While AMC’s The Walking Dead wrapped its fourth season last night, there were no premieres or finales on primetime broadcast TV on Sunday, but there sure was a lot of action. For one thing, CBS‘ primetime was pushed back more than 20 minutes on the East Coast and the Central time zone due to overruns from the NCAA Tournament. That slide means the networks’ ratings are all over the court and likely to see greater-than-usual adjustments when final numbers comes in later today. As it stands right now, 60 Minutes (2.5) started off the night at 7:30 PM, with The Amazing Race (2.0) at 8:30 PM and The Mentalist (1.6) at 10:30 PM. A week after the sudden and shocking death of male lead Josh Charles’ Will Gardner, The Good Wife (1.7) faced the fallout. As Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick struggled with the loss of her former lover, the show was up from last week’s 1.5 to match its second-best result among adults 18-49 of the season so far and, with 10.39 million watching, hit its second-best total viewership of the cycle. Of course, expect that to change in final numbers. Preliminary ratings have CBS winning the night with a 2.3/6 rating and 11.729 million watching.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond returns to the mike after a post-Oscar break to talk with host David Bloom about the just-ended CinemaCon gathering in Las Vegas. While all the studios used the confab to tout their hottest upcoming projects to theater operators, the longtime head of the National Association of Theater Owners touched off controversy with head-scratching comments about not watching Best Picture Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave on the big screen. Pete and David also discuss whether, in the wake of Josh Charles’ abrupt departure from The Good Wife, having your character killed off a hit TV show can be a shortcut to the Emmy red carpet. Finally, Pete gives his take on the weekend’s notable movie debuts, led by Darren Aronofsky’s audacious take on the Genesis story Noah.
SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know, don’t keep reading.
UPDATE, 4:29 PM: “What the hell happened?” David Letterman says tonight of Sunday’s The Good Wife episode, calling it a “very courageous thing to do,” and adding, “moves like this always pay off. I think they’re always for the better.” Watch here:
With fans still reeling from the bombshell event on The Good Wife tonight, the show’s creators/showrunners Michelle and Robert King have reached out to them with a letter, in which they lay down the professional and personal reasons for their creative decision.
Read it below if you have seen tonight’s episode and/or don’t mind getting spoiler-ed.
UPDATED: CBS‘ The Good Wife already went through a major reset at the beginning of the season when Alicia (Julianna Margulies) left Lockhart Gardner, finding herself locking horns with her former boss, friend (and on-and-off flame) Will Gardner (Josh Charles). But that was just a little ripple compared to the shock wave that hit the show tonight. Here is the story behind the stunner, with The Good Wife creators/showrunners Michelle and Robert King, who wrote the episode, discussing the major exit, its impact on the show and what lies ahead. Warning for DVR viewers — this story contains a major spoiler. Proceed with caution.
Paul Reiser has been set to recur on Andrew Gurland’s new FX series Married, which was picked up to series in January and will debut this summer. Created, directed and executive produced by Gurland, Married stars Nat Faxon and Judy Greer as Russ and Lina Bowman, who can barely remember what was like before kids, debt, and suburbia rained on their romance. But every once in a while they are reminded what drew them together in the first place: They’re best friends. Reiser will play the older love interest of co-star Jenny Slate’s character. Brad Gelman also co-stars. Reiser, who had a pair of films — Whiplash and Life After Beth — premiere at Sundance this year, most recently appeared in HBO’s Behind The Candelabra. He is repped by Gersh, New Wave Entertainment, and attorney Jeff Finkelstein.
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Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Not surprisingly, today’s freewheeling TCA panel of showrunners from CBS dramas echoed entertainment president Nina Tassler’s defense of traditional network television at her executive session earlier in the morning. On the panel were Rob Doherty (Elementary); Gary Glasberg (NCIS); Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife) and Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman (Person Of Interest). Glasberg said you just can’t argue with the wider-than-cable exposure a network show can bring. “We have 18 million Facebook followers. It’s crazy,” the producer said.
After a career mostly in feature film, Nolan said he appreciates the immediacy of TV. Still, he noted that the producers had joked backstage about the pressure of producing 22-24 episodes rather than cable’s usually smaller series orders. “It’s very difficult. The [number of episodes] is probably calibrated not to the length of the season but to the exact point a showrunner will have a nervous breakdown,” Nolan said. He added that the absolute breakdown point would be 25. One of the realities of 22-24 episode orders: A single season eats up a lot of story. The panelists addressed some of the big changes that have recently occurred on their shows.
RATINGS RAT RACE: NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Scores With Broncos-Colts Game, ‘Mentalist’ Hits Low, ‘Betrayal’ Rises
Everybody knew there would be interest in Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis on Sunday Night Football (9.5/23) last night — but there really was a lot of interest it turns out. The Colts’ 39-33 victory over Manning’s favored Denver Broncos surged up 30% over the fast nationals of last week’s Cowboys-Redskins game, which is commonly one of the top draws in the NFL. In the 8:30-11 PM block, Broncos-Colts was watched by 25.87 million viewers, up 6 million from the 19.65 million who tuned in last week. In metered market households, last night’s game pulled in a 17.3/29, up 28% over last week’s metered market result and 48% over the 11.7 of last season’s Week 7 game (Pittsburgh-Cincinnati). The 8:30 PM-12:15 AM game pulled a 10.0 rating among adults 18-49, 64% better than what the No. 2 demo show — AMC’s The Walking Dead — got with its 6.1. It was also the fourth-best metered-market result in the 8 years NBC has had its primetime NFL package (No. 1 remains the 18.3 of the Cowboys-Redskins NFC East title game on December 30, 2012) and the best October primetime NFL game result since the 17.5 Minnesota-Green Bay drew on October 5, 1998. As always with live events like sports, expect an adjustment in the final numbers later today. Having said that, there’s little doubt NBC will retain its top spot among adults with a 7.8/20 rating and 21.45 million in total viewers for Sunday night. CBS was second with a 2.7/7 rating and 12.27 million viewers.
Like many a good courtroom drama, they’ve reached a deal. More than a year after Julianna Margulies’ former managers sued The Good Wife star over nearly half a million in commission fees, D/F Management and the actress have reached a settlement. “The lawsuit involving our clients has been tentatively resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties,” said the lawyers today in a short joint statement . Typically, all details are being kept confidential on the agreement, which was reached earlier this week and still has to be formally approved by the court. Certainly part of that deal has to do with the fact that D/F’s initial filing for $420,000 was amended into millions of dollars when The Good Wife was sold into syndication this spring. The parties recently had a mediation session, one of their last scheduled meetings before the civil case was set to go to trial on January 8, 2014, having been pushed back from October because of the actress’ Good Wife schedule. This all started last July when Margulies’ long term former ICM agent Steve Dontanville and talent manager Frank Frattaroli claimed that the actress owed them for unpaid commissions from her Emmy-winning work on the hit CBS drama well as a spokesperson contract with L’Oreal. D/F signed the former ER star in February 2009. The Good Wife, in which Margulies plays lead character Alicia Florrick, debuted on September 22, 2009. The D/F duo, who based their sum on a 10% commission fee, also wanted the court to ensure that Margulies continues to pay them from all fees and contingent compensation from the show and the cosmetics contract in the future.
The Good Wife star Julianna Margulies says last week’s news that New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner had continued sexting a year after resigning from Congress for same, is like a gift that keeps on giving for her CBS drama series. Margulies, appearing at TCA Summer TV Press Tour …