For one of the traditionally quietest nights on TV, there was a lot going on Friday in primetime. For one, the Ramsayfication of Fox continued anew with the return of Kitchen Nightmares last night and that seems to have been a good place to be. Back for its sixth season, Gordon’s weekly attempt to save a failing establishment kicked off with a 2-hour debut that saw Ramsay return to Scottsdale, Arizona and Amy’s Baking Company, which he stalked out of last year, and then head to Denver to help a struggling pizza joint. In its first spring premiere, the 8 PM (1.2/5) KN was up 33% from the 0.9/3 rating among adults 18-49 that its 1-hour October 26, 2012 Season 5 debut drew in the same slot. The 9 PM (1.1/4) airing last night saw a 22% rise over the last season opener. Time slot to slot, the restaurant makeover series was even last night with its last season finale on May 10, 2013.
Following its three-script order earlier this month, ABC’s freshman comedy The Neighbors has received a back-nine order for a full-season 22-episode run. The alien comedy, from Cars writer Dan Fogelman, had a ratings uptick this past Wednesday in the 8:30 PM slot. Fogelman is executive producing with Aaron Kaplan.
Also getting a back-nine is sophomore ABC drama Scandal starring Kerry Washington. Shonda Rhimes’ drama entered the fall with a 13-episode order as it launched in midseason. It had been expected to continue and sealed its pickup with a solid ratings showing last Thursday. Both The Neighbors and Scandal were up a tenth from their previous airings last week to a 2.0 rating in adults 18-49. Both hail from ABC Studios. It was a bittersweet week for Rhimes, whose other series with a 13-episode order, Private Practice, did not get a back order. She also has Scandal‘s lead-in, Grey’s Anatomy.
Accurate ratings for the night’s top attraction, the first Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, won’t be available until later in the day. If the non-time zone adjusted fast nationals are any indication, the broadcast networks ran neck-in-neck in their coverage of the debate, with NBC in the …
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
What’s in a name? It turns out plenty, at least in the case of the new Wednesday night ABC comedy The Neighbors. Based on creator-exec producer Dan Fogelman’s dysfunctional New Jersey family, it stars Jami Gertz and has among its cast members a young actress named Clara Mamet. If the surname looks familiar, it should. Mamet is the daughter of famed playwright David Mamet and the sister of Zosia Mamet, a regular on the HBO comedy Girls. In the case of Zosia, there has been much grousing in the press over perceived nepotistic casting. But with regard to Clara, Fogelman maintained during a TCA panel this morning that no nepotism was involved — to an almost embarrassing degree. “We had no idea who Clara was when she came in and read for us”, he admitted. “We immediately put her on tape and sent it in to the network as our choice for that part. I didn’t find out until like a month later who she was…To be honest I just didn’t put it together, and in retrospect I should have”. Added Gertz: “She got it the old fashioned way. She auditioned for the part”. When asked if she thought it unfair for her sister to be dissed over getting cast on Girls, Mamet said, “I think my sister’s incredibly talented, I don’t think anyone should judge her based on her family. She got that job because she’s a great actress”. Fogelman followed by quipping, “I did cast Lenny because of who his father was” — speaking of costar Lenny Venito.
ABC’s The Neighbors - Comedy
Produced by ABC Studios. From writer/executive producer Dan Fogelman and executive producers Aaron Kaplan, Jeff Morton and Chris Koch. Directed by Chris Koch (pilot):
ABC’s 666 Park Avenue – Drama
Produced by Bonanza Productions in association with Alloy Entertainment and Warner Bros Television. From writer/executive producer David Wilcox and executive producers Matthew Miller, Leslie Morgenstein, Gina Girolamo. Directed by Alex Graves (pilot):