The highest-rated drama telecast ever to air after the Super Bowl was ABC’s Thursday 9 PM series Grey’s Anatomy in 2006, during the show’s second season. The episode, crafted as the opening hour of a two-part storyline, drew 37.9 million viewers, with the conclusion on Thursday also garnering blockbuster ratings. NBC‘s head of scheduling Jeff Bader, who orchestrated the Grey’s Super Bowl scheduling while at ABC, is taking a page out of that rule book with The Blacklist. Also in its second season and about to move into the Thursday 9 PM slot, The Blacklist landed the post-Super Bowl spot on February 1 before it makes its Thursday debut February 5. At NBC’s upfront presentation today, chairman Bob Greenblatt announced that the episodes will be a two-part arc, clearly intended to give The Blacklist‘s Thursday premiere a hefty boost. Also at the presentation, Greenblatt promised more crossovers among Dick Wolf’s three NBC series: Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, and confirmed that the final season of Parks & Recreation will be 13 epsidoes.
Shares are down about 1.5% in initial post-market trading after the company reported mixed results for the first three months of the year. Net income at $468M was up 1.1% vs the period last year on revenues of $3.86B, -4.6%. The top line fell short of the $3.92B that analysts expected. But earnings at 78 cents a share topped forecasts for 75 cents. CBS says that last year’s results included $280M from its Super Bowl broadcast, and benefited from two additional NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship games. Their absence cut 11 percentage points from revenues at the main Entertainment unit, where revenues fell 9.3% to $2.3B with operating income -4.6% to $420M. Overseas sales helped to boost content licensing and distribution revenues 6%.
Cable networks, which include Showtime, more than held their own helped by licensing deals for original series and higher rates. Revenues here increased 12.3% to $537M with operating income +11.9% to $254M. But bestselling book titles Rush Revere And The First Patriots and The Women Of Duck Commander weren’t enough to lift revenues at the Simon & Schuster publishing unit. Sales fell 10.5% to $153M with operating income up $1M to $11M.
UPDATE: COO Chase Carey says not to worry about speculation that he’s preparing to leave. “Rupert and I have an understanding and a new agreement,” he told analysts in a conference call. “We just haven’t gotten it on paper yet.”
PREVIOUS, 1:08 PM: Shares are up about 4% in postmarket trading after Fox reported that the Super Bowl helped to score an additional $338M at the TV business — enabling the company to beat expectations for the first three months of 2013, an otherwise mixed quarter. Rupert Murdoch‘s entertainment operation generated $1.07B in net income, -63% vs the period last year, on revenues of $8.22B, +11.8%. The top line exceeded forecasts for $7.99B. Adjusted earnings at 47 cents a share also beat predictions for 35 cents.
The dominant Cable Network Programming unit’s revenues increased 11.5% to $3.15B — slightly less than analysts anticipated — with cash flow +10% to $1.18B. The business benefited from an 11% increase in the cash it collects from cable and satellite companies, and an 8% increase in domestic ads. But it also had higher expenses to launch Fox Sports 1 and FXX. At the Fox broadcast operation revenues with the Super Bowl were +27.1% to $1.59B, higher than the consensus forecast, with cash flow +31.5% to $288M. Ad sales were up 30%, although Fox says that it also suffered from “lower general entertainment ratings, led by declines at American Idol.” Filmed Entertainment suffered from comparisons with early 2013 which included A Good Day To Die Hard, Parental Guidance, and Life Of Pi and as it absorbed costs, but didn’t collect revenues, for Rio 2 which was released in April. Revenues fell 2.9% to $2.28B although cash flow increased 6% to $354M from sales of streaming rights to Amazon of TV shows including The Americans and 24.
Money disputes couldn’t stop the Entourage movie from going forward and neither can Kevin Connolly breaking his leg. The actor broke his left leg in two places Wednesday while playing football on set in L.A. with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, I’ve learned. The accident, which Connolly posted a pic of on Twitter on March 21, occurred while the cameras were rolling on the Warner Bros pic. (UPDATE 12:53 PM - According to a tweet from director Doug Ellin, the actor caught the ball.) Connolly immediately iced his leg, I’m told, and went back to work to do the next scene soon afterward. He showed up for work the next day, and production on the movie based on the long-running HBO Hollywood hustle series has not been interrupted at all. Super Bowl XLVIII-winning Wilson is set to make a cameo in the movie.
— Kevin Connolly (@mrkevinconnolly) March 21, 2014
With Wilson, Connolly, Jeremy Piven and the rest of the gang on screen, the Entourage movie is due to hit theaters on June 12, 2015 – four years after the series wrapped on HBO.
Hammer-Wielding Attorney From Viral Super Bowl Ad To Topline Reality Series For Mike Fleiss & Warner Horizon TV
EXCLUSIVE: From Savannah to Hollywood. George-based personal injury lawyer Jamie Casino has been one of the most pursued pieces of TV talent since becoming an overnight celebrity with his epic two-minute Super Bowl commercial that featured him wielding his sledgehammer of justice (check out the ad below). In a very competitive situation, with more than 40 companies pursuing the viral star attorney for unscripted and scripted projects, Warner Horizon Television has signed Casino for Casino’s Law, a primetime unscripted series to star the lawyer. I hear Warners’ pursuit of Casino was spearheaded by new unscripted and alternative president Mike Darnell, who helped seal the deal as part of his efforts to ramp up the studio’s reality production. Casino’s Law will be executive produced by one of WHTV’s top producers, The Bachelor creator/executive producer Mike Fleiss, who will develop the show through his Next Entertainment. There is no concept for the series yet, with discussions underway to pin down the type of show that would suit Casino best.
Written and directed by and starring Casino, the Super Bowl ad tells the life-changing story of the tragic death of Casino’s brother and Casino’s subsequent efforts to clear his brother’s name and fight for justice on behalf of innocent victims everywhere.
UPDATE: Time Warner Cable Offers A Free Movie To LA-Area Customers As Make-Good After Super Bowl Outage
UPDATE, 6:30 PM: The cabler said tonight that it is offering a “gift of appreciation” to SoCal subscribers whose signal went out for more than an hour during Sunday’s Big Game. But will credit for one free VOD movie — or a five-buck gift card for analog subs — placate disgruntled football fans and party hosts? “Although most of our customers didn’t experience an interruption, we want to express our sincere apologies to all Time Warner Cable TV customers in the Los Angeles area,” SVP Operations Deborah Picciolo said in a release. “We didn’t live up to our standards for a quality customer experience. We know there’s no way to undo the inconvenience of last night’s outage, and we want them to know how truly sorry we are for this issue.”
PREVIOUSLY, Sunday PM: Some Time Warner Cable customers in Southern California who weren’t watching the Big Game in high def missed out on parts of the Super Bowl and Bruno Mars-Red Hot Chili Peppers halftime show, TWC confirmed Sunday evening. (If you missed the halftime show, here’s Mike Fleming’s recap.)
UPDATE, 5:18PM: ”Absolutely, of course you are Bill but I like you anyway,” President Obama told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly tonight when asked if the cable news network host was “unfair” to him. “We just went through an interview where you asked about healthcare not working, IRS wholly corrupt, Benghazi,” Obama said referring to his testy live Super Bowel pregame interview with O’Reilly yesterday (see below). “The list of issues are defined by you guys in a certain way, but this is OK. If you want to be President of the United States then you know that you are going to be subject to criticism..” the President added. “But I want to know if it is unfair,” asked The O’Reilly Factor host to a smiling, laughing and deflecting Obama, “It’s my job to give you a hard time,” O’Reilly added. “Here’s what I would say, regardless of if it is unfair or not, it has made Fox News very successful,” responded Obama. “Here’s what you guys have to figure out, what are you going to do when I’m gone,” the President added. Today’s 10-minute interview shown on The O’Reilly Factor was taped immediately following the live 10-minute one-on-one the duo conducted Sunday. The taped interview also touched on support for veterans, the Keystone pipeline and how Obama thinks Richard Nixon was more liberal than he is.”Mr. President, always a pleasure to talk to you,” O’Reilly concluded the interview with. Afterwards, O’Reilly showed portions of the live interview from Sunday.
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY PM: Things turned tense quickly today between President Obama and Bill O’Reilly in their Super Bowl pregame interview. “OK, Bill, you’ve got a long list of my mistakes,” Obama said to The O’Reilly Factor host near the start of their 10-minute live interview on Fox. That remark — in response to a question from O’Reilly whether it was the biggest mistake of Obama’s presidency when he told Americans no one would lose their healthcare under Obamacare — was one of a number of points on which the two butted heads. The duo sparred almost from the beginning in the interview live from the White House this afternoon. Obama also took on Fox News Channel when O’Reilly asked him about reports the IRS was investigating Tea Party-related groups for political reasons. “These kind of things keep resurfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them,” Obama said. “When you look there have been multiple hearings.” Obama denied any corruption, just some “boneheaded decisions.” Earlier, the Fox News host interrupted Obama with a “you’re not going to answer that?” as the President replied to a question about why he didn’t fire Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius after the botched online launch of Obamacare.
The face-to-face marked the first time O’Reilly has interviewed Obama since Fox last broadcast the Super Bowl in 2011. The two covered several topics today including the Obamacare rollout, the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, and the IRS scandal. Obama wouldn’t offer a prediction for the game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. “I can’t make a prediction, I don’t know, these guys are too evenly matched,” he said. “I think it is going to be 24-21 but I don’t know who is going to be 24 and I don’t know who is going to be 21.” Just before the interview ended, O’Reilly told the President he thought his heart was in the right place. O’Reilly and Obama are set to chat more today for an additional taped portion that will be shown Monday on O’Reilly Factor.
As a record number of folks watched Super Bowl XLVIII on TV yesterday, an average of 528,000 per minute live streamed the game on Fox Sports. That makes the Seahawks’ pummeling of the Broncos the most-viewed live stream of a single U.S. sporting ever, beating last year’s Big Game by 4%. Despite the blowout score, it more than doubled the online viewership for the thrilling NCAA football championship game last month. NBCUniversal likely is applauding those numbers as it prepares to live stream every event — more than 1,000 hours worth — at the Sochi Winter Games, which kick off this week.
The brewer’s sentimental commercials seemed to trounce everyone else in the post-broadcast ad-rating competitions almost as much as the Seattle Seahawks did in its showdown with the Denver Broncos. Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” spot, depicting a bond between a Clydesdale horse and a puppy, won USA Today‘s Super Bowl Ad Meter. It was the most-watched ad among TiVo users (the ranking includes replays among its DVR subscribers up to midnight PT). And the commercial contributed to Budweiser’s overwhelming lead in social media chatter according to ListenFirst’s Super Bowl Digital Index. It gave Bud an index score of 99.7 vs second-place Coca-Cola’s 78.4 in an analysis of activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Most of this year’s top-ranked spots were family friendly, a contrast to recent years when many advertisers tried to shock audiences with storylines that featured sex and flatulence. Other high rankers included Doritos’ “Cowboy Kid” (No. 2 for USAT, and No. 3 for TiVo), Doritos’ “Time Machine” (No. 4 for USAT, No. 5 for TiVo), Bud’s “Hero’s Welcome” (No. 3 at USAT), and RadioShack’s “The Phone Call” (No. 5 at USAT, No. 6 for TiVo). TiVo SVP Tara Maitra tells me that she was struck by the popularity of nostalgia, and by how many people stuck around to watch ads including “Puppy Love” that ran in the fourth quarter — when the game was already a blowout. It tells her that the Super Bowl has become “a live TV event, and people are watching it for different elements, not just the game itself.”
The excitement at MetLife Stadium picked up tonight, but only after the Seattle Seahawks slaughtered the Denver Broncos. Police arrested a man who penetrated security’s defense at a Super Bowl post-game press conference held by Seahawks MVP Malcolm Smith, then shouted a conspiracy theory that aired live on ESPN2. “Investigate 9/11 – 9/11 was perpetrated by people within our own government,” said the man, identified in media reports as Matthew Mills of Brooklyn, who was subsequently ushered away from the mic and later arrested and charged with trespassing. ESPN2 and the NFL have yet to issue an official statement on the breach – watch it below:
Super Bowl XLVIII: total bust as a game, middling year for ads – though outrage was tearing up Twitter by the time the game sputtered to a close over a Coke commercial in which “America the Beautiful” was sung in many languages over images of people of many ethnic and religious backgrounds spending quality time with family and friends. Rants ranged from :
“Nice to see that Coke likes to sing an AMERICAN song in the terrorist’s language. Way to go Coke. You can leave America”
“Glad to see the that #boycottcoke thing. That way we can clearly spot every bigot, racist and moron in the country & keep them from our kids.”
The ad, ironically, called “It’s Beautiful,” also marked the first time a gay couple had been included in a Super Bowl ad, according to GLAAD, but that kind of got drowned out in all the mud-slinging under the banners #SpeakAmerican and #BoycottCoke.
The game started strong with Joe Namath, in a fly 70′s fur coat, botching the coin toss, which we didn’t think could be done. Namath’s coat went on to bigger and better things, becoming a hashtag phenomenon on Twitter. Despite high prices paid for A-list celebrity endorsements, it was Rob Riggle who seemed to get the most career mileage out of this year’s crop of game ads — including screen time in both a faux movie trailer, Escape to East Rutherford, and a Ford Fusion …
The long rumored Seinfeld reunion finally hit the airwaves during half-time at the Super Bowl in the form of an extended promo for a special edition of Jerry Seinfeld‘s Crackle series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. Watch characters from the hit NBC comedy reunite for the first time in 16 years:
I’ve been asked to critique the Super Bowl halftime. The first half of the game was dull. Peyton Manning played like brother Eli did in this stadium so often this year, which is the reason we missed the playoffs. Would the half time show lend some thrills, particularly after Red Hot Chili Peppers bass player Flea sent out an early day Tweet threatening to pull a Janet Jackson and show his naughty bits And if so, would he prove to have been appropriately named?
First up, Bruno Mars.
I know they had Bruce Springsteen play halftime several years ago, but c’mon. Met Life, built to replace Giants Stadium in the swamps of New Jersey, is the home stadium of not only The Boss, but also Bon Jovi. The Boss just released an album. And we get Bruno Mars, whose most memorable song is that one heard in snippets on Pepsi ads, where he sings, oh, yeah yeah, oh, yeah yeah? Even John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band or Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes would have been more poignant. But the kid can sing, even if to me he’s like every third contestant on The Voice.
I get a little excited when the Chili Peppers take over, and I know officially that I am old, because my kids are crying for those old guys to get off the stage and …
Fox is using the super precious Super Bowl real estate to push for two new and two current series. The biggest attention is given to event series 24: Live Another Day with a series of teasers leading to a trailer (we’ll post it immediately after it airs), with the upcoming Seth MarFarlane-produced Cosmos revival also getting a promo, along with sophomore drama The Following and reality veteran American Idol. Here is the promo for Cosmos: A Space Odyssey, in which Fox and its partner on the science show National Geographic are hailed as “the bravest networks.” You can also check out what’s coming up on The Following this season.
Sony used their Super Bowl ad-buy op to unveil not one but two new looks at their May 2 superhero sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2. First, Sony released a new 33-second Big Game spot that just aired on Fox. To accompany that tease, the studio also released a longer nearly 4-minute “Enemies Unite” sizzle reel with a closer look at Andrew Garfield’s wisecracking spandexed hero and Jamie Foxx as mild-mannered Oscorp employee Max Dillon, who becomes the villainous Electro after a shocking incident one night. Watch both sneak peeks below: