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Power Lifters: Five Brands That Got A Big Social-Media Lift From Comic-Con

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 8:11am PDT

Power Lifters: Five Brands That Got A Big Social-Media Lift From Comic-ConSo which films and TV shows got the biggest bump to their social-media accounts during Comic-Con? The Deadline Team already has delivered its verdict on Comic-Con’s big winners (and yawners) overall. And it’s a challenge to be definitive with social media given the dozens of participating properties and connected stars, behind-the-camera notables, superfans and the like.

That said, social-media consulting firm RelishMIX spotted five entertainment properties that hit social-media home runs over the long weekend, led by massively popular Comic-Con videos for Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Mad Max: Fury Road. The Simpsons and Family Guy jointly scored well too, according to RelishMIX’s compilation of who added the most followers/likes/views across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to their official and related accounts (see chart below).

HBO’s Thrones, already a social-media monster, commanded a truly royal 8.3 million views of its Comic-Con YouTube videos, led by a Season 4 blooper reel that RelishMIX CEO Marc Karzen called a “super video,” with nearly 7.4 million views since it posted just four days ago. 

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TCA: FXX’s Historic 552-Episode ‘Simpsons’ Marathon Has A Start Date; Brass Touts Immersive App

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 11:40am PDT

TCA: FXX’s Historic 552-Episode ‘Simpsons’ Marathon Has A Start Date; Brass Touts Immersive AppFXX said in April that it will air the longest marathon in TV history when it welcomes The Simpsons repeats, and today the network announced that it’ll run August 21 through September 1. During the course of the mega-marathon, FXX will air in chronological order all 25 seasons — 552 episodes — of the Fox animated series that’s the longest-running scripted series in TV history. The Simpsons Movie will be included in the marathon and also will air chronologically within the stunt, after episode No. 400. The marathon begins at 10 AM ET/PT on August 21 and ends at midnight ET/PT on September 1.

Related: ‘The Simpsons’ To Debut On FXX With 552-Episode Marathon

FXX logoReminding TV critics about the stunt at the TCA Summer Press Tour, panelists also walked them through plans for a new interactive digital and online experience that’s billed as the ultimate Simpsons digital experience. Simpsons World — named after, and incorporating, Matt Groening’s published show bible of same name — offers a premium Simpsons fan experience, including access to their entire catalog of full-length episodes for the first time ever via FXNOW App and, in October.

Related: TCA: FX’s John Landgraf Talks ‘AHS: Freak Show’ & ‘Fargo’, Freshman Renewals, W. Kamau Bell

Beginning September 2, FXX will regularly schedule The Simpsons episodes in fringe, primetime and late-night dayparts on weekdays and weekends. Additionally, every Sunday the network will broadcast a thematic mini-marathon consisting of eight Simpsons episodes beginning at 4 PM ET/PT and leading into the 8 PM ET/PT broadcast on Fox. Read More »

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TCA: Wilting Of Big Screen Romantic Comedies Discussed At Fox Comedy Panel

TCA: Wilting Of Big Screen Romantic Comedies Discussed At Fox Comedy PanelWith the $15 million weekend opening of Sex Tape serving as exhibit A, it would be an understatement to say that romantic feature comedies have been in a sling creatively and at the B.O. for sometime.  But for those TV creators who love the genre at Fox’s “Behind the Laughs” TCA panel, if romantic comedies are alive, then it’s on the small screen with such shows as Elizabeth Meriwether’s New Girl and Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project. Chalk the death of romantic comedy movies up to the staling of set premises like the sexy wedding planner who can’t get anybody or, as Kaling pointed out, “Matthew McConaughey falling into a cake.”

“They are so predictable, but that’s why I love them so much. I think they can be good, but they’ve been suffering for so long.  I think the easiest way to your voice out there (for romantic comedies) is TV,” said Kaling whose next season of The Mindy Project dotes on her character’s relationship with long-love Danny (Chris Messina). Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Simpsons’ Rises With Lego-Themed Episode, ‘Resurrection’ Finale Steady, ’60 Minutes’ & ‘American Home Builders’ Fall, ‘Cosmos’ Up

By | Monday May 5, 2014 @ 9:07am PDT

SIMPSONS LEGO 3They were really building something on The Simpsons (1.9/6) on Sunday. “You’re right,” Marge said to a questioning Bart last night, “something is different about the Simpsons today.” Of course, the answer wasn’t just that Homer was “wearing a tie.” It was that the Fox show was almost completely full of the Danish interlocking blocks for its 550th episode. Being the Matt Groening-created show, the “Brick Like Me” episode made a nod to Warner Bros’ blockbuster The LEGO Movie and also went very much down its own CGI road. And that worked out well for the long-running series with a 19% rise among adults 18-49 and a 26% rise in viewers to 4.3 million. The rest of Fox’s mainly animated night was on an upward turn for the most part as well. While Bob’s Burgers (1.1/4) was even with last week, American Dad (1.3/4) bopped up 8%. The highest-rated show of the night, Family Guy (2.2/7), saw a 5% rise, while Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (1.6/5) gained 14% from its April 27 episode after a couple of weeks staying steady. Read More »

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‘The Simpsons’ Says Goodbye To Marcia Wallace: Video

By | Monday March 10, 2014 @ 6:57pm PDT

wallace__131026072311Bart-weary and rather randy fourth-grade teacher Edna Krabappel made her debut during the first season of The Simpsons nearly a quarter-century ago. Last night, the character and actress behind her were given a final farewell. Marcia Wallace, who died in October, voiced Edna in more than 175 episodes of the venerable toon and won an Emmy for it. In Sunday night’s second of two original episodes, the educator’s widower, Ned Flanders — complete with black armband — reminisced about a night dancing with her. And neighborhood bully Nelson Muntz, something of a closet softie, chimed in as well. Here’s the scene, which aired as an epilogue:

Related: ‘Simpsons’ Pays Tribute To Marcia Wallace

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Chase Carey Says ‘The Simpsons’ Opens Digital Opportunities For FXX

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 7:25am PST

Fox hopes to “create some precedents” with its digital plans for The Simpsons later this year when the long-running animated series will become “the face” of FXX, COO Chase Carey told analysts this morning in a call to discuss fiscal Q2 earnings.The-Simpsons-image-5__130806024809-275x314 No specifics yet — but the exec says that it’s one of the reasons why Fox decided to keep the re-run rights instead of licensing to someone else. “There are times when our distribution businesses have a unique ability to take advantage of a set of rights. And The Simpsons is a perfect example.” The show will “help brand…and help drive” FXX, Carey adds, but Fox isn’t “turning it into The Simpsons Channel.” Would a similar strategy also make sense for, say, FX’s The Americans? Not necessarily, Carey says. “When you get to a one-size-fits-all [strategy], I don’t think that’s the way to go….What we’re not going to do is undersell the content” when others “see values that exceed what it’s worth to us.” Read More »

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‘The Simpsons’ Sam Simon To Receive WGA’s Valentine Davies Award

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 8:43am PST

SamSimonLos Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has named The Simpsons co-developer, Emmy-winning television writer/director/producer, and philanthropist Sam Simon as its 2014 Valentine Davies Award honoree in recognition of his humanitarian efforts and community service on behalf of writers. Simon will be feted, along with other honorees, at the WGAW’s 2014 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony to be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014, at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.

“The work of Sam Simon’s life has entertained and humbled us, in equal measure. And while this Guild has often honored his wit and skill, today we honor his generosity and love – his understanding that we are, in the end, all caretakers of each other. Sam has dedicated himself to the cause of at-risk animals and people who have no other protector. A friend to them, he has become an inspiration to us, his grateful colleagues,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser.

A Writers Guild, West member since 1980, in November Simon also received the WGAW’s Animation Writers Caucus (AWC) 16th Annual Animation Writing Award, a lifetime achievement honor recognizing his contributions to the craft of animation writing.

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FXX Lands ‘The Simpsons’ In Biggest Off-Network Deal In TV History

By | Friday November 15, 2013 @ 9:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Simpsons FXX Record DealTwenty-four seasons into its run, The Simpsons is finally headed to cable. In a competitive situation with five networks bidding, FXX has landed the exclusive cable as well as VOD/non-linear rights to the longest-running comedy series in TV history. The deal also is set to make TV history as the priciest off-network pact ever, expected to fetch at least $750 million, and the first one to include full digital rights. The enormous size of the deal — which some say could potentially reach $1 billion if the series keeps producing new seasons — stems from the staggering volume of Simpsons episodes available: 530 when the show starts airing on FXX in August 2014 and growing to 574 by September 2015. At the start, FXX will have access to the first 24 seasons, with another season added when it gets off-circulation on Fox, which recently greenlighted a 26th season. For instance, Season 25 will become available on FXX when Season 26 premieres on Fox next September.

Exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed but insiders estimate that FXX would be paying about $1.25 million per week, with the length of the agreement said to be about a decade (at least eight years, possibly 10). “The Simpsons is indisputably one of the greatest shows in television history,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. “This was a very long, hard and complicated negotiation and I credit the relentlessness and diligence of Chuck Saftler for getting it done.” Said FX Networks COO Saftler, “Woo Hoo!” He called the back-and-forth “the longest negotiations that I am aware of for an off-network series” that took a month from the first offer to sealing a “landmark” deal. “This is a historic deal for FXX and FX Networks and I don’t believe there will ever be another one like it,” Saftler said. Besides the sheer volume, unprecedented is the granting of full VOD/non-linear rights to a cable network in conjunction with an off-network agreement, which normally gives nets rolling 5-6 episodes. In this case, FXNOW, the soon-to-be-launched authenticated mobile viewing app of FX Networks, will offer all seasons of The Simpsons that are available on FXX. As for that staggering volume of 574 episodes and counting? While a typical syndicated show that has produced 100 episodes is on a 5-week repeat cycle — meaning that the cable network goes through all of the episodes in 5 weeks after which it starts again from the pilot — it will be months and months before The Simpsons will have to repeat an episode on FXX, giving it a feel of an original run. Saftler expects The Simpsons to expand FXX’s “reach and frequency,” broadening its audience to include everyone from today’s teenagers who watch the show on Fox, to their parents who were teenagers when the show first premiered. Because of the virtual lack of repeats, he expects fans to check back often.

It took two decades, but The Simpsons producer 20th Century Fox TV had pretty good timing when it finally took The Simpsons to the cable marketplace. Several years ago, 21st Century Fox COO Chase Carey suggested that the company could launch a Simpsons cable channel (the volume of the Simpsons library could sustain that). Instead, the longest-running scripted series will serve as a backbone of another upstart Fox cable network, FXX. Given the benefits an asset like The Simpsons provides, FXX went very aggressively after the property in an already competitive marketplace. The network had been considered the frontrunner from the get-go with its vast shelf space that can easily accommodate a 600-episode off-network series and properly run and amortize it, something established cable networks with a full dance card of syndicated fare would find harder to do. That, combined with the financial windfall for 20th TV is making observers call the deal a “win-win” for both sides, and the ideal scenario parent 21 Century Fox had been hoping for. “The Simpsons long ago crossed over from ‘brilliant award-winning comedy series’ to ‘full-fledged cultural phenomenon,’ and this landmark deal is a testament to its enduring power and relevance,” said 20th TV chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Steady, ‘Simpsons’ Down, ‘Revenge’ & ‘Betrayal’ Rise

By | Monday November 4, 2013 @ 9:17am PST

There was drama both on and off the field during last night’s NFL Sunday Night Football (5.7/14) Week 9 game. Houston Texans head couch Gary Kubiak had to be taken to a hospital after collapsing during halftime. The team didn’t reveal what was wrong except later to say Kubiak didn’t have a heart attack and was in stable condition. The same could not be said for the Texans who were defeated at home 27-24 by the Indianapolis Colts in a second half rally. Week 9 saw a slight 2% rise from the fast nationals of last week’s Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings game. In terms of viewers, Sunday Night Football was far and away the most watched regularly scheduled show of the night with 15.34 million viewers. As always with live events like sports, all non-time zone adjusted fast nationals will likely shift when the finals come in later in the day. Still for NBC, as it stands, it was another easy win among adults 18-49 with a 4.6/12 rating on Sunday night. However, NBC came in second place to CBS among total viewers, as the latter pulled in 14.35 million to the former’s 12.62 million. CBS’ prime was all over the place due to regional NFL overruns that pushed its start time back to 8 PM.

Related: ‘Simpsons’ Pays Tribute To Marcia Wallace

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‘The Simpsons’ Pays Tribute To Marcia Wallace

By | Monday November 4, 2013 @ 7:07am PST
Nellie Andreeva

In The Simpsons‘ first episode since the death of long-time cast member Marcia Wallace, the Fox animated series opened and closed the episode with tributes to the actress, who played Bart’s teacher Mrs. Krabappel from 1990 until her death. Bart wrote  “We’ll really miss you Mrs. K” on the chalkboard in the opening credits, while a photo of Mrs. Krabappel, with the caption, “In loving memory of Marcia Wallace,” closed out the episode. Wallace died on October 25 at age 70. Her character is expected to be retired after the series runs out of pre-recorded episodes with Wallace.

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Deadline’s Best TV Stories Of The Week

Catch up with the top TV stories you missed this week:

NBC To Reboot ‘Murder, She Wrote’ With Octavia Spencer Starring, Alex Cunningham Writing And David Janollari Producing
By Nellie Andreeva – EXCLUSIVE: NBC is looking to revive one of the most successful series in TV history – Murder, She Wrote — with a brand new take from writer Alexandra Cunningham and producer David Janollari that has Oscar winner Octavia Spencer succeeding Angela Lansbury in the lead role of an astute amateur detective.

CBS Eyes Reboot Of The WB’s ‘Charmed’
By Nellie Andreeva – CBS shows have migrated to younger skewing sibling the CW — CBS pilot Ringer became a CW series, and defunct CBS vampire drama Moonlight got a second run on the sister network.

Kurt Sutter On Extending ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Past Seven Seasons, Playing Prison-Rape Victim And Being Influenced By ‘The Shield’
By The Deadline Team – The outspoken creator and showrunner of FX’s highest-rated program ever was his usual candid self at an ATAS event tonight. Read More »

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R.I.P. Marcia Wallace

By | Saturday October 26, 2013 @ 8:22am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The Simpsons co-star Marcia Wallace has died. She was 70, a week shy of her 71st birthday. “She passed at 9 PM last night due to complications from breast cancer of which she was a long and proud survivor and advocate for women and healing,” said Wallace’s close friend Cathryn Michon, who co-wrote and directed the actress’ final movie, the upcoming Muffin Top, in which Wallace co-stars alongside her son, Michael Hawley. “Ironically it was during breast cancer awareness month during which she was always a funny ray of hope for so many. I’m devastated.” UPDATE 2 PM: Hawley just clarified that Wallace passed away of complications from other illnesses and was breast cancer free at the time of her death.

Actress-comedienne Wallace is best known for voicing Bart’s teacher Edna Krabappel on the Fox animated series The Simpsons, for which she won an Emmy, and for playing receptionist Carol Kester on The Bob Newhart Show. “Cheers to the hilarious, kind, fab Marcia Wallace, who has taken her leave from us, Wallace’s Simpsons co-star Yeardley Smith wrote this morning. “Heaven is now a much funnier place because of you.” Wallace also was a frequent game show panelist who appeared on more than a dozen shows, including Hollywood Squares, The $25,000 Pyramid, To Tell the Truth, Match Game and Family Feud. “In the 70s, Marcia Wallace made it … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Sunday Night Football’ Tops, ‘Betrayal’ Drops

By | Monday October 7, 2013 @ 9:18am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

This is why the NFL will continue to extract billions of dollars from the TV networks — even a lopsided game with no suspense or intrigue like San Francisco’s 34-3 rout of Houston last night dominated everything else in primetime. In the metered markets, NBC’s Sunday Night Football averaged an 11.6/11, only 1% below the corresponding game last fall, and is expected to deliver a nightly win for the network in adults 18-49.

Betrayal is following in the footsteps of fellow new ABC drama Lucky 7 on a path toward early cancellation. In its second week, the infidelity drama posted a 1.1, down 27% from its underwhelming premiere. Its lead-in, Revenge (1.9), also was down double-digits (17%) from its third-season debut as its reboot under a new showrunner is yet to take hold, while Once Upon A Time (2.5) held steady, down a tenth (4%). Read More »

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Hot ‘Simpsons’ Intro: Guillermo Del Toro Helms Scary Opener

By | Sunday October 6, 2013 @ 4:36pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Guillermo del Toro is busy directing his haunted house film Crimson Peak, prepping the FX series The Strain — based on the vampire novel trilogy he wrote with Chuck Hogan — and releasing his new book Cabinet of Curiosities. But the master multi-tasker has found the time to direct the opening segment of The Simpsons annual Halloween episode, which premieres tonight on Fox. As with all these other things, he did a frightfully good job, I think.

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Fox Gives ‘The Simpsons’ Historic 26th Season Pickup

By | Friday October 4, 2013 @ 2:45pm PDT

On the eve of its Treehouse Of Horrors XXIV, Fox announced it has picked up The Simpsons for an historic 26th season. The announcement was made by Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment at Fox. Meanwhile, fate of the voice cast — almost always a bone of contention at series-pickup time, apparently is not this time — they’re all expected to return, an informed source says. Here’s the announcement: Read More »

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‘Simpsons’ Cartoon Character Kill-Off Mystery

By | Tuesday October 1, 2013 @ 2:35pm PDT

Fox‘s The Simpsons, which last killed off a character at the start of the century, will whack another this season. Fourteen years after Maude Flanders met the Grim Reaper on the animated comedy, another regular character will meet their Maker — or whatever is the cartoon equivalent — in this the show’s 25th season. Executive producer Al Jean said so during a recent phone conference with the press to promote Sunday’s return of our country’s longest-running primetime scripted TV series. He declined to name the character, except to say,  “I’ll give you a clue that the actor playing the character won an Emmy for playing that character,” as first reported by Canada’s Sun News. That narrows it down to — nearly everyone. When the producers bumped Maude in the series’ 11th season on Feb. 13, 2000 — killed while watching a speedway race –  10.8 million tuned in, a.k.a. about the same number of people as watched the Breaking Bad finale last Sunday. It was that week’s most watched Fox primetime broadcast.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: Sunday Starts Slow With Declines, Low Debut For ‘Betrayal’

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 9:10am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Last night was chock-full of premieres on the broadcast networks, HBO and Showtime, and yet it was a finale that stole the spotlight — the closing episode of Breaking Bad. No numbers for the AMC drama yet but it is certain to set one more and final series high. As for the broadcast networks, they kicked off Sunday night of the 2013-14 season on a low note.

Related: Walter White’s Odyssey Completed In ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale

The ratings for CBS are scrambled because of a 15-minute football overrun in several East Coast markets including New York, but the network’s series are looking at double-digit year-to-year drops and new premiere lows for The Amazing Race, The Good Wife and The Mentalist for a second consecutive year. ABC and Fox too logged double-digit declines across the board with premiere lows for Once Upon A Time, Revenge, The Simpsons and American Dad. The third-season premiere of ABC’s Once Upon A Time (2.6/7 in adults 18-49) was down 33%, while Revenge (2.4/6) was down 25%. ABC’s struggle to launch a Sunday 10 PM series continued with new drama Betrayal which opened low with a 1.5/4, 29% below the debut of the now defunct 666 Park Ave and tying fellow cancelled Red Widow for ABC’s lowest in-season Sunday debut ever. Fox’s The Simpsons (2.8/8) was down 26% from last fall’s opener, recently … Read More »

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‘The Simpsons’ Meets ‘Homeland’ in ‘Homerland’ Season Premiere: Video

By | Sunday September 29, 2013 @ 11:47am PDT

Fox‘s The Simpsons will be pushing Showtime‘s Homeland tonight in “Homerland,” the toon’s 25th season premiere episode. Kristen Wiig guests as an FBI agent who taps Lisa to investigate Homer’s suspicious behavior after he returns from a nuclear power plant operating convention. An hour after “Homerland” airs, Homeland‘s Season 3 debuts on Showtime opposite Fox’s post-Simpsons Family Guy/American Dad block. Here’s a full preview clip of tonight’s unusual crossover (beware autoplay):

Related: TV Teaser:  ‘Homeland’ Gets Promo Help…From ‘The Simpsons’

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TV Teaser: Showtime’s ‘Homeland’ Gets Promo Help…From Fox’s ‘The Simpsons’

By | Thursday September 26, 2013 @ 5:04pm PDT

Showtime is already prepping for the return of its hit drama Homeland by staging a Season 2 marathon this weekend ahead of the Season 3 premiere Sunday at 9 PM. But Fox is doing its part too  with the Season 25 premiere of The Simpsons, which will air and hour before Homeland starts. Titled “Homerland”, the episode centers on Lisa enlisting the service of a jumpy FBI agent to discover why Homer seems to have “turned” since coming back from a nuclear power plant operating convention. Kristen Wiig voices the agent, so you get the idea where this is going. Here’s the special intro to the episode:

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