Remember when George Burns and Gracie Allen used to plug Carnation Evaporated Milk in live TV ads during their 1950s TV series The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show? Of course you don’t! But live ads using show cast members, in character and on set, did not used to be “news” — much less a scoop in the New York Times‘ business section. And, 60 years from now, when a future generation is watching on their glasses a live broadcast of some happy-zombie-family comedy starring some Hollywood It Couple, replete with product promotions by the happy zombies, they will think back to today’s NYT report (“Commercials to Go Live With Show Cast Members”) about the airing of two whole live ads during the live season debuts of TV Land‘s Hot In Cleveland and The Soul Man, and think “How quaint.”
In one of the fastest runs to 100 episodes for a traditional cable series, TV Land‘s Hot In Cleveland has achieved the feat in less than three years. The network just announced a fifth-season renewal for the show with a supersized 24-episode order, which brings the series to a total of 104 episodes. Hot In Cleveland, TV Land’s first original sitcom, has been a flagship series for the network since its big launch in June 2010, putting TV Land on the original programming map. The pickup to cross the coveted-for-syndication 100-episode mark comes on the heels of the announcement in January that CBS TV Distribution has sold Hot in Cleveland to TV stations in 92% of the U.S. for a September 2014 launch — likely in anticipation that the sitcom will hit the milestone. The accelerated production may also have been tied to the fact that star Betty White is approaching her own 100 mark (She is 91), though she is showing no signs of slowing down.
Comedy icon Carol Burnett and her Carol Burnett Show pal Tim Conway will guest star …
MGM Television will be distributing the syndicated web-video series RightThisMinute. Produced by MagicDust Television in partnership with Cox Media Group, Raycom Media and E.W. Scripps, RightThisMinute is a daily broadcast television series that introduces audiences to the newest and most captivating web videos as they break, often before the videos go viral. RightThisMinute airs in approximately 50 U.S. markets to over a million daily viewers and is currently the No. 1 daytime syndicated show in San Francisco (KTVU, Fox) among viewers 25-54, according to Nielsen. The show saw its second season debut in Detroit, Denver, Indianapolis, San Diego, and Tulsa, among others, in September of 2012. Other markets where the show returned include: Seattle, Phoenix, Cleveland, Orlando, Charlotte, Baltimore, Kansas City, Cincinnati, West Palm Beach, Birmingham and Richmond.
Hot In Cleveland is going live for its summer premiere next year. The summer portion of the TV Land sitcom’s fourth season will debut on June 19 with a supersized live episode. The episode will air live …
EXCLUSIVE: Heather Locklear has just booked a fun role in Scary Movie 5. She’ll play the mother of a young dancer (Ashley Tisdale), in a role that is more than inspired by the nightmare mom Barbara Hershey played in Black Swan. In fact, they’ve also booked Molly Shannon to play the Winona Ryder character. Malcolm Lee is directing and Scary Movie vet David Zucker co-wrote the script and is producing. Zucker wrote and directed the third and fourth installments of Scary Movie, which were the funniest.
For the first time since the launch of the network 16 years ago, TV Land is changing its look with the introduction of a new logo. Additionally, the network is adding a second night of original …
EXCLUSIVE: TV Land has hired Rose Catherine Pinkney as VP Development and Original Programming. Based in Los Angeles, she will oversee TV Land’s existing original series and the development of new ones, working alongside VP …
EXCLUSIVE: Hot In Cleveland is becoming a franchise for TV Land. On the heels of the sitcom landing a best cable comedy prize at last night’s People’s Choice Awards and just in time for star Betty White’s 90th birthday on Tuesday, I’ve learned that TV Land has renewed its flagship comedy series for a fourth season. Additionally, I’ve also learned that the network has picked up the untitled Hot In Cleveland spinoff starring Cedric The Entertainment to series. The project, written by Cedric and Hot In Cleveland creator Suzanne Martin, originated as an August Cleveland episode introducing Cedric’s character, Reverend Boyce. The network in October greenlighted a standalone pilot, which followed Boyce as he moves to Cedric’s hometown of St. Louis and has to balance his wild past with the expectations of his congregation and his family. The project, co-starring Niecy Nash, is executive produced by Cedric, Martin and Hazy Mills’ Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner, who also executive produce Hot In Cleveland with Martin.
Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits is more intense than ever, with Modern Family showrunners Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd trying to score their second consecutive Emmy win, while Glee executive producer Ryan Murphy is hoping to edge them out. That is, if one or more of a duo of up-and-comers — Community or Parks and Recreation — don’t act as spoilers. Then again, past Emmy stalwarts 30 Rock or The Office could resurface. Or Showtime’s bold, female-skewing dramedies Nurse Jackie or newbie The Big C might seize the spotlight. And don’t rule out the possibility of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory finally scoring a nod in its fourth season, or How I Met Your Mother receiving recognition in its sixth. And then there are the underdogs. As The Middle’s co-showrunner Eileen Heisler (with DeAnn Heline) says about ABC’s Wednesday night lineup, “We’re really grateful to Modern Family for bringing attention to family shows. We’ve benefi tted from their success, but I think it takes a little longer for people to realize the next door neighbor in The Middle is edgy and wry.”
If Modern Family does repeat, no ABC sitcom has managed that feat since Taxi more than 30 years ago. Of course, NBC’s won three years running. And Frasier took home a record five in succession between 1994 and 1998. So it can be done. But that doesn’t mean Modern Family’s Christopher Lloyd thinks it’s a shoo-in. “Among certain segments of the blogosphere who first anointed the show that everybody is supposed to be watching, there’s another rush to declare that it stinks now. And then there will be others who’ll want to say ‘I told you so’ when it wins again.”
There’s general agreement it would take a miracle for any freshman broadcast network comedy to crash this year’s top comedy series’ Emmy party, with the possible exception of Fox’s Raising Hope. Though there’s a sliver of daylight for a newbie cable show like The Big C, despite the fact it’s a dramedy. Cable continues to make inroads in the comedy series categories, evidenced by Showtime’s Nurse Jackie capturing eight Emmy nominations last year, including one for top comedy; with Showtime’s Weeds as well as HBO’s Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm landing series nods in recent years. This year, TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland has Emmy buzz. But only one cable comedy has ever won: HBO’s Sex and the City in 2001.
Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s comedy series in alphabetical order:
Although the NBC hitcom’s three-year winning streak ended last year (done in by ABC’s freshman breakout, Modern Family), it remains an industry darling — with good reason. While not as consistent as its earlier seasons, its comedy quality never seems to wane. So, without ever actually going away, it could be primed for a comeback. But the show, which celebrated its 100th episode this season, may also be mistakenly placed in the “been there, done that” category, even with red-hot writer/producer/actress/author Tina Fey at the helm (the recent Tracy Morgan scandal notwithstanding). But if the Academy revisits NBC’s quirky workplace comedies, they just might opt for the newer Parks and Recreation or Community.
THE BIG BANG THEORY
As popular as this CBS smash is, it has yet to be Emmy nominated despite originality in its scripts and ensemble. Kudos to the producers for broadening the cast this season and stepping up the romance for Mayim Bialik’s and Melissa Rauch’s roles, especially after Jim Parsons was acknowledged as last year’s Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series winner for nerd-chic hilarity. If you’re going to vote for a Chuck Lorre show this year, this one’s decidedly less baggage-laden than Two and a Half Men, which lost its Sheen.
THE BIG C
With lead Laura Linney considered a shoo-in for an Emmy nod, a side effect is that her show’s chances of breaking into the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy race likely increases as well. Question is, did they increase enough? Is the TV Academy ready to honor a dark comedy centering on a woman’s battle with cancer? Perhaps it’s time. If so, there could be two Showtime noms in this category for the first time, assuming Nurse Jackie repeats. Says showrunner Jenny Bicks, “It’s not going to be an easy fight for us.”
Forever floating on the renewal bubble (it will live on for a fifth and final short season of 13 episodes next season), Chuck has a well-earned reputation as The Little Show that Could. But, plucky as it is, the unlikely spy yarn remains a significant Emmy long-shot. Besides, NBC already has a couple of potential sleeper contenders at the ready in Parks and Recreation and Community.
What is arguably NBC’s most innovative comedy shoots high creatively but has yet to land commensurate ratings. Critics, however, have been quick to sing the show’s praises, perhaps loudly enough to help get it noticed by Emmy voters. Remember when Fox’s Arrested Development used critical praise to trump low viewership? Showrunner Dan Harmon likens Community’s comedy to “Krispy Kreme — we just have to get it into people’s mouths.” Or, in the case of Academy voters, into their DVD players.
In its second season, the wine-soaked “Friends for grownups” really came into its own as an ensemble comedy rather than just a Courteney Cox vehicle. And it’s even poking fun at the icky title that long ago ceased to have anything to do with the series premise. Nonetheless, it’s probably not ABC’s Wednesday night show with the most heat in this comedy category because of Modern Family.
EASTBOUND & DOWN
This back-to-fi rst-base comedy about a washed-up baseball player enjoys the prestige of HBO and the marquee value of Will Ferrell as a producer. But it’s perhaps too raunchy for older TV Academy voters. Given that producer-star Danny McBride says this forthcoming third season will be its last, Eastbound & Down likely will strike out Emmy-wise.
After landing nominations in the top comedy category for three years running, HBO’s Hollywood insider send-up didn’t make the cut the last go-round. If shut out again, it’s because Academy voters have moved on from an aging series that returns for its shortened eighth and final season on July 24th. It didn’t help when news leaked out in May that HBO pulled it from broadcast syndication by Warner Bros Domestic TV.
If the television industry’s insiders love anything more than laughing, it’s laughing at itself (see 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm). And there’s been buzz about how this Showtime Brits-out-of-water comedy reinvented Matt LeBlanc. But, even if he might, the series probably doesn’t have a high enough profile yet to garner an Emmy nod.
In 2009, the Fox show that wouldn’t die became the first animated series in nearly half a century to win an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. But it was shut out the very next year. So expect the next TV Academy recognition for Family Guy around 2060. One question mark is whether the toon’s unique in-your-face way of campaigning for Emmy helps or hurts to sway voters. Then again, this is the comedy series category.