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TCA: Nina Tassler On Charlie Sheen Fiasco, Ashton Kutcher, ‘CSI’ & ‘Minds’ Spinoff

Nellie Andreeva

CBS Reveals Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Men’ Character’s Name And Background
During TCA’s CBS executive session, the network’s entertainment president Nina Tassler was asked about lessons the network has learned from the  Charlie Sheen debacle that culminated in his public firing. “Oh, where do I begin…,” she said. “What we learned is that we have an extraordinary cast — I was at the table red on Monday — we have extraordinary writers and actors, and there is a great value in hiring an actor like Ashton Kutcher, a talented, funny, gifted actor coming in with tremendous commitment and enthusiasm. What you learn is that the show is brilliantly written, extraordinary produced and you have the opportunity to move forward to create this exciting new character and do a great show.” She later added that Men will be as “smart, irreverent and risque” as it’s ever been. “Standards and Practices is already on high alert.” After the session, Tassler was asked to elaborate on her line from the Q&A that “you could cut the air with a knife” at the Monday table read. “The anticipation was great,” she said. “Hearing an actor utter the first line was a relief.” She also revealed that Men co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre opened the table read with what she described as “touching speech.” Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ Shows Year-To-Year Growth In Finale

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: The final ratings for American Idol are in. The star-studded finale posted a 9.2 rating in adults 18-49, up 12% from last year, and 29.3 million, up 21% from last year. Some 38.6 million tuned in between 10-10:07 PM when Scotty McCreery was crown the winner. It is still the first time in five years that the finale grew year-to-year among adults 18-49 and in three years among total viewers.  

PREVIOUS: Fox’s American Idol reversed the downward finale rating trend last night. The two-hour Season 10 closer drew a 8.9/25 in adults 18-49 and 28.2 million viewers in the fast nationals. That is up 9% in the demo and 17% in total viewers from last year’s finale, the first time in five years that the reality juggernaut has posted growth for the finale among adults 18-49 and in three years among total viewers. Because of a seven-minute overrun, which is not accounted for in the fast nationals, the American Idol numbers are expected to grow further in the finals, which will be available within the hour.

The only network to put up originals against the American Idol finale was ABC, which aired the season finales of the comedies that are returning next season. Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Idol’ Rules Wednesday

A two-hour American Idol on Fox gave the network a big win in the primetime ratings race Wednesday. The episode was the highest-rated and most-watched of the night by far with its 23 million viewers and 7.2 preliminary rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, the later number up slightly compared with last week’s 90-minute show.

On CBS, the season finale of Criminal Minds (3.3 demo rating) grew 6% from last year’s final episode (its 12.5 million viewers made it the second-most-watched show behind Idol), while the canceled Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.0) slid to its lowest-rated episode to date. On ABC, only The Middle (2.4) grew compared with its previous episode; Modern Family (4.0) was down 7%, Cougar Town (2.0) fell 13% and Happy Endings (1.6 and 1.3) dipped 6% and 7% in respective airings at 10 PM and 10:30 PM.

NBC’s Law & Order: SVU topped the 10 PM hour with a 2.8 rating, up 17% compared with last week. The CW featured the season finale of America’s Next Top Model (0.8).

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Better With You’ Fights For Its Life With 19% Ratings Jump

Nellie Andreeva

Bubble shows are getting their final chance to make a case for renewal this week, and ABC’s comedy Better with You did its best last night. The multi-camera comedy, considered a long shot for renewal, drew a 1.9/6 in adults 18-49, up 19% from last week for the biggest week-to-week gain among all programs last night. ABC’s Wednesday comedy block was up across the board last night except for the other series that needed it, freshman Happy Endings (1.7/4) at 10 PM, flat with last week despite a stronger lead-in. At 10:30 PM, the comedy pulled a 1.4/4, also even with last week. The Middle (2.1/7) was up 5%, Modern Family (4.2/11) up 8% and Cougar Town (2.4/6) up 9%.

Fox’s American Idol (6.9/20, 22.4 million) was up 8% from last week’s fast national demo number (because of Idol‘s rise in the finals, the apples-to-apples comparison is with its fast national results.) Breaking In (2.4/6) held steady, even with last week. The network once again won the night in all key measures. CBS’ Survivor: Redemption Island (3.0/9) was down a tenth from last week for a series low but may bounce back a tenth in the finals. Criminal Minds (3.3/9) was up a tenth while Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.1/6) was down 5%. Following a new Minute to Win It (0.9/3, down 10%) and a Minute to Win It repeat (1.1), which actually did better than the original, Law & Order: Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Happy Endings’ And ‘Criminal Behavior’ Drop Big Against ‘SVU’

Nellie Andreeva

After a promising 17% week-to-week ratings increase last week, ABC’s 10 PM comedy Happy Endings dropped alarmingly last night just as the networks are getting close to making their pickup decisions for next season. The midseason series (1.7/4) was down 19% from last week despite its lead-in, Cougar Town (2.2/6), being up a tenth. The difference? Happy Endings faced original competition in the 10 PM hour vs. repeats last week. The second Happy Endings original at 10:30 PM did worse, 1.4/4. Like Cougar Town, Better With You (1.6/5) was up a tenth from last week when both series followed repeats. A new The Middle (2.0/6) was up 5% from April 20, while a fresh Modern Family (3.8/10) was flat.

Law & Order: SVU‘s first original in a month, which guest starred John Stamos, did a 2.5/6, up a tenth from April 6. The veteran NBC crime drama won the 10 PM hour against ABC’s Happy Endings and CBS’ Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.2/6), which was also hit by facing a new SVU, down 15% from April 16. Criminal Minds (3.2/8) was down 8%, while Survivor: Redemption Island (3.0/9) was flat with its fast national number last week. (Both Survivor and Fox’s American Idol always rise in the finals, so comparing fast nationals to finals is not completely fair.)

Speaking of Idol (6.4/18, 24.8 million), the reality series was down 7% from its fast national demo result last week, once again dominating the night in 18-49 and total viewers. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Happy Endings’ Off To Slow Start, ‘Breaking In’ Drops In Week 2

Nellie Andreeva

ABC’s established comedies, Modern Family (3.8/10) and The Middle (1.8/6), returned with originals lower. Modern Family was down 14% from its last first-run episode March 23, The Middle down 10%. Sandwiched between them was Better With You (1.5/4), which aired its first original in more than a month, since March 2, and was down 12% from that. All three series hit season lows. In its quest to successfully launch a new comedy series, ABC is premiering two new hopefuls behind Modern Family this midseason. Following the short run of Mr. Sunshine, it was Happy Endings‘ turn last night. At 9:30 PM, the premiere of the new single-camera comedy drew a 2.7/7 in 18-49. That was down 27% from the debut of Mr. Sunshine in the slot and down 7% from the premiere of the short-lived comedy series Romantically Challenged last April. (Though thats series launched after Dancing with the Stars.) Also last night, ABC kicked off its three-hour Wednesday comedy block. A second new episode of Happy Endings in its regular 10 PM slot fetched a 2.3/6. It was followed by a Modern Family rerun (1.8/5).

Fox’s American Idol (7.1/20, 22.4 million viewers) once again dominated the competition. Its numbers were identical to the reality juggernaut’s fast nationals last week. (Idol always goes up in the finals.) Versus the comparable telecast last year, Idol was down 3% in 18-49 and up 9% in viewers. At 9:30 PM, new comedy Breaking In (2.8/7) … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ABC Freshman Series & ‘Survivor’ Hit Lows, Univision Third Again

Nellie Andreeva

A two-hour American Idol (7.5/21 in adults 18-49, 23.6 million viewers) delivered another dominating Wednesday win for Fox. The Top 11 performance show (redux) was down 5% from last week’s Top 11 performance episode and 1% in total viewers. But in the apples-to-apples comparison to last week’s fast national numbers for the show, which always climbs in the finals, Idol was down 3% in 18-49 and up a fraction in total viewers.

CBS’ Survivor: Redemption Island (2.9/9) was down 6% from last week and is the show’s lowest-rated regular telecast ever. Criminal Minds (3.4/9) was down 6% from its last original two weeks ago. With a new Criminal Minds as a lead-in vs. a repeat last week, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.3/5) was up 5%.

Following reruns of The Middle and Modern Family, Mr. Sunshine (1.4/4) was down a steep 33% from last week when it followed a new Modern Family for a new series low. Midseason drama Off the Map (1.3/4) was down 13% to tie its series low.

NBC aired a new Minute to Win It (1.1/3), down 8% from last week, a rerun Law & Order: SVU and a new SVU (2.4/6), down 8%.

For a second time this week, Univision finished third for the night in adults 18-49. Last night, it outpaced ABC and NBC.

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Survey: ‘Blue Bloods’ Most Commercial Of This Season’s New Series

By | Thursday March 31, 2011 @ 6:59am PDT

It might not be the sexiest of this year’s new U.S. shows, but Blood Bloods has proved the most commercial at home and internationally combined. The Tom Selleck cop show has topped a chart of how this season’s freshman shows have performed. Blue Bloods has sold around the world, and not just to tiny channels but to big ones like Sky Atlantic in the UK, Australia’s Network Ten and Discovery Latin America. Armando Nunez, president CBS Studios International, has told TV trade Television Business International, “It’s perhaps not as sexy to talk about, but it has proven a success both on the network and in terms of global distribution.” TBI is due to publish its survey of U.S. network pick-ups Monday. Indeed, CBS’ strategy of showing procedurals might hug the shore creatively, but it has paid off globally. Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, another CBS procedural, is in second place. Says Nunez, “The road is littered with pilots and broken series and high concepts that didn’t work. We are in broadcasting.”

The Event, NBC Universal’s mystery sci-fi show, would probably have been cancelled by now has it not sold so strongly around the world, TBI deputy editor Peter White tells me. NBC Universal sold The Event to more than 200 territories early on, and it has gone on to have a full U.S. season. Of course, some of this year’s new shows still haven’t aired yet, including Fox’s Terra Nova, due to air … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Middle’ & ‘Survivor’ Hit Lows

Nellie Andreeva

Fox’s two-hour American Idol performance show (7.7/22 in adults 18-49, 23.5 million viewers) was up 1% from last week in 18-49 and 4% in total viewers. Vs. the same week last year, Idol was down a modest 8% in the demo. Fox dominated Wednesday night in 18-49 and total viewers.

In its first original airing in Daylight Saving Time, ABC’s 8 PM comedy The Middle (2.0/6) was down 13% from its last fresh episode on March 2 to hit a season low. Following a Middle repeat at 8:30 PM, Modern Family (4.3/12) was actually up 2% from its most recent original on March 2. With a new Modern Family as a lead-in vs. a rerun last week, Mr. Sunshine (2.2/6) was up 22% from last week. But vs. the last time Mr. Sunshine followed a new Modern Family original, the Matthew Perry-starring midseason comedy was down 13%. Boosted by a stronger lead-in from Mr. Sunshine, ABC’s midseason drama Off the Map (1.5/4) at 10 PM was up 15%.

CBS’ reality veteran Survivor (3.0/9) was down 6% from last week to a series low. Following a Criminal Minds repeat (2.1/6), midseason drama Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.2/6) was down 12% from last week when it had an original lead-in. It was beat in the 10 PM hour by NBC’s veteran Law & Order: SVU (2.6/7), which was up 8% from its most recent original on Feb. 23. Like the Criminal Minds spinoff, Law Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Idol’ Slips But Still Dominates

Nellie Andreeva

With a two-hour American Idol (7.4/21 in adults 18-49, 24.9 million viewers), Fox easily won last night in 18-49 and total viewers. Versus last Wednesday’s performance show, Idol was down 9% in the demo. (All week-to-week comparisons this week are probably affected by the switch to daylight saving time. TV use in the 8-10 slot last night was down 4% from last week.) Compared with the comparable telecast last year, Idol was down also 9% in 18-49.

The time shift also likely impacted the rest of the 8 PM shows last night. CBS’ Survivor: Redemption Island (3.1/10) was down a tenth from last week for a new series low; NBC’s Minute to Win It (0.9/3) was down 10%, also for a series low; and the CW’s America’s Next Top Model (0.8/3) was down 27%. (ABC aired comedy repeats in the 8 PM hour.)

CBS’ Criminal Minds (3.6/10) was flat with its most recent original two weeks ago, while its spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.6/7) shot up 18% with an original Minds as a lead-in versus a repeat last week. Following a Modern Family repeat, midseason ABC comedy Mr. Sunshine (1.8/5) was flat with last week and tied a series low. Ditto for midseason drama Off the Map (1.4/4) at 10 PM. NBC aired Law & Order: SVU repeats at 9 PM and 10 PM.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: With Established Lead-Ins In Repeat, Midseason Series Slip

Nellie Andreeva

With most of its main competition in repeats, Fox’s American Idol does feel like the only game in town these days. Last night’s two-hour Top 13 performance show (8.0/22 in adults 18-49, 24.2 million viewers) dominated, up 3% in 18-49 and 6% in total viewers from last Wednesday’s performance show. Versus the comparable telecast last season, Idol was off by just 1% in the demo and up 6% in total viewers. (See Reinventing Idol: Will the Reality Veteran Finish Up In the Ratings Without Simon?)

Against Idol, CBS’ Survivor, just renewed for next season, drew the second-highest rating of the night, a 3.2/9 in 18-49, down 3% from last week. With Criminal Minds a repeat, spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.2/6) was down 15% from last week (when it had an original lead-in) for a series low.

Similarly, following a Modern Family repeat, new comedy Mr. Sunshine (1.8/5) was down 25% and is now tracking below Cougar Town in the slot. At 10 PM, struggling new medical drama Off the Map (1.4/4) was down 18% from last week for a series low. (ABC aired The Middle repeats in the 8 PM hour.)

CW’s America’s Next Top Model (2.3 million, 1.3/4 in 18-34) perked up, up 18% from last week in the demo and posting its largest audience this season. Top Model also beat an original of NBC’s Minute to Win It in 18-49 (1.1 vs. 1.0) to finish fourth in that demo … Read More »

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RATINGS RATE RACE: Solid Debut For ‘Criminal Minds’ Spinoff, ‘Survivor’ Premiere Hurt By ‘Idol’, ‘Mr. Sunshine’ Takes Dive

Nellie Andreeva

The premiere of CBS’ Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior drew a 3.3 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 12.9 million viewers last night. It dominated the 10 PM hour, built slightly on its lead-in, mothership Criminal Minds series (3.2/9, 12.8 million) and ranked as CBS’ top-rated program of the night. Vs. the premiere of The Defenders in the same slot in September, Suspect Behavior was up 14% in the demo.

CBS’ Survivor was impacted by its new regular competition, Fox’s American Idol. The debut of Survivor: Redemption Island (3.2/9, 11.2 million), the first season premiere of the veteran reality show to face Idol, was down 29% from the show’s spring premiere last season in its old Thursday 8 PM slot. It was Survivor‘s lowest-rated opener and lowest-rated regular telecast ever.  Survivor didn’t go down without a fight. It dinged Idol a bit, with the 8-9 PM portion of the singing competition slipping 14% from last Wednesday.

Fox’s American Idol aired a two-hour episode (8.1/23, 22.8 million), which was down 4% from last week’s hourlong show. Vs. the comparable episode last season, Idol was down 21% but that episode was highly promoted as it featured the debut of Ellen DeGeneres as new judge. Extending Idol from an hour to two-hour this week pushed the 9 PM shows down. For instance, Criminal Minds was down 11%.

Read More »

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CBS Announces Mid-Season Schedule: ‘Mad Love’ To Monday And ‘Chaos’ To Friday

Nellie Andreeva

My colleague Michael Ausiello already scooped CBS’ biggest scheduling change this midseason: freshman cop family drama Blue Bloods will get a four-week trial run in the Wednesday 10 PM slot beginning Jan. 19, while the current occupant of the Wednesday 10 PM time period, freshman legal dramedy The Defenders, will relocate to the Friday 8 PM berth on Feb. 4, following the series finale of veteran paranormal drama Medium. No surprise in the launch strategy for CBS’ midseason drama Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, which will succeed Blue Bloods in the Wednesday 10 PM slot beginning Feb. 16 when Blue Bloods will return to its Friday 10 PM home. The Criminal Minds spinoff was widely expected to air behind the mothership series the way NCIS: LA follows NCIS on Tuesday. But somewhat unexpected was the harsh treatment of CBS’ other midseason drama series Chaos. CBS brass fought hard for the series, whose midseason pickup originally fell through after a deal with producing studio 20th Century Fox TV could not be reached. The project was later resurrected, picked up and made a co-production with CBS TV Studios. But now, the comedic drama about a group of rogue CIA spies has been assigned the tough Friday 8 PM slot where it will succeed The Defenders on April 1 when the freshman will have completed its reduced first-season order. (I’m sure the producers of the series starring Freddy Rodriguez are hoping … Read More »

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It’s Official: Double ‘Criminal Minds’ Duty For Kirsten Vangsness Next Season

Nellie Andreeva

kirsten_vangsness‘Criminal Minds’ Co-Star Kirsten Vangsness To Reprise Her Role On ‘Minds’ Spinoff?

I hear Criminal Minds co-star Kirsten Vangsness’ deal is done and she will be a regular both on the main series and on its upcoming spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, playing FBI computer analyst Penelope Garcia.

UPDATE: CBS just issued a press release confirming Vangsness’ deal:

LOS ANGELES – July 19, 2010 — Kirsten Vangsness, who stars as Penelope Garcia in the CBS drama CRIMINAL MINDS, will also join the midseason series CRIMINAL MINDS: SUSPECT BEHAVIOR as a series regular.  Garcia, a computer wizard who helps research cases, will play the same role and support the “Suspect Behavior” BAU team headed up by Special Agent Sam Cooper, played by Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker.

“In reality, the real BAU teams share analysts, so it made sense for us to combine the positions on TV,” explained CRIMINAL MINDS: SUSPECT BEHAVIOR Executive Producer Chris Mundy.  “On a personal note, Kirsten is amazing, both personally and professionally.  Her talent will make our new series that much better both on screen and behind the scenes.”

“I’m super excited to be invited onto the series,” said Vangsness.  “The cast is astounding and I love playing this character.”

CRIMINAL MINDS: SUSPECT BEHAVIOR will star Forest Whitaker, Janeane Garofolo, Matt Ryan, Michael Kelly and Beau Garrett. CRIMINAL MINDS and CRIMINAL MINDS: SUSPECT BEHAVIOR are produced by ABC Television Studios in association with CBS Television Studios.  The executive producers are Chris Mundy, Edward

Read More »

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‘Criminal Minds’ Co-Star Kirsten Vangsness To Reprise Her Role On ‘Minds’ Spinoff?

Nellie Andreeva

kirsten_vangsnessEXCLUSIVE: Quirky FBI computer technician Penelope Garcia may be pulling a double duty this coming season. I hear that CBS has approached Criminal Minds co-star Kirsten Vangsness to also appear on the upcoming Criminal Minds spinoff, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, on a regular or recurring basis. The network is already employing such cross-pollinating on NCIS and its spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles. Rocky Carroll, regular on the original series, also recurs on the spinoff, playing the same character, NCIS director Leon Vance.

With her multi-colored hair, sassy attitude and street smarts, Garcia is one of the standout characters on Criminal Minds with devoted following. The network no doubt hopes her popularity among Criminal Minds fans would give a boost to the new series, slated to launch in midseason. Because of the mostly stationary setup – her character spends most of her time behind her computer desk – I hear Vangsness usually works one day a week on the mothership series and could fit in filming scenes for the spinoff too. Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior stars Forest Whitaker as Cooper, a former star profiler in the Behavioral Analysis Unit who now runs a team that exists outside of FBI bureaucracy. Janeane Garofalo recently joined the cast of the series as a new female lead, a highly competent FBI agent on Cooper’s team.

Criminal Minds made headlines last month with the network’s decision not to pick up series regular A.J. Cook, who will wrap up her character’s … Read More »

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