Check Out Our New Look

EMMYS: 2011 Comedy Series Overview

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:

30 ROCK
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.”

CHUCK
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.

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.

COUGAR TOWN
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.

ENTOURAGE
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.

EPISODES
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.

FAMILY GUY
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.
Read More »

Comments 48

Other TV News: Jerry Lewis To Retire As Telethon Host; Premiere Date For ‘Hot In Cleveland’; Tribune Preps ‘Bill Cunningham’

With the upfronts in full swing in New York, it’s easy to forget there’s plenty of news that doesn’t break inside hotel ballrooms. A roundup:

Jerry Lewis said today that he will retire as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual Labor Day Telethon, which he has hosted since 1966. He will make his final appearance during this year’s show Sept. 4 to perform his signature song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Lewis will continue as national chairman of the MDA, a position he’s held since the early 1950s.

– TV Land’s original scripted series Hot In Cleveland is returning for 12 new episodes beginning June 15 at 10 PM, the network announced. It will be followed by the new Fran Drescher sitcom Happily Divorced, which began production today.

– Tribune Broadcasting is partnering with ITV Studios America to produce The Bill Cunningham Show, which will air on Tribune stations nationwide beginning in the fall. The hourlong talk show from the attorney/radio host will be topically driven; Kim Brechka (The Montel Williams Show) is executive producer.

Comments (5)

TV Land Renews Comedy ‘Hot In Cleveland’ For Third Season

Nellie Andreeva

TV Land’s first original scripted series, Hot in Cleveland, is quickly amassing episodes. The hot sitcom just received a 22-episode third season pickup by TV Land. Production on the new season will begin in the summer. After a scorching debut with 4.8 million viewers tuning to the series premiere last June, Hot in Cleveland continues to be a hit for TV Land, averaging 3.2 million viewers, 1.6 rating in TV Land’s target adults 25-54  demographic. The comedy also has earned the cable network its first major awards recognition: 2 SAG Award nomination and a win for co-star Betty White. Meanwhile, there is no word yet on the fate of TV Land’s second original series, sitcom Retired at 35, which launched last month.

Comments 22

RATINGS RAT RACE: Betty White Is Sunday Double Winner, Fox Is Tops With Pro Bowl

Nellie Andreeva

On Sunday, it will be one year since Betty White stormed into pop culture with a memorable Super Bowl ad at last year’s Super Bowl, which led to a Saturday Night Live hosting gig, a hit sitcom, awards and more. A year later, the Betty White express is not slowing down. Last night, at age 89, she won her first comedy actress SAG Award for TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland and delivered CBS’ best TV movie ratings in years. The Lost Valentine (2.3/6 in 18-49, 14.5 million viewers) marked a big rebound for The Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise, which has been languishing in the ratings, drawing the largest audience since Jan. 2007 (Valley of Light) and highest 18-49 and 25-54 ratings since Dec. 2008. (Front of the Class). Appropriately, Betty White faced NFL competition, the 2011 NFC-AFC Pro Bowl on Fox (7:30-10:30 PM), which won the night with a 7.7/12 rating in 18-49 and 13.4 million viewers, the franchise’s most watched game in 14 years.

Read More »

Comments (0)

TCA: Betty White Front And Center, ‘Hot In Cleveland’ & ‘All My Children’ To Cross Over

Television Critics Assn.’s winter press tour kicked off this morning and so is our coverage. Freelance journalist Diane Haithman, who has been contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA coverage, filed this report on the first networks presenting at TCA, TV Land and CMT:

The first speaker at the 2011 TCA press tour in Pasadena was TV Land president Larry W. Jones, who announced a little news:

– First, the 9th Annual TV Land Awards are moving to New York City (celebrity guests will include Bill Cosby and the entire cast of The Cosby Show and Michael J. Fox and the cast of Family Ties).

– Second, characters from ABC Daytime and TV Land are crossing over:  All My Children actors Susan Lucci, Michael E. Knight and Darnell Williams will appear as themselves on Hot in Cleveland, and Hot in Cleveland’s Wendie Malick will appear on All My Children as her Cleveland character, aging actress Victoria Chase. The Chase character is cast in the soap as Gertie, a housekeeper who ends up moonlighting as a bartender after Lucci’s character, Erica, fires her. Cleveland episodes air on TV Land Feb. 16 and 23.  Malick appears on All My Children Feb. 24.

After that, TV Land’s presentation might as well have been called The Betty White Show. While Jones was touting TV Land’s key demographic as 40-54, an 88-year-old star was the main draw. Although TV Land trotted out the entire cast of Cleveland Read More »

Comments (4)

SAG Awards TV: Actors Love Betty White

Nellie Andreeva

One year after receiving the SAG life achievement award, Betty White is back as a double nominee. How beloved by her peers is the 89-year-old ‘Golden Girls’ alumna? She turned a conventional sitcom, TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, into an awards contender, helping it score its first 2 nominations at this year’s SAG Awards, which are determined entirely by fellow actors: one for White as comedy series actress and one for the show’s cast in the comedy ensemble category. Besides Hot in Cleveland, the only other new series to make the cut this year was HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which also landed two noms: for star Steve Buscemi and best drama ensemble.

Also notable is the influx of cast members from Glee and Modern Family in the individual comedy acting category after the two shows scored only ensemble nominations last year and Glee won. Last year, only leads of their comedy series were nominated for best actor and actress: Alec Baldwin, Steve Carell, Larry David, Tony Shalhoub, Charlie Sheen, Toni Collette, Edie Falco, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey. This year, half of the 10 individual comedy series nominations went to Glee and Modern Family ensemble players: Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, Ed O’Neill and Sofia Vergara and Glee‘s Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer. This marks the first awards recognition for Modern Family for veteran O’Neill who was famously the only actor from the hit comedy not to get an Emmy nomination. Of … Read More »

Comments (0)

17th Annual SAG Awards Nominations

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 16, 2010) — Nominees for the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® for outstanding performances in 2010 in five film and eight primetime television categories and for the SAG honors for film and television stunt ensembles were announced this morning in Los Angeles at the Pacific Design Center’s SilverScreen Theater in West Hollywood. The 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be simulcast live nationally on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 30 from the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center. Recipients of the stunt ensemble honors will be announced from the SAG Awards red carpet during the TNT.TV and TBS.COM live pre-show webcasts Of the top industry accolades presented to performers, only the Screen Actors Guild Awards are selected solely by actors’ peers. Two randomly selected panels–one for television and one for film–each composed of 2,100 randomly selected Guild members from across the United States, chose this year’s Actor® and stunt ensemble honors nominees. Integrity Voting Systems, the Awards’ official teller, mailed the nominations secret ballots on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Voting was completed at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13, 2010. Final voting information will be mailed via postcard on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010. The entire active membership of the Guild across the country, numbering approximately 100,000 actors, will vote on all categories. Online voting is encouraged:pon request, which must be made by Friday, Jan. 14, 2011:

THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES

Outstanding Performance by a Read More »

Comments 31

TV Land Greenlights Comedy Pilot

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: TV Land is opening its second pilot pickup season with a cast-contingent order to Ex Men, a multi-camera sitcom from former Frasier executive producer Mark Reisman. The project revolves around 3 divorced guys who live in an apartment building where their landlord is their young and sexy female divorce attorney. Reisman, who wrote Ex Men and will executive produce it, created and executive produced the series Quintuplets on Fox and In-Laws on NBC. Ex Men is expected to be the first of several pilots at TV Land, which entered the original scripted arena a year ago with its first two pilots ever, Hot in Cleveland and Retired at 35. Both were eventually picked up to series, and Cleveland launched in the summer as the highest-rated comedy series on cable. The sitcom starring Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Betty White, returns with 20 new original episodes on Jan. 19. A premiere date for Retired at 35 is expected to be announced shortly.

Comments (2)

Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White Reunite For ‘Hot In Cleveland’

EXCLUSIVE: After more than three decades, former Mary Tyler Moore Show sparring partners Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White are about to go another round. Moore has been tapped to guest star in the Jan. 19 second-season premiere of White’s TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland. Details on Moore’s role are being kept under wraps, but a Cleveland source hints that she will be involved in the story line that saw White’s caretaker character Elka get arrested in the season 1 finale. (Maybe she’ll be the judge presiding over her case?) This will mark the first time the comedy legends have appeared on screen together in 33 years. Cleveland – which averaged a record-shattering 4.7 million cume total viewers in its first season – was renewed in July for a 20-episode second season. Stay tuned for details about Ausiello’s new TV-centric website, set to launch in early 2011.

Comments (9)

RATINGS RAT RACE UPDATE: Massive Audiences For ‘Deadliest Catch,’ ‘Covert Affairs’ Solid In Debut, ‘White Collar’ Down

Nellie Andreeva

phil-harris-deadliest-catchIt was an extraordinary night on cable last night, with a high-profile series debut (USA Network’s Covert Affairs), a high-profile series finale (MTV’s The Hills) and an extraordinary event episode on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. After weeks of ratings build-up, the late Capt. Phil Harris’ final episode on Deadliest Catch last night drew a record 8.55 million viewers at 9 PM, with 6.8 million staying on for After the Catch at 10PM. This was an all-time high for Deadliest Catch in total viewers as well as adults 18-49 (5.2 million) and adults 25-54 (5.7 million), shattering the series’ previous all-time record posted just last week (5.3 million total viewers, 2.6 million in 18-49 and 3.1 million in 25-54).

Covert_AffairsAiring against the huge Catch and the series finale of The Hills (3.0 million viewers at 10 PM, 2.3 million of them in the 18-49 demo) were the debuts USA’s freshman Covert Affairs and sophomore White Collar, which did respectable business under the circumstances. It was another solid premiere for a new original cable series this summer as Covert Affairs drew 4.9 million viewers for its opener at 10 PM. It performed well in the younger demos: its adults 18-49 average, 2.104 million, makes Covert Affairs the highest-rated scripted cable premiere this year in the demographic, edging out the 2.079 million 18-49 tally for TNT’s new drama Rizzoli & Isles (Rizzoli easily tops all cable newcomers in … Read More »

Comments 23

‘Hot In Cleveland’ Renewed For Season 2

Nellie Andreeva

TV LAND 'HOT IN CLEVELAND'TV Land has picked up Hot in Cleveland for a second season some 3 episodes into the breakout sitcom’s freshman run. The cable network has ordered 20 new episodes, which will begin production in the fall with a launch tentatively scheduled for January 2011. Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Betty White will return as regulars on the show, created/showrun by Suzanne Martin and executive produced by Martin and Hazy Mills Prods.’ Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner. “We are so excited that Hot in Cleveland was embraced by viewers in such a big way,” said TV Land president Larry W. Jones. “We absolutely love the show and can’t wait to see what hilarious new experiences these characters will encounter in the next 20 episodes.” Read More »

Comments 33

RATINGS RAT RACE: World Cup Up With Team U.S. Heroics, ‘Hot In Cleveland’ Down

Nellie Andreeva

ESPN’s Wednesday morning World Cup match between the U.S. and Algeria set records as the highest-rated and most-watched soccer telecast in the history of the ESPN networks, while ESPN3.com drew the largest U.S. audience for a sports event on the Web with 1.1 million unique viewers watching the match for an average of 43 minutes.

Meanwhile, the second episode of the TV Land original sitcom Hot In Cleveland averaged 3.4 million viewers, down 29% from  the record-setting heights of the show’s premiere last week. The number is still pretty solid for TV Land. Read More »

Comments (4)

TNT’s ‘Memphis Beat’ Premieres Strong

By | Wednesday June 23, 2010 @ 12:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The new TNT original series Memphis Beat got off to a solid start last night, drawing 4.3 million viewers. It built on its lead-in, the second-season premiere of HawthoRNe, which opened with 3.4 million viewers. Both shows outperformed HawthoRNe‘s series debut last year. While the Jason Lee-starring Memphis Beat couldn’t beat the debut of Betty White’s Hot in Cleveland on TV Land last week (4.8 million), the TNT premiere performance is still impressive.

Comments (18)

Endemol To Distribute ‘Hot In Cleveland’

Nellie Andreeva

Betty White is going global! Endemol has acquired international distribution rights to TV Land’s first original scripted series, comedy Hot in Cleveland, which stars red-hot sitcom veteran White, along with Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick. Cleveland‘s debut last week made history for TV Land, drawing the network’s largest audience ever, 5 million viewers. Endemol will take Cleveland to MIPCOM in the fall.

Comments (13)
« Previous Deadline | Hollywood