Ryan Seacrest Productions said Izzie Pick Ashcroft will join the company as EVP Current, Unscripted Programming. She will report to CEO Adam Sher and start early next year. Pick Ashcroft is currently SVP Programming Development and Production at BBC Worldwide Productions LA, where she oversees a team that developed and formatted shows including Ladies Of London (Bravo), Breaking Pointe and Breaking Pointe 2 (the CW), Lovetown, USA (OWN), The Next Big Thing (Oxygen), and Skating With The Stars (ABC). Before joining BBC, she was the showrunner on Dancing With The Stars and was part of the original team on Strictly Come Dancing, helping to develop both formats in the UK and the U.S. Ryan Seacrest Prods recently sold Dream Date to Fox, marking a rare competition series for the company, which has built its unscripted brand on docu-reality series like the Keeping Up With The Kardashians franchise and Shahs Of Sunset.
Bill Nye the Science Guy, whose fan-fave-dom is helping ABC resuscitate ratings on its Dancing with the Stars franchise, injured his knee when he tripped at the end of last night’s paso doble — a performance show judge Carrie Ann Inaba best described as a “weird bizarre masterpiece of insanity”. The network is waiting for MRI results to know if he will be able to continue with the competition. “We can confirm Bill Nye was injured during his performance last night and is currently seeking medical attention,” the network said in response to questions. “We will continue to keep you posted on his progress.” Losing Nye would be a blow to the show, as it soft-shoes its way back up in the ratings. His first dance on the show went viral on YouTube. This week, dressed as Beethoven, he paso doble’d to the composer’s Symphony No. 5, while members of MENSA in the audience shouted “Bill! Bill! Bill” (You had to be there.) So far this fall Dancing is averaging nearly 15 million viewers — up 12% compared to last fall — and a 2.7 rating in the demo, up 17%.
In what was supposed to be a big fat plug for NBC, Meredith Vieira and Today, that network announced this morning that Valerie’s Story: A Meredith Vieira Special, will premiere Thursday. Harper will be a guest on NBC’s Today that morning. Valerie Harper Week actually begins tonight with her debut on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. NBC’s Harper special is airing at 10 PM Thursday, so as to enjoy that huge lead-in audience watching the finale of Million Second Quiz right earlier in primetime that night. Oh — nevermind. On her Today appearance that morning, we presumably will learn whatever shred of information Harper did not already divulge over at ABC when that network announced she had been declared well enough to compete on Dancing this fall.
Harper, 74, had previously battled lung cancer and, this past March, announced she’d been diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare, terminal cancer and given 3-6 months to live. When ABC named her to the new cast of Dancing, on Good Moring America, and a few days later on ABC’s The View, Harper explained doctors had told her she was “close to remission” and therefore well enough for the rigorous competition. NBC, however, stuck to its guns and insisted it had the remission news first, on Today.
Thomas Dekker Moves To Resolution; CAA Signs Brooke Burke-Charvet; ‘Graceland’ Director Ron Morales To APA
Actor Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Nightmare On Elm Street) has signed with Resolution. He previously was a client of WME. The 25-year-old most recently graced TV screens on The CW’s The Secret Circle and HBO’s Cinema Verite with James Gandolfini. His indie film streak of late includes Gregg Araki’s Kaboom, Catherine Hardwick’s Plush, and The White City. Dekker is also repped by The Schiff Co and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
Onetime Dancing With The Stars contestant-turned-DWTS co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet has signed with CAA. She’s going into her seventh season co-hosting the ABC show, which she won in season 7. Burke-Charvet continues to be managed by Bx2 Management and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.
Based on preliminary stats, Good Morning America’s Wednesday announcement of the new Dancing With The Stars cast is on track to have scored the biggest morning infotainment-show audience this week – about 5.3 million viewers. Demo-wise, it’s the same story, only with 2.2 million viewers 25-54. Still, Wednesday’s Dancing cast reveal did not match the nearly 6 million who’d watched GMA unveil Dancing‘s most recent previous lineup, and ABC was trying hard to get the biggest crowd tune in possible as it looked to resuscitate the stumbled franchise. Maybe that’s why the network is said to be investigating who leaked so many of the names to TMZ in advance of Wednesday’s announcement, cutting at least 20% of the drama. Among the names TMZ spoiled was Valerie Harper, who was supposed to be the Big Surprise, what with her battling cancer that has moved to her brain, and Harper having said in January that doctors had given her three to six months to live. With Harper’s participation a foregone conclusion by the time of the Wednesday reveal — ditto multiple sclerosis patient Jack Osbourne, former The Talk co-host Leah Remini, Glee’s Amber Riley, and others — The Reporters Who Cover Television were left scrambling to name a “big surprise” in their coverage of Wednesday’s casting news. Several went with Bill Nye the Science Guy.
‘Dancing With The Stars’ Cast: Valerie Harper, Leah Remini, Jack Osbourne, Bill Nye Among Competitors
From the brave to the blah, Mary Tyler Moore Show/Rhoda actress Valerie Harper and a mess of Disney alums were this morning revealed on the next round of ABC’s struggling dance competition series Dancing With The Stars. Harper was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in January and given three to six months to live but is now said to be “nearing remission,” as she and her doctor explained it to NBC’s Today recently while plugging Valerie’s Story — A Meredith Vieira Special, set to air September 19 on that network. Speaking of NBC, Sharon Osbourne’s son Jack — who was yanked from a reality competition series on that network when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — is joining Harper on Dancing. His sister Kelly was a finalist on the show in 2009.
Many of the celeb dancers’ names had been leaked before this morning’s reveal on ABC’s morning infotainment show Good Morning America. Bill Nye the Science Guy was in none of those reports and he’s maybe the morning’s biggest surprise. Not at all surprising was Leah Remini, whose name was first leaked. Remini, maybe best known for starring in CBS’ sitcom King Of Queens has more recently been making headlines for her exit from Scientology. She appeared on this morning’s reveal via satellite, looking very subdued. Glee’s Amber Riley, no longer a regular on that Fox series, is looking for her next career move on Dancing; ditto Jersey Shore alum Snooki and The Voice social media correspondent Christina Milian. Ironically, it’s The Voice’s move to Dancing’s time slot that’s been giving it such a ratings headache the past several seasons.
ABC needs to get two things right this fall: 1) Launch Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.; 2) Relaunch Dancing With The Stars. The first one looks to be a slam dunk, given the anticipatory gushing over the series, and creator Joss Whedon, going on in the press and on fan sites. The second, however, is far from a sure thing — especially after the last fall’s disastrous all-star edition.
The veteran dance competition lives or dies based on its celebrity casting, and the producers botched it pretty thoroughly in both editions last season. Ratings plunged to an all-time low as the show competed against NBC’s The Voice for the first time in the fall with the all-star edition. Turned out, ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee acknowledged recently, viewers don’t want to see celebrities who can dance well competing — they want to see celebrities who can’t dance well, learning their right foot from their left. This had escaped the network and producers until it was too late. Any hope of real recovering in the spring edition fell flat with that edition’s limp cast. Andy Dick — really? Not surprisingly, the reality series only climbed back up to its second-worst numbers ever, though, yes, up is up.
Tapping into viewer interest that gets ginned up around the start of the broadcast network TV season, Jeff Zucker’s CNN announced this morning it’ll launch some of its most interesting new programs on Monday, September 16. That’s the week walking up to the start of the broadcast TV network’s official 2013-14 TV season, and a week in which some of the broadcasters’ new products are unveiling. CNN’s most anticipated new series, a half-hour remake of Crossfire, debuts that Monday, September 16 at 6:30 PM ET – which, in one of those incredible coincidences, is the same night ABC launches the remake of its dance competition series Dancing With The Stars.
It’s also the same night Fox unveils its remake of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleep Hollow, in which Ichabod Crane is now a badass action hero, returned to save us from apocalypse. Similarly, this time Crossfire stars Newt Gingrich. Joining him: Stephanie Cutter, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones. CNN said the show will “resemble the show’s original format with passionate conversation” – or, as Jon Stewart called it back in 2004, “partisan hackery” that was “hurting America.” CNN, understandably, focused on Crossfire having “cemented its status in the political and cultural lexicon” when President Bill Clinton joked during his remarks at the 1997 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner that the newly opened Newseum featured an exhibit with “CNN’s very first Crossfire: from the …
ABC 2013-14 Schedule: Rebel Wilson Gets Post-‘Modern Family’ Slot, ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ On Tuesday, ‘Dancing’ Shrinks To One Night
ABC is launching eight new series in the fall and taking some big swings, including a Tuesday lineup of all-new series, anchored by Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Rebel Wilson’s hot streak continues, with the rising star landing the post-Modern Family slot for her comedy Super Fun Night. ABC is looking to stem Dancing With The Stars‘ ratings decline by eliminating the Tuesday edition, with the Monday 8-10 PM show incorporating both performances and results. Dancing, as well as The Bachelor, Shark Tank and The Taste have been formally renewed for next season. Here is ABC’s fall schedule, analysis and descriptions of all 13 new series for next season, including newly picked up adventure reality series The Quest from The Amazing Race creators Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri:
ABC FALL 2013-2014 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET/PT)
8 PM – Dancing With The Stars
10 PM – Castle
8 PM – MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
9 PM – THE GOLDBERGS
9:30 PM – TROPHY WIFE
10 PM – LUCKY 7
8 PM – The Middle
8:30 PM – BACK IN THE GAME
9 PM – Modern Family
9:30 PM – SUPER FUN NIGHT
10 PM – Nashville
8 PM – ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND
9 PM – Grey’s Anatomy
10 PM – Scandal
8 PM – Last Man Standing
8:30 PM – The Neighbors
9 PM – Shark Tank
10 PM – 20/20
8 PM – Saturday Night College Football
7 PM – America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM – Once Upon A Time
9 PM – Revenge
10 PM – BETRAYAL
From ABC’s returning series, left off the schedule are comedy Suburgatory and reality series The Bachelor, which comes on in midseason, and The Taste.