CBS Cuts Order To ‘Rules Of Engagement’

By | Monday November 14, 2011 @ 10:12am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: CBS has cut the order to veteran comedy Rules Of Engagement from 18 to 13 episodes. Rules was originally picked up for 18 episodes, with two leftover episodes from last season bringing the total order to 20 half-hours. (Rules, … Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: Strong Start For ‘Rules’, ‘Big Bang’ Poised To Post Thursday High

Nellie Andreeva

This is a nice vindication for a series that never had a permanent time slot or launch date, shuffled around the schedule and bounced between fall and midseason. Getting a last-minute upgrade to Thursdays from its original Saturday(!) time slot this fall, veteran CBS utility player Rules Of Engagement (3.7/12, 11.5 million) posted its best fall premiere in four years last night. Compared with last fall, when Rules aired Mondays at 8:30 PM, the veteran comedy was up 19%. Rules delivered far stronger numbers than the comedy it replaced, rookie How To Be A Gentleman, which posted a 2.5/7 in its last Thursday airing, and matched the demo performance in the Thursday 8:30 PM slot last week of a Big Bang Theory repeat. The Big Bang Theory (4.9/15, 14.7 million) had a great night, up 11% from its demo fast national last week to match its best Thursday demo rating with a regularly scheduled telecast and post its second-biggest audience on the night. Big Bang is expected to break the tie and post its best Thursday number when the finals are announced this afternoon as the hit comedy always gets adjusted up. UPDATE PM: It’s official – a new Thursday high for Big Bang, which rose to a 5.1 rating in 18-49 in Live+Same Day. Big Bang once again ranked as the top program on Thursday in 18-49 and total viewers. At 9 PM, Person Of Interest (2.7/7) matched its fast national from last week, as did The Mentalist (2.5/7) at 10 PM. CBS (3.2/9, 12.6 million) is expected to finish second for the night behind Fox’s coverage of Game 2 of the World Series. There is no time-adjusted data for the game, but, just like Game 1 on Wednesday, it appears to be down from the corresponding telecast last year. Read More »

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‘How To Be A Gentleman’ Pulled From Saturdays After One Airing

By | Tuesday October 18, 2011 @ 6:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

After 2 low-rated airings in its high-profile Thursday 8:30 PM slot, rookie comedy How To be A Gentleman was relegated to Saturdays last week. But after one outing in its new Saturday berth, the comedy … Read More »

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CBS Relegates ‘How To Be A Gentleman’ To Saturdays, Replaces It With ‘Rules Of Engagement’

Nellie Andreeva

It is two weeks and out for new comedy series How To Be A Gentleman in its prime 8:30 PM Thursday time slot. The network has pulled the sitcom effective immediately: Beginning October 20, it will … Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Dives, ‘Suspect’ Steady, ‘Office’, ‘Grey’s’ Hit Low

Nellie Andreeva

Fox got some really bad news last night when the Yankees get eliminated from the playoffs, leaving the network’s post-season baseball coverage without its 2 biggest draws – the Yankees and the Red Sox, which bowed out a week ago. Softening the blow was the fact that the network won its third Thursday in a row among adults 18-49 with The X Factor (3.8/10), which still refuses to grow but has been extremely persistent in its ratings performance. The reality series matched its fast national rating from last week, just as it did on Wednesday. (X Factor always gets adjusted up in the ratings.) Keeping steady was actually a major accomplishment last night as the big Yankees-Tigers game on TBS pushed most broadcast series down.

There were only 2 other series not to drop week-to-week last night and one of them was a show that needed good news — NBC’s Prime Suspect (1.5/4), which matched its performance last week even as its lead-in, Whitney (2.3/6) was down 8%. Prime Suspect is the only new NBC series whose fate is undecided but the network’s brass are rallying behind it, and its hold last night is encouraging thought it needs to eventually grow to earn a pickup. That could happen next week when the network will start airing reruns of the show in the Monday 10 PM slot vacated by cancelled Playboy Club to give the crime drama starring Maria Bello additional sampling. Prime Suspect was not the lowest-rated NBC series on Thursday this time – it was tied with Community (1.5/5), which was down 17%. Parks & Recreation (1.9/5) was down 10%, while The Office (3.1/8) was down 11% to log its lowest-rated episode in 6-and-a-half years, since the finale of its poorly rated 6-episode first season in the spring of 2005. While baseball was a factor, it is still disconcerting for the veteran comedy to drop so much as it raises concerns about the show’s viability without star Steve Carell. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Gentleman’ Debuts Low, ‘Angels’, ‘Whitney’ & ‘Suspect’ Drop

Nellie Andreeva

NBC’s Bob Greenblatt Not Rushing To Cancel Low-Rated ‘Playboy Club’ Or ‘Free Agents’

CBS’ decision to put two unproven new series back-to-back on lucrative Thursday night — comedy How To Be A Gentleman and drama Person Of Interest — was quite a gamble for a risk-averse network like CBS. And now, the tandem starts to spell trouble for the network in their first airing together. In its premiere, How To Be A Gentleman (2.7/8) was down 33% from the debut of the now-defunct $#*! My Dad Says in the 8:30 PM slot last year but still did better than anything but X Factor in the half-hour. Gentleman dragged down Person Of Interest (2.7/7, 12.4 million), which slid a modest 13% from its premiere last week directly behind The Big Bang Theory. The ripple effect continued with The Mentalist (2.5/7, 12.7 million), down 11%. The only good news for CBS last night came at 8 PM, where Big Bang (4.8/15, 14.5 million) matched the fast national 18-49 rating for its season premiere last week and was once again the top program of the night in viewers and the 18-49 demo. CBS (3.0/8, 12.3 million) was No. 1 for the night in total viewers and second in 18-49.

How quickly they fall. After a disappointing start last week, ABC’s Charlie’s Angels (1.5/4) took a 29% dive in Week 2 and is facing likely early cancellation. Grey’s Anatomy (3.5/9) was down 15% from its two-hour opener last week. At 10 PM, Private Practice launched its fifth season with a 2.8/8, down 15% from last season’s debut and its lowest-rated premiere ever, but it still won the 10 PM hour in 18-49. ABC (2.6/7, 8.4 million) finished third for the night in viewers and 18-49. Read More »

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Media Rights Capital Seals $350 Million Revolving Credit Facility Over Five Years

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Media Rights Capital partners Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu have closed a five-year, $350 million revolving credit facility with funding provided by a group of banks led by JPMorgan Chase, Comerica, Bank of America, SunTrust and Union Bank. The syndicate includes East West Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank Leumi and City National Bank. The funds will be used to finance MRC’s feature and television productions. MRC’s last credit facility was also $350 million over three years, secured in 2008 in the midst of the economic downturn, from a consortium of banks that included JPMorgan Chase and Comerica.

MRC, which has enjoyed strong relationships with talents and the agencies, changed its feature structure from constructing pictures it licensed for distribution to  studio, (it famously made a $42.5 million deal for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat follow-up Bruno with Universal for U.S. and English-speaking territories) to actually financing a lot of them through a five-year distribution deal with Universal Pictures. That studio has become a prime outlet for MRC fare, though it was District 9 distributor Sony Pictures that licensed the Neill Blomkamp-directed futuristic film Elysium, which stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley. It was the second MRC film for Damon, who starred with Emily Blunt in the Universal-distributed The Adjustment Bureau, which grossed $128 million worldwide. MRC is also in production on Ted, the feature directing debut of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane that stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis and will also be released by Universal. MRC has two more projects with Blomkamp and two with Fincher, among others. MRC makes the case-by-case decision whether the productions are licensed to studios or fall under its new distribution deal at Universal.

MRC, after a failed foray that involved programming the Sunday night lineup for the CW, is active on the small-screen front. MRC has The Ricky Gervais Show on HBO and is developing series that include the CBS sitcom How to Be a Gentleman with Entourage’s Kevin Dillon, and a serialized political drama for Netflix that is being produced by David Fincher and stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. In all cases, MRC makes deals that grant talent at the ground floor an ownership stake in the film or TV project. Read More »

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New Broadcast Season: Which Network’s Got The X Factor?

Nellie Andreeva

The broadcast season unofficially kicks off tonight. And just like in a kids board game, the youngest of the networks, the CW, got to start first, unspooling its new series Ringer starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Also launching tonight are the new seasons of the CW’s 90210 and NBC’s Parenthood, marking the unofficial start of the new season, which kicks in on Monday. Here are the networks’ standings going into the fall season:

With Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies on tap for baseball’s postseason this year, along with the heavily promoted The X Factor and new big-budget dinosaur drama Terra Nova, Fox is in a position to significantly outperform last fall when the network carried the National League Championship Series and had two DOA shows, drama Lone Star and comedy Running Wilde. The question marks at the network this fall are the new comedies, New Girl and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, though both are propped up by solid lead-ins, Glee and X Factor, respectively, and whether Glee and House can rebound after a disappointing 2010-11 season. If the stars align and X Factor lives up to its ratings expectations, Fox may win the fourth quarter as it did two years ago when it also had the American League Championship Series and the highly rated freshman season of Glee.

Fox’s main rival for the top spot in the fall will be the epitome of stability, CBS, which will get a ratings boost from the re-launch of Two and a Half Men. The consensus is that CBS has potential breakout hits on its hands with new Monday comedy Two Broke Girls, which is launching behind the much-hyped return of Two and a Half Men, and possibly Thursday drama Person of Interest. The network is getting high marks for taking its aging series such as the CSI franchise and Survivor and relocating them to troubled spots on the schedule that they shore up. The network is expected to accomplish that again this season with the mothership CSI series, which is moving to Wednesday 10 PM, with its replacement on Thursday, Person of Interest, looking to do at least as well as CSI if not better. The only question marks at CBS are new Thursday 8:30 comedy How To Be a Gentleman and where Men will settle after the initial ratings spike. Read More »

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TCA: This ‘Gentleman’ Prefers Leslie Moonves

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.

It may have generated the single-biggest laugh of TCA to date this afternoon when David Hornsby, the creator, executive producer and star of the new CBS comedy How to Be a Gentleman, … Read More »

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Final Thoughts On The Broadcast Upfronts: Wind Of Change

Nellie Andreeva

Exactly 20 years ago, German rock band Scorpions released Wind of Change, which became an anthem for our generation of young Eastern Europeans going through a dramatic political change: the fall of communism. Coming back from the broadcast upfront presentations in New York last week, I’ve been having a hard time getting the catchy tune out of my head. While less far-reaching and profound, there is a clear sense of changing of the guard and a new direction for the broadcast networks this year. I can’t remember a time where the majority of the networks had new heads at their upfront presentations. Paul Lee took over for Steve McPherson at ABC, Bob Greenblatt for Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad at NBC, and Mark Pedowitz is succeeding Dawn Ostroff at the CW. There is a similar changing of the guard among the top TV producers this year. Upstart Chernin Entertainment and DreamWorks TV, which is re-entering the broadcast arena, topped the pods with the most new series, three each, with another recently launched company, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, scoring two new shows. And in its first season, Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods.got one pilot, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, picked up to pilot, with another, Fox’s Family Album, in serious contention. Meanwhile, such longtime upfront fixtures as Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Mark Gordon Co. and Wonderland didn’t land any new series for next season. Read More »

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Upfronts: Advertisers Like ‘Man Up’ And ’2 Broke Girls’ But Slam ABC’s Presentation

We already told you what several advertisers thought of NBC’s and Fox’s upfront presentations. As for the last two major networks, the people with whom we spoke were much more impressed by CBS than ABC and identified four shows that seem to have a better-than-even shot at succeeding: CBS’ 2 Broke GirlsHow To Be A Gentleman and A Gifted Man, and ABC’s Man Up. Some dinged ABC for providing little insight into the eight shows the network will introduce this fall. “I guess you throw something against the wall and hope,” says Brad Adgate of Horizon Media. By contrast, he says that CBS demonstrated that “the shows they’re really high on are protected” in time slots where they either face anemic competition or where they are flanked by hits. Targetcast’s Gary Carr says that CBS “did a great job” of explaining the strategies behind its five new shows. ABC, he added, ”was down and dirty — one hour with no entertainment and no celebrities.” Read More »

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CBS Schedule: Why Are ‘CSI’ & ‘Good Wife’ Moving’? Original Series On Saturday?!

Nellie Andreeva

CBS Unveils 2011-12 Schedule
After branding last year’s schedule overhaul as “aggressive stability” last May, CBS scheduling guru Kelly Kahl described the changes this year as “dynamic stability.” They include launching a new series in the Thursday 9 PM slot, the J.J. Abrams/Jonah Nolan drama Person of Interest; moving The Good Wife to Sunday and Rules of Engagement to Saturday; and trying again to launch a new show, medical drama A Gifted Man, in the Friday 8 PM slot. (I’m sure the producers of Chaos are calling their colleagues on the A Gifted Man this morning saying, “Good luck with that!”)

Addressing the network’s biggest move, putting the Jim Caviezel/Michael Emerson-starring Person of Interest in the Thursday 9 PM slot, Kahl said, “To do that you have to have the big guns, and we do. Now we have stability at 8 and 10 PM and a great upside in the middle.” CSI will move to the Wednesday 10 PM slot, longtime home of spinoff CSI: NY until it was shifted to Friday in the shakeup last May. “We hope to get some stability at 10 PM,” Kahl said. I felt that removing the darker CSI: NY from the slot following the gruesome Criminal Minds in favor of the lightweight The Defenders was a mistake, so this in a way to correct that. I’m also happy to see The Good Wife taken away from the Tuesday 10 PM slot where its audience was cannibalized by ABC’s Body of Proof and especially Parenthood. The problem is that The Good Wife is moving to the Sunday 9 PM slot for a “battle of the wives”: The Good Wife vs. Desperate Housewives. CBS scheduled a pure procedural, new series Unforgettable, to follow NCIS and NCIS: LA (“We through we could do better,” CBS brass say). And, with The Good Wife joining the Sunday lineup of 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race, CBS now calls Sunday “our prestige night.” (There probably should be an asterisk next to that as CSI: Miami still airs on the night at 10 PM.) Read More »

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CBS Picks Up ‘Rookies’, ‘Rememberer’, ‘How To Be A Gentleman’ To Series

By | Monday May 16, 2011 @ 10:06am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

CBS just picked up three more new series: dramas Rookies, now The 2-2, which is executive produced by Robert De Niro; and The Rememberer, now Unforgettable, which stars Poppy Montgomery; and David Hornsby’s comedy How To Be a Gentleman. The … Read More »

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PILOT PANIC: Last-Minute CBS Updates

Nellie Andreeva

With CBS’ pickup for the frontrunners on the drama side, Person of Interest, and comedy side, Two Broke Girls, the next tier of contenders are rising to frontrunner status. The two locks on the hourling side seem … Read More »

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Primetime Pilot Panic: Screenings Updates

Nellie Andreeva

The marathon pilot screenings at the broadcast networks are in full force. While they are rarely the deciding factor in the networks’ final series pickup decisions, they help solidify early standouts’ frontrunner positions and sometimes breathe life into pilots that might have been written off too soon. Here are some … Read More »

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Emily Rutherfurd, Rhys Darby Join CBS Comedy Pilots

Nellie Andreeva

Emily Rutherfurd is set to co-star in Tucker Cawley’s comedy pilot for CBS The Assistants, a young ensemble about four assistants who work for celebrity couple Mike and Ali. Rutherfurd will play Ali’s friendly, a bit manic and socially awkward … Read More »

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Laura Benanti To Star In NBC’s ‘Playboy’ And Other Pilot Castings

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Tony-winning actress Laura Benanti is set to star in NBC’s drama pilot Playboy. The project, from 20th TV/Imagine TV, is set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. Benanti will play Carol-Lynne, a 30-year-old bombshell … Read More »

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CBS Picks Up Comedy Pilot Written By And Starring David Hornsby

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Spec scripts continue to be red-hot this January. CBS just snatched one from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia writer/co-executive producer/recurring guest star David Hornsby, which has been greenlighted to pilot. Hornsby wrote the project, How To Be a Gentleman, and is attached to star. Loosely based on John Bridges’ book How To Be a Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy, the show is described as a buddy comedy about an uptight guy learning to live his life with the help of his old high school classmate. Hornsby will play one of the two leads in the project, whose format (multi- vs. single-camera) is yet to be determined. Read More »

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