Fox and CBS had the primetime field all to themselves with all original lineups against predominantly repeat competition. Fox’s The X Factor Top 4 performance show (3.4/9) was up a tenth from the fast national for last week’s episode, even with the final. New multi-camera comedy I Hate My Teenage Daughter continues to fade, down 10% from last week to a 1.9/5.
The penultimate episode of CBS’ Survivor: South Pacific (3.1/9) was down 6% from last week. Criminal Minds (3.4/9) was flat, while CSI (3.0/8, 12.8 million) spiked 20% and drew its largest audience since the season premiere. CBS (3.1/8, 11.9 million) won the night in 18-49 and total viewers, edging Fox (3.0/8, 9.3 million) in the demo. The only other original offering on the broadcast networks last night was ABC’s Barbara Walters: 10 Most Fascinating People Of 2011 with the Kardashians (2.3/6), which was down 28% from last year.
This is a pretty big get for CBS, which has been trying to lure Elisabeth Shue for years. The actress, an Oscar nominee for Leaving Las Vegas, is joining the cast of CBS’ veteran crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as the new female lead opposite Ted Danson. Shue will play the newest CSI, fresh off an anger management course, amid rumors that D.B. Russell (Danson) fired her when she worked for him in Seattle. She will succeed Marg Helgenberger, who is departing her full-time gig on CSI in January but is expected to return for occasional guest sports, reprising her role as Catherine Willows. Shue, who will make her first appearance in the Feb. 15 episode, will be a new regular on CSI, her first major series role since she co-starred on the short-lived 1984 ABC drama Call To Glory, produced by Paramount Television, the predecessor to CSI producer CBS TV Studios. Shue’s biggest TV stint since then had been a two-episode arc on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, though she has been getting pilot offers by the networks every year, with CBS particularly aggressive in its pursuit of the Hollow Man and The Karate Kid actress. The casting of Shue completes a lead overhaul on CSI, now in its 12th season. The series, which started off with William Petersen and Helgenberger as the stars and had Helgenberger subsequently partner with Laurence Fishburne and Ted Danson, will now have 2 … Read More »
CBS chief Les Moonves joined the chorus of media execs telling analysts today that they aren’t feeling any pain from the anemic economy. “We don’t see a slowdown,” he told the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference. Ad pricing in the TV scatter market is strong, he says. Also, “people who bought (ads) in the upfront are increasing their orders.” Even radio and billboards are holding up. Indeed, Moonves expects the television network to be “very much in demand in the first quarter. Our schedule is very strong. The other guys have a lot of new shows. I know we’re the boring network, but we’re the stable network and we just win.” Stations also will benefit from what he says will be a record level of spending for the 2012 elections. “It may not be good for the country, but it’s going to b good for CBS.” Read More »
After 12 years at CBS TV Studios, Anthony E. Zuiker, creator and executive producer of the CSI franchise, is moving into a new TV home. Zuiker has signed a three-year first-look deal with ABC Studios for his company, Dare to Pass. Under the pact, which starts immediately, Zuiker will be partnering on developing new scripted series with ABC Studios-based Brillstein Entertainment Partners, which recently reupped its deal with the studio for 2 more years. Zuiker has strong ties to the company as his longtime manager, Margaret Riley, works there. He also developed a project with Brillstein last season. Riley and recently appointed Brillstein Television’s President Joann Alfano will serve as Executive Producers alongside Zuiker on the projects he and Brillstein TV do jointly. With CBS having so few needs because of its solid schedule, “I just felt that to do something different, I had to go on different journey and possibly take the option of leaving,” Zuiker said. He met with several studios but quickly settled on ABC Studios where he will work with the studio’s new creative head Patrick Moran. “Patrick and his team were very passionate about character and about character-based procedural,” said Zuiker, adding that he is already working on ideas in the character-based procedural and crime arenas.
Zuiker is still keeping in touch with his CSI cohorts (he had some conversations with the producers of the mothership series over the search of replacement of Laurence … 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 »
So the world’s #1 television franchise is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The CBS/CBS TV Studios/CBS Studios International/Jerry Bruckheimer TV show was presented with the International Television Audience Award for a Drama TV Series at the 51st Monte Carlo TV Festival. It’s the fourth time that the series has been given this honor in the past six years based on stats from Eurodata TV Worldwide for the highest ratings worldwide in 2010 across five continents. This fall, the show is moving to Wednesdays on the U.S. network for the first time in its 11 years on air.
EXCLUSIVE: After two-and-a-half seasons, Laurence Fishburne is leaving CSI. The Oscar-nominated actor’s deal on the show was up and he opted not to renew it. He is expected to return to features full-time. It was a major coup for CBS to land Fishburne as a successor to original star William Petersen who left the series in December 2008. But when he last renewed his contract for CSI last May, Fishburne only did it for one season. After ten-and-a-half seasons as CBS’ Thursday 9 PM anchor, CSI is moving to Wednesday 10 PM this fall. I hear CBS and the veteran crime drama’s producers were not surprised by Fishburne’s decision. “Nobody expected him to be on the show for 7 years, it’s Laurence Fishburne,” one insider said. Fishburne will next be seen in Steven Soderbergh’s thriller Contagion. With Fishburne gone and Marg Helgenberger only returning part-time, CSI is in a similar position to another veteran crime procedural, Law & Order: SVU where Chris Meloni left and Mariska Hargitay is coming back but not full-time.
This February marked the 10th anniversary of CBS’ overnight transformation into a major player on Thursday with the successful relocation there of Survivor and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. But, after nine and a half seasons, Survivor was pulled from the Thursday 8 PM slot at the beginning of this season, when CBS opened a comedy block on the night anchored by The Big Bang Theory. Will CBS continue the rejuvenation of its Thursday lineup by replacing longtime anchor CSI this year? As usual, CBS is mum on its scheduling plans, but the buzz is that this may be the year that CSI vacates TV’s most lucrative night. CBS laid the groundwork for such a move last year. With the very risky decision to uproot red-hot Monday comedy The Big Bang Theory to Thursday to launch a comedy block, the network understandably opted for stability on the rest of the night, keeping its 9-11 PM drama block of CSI and The Mentalist intact. But now that the network has established a foothold on the night with Big Bang, it can focus on rebuilding the rest of the lineup, most importantly, addressing the continuous ratings decline of CSI, which hit several series lows this season. Also helping the case for a change is the fact that neither of the other Big 4 made a move at 9 PM, leaving three aging shows — ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Fox’s Bones and NBC’s The Office — vulnerable to assault by an upstart. Read More »
Elisabeth Harnois, who co-starred on CBS’ Miami Trauma, will be joining the cast of another CBS/Jerry Bruckheimer drama as a regular, the mothership CSI series. She was originally signed to guest star in the May 5 episode as the estranged daughter of Conrad Ecklie (Marc Vann), who works for the Los Angeles Police Department and helps the Las Vegas crew hunt down serial killer Nate Haskell (Bill Irwin). Read More »
After the dramatic American Idol results show last week featuring the elimination of 11 semifinalists, which shot up 15% from the week before and 30% from last year, the show came back to Earth last night with a respectable showing as broadcasters faced big NBA games on TNT. The hourlong first Top 13 elimination round drew 21.7 million viewers and a 6.5/19 in 18-49. That was down 21% in the demo from last week’s highly rated two-hour episode but down only 4% in the demo and up 6% in total viewers vs. the corresponding telecast last season. At 9 PM, Bones (3.4/10) was up 3% from its last original Feb. 17. Fox dominated the night in viewers and 18-49.
CBS, the only other network to air originals, showed gains. The Big Bang Theory (3.8/11) was flat with its last original two weeks ago, but Rules of Engagement (2.8/8) perked up with a 17% ratings increase vs. last week when it followed a repeat Big Bang. CSI (3.1/9) was up 15% from Feb. 24, The Mentalist (3.0/9) was up 7%. (CBS had local preemptions for college basketball in smaller markers on the East Coast that are not expected to significantly impact ratings when the finals are announced.)