Britt Robertson has joined the cast of the dark bully drama White Rabbit. The actress joins True Blood’s Sam Trammell and The Descendants’ Nick Krause, who plays Robertson’s boyfriend. Tim McCann is directing. Robert Yocum of Burning Sky Films, Shaun Sanghani of SSS Entertainment, and Jacky Morgan are producing. Robertson, who appeared on The CW’s now cancelled The Secret Circle, will be seen soon in the teen romance The First Time from Sony Pictures. The feature premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Robertson is repped by Innovative Artists.
ABC and the CW returned to originals last night with CBS, NBC and Fox sticking to reruns. The premiere of ABC’s Winter Wipeout (2.8/8 among adults 18-49) was down 26% from its January 2011 premiere but up from the special Wipeout airing in November, which drew a 1.9. Wipeout marked a significant improvement for ABC in the Thursday 8 PM slot vs. fall occupant Charlie’s Angels and posted a season high in the hour among adults 18-49. It also may have helped Grey’s Anatomy (4.5/11), which returned up 10% from its most recent original two months ago. The gains extended to 10 PM, where Grey’s spinoff Private Practice (2.8/7) was up 8% from its last original in November. ABC (3.3/9, 9.5 million viewers) won the night in 18-49 and total viewers with its best numbers in 15 weeks. The CW’s Thursday dramas also came back after a two-month hiatus last night. Both The Vampire Diaries (1.4/4) and The Secret Circle (0.8/2) were even with their last originals November 10.
The CW has set return dates for its original series, which will go on hiatus next month. The network will roll out its lineup on January 5 with the Thursday duo of The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle. The final 13-episode season of One Tree Hill will launch on January 11 and will run on Wednesdays in tandem with new reality series Remodeled, which will serve as a bridge between the two cycles of America’s Next Top Model. Because Remodeled‘s order is shorter than that of OTH, the final episodes of OTH are expected to air with Top Model, whose midseason premiere date will be announced early next year. Here is a list of the CW’s midseason premiere dates:
UPDATE, 11:10 AM: This deal’s more lucrative than it initially seemed. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker figures it could be worth as much as $1B for CW. While she acknowledges that “the accounting is somewhat complex,” she says that CBS — which co-owns CW with Time Warner — might see an additional 5 cents a share annually. Lazard Capital Markets’ Barton Crockett says it could contribute 2 cents a share to Time Warner. “The money-losing CW may also retain a minority of the Netflix fee, helping reduce its losses,” he adds. The deal’s so valuable because CW’s young-skewing shows fit well with the audience that streams shows on demand from Netflix. What’s more, Netflix’s payments escalate for long-running series.
Warner Bros Television Group president Bruce Rosenblum won’t comment on the financials but says the terms “won’t be repeated” because “other networks don’t own (as much of) their own content.” This isn’t an exclusive deal in the traditional sense — the shows can appear elsewhere – but Netflix has a narrow right to show entire seasons on-demand from previous years. (Others can license select episodes.) “We know from Day 1 that the syndication on-demand window has been sold, but we also have the ability to sell linear rights down the road,” Rosenblum says. CW shows also may continue to run on Netflix even if the deal isn’t renewed; the online service has the right to keep offering series that begin while it’s in force.
PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: This one follows the usual pattern: Nothing current — just previous seasons of CW series. And it’s not exclusive. Producers can continue to sell their shows in syndication and to other digital services. No mention of how much Netflix will pay for the programming. Here’s the release:
October 13, 2011 — CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Television Group announced today a licensing agreement with Netflix [Nasdaq: NFLX] allowing U.S. members of Netflix to instantly watch previous seasons of scripted series that air on The CW from its current schedule through the 2014-15 season.
In one fell swoop, The CW has given full-season orders to all of its three freshmen series. Following the pickup of Ringer earlier today, the network also has given back-nine orders to fellow rookies Hart Of Dixie and The Secret Circle. None of the three have been breakout hits for the CW, but network president Mark Pedowitz indicated that it was less the series’ ratings performance and more their long-term potential that drove the pickup decision. “We believe in the creative strength of these dramas, and by giving them back nine orders we can give our audience the chance to enjoy complete seasons of all three of them,” he said. “With compelling storylines, engaging characters and tremendous buzz, we firmly believe that Hart Of Dixie, Ringer and The Secret Circle can become signature series for The CW, the kind of top-notch shows that are synonymous with our brand.” The CW had been in bad shape in the ratings, down 36% in adults 18-39 to a 0.7 in the Live+Same Day numbers for premiere week. But when the Live+7 numbers for the season’s opening week came out yesterday, the network shot up 43% to a 1.0 to erase the declines and then some.
Former Smallville showrunners Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders, who guided the long-running drama’s final seasons, have joined the CW’s new genre series The Secret Circle. The gig is consulting, at least for now. The Secret Circle‘s Kevin Williamson, who is co-showrunning the series with Andrew Miller, could use the help — he has two series on the air, Circle and The Vampire Diaries, which he is co-running with Julie Plec. The Secret Circle got off to a good start last Thursday with 3 million viewers, holding on to all of its Vampire Diaries lead-in.
The broadcast season unofficially kicks off tonight. And just like in a kids board game, the youngest of the networks, the CW, got to start first, unspooling its new series Ringer starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Also launching tonight are the new seasons of the CW’s 90210 and NBC’s Parenthood, marking the unofficial start of the new season, which kicks in on Monday. Here are the networks’ standings going into the fall season:
With Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies on tap for baseball’s postseason this year, along with the heavily promoted The X Factor and new big-budget dinosaur drama Terra Nova, Fox is in a position to significantly outperform last fall when the network carried the National League Championship Series and had two DOA shows, drama Lone Star and comedy Running Wilde. The question marks at the network this fall are the new comedies, New Girl and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, though both are propped up by solid lead-ins, Glee and X Factor, respectively, and whether Glee and House can rebound after a disappointing 2010-11 season. If the stars align and X Factor lives up to its ratings expectations, Fox may win the fourth quarter as it did two years ago when it also had the American League Championship Series and the highly rated freshman season of Glee.
Fox’s main rival for the top spot in the fall will be the epitome of stability, CBS, which will get a ratings boost from the re-launch of Two and a Half Men. The consensus is that CBS has potential breakout hits on its hands with new Monday comedy Two Broke Girls, which is launching behind the much-hyped return of Two and a Half Men, and possibly Thursday drama Person of Interest. The network is getting high marks for taking its aging series such as the CSI franchise and Survivor and relocating them to troubled spots on the schedule that they shore up. The network is expected to accomplish that again this season with the mothership CSI series, which is moving to Wednesday 10 PM, with its replacement on Thursday, Person of Interest, looking to do at least as well as CSI if not better. The only question marks at CBS are new Thursday 8:30 comedy How To Be a Gentleman and where Men will settle after the initial ratings spike.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
According to executive producer Kevin Williamson, there won’t be any guest crossover, or story crossover, between the CW’s The Vampire Diaries and the network’s new series The Secret Circle, making its debut Sept. 15. Even though both series are based on supernatural book series by the same teen-appeal author, L.J. Smith, Williamson told a TCA audience today that an effort is being made to keep the shows separate. The witch mythology of Secret Circle and the vampire-werewolf-occasional witch mythology of Vampire Diaries, he said, just don’t mix. “I don’t think you’ll see that crossover,” he said. “That would kind of limit us. We want to create our own story.”
EXCLUSIVE: Exactly two months after he joined the upcoming CW drama series The Secret Circle as an executive producer, Richard Hatem has been let go for creative differences. Executive producer Kevin Williamson, who came on board the project in February and rewrote the original script by Andrew Miller, is running the series, which he executive produces with Miller and Alloys Entertainment’s Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. “Kevin has a vision, and they just didn’t see eye-to-eye creatively,” a source close to the show said. I understand that Hatem is staying in business with Secret Circle producer Warner Bros TV through a development arrangement, which is now being finalized. It is not clear whether Hatem will be replaced on Secret Circle. Before him, there were two other writing executive producers, Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, who had originally developed the project with Miller, but they departed in March after the Williamson’s script was picked up to pilot with him as showrunner. Hatem wrote and executive produced another CW drama pilot this past season, Heavenly, and then joined Secret Circle in late May after his pilot was not picked up to series by the network.
Deadline Comic-Con TV Contributor Gary Hodges reports:
While a studio presence for movies is shaping up to be a little thin at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con (save for notable exceptions like the Cowboys and Aliens premiere and a rumored Steven Spielberg pop-in), the television side of things doesn’t seem bad at all. In fact, it already is looking pretty meaty, promising to keep small-screen aficionados (and this Deadline writer) hustling if they want to see every panel the convention has to offer. The announcements are still rolling in and the official schedule is probably still a couple weeks away, but here are a few of the juicier tidbits about what to expect at the July 21-24 event that we’ve heard so far.
20th Century Fox has announced that it will be promoting at least 13 shows this year with panels, from the familiar (Bones, Family Guy, The Simpsons and Glee, all with their respective casts) to a handful of new offerings. Probably the one garnering the most interest is Terra Nova, the sci-fi drama that boasts Spielberg as an executive producer and a ballsy commitment from Fox, which has already ordered 13 episodes (said to cost about $4 million apiece). The show should find a receptive audience at the convention, as it tells the story of how Earth in the year 2149 is apparently so bad, time-traveling to 85 million years ago to be chased and eaten by expensive CGI dinosaurs is considered an improvement. Another new Fox offering that’s interesting and destined to be fodder for the talking heads is Allen Gregory, an animated series about the titular precocious 7-year-old boy (voiced by Judd Apatow-darling Jonah Hill) and his gay dads. There’s also an animated Napoleon Dynamite series on the way, with the film’s original cast returning to do the voice work, and Awake, a sci-fi drama about a detective (Jason Isaacs) who, after a car accident, finds he can occupy two parallel realities: one where his wife died in the crash, and a second where it was his son who perished. No word yet on which reality has Fox canceling every other new series because they poured all their money into Terra Nova’s gaping prehistoric mouth.
Warner Bros will also be there in force, with a 3,000-square-foot booth on the show floor and 16 shows in their lineup. Most of the shows are old standbys; then again, most are also beloved by the average convention-goer. The Big Bang Theory cast is always welcomed with enthusiasm, making their scheduled appearance a no-brainer. Likewise Chuck, Fringe, Nikita, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and curiously apostrophe-free Childrens Hospital all will have no problem finding happy, receptive attendees to fill seats for a chance to glimpse their favorite star in the flesh. As for new fare, the enigmatic drama Alcatraz opens present-day with 302 people — wardens and prisoners — suddenly reappearing in the infamous prison, 50 years after their mysterious disappearance. It also stars Lost alumnus Jorge Garcia as a “hippie geek” Alcatraz expert, a challenging-sounding role that I hope he’s up for. Person of Interest is a sci-fi series about a computer program that predicts future crime victims (sounding a bit like Minority Report, but minus the precognitive crack babies who sit in a bathtub all day) and the former CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) who is tasked with trying to solve the crimes. Lastly, WB will roll out The Secret Circle, a young-adult fantasy-horror-romance series based on the book of the same name. In the series, teenaged Cassie (played by Britt Robertson) discovers she comes from a family of witches. Oh, and love; she also discovers love.
The CW today was the first broadcast network to announce its fall premiere dates. The network will launch three nights — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — the week before the Sept. 19 official start of the fall season, Friday during premiere week and Monday’s lineup the week after. With the exception of Friday, which pairs sophomore Nikita and veteran Supernatural, all other nights feature a returning series and a newbie. Here is CW’s premiere schedule:
Kevin Williamson and the duo of Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage may be getting their own nights on the CW next season. I hear Schwartz and Savage’s veteran Gossip Girl may be paired with a newly picked up series they produce, small-town medical drama Hart of Dixie, written by Leila Gerstein and starring Rachel Bilson. And the newly picked-up young witch tale The Secret Circle, which Williamson co-wrote and is executive producing with Andrew Miller, is rumored to get a lunch behind the CW’s top series The Vampire Diaries, which Williamson also co-created and is executive producing. Freshman Nikita, which ran behind Vampire Diaries this season, is expected to move to Fridays, paired with veteran Supernatural. That would give McG a night on the CW too as he executive produces both shows. I also hear One Tree Hill may be held as a backup.