The third-season finale of Fox’s The X Factor drew a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 last night. That was up 42% from last Thursday and the series’ best showing in two months, and helped Fox win the night in 18-49. But the closer was down sharply — by 45% from last season’s finale — mirroring the performance finale’s 48% year-to-year drop. In most current ratings, Season 3 of The X Factor averaged a 2.1 in 18-49, down 42% from Season 2. (In total viewers, its average was 6.7 million, down 32%). Yet, Fox is in negotiations for a fourth season and X Factor honcho Simon Cowell already is plotting changes for next fall.
Four-time Grammy Award nominee Jewel has signed on as a new judge for the reality competition series for a cappella groups, joining Shawn Stockman, Ben Folds and returning host Nick Lachey. NBC recently greenlighted a fourth cycle of The Sing-Off which is set to air as a holiday strip over several nights later this year. The Sing-Off did solid business for NBC when it aired as a week-long strip in December 2009 and 2010, part of the network’s holiday programming. But when NBC slated it as a two-hour regular weekly series in fall 2011, it fizzled. Now it’s reverting back to that original format. The program showcases the country’s top a cappella groups who have dreams of walking away with the top prize – a recording contract and $100,000. The Sing-Off is produced by One Three Media (a Hearst/Mark Burnett company) along with Outlaw Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television. Mark Burnett (NBC’s The Voice) is the executive producer. Deb Newmyer, Sam Weisman and Jane Mun also are executive producers. Jewel’s debut album “Pieces Of You” became one of the best-selling debut albums of all time. She released a greatest hits album this year featuring duets with Kelly Clarkson and the Pistol Annies and most recently starred as June Carter Cash in the Lifetime movie Ring Of Fire based on Cash’s life.
More than a year after the third cycle of The Sing-Off ended its run on NBC, the network has greenlighted a fourth cycle of the reality competition series for acapella groups hosted by Nick Lachey. Auditions are slated for April 27-May 18. The Sing-Off did solid business for NBC when it aired as a week-long strip in December 2009 and 2010, part of the network’s holiday programming. But when NBC slated it as a two-hour regular weekly series in fall 2011, it fizzled. NBC will likely revert to the show’s original format as a multi-night holiday event for Season 4.
NBC has scheduled the reboot of Fear Factor, which will serve as a bridge between The Sing-Off and The Voice in the Monday 8-10 PM slot. The revamped gross-out competition will premiere on December 12. “We have taken the groundbreaking Fear Factor franchise that many fans remember fondly and have ramped it up to make it even more challenging and competitive than ever before,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of alternative and late night. “Once again, the contestants will have to face their ultimate fears to prevail — and the tension and drama of that process will make for some riveting television.” New stunts on the show include “Towering Inferno” and the “Helicopter TNT Crash.” Remaining the same are host Joe Rogan and producers Endemol USA, Matt Kunitz and David Hurwitz.
With The Voice turning the lights on for fourth-place NBC this past season and considered a cornerstone in the network’s quest for a ratings turnaround, the man who developed it at NBC, Paul Telegdy, is getting a promotion: a president title and the addition of late-night to his purview. NBC’s current late-night head, 31-year NBC veteran Rick Ludwin, is stepping down and segue to a consultancy for the network. In addition to The Voice, Telegdy has overseen series America’s Got Talent and The Sing-Off as well as the Golden Globes specials. “Paul is an exemplary executive who has tremendous creative vision in the area of unscripted programming which makes him perfect for this expanded role,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. “I know he will bring his uniquely inventive eye to our venerable late-night institutions and I’m personally pleased that he is extending his relationship with NBC as we seek to build the best team of top executives possible.”
Said Ludwin, “I couldn’t have asked for or imagined a more rewarding job than the one I’ve had at NBC. To have been a part of TV history with Seinfeld, our late-night franchises, Saturday Night Live and with all our producers, writers and talent has been unbelievable. Since I was a kid it was a dream of mine to work at NBC. I got to do it and continue to be grateful.”
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.