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ABC’s ‘Mind Games’ Cancelled, To Be Replaced By ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ & ‘Resurrection’ Repeats

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 5:40pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

mind-gamesABC has pulled the plug on midseason drama Mind Games after five low-rated airings. For the next two weeks, the network will use the Tuesday 10 PM slot for extra sampling of its promising midseason Sunday drama Resurrection, which will air repeats in the slot. Beginning April 15, ABC will launch Season 3 of utility player Celebrity Wife Swap in the q0 PM hour. The writing has been on the wall since Mind Games debuted to a 1.1 demo rating only two days after ABC’s Oscar telecast, where the procedural starring Christian Slater and Steve Zahn was promoted. It dived to a 0.6 in its second week, matching that rating again this Tuesday when it was hampered by the the lack of original lead-in. Mind Games became the third ABC drama casualty in the Tuesday 10 PM slot this season, joining cancelled freshmen Lucky 7 and Killer Women.

TCA: ‘Mind Games’ Challenges TV Critics
2014 ABC Pilots

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘About A Boy’, ‘The Goldbergs’ Inch Up, ‘Glee’s 100th Gains, CW Dramas Slip

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 10:06am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

NBC-about-a-boyEncouraging upticks for NBC and ABC’s Tuesday comedies as renewal deadlines near. Following The Voice (3.5 in adults 18-49, up a tenth from last week’s fast national), About A Boy (2.2) was up a tenth from last week’s fast national (the new comedy usually gets adjusted down in the finals because of a Voice overrun.) That is a promising Week 3 uptick following the customary second-week drop last Tuesday. Growing Up Fisher (1.8) is running a tenth ahead of its final last week, even with the fast national. Chicago Fire (1.9) was flat. NBC won the night in 18-49, its 18th Tuesday victory this season.

The Goldbergs, already the closest thing to a sure thing for a freshman comedy renewal at ABC, drew a 1.6 rating in 18-49, up a tenth from last week, and again proved that Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not a compatible lead-in. Goldbergs scored a higher rating with the softly rated Marvel: Assembling The Universe special (1.4) as a lead-in vs. a S.H.I.E.L.D. original last Tuesday (2.1). Fellow ABC freshman comedy Trophy Wife (1.0) also perked up a tenth. But there was no reprieve for ABC’s dismally rated midseason drama Mind Games (0.7), which dropped 13%. (0.7 actually is not a series low for the show — that would be a 0.6). Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Mind Games’ Dives In Week 2, ‘About A Boy’ OK, ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ & CBS Dramas Log New Lows

By | Wednesday March 5, 2014 @ 2:30pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 2:30 PM: As expected, NBC’s The Voice was adjusted up a tenth to a 4.1 in 18-49 and About A Boy was adjusted down a tenth to a 2.5. Also slipping down a tenth were NBC’s Growing Up Fisher (1.9) and ABC’s The Goldbergs (1.5), while NCIS (2.5) and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1.8) ticked up a tenth. Those are still season and series lows for the CBS and ABC dramas, respectively.

PREVIOUS 9:50 AM: Remember ABC’s ill fated miniseries The Assets, which was yanked after mind-gamestwo episodes when it posted a dismal 0.6 rating in adults 18-49? Well, there is a new candidate for a quick dismissal in ABC’s midseason drama Mind Games, which also pulled in a 0.6 in its second airing, down a whopping 45% from its underwhelming premiere last week. It tied the second (and last) episode of The Assets and the last airing of another ABC midseason misfire, drama Killer Women, as the lowest rated original hourlong telecast on the Big 4 this season and likely ever. There was more bad news for ABC at 8 PM, where Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned from a month-long hiatus to a series low of 1.7 in 18-49, down 23% from its last original and down 19% from the series’ previous low. Freshman comedy Trophy Wife (0.8) at 9:30 PM also fell to a series low in its return, down 11%. The bright spot for ABC was The Goldbergs at 9 PM (1.6), which was even with its last original on February 4 and once again edged Fox’s New Girl (1.5).
Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Mind Games’ Off To Low Start, ‘Glee’ Up In Move, CBS Dramas Down

By | Wednesday February 26, 2014 @ 10:13am PST
Nellie Andreeva

mind-gamesOh, boy. It’s not a good sign when a 1.1 drama premiere in adults 18-49 warrants an ABC ratings headline Mind Games Opens with a 5-Month Time-Slot High and a 22% Improvement from ABC’s Most Recent Debut in the Hour. But those have been the realities at ABC this season. The network’s newest drama series, Mind Games, opened with a 1.1 in 18-49 and 3.6 million viewers in ABC’s black hole of a slot at 10 PM on Tuesday. It indeed was up from the network’s most recent debut in the hour, Killer Women, which opened to a dismal 0.9 on Jan. 7 as the lowest rated in-season drama series premiere ever. But there is not much to crow about as ABC now claims the three lowest rated drama debuts this season with its three new Tuesday 10 PM entries Killer Women (0.9), Mind Games (1.1) and Lucky 7 (1.2, tied with NBC’s Ironside). That’s without counting that series-turned-miniseries The Assets, which opened with a 0.7 for a super brief run, but it still puts Mind Games between two shows that have faced swift cancellation. Additionally, Mind Games enjoyed a solid launch pad for its debut, a two-hour Bachelor, which matched its Monday fast national 18-49 rating of a 2.4. That is double what Killer Women‘s premiere had as a lead-in from a Trophy Wife original (1.2). There will be even rougher seas for the new drama next week when ABC reverts to its regular Tuesday lineup.

Fox debuted its new Tuesday lineup last night, featuring Glee‘s return to the Tuesday 8 PM slot. It proved what we already suspected, that having no lead-in is better than having X Factor as one, with Glee (1.2) up 9% from its last original behind the now defunct singing competition despite having to face The Voice. The network’s 8-9 PM comedy also rose from their last originals that aired against the Olympics — New Girl (1.4, up 8%), Brooklyn Nine-Nine ( 1.3, up 8%) though Fox’s Tuesday lineup remains alarmingly low in live viewing, under 1.5 demo rating. Read More »

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TCA: ‘Mind Games’ Challenges TV Critics

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 5:09pm PST

TCA TV critics love deeply flawed guys on cable dramas. On broadcast, maybe not so much? Christian Slater and Steve Zahn play brothers — a con man just out of prison, and a brilliant bipolar expert in the field of human behavior, respectively — who form a problem-solving firm that uses psychological manipulation.

One TV critic at the Mind Games Q&A, told the ABC show’s creator she was totally into the pilot until the final twist when she “lost any empathy” and wondered if it would be addressed in the second episode. The creator, Mind GamesKyle Killen, explained that “what cable’s done to television” is “expanded the palate” and lead characters were no longer expected to be fixed quickly.

Another critic noted it’s Killen’s third recent stab at characters leading a dual life — the other two being NBC’s short-lived Awake, about a cop leading two parallel lives after a car accident, and Fox’s short-lived Lone Star, about a con artist living two lives in Texas. “Nope, just beating the same dead horse,” Killen responded, suggesting he’s maybe not destined to strike up with this particular TV critic one of those effervescent friendships that TV critics and show writers sometimes strike up. Taking the high road, he explained the brothers of Mind Games aspire to help people, which maybe makes it the easiest of his recent TV projects for a wide audience to embrace.

Another critic wondered if Killen had given any thought to switching the two actors’ roles — because, the critic said, Slater is maybe better suited to play a bipolar guy, the illness often goes undiagnosed, tends to run in families, and expresses itself differently among siblings. Killen said he’d never given any thought to switching the two actors. Read More »

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ABC Sets ‘Black Box’ Premiere, ‘Dancing’ Return Date, Moves Up ‘Mind Games’ Debut

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 10:23am PST
Nellie Andreeva

WYNN EVERETT, CEDRIC SANDERS, CHRISTIAN SLATER, GREGORY MARCEL, STEVE ZAHNNew ABC drama series Black Box will succeed Scandal in the Thursday 10 PM slot, launching on April 24. Scandal is finishing its season a little earlier as its order had to be reduced because of star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. Fellow new drama, Mind Games, originally slated to premiere on March 11 in the Tuesday 10 PM slot, will start two weeks earlier, on February 25, as ABC is cutting short the run of underperforming drama Killer Women. The series stars Christian Slater and Steve Zahn. Veteran Dancing With The Stars will return on March 17. And the network is banking on new Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis, expanding the February 24 episode to two hours, and adding a two-hour special on February 25, leading into the premiere of Mind Games. ABC also announced today a new Disney-Pixar holiday special, Toy Story That Time Forgot for the 2014 holiday season, a follow up to Toy Story Of Terror.

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Vinnie Jones & Luis Guzman Join ABC Series ‘Mind Games’

By | Monday December 2, 2013 @ 6:07pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

guzman vinniejonesEXCLUSIVE: Vinnie Jones and Luis Guzman have been tapped for recurring roles on ABC’s midseason drama series Mind Games, about two brothers — Ross (Christian Slater), a con man, and Clark (Steve Zahn), suffering from bipolar disorder — as they run a problem-solving firm that uses psychological manipulation. Read More »

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Jaime Ray Newman Joins ABC’s ‘Mind Games’ As Regular, Rockmond Dunbar Cast In ‘The Mentalist’ As Potential New Regular

By | Friday August 23, 2013 @ 7:23pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Jaime Ray Newman (Drop Dead Diva) has landed a new regular role on ABC’s midseason drama series Mind Games, about two brothers — Ross (Christian Slater), a con man, and Clark (Steve Zahn), suffering from bipolar disorder — as they run a problem solving firm that uses psychological manipulation. Newman will play Anna Gordon, a seasoned con woman who is trying to turn over a new leaf and is hoping that her somewhat  skill set will be perfect for Ross and Clark’s company.

Rockmond Dunbar (The Game) is set for a recurring three-episode arc on CBS’ veteran drama The Mentalist, with potential to become a series regular. He will appear in episodes 7, 8 and 9, playing FBI Supervisory Agent Dennis Abbott who is a tough, no-nonsense cop who doesn’t suffer fools and isn’t overly impressed by Patrick Jane’s skills or charm. The Mentalist is looking for new regulars as part of a cast changeover that includes the planned exit of original cast members Amanda Righetti and Owain Yeoman in a plot twist. The series also is casting a new female regular.

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New Drama Series Hire Producing Directors

Nellie Andreeva

As the newly picked-up broadcast series are gearing up for production, they’ve brought in producing directors. Here are some notable hires on new drama series. Jace Alexander will be co-executive producer/director on hot NBC drama The Blacklist. He is with ICM Partners and Fineman Entertainment. Ghost Whisperer creator John Gray will serve in the same capacity on CBS’ Reckless, while Ken Olin will be producing director on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. Other producing director appointments: Dan Lerner (Lucky 7), Tim Busfield (Mind Games), Sam Hill (Almost Human), Jonas Pate (Believe), Deran Sarafian (Star-Crossed) and Nelson McCormick (Gang Related).

Related: 2013-14 Schedule Grid & Top Face-Offs

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Writer Eli Attie Inks Overall Deal With 20th Century Fox TV, Joins ‘Mind Games’

By | Thursday May 30, 2013 @ 5:19pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer Eli Attie has closed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Under the pact, Attie is joining the studio’s new ABC drama Mind Games, from creator Kyle Killen, as co-executive producer. He also will develop. Attie, who segued to a screenwriting career after serving as Al Gore’s Chief Speechwriter, most recently served as co-executive producer on Fox’s long-running drama series House. Before that, he worked on two Aaron Sorkin series, first on the Emmy-winning The West Wing for five years, where he likely used some of his Washington experience, and then on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Additionally, Attie’s screenplay Smile Relax Attack was named to the 2009 Black List. “Eli has a phenomenal reputation — virtually every writer who’d worked on a staff with Eli raved about him, so we knew he’d be a valuable addition to our studio’s roster,” 20th TV chairman Dana Walden said. “And when it came to finding someone to work with a writer as adept as Kyle Killen on Mind Games, Eli immediately came to mind, and they really hit it off. We look forward to working with him on this important series as well as developing with him down the road.” Attie is with WME and Jackoway Tyerman.

Related: 2013-2014 ABC New Series

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