This is a nice vindication for a series that never had a permanent time slot or launch date, shuffled around the schedule and bounced between fall and midseason. Getting a last-minute upgrade to Thursdays from its original Saturday(!) time slot this fall, veteran CBS utility player Rules Of Engagement (3.7/12, 11.5 million) posted its best fall premiere in four years last night. Compared with last fall, when Rules aired Mondays at 8:30 PM, the veteran comedy was up 19%. Rules delivered far stronger numbers than the comedy it replaced, rookie How To Be A Gentleman, which posted a 2.5/7 in its last Thursday airing, and matched the demo performance in the Thursday 8:30 PM slot last week of a Big Bang Theory repeat. The Big Bang Theory (4.9/15, 14.7 million) had a great night, up 11% from its demo fast national last week to match its best Thursday demo rating with a regularly scheduled telecast and post its second-biggest audience on the night. Big Bang is expected to break the tie and post its best Thursday number when the finals are announced this afternoon as the hit comedy always gets adjusted up. UPDATE PM: It’s official – a new Thursday high for Big Bang, which rose to a 5.1 rating in 18-49 in Live+Same Day. Big Bang once again ranked as the top program on Thursday in 18-49 and total viewers. At 9 PM, Person Of Interest (2.7/7) matched its fast national from last week, as did The Mentalist (2.5/7) at 10 PM. CBS (3.2/9, 12.6 million) is expected to finish second for the night behind Fox’s coverage of Game 2 of the World Series. There is no time-adjusted data for the game, but, just like Game 1 on Wednesday, it appears to be down from the corresponding telecast last year. READ MORE »
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.
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.”
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:
EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain have stepped down as executive producers on the CW drama pilot The Secret Circle, based on a three-book series from The Vampire Diaries author L.J. Smith. Under their Warner Bros TV overall deal, the Angel and Dollhouse alums last summer were assigned to supervise …
EXCLUSIVE: First the bad news: Kevin Williamson’s potential companion series to Vampire Diaries is not happening, at least for now. The Vampire Diaries co-creator Williamson has notified the CW that his busy schedule on Diaries, which he is executive …