Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage
AMC’s EVP original programming Joel Stillerman claimed not to be concerned that Mad Men will have been off the air in originals for some 17 months by the time it finally returns for its fifth season on March 25. Speaking this afternoon at an HRTS Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton billed as a Cable Programming Summit, Stillerman said that Mad Men’s audience has proven to be among the most loyal in all of television, adding, “So while it’s never easy to make scheduling decisions that keep a show off the air longer than perhaps you’d like, I think it’s going to benefit the show in the long run, I really do.” Mad Men Jon Hamm had a slightly different view of the situation when appeared on Late Show with David Letterman last week. “When billionaires fight, it takes a lot longer to settle,” he said. “So we had some very wealthy people determining how long we would be off the air.”
The event, moderated by Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush, also featured Turner programming chief Michael Wright, MTV programming head David Janollari, ABC Family programming/development EVP Kate Juergens, and Starz managing director Carmi Zlotnik. All of the panelists agreed that non-scripted programming needs to be an increasing part of their overall original slates. “We should have been in the non-scripted space two years ago,” Wright admitted, “so we’re moving there very quickly now.” Wright also took the opportunity on the day the new version of the iPad was announced to praise the Apple model. “The thing I’ve always admitted about that company,” he said, “is it seems to have such a finger on what people want. They seem to have built a business based on products the user actually wants. For television, we should (also) create things the viewer actually wants. We really need to stay better attuned to that.”
A lighter moment came at the end of the discussion, when Bush asked the panelists if they ever wake up in the middle of the night, grab their Blackberry, and start to answer emails. “Yes,” Zlotnik admitted, “and my wife says, ‘Put it down’.” Quipped Bush: “We’re talking about your Blackberry, I assume?”
CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves this afternoon addressed what went down with Charlie Sheen on the CBS hit Two and a Half Men earlier this year by issuing this easily-understandable two-word assessment: “Shit happens.” Featured in conversation at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society Newsmaker Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Moonves elaborated that what happened to the show was “unfortunate” and “wasn’t fun. There’s no good when there are lawyers involved with a television show.” But he is encouraged to find that Men’s ratings are up from what they were a year ago with Ashton Kutcher having replaced Sheen in the cast. He added, “I’m happy that Charlie has a show with a very good showrunner and a very good studio in Lionsgate. We wish him well. We’re more than happy with how well Ashton has done other than his comments about Penn State (condemning via Twitter the firing of head coach Joe Paterno). But I’m glad (Two and a Half Men) is a chapter that’s closing, and with these numbers I’m hoping this show will last for many, many years.” Moonves wouldn’t commit, however, to a multi-year renewal of the show going forward.
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An old tradition is coming back – HRTS said today that it will hold its first luncheon with the heads of the broadcast networks in 3 years. HRTS president Kevin Beggs said that he has an agreement in principle with the 5 broadcast nets for the October event. Once a … Read More »
For Deadline today, freelance journalist Diane Haithman covered the Hollywood Radio and Television Society’s Newsmaker luncheon at the Beverly Hilton:
What will the TV industry have left to buzz about after fallen NBC talk show host Conan O’Brien’s new 11 PM show launches in November on TBS? And the world finally finds out whether his young, hip, Twitter-happy fans will follow him from NBC to cable? Once again, NBC and Conan launched the discussion at yet another industry gathering. O’Brien’s choice to sign with TBS instead of Fox after the “fairly catastrophic” NBC debacle (as FBC’s Kevin Reilly called it) was used as a starting point for a discussion about whether cable TV represents the television industry’s sweet spot in 2010. Oprah Winfrey’s move from syndication to starting her own cable network got a mention, too, but that was announced way back in 2009 — and she’s just not as much fun to talk about as Conan.
On the panel billed as “a post-upfronts look at the business of the business”: O’Brien’s attorney Leigh Brecheen, partner and head of television at the law firm Bloom Hergott; Paul Lee, president of ABC Family; Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television; Kevin Reilly, president of Fox Broadcasting Company; Chris Silbermann, president of ICM; and Tim Spengler, president of Initiative USA.
Well, time will tell whether cable is good to Conan – but what about everybody else? The rest of the discussion revolved around whether 2010’s promising upfronts mean that traditional, scripted broadcast TV series are back on top – and whether the networks can exist in happy harmony with cable channels, online TV options and VOD. Read More »