The 16-year company veteran will oversee film music production at all Fox movie divisions: 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Searchlight, Fox 2000 and Fox Animation. Rebecca Morellato, who was bumped up from VP, has supervised music production for such Fox pics as Avatar, Life Of Pi, Walk The Line and the upcoming The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and Rio 2. “Rebecca is the best in the business, and her expertise will continue to lead our department to new ground,” said Fox Music Head Danielle Diego.
The freshman season of Fox comedy Dads will consist of 19 episodes, three fewer than full-season 22. The network gave the live-action sitcom a back order in October, but the exact number was fuzzy. It now has been …
Development Season 2013: Fewer Dramas, Bigger (And Overblown) Commitments, Early Orders, Spinoffs, Adaptations & Remakes
Network drama has been on a roll with a string of strong premieres the last two seasons — Revolution, The Following and Arrow last season and The Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Originals this fall. But the genre will have to rely heavily on the quality vs. quantity principal if its wants to continue its hot streak as the volume is definitely not there for next season. The drama buying got off to a very sluggish start in the summer and never found a higher gear. Drama pitches were down across the board. For instance, I hear NBC took in 280 hourlong pitches, down from 330 last season. It eventually ordered 20-30 fewer drama scripts this year vs. 2012. “It was like Halloween with the networks living on a street where no one came to trick or treat,” one industry insider lamented. “They were open for months but no one was knocking on their doors.” Why was that? Likely because network dramas are not that special any more.
For decades, the broadcast networks were the home of drama series everyone was watching and critics loved. Then in 1999, David E. Kelley almost didn’t go out on stage to receive a best drama series Emmy for his ABC series The Practice. In his defense, he said he “thought they had made a mistake, and that The Sopranos had won.” It hadn’t, and broadcast dramas held their grip on the top a category for four more years until HBO’s mob drama in 2004 became the first cable show ever to win the best series Emmy in a precursor of the tidal shift to come. Cable dramas now have won the top Emmy for the past seven years, with no signs of them letting up, while the U.S. commercial broadcasters were shut out completely from the category the last two years. Right now, working on a cable drama is more prestigious that writing on a broadcast one. With broadcast dramas no longer the syndication cash cows they once were, studios don’t pay a premium for writers to develop such shows anymore. “If they are not getting real money to develop for broadcast, writers may as well do cable for the creative freedom,” one observer noted. Besides the prestige and awards recognition, cable dramas also are becoming more lucrative financially because of services like Netflix where serialized series are a top draw. And let’s not forget that the highest-rated scripted series on television for the past two years is a cable drama, AMC’s The Walking Dead. All that has led to an exodus of broadcast showrunners to cable. The writers room of Emmy-winning first season of Showtime’s Homeland alone featured enough showrunner-level writers to service several broadcast dramas.
UPDATE, 8:30 AM: “The producers have confirmed that the ‘special announcement from Brian’ website is a hoax and was not created by anyone connected to the show, studio or network,” Family Guy studio 20th Century Fox TV said this morning, in response to questions about the site.
PREVIOUSLY: 6:47 AM: Did grieving Family Guy viewers get punked by Seth MacFarlane and gang? Did 20th TV fake Brian’s death to sell merchandise during the holiday buying season and goose the show’s ratings? Two days after the “shocking” death of the Fox animated show’s talking dog Brian, a countdown clock has appeared that promises a “special announcement from Brian” on the way — in 10 days and counting at time of posting — with the suggestion same grieving viewers should “spread the word.”
Family Guy fans are up in arms this morning over the shocking death of …
EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Television has sold its second major broadcast project, this time on the comedy side. The company has teamed with James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment for a half-hour comedy at Fox, which will star top South African comedian Trevor Noah. The project, inspired by Noah’s comedy and life, is being written by Sameer Gardezi, who will executive produce along with LEG’s Norm Aladjem and Randy Chalawsky, and Overbrook’s Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett, brother of Pinkett Smith. Noah will produce. Noah’s comedy draws on his experience growing up in Soweto as the son of a Swiss father and South African mother and reflects his observations on race and ethnicity (check out a clip below). A popular comic on the African continent where he has sold more DVDs than any other stand-up, Noah has been crossing over to the U.S. Last year, he became the first South African comedian to appear on The Tonight Show and has since also appeared on The Late Show. His U.S. comedy special, African American, is currently airing on Showtime.
Fox Midseason: ‘Glee’ Returns To Tuesday, ‘Brooklyn’ Moves Behind ‘New Girl’, ‘Mindy’ Takes Hiatus, ‘Following’ Gets NFC Launch
Fox is making some scheduling changes for midseason. The underperforming two-hour Tuesday comedy block will be scaled to an hour beginning February 25, when Glee will return to the Tuesday 8 PM slot where it did pretty well during the 2011-12 season. Fox brass hope that the move would help the show regain some footing, which it has lost airing behind a very weak The X Factor this fall. The hourlong Fox comedy block will consist of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which will move to the 9:30 slot on February 4. It will replace The Mindy Project, which will go on hiatus after a winter finale on January 28, returning on April 1 after Brooklyn Nine-Nine ends its freshman run. The move comes after the sophomore comedy starring Mindy Kaling hit a new series low (1.2 in 18-49) this week. The show’s crew already has been told of the scheduling change, and Mindy is planning a month-long production hiatus around the holidays which the writers will use to regroup and plot the show’s April re-launch.
Fox also is changing its launch plans for midseason dramas The Following and Rake. Instead of premiering new legal dramedy Rake behind the NFC Championship Game on January 19 as previously announced, Fox will launch the second season of gritty drama The Following after the big game for a two-night season premiere on Sunday, January 19 and Monday, January 20 when the series will debut in its regular Monday 9 PM slot, following the season finale of Sleepy Hollow. The argument is that the dark, male skewing Following would be more compatible with the football game than the lighter, more female-friendly Rake. The new series starring Greg Kinnear will premiere January 23 in its regular Thursday 9 PM slot, following American Idol. As previously announced, new Fox comedy Enlisted will premiere on Friday, January 10, and original episodes of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine will air after the Super Bowl on February 2. Remaining unclear if the spring scheduling of comedy Dads, which will air its last originals in its Tuesday February 4 and February 11 before going on hiatus to make room for Glee. It could come back later in the season, a return date is TBD. Here are Fox’s updated winter premiere dates:
Breaking Bad‘s Anna Gunn and Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) are set to co-star opposite David Tennant in Fox‘s event series Gracepoint, a U.S. remake of UK’s Broadchurch. James Strong, who directed the pilot and multiple episodes of the original series, has come on board to direct multiple episodes of the Fox version — including the opening hour, on which he will serve as executive producer. Gracepoint, from Shine America and Kudos, centers on Detective Emmett Carver (Tennant), the lead male investigator on the case of a shocking murder that puts a small town under scrutiny. Gunn, repped by UTA and The Schiff Co., will play Detective Ellie Miller, a wife and mother who was passed over for a promised promotion in favor of an outsider, Carver, but her disappointment quickly fades in light of tragedy. Weaver, repped by ICM Partners, Elevate Entertainment and Felker Toczek, will play Susan Wright, a glowering, mysterious woman who is new to town.
PTC Blasts ‘Family Guy’ For Jokes About Rape, Sexual Exploitation Of Kids, And “Internal Defrosting Of Frozen Hot Dogs”
The FCC will get a mess of complaints about the November 10 episode of Fox’s animated Seth MacFarlane comedy Family Guy after Parents Television Council encouraged members today to file broadcast indecency complaints with the commission. PTC says it sprang into action because the episode contained explicit jokes about rape, molestation, sexual exploitation of children — and the “sexualized use of food and perverse ‘internal defrosting’ of frozen hot dogs.” PTC sent out word of the campaign this morning to the media, with a helpful partial transcript of the episode:
- Upset at being threatened by a bully and challenged to a fight, teenage Meg runs into the girl’s restroom. She finds pedophile Quagmire inside.
Meg: “What are you doing in here?”
Quagmire: “This is my base of operations.”
Quagmire’s phone beeps. Voice on phone: “Mr. Quagmire, the girl’s gym class will be in the showers in twenty minutes.”
- Quagmire recounts being bullied by a girl when he was in high school: “That was the beginning of a long, abusive relationship. It’s one thing if you put your penis inside-out in the safety of your own bedroom. But to have it done in the cafeteria? To this day, I can’t have sex with a woman against her will without thinking about rape.”
Remember those Bus Stop and Bus Bench For Humans only signs from the viral marketing campaign for District 9 that got people’s attention by mixing fiction and reality? Fox is hoping for a similar effect with its promos for another futuristic project, upcoming drama series Almost Human. The network is sending to its local stations newscast segments made to look like local news from the future. (you can watch them after the jump.) Anchored by Houston/Fox 26’s Rita Garcia (formerly of Los Angeles’ KCAL), each promo includes a news story related to the plot of the series about cops being partnered with androids as well as miscellaneous news headlines, like a retinal scan that allows you to pay as you blink, subliminal election campaign messages secretly installed on car windshields during carwashes and cheeseburgers in a pill. Wonder how many people will stop going to the carwash or will start googling “cheeseburger pill” after seeing the stories on their local news…
Fall Status Report: Solid New Dramas, Soft Comedies, Where Do Networks Stand, Does Tracking Matter, Will NBC Keep Must See TV
Seven weeks into the 2013-14 season, the dust has started to settle, the strongest new shows have been renewed, the biggest duds have been cancelled, and the borderline performers have been getting a mix of both. Some anticipated time slot wars materialized, like the Tuesday 8 PM hour where incumbent NCIS and newcomers Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Originals all have been competitive, and some didn’t, like the hyped Blacklist-Hostages showdown, which turned to be a lopsided match. Which leads us to one of the lessons of this fall, that pre-launch tracking is not that reliable.
Until the very start of the fall season, CBS’ Hostages was tracking on par with NBC’s The Blacklist. But when ratings for premiere night were in, Blacklist more than doubled Hostages‘ demo tally. While boosted by DVR viewing, Hostages never became the breakout hit it was tipped to be.
What has mattered in a big way this fall are lead-ins, even with DVR penetration at 48%. NBC’s Blacklist and hot sophomore drama Chicago Fire have been helped tremendously by The Voice. CBS’ new Thursday comedies The Millers and The Crazy Ones owe their well being (and back orders) to The Big Bang Theory. When Big Bang switched to a repeat, the newbies’ fortunes plunged. (list of all new fall shows with their status after the jump)
On the surface, a whopping nine new comedy series have been given back orders on the Big 4 networks (all but ABC’s Super Fun Night and NBC’s Sean Saves The World have received full-season pickups), along with NBC’s The Michael J. Fox Show, which had a 22-episode order, vs. three new dramas, including the Season 2 pickup for Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. But the three dramas – Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. — are the freshmen that have shown breakout potential this fall while comedies had another off year. That is not terribly alarming to network brass as some comedy hits have taken time to grow, such as Cheers, Seinfeld and more recently The Office, The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. Problem is that we haven’t seen much of that in the past couple of years. Instead, there have been a ton of comedies that started promisingly (like 2 Broke Girls and Suburgatory) and then lost their way or started off soft and never went to another level before the cancellation ae fell on them after 1, 2 or 3 seasons, like ABC’s Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt 23, NBC’s Whitney and Fox’s Ben & Kate.
There has been an increase in the comedy volume put out by the networks in the past couple of years. That, combined with the lack of half-hour breakouts, has led to many but weakened comedy blocks. We have the most two-hour comedy blocks on the Big 4 — five — in a decade.
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Fox has landed Everest, a 10-part event series from Alcon Entertainment. There is a multiple script order for the project, which is in the process of setting up a writers room. Created by Jeffrey Lieber (Necessary Roughness) and produced by Alcon and FX Prods, Everest — which is being pitched as renewable limited series that can have follow-up cycles — is described as a suspenseful, action-packed drama that revolves around a group of hikers on an expedition to conquer Mount Everest. Secrets are revealed and the truth about their motives are uncovered as the group struggles to survive on the world’s highest peak. Everest marks one of the first major TV sales for the TV division of Warner Bros-based Alcon Entertainment, which was launched last year when former Sony Pictures TV head of drama Sharon Hall was tapped to run it. The company has spent the last year actively acquiring properties and developing and packaging projects with a focus on going straight to series. The pitch for Everest too was the result of a four- to five-month development process. Lieber was brought to Alcon by Hall, who worked with the Necessary Roughness exec producer/showrunner while she was at Sony.