Just over two years on the air, Fox News Channel’s The Five airs its 555th show tonight. It debuted July 11, 2011 as a replacement for Glenn Beck and was made a permanent part of the Fox News lineup in October 2011. The daily one-hour roundtable with rotating hosts has proven both a ratings winner and a controversy magnet for the cable news network — and we’re talking about the home of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity here. The Five has seen its ratings rise 50% rise since launch, and for the past four consecutive months it has eclipsed Hannity in viewership, making it the second most watched show on cable news after The O’Reilly Factor. With an average of 2 million viewers a night and 324,000 in the news demo, The Five also soundly wins its time slot against rivals CNN and MSNBC. Deadline spoke with some of the hosts of The Five about CBS anchor Scott Pelley’s slam of cable news, Jeff Zucker, Hollywood failings and Jimmy Kimmel’s viral video scam.
DEADLINE: Earlier this summer in an interview I did with Scott Pelley, the CBS anchor slammed cable news networks as getting “one small part of the viewership” and content to “be happy with that 200,000 viewers, 300,000 viewers that they have.” A lot of our commenters took him to town for so dramatically downplaying cable news’ audience. Ring true to you guys?
GREG GUTFELD: Yeah, first off, who is Scott Pelley? Now, does he work in media or soccer? Whatever, he’s entitled to his opinion and I totally support him. And he was a really good soccer player.
BOB BECKEL: I just thought it was a cheap shot. Why did he have to go out of his way to say that? That’s the thing that bothers me. For a guy that’s a reporter and the anchor of the CBS News to say 200,000 people, do your homework. Look at it and say, “Gee, The Five has over 2 million people!” Now, why does he have to make that gratuitous comment? The fact of the matter is, when Walter Cronkite led CBS, they had twice the audience they got now, probably more. No they’ve done a good job of getting it down to, what is it, 7 million now? And we have, on any given day, 2 million-plus. If you do our repeat it’s about 2.5 million, so we ain’t to far behind that boy and he’s got exposure of a 100% of the TVs in the country and we don’t. So let him keep talking like that, that’s fine. He’s trying hold onto that job and if he wants to hold onto the job, good for him. I don’t watch him.
Sidney Poitier was approached about taking the role of POTUS on NBC’s hit serial The West Wing, series creator Aaron Sorkin reminds us in Monday’s premiere of The Big Interview on AXS TV. (Check out a clip of the interview below.) “I don’t think I’ve said this to anyone before, because I have not wanted Martin Sheen to think he was anything but our first choice at the beginning,” Sorkin tells Dan Rather, who conducts all the interviews for the limited entertainment-industry interview series debuting Monday. Entertainment Weekly reported this casting news ages ago, adding that the show did not want to pay Poitier’s asking price. But, anyway, Sorkin says that’s not the point. “And, here’s the point that I’m trying to make,” he explains – “I never say, ‘We have too much of this and we need a little less of that and we’ve got to get the color mixture right. I absolutely, when it comes to casting, want to put the best athletes on the field.” After delivering his version of the old “colorblind-casting” trope, Sorkin switches almost immediately in the interview to talking about his HBO series The Newsroom, which is tops on the list of Shows The Reporters Who Cover Television Love To Hate-Watch, for reasons not entirely clear. It may be that they simply dislike Sorkin, a lot.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 4:50 PM: HBO just issued a statement in response to The Newsroom‘s star Jeff Daniel’s tweet from last night that the show has been picked up for a third season. “We are excited about proceeding to a Season 3 and are continuing our conversations with Aaron about schedules.”
PREVIOUS TUESDAY 9:15 PM: Aaron Sorkin‘s cable news network drama series The Newsroom has been renewed for a third season by HBO, its star Jeff Daniels tweeted tonight. “It’s official. #Newsroom coming back for a Season 3“, the Emmy nominee wrote. No response from HBO yet, but sources confirm that The Newsroom, now wrapping Season 2, indeed has been picked up.
TCA: HBO Brass On Future Of ‘Criminal Justice’, ‘The Newsroom’, ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘True Blood’ & ‘Family Tree’
The recent death of James Gandolfini reverberated through the HBO executive session at TCA today. “Jim’s passing took the wind out of our sails,” HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo said when asked about the future of the recently greenlighted limited series Criminal Justice, which Gandolfini executive produced and was to star in. “I can’t imagine airing the pilot with James in it,” Lombardo said, noting that the network is in discussions with director Steven Zaillian about how to proceed. “Conversations would be about reshooting the portion in the pilot with Jim and recasting the role.” The project, written by Richard Price, was originally piloted as a traditional drama series last year. HBO passed on the pilot in February but then picked it up as a limited series in May. Price and Zaillian continue to work on scripts, Lombardo said.
There will be a third season of The Newsroom. “The odds are excellent – we’re enormously happy with the show,” Lombardo said. “Conversations with (creator) Aaron Sorkin are all about scheduling as he he has other commitments. If we can figure the scheduling, I will be shocked if you would not be hearing about a renewal soon. The numbers this season are surpassing last season.”
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
(SPOILER ALERT! This report outlines news events that are covered in Season 2 of HBO’s The Newsroom.) Creator-showrunner Aaron Sorkin took the wraps off a chunk of the forthcoming second season of his controversial HBO journalism drama tonight as a gift to voting members of the TV Academy, hoping that a little sneak peek will help win them over just as Emmy balloting gets underway. During an event at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Sorkin described that clip of The Newsroom as the first 15 minutes of the new campaign. “When I was wondering which clip to show, our costume designer said, ‘Well, you know nothing ever really happens in the first 15 minutes of everything you write’,” Sorkin quipped. That convinced him that he wouldn’t be leaking too many spoilers in what the packed house saw. However, it did reveal one or two.
SPOILER ALERT! The new season kicks off with a present-day deposition involving the lawyer portrayed by Marcia Gay Harden in a guest turn and features Jane Fonda returning as the CEO of the show’s fictional network parent company. It then flashes back to Aug. 23, 2011, and the beginning of Mohammar Gadhafi’s fall in Libya. If possible, the pacing is even faster rat-a-tat-tat and adrenalin-infused than it was in its inaugural season. Sample dialogue: Lawyer: “Fourteen months after you went on the air, you called the Tea Party ‘The American Taliban.’ What happened?” Anchor: “The Taliban resented it.”
Related: TV TEASER: HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’
Now it gets serious. Emmy ballots become active at 6 PM PT tonight for all 16,000+ active voting members of the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences and are due by snail mail to Academy accountants Ernst & Young by June 28 at 5 PM PT. Although, unlike the Oscars and other awards voting groups, there is no direct online voting option for the TV Acad yet (but certainly there will be one eventually), the list of eligible shows and individual achievements with corresponding numbers for the Scranton computer ballot can be accessed via a special Emmy web address or on old-fashioned paper if members request it. Trying to influence those members (full disclosure: I serve on the Academy’s Board Of Governors representing the Writers branch) just as voting gets underway are the Television Critics Association which (coincidentally?) announced their nominations today and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association which (coincidentally?) holds its awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton tonight. But even as these are well-timed events, the TV Academy generally has a mind of its own and often is much slower to embrace the newer, quirkier programs these groups tend to endorse in a big way.
But things are looking up and the Academy does seem to be responding to new blood. Last year Homeland in only its first season dethroned four-time champ Mad Men. Lena Dunham’s edgy Girls and FX’s Louie also made waves. On the other hand the very deserving Breaking Bad, a critical favorite, has yet to win a Drama Series Emmy even as it ends its run later this summer (though stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have won multiple times). Those final eight shows will be running just as the last phase of Emmy voting is taking place in August and could be a factor even though those episodes won’t be eligible until next year as cutoff was May 31. Last summer’s batch of eight is what voters will be assessing this year.
NoHo Arts District, CA, March 18, 2013 – The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences today announced the honorees for the Sixth Annual Television Academy Honors. Celebrating “Television With A Conscience,” this year’s honorees are A Smile as Big as The Moon, D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List, Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide, Hunger Hits Home, The Newsroom, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, One Nation Under Dog: Stories of Fear, Loss & Betrayal and Parenthood. The Awards, honoring television programs that aired January 1 – December 31, 2012, will be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on May 9th and hosted by Emmy® Award-winning actress Dana Delany.