It was a full house on all the networks as we’re now in the first full week of the May sweep. On Fox, there also were finales for Bones (2.1/6) and The Following. The Season 8 finale of the crime comedy-drama Bones was up both from last year and last week, besting its previous season-ender from May 14, 2012 by 11%. Bones was also up 5% in adults 18-49 from its April 22 show. In terms of viewers, the 7.1 million who watched last night was almost even with the 7.2 million of last year’s closer and matched the number who tuned in last week. After a season of ups and downs, freshman The Following (2.6/7) ended high. The Kevin Bacon-starrer was up 8% from last week’s show to hit its best 18-49 rating since March 11. In terms of network rivalry, last night saw The Following beat NBC’s Revolution in the key demo for a second week in a row. READ MORE »
A couple of thoughts on TV from a feature guy. The Kevin Williamson-created Fox series The Following might be the most aggravating but addictive series to come down the pike in some time. Kevin Bacon plays an FBI agent trying to capture a serial killer (James Purefoy) who has accumulated a Manson Family-like group of creepy disciples all too eager to commit unimaginably horrible acts on the killer’s behalf. As if that in itself wasn’t unlikely enough, the killer met all of his acolytes when they visited him in prison. Hasn’t anybody in the FBI thought of checking the visitor list from his days behind bars, rather than waiting and reacting to the latest horror? Can the FBI really be that dumb? That said, I cannot think of a time when I’ve been hooked on so many series, between The Following, Justified, The Walking Dead, House Of Cards, The Americans, Vikings and Blue Bloods, and I just now received the first four episodes of the new season of Game Of Thrones, and have new seasons of Homeland, Sons Of Anarchy and Boardwalk Empire to look forward to. I remember Tony Gilroy telling Deadline in an interview that mid-range dramas like his superb Michael Clayton are becoming extinct in features, and are instead being made as series for basic and pay cable networks by feature guys. As a result, TV has never been stronger while film leaves room for improvement in this department.
‘The Following’ Gets Killer Ratings On Sky Atlantic
Kevin Bacon serial killer drama The Following had a solid debut on Fox in the U.S. on Monday and on Tuesday premiered on UK pay channel Sky Atlantic. In the 10PM-11PM slot, the violent horror thriller drew an average of 270,000 viewers for a 1.4% share. The numbers may not sound earth-shattering but they were more than 636% higher than the slot average over the past three months, The Guardian reported. Meanwhile, the premiere of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’ reality show about English manses, Great Houses With Julian Fellowes, drew 2.2M viewers on ITV at 9PM for an 8.8% share on Tuesday.
For decades, TV networks’ promo campaigns for new series had been focused squarely on bringing in viewers to the shows’ premieres. For the first time, Fox last week broke tradition, swapping the tune-in ads for its midseason drama The Following starring Kevin Bacon for billboards urging viewers to set their DVRs.
Encouraging DVR viewing is a two-edged sword as it gives the networks extra audiences — most of which they can’t monetize since a large portion of viewers who time-shift shows skip some or most commercials when watching. But with people’s viewing preferences for this season already firmly established, Fox opted for the unusual campaign to help its new show get on viewers’ season passes as a way to bring in regular audiences. That is especially important for a serialized drama like The Following, where retaining viewership is crucial for its long-term success.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The Following creator and exec producer Kevin Williamson was obliged to defend the jarring level of sex and violence (particularly violence) in his new Fox horror thriller as the network kicked off its day at TCA this morning. In the wake of the mass killings last year in Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT, critics peppered Williamson with questions about whether television shows like this one may be part of the problem. His general response wasn’t defensive so much as uncertain. “I think we all worry about (the violence issue),” Williamson admitted. “Who wasn’t affected by Sandy Hook? We say in the writers room after that and were all traumatized by it.” But he was somewhat befuddled over whether the graphic violence and gore of a series like The Following might contribute negatively to perceptions of violence in society. His show, after all, depicts a woman stabbing herself in the eye and strangers being randomly set afire in the street. He acknowledged that he isn’t sure if there is a cumulative effect of all of the violence on his own orientation. “I know that when I put pen to paper, it affects me, but I’m not sure how,” Williamson said. “We don’t sit around (in the writers room) and think of ways to kill people. I’m sitting and thinking of the drama. It’s meant to be a thriller and a provocative story. I guess it is a horrific and scary show but…”
At the same time, Williamson acknowledged that the violence at Columbine many years ago absolutely inspired Following. “The story is shining a light on some of those kids,” he said. But he added that the show is meant to be “a work of fiction.” And the network hasn’t tried to scale back the level of violence, he maintained. The bigger struggle for him has been continuing to deal with the six-act structure of broadcast television and “how to make something scary when you’re writing to a commercial break.” To that end, he said that the Fox drama 24 remains “like my favorite show of all time…That sort of thrill-ride and page-turner tone is what I’m going for with this show.”
Fox‘s new thriller series from Kevin Williamson and Warner Bros TV stars Kevin Bacon as an ex-FBI agent recruited to recapture an escaped serial killer played by James Purefoy. Anna Parisse plays an FBI specialist assigned to the case in which the killer has cultivated a group of dedicated …
The upcoming 12th season of American Idol, featuring new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, will open with a two-night premiere on Wednesday, January 16 (8-10 PM) and Thursday, January 17 (8-9 PM). The …