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‘The Firm’s Scheduling On NBC: High-Water Mark For Acquired Broadcast Series

Nellie Andreeva

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. Read More »

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ProSieben’s Red Arrow Acquires 51% Of Mikkel Bondesen’s Production Company

By | Tuesday September 27, 2011 @ 7:20am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ProSiebenSat.1´s production and distribution company Red Arrow Entertainment Group has acquired a majority stake in manager/producer Mikkel Bondesen’s U.S. production company Fuse. The Denmark-born Bondesen launched his U.S. production company in 2005. Its credits include USA’s Burn Notice and Fox’s The Good Guys, both created by Bondesen’s client Matt Nix, as well as AMC’s The Killing, whose format Bondesen brought to the U.S. from Denmark. All three series have been produced by Fox TV Studios, where Bondesen and Fuse have a first-look deal. Since its January 2010 launch, Red Arrow has been acquiring TV production companies and now owns majority stake in 12 companies spanning eight countries. Its first move in the U.S. was last year’s acquisition of 51% interest in Chris Coelen’s Kinetic Content, which specializes in unscripted series. The Fuse deal gives Red Arrow a similar foothold in the U.S. marketplace on the scripted side. As part of the Fuse deal, Swedish producer Henrik Bastin (ABC’s My Generation) has joined Fuse as partner and CEO and the company’s development executive Kristen Campo has been upped to partner.

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It’s Over For Fox’s ‘The Good Guys’

By | Friday December 17, 2010 @ 6:09pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Fox is not officially confirming yet but it is as final as it gets: The Good Guys won’t be returning for a second season. Fox originally picked up Matt Nix’s cop dramedy straight-to-series for a summer run. In May, before the show had premiered, the network ordered additional episodes and put it on the fall schedule to air on Fridays. But, despite getting a preview run behind American Idol, the series starring Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks never gained traction and performed underwhelmingly for its entire 20-episode run.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Good Guys’ Make Quiet Exit

Nellie Andreeva

Fans didn’t rally behind The Good Guys to give it a boost in the finale last night. The Fox dramedy (0.7/2, 2.3 million) matched its demo rating from the last 2 weeks to finish fifth in its 9 PM slot and second to last among all programs on the night – original or repeats – with only the 8 PM Good Guys rerun (0.6/2, 1.9 million) behind it. With CBS airing drama reruns (average of 1.2/4, 7.4 million for the night), ABC took the top Friday spot in adults 18-49 (1.4/5, 5.1 million) for the second time this season. (CBS was still No. 1 in total viewers.) NBC was a close second in the demo (1.3/4, 5.7 million). ABC and NBC were tied for first place at 8 PM (1.2/4) with new Supernanny (1.2/4) and a Minute to Win It repeat. ABC won the 9 PM hour with Primetime: What Would You Do? (1.5/5), while NBC had the edge at 10 PM with the second hour of Deadline (1.6/5). CW continues to be competitive on the night with Smallville (1.0/4, down a tenth from last week, 2.6 million) and Supernatural (1.0/3, flat, 2.2 million). In adults 18-34, Supernatural was up 25%.

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Fox’s Kevin Reilly And Mike Darnell On ‘American Idol’ & ‘Fringe’ Moves; No Back Orders For ‘Running Wilde’ & ‘Good Guys’

Nellie Andreeva

Fox’ Midseason Schedule

“We have been looking at Thursday for a long time,” Fox’s reality chief Mike Darnell said. “It is a tough nut to crack, and if you want to crack it, you have to make a big move there.” Idol has been the biggest show on television for 8 years, so why make this move now? It was CBS’ surprising decision in May to take another reality juggernaut, Survivor, off Thursdays that set the Idol shift idea in motion, Darnell said. With Idol itself going through a major transition with new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler and without Simon Cowell, Fox brass decided to wait and see how the show’s production was going and, happy with what they’d seen so far, they pulled the trigger on the scheduling change. “It felt like the right time to make the move,” Darnell said. “Now we can own Thursday.”

Seeing the door opening at 8 PM on Thursday with Survivor gone was a major but not the only factor for the Idol move, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said. “At the same time, we’re looking at what’s going on on Tuesday where we are winning the night with Glee, which, after airing after the Super Bowl, will probably end the season as the highest-rated scripted series.” Glee was originally slated to … Read More »

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Fox Weathering Rough Fall TV Season

Nellie Andreeva

After years of languishing in last place in the fall before coming to life in January with the return of American Idol and 24 to win the season, Fox turned the lights on in a big way last fall. There was the introduction of Glee, solid performances from its returning shows led by House, and an ALCS championship and World Series won by the Yankees. But this fall, the network has returned to its old struggling ways, leading the broadcast networks with the steepest ratings declines for the first 4 weeks of the season, down 12% in adults 18-49 and 8% in total viewers. It’s been a rough fall for Fox from the start, with the shockingly low-rated premiere of the now-defunct new drama Lone Star on the very first night of the season. Fox was at a disadvantage going into the season as it was saddled with the less watched NLCS championship this year as part of its arrangement with TBS, in which the two finals alternate between the two networks. And then on Friday, the Rangers beat the Yankees to become ALCS champions and make it to the World Series for the first time — a great feat for the Texas team but a big blow to Fox as Yankees-less World Series generally draw significantly lower ratings than those with the MLB’s marquee franchise in them. Also, the NLCS final on Fox failed to go to 7 games this year, with the deciding 6th game falling on the least watched night of television, Saturday. (Fox still did respectable business last night with a 3.0 rating in 18-49 and 10.2 million viewers.) Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Blue Bloods’ Solid, ‘Outlaw’ Dives And CW Sci-Fi Duo Rocks

Nellie Andreeva

It was mostly carnage on the first Friday of the season, with NBC’s freshman Outlaw barely surviving the transition to Fridays and CBS’ veteran CSI: NY and Fox’s summer entry The Good Guys also hard-hit in their move to TV’s equivalent of a grave yard. But if there is one man impervious to time slots, it’s Tom Selleck as loyalists tuned in for the premiere of his new CBS cop drama Blue Bloods, the highest-rated program on TV last night with an audience number rarely seen on Friday night: 13 million. Also logging a strong debut was the reunited CW duo of Smallville and Supernatural. Here is a quick network-by-network round-up:

Where is Ghost Whisperer when you need it? The cancelled drama starring Jennifer Love Hewitt was one of very few series that could open Friday night with a decent number. Still, CBS showed some nice rating build-up hour-to-hour and easily won the night in 18-49 and total viewers. It was successful in bringing in the (mostly older) available audience on Friday night, with two series crossing the 10 million viewer mark, CSI: NY and Blue Bloods. New 8 PM anchor Medium (1.4/5, 6.1 million) was the night’s weakest link, down 39% from the season premiere of Ghost Whisperer last fall and down 33% from its own season premiere in the 9 PM last year. (Even at those mediocre rating levels, the … Read More »

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Fox’s ‘Good Guys’ Gets Tune-Up For Fall

By | Monday August 9, 2010 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Fox’s buddy cop dramedy The Good Guys will undergo some tweaking before it returns with fresh episodes in the fall. I hear the focus will be on attracting more female viewers. The show is adding a new recurring female character, a young CSI, that could potentially become a regular. There also will be more emphasis on romantic relationships, with the new character part of that effort. Additionally, RonReaco Lee, who guest starred in the pilot and appeared in 2 more episodes this summer as bumbling criminal Julius, is expected to heavily recur in the fall. (He is regular on another series, BET’s upcoming comedy Let’s Stay Together.) The Good Guys, originally slated for a summer run, was given a fall berth in May before its premiere. The series never got traction on Mondays behind Lie to Me but the Fox executive like it creatively and have stuck with their upfront decision to bring it back in the  fall on Fridays, paired with Human Target. Good Guys completed its summer run last week. Two of the 11 episodes originally ordered for summer are being held and will air with the 9 additional episodes for an 11-episode fall run.

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TCA: Fox Addresses ‘American Idol’ Rumors & More From The Network’s Exec Session

Nellie Andreeva

Anticipating an avalanche of American Idol-related questions, Fox Broadcasting’s entertainment chairman Peter Rice made an opening statement at the top of the network’s executive session. “The only thing I an tell you with absolute certainty is there are no signed deals with anyone on either side of the camera who wasn’t on the show last year,” he said, referring to judges as well as returning executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. Rice did confirm that Ellen DeGeneres met with him at the beginning of June. ”We talked about the season and her feelings about the season, the idea that she wasn’t comfortable and that it was not a good fit for her,” he said. “I tried to persuade her that it would be different in the future, but we ultimately came to an agreement. We were going to begin looking for new judges anyway, because Simon was leaving, so as that was going to play out over the summer, we came to an agreement to go to her and say: we can’t replace you, or we can move on without you.  [DeGeneres is in the middle of a 2-year deal with Idol.] That’s where we got to last week. We felt confident that we could come up with a panel that didn’t include Ellen as a judge, and  at the same time we knew we were coming here on Monday. We felt it was disingenuous to sit here and talk about Ellen being … Read More »

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TCA: Fox ‘Lone Star’ Deep In Heart Of Texas

What’s up with TV and Texas this season? This fall’s crop of new TV series includes NBC’s Chase shooting in Dallas, and ABC’s My Generation, shooting in Austin. At today’s TCA, Fox presented the new drama Lone Star — which, with that title, couldn’t really be set anywhere else. The show’s lead character (played by relative newcomer James Wolk) has two wives and two lives in two different locations, Houston and Midland. It will actually be shot in Dallas, the setting for another Fox series introduced earlier this year, The Good Guys. (Executive producer Peter Horton, who plans to direct some episodes, he joked of his involvement: “I thought it was going to be shot in San Francisco.”)

Lone Star creator/executive producer (and native Texan) Kyle Killen explained that when he pitched the series, ”I sold it as Dallas without the cheese.

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Ratings Rat Race: ABC Up, Fox/NBC Down

Nellie Andreeva

ABC’s reality lineup of The Bachelorette (2.7 rating/9 share among adults 18-49) and True Beauty (2.0/6) was up a tick from last week, with the two shows growing 5% and 4%, respectively, and lifting the network to a nightly win in 18-49 (2.5/8) as well as total viewers (7.3 million)

The ratings pendulum swung in the other direction for Fox’s Lie To Me (1.8/6), down 10% from last week, and The Good Guys (1.2/4), which shed another .1 rating point in its fourth airing, continuing a ratings downslide (1.5, 1.4, 1.3, 1.2).

NBC’s Last Comic Standing (1.8/5) was also down, 18% from last week, as was the network’s summer scripted drama Persons Unknown (1.1/3), down 8% and following a similar ratings trajectory to Good Guys (1.3, 1.2, 1.2). CBS aired an all-repeat Monday lineup, led by The Big Bang Theory (2.5/7)

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