After The Firm dropped to a new series low of a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 last night — that’s got to be a historic low for NBC– the network is pulling the drama series from the Thursday 10 PM slot effective immediately. The acquired legal drama, a sequel to the John Grisham novel and 1993 movie, will continue its 22-episode run in the Saturday 9 PM slot starting next week. Its place will be taken by NBC’s midseason drama Awake, starring Jason Isaacs. The complex, reality-defying series about a detective who finds himself leading a double life will premiere March 1. In the interim, NBC will air Grimm reruns in the Thursday 10 PM hour. Awake hails from creator/executive producer Kyle Killen and executive producer/showrunner Howard Gordon. 20th Century Fox TV is producing. It will be the third freshman drama NBC is launching in the Thursday 10 PM period this season following Prime Suspect and The Firm.
RATINGS RAT RACE: Strong Premiere For ‘Rob’, Slow Start For ‘Finder’ & ’30 Rock’, ‘The Firm’ Takes Plunge In Regular Slot Debut
Bad reviews be damned. Rob Schneider’s new CBS comedy series Rob overperformed in its series premiere last night, drawing a 4.1/11 among adults 18-49 and 13.5 million viewers. The multi-cultural sitcom delivered CBS’ best numbers in the Thursday 8:30 PM slot in almost two years, since the Thursday finale of Survivor: Heroes And Villains on May 13, 2010, and ranked as the third-highest-rated new series premiere this season among 18-49 behind CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and Fox’s New Girl. On the cautionary side, Rob did only slightly better than the debut of the now-defunct $#*! My Dad Says in the time period in fall 2010 (4.0 in 18-49). Rob was helped by a strong lead-in from The Big Bang Theory (5.2/15), which was up 13% from its last original five weeks ago. (Rob was also probably aided by its strong Hispanic themes – George Lopez’ appeal to Latinos helped the ABC sitcom get to syndication). Rob lifted CBS’ rookie drama Person Of Interest (3.2/8, 14.3 million) at 9 PM to series highs in adults 18-49 and total viewers. The Mentalist (2.7/7) was flat. CBS easily won the night in 18-49 and total viewers.
How fortunate that NBC’s TCA presentation was last week and not this week, as the network chief’s opening line “We had a really bad fall” would have to be changed into “We had a really bad fall and beginning of 2012.” Last night’s two-hour preview of the first of NBC’s new midseason series, The Firm, drew a disappointing 1.4/3 in adults 18-49, down a whopping 46% from the two-hour preview of now-defunct The Cape on the very same night last year. This marks NBC’s lowest in-season drama debut ever. The Firm, a sequel to the John Grisham novel and 1993 movie, moves into its regular Thursday 10 PM slot this week.
Great news for ABC’s Once Upon A Time. Despite facing the conclusion of the big Broncos-Steelers playoff game on the East Coast, the freshman fairytale series (3.7/8) was up a big 28% from its last original December 11. It was the highest-rated entertainment program of the night by a mile. Fox’s more male-skewing The Simpsons (2.3/5), also airing against the final minutes of the game, didn’t fare as well. It was down down 23% from its last original December 4. The rest of Fox’s animated lineup also slid: The Cleveland Show (2.1/5) was down 9%, Family Guy (3.0/7) …
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
After a dismal fall, NBC is pinning its hopes for a ratings turnaround on a slew of midseason series. One of them is legal drama The Firm, based on the John Grisham bestseller, which the network acquired in the spring. The series, premiering Sunday, continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere a decade later.
Writer-executive producer Lukas Reiter said that author Grisham was on board from the very beginning, liking the idea of doing a new chapter in the McDeere story. “He really didn’t (have reservations),” said Reiter, a former co-executive producer of NBC’s Law & Order. “I have been writing legal drama for most of my career, and The Firm has always been at the top of my list. Why didn’t John Grisham continue the story? I had a thought about how we might do that.” He added that writers and lawyers have one thing in common: “The ability to think about the same thing for an irrational amount of time.”
Run Run Shaw To Retire – At 104
At 104-years-old, legendary producer and TV mogul Run Run Shaw is to retire as chairman of Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts Ltd. Shaw is lately known for co-founding TVB which is one of the world’s biggest producers of Chinese-language programming, but he started his career in the film business dating back to 1920s China and has produced hundreds of films. He is also known for having been one of the backers of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. TVB has been something of a proving ground with such talent as Chow Yun-fat and Andy Lau getting a start there. Bloomberg reports that Shaw will step down at the end of the year to be replaced by the quarter-century younger Norman Leung.
EFP Names Shooting Stars
Ten European actors have been selected as Shooting Stars 2012. European Film Promotion will showcase the newcomers at the Berlin Film Festival in February. In all, 23 candidates were nominated by a jury of internationally established film industry pros. Shooting Stars is supported by the EU’s MEDIA Programme and EFP’s member orgs. The chosen group has had breakout perfs in their home territories and are those considered most ripe to make the jump to international work. Previous talent selected as Shooting Stars includes Carey Mulligan and Melanie Laurent. The Shooting Stars 2012 (pictured above) are as follows: Adele …
Broadcast networks’ infatuation with lower-license-fee internationally produced drama series, which began during the run-up to the 2007 writers strike, is entering a major new phase with NBC’s midseason scheduling of the Entertainment One-produced 22-episode drama The Firm, based on John Grisham’s novel and the Tom Cruise-starring movie. Back in 2007, two of the acquired series stockpiled by the U.S. networks as strike contingency, Flashpoint by CBS and Crusoe by NBC, aired in-season on Fridays and Saturdays, and Flashpoint even got a brief turn in the Thursday 10 PM slot when the broadcast nets ran out of originals at the height of the labor dispute. But since then, NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox have largely limited lower-license-fee drama series acquisitions to summer runs. (Fox’s attempt to extend the run of such a series, The Good Guys, into the regular season backfired.) Then in April, NBC picked up The Firm based on a spec script by Lucas Reiter. Two weeks later, at NBC’s upfront presentation, the network announced The Firm as a midseason replacement to air on Sundays. And today, the straight-to-series drama was upgraded to the Thursday 10 PM slot, which for years had been considered NBC’s top drama slot, home of such iconic series as Hill Street Blues, LA Law and ER.
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:
Molly Parker (Deadwood) is set to star opposite Josh Lucas in NBC’s midseason series The Firm, based on John Grisham novel and the 1993 movie starring Tom Cruise. In the series, set 10 years after the events in the book and the movie, Parker will play Mitchell McDeere’s (Lucas) wife Abby, played in the 1993 film by Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Vinnie Jones has been added to the cast of FX’s pilot Powers, based on the graphic novel of the same name. It centers on two detectives, Christian Walker (Jason Patric) and Deena Pilgrim (Lucy Punch), in a homicide department that deals with cases involving “powers” (people with superpowers). Jones, repped by APA and Elevate, will play the regular character of Johnny Royalle, a criminal kingpin who possesses telekinesis, among other abilities. He was most recently seen in NBC’s The Cape.
Juliette Lewis has signed on to star in NBC’s midseason series The Firm, which stars Josh Lucas in the legal drama based on the film adaptation of the John Grisham novel that had Tom Cruise in the lead role of young lawyer Mitch McDeere. Lewis will play Tammy, the sassy secretary to Lucas’ McDeere that was played by Holly Hunter in the movie (she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for that role). The casting follows the news that Callum Keith Rennie has joined the series playing Mitch’s brother Ray, who does investigative work for Mitch. The series picks up 10 years after McDeere brought down the prestigious law firm that operated as a front for the Chicago mob. After a difficult decade, he and his family emerge from isolation to reclaim their lives and their future — only to find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere. The Firm is produced by Entertainment One in association with Sony Pictures Television Networks and Paramount Pictures. The executive producers are Grisham, Lukas Reiter, John Morayniss, Michael Rosenberg and Noreen Halpern. David Straiton will direct the pilot, which begins production in August in Toronto.
Lamorne Morris has been cast in Fox’s New Girl, the Zooey Deschanel series that set to premiere Sept. 20. He will play Winston, a former athlete who is one of three roommates that takes in a fourth (Deschanel). … Callum Keith Rennie has been booked as a series regular on NBC’s midseason drama The Firm opposite Josh Lucas and Juliette Lewis. He will play Ray McDeere, the older brother to Mitch (Lucas). Rennie is repped by APA and Hodgson Management. … Richard T. Jones will recur on the upcoming season of CBS’ Hawaii 5-0. He is repped by Buchwald/Fortitude.
James Wolk (Lone Star) has been cast in a multi-episode arc on the second season of Showtime’s Shameless. He will play Adam, an investment executive who makes a connection with Fiona (Emmy Rossum). Wolk is repped by WME. … Teddy Sears (Raising the Bar) has been cast in Lifetime’s Drew Peterson movie alongside Rob Lowe, playing Peterson’s best friend. Sears, who is recurring on USA Network’s Necessary Roughness, will next be seen as a mysterious character on Torchwood. He is repped by APA and manager Sandy Erickson. … Mariana Klaveno has booked a recurring role on Showtime’s Dexter. She will play Carissa Morris, a professor at Florida University. Klaveno recently guest starred on CBS’ Hawaii Five-O and plays a vampire on HBO’s True Blood. She is repped by APA and Shelter Entertainment. … David Andrews has been set …
Josh Lucas has closed his deal to star in NBC’s drama The Firm, slated to air on Sundays in midseason. The series, based on the hit Paramount feature starring Tom Cruise, marks his first major TV series gig. The Firm is produced by eOne in association with Sony Pictures TV Networks and Paramount Pictures. Here is NBC’s release:
EXCLUSIVE: Meet television’s Mitchell McDeere. Josh Lucas is in final negotiations to play the lead in NBC’s midseason drama The Firm, marking his first major TV series gig. The series, based on the hit Paramount feature starring Tom Cruise as McDeere and on John Grisham’s best-selling novel, picks up the story 10 years after the events of the film and novel. As a young associate, McDeere brought down a prestigious Memphis law firm, which operated as a front for the Chicago mob — and his life was never the same. After a difficult decade, which included a stay in the Federal Witness Protection program, Mitch and his family now emerge from isolation to reclaim their lives and their future — only to find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere. The Firm is produced by Entertainment One in association with Sony Pictures TV Networks and Paramount Pictures, with Grisham, Lukas Reiter, John Morayniss, Michael Rosenberg and Noreen Halpern executive producing. Lucas has been heavily pursued for series in the past few years but had largely stayed away before he responded to the script for The Firm. The WME-repped actor was most recently seen in the feature adaptation of another best-selling novel about an attorney, The Lincoln Lawyer. He just wrapped Medalian and will next be seen in Clint …
With all the attention on the new series pickups at NBC, let’s not forget that the network has been eyeing another new series on tap for next season that has larger order than any of the newly picked-up shows – The Firm. I hear the deal for a 22-episode straight-to-series order to the project based on John Grisham’s best-seller is now done and the network has taped a clip with Grisham for its Monday upfront presentation. The series, from eOne in association with Sony Pictures Networks and Paramount Pictures, is being readied for a September launch though it is unclear if NBC will commit to it being on the fall schedule before casting has been done. The series, which also will be broadcast on Sony’s AXN networks in more than 125 territories internationally, picks up 10 years after the 1993 feature left off.
EOne & SPT’s Networks To Produce 22- Episode Series Based On John Grisham’s ‘The Firm’, NBC In Negotiations To Pick It Up
Nearly two decades after John Grisham’s The Firm made him a household name, the novel is becoming a TV series, which has locked in wide international distribution and is close to landing a domestic network too. NBC is in negotiations to pick up the 22-episode series, produced by eOne Television in association with SPT networks and Paramount Pictures, which owns the rights to the property and produced the 1993 movie directed by Sidney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise.
The Firm, adapted by writer Lucas Reiter, secured a green light for 22 episodes even before talks with NBC started, based solely on international distribution. As part of the partnership between eOne and SPT, the series will be broadcast on Sony’s AXN networks in more than 125 territories around the world. The domestic sale is handled by eOne, which retained basic and pay TV, broadcast and digital/DVD rights for the show outside of AXN markets and handles distribution worldwide, including the U.S. and Canada. Casting for The Firm is under way, with production expected to begin in Canada in July.
The series picks up 10 years after the 1993 feature left off. It reintroduces Mitch McDeere, the young lawyer played in the movie by Cruise, who brought down a prestigious Memphis law firm operating as a front for the Chicago mob. McDeere and his family emerge from isolation after 10 years in the …