Deadline contributor Tim Adler files this international report:
Simon Cowell will return as one of the judges on next year’s Britain’s Got Talent, ITV boss Adam Crozier has confirmed. The X Factor impresario will resume his seat on the talent show following the recent exits of judges David Hasselhof and Michael McIntyre. Speaking to press this afternoon in London, the ITV boss also hinted that ITV Studios may be in the market to buy an American production company, pointing out that the U.S. is the second-liveliest market for independent TV producers apart from the UK. For now though, Crozier is concentrating on wiping out the £612 million worth of debt he inherited by year’s end. “When you inherit something that isn’t working, the worst thing you can do is start bolting things on,” he said.
Deadline contributor Tim Adler files this international report:
Maria Bello is hanging up her hats. NBC’s low-rated new cop drama Prime Suspect, which was left off the network’s midseason schedule, will wrap production this month. I hear that the show’s cast and crew were notified of the shutdown just as NBC was making its midseason schedule announcement yesterday afternoon. Prime Suspect, a remake of the popular British series with Bello in the role originated by Helen Mirren, will complete Episode 12, which is now wrapping filming, and Episode 13, which starts shooting this week, before shutting down for the holiday and for the season. That fulfills the series’ original 13-episode order. I hear people on the show were told that Prime Suspect has been canceled. There will be no more episodes produced this season (and likely ever), but technically, according to a rep for the network, NBC brass are still “considering their options” for the show, which hypothetically could be picked up for next season. Emphasis on hypothetically.
Harry’s Law is featured on NBC’s just-released midseason schedule, so this seams like a foregone conclusion, but word is that NBC is giving a full-season to David E. Kelley’s sophomore series. Also looking good to get a back order is freshman Grimm, which also is on NBC’s midseason schedule. UPDATE: I have learned that for now, the fairytale drama has received an order for additional scripts. Ominously missing from the schedule is rookie Prime Suspect. It seems like NBC brass in finally throwing the towel on the struggling remake. UPDATE: A rep for NBC says that the network brass are “considering our options” on Prime Suspect, which has not been officially canceled.
NBC’s Midseason Schedule: ‘Up All Night’, ‘Whitney’, ‘Rock Center’, ‘Harry’s Law’ Move; ‘Community’ Benched; ‘Suspect’ Pulled
After a pretty dismal fall, NBC is shaking things up in midseason with several scheduling changes. Gone from the lineup is struggling freshman Prime Suspect (NBC says it hasn’t made a final decision on its cancellation), while four series — Whitney, Up All Night, Harry’s Law and Rock Center With Brian Williams — are on the move. NBC is creating a multi-camera comedy block in the 8-9 PM Wednesday hour with Whitney and midseason comedy Are You There, Chelsea (formerly Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea; No alcohol-flavored title in the family hour.) The block, which will debut January 11, brings together two female comedians with similar sensibility in Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler, on whose books Chelsea is based. A month later, the two comedies will be followed by low-rated newsmagazine Rock Center With Brian Williams. It will take over the Wednesday 9 PM slot from Harry’s Law, which is moving to Sundays. Rock Center had to move out of the Monday 10 PM slot to make room for NBC’s highest-profile new series this season, Broadway drama Smash, which will premiere on February 6 and run in the post-The Voice slot as originally scheduled. NBC’s other changes for midseason include new comedy Up All Night moving to Whitney‘s Thursday 9:30 PM slot; 30 Rock replacing Community on Thursdays at 8 PM; and the John Grisham adaptation The Firm, originally slated for a Sunday midseason run, sliding into Prime Suspect‘s Thursday 10 PM slot. The order for Community has not been reduced, so it’s unclear what NBC will do with the remaining episodes of the college-set comedy. Missing from the midseason lineup is NBC’s ambitious new drama series Awake, which recently took an unplanned break to work on scripts. Here is NBC’s midseason schedule (with premiere dates) that also includes new reality series Fashion Star on Tuesdays at 10 PM and the return of Celebrity Apprentice on Sundays:
NBC is solidifying its support for well-received but struggling new drama Prime Suspect with a six-script order. It follows similar script pickup for sophomore dramedy Harry’s Law yesterday. Prime Suspect is NBC’s only new fall scripted series whose fate has not been determined. The network recently gave comedies Up All Night and Whitney full-season orders and canceled drama The Playboy Club and comedy Free Agents. Such a script order allows producers to keep a series in continuous production if the network gives it an episodic back order. After a slow start, Prime Suspect held steady last Thursday (1.5/4), when virtually all other shows were down. The cop drama starring Maria Bello is getting additional sampling on Monday where its repeats replaced Playboy this week.
MIPCOM Briefs: ITV Sells NBC’s ‘Prime Suspect’ To 30 Territories; Overseas Buyers Get ‘Happily Divorced’
The international TV market got underway in Cannes this morning with a flurry of announcements. Here are a few titbits:
– ITV Studios Global Entertainment, the TV distribution arm of the Brit broadcaster, has sold the new NBC version of Prime Suspect to over 30 territories worldwide. This is despite the show teetering on the verge of cancellation in the U.S. ITV, which co-produced the remake with Universal Media Studios, has licensed the Maria Bello vehicle to broadcasters including Nine (Australia), TVNZ (New Zealand) and TV3 (Ireland). Prime Suspect drew an underwhelming 1.5 18-49 rating in its second week on NBC. My colleague Nellie Andreeva reports that NBC’s chief Bob Greenblatt is willing to give the struggling show, which got mostly positive reviews, a bit more time.
– Meanwhile Shine International, the TV distribution arm of News Corp’s Shine Group, has licensed more than 200 hours of programming to Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic. It’s the biggest commission Shine has brokered with DLA/USH to date, and includes cooking competition show MasterChef, game show The Biggest Loser, and unscripted format One Born Every Minute.
NBC’s The Playboy Club and Prime Suspect and ABC’s Charlie’s Angels had two things in common going into this fall. Highly recognizable titles, for once, as they all were based on famous brands. And they all got on the air after 2 consecutive rounds of development. Now they share something else: they all launched to disappointingly low ratings and are staring down the cancellation barrel. How did that happen?
Just a month ago, things were looking up for the 3 series. Besides pre-sold titles, all were backed by extensive promotional campaigns and all had a strong marketing hook. For Playboy Club, it was the Playboy empire which threw its support by hosting pre-launch parties at the Playboy mansion and doing a special cover of Playboy magazine promoting the show’s launch. For Charlie’s Angels, it was Drew Barrymore’s involvement as an executive producer. (She even appeared as a presenter at the Emmys alongside the series’ stars.) Prime Suspect had a well-known film actress, Maria Bello, as the lead. Additionally, in their road to the screen, all 3 drams seemed to follow the successful formula of CBS’s Hawaii Five-0. CBS originally put the reboot of the classic procedural in development during the 2008-09 development season with Ed Bernero as the writer. The project didn’t go to pilot, and the following season, CBS tried again with new writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Peter Lenkov. The script sailed through the pilot stage and the show landed on CBS’ 2010 fall schedule.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
At the NBCUniversal press sessions at Monday’s TCA, not one but two of the new series introduced here are re-imaginings of British shows. In the morning, it was the comedy Free Agents. This afternoon, it was the Maria Bello starrer Prime Suspect, a re-invention of the critically acclaimed British procedural drama starring Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison, a homicide detective with a dark side. This time around, England is New York City, and Maria Bello is Jane Timoney, a brilliant “bad cop” disliked by her squad. She’s all tough and stuff. At age 44, Bello joins the ranks of glamorous middle-aged actresses who have found a place for themselves in TV’s procedural dramas.
Also like the producers of Free Agents, co-executive producer/writer Alexandra Cunningham said the show would be a little less dark than seems to suit British tastes: While the New Jane drinks like the Old Jane, the story lines won’t delve into alcoholism. New Jane smokes like Old Jane — but in the USA in 2011, she’s trying to quit. (Bello also confessed that she is a smoker.) Said Cunningham: “The thing that makes this different from other procedurals is the humor,” which she adds will harken to the style of Hill Street Blues and Barney Miller.
After today’s TCA panel for NBC’s Prime Suspect, the series’ executive producer Peter Berg confirmed that a movie version/sequel to his critically acclaimed NBC/DirecTV drama series Friday Night Lights, which recently ended its five-season run, is in active development. The movie is on track and the script is being written, Berg said. “We’re very serious about trying to do it,” he said, with a goal of going into production next year. The project would be produced by Universal Pictures — the studio behind the 2004 movie starring Billy Bob Thornton — and Imagine, with Brian Grazer producing. It would feature the cast of the series led by Emmy nominees Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton.