What do American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Survivor, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, Hell’s Kitchen, Big Brother, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent and Wipeout have in common? They are broadcast TV’s biggest reality franchises of the past decade. And they all launched in the summer. Summer used to be a time for the networks to try out innovative reality formats that had never been done on the Big 4 broadcast nets (ballroom dancing or singing competitions, shows about castaways on an island or strangers locked in a house) or had been gone from primetime for a long time (game shows). Now the broadcast networks are throwing on retreads of over-exposed formats from June through August, so it’s no surprise that nothing has stuck since Wipeout launched on ABC in June 2008. A slew of newcomers came and went over the past three months: ABC’s Expedition Impossible, Take the Money & Run, Karaoke Battle USA and 101 Ways To Leave a Game Show; CBS’ Same Name, NBC’s Love In the Wild and the similar It’s Worth What?; and Buried Treasure on Fox. The only new offering on broadcast to show a pulse this summer was ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, helped by a solid lead-in and the fact that it is an offshoot of a popular franchise. Things looked as bleak on the scripted side, with ABC’s Combat Hospital, Fox’s sketch comedy In the Flow With Affion Crockett and NBC’s burnoff Love Bites barely registering.
Eight months after its original premiere date, NBC’s hourlong anthology comedy Love Bites will debut in its original Thursday 10 PM time slot. Love Bites‘ premiere is set for June 2. Once a high-flying prospect, Love Bites was prominently featured at NBC’s updront presentation last May when it was assigned the Thursday 10 PM slot for fall. But in the summer, the series was pushed to midseason after a series of setbacks, including the pregnancy of star Becki Newton, the decision by creator/executive producer Cindy Chupack to step down from day-to-day showrunner duties and the exit of the other original star, Jordana Spiro, because of her commitment to TBS’ My Boys. The order for the show was subsequently cut from 13 to 9. With The Paul Reiser Show recently launching for what became a two-week run and Love Bites getting slated, comedy Friends With Benefits now remains the only freshman NBC comedy that has not been scheduled yet. Meanwhile, Newton has a pilot in second position, CBS’ untitled Filgos comedy, which could be picked up to series before Love Bites premieres. And Love Bites co-star Greg Grunberg toplines A&E’s pilot Big Mike, but his deal for the NBC series was only for one season.
NBC has cut the order to midseason dramedy Love Bites from 13 to 9. The anthology series, originally slated for a fall launch in the Thursday 10 PM slot, was pushed to midseason after a series of setbacks, including the pregnancy of star Becki Newton, the decision by creator/executive producer Cindy Chupack to step down from day-to-day showrunner duties and the exit of Jordana Spiro because of her commitment to TBS’ My Boys. However, word is NBC brass are happy with the episodes they’ve seen and resorted to the order reduction as they’re running out of shelf space for midseason. NBC has 9 new and returning series – 6 scripted and 3 unscripted – on deck for midseason. Love Bites is one of 3, including half-hour comedies Friends with Benefits and The Paul Reiser Show, which are yet to be scheduled.
Former Will & Grace executive producers/showrunners Tracy Poust and Jon Kinnally have inked a two-year overall deal with Universal Media Studios. Under the pact, said to be seven-figure per year, the two have joined new NBC/UMS anthology dramedy series Love Bites as executive producers. They will serve as writing showrunners on the show, working alongside executive producers/non-writing showrunners Shelley McCrory and director Marc Buckland. Poust and Kinnally replace Love Bites creator Cindy Chupack who recently stepped down from day-to-day showrunner duties because of personal matters but continues to write for the show.
Under their overall deal with UMS, Poust and Kinnally, who are friends with Chupack, originally planned to consult on Love Bites while focusing on development. But when approached for the showrunner gig, the duo, who spent the last 4 years on ABC’s Ugly Betty, decided to go for it, segueing to another hourlong dramedy and reuniting with Betty co-star Becki Newton, who is the star of Love Bites. Newton, who recently announced she is pregnant, presents one of the challenges Love Bites currently faces as her character is virgin in the pilot. Another challenge is the pending departure of Jordana Spiro who was to topline the series with Newton but her character will be phased out because of the actress’ commitment to TBS’ My Boys. Newton’s baby news and Chupack’s exit from the helm of the show led to NBC’s decision to pull Love Bites from the fall schedule, …
While his My Boys co-stars Jordana Spiro and Kyle Howard had to pull out of their regular roles on new NBC series Love Bites and Perfect Couples because of their commitment to the TBS comedy, Reid Scott quietly booked a heavily recurring role on Showtime’s upcoming dark comedy series The Big C. The Sony/Original Film-produced show stars Linney as Cathy, a repressed suburban wife and mother who reclaims her life after a terminal cancer diagnosis. Scott, repped by Gersh and Impression, plays Cathy’s oncologist Dr. Todd who has lots of training and intellect but lacks life or professional experience. Scott is doing The Big C with TBS’ blessing. What also helped him do the series while still under contract on My Boys is that his role on The Big C is technically recurring. Additionally, the smaller size of The Big C‘s order – 13 episodes – and its production schedule – it is now filming for an Aug. 16 premiere – would make Scott available in the unlikely event that My Boys is renewed for another season.
NBC is making a scheduling change for fall, with a non-celebrity edition of The Apprentice replacing new anthology dramedy series Love Bites. Production on Love Bites is being pushed by a few weeks to accommodate two new developments: the pregnancy of star Becki Newton and the decision by creator/executive producer Cindy Chupack to step down from day-to-day showrunner duties because of personal matters. Chupack will continue on the series as a writer and is actively working on upcoming scripts. The show’s producers are still figuring out whether Newton’s pregnancy will be incorporated on the show. In the pilot, her character is a virgin.
The anthology dramedy suffered a casting setback recently when its other star, Jordana Spiro, had to be released because of her commitment to TBS’ My Boys. Spiro will exit after 3 episodes but may return for guest appearances. There are no immediate plans for her to be replaced, though Love Bites is adding another regular, Constance Zimmer, who will play Greg Grunberg’s wife. Grunberg was upped to a regular after his memorable guest-starring turn in the pilot where his wife was played by Pamela Adlon. The show’s regular cast now includes Newton, Grunberg and Zimmer.
The tentative new scheduling plan for Love Bites is to launch the show in January in its old Thursdays 10PM slot, following the conclusion of The Apprentice, but the network might put it on it sooner in another time period.
“Love Bites is incredibly important to me, …