univision (1.6/4 in adults 18-49) pulled off … Read More »

Comments (6)

RATINGS RAT RACE: ABC Easily Tops Rerun-Heavy Monday, Univision Third

Nellie Andreeva

ABC dominated Monday night with Dancing with the Stars and Castle. Dancing (5.1/14 in 18-49, 22.3 million in the fast-national Nielsen ratings) was flat with the fast-national ratings for its season premiere last week, as was Castle (3.3/8, 12.8 million). … Read More »

Comments (8)

RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Down, Slew Of Shows Hit Lows

Nellie Andreeva

The season premiere of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (5.1/15 in adults 18-49, 22.3 million viewers) was down 20% from the March premiere last year to rank as the show’s lowest-rated spring premiere since Season 2 in 2006. But vs. … Read More »

Comments (8)

RATINGS RAT RACE: ABC, CW And Fox Up, CBS Down, NBC Flat On Monday

Nellie Andreeva

After getting a ratings hit on Valentine’s Day, ABC’s female-friendly Monday lineup had a rebounded nicely last night. The Bachelor (3.3/9 in adults 18-49, 10.3 million viewers) was up 14% from last week in the demo for a season high. … Read More »

Comments 29

Ratings Rat Race: ‘Men’ Tops, ‘Mike & Molly’ Pops, ‘Mad Love’ Slow, ‘Chicago Code’ Down

Nellie Andreeva

Most programs were down last night, as overall TV viewership was impacted by the Valentine’s Day holiday. (Adult 18-49 TV usage was off by 6% from last week.) Most affected was Fox, which had gotten a post-Super Bowl boost last … Read More »

Comments (13)

RATINGS RAT RACE: ABC Wins Quiet Monday

Nellie Andreeva

Only ABC and Fox served originals last night. ABC’s The Bachelor (2.8/7 in adults 18-49) was on par with its season premiere last week, down just a tenth. Recently renewed dramedy Castle (2.1/5) was down 13%. ABC won the night … Read More »

Comments (2)

ABC Gives Early Renewal To Six Series

Nellie Andreeva

ABC has handed early pickups for next season to six scripted series: flagship comedy Modern Family and the other sophomore members of the network’s Wednesday comedy block, The Middle and Cougar Town, flagship drama Grey’s Anatomy, its spinoff Private PracticeRead More »

Comments 163
More Deadline | Hollywood »
« Previous Deadline | Hollywood