On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 2:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

networklogosIt is very difficult for showrunners to wrap production on a season without knowing if their series would get another season. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the network business, and about two dozen shows go though that every year. Here is a look at each network’s comedy and drama series in peril and their odds for survival.

With all the drama carnage at ABC this season (Lucky 7, Betrayal, Killer Women, Mind Games, The Assets), the network is pretty lean on the hourlong side, and all shows currently on the air have a good shot at coming back. agents of shieldThat includes two freshman series, fall drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., despite slipping in the ratings, and midseason entry Resurrection. Of returning dramas, there is no doubt about renewals for Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy, especially with stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey signed on, and Scandal, as well as Castle and Once Upon A Time. While it was heavily on the bubble last season, country music drama Nashville appears in a stronger position this spring and looks likely to continue. And, despite its ratings erosion, Revenge remains a signature, upscale drama for ABC that the network also owns. Because of its heavy mythology with a revenge storyline that has been central to the show since the pilot, it is unlikely that ABC would abruptly end the series without giving it a final chapter to wrap things up.

Things are far murkier on the comedy side where there are three shoe-ins, anchors Modern Family and The Middle and freshman The Goldbergs. None of these hail from ABC’s sister studio, and building a steady comedy pipeline at ABC Studios has been important for the overall health of the company. There are three ABC Studios-produced comedy series on ABC at the moment, all on the bubble: freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology and sophomore The Neighbors. The network will likely renew at least one comedy from its own studio. (Last year, it picked The Neighbors vs. 20th TV’s How To Live With Your Parents.) Of the three, Trophy Wife seems to have the biggest support and is the most promotable, with KATE SIMSES, ADAM CAMPBELLa star cast led by Malin Akerman and Bradley Whitford. But the name cast also makes Trophy Wife the most expensive, and its ratings are pretty soft. The Neighbors, which comes from prominent Disney writer Dan Fogelman, costs way less, and, while only doing so-so on Fridays, it could deliver something ABC Studios has not seen in a while: a third-year comedy. (Fogelman also has comedy pilot Galavant in the running at ABC.) Then there is Mixology, which has not done well behind Modern Family. It stands out with its unusual structure — set in a bar over the course of one night — it has quickly built a core fan base and has supporters at ABC. But relaunching a heavily serialized comedy in the fall four months after a brief midseason run would be a challenge and growing ratings for such a show with a continues storyline would be very difficult. ABC has a recent history of sticking with narrow, quirky relationship comedies like Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- but all were eventually cancelled. 20th TV’s Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen is quietly wrapping its third season. It has done a decent job as a Friday 8 PM anchor and is ABC’s only multi-camera series. With several high-proile multi-camera pilots, the network could use Last Man Standing as a building block. (How about Allen paired with another comedy vet, Henry Winkler of The Winklers?). Read More »

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David Letterman Talks About Phoning Les Moonves And The Real Reason He’s Quitting: Video

After yesterday’s face-slap announcement that he will retire next year, David Letterman told his Late Show audience tonight, “A year from now, I’ll be on a beach with a metal detector.” He also mentioned getting an unexpected response when he called CBS chief Leslie Moonves to tell … Read More »

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New York Gov. Cuomo Makes Top-10 List For Retiring David Letterman

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 12:15pm PDT

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Gives Annual State Of State AddressNew York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who came under fire for that hefty tax incentive the state gave NBC to bring the Tonight show back to Manhattan  — handing over free money to NBC-parent Comcast, critics called it — this morning issued an official:

GOVERNOR CUOMO’S TOP TEN LIST OF REASONS WHY DAVID LETTERMAN IS A NEW YORK LEGEND

10. He has spent more time in the Ed Sullivan Theatre than Ed Sullivanletterman__131004184514 and the Beatles combined.

9. He has made more than 4,500 top ten lists.

8. He continued the Ed Sullivan Theatre’s legacy as a true New York icon by taping more than 4,000 shows at this world-renowned landmark.

7. He helped New York heal by being the first late night talk show host to come back on the air after September 11, 2001.

6. He contributed to keeping New Yorkers working by giving Paul Shaffer a steady job.
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UPDATE: David Letterman Ends An Era, Announcing He Will Retire In 2015

UPDATED THROUGHOUT, 7:35 PM: CBS late-night star David LettermanDavid Letterman Retiring Late Night With David Letterman surprised his studio audience this afternoon when he announced he is retiring in 2015. “The man who owns this network, Leslie Moonves, he and I have had a relationship for years and years and years, and we have had this conversation in the past, and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance. And I phoned him just before the program, and I said ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, and the network has been great, but I’m retiring,’” Letterman told his Ed Sullivan Theatre crowd, who reacted with stunned silence. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Letterman only notified Moonves this morning.

Related:
David Letterman Through The Years: Video
Watch David Letterman Announce His Retirement Read More »

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LA Mayor Urges CBS To Bring Letterman Successor’s Show To West Coast

President Obama Announces First Five "Promise Zones" To Battle PovertyBurbank may have recently lost NBC’s The Tonight Show to NYC after 40 years, but LA’s mayor now wants CBS to make the City of Angels the home of the replacement to Late Show With David Letterman. In a letter today to CBS boss Les Moonves after David Letterman announced that he will retire next year, Mayor Eric Garcetti urged him “to bring CBS’ next late night show to our city.” With shows and features deserting LA in droves in the past decade, Garcetti has made stabilizing and increasing film & TV production in the city a TCA Summer Press Tour 2013top priority for his still fairly new administration. The mayor created a Film Czar office and has been advocating an expansion of California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. Having said that, LA still has some late-night skin in the game with Letterman’s lead-out Craig Ferguson, Conan O’Brien’s TBS show, Arsenio Hall, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, but getting CBS to set down more post-primetime roots here would be a real though unlikely coup for the city post-Letterman. Here is Garcetti’s full letter to Moonves:

Related:
L.A. Mayor, Production Alliance Cheer New Film/TV Tax Credit Legislation
Watch David Letterman Announce His Retirement
David Letterman Through The Years: Video

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UPDATE: Watch David Letterman’s Full Announcement Of His Retirement

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 5:44pm PDT

UPDATED, with video of full announcement: David Letterman stunned his Late Show studio audience today when he abruptly announced that he will retire next year. He began by telling the studio crowd he will be celebrating his 67th birthday in about a week (April 12), … Read More »

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Who Will Inherit David Letterman’s Late-Night Seat? (Slideshow)

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 5:05pm PDT

Letterman Late Night Replacements

Related:
David Letterman Through The Years: Video
Watch David Letterman Announce His Retirement

Unlike NBC, with its Tonight Show host training camp (aka SNL) and clear heir apparent in Jimmy Fallon, CBS does not have as evident a line of succession for David Letterman‘s late-night throne — though Craig Ferguson hosts CBS’ other late-night program which, like Late Show, is produced by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants (it’s now a co-production with CBS). He has a succession clause in his contract, but that contract is set to expire this summer. Presumably, he’d seek the same in his next contract. Should CBS balk, the network might find itself looking for two late-night hosts within months of each other — which would be tough, and not the image of stability CBS has so carefully cultivated. Additionally, Ferguson has won a Peabody Award for his show and has hosted the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and that kind of prestige appeals to Moonves. Regardless, almost immediately after Letterman announced on his show tonight he’s stepping down sometime in 2015, The Reporters Who Cover Television began playing The Replacement Game. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert name keeps popping up; he’s said to be well-liked by CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves and, with his contract coming up in mid-2015, Colbert could be available if his network does not sign him to a new contract by the time Letterman bows out. Ditto Comedy Central’s Jon Stewartwhose contract also is set to expire at around the same time and who, years ago, was under option at CBS as that network was looking for a Late Late Show host – CBS went instead with then-Daily Show host Craig Kilborn. (Ferguson won the companion-show gig, from a slew of auditioners, after the network threw in the towel on Kilborn.) Some sources speculated the April Fools’ Day job-swap of Ferguson and CBS’ Price Is Right host Drew Carey might actually have been Carey’s first late-night audition at the network. Others on the list are known to be looking for employment elsewhere – like E!’s Chelsea Handler, who has said her show will be toast at the end of the year because the network has become a “sad, sad place.” Another name that popped up this afternoon: Neil Patrick Harris, the versatile How I Met Your Mother star who has demonstrated a knack for talk shows when he sat in with Kelly Ripa on her syndicated daytime talker and is highly regarded at the network for his stints hosting the Tony and Emmy Awards. And don’t forget Louis C.K., who during the third season of his FX series was offered a chance to take over Letterman’s show by the head of CBS (played by Gary Marshall) — until everything goes wrong for Louie, and Letterman re-ups for 10 years and declares his wannabe replacement persona non grata. Read More »

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Danielle Nicolet Joins ‘Good Session’; Natasha Henstridge To Recur On ‘Selfie’; David Paymer In ‘Red Zone’

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 4:15pm PDT

Danielle Nicolet (Family Tools) hasNicolet1 joined the cast of CBS’ single-camera comedy pilot Good Session. Written by John Hamburg and Matt Miller and directed by Hamburg, the project revolves around a happy couple, Joel (James Roday) and Lindsay, who go to a therapist (Tracey Ullman) to help them decide if they should have a baby but quickly discover they have more to discuss. Nicolet will play Andrea Fisher, the no-nonsense, straight-talking wife of Joel’s best friend Seth (Rich Sommer). Nicolet, repped by Innovative Artists and KLWGN, most recently recurred on BET’s The Game.

Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
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‘HIMYM’ Co-Creator Craig Thomas Tweets Effusively Before, During And After Series Finale

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 8:48am PDT

himymfinaleAmong the many advantages of Twitter over, say, the Emmys as a public platform, is that while you may not walk away with a statuette, there is no pesky music cutting you off as you run through the list of people you’d like to thank for their support over the years. This How I Met Your Mother co-creator Craig Thomas took full advantage of that last night, as his long-running CBS comedy came to a close with a decisive demo win in its one-hour time slot. Thomas’ many exuberant tweets included:

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‘How I Met Your Mother’ Building To A Big Online Finale Too

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 7:00pm PDT

How I Met Your Mother, the slow-burn CBS comedy that turned into a somewhat unlikely hit before wrapping up tonight, also became a social-media power in recent years, setting up tonight’s finale episode as occasion for yet another online blizzard of goodbyes.

Related: ‘HIMYM’ Finale Outrun By Social Media

HIMYM Farewell Mosaic page screen cap

HIMYM Farewell Page

CBS has encouraged that sort of growth with a series of clever fan interactions, like sprinkling photographic clues on Facebook about the identity of the mother in last season’s run-up to her big reveal episode. Just after the episode ended, CBS posted a followup, with the hashtag #WeMetTheMother, that reached 13 million people on Facebook, according to the network.

Related: Cobie Smulders Talks ‘HIMYM’ On Letterman: Video

This year, ahead of the finale, the company launched a hashtag on its own website, #HIMYMFanFarewell. Fans were asked to post farewell messages to the show using that hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Vine and other platforms. Then the company aggregated a mosaic of those posts on a (sponsored) page on CBS.com. Check it out. It’s an interesting gimmick, and the car sponsorship that’ll pay for it all is a smart thing too.

Related: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Gains Ratings Momentum

The network also set up a “guestbook” page for last week’s wedding episode, so fans could RSVP for the wedding and leave their well-wishes for the couple. The network says it’s all paying off with better ratings this last season, up 3 to 4 percent in overall and younger demographics (it’s the network’s youngest-skewing show). And online streams of the show on CBS.com are up double digits this year, though the network didn’t specify by how much.

HIMYM 3seasons Social Media graphic

And this isn’t just the network bragging here. We checked in with our friends over at RelishMIX, an independent consulting firm that analyzes fan social-media engagement through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube with TV shows and movies. In its last three seasons, HIMYM’s fan engagement online jumped nearly 85 percent across the Big Three social-media sites, according to RelishMIX.

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The Quiet Ground Breaker: How ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Pushed The Sitcom Form & Was Saved By Britney Spears

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 4:10pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

On How I Met Your Mother‘s last day of production a month ago, Dana Walden — chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox TV, which produces the long-running series — HIMYM Finalewas meeting with the big boss, 21st Century Fox chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, in his office. She mentioned HIMYM was wrapping that day and, in the middle of their meeting Murdoch said, “I want to go over and say hallo.” He walked to the set and thanked creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, the cast and the crew “for all of the great work they have done.” “For a show to provoke that kind of response from Rupert, it speaks to how important that show has been to the company,” Walden said.

If such a gesture from the head of a global conglom might come as a surprise, it is probably because HIMYM, which wraps its nine-season run tonight on CBS, has flown largely under the radar. HIMYM hasn’t been a blockbuster ratings hit like The Big Bang Theory, hasn’t made headlines with a record-breaking syndication cbs-logo__120711164808__121116195436__130108233101__130716162250__130926192712__131121001522deal like 2 Broke Girls, and hasn’t been an awards darling like Modern Family, never landing an Emmy in the major categories. But it broke ground, pushing the limits of the traditional multi-camera sitcom with a new production model and heavy serialization that helped it attract younger (18-34) viewers, something very few multi-cam comedies have been able to do in the past decade as young audiences have been largely shunning the format in favor of edgier single-camera fare.

Multi-camera comedies had tried employing shorter scenes before, most notably NBC’s Seinfeld. But Bays and Thomas’ pilot script for How I Met Your Mother called for a pace that had not been achieved before. It included a whopping 59 scenes, plus freeze frames with narration, whip pans, a split screen scene and a montage. That’s not how you normally see in a multi-camera sitcom, which is what CBS had bought in HIMYM. But then, Carter and Bays didn’t quite know normal. The young writers were recent transplants to Los Angeles and primetime after a stint at CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman. They had only worked for a couple of very short-lived comedy series and had never developed before HIMYM. “This was new to them, and they didn’t know the limitations of what they can and cannot do, so they wrote what was in their heads,” Walden said. Read More »

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Networks Interrupt Programming To Cover 5.1 Earthquake And Aftershocks; Disneyland Shuts Down Rides

By | Friday March 28, 2014 @ 10:23pm PDT

CBS QuakeThe local TV networks went into quake mode tonight — but not immediately. KCBS, KNBC and KABC continued with their regular 9 PM programming after a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck the Southland at 9:09 PM. KCAL 9 did go live … Read More »

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Dorian Brown & Mouzam Makkar Join ‘Sober Companion’; Ana Nogueira In ‘Good Session’

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 11:16am PDT

Dorian Brown (Wilfred) mouzam2dorianbrown11and Mouzam Makkar (Communicators) have landed female leads in Fox comedy pilot Sober Companion. Written/exec produced by David S. Rosenthal & Jennie Snyder Urman, Sober CompanionRead More »

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Aereo Blasts Broadcasters In Supreme Court Response Brief

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 7:11pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEAereo may have agreed with broadcasters late last year that the best venue for their ongoing legal “war of attrition” is the Supreme Court. But as today’s response brief (read it here) to the plaintiffs reveals, that’s all the two sides agree on in this caseAereo-logo__130126232434-200x206__131008001115__131212200214. “This Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from lawful and logical advancements in technology or from the economic consequences of their transmitting works for free over the public airwaves,” said the Barry Diller-backed subscription streaming service in its filing today at the SCOTUS. “The ‘one-to-one’ transmissions from Aereo’s equipment – individual transmissions from personal recordings created from data received by individual antennas – do not constitute ‘public’ performances,” the dense, 100-page brief also noted one of the broadcasters’ primary complaints about the company. With the high court scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case on late next month, Aereo now must send in an amicus curiae brief of its own by April 2.

Related: Would The Supreme Court Upend The TV Business If It Sides With Aereo?

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John Cusack To Appear In His Wall Street Drama Pilot At CBS

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 6:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

John Cusack will guest star in his untitled CBS untitled cusackkWall Street drama pilot. Set in the world of Wall Street power and money, the project centers on Jackson (Charlie Cox), a smart, sophisticated hedge fund trader. Cusack will … Read More »

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CBS Marketing Ups Mitch Cardwell To VP Digital Content & Design

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 3:55pm PDT

mitch cardwell1Mitch Cardwell is moving up to the VP role after having served as Director of Digital Content and Design since 2010. The move was announced today by Garen van de Beek, EVP/Creative Director, CBS Marketing. In his new position, Cardwell … Read More »

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Debra Jo Rupp & Andrea Anders To Co-Star In CBS Comedy Pilot ‘Cuz-Bros’

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 12:14pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

andreaandersruppEXCLUSIVE: That ’70s Show alumna Debra Jo Rupp and Andrea Anders have joined Geoff Stults in CBS’ multi-camera odd couple comedy pilot Cuz-Bros, from writers David … Read More »

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UPDATE: David Letterman Talks ‘The Good Wife’ Shocker (Video)

By | Monday March 24, 2014 @ 4:33pm PDT

SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know, don’t keep reading.

UPDATE, 4:29 PM: “What the hell happened?” David Letterman says tonight of Sunday’s The Good Wife episode, calling it a “very courageous thing to do,” and adding, “moves like this always pay off. I think they’re always for the better.” Watch here: Read More »

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‘The Good Wife’ Creators Pen Letter To Fans After Shocking Plot Twist

By | Monday March 24, 2014 @ 12:08am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

kings-large_0With fans still reeling from the bombshell event on The Good Wife tonight, the show’s creators/showrunners Michelle and Robert King have reached out to them with a letter, in which they lay down the professional and personal reasons for their creative decision.

Related: ‘Good Wife’ Bombshell: Story Behind The Shocking Exit, Showrunners Speak

Read it below if you have seen tonight’s episode and/or don’t mind getting spoiler-ed. Read More »

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