Saturday Night Live returns from its Olympics-imposed hibernation March 1, and the NBC late-night show said today Jim Parsons as host with musical guest Beck. It will mark the hosting debut for The Big Bang Theory star — sort of. Jimmy Fallon did a mean Jim Parsons imitation in …
The Quiet Before The Storm: Warner Bros TV Readies Offers To ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Cast, In Talks With CBS For New 3-Year Deal
For long-running series, time is usually not on the side of the cast when they have to negotiate new deals because ratings inevitably erode as shows get older. But that will not be the case with CBS‘ The Big Bang Theory, which, in Season 7, is still at its peak. Things are quiet and there has been no movement yet on the actors, but I hear producing studio Warner Bros TV will likely go out to the three leads — Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco – after the first of the year. The contracts of the trio, along with original cast members Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, are up at the end of this season, as is CBS’ deal for the show with WBTV. I hear the studio and the network have started discussions about a new license fee deal. Like the last one, I hear the renewal will likely be for three seasons, which means the studio and the network would likely try to lock in Galecki, Parsons, Cuoco, Helberg and Nayyar for the same term. (Big Bang‘s other regulars, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, recently closed new deals.) Like the last time, in 2010, Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco are expected to go first, followed by Helberg and Nayyar. (The former three are repped by the same law firm, Hansem, Jacobson, Teller, and are expected to negotiate together.)
There is no doubt about it — both the license fee and cast deals will be huge. After all, Big Bang Theory is the biggest show on broadcast television. The comedy is running neck and neck with NBC’s Sunday Night Football for the highest-rated program this season adults 25-54, averaging a 8.6 in the most current ratings to SNF’s 8.8. The way Big Bang has separated itself from the pack is staggering. Among adults 18-49, Big Bang averages a 6.8, with the next three series — NBC’s Blacklist (5.0), ABC’s Modern Family (5.0) and NBC’s The Voice (4.9) — almost two rating points behind.
In May 2010, a day after CBS announced Big Bang‘s move to Thursday 8 PM from its protected Monday 9:30 PM berth, I wrote a column, Is ‘Big Bang Theory’ The Next ‘Friends’? At the time, I felt the multi-camera comedy about a group of friends held the promise to become as successful as its NBC predecessor in the Thursday 8 PM slot. Big Bang has more than delivered on that promise. It is even more dominant than Friends was in its heyday, positioning itself to contend for the type of blockbuster deals Friends – produced by the same studio, WBTV — landed in its last major renegotiation for Season 9. At the time, WBTV broke a record for the highest license fee scored by a half-hour series when NBC agreed to pay $7 million an episode.
Coming off its highest-rated and arguably its strongest season creatively, The Big Bang Theory, which nabbed the Critics Choice TV Award in June, was a prime contender for the best series Emmy on Sunday. It wasn’t to …
Just as it took HBO’s The Sopranos five seasons to finally cart off the outstanding drama series Emmy, so it was with AMC’s Breaking Bad finally earning the statuette in Season 5 amidst an outpouring of hype and fan frenzy greeting the show’s wrap-up next Sunday. Creator and showrunner Vince Gilligan was typically gracious in sharing the glory and deflecting credit onto the shoulders of many others in his backstage remarks. He also admitted that he was “stunned” to have won, making him perhaps the only one in the building to feel that way. “It was a wonderful surprise,” Gilligan said, despite his show being a heavy favorite with Emmy pundits going in. Why a surprise? “Because of the fact we were nominated among so many wonderful shows,” he replied. “This is a Golden Age of television, and it’s an absolute honor to be up here and to be working in the medium.” When a question was asked about his feelings about having beat a show (House Of Cards) airing on the Internet service Netflix, it inspired Gilligan to credit video streaming and social media for Breaking Bad‘s pop cultural explosion. He declared, “I don’t even think our show would have lasted beyond Season 2 without video streaming on demand and the Internet component of it and social media…I feel like Netflix kept us on the air. It held us in good stead. It’s a bold new era in television, and we’ve been fortunate to reap the benefits of the technological developments.” Gilligan was joined backstage by the entire Breaking Bad writing and production team, resulting in 19 people crowding around the microphone. But the spokespeople were Gilligan and star/producer Bryan Cranston, himself a three-time lead actor winner for the series who lost tonight. But Cranston didn’t seem too broken up by that loss. This is the answer to a wish and a prayer for me,” he said. “This win celebrates the entire writing team, the crew and the cast who have worked so hard for us for six years. We’re so proud to be a part of this — and what a way to go out!” Cranston also noted that being able to bring the words of the show’s writers to life has been the greatest thrill of his career. “When we read these scripts, it was like unwrapping a present,” he said. “The wonderful craftsmanship that these wonderful writers behind me were able to do (was fantastic). We are the mouthpieces of the writers. That’s what makes me so proud of what happened tonight.
Special guests livened up Friday’s writers panel for CBS‘ Emmy-nominated comedy The Big Bang Theory, which opened with a taped message from Season 6′s guest star Stephen Hawking. “I’m sorry I can’t be there — I got a flat tire,” he joked. “When I’m not playing Words With Friends with Sheldon, I’m thinking about the universe.” Shortly into the panel led by surprise moderator Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette on the show, cast member Johnny Galecki stepped up to the fan microphone in full Star Wars Boushh cosplay before joining the panelists onstage. The hourlong chat with showrunner Bill Prady and exec producer/showrunner Steve Molaro, co-executive producers Dave Goetsch, Steve Holland, Eric Kaplan and Jim Reynolds, supervising producer Maria Ferrari, and science consultant Dr. David Saltzberg, mostly kept to fan inquiries and personal geek anecdotes revealing the nerdy leanings of Big Bang Theory‘s creators.
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
Undergrads from UCLA’s Honors Physics 1B — who take this class because ordinary physics just isn’t difficult enough — were in for a surprise when they took a field trip to Warner Bros. Studios to be part of the live studio audience for CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. The set always features whiteboards marked up with dizzyingly complex equations. And it took awhile for any student to notice that today’s equations were the solutions for the midterm exam they’d taken that day. As Big Bang physicist Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) might say: Bazinga! This visual gag was a lot like the continual pranks of Sheldon and his geeky pals on the show. But the man behind this in-joke was their professor, particle astrophysicist David Saltzberg, who also serves as science adviser on Big Bang.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
EXCLUSIVE: The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons and Friday Night Lights alum Taylor Kitsch will co-star opposite Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer in The Normal Heart, HBO‘s original movie adaptation of the Tony-winning Larry Kramer play, which is being written by Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy. The project tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s. Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival. He was previously attached to Murphy’s adaptation when it was eyed as a theatrical feature. Kitsch plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist.
EXCLUSIVE: The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons has signed with UTA. The Emmy and Golden Globe winner had been without an agent since early September when he left Innovative, where he had been for 10 years. He recently …
The broadcast networks staged a major comeback on a wild night at the Emmys, which started and ended with wins that were widely predicted but saw some real curve balls in between. Broadcast’s dominating performance was led by the five Emmys for ABC’s heavy comedy favorite Modern Family, which won every category it was nominated in, sweeping the first four trophy presentations of the night — for best supporting actor/actress and best writing/directing in a comedy series — and making the final award of the night, for best comedy series, a foregone conclusion. Modern Family won that too for a second straight year, and its sweep shut out rival Glee, leaving Emmy host Fox empty-handed. Broadcast shows also claimed the lead actor/actress in a comedy series categories, which provided two of the major upsets of the night. Melissa McCarthy of CBS’ Mike & Molly won for lead comedy actress despite most pundits having her as their fifth or sixth pick in the category and Golden Globe winner Laura Linney considered a strong front-runner for The Big C. Fellow CBS leading man Jim Parsons denied Steve Carell an Emmy for his iconic role on The Office. (The Office and fellow 30 Rock were left out completely tonight.) McCarthy’s and Parsons’ wins also meant a comeback for the multi-camera genre, which had its first double lead actor/actress win in a long time.
Broadcast’s big night continued with Julianna Margulies winning as best actress in a drama series for CBS’ The Good Wife. The Eye network scored again in the reality competition series, where The Amazing Race won for the eighth time in nine years in the category. Additionally, Friday Night Lights, which originated on NBC and continued to air second runs on the broadcast network, scored two big wins for its final season. One went to star Kyle Chandler for lead actor in a drama series and another to showrunner Jason Katims for writing. Add to that the strong showing of pubcaster PBS, whose Masterpiece Theatre mini-series Downton Abbey won four major awards: best TV movie/miniseries, best supporting actress, Maggie Smith, and best writing and directing for a TV movie/miniseries.
Emmys Live-Blog: ‘Modern Family,’ Dominates Comedy Field, ‘Mad Men’ Squeaks Best Drama Win, Big Farewell For ‘Friday Night Lights’ And Upsets Galore
We’re off and running. The much-talked-about opening number of host Jane Lynch features the Glee star in a massive pre-taped production number having her sing and dance through the stages of a slew of hit TV shows. It opens with Leonard Nimoy who, as network president, introduces Lynch to the house of television where all TV shows are housed. The part was originally taped with Alec Baldwin but was redone after Fox cut a line about the News Corp hacking scandal. The elements are uneven, but the best bit is Lynch walking into a scene of AMC’s period ad agency drama Mad Men and being asked by Jon Hamm’s Don Draper to go fetch coffee. When Lynch fires back that she is no secretary but the host of the Emmys Pete Campbell’s Kartheiser is not impressed. “What you should be doing is learning how to type and firing the guy that gave you that man’s haircut!” Lynch tells them that a lot has changed since 1965 and now women can marry each other, nodding, “Hi, Peggy….” “Does that mean women don’t have to sleep with men anymore to make it to the top?” wide-eyed Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) asks. “No, you still have to do that,” Lynch replies. She tells the group that people can now watch television on their phones. When she adds that in the future people can fast-forward through the commercials, everyone freezes. Ad man Don Draper turns to her and gives her a steely look. “You’re going to turn around, walk out of here, and we’re going to pretend we never met you.” Lynch obliges but not before one last jab at Kartheiser, “This haircut costs more than your house. “The number spilled into the stage with a big live finale featuring Lynch hoisted up by male dancers. “Try doing this with triple Spanx,” she said after getting down.
ABC’s Modern Family is on an early roll in the supporting comedy series acting categories, dismissing some projections that, with all 6 cast members nominated in the 2 categories, they might cancel each other out. The first winner of the night is the show’s Julie Bowen for best supporting actress in a comedy series. “I don’t know what I am going to talk about in therapy next week now,” she says.
A second after she thanked her TV husband, Ty Burrell, he too walked to the stage to pick up his trophy for best supporting actor in a comedy series. Burrell talked about his dad, who passed away before he got into acting, doing “a job where every day I go to work in makeup.”
Ricky Gervais presents the director for a comedy series category in a pre-taped segment. “Sorry. I can’t be live and in person. Not after the Golden Globes. I’m not even allowed on American soil if I say something rude or offensive.”
Modern Family is going 3-for-3 with a comedy series directing award for director Michael Alan Spiller for the Halloween episode.
And now it’s 4-for-4 as Modern Family also wins for best writing in a comedy series for the “Caught in the Act” episode written by Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman. Levitan, noting that the episode’s main story of the Dunphy kids walking in on their parents having sex was based on his own experience, thanked his “somewhat satisfied wife and 3 traumatized children.” The director cuts to Levitan’s wife who is rolling her eyes.
After the early Modern Family sweep, Lynch comes back from commercial with “Welcome back to the Modern Family Awards.”
Then it’s Charlie Sheen, presenting the lead actor in a comedy series category. Like on The Tonight Show earlier in the week, it was not the Warlock but the old Sheen — cool, collected and gracious — who showed up. “Before I present the award in my old category I wanna take a moment to get something off my chest and say something to all my friends from Two and a Half Men,” he said. “From the bottom of my heart, I wish nothing but the best for this upcoming season. We spent 8 wonderful years together, I know you will continue to make great television. Now on to the Emmy.”
Deadline’s Diane Haithman and Ray Richmond were backstage at the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight to hear what the winners had to say.
Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell came backstage together after winning the awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. The Modern Family stars were asked first about being part of a show that is breaking ground for gays. Burrell said, “I don’t know, in terms of America, it feels very, very good to be on a show that seems like it’s slowly changing a lot of minds. Eric [Stonestreet] and Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] deserve all of the credit for that, and our amazing showrunners. It’s a great thing to just peripherally go to events and just basically start to talk about those characters like any other characters, relating to their life — it’s pretty cool.” Bowen joked, “As a straight woman, and part of a straight couple on the show, I feel marginalized.” On a more serious note, she added: “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but where it’s an issue, I’m glad that we are part of helping change minds.” Using the word “straight” in a different context, Burrell praised Bowen: “It’s even greater credit to what Julie does that the straight-person wins an Emmy, I don’t think that happens very often. In a couple there’s usually a straight-man and a wilder character. It’s due to her resourcefulness as an actor.” On going back to the set with an Emmy when other cast members were also nominated, Burrell said: “Eric won last year, and Ed [O'Neill] actually just said something really sweet right before the award, ‘whoever wins deserves it.’ I feel like we’re trying to enjoy this moment more than anything — we know this doesn’t last forever; we’re having a lot of fun.” Bowen said about her surprise win, “I kinda thought it was a lock on Betty White. If I didn’t have a dog in this fight, and I had two, I would have voted for Betty White. Claire is not necessarily fall-down funny every time.” She credits the writers for having found ways to make her character have many dimensions and “not just be the mom.” …
Later, Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman, winners for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, were asked how it feels for Modern Family to be sweeping the awards so far, with wins in every category they’ve been eligible for. Levitan: “We’re beyond thrilled with the way things have gone, obviously. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and from the bottom of our hearts we feel that Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen deserved to win. (Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series winner) Michael Alan Spiller, not so much. To tell you the truth, it’s a little surreal.” They were then asked what they did to ramp up the stories and quality of Modern Family in Season 2. Levitan: “We feel like we know the characters a little bit better this year. There was such dedication this year to keeping the quality up. We all live in fear of the quality dipping so we work extra hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. … I’ll also tell you that our kids are the unsung heroes of the show. What they do on this show is amazing. We ask them to do such complicated turns and they nail it constantly. They’re playing at the same level as the adults and that’s a rare thing.” …
Steve Carell, The Office
Why He Was Nominated: It’s Carell’s sixth consecutive nomination for his role as the dunderheaded Michael Scott on The Office, and his departure from the NBC comedy this past spring spawned a big-time farewell. Credit network marketing as well as the fact Carell has wide popularity throughout the industry. You get the feeling that he could have stayed on this show for 15 years and been nominated every time.
Why He Has To Win: It literally is now or never, and Carell’s submission for the Emmy (his swan song, “Goodbye, Michael”) was a potent blend of pathos, tears and mirth that also generated a nod for writer/exec producer Greg Daniels’ teleplay. If that isn’t enough, there’s the feeling that Carell’s body of work on a show that began life as a warmed-over imitation of the British edition deserves a golden sendoff. “Carell didn’t try to squirm out of his TV contract even after becoming a feature guy,” a writer and academy member notes. “That scores big points.” Historically, both Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) and Michael J. Fox (Spin City) have won trophies on their final lap.
Why He Can’t Possibly Win: Well, he hasn’t taken the thing home in five previous tries, so it’s possible Carell simply has a big “Bridesmaid” tattoo etched on his forehead. The Office is also seen as having lingered a bit too long at the dance by some. It’s possible that he already blew his best shot here: when the series earned top comedy honors in 2006. And sentiment doesn’t always carry the day, as the perpetually passed-over John Goodman (0-for-7 for Roseanne) could attest.