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Critics’ Choice TV Awards Noms: ‘Community’ At Top Of List

Nellie Andreeva

There is an awards show where Community is the most nominated program! The quirky NBC comedy series leads the pack at the 2nd annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards with six nominations, including best comedy series and best comedy actor Joel McHale, followed by another NBC Thursday comedy, Parks & Recreation. Lauded AMC dramas Mad Men and Breaking Bad each have five noms. NBC was the most nominated network with 14 nominations followed by ABC with 13 and Fox and HBO with 12. The list includes a lot of long-time awards underdogs and fresh newcomers. Winners of the awards, given away by the Broadcast Television Journalists Assoc., an offshoot of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, will be announced at a gala awards dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 18.

Here is a list of the nominees:

Best Drama Series

Breaking Bad – AMC

Downton Abbey – PBS

Game of Thrones – HBO

The Good Wife – CBS

Homeland – Showtime

Mad Men – AMC Read More »

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Amy Poehler Joins ‘Parks And Recreation’ Cohort Adam Scott In Feature ‘A.C.O.D.’

By | Thursday March 8, 2012 @ 12:07pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Amy Poehler is in final negotiations to join the Black Bear Pictures comedy A.C.O.D. She will star in the film alongside her Parks and Recreation co-star Adam Scott. Directed by Stu Zicherman, the comedy focuses on a young man (Scott) who discovers that he was enlisted in a study about divorced children many years ago. When he’s ushered into a present-day follow-up study, it creates new havoc for his family. Script was written by Zicherman and Ben Karlin. Poehler will play Richard Jenkins’ new wife, who is enemies with his first wife (played by Catherine O’Hara).

Poehler just wrapped the fourth season of Parks and Recreation. A.C.O.D. also stars Jessica Alba, Jane Lynch and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Shooting begins next week in Atlanta. Poehler is represented by WME and 3 Arts.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Community’ & ‘Prime Suspect’ Rise, ‘Parks & Recreation’ Slips

Nellie Andreeva

Against lighter competition, The X Factor‘s Top 7 results show last night (3.1/9) was even with its last Thursday episode two weeks ago and up 19% from last week’s results edition, which aired on Wednesday. Bones (2.8/7) was up a tenth from two weeks ago. Fox (3.0/8, 9.5 million) won the night in adults 18-49 and total viewers. NBC was the only other broadcast network to air its regular lineup in originals last night. For a second consecutive time since NBC announced it was benching Community for midseason, the off-beat comedy (1.7/5) went up a tenth, matching its best demo delivery in two months. But after rising by two tenths in its last original airing two weeks ago, Parks And Recreation (1.8/5) dropped as much last night. The Office (2.9/8) and Whitney (1.9/5) were both flat with their most recent originals and tied as season/series low. With no original series competition at 10 PM, canceled Prime Suspect (1.3/4) was up two tenths (13%) from two weeks ago. With all originals, NBC (1.8/5, 4.4 million) still finished behind CBS (1.9/5, 8.4 million), which aired all reruns. ABC ran holiday specials Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (2.2/6) and CMA Country Christmas (2.1/5). The CW aired repeats.

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Kathryn Hahn And Nora Zehetner To Recur On ‘Parks & Recreation’, ‘Common Law’

By | Monday November 28, 2011 @ 12:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Kathryn Hahn, the female lead of NBC’s short-lived comedy series Free Agents, is staying at the network with a four-episode arc on Parks and Recreation. She will play the campaign manager of Amy’s (Amy Poehler) opposition in the election. Hahn is repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment.

Nora Zehetner is set to recur on another series, USA’s upcoming buddy-cop dramedy Common Law, about butting detectives Travis (Michael Ealy) and Wes (Warren Kole) ordered to attend couples therapy. She will play a pretty and offbeat female detective fresh out of training at Quantico and the new head of the digital technology unit. She’s immune to Travis’ flirty charms but is impressed by Wes. Zehetner, repped by APA and the Schiff Co, has recurred on Grey’s Anatomy, Mad Men and Heroes.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Ends Fall Run With A Bang, ‘Big Bang’ Tops Night

Nellie Andreeva

ABC’s veteran medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (4.0/10 in adults 18-49) had its fall finale last night. The series ended on a high note – Grey‘s was up 14% from its fast national rating last week. Private Practice (2.9/8), which is heading into its two-hour fall finale next week, was up 12%. On a low note, ABC’s canceled drama Charlie’s Angels (1.1/3) at 8 PM was down a tenth to a series low in its final airing. It dragged down ABC’s nightly average, so the network (2.7/7, 8 million) finished third in both 18-49 and total viewers.

CBS aired a new The Big Bang Theory (5.2/15, 15.7 million) and Rules Of Engagement (3.6/9), followed by drama reruns of Person Of Interest (2.0/5) and The Mentalist (1.9/5). For a third straight week, Big Bang went up in the fast nationals vs. the previous Thursday. The last two times, the comedy posted a new Thursday high in 18-49 and may again tie or surpass its current Thursday best (5.4) when the Live+Same Day ratings are released this afternoon. Big Bang once again topped the night in both 18-49 and total viewers. Rules was down a tenth from last week. CBS (2.8/7, 10.9 million) topped the night in viewers and finished second in 18-49 to Fox.

The second results edition of Fox’s The X Factor (3.3/9) was down 8% from last week. Bones (2.7/7) was down 18% from its season premiere last week. Fox (3.0/8, 9.5 million) still won the night in the demo. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: CBS, NBC Comedies Rebound, ‘Bones’ Debuts, ‘Big Bang’ Rocks

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 2 PM: Big boost in the finals for Big Bang, which indeed posted a new 18-49 Thursday with a 5.4 rating, up from 5.1 in the fast nationals. Going up a tenth are ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, NBC’s The Office and Parks & Recreation, Fox’s The X Factor and the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, which hit a season high.

PREVIOUS: All series that were pushed down by Game 6 of the World Series last Thursday bounced back last night. CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (5.1/15 in adults 18-49, 15.5 million) was up 13% from its fast national 18-49 rating last week. The hot comedy posted a new Thursday high in total viewers and will do the same in adults 18-49 when the finals are released later today. (It currently runs tied with the Thursday demo high it logged just two weeks ago but will be adjusted up as it always does.) Big Bang once again ranked as the highest-rated program of the night in 18-49 and total viewers. Rules Of Engagement (3.7/10, up 12%, 11.9 million) also posted new Thursday highs in total viewers and 18-49. Person Of Interest (2.7/7, 11.7 million) was flat, while The Mentalist (2.9/8, up 16%, 13.6 million) hit a season high in 18-49 and drew its largest audience since the season premiere.

Fox’s The X Factor (3.6/10, 11.3 million) aired its first-ever result show, which also was the series’ first hourlong edition. For those reasons, there is no apples-to-apples comparison to previous episodes, but X Factor grew nicely half-hour to half-hour, from a 3.3 to a 4.0 in the demo. At 9 PM, Bones opened its seventh season with a 3.3/8 in adults 18-49 and 10 million viewers. In 18-49 that was up 22% from the show’s debut last season, but this year Bones had a lofty X Factor lead-in vs. being a self-starter at 8 PM last year. Additionally, there was a significant half-hour-to-half-hour drop-off, from a 3.5 to a 3.1, which you don’t want to see in a 9 PM drama. Still, Fox (3.4/9, 10.6 million) edged CBS (3.3/9, 12.9 million) for the top spot in 18-49 to post a seventh consecutive Thursday demo win this season. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: Epic Game 6 Boosts Fox, ‘Prime Suspect’ Hits Low

Nellie Andreeva

After a lousy ALCS championship series and a slow start to the World Series, Fox got cooking last night with a thrilling 11-inning Game 6, which forced a rare World Series Game 7 (we hadn’t had one in nine years). It’s a dream come true for Fox executives and a nightmare for NBC ones whose Friday premieres of Grimm and Chuck tonight will have to face that game. (CBS has opted to sub its originals with repeats at the last minute.) The big game last night, which will propel Fox to an easy nightly win in 18-49 and total viewers when time-adjusted ratings are released, impacted the competition in a typical pattern, pushing down male-skewing shows like CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and Person Of Interest and NBC’s Community and The Office, while boosting female-oriented series such as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, NBC’s Whitney and the CW’s The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle.

Maybe ABC should’ve tried a Charlie’s Angels series with Charlie Brown as the boss. Last night, a rerun of the 45-year-old cartoon It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at 8 PM drew a 2.3/6 among 18-49, which was higher than any episode of the canceled Charlie’s Angels in the slot. Vs. last year, the Charlie Brown animated special was up 5%. Grey’s Anatomy (3.7/9) was up 3% from last week, and Private Practice up 4%. 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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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Big Bang’ Tops, ‘Angels’ & ‘Prime Suspect’ Soft, ‘X Factor’ Holds

Nellie Andreeva

Last night’s ratings continued the trend this premiere week of new comedies on average opening stronger than the dramas. Two more high-profile new dramas, ABC’s Charlie’s Angels and NBC’s Prime Suspect, had lackluster openings, while NBC’s comedy Whitney was promising. CBS’ Person of Interest was solid (as has been every series — new or returning — on CBS this week), but at first blush it looks more like The Mentalist than the series it replaced, CSI, in terms of breakout potential. Here is the rundown network-by-network.

ABC’s Charlie’s Angels reboot (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.7 million) got off to a slow start given its pre-sold title. (Last fall, CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 reboot premiered with a 3.9 demo rating.) Still, Charlie’s Angels was up 31% from last fall’s debut in the slot of My Generation, which was canceled a couple of weeks later. Despite a slightly better lead-in this year, Grey’s Anatomy‘s (4.1/10) two-hour premiere was down 24% from last season’s hourlong opener (which too was down 21% year-to-year) to log the veteran medical drama’s lowest-rated season premiere. ABC (3.4/9, 9.8 million) was third for the night in demo and viewers.

CBS opened big with two back-to-back episodes of The Big Bang Theory, which drew a 4.8/15 — down a fraction (2%) from Big Bang‘s Thursday debut last fall — and 14.1 million viewers at 8 PM and a 5.0/14 and 14.7 million at 8:30 PM. Big Bang was the top program of the night by a wide margin in both 18-49 and total viewers. Person of Interest (3.1/8, 13.2 million) was down 9% in the demo from last fall’s premiere of veteran CSI in the Thursday 9 PM hour. The Mentalist (2.8/7, 13.4 million) was down 18% from last season’s opener. CBS (3.6/10, 13.4 million) finished No. 2 in 18-49 and first in viewers. Read More »

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EMMYS: Comedy Series Handicap

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2011 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Comedy Series race.

Glee (Fox)
Ryan Murphy Prods w/ 20th Century Fox TV
Why It Was Nominated: Well, of course they had to nominate it. Love it or hate it, Glee remains the rare broadcast comedy that carries as much style as it does substance. It remained true even through a polarizing second season when the online community and critics consistently took the show to task for devolving into a parody of itself. Call it Sophomore Implosion Syndrome. But it’s still undeniably energetic and often imaginative.
Why It Has To Win: Unlike last year, it would be a monumental upset were Glee to take the prize this time. But the TV academy can surprise you. Voters are notorious for lagging a year or so behind the curve. While it’s something of an apples-and-oranges measure when compared with the rest of the category competition, Glee remains a technically flawless production, a fact that can’t be minimized at a time when series steeped in song and dance continue to pack ‘em in.
Why It Can’t Possibly Win: It wasn’t just fans and critics fueling the Season 2 backlash. It’s also been the industry itself, directed at both the show and at showrunner Ryan Murphy for his perceived arrogance amid its charmed early life. One comedy producer also noted, “Between the 3D concert movie and the (Glee Project) series (on Oxygen) and everyone talking about it endlessly, they got annoyingly ubiquitous real fast. I mean, if Glee wins, the sound of retching will prove deafening.” That probably doesn’t bode well. Read More »

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EMMYS: Comedy and Drama Series Have Become Primetime’s Great Divide

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s Emmy coverage.

Nominations released this morning for the 63rd Primetime Emmys continued to demonstrate the intriguing trend of broadcast dominating comedy series and cable the drama side, to the point of near-exclusivity. No cable series broke through in the Outstanding Comedy race. The last time that happened was 2005, which coincidentally was also the most recent year that all four major nets, NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox, each landed at least one best comedy series nom apiece, as they did this time. (That last fact is sure to please the Big 4, which just signed a new eight-year, $66 million deal with the TV Academy to carry the Primetime Emmy Awards through 2018.) Last year, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie both cracked the list, while in ’09 the group included HBO’s Entourage and Flight of the Conchords as well as Showtime’s Weeds. This time, however, it was a broadcast sweep with NBC’s 30 Rock and The Office, first-timers Parks and Recreation and The Big Bang Theory as well as Fox’s Glee and ABC’s defending champ Modern Family.

In the Outstanding Drama Series race, meanwhile, the superiority was almost equally absolute on the cable/satellite side, with HBO freshmen Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones and Emmy maiden Friday Night Lights from DirecTV joining AMC’s three-time champ Mad Men and Showtime’s annual nominee Dexter to give non-broadcast hours five of the six slots. Only CBS’ The Good Wife prevented a clean sweep. It’s the first time that broadcast has claimed just a single nominee in any major Emmy series category. (Last year, The Good Wife was joined in the category by departing ABC series Lost.) Read More »

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EMMY ANALYSIS: New Drama Series, Overlooked Comedies, ‘Friday Night Lights’, Jimmy Fallon And ‘SYTYCD’ Make A Splash

Nellie Andreeva

63rd Primetime Emmy Nominations
HBO’s new dramas Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones made a big showing in their first Emmy races, Friday Night Lights received a great sendoff for its final season, Modern Family solidified its position as the undisputed comedy king, The Big Bang Theory and Parks and Recreation landed first best series noms, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and So You Think You Can Dance broke into the major categories at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. On the heels of its Golden Globe and SAG wins, Prohibition-era extravaganza Boardwalk Empire netted an impressive tally of 18 Emmy nominations — including best drama series, best actor (Steve Buscemi) and best director (Martin Scorsese) — second only to the drama series that has dominated awards races for the past four years, AMC’s Mad Men, which had 19 noms. HBO led the network pack with 104 nominations, followed by CBS, which was the most nominated broadcast network with 50 noms, NBC with 46, PBS with 43, and this year’s host of the Primetime Emmy ceremony, Fox, with 42. HBO’s miniseries Mildred Pierce was the most nominated program overall with 21 mentions, including one in the newly consolidated best movie/miniseries category.

In its final Emmy hurrah, high school football drama Friday Night Lights earned its first best series nomination for its final season on DirecTV, along with the second consecutive best actor and best actress noms for stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton. In the best drama series category, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and FNL joined returning nominees Mad Men, Dexter and The Good Wife, which was once again the sole representative of broadcast TV in the top drama series category. Game of Thrones took a spot occupied by another genre series last year, HBO’s vampire drama True Blood, while notable omissions in the best drama series field include AMC’s high-profile new entries The Walking Dead and The Killing as well as FX’s Justified, all considered strong Emmy contenders, though the last two landed acting noms for stars Mireille Enos and Timothy Olyphant, respectively, and standout supporting players Michelle Forbes (The Killing), with her co-star Joel Kinnaman overlooked, and Margo Martindale, Walton Goggins and Jeremy Davies (Justified). Left out in the cold were Showtime’s drama Shameless and HBO’s Treme, as the TV Academy continues to show little love for Treme co-creator David Simon.

Following its complete dominance of the awards races following its best comedy series win at last year’s Emmy Awards, ABC’s Modern Family was once again the top comedy dog with 17 nominations, including best comedy series as well as acting nominations for the entire adult cast of the show, all of whom submitted themselves as supporting: last year’s winner Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen and Ed O’Neill, who was surprisingly left off last year’s nominee list. With no new comedy series making a big splash this past season on broadcast or cable, Emmy voters took a second look at series that had been passed over for best series recognition in the past. Both NBC’s Parks and Recreation and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory landed their first best comedy series nominations this year for their third and fourth season, respectively, but NBC’s offbeat sophomore Community and its cast were once again overlooked. Both Parks & Rec and Big Bang already had had lead actor nominations for stars Amy Poehler and Jim Parsons, who won for best comedy actor last year. Both are back in Emmy contention this year. However, Poehler’s co-star Nick Offerman was snubbed, while in another Emmy gain for Big Bang, Parsons is facing fellow star Johnny Galecki, who earned his first Emmy nomination. Joining Modern Family, Parks and Recreation and Big Bang in the best comedy series category are last year’s nominees Glee, The Office and 30 Rock.

It wasn’t a strong year for new broadcast series, so it is not surprising that none broke the best series categories. But three actresses from freshman sitcoms — Melissa McCarthy of CBS’ Mike & Molly, Martha Plimpton of Fox’s Raising Hope as well as Laura Linney of Showtime’s The Big C, which just started airing its second season — made the cut for best actress in a comedy series, where they will compete against returning nominees Tina Fey of 30 Rock, Poehler and last year’s winner Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie, though Showtime’s medical dramedy failed to repeat as best series nominee. Read More »

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EMMYS: Deadline/TVline Comedy Races

Here’s is the Deadline/TVline assessment of 2011 Emmy comedy races:

Deadline/TVline: 2011 Comedy Series Overview
Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits is more intense than ever, with Modern Family and Glee. That is, if a duo of up-and-comers — Community or Parks and Recreation — don’t act as spoilers. Past Emmy stalwarts 30 Rock or The Office could resurface. Or Showtime’s bold female-skewing dramedies Nurse Jackie or newbie The Big C might seize the spotlight. CBS’ The Big Bang Theory could finally score a nod or How I Met Your Mother in its sixth season. Underdogs include ABC’s The Middle and Fox’s Raising Hope.

Deadline: Do We Need A Dramedy Category?
Deadline: ‘Modern Family’s Chris Lloyd
Deadline: ‘The Big C’s Jenny Bicks
Deadline: ‘Parks & Recreation’s Michael Schur
Deadline: ‘Community’s Dan Harmon
Deadline: ‘Nurse Jackie’s Brixius & Wallem

Deadline: 10 Comedies Pick Best Episodes
While some comedy series producers are still finalizing their selection of episodes to submit for Emmy nomination consideration, most have already chosen their best. Each series may submit 6 episodes for the Outstanding Comedy Series, as … Read More »

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‘Parks And Recreation’ Town Getting Book Treatment Via NBCUniversal & Hyperion

By | Tuesday June 14, 2011 @ 1:07pm PDT

Here’s a novel concept: NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products Group and Hyperion Books are teaming to publish Pawnee: The Greatest Town In America, a book “written” by Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. Pawnee, Ind., is the setting for the series, which centers on Knope, a deputy director in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. The book, penned by the series’ writing staff, will be published Oct. 4, a couple of weeks after the Primetime Emmy Awards are handed out; the series is expected to garner some Emmy attention when nominations are revealed July 14 (Poehler received an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy nom in 2010). “The ever-expanding town of Pawnee has become its own character in our show, and we’re thrilled that we got to accelerate that expansion in one giant, goofy 240-page comedy book,” said Mike Schur, co-creator and executive producer of the series. “It’s a complete portrait of Everytown, USA, which every reader — whether a fan of the show or a newbie — can enjoy.”

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EMMYS: 2011 Comedy Series Overview

Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits is more intense than ever, with Modern Family showrunners Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd trying to score their second consecutive Emmy win, while Glee executive producer Ryan Murphy is hoping to edge them out. That is, if one or more of a duo of up-and-comers — Community or Parks and Recreation — don’t act as spoilers. Then again, past Emmy stalwarts 30 Rock or The Office could resurface. Or Showtime’s bold, female-skewing dramedies Nurse Jackie or newbie The Big C might seize the spotlight. And don’t rule out the possibility of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory finally scoring a nod in its fourth season, or How I Met Your Mother receiving recognition in its sixth. And then there are the underdogs. As The Middle’s co-showrunner Eileen Heisler (with DeAnn Heline) says about ABC’s Wednesday night lineup, “We’re really grateful to Modern Family for bringing attention to family shows. We’ve benefi tted from their success, but I think it takes a little longer for people to realize the next door neighbor in The Middle is edgy and wry.”

If Modern Family does repeat, no ABC sitcom has managed that feat since Taxi more than 30 years ago. Of course, NBC’s won three years running. And Frasier took home a record five in succession between 1994 and 1998. So it can be done. But that doesn’t mean Modern Family’s Christopher Lloyd thinks it’s a shoo-in. “Among certain segments of the blogosphere who first anointed the show that everybody is supposed to be watching, there’s another rush to declare that it stinks now. And then there will be others who’ll want to say ‘I told you so’ when it wins again.”

There’s general agreement it would take a miracle for any freshman broadcast network comedy to crash this year’s top comedy series’ Emmy party, with the possible exception of Fox’s Raising Hope. Though there’s a sliver of daylight for a newbie cable show like The Big C, despite the fact it’s a dramedy. Cable continues to make inroads in the comedy series categories, evidenced by Showtime’s Nurse Jackie capturing eight Emmy nominations last year, including one for top comedy; with Showtime’s Weeds as well as HBO’s Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm landing series nods in recent years. This year, TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland has Emmy buzz. But only one cable comedy has ever won: HBO’s Sex and the City in 2001.

Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s comedy series in alphabetical order:

30 ROCK
Although the NBC hitcom’s three-year winning streak ended last year (done in by ABC’s freshman breakout, Modern Family), it remains an industry darling — with good reason. While not as consistent as its earlier seasons, its comedy quality never seems to wane. So, without ever actually going away, it could be primed for a comeback. But the show, which celebrated its 100th episode this season, may also be mistakenly placed in the “been there, done that” category, even with red-hot writer/producer/actress/author Tina Fey at the helm (the recent Tracy Morgan scandal notwithstanding). But if the Academy revisits NBC’s quirky workplace comedies, they just might opt for the newer Parks and Recreation or Community.

THE BIG BANG THEORY
As popular as this CBS smash is, it has yet to be Emmy nominated despite originality in its scripts and ensemble. Kudos to the producers for broadening the cast this season and stepping up the romance for Mayim Bialik’s and Melissa Rauch’s roles, especially after Jim Parsons was acknowledged as last year’s Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series winner for nerd-chic hilarity. If you’re going to vote for a Chuck Lorre show this year, this one’s decidedly less baggage-laden than Two and a Half Men, which lost its Sheen.

THE BIG C
With lead Laura Linney considered a shoo-in for an Emmy nod, a side effect is that her show’s chances of breaking into the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy race likely increases as well. Question is, did they increase enough? Is the TV Academy ready to honor a dark comedy centering on a woman’s battle with cancer? Perhaps it’s time. If so, there could be two Showtime noms in this category for the first time, assuming Nurse Jackie repeats. Says showrunner Jenny Bicks, “It’s not going to be an easy fight for us.”

CHUCK
Forever floating on the renewal bubble (it will live on for a fifth and final short season of 13 episodes next season), Chuck has a well-earned reputation as The Little Show that Could. But, plucky as it is, the unlikely spy yarn remains a significant Emmy long-shot. Besides, NBC already has a couple of potential sleeper contenders at the ready in Parks and Recreation and Community.

COMMUNITY
What is arguably NBC’s most innovative comedy shoots high creatively but has yet to land commensurate ratings. Critics, however, have been quick to sing the show’s praises, perhaps loudly enough to help get it noticed by Emmy voters. Remember when Fox’s Arrested Development used critical praise to trump low viewership? Showrunner Dan Harmon likens Community’s comedy to “Krispy Kreme — we just have to get it into people’s mouths.” Or, in the case of Academy voters, into their DVD players.

COUGAR TOWN
In its second season, the wine-soaked “Friends for grownups” really came into its own as an ensemble comedy rather than just a Courteney Cox vehicle. And it’s even poking fun at the icky title that long ago ceased to have anything to do with the series premise. Nonetheless, it’s probably not ABC’s Wednesday night show with the most heat in this comedy category because of Modern Family.

EASTBOUND & DOWN
This back-to-fi rst-base comedy about a washed-up baseball player enjoys the prestige of HBO and the marquee value of Will Ferrell as a producer. But it’s perhaps too raunchy for older TV Academy voters. Given that producer-star Danny McBride says this forthcoming third season will be its last, Eastbound & Down likely will strike out Emmy-wise.

ENTOURAGE
After landing nominations in the top comedy category for three years running, HBO’s Hollywood insider send-up didn’t make the cut the last go-round. If shut out again, it’s because Academy voters have moved on from an aging series that returns for its shortened eighth and final season on July 24th. It didn’t help when news leaked out in May that HBO pulled it from broadcast syndication by Warner Bros Domestic TV.

EPISODES
If the television industry’s insiders love anything more than laughing, it’s laughing at itself (see 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm). And there’s been buzz about how this Showtime Brits-out-of-water comedy reinvented Matt LeBlanc. But, even if he might, the series probably doesn’t have a high enough profile yet to garner an Emmy nod.

FAMILY GUY
In 2009, the Fox show that wouldn’t die became the first animated series in nearly half a century to win an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. But it was shut out the very next year. So expect the next TV Academy recognition for Family Guy around 2060. One question mark is whether the toon’s unique in-your-face way of campaigning for Emmy helps or hurts to sway voters. Then again, this is the comedy series category.
Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Office’, ‘Bones’ Finales Up From Last Year, All Other Closers Down

Nellie Andreeva

The suspense surrounding Michael Scott’s successor as boss on The Office boosted the season finale of the veteran NBC comedy series (3.8/10), which was up 12% from last season’s finale and ranked as the highest-rated scripted show of the night in adults 18-49. The hourlong finale of Parks and Recreation (2.2/6) was flat with last year’s season ender at 8:30 PM. (NBC aired Office reruns in the 8 PM hour.)

The penultimate results show of this season’s American Idol (6.2/19) was flat with the fast national for last week’s show (it was down 5% from the final but is expected to rebound again in the finals this afternoon.) The season finale of Bones (3.2/8) was even with last week and up 14% from the dramedy’s season finale last year. Bones edged the season finale of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy in total viewers (10 million vs. 9.6 million). Fox once again dominated the night in 18-49 and total viewers.

Grey’s Anatomy (3.4/9) was down a whopping 34% from last season, with the season finale of Private Practice (2.5/7) down 22%. Both were the series’ lowest-rated finales ever but were actually up two tenths each from last week. Wipeout (1.7/5) at 8 PM was flat.

The CBS series also posted declines vs. last year in their season finales. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Office’ Drops Without Carell, ‘American Idol’ Up

Nellie Andreeva

Apologies for not filing a rating story earlier, it was a pretty big busy morning in TV news today. With the final ratings for last night in, here are the biggest highlights:

NBC’s The Office (3.5/10 in 18-49) was down 17% from last week’s episode, which marked the departure of star Steve Carell. It did better than the Carell’s penultimate episode.

NBC’s Parks and Recreation (2.5/7) was up 9% percent, while the season finale of 30 Rock (2.1/6) rose 11 percent. The paintball episode of Community (1.5/5), directed by the Russo brothers and guest starring Josh Holloway and Anthony Michael Hall, was up a tenth.

CBS’ and ABC’s scripted series were roughly on par, while ABC’s reality series Wipeout (1.4/5) tumbled 26% to a series low. On the flip side, Fox’s American Idol (6.3/20) was up 11%, and Bones (3.2/9) up almost as much.

In bubble-show watch, CW’s Nikita (1.9 million, 0.8/2) improved, while NBC’s Outsourced (1.5/4) was down 18%. Looking good for Nikita and not good for Outsourced.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: Will Ferrell Lifts ‘The Office’, ‘Paul Reiser’ Bombs, ‘Nikita’ Rises

Nellie Andreeva

Will Ferrell’s debut on The Office (3.9/11 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers) last night gave a boost to the NBC comedy, which was up 15% from its most recent original March 24 in 18-49. The ratings gains carried over to Parks and Recreation (2.6/7, 5.2 million), up 8% for its best numbers in almost three months; 30 Rock (2.2/6), up 16%; and Outsourced (1.7/5), up 21% from last week, when it had a repeat as lead-in. But things were far less uplifting in the 8 PM hour. Community (1.4/5, 3.5 million) was down 22% in 18-49 from its last original March 24. Then there was the premiere of The Paul Reiser Show (1.1/3, 3.3 million) at 8:30 PM. It was down a whopping 48% from the January debut of Perfect Couples in the time slot to rank as NBC’s lowest-rated in-season comedy series premiere ever.

Fox’s American Idol (6.1/19, 21 million) matched its fast-national rating from last week (the reality juggernaut always goes up in the finals). At 9 PM, Bones (3.7/10, 11.9 million) was up 16% from last week to log its highest 18-49 rating in two months. It as also the second-most-watched program of the night behind Idol. Fox easily won the night in all measures. Read More »

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NBC Renews Comedies ‘The Office,’ ‘Parks And Recreation’ And ‘Community’

By | Thursday March 17, 2011 @ 12:45pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

All of NBC’s returning Thursday comedies will be coming back next year. The network today renewed veteran The Office (sans Steve Carell), Parks and Recreation (with Rob Lowe) and Community for next season. They join 30 Rock, which was given an early pickup late last year when the network announced its move to 10 PM. “I am so pleased to renew these three outstanding comedies which are all at the top of their game creatively,” said NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt.  “Along with 30 Rock, they represent the best of what the NBC comedy brand stands for in terms of originality, wit, and sophistication. The Office continues to fire on all cylinders on the most competitive night of television; Parks & Recreation has come into its own this season as the rightful companion to The Office; and Community is one of the freshest comedies on any network and a solid foundation for Thursday night.”

With all 4 established Thursday comedies coming back and 13 comedy pilots ordered by Greenblatt this development season, the renewal chances of any of the network’s freshman comedies, Outsourced, Perfect Couples and the few that are yet to premiere, including Friends with Benefits and The Paul Reiser Show, are slim to none. And Greenblatt’s statement, anointing Parks & Rec as “the rightful companion to The Office” could be a sign that the comedy starring Amy Poehler may stay in the 9:30 PM slot next season.

The Office is delivering a … Read More »

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