Comedy is expected to take center stage at USA Network‘s upfront presentation this afternoon as the cable network touts to advertisers the fall launch of its big off-network acquisition, Modern Family, and unveils its newly picked up original comedy series Sirens and Playing House. The cable network has been getting extra attention from comedy fans in the past week following ABC’s decision last Friday to cancel cult series Happy Endings. Talks between USA and leading Happy Endings producer Sony TV continue. At this point, I hear a pickup appears unlikely but the network is carefully exploring the opportunity to migrate a show with some success on broadcast TV and a dedicated fan base the way ABC’s Cougar Town moved to TBS.
Of its three comedy pilot/presentations it had in consideration, USA picked up two, Sirens and Playing House. The third, Paging Dr. Freed, which was the first one ordered almost two years ago, is still in contention. I hear USA brass liked the pilot for the family medical comedy but thought it felt more like a season finale and didn’t properly introduce the characters. I hear the network approached Paging Dr. Freed creator Michael Feldman and studio Fox 21 about redeveloping the project and writing a new pilot script. If USA likes the new script, I hear it is intent on picking up the project straight to series. The options on the Paging Dr. Freed producers have been extended while those on the cast have lapsed. I hear USA is keen on bringing Annie Potts back if she is available. (Her ABC pilot Murder In Manhattan did not get picked up but is being considered by cable networks.) READ MORE »
As expected, ABC has cancelledHappy Endings after three seasons. But not all is lost for the cult comedy. Sony TV, the leading studio behind the underrated comedy series, had reached out to a couple of networks, including USA, about the possibility of continuing the comedy there … Read More »
While more of the NFL Draft ran in primetime on ESPN and the NFL Network on Friday, the second night of May sweeps saw things improve across all the networks from the lows of Thursday. Of course, because of the extensive primetime coverage of the capture of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing on April 19, almost all comparisons are to broadcasts of two weeks ago or more. On CBS, Friday brought a full night of rises, some small and one large. Kicking off CBS’s night, Undercover Boss (1.6/6) was up 7% from its last original on April 12. Up from its low of two weeks ago, Vegas (1.0/3) rose 25% from its last original. With 10.36 million viewers watching, Blue Bloods(1.4/4) was the most watched show of Friday night over Undercover Boss by more than 1.6 million. The cop family drama saw a upward turn of 8% from its April 12 show. With 8.82 million watching, CBS was tops in viewers as well as number one among Adults 18-49. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Despite ratings hardship and real and clear danger of cancellation,Happy Endings may live up to its title even if ABC opts not to order a fourth season. I hear that Sony TV, the leading studio behind the underrated comedy series, has quietly reached out to a couple of networks, including USA Network and NBC, about the possibility of continuing the comedy there if ABC does not renew it. I hear USA, which has been looking to break into the half-hour original series space, has expressed interest and has had discussions about picking up Happy Endings in case of a cancellation by ABC.
If the financials can be worked out, a Happy Endings pickup would be fortuitous for USA, which has been actively developing half-hour comedies and has ordered several pilots but has yet to greenlight a half-hour series. USA had been looking to have an original comedy on tap for the fall premiere of its marquee off-network series Modern Family. Happy Endings would be a suitable companion for Modern Family as it already spent two seasons on ABC paired with the Emmy-winning family comedy. Happy Endings did well behind Modern Family, but its fortunes changed this past fall when it was moved to Tuesday to form a comedy block with Don’t Trust The B—- At Apt. 23 in a crowded comedy hour. Despite strong cult following and critical praise, Happy Endings struggled mightily on Tuesday and was recently relocated to Fridays. ABC brass had been strongly supporting the show from Day 1, but they will likely won’t be able to keep the series on broadcast TV at these ratings levels. In a last-ditch effort, the network recently launched a Save The Show-themed promo campaign for Happy Endings‘ move to Friday. The call to arms didn’t help, with the two back-to-back Friday originals drawing a 0.9/3 and a 0.7/3 in adults 18-49, down 25% and 46% from the show’s last Tuesday airings on January 29.
After weeks of repeats this month, Shark Tank(1.7/5) returned to Friday night with some new bite. The 9 PM entrepreneurial reality completion show saw an update from a couple who received a deal … Read More »
ABC‘s 9-10 PM comedy block, which was slated to air until the Dancing With The Stars result show returns March 29, is being dissolved effective immediately. After a month-and-a-half break, the only surviving member of the block, Happy Endings (its companion, Don’t Trust The B—was recently cancelled) will move to Fridays. Beginning February 26, reality series Taste, which airs at 8 PM, will slide to 9 PM, and a limited run of Celebrity Wife Swap will take over the 8 PM hour. (A Bachelor: Sean Tells All special airs at 9 PM next week.) Celebrity Wife Swap will be replaced with new diving reality series Splash on March 19. As for the remaining Happy Endings originals, ABC will air them back-to-back from 8-9 PM on Friday beginning March 29, after the Friday night comedy block of Last Man Standing and Malibu Country will have aired their season finales. This marks the third time slot for Happy Endings this midseason. In January, ABC slotted originals of Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B— in the Sunday 10 PM hour in addition to their Tuesday runs but pulled them after two airings. Read More »
It was a night of a lot of not-so-new chess pieces put in place on television Tuesday. With ABC and Fox having pulled shows from their schedule last week, last night saw their replacements debut. In its first week as a one-hour, The Taste (1.6/4) had a hard second week. The cooking competition show fell 24% from its two-hour premiere January 22. With Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt. 23 pulled from the schedule last week, ABC began the first week of its double shot of Happy Endings on Tuesday. The 9 PM (1.2/3) regular time slot broadcast dipped 8% from Happy Endings’ last original show on January 15. The replacement 9:30 PM (1.3/3) airing of Happy Endings was up from Apt. 23’s 1.1/3 of two weeks ago. Now that Private Practice is no more, ABC ended the night with a special primetime repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live (1.2/3) from January 24 when the show was “hijacked” by Matt Damon. The indefinite pulling of Ben And Kate from Fox’s Tuesday comedy block last week meant that last night began with the first of several back-to-back episodes of Raising Hope. The 8 PM (1.7/5) was even with last week’s show but the 8:30 PM (1.5/4) replacement airing rose 25% from last week’s Ben And Kate in the same time slot. That wasn’t the only rise Fox saw on Tuesday. New Girl (2.5/7) was up 14% from last week and The Mindy Project (1.7/4) saw a rise of 13% from January 22. Read More »
With pre-emptions for coverage of the Sandy storm aftermath and continuing widespread power outages, fast national ratings for last night are only approximate. NBC posted a clear-cut victory in adults 18-49, winning every hour of primetime withThe Voice (4.6/12, up 7% from last week) and an NBC News storm special (2.9/8).
Alarming news for ABC, none of whose shows cracked the 2 demo rating in the fast national. The news was worst for the fledgling 9-10 PM comedy block, whose membersHappy Endings (1.4/4) and Don’t Trust The B—- (1.2/3) both tumbled, down 22% and 29% from their openers last week. Dancing With The Stars results (1.9/5) was down 5%, and a news special (1.3/3) closed out the night. ABC sure hopes for an upward adjustment, though no adjustment can erase the big drop-off for the comedies. Read More »
It was the first edition of the “comedy sigalert” three-way Tuesday face-off last night as ABC launched its new comedy block of Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt. 23 to face NBC’s Go On and The New Normal and Fox’s New Girl and The Mindy Project (Mindy was pre-empted last night for a relocated The X Factor).
Fox’s New Girl (2.7/7) came out the dustup unscathed, on par with its last original two weeks ago. It also topped its now two comedy competitors in the 9 PM slot: NBC’s Go On (2.5/7, down 11% from its fast national two weeks ago, 4% from the final) and Happy Endings (1.9/5), finishing right behind CBS’ NCIS: LA (2.8 from 9-9:30 PM) in the half-hour.
It was a slow start for Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B— (1.7/4), which have been left to fend for themselves this fall after alternating for a run behind hit Modern Family last season. Not surprisingly, both comedies were down sharply from their most recent season/series debuts behind Modern Family last season: -39% for Happy Endings and -41% from Don’t Trust The B—-, which hit a series low. On the bright side, Happy Endings was up 12% from its April season finale. Of the other comedies last night, Fox’s Raising Hope (1.7/5) was even with last week; Ben And Kate (1.4/4) showed some spark, up 17% from last week, while NBC’s The New Normal (1.8/4) was down 10% from two weeks ago. (The presidential debate pre-empted the networks’ 9-11 PM programming last Tuesday). Read More »
Originally ordered for next summer but also considered for the upcoming season, ABC‘s racy new soap Mistresses will launch next May for a summer run, ABC’s Paul Lee said during a press call this morning. It will likely premiere on Monday after The Bachelorette.
Also on the call, Lee addressed the decision to move Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B— to Tuesdays against Fox’s New Girl after the two launched in the protected post-Modern Family slot. Lee said both shows have passionate audiences that would follow them to the new night. As for pitting them against other comedies, especially New Girl, Lee said, “I do think there is room on the networks for big ratings” for multiple series in the same slot. Opting not to put a comedy against New Girl last year but to do it this fall with Happy Endings is not a suggestion that ABC feels New Girl is getting weaker but confidence that Happy Endings “can open a comedy block at 9 PM on Tuesday,” Lee said.
Damon Wayans Jr is heading to the Tuesday 9 PM slot after all. The actor starred in the pilot for Fox’s New Girl but had to pull out because his series in first position, ABC’s Happy Endings, was surprisingly renewed for a second season last May. Now he will face New Girl as ABC is slotting Happy Endings in the Thursday 9 PM slot this fall. ABC opening a 9-10 PM comedy block on Tuesday is surprising given the fact that the network last May said it would expand its new Last Man Standing-anchored Tuesday 8-9 PM comedy block to 10 PM in January with the younger-skewing Cougar Town and Don’t Trust The B—- in the 9 PM hour. But the network abandoned the idea, with ABC topper Paul Lee citing the strength of New Girl for the decision. Now the network is pitting Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B— against New Girl and Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project.
ABC’s Happy Endings got its happy ending. As expected, the network has given a full-season, 22-episode order to the Sony TV-produced sophomore comedy series, which was glaringly missing from last night’s list of seven “no-brainer” ABC scripted series renewals. … Read More »
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Do shows like Don’t Trust the B— In Apartment 23, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and the Fox series New Girl mean we’re in some kind of women’s renaissance in network TV? At this morning’s TCA session on Apartment 23, creator/executive producer Nahnatchka Khan concluded, well, maybe. But in an afternoon panel featuring producers from ABC’s successful Wednesday night comedy block, the female showrunners of The Middle, Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, pointed out that they’ve been funny for some time now — behind the scenes. “It’s exciting, but we always thought women had funny things to say,” said Heisler. “I think Tina Fey — and us — poked a little hole that allowed for this. We’ve been doing it for a while, and we’re glad to have company.” The Middle is a family show, not a snarky sitcom about a bitch or an emotionally unstable female roommate. But after the panel, Heisler said the show will continue to borrow as guest stars the veterans of that classic comedy about the “girl” who’s gonna make it after all, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Harking back to his Lou Grant character, Ed Asner will portray the editor of the local paper. Read More »
Fox and ABC, which have alternated at the top of the Wednesday 18-49 rankings this season, finished tied last night — but for second place, not first . Paced by Survivor, CBS (3.1/8) posted its first Wednesday demo win this season, edging Fox and ABC (3.0/8). Heading toward its season finale, Survivor: South Pacific (3.3/9) was up 6% from last week. Criminal Minds (3.4/8) was down 8% from its last original two weeks ago and CSI (2.5/7) was down 4%, with both series tying their season lows.
ABC’s series were up from the depressed ratings levels for their Thanksgiving Eve episodes, though those segments were labeled as specials and won’t count towards the shows’ season averages. Versus the most recent regular episodes on November 16, The Middle (2.8/8) was down a tenth fast national-to-fast national and Suburgatory (2.8/8) was flat (down a tenth from the final). Modern Family (5.0/13) was down 9% (11% from the final) to log its lowest-rated regular telecast to date, Happy Endings (2.9/7) was also down 9% and Revenge (2.4/6) was down 8%. Read More »