With ratings bolstered in part by the current season’s schedule change, singing competition format The Voice UK has officially been ordered for two more runs on BBC One. The coaching lineup is to be confirmed. There have been reports that Kylie Minogue, who joined this year, may have a tour conflict, but the BBC has said that it would look to accommodate the singer for a potential return to a red chair. The other current coaches are Tom Jones, Ricky Wilson and will.i.am. The third series is leading up to the season finale on April 5 and has generated weekly average audiences of 8.9M since kicking off in January. However, the semi-final this Saturday hit a low, according to overnight data which gave it 5.94M viewers. Season 2 last year suffered a drop, averaging 7.45M viewers, but Season 3 is back on par with Season 1. The resurgence comes as the competition show shifted its airdates for 2014. It has historically run from March, but had been locked in a showdown over the past few springs with ITV rival Britain’s Got Talent. That Simon Cowell show has not officially set its start date for the 8th season, but is expected to do so anytime. Although BGT and The Voice UK are no longer going head-to-head, 2015 may promise another …
Warner Bros-owned Shed Media Group has named Leanne Klein CEO of its production subsidiary Wall to Wall as current chief and founder Alex Graham exits. Wall to Wall creative director Klein will take over from Graham who will remain connected to the company as an executive producer on TLC’s U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? which Graham created. Klein has been at Wall to Wall, producer of The Voice UK, since 1995 and recently exec produced Hitchcock biopic The Girl. She has also overseen such programs as Long Lost Family, The Young Ones, Child Genius and The Voice UK. Graham founded Wall to Wall in 1987 and sold the company to Shed in 2007. Warner Bros acquired Shed in 2010.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ To UK’s Channel 4; Henry Winkler-Penned Kids Books In TV Deal; ‘Voice UK’: More
Britain’s Channel 4 has taken UK premiere broadcast rights to fall comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The series from Dan Goor and Michael Schur is being handled internationally by NBCUniversal International Television Distribution. Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher star. It debuts on Channel 4’s E4 in January in the UK. The show kicked off on Fox in the U.S. on Wednesday night.
The Voice UK has lined up Ricky Wilson as the fourth coach to sit in a red chair for the upcoming third seaon. Lead singer of Britsh band Kaiser Chiefs, Wilson has worked with the BBC before, hosting Never Mind The Buzzcocks and T In The Park. As previously announced, Kylie Minogue is joining the competition series and Tom Jones and will.i.am are returning.
BBC children’s channel CBBC has commissioned a new comedy/drama series to feature Henry Winkler. Hank Zipzer, from DHX Media and Walker Productions, will be produced by Kindle Entertainment. The 13-episode show will air on CBBC in 2014. It’s inspired by the book series Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever, which Winkler wrote with Lin Oliver. The TV project will follow 12-year-old Hank, a smart and resourceful dyslexic boy with a unique perspective on the world. When problems arise, he deals with them in a way no one else would – putting him on a direct collision course with his teachers and parents.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Pedro Almodóvar Set For Career Honor At EFA Awards; Senator Backs Bille August’s ‘Beware Of Pity; More
Pedro Almodóvar Set For Career Honor From European Film Academy
Pedro Almodóvar will receive the European Achievement in World Cinema award at the 26th European Film Awards in December. The European Film Academy is feting the filmmaker for his body of work, including Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – his 1988 breakout film – All About My Mother, Talk To Her and this year’s I’m So Excited. “I am very thankful for this award,” Almodóvar said in a statement. “From its creation, the European Film Academy has been very generous with me and my closest collaborators. I share with them the joy of this award.” He will receive the award December 7 at the the EFA Awards in Berlin.
Senator Film To Finance Bille August’s ‘Beware Of Pity’
Germany’s Senator Film is backing the latest feature adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s Beware Of Pity. Danish helmer Bille August will direct. August is reteaming with his Night Train To Lisbon and Goodbye Bafana screenwriter Greg Latter, who is penning the transfer. This will be the second feature based on prolific Austrian author Zweig’s Beware Of Pity. The first was in 1946, starring German actress Lilli Palmer. Published in 1938, the book tells the story of a young lieutenant who takes pity on a paralyzed girl. He cares for her and she falls in love, but he doesn’t share her strong feelings. When she learns the truth, she makes a fateful decision. There is no cast yet, but international talent is expected to join the English-language project. Shooting starts in 2014 in Bavaria, Austria and Hungary. The film will open in Germany in 2015 through Senator. Lars Sylvest and Helge Sasse are producers. French director Patrice Leconte recently adapted Zweig’s A Promise as his first English-language film. That project drew Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman and Richard Madden.
It’s still missing a 4th mentor, but The Voice UK has confirmed the return of will.i.am and Tom Jones for Season 3. The show has also set pop icon Kylie Minogue for her first go-round in a red chair. The BBC One show had been seeking replacements for Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue who exited after Season 2; the final coach will be announced “in due course,” the BBC said. Grammy award-winner Minogue said she was excited to join the show, adding “The search for new talent is such an important aspect of the music industry and The Voice UK gives us all a part to play in that. Will I be competitive? Probably more than even I imagine!” Season 3 kicks off in January.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Malala Yousafzai Documentary; Danny O’Donoghue Exits ‘The Voice UK’; S. Korea’s ‘Mr Go’ At Bat; More
Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald Prep Documentary On Malala Yousafzai
Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are to produce a feature-length documentary chronicling the story of 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student who last year survived a brutal assassination attempt by the Taliban. Davis Guggenheim is directing the film that’s financed by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck by gunmen who targeted her for speaking out on behalf of education for girls in her community. She recovered in Birmingham, England, and became the youngest person ever nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Parkes says, “There are few stories Laurie and I have ever come across that are as compelling, urgent or important as the real-life struggle of Malala and her father Ziauddin on behalf of universal education for children. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to try to bring the lives of these extraordinary people to the screen.” The film will debut in theatrical release in late 2014. Yousafzai is repped by Ron Bernstein of ICM on behalf of Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown.
Coach Danny O’Donoghue Exits ‘The Voice UK’
BBC One’s The Voice UK has lost last season’s winning coach Danny O’Donoghue. The Irish musician will not be returning to the show due to recording commitments …
As Simon Cowell put it yesterday, Britain’s Got Talent has “gotten some stick” in the past few weeks. Viewers have reacted to what they perceive as inappropriate acts on the show, and also to the fact that some current contestants have previously appeared on TV. Cowell took to Twitter on Sunday to address the latter complaints, saying, “We try and have a no rules policy on the show… Would it be right to say to someone who has appeared on a show before you can’t audition?” Referring to BGT‘s biggest breakout star, he added, “I believe Susan Boyle had appeared on another tv show years ago. Nothing happened. Bgt gave her another go. Is that wrong? I am not whining. Simply wanted to explain there is no hush hush plot. I just think everyone deserves a second chance.”
Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent dropped slightly on Saturday from its debut last week, scoring 10.3M viewers for a 47% share, UK network ITV said. The show peaked with an audience of 12.1M, but that was down from a high of 13M on April 13. After going head-to-head with BGT last week, rival show The Voice UK moved out of its way on Saturday. The two shows jockeyed for position last year and this year has been no different with time slots frequently shifting. But the BBC this weekend set The Voice to start at 8:20 PM (BGT starts at 7 PM) and according to overnights, its ratings grew with a season high of 7.92M viewers. That was up 1.25M on the week prior. It peaked at 9.08M.
Meanwhile, controversy seems to be following BGT this season. Last week’s episode featured two acts that were deemed inappropriate by some in the Twittersphere and by a group that campaigns for family values in the media. This Saturday, a five-year-old moved through to the next round with a dance routine, spurring viewers and a child protection group to wonder about his coping mechanisms. A spokesman for BGT told The Daily Mail that contestants’ welfare is the show’s “number one priority.”
Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent returned to ITV with much fanfare on Saturday night, beating rival BBC show The Voice UK and causing some controversy in the process. BGT had its second biggest launch in seven years scoring an average 10.5M viewers and peaking at just over 13M. Only the 2010 start was bigger with a 10.6M average.
But two acts have been deemed inappropriate by some in the Twittersphere and by a group that campaigns for family values in the media. The performances in question saw an 11-year-old girl sing the one-night-stand-themed “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls, while a 40-something woman did a semi-striptease and gave Cowell a mini-lapdance. Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch UK, told The Daily Mail that ITV appeared “to have completely ignored” guidelines set up by regulator Ofcom which has warned broadcasters about sexually explicit content ahead of the 9 PM watershed. But an ITV spokesman tells Deadline, “In its seventh series, Britain’s Got Talent celebrates variety and showcases a wide range of different acts. Mindful of our family audience, the performance was carefully edited to ensure it was suitably inexplicit.” Ahead of this weekend’s controversy, an ITV source told me the network chose to air BGT at 7 PM despite a clash with the BBC’s The Voice, because otherwise it “would have had to go late” and risk losing the family audience.
UPDATE, WRITETHRU, 9:23 AM PT: The seventh season of Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent kicks off in the UK on April 13 and has set the scene for yet another showdown with The Voice UK, shifting timeslots and pitting the two shows head-to-head. The Voice debuted on BBC One on March 30 in the 7-8:35 PM slot, the same space it occupied last year. Then yesterday, it was revealed that ITV would air BGT at the identical hour when it debuts, despite traditionally starting an hour later. The BBC in turn has confirmed that it will back The Voice up by 15 minutes to 6:45 PM starting on April 13 to avoid a direct clash (this also moves Doctor Who back to about 6 PM). Given the flexibility of British broadcast schedules – and how much jostling there was last year – this is unlikely to be the last change in the ongoing battle between the two competition shows. A BBC insider calls ITV’s move “disappointing” saying “it’s not in the best interest of the fans.” An ITV source contends that the BBC “deliberately” slotted The Voice in the spring, where BGT has been since 2006 meaning an overlap was inevitable. To avoid a clash, ITV “would have had to go late” and risk losing the family audience.
The first season of The Voice UK was the BBC’s most successful new entertainment show in over a decade, but it was also locked in a ratings battle last year with Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent which aired on rival net ITV. ITV originally set a challenge to The Voice when it moved Britain’s Got Talent ahead several weeks so the two shows would debut on the same night. This had followed an earlier bidding war in which both networks were vying for broadcast rights to The Voice. The show held its own against BGT, but endured a ratings decline when the live episodes started. The second season will have four key stages, including a new Knockouts round, but there will be just three live shows. Coaches will.i.am, Jessie J, Danny O’Donoghue and Tom Jones will select 2 more artists each for their teams and will also have the chance to steal one losing artist from a rival coach. It’s not yet confirmed when The Voice UK will start airing this spring, but the live shows are reportedly set for June 8, the same date it’s believed ITV is airing the Britain’s Got Talent finale, meaning there would again be overlap. In December, ITV confirmed Cowell would return to BGT as a judge for the show’s seventh season. …
Makers Of ‘Rake’, ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Feted
Australia’s Essential Media and Entertainment, producers of TV legal drama The Rake and Saving Mr. Banks, the film about Australian author P.L. Travers and the making of Mary Poppins starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, has been named Independent Producer of the Year. The award was made by the Screen Producers Association of Australia. Essential and Sony Pictures TV are planning a U.S. pilot remake of Rake for Fox Broadcasting starring Greg Kinnear. Headed by Chris Hilton, Ian Collie, Sonja Armstrong and Carmel Travers, Essential Media’s slate also includes the Jack Irish crime drama telemovies starring Guy Pearce for Australia’s ABC, My Brother, the Serial Killer for Discovery Channel, and Raising The Curtain, a celebration of Australia’s history of live theater. - Don Groves
Has Simon Cowell blinked? With BBC One’s The Voice UK steadily gaining on Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent over on ITV, the latter network will step out of the line of fire for upcoming episodes. Beginning April 21, BGT will kick off 30 minutes later than it has for the past several weeks, and 10 minutes after The Voice ends. ITV originally set a challenge to The Voice when it moved BGT ahead several weeks so the two shows would debut on the same night. This had followed an earlier bidding war in which both networks were vying for broadcast rights to The Voice. BGT also brought back Cowell as a judge this year in a widely touted move.
As I reported on Tuesday, although BGT’s ratings were originally ahead of The Voice, the BBC One show beat BGT in the overall ratings for the first time this past Saturday and has been steadily adding viewers over its three frames. Key however is the fact that the shows only overlapped for a 20-minute period with The Voice airing from 7-8:20pm and BGT from 8-9:20pm. It’s that 20-minute space where The Voice has soared past BGT each week,
On May 14, Howard Stern will debut as a judge on NBC’s new-look America’s Got Talent. That show will follow the week-earlier season finale of The Voice, also on NBC. But the UK versions of those shows, which air on rival networks, are not playing together quite so harmoniously. America’s Got Talent impresario Simon Cowell recently returned to the UK as a judge on local ITV series Britain’s Got Talent, to give it a shot in the arm. While ratings are strong for BGT, it debuted lower this year than last and had to concede the Saturday night crown this past weekend to The Voice UK, which airs on BBC One. Cowell on Sunday singled out BBC Controller Danny Cohen and tweeted the following: “A slightly irritated congrats to Danny and the BBC.”
The Voice UK has steadily added about 500,000 viewers week-on-week since its March 24 debut, but BGT was down 850,000 this week (not factoring in time shift viewings). Premiering strong on March 24 and building on March 31, The Voice still lost out in the overall ratings to BGT on both of those Saturdays. But, what’s become highly notable is the fact that The Voice is consistently beating BGT during the key 20 minutes when the shows overlap (The Voice airs from 7-8:20pm, BGT airs from 8-9:20pm). In their first 20-minute standoff, The Voice led …
Shed Media Group, controlled by Warner Bros International Television Production, has acquired a majority stake in UK TV production company Renegade Pictures. The company specializes in factual entertainment formats and documentaries. Founded in 2006 by Alan Hayling, Alex Cooke and Jon Rowlands, Renegade’s slate includes BBC Three reality show Don’t Tell The Bride, BBC Two’s World’s Most Dangerous Roads, Death Unexplained for BBC One and ITV’s Popstar To Operastar. Former BBC commissioner Harry Lansdown is editorial director at Renegade and, along with the existing team, will continue to operate independently from their London base. The company’s output will now be distributed by Warner Bros. Shed’s other brands include Shed Productions (Waterloo Road, Footballers Wives), Wall to Wall (The Voice UK), Twenty Twenty (World’s Strictest Parents) and Ricochet (The Bachelor UK).