Tim Allen proved his drawing power last night when his new sitcom, ABC’s Last Man Standing, opened with an excellent 3.5/10 in adults 18-49 and 13 million viewers overall at 8 PM against baseball and CBS’ juggernaut NCIS. Last Man Standing eclipsed Suburgatory as the highest-rated new comedy series on ABC this fall, and Allen did it all by himself, with no help from a lead-in, to give ABC the much needed anchor for opening a new comedy night. This was the most watched 8 PM comedy premiere in 7 years and the highest-rated in 18-49 in 5. The hourlong Last Man Standing was up 9% in the demo from the premiere of drama No Ordinary Family in the slot last fall and posted ABC’s highest 18-49 rating in the 8 PM hour in 2 years. The comedy boosted the Dancing With The Stars result show (3.2/8, 16.6 million) to a season high, up 10% in the demo from last week. But the gains didn’t carry over to the 10 PM hour where Body Of Proof (1.9/5) was down 2 tenths from last week’s fast national.
CBS’s NCIS (3.9/11, 18.9 million) was down two tenths in the demo but still rock solid and, with Fox’s New Girl preempted for baseball, the veteran drama won the night in both 18-49 and total viewers. NCIS: LA (3.3/8, 15.4 million) and rookie Unforgettable (2.3/8, 11.8 million) was down a tenth each from their fast … Read More »
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Tim Allen was talking trash and slinging jokes at today’s TCA panel on the new sitcom from Jack Burditt (30 Rock) Last Man Standing. The show marks Allen’s return to ABC after his hit show about a manly man, Home Improvement (1991-99).
A lot has changed since then. “I believe that at HI we were doing a 28 share, sometimes into a 30 share, with 30 million viewers,” Allen recalled. “We could tell the president what to do at that time.” It’s a “tighter leadership” now at ABC, he added. “I don’t want to say cheaper but I just did. Sometimes leaner is better. In this case, it’s not. We drink water out of a hose. There are no water bottles at ABC.”
After Home Improvement, Allen cracked that he had received “thousands, hundreds, no, millions of offers” for new series. “Every day it was an offer. I had an ‘offer office.’ ” He said that he would have liked to do a legal drama: “I like Castle, but that was already done,” he said. He said he had an offer for a legal series but added “I’m not going to tell you, it’s too embarrassing. It’s on the air now, and they cast a woman in the part,” a hint pointing to Harry’s Law ,whose lead was originally conceived as a man. Other Last Man cast members joked that the series was actually ABC’s reboot of Charlie’s Angels. “Yes, I was the middle one. I’m very attractive in a halter,” Allen joked. Asked why all men on TV these days seem to be “douche bags,” Allen replied: “That was the working title for this show actually … but Fox got it … they have a lot of douche bags, actually.”
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Toy Story 3 may have picked up a 2010 Best Picture nomination and a couple of other Oscars (for Best Animated Feature and Song), but who knew the Toy Story gang would come roaring back into the Oscar race just four months later? That could be the case as Disney/Pixar is about to release the first of two newly minted Toy Story Toons. Hawaiian Vacation opens Friday with the studio’s 2011 animated feature hopeful, Cars 2. A second toon is planned to go with the release of The Muppets in November, making both eligible for the Best Animated Short Oscar this year and creating a situation where Disney/Pixar could be competing against itself. Several other ideas for future installments are also in development at Pixar.
For those who can’t get enough of the Toy Story brand (Toy Story 3 grossed over $1 billion worldwide since its release a year ago), the six-minute Hawaiian Vacation picks up where TS3 pretty much left off, with the characters now living together in new owner Bonnie’s bedroom where they plan a makeshift romantic island getaway for Ken and Barbie after Ken screwed up travel plans in the dead of winter. The short reunites the entire impressive cast including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Joan Cusack, Jodi Benson and the rest.
“It’s amazing; it was one of the key issues we had in going ahead,” director Gary Rydstrom told me this morning. ”We wanted to do it with all the cast, all the characters, so it was important to get all the actors on board with it, which they happily did. I don’t think it would have been possible without them.” Read More »
ABC Unveils 2011-12 Schedule: New Comedy Block On Tuesday With Tim Allen
When he took the stage for his first ABC upfront presentation, the network’s new president Paul Lee was quick to bring up the event’s main attraction. “When Anne Sweeney called me about this job, I asked myself, ‘Do I really want to be humiliated by Jimmy Kimmel in front of hundreds of people?’ The answer was: ‘Absolutely’ ”
Right away, Lee, who was visibly nervous, branded the network’s new lineup “pure entertainment,” so he began presenting ABC’s fall schedule with Thursday night, showcasing new 8 PM anchor Charlie’s Angels. “I’ve wanted to remake Charlie’s Angels since I was 14,” Lee said. He explained the decision to schedule the remake Thursdays at 8 PM with the fact that it will be the only scripted drama in the slot (besides CW).
Tim Allen was on hand to promote his new ABC comedy Last Man Standing. “It’s about a man in a women’s world. Its original name was The Paul Lee Story.” That was not the only jab at his new boss. “You can dump the accent, you got the job,” he told British-born Lee.
After the clip for ABC’s new cross-dressing comedy Work It, Lee justified his decision to pick up the show with, “So sue me, I’m a Brit,” segueing to “Talking about cross-dressing, here’s Jimmy Kimmel.”
Kimmel was his usual irreverent self. Here are some of his top barbs: Read More »
Three days after the euphoria of getting their pilots picked up by ABC, I hear the producers of the newly picked-up series are in panic mode over conflicting information about the sizes of the network’s series orders. Word is, with a whopping 13 new scripted series orders, including the straight-to-series drama Missing, ABC is mulling different tiers of order sizes: the standard 13, as well as 10 and six episodes. I hear none of the producers have been told how many episodes their show is being picked up for, creating a lot of anxiety on the eve of ABC’s upfront presentation tomorrow, when the network will unveil its schedule for next season. Speaking of ABC’s schedule, the network is being very tight-lipped about it. With five new comedy series picked up, it is logical for ABC to try to open a second comedy block outside of Wednesday. I hear Tuesday 8-9 PM as a possibility. That’s a slot where ABC has struggled to get traction in. I hear the most recognizable star on a new ABC comedy series, Tim Allen, may be summoned to open a comedy block for the network with his new sitcom at 8 PM, either on Tuesday or on Wednesday. Because of its tagline as Desperate Housewives in Dallas and the cancellation of Brothers and Sisters, new dramedy Good Christian Belles had been considered a perfect fit to go after Desperate Housewives, but there … Read More »
Part of a series that takes an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.
Maybe it’s the Tom Selleck/Kathy Bates effect, but the broadcast networks seem more open than ever to shows fronted by older leads this pilot season. Until recently, actors in their 60s and late 50s were relegated to supporting parts as parents or grandparents of TV shows’ main characters. Now they’re the main attraction. Michael Patrick King’s NBC drama pilot A Mann’s World stars 62-year-old Don Johnson. CBS’ pilot The Doctor is toplined by 61-year-old Christine Lahti. ABC has an untitled comedy pilot written for and starring 57-year-old Tim Allen. And ABC’s drama pilot Grace is headlined by 55-year-old Eric Roberts.
The trend started last year with several pilots going older with their leads than the characters had been originally written. Blue Bloods (then Reagan’s Law) whose lead was supposed to be 50-59 year-old, cast 66-year-old Tom Selleck. David E. Kelley’s Harry’s Law (then Kindreds) was written for a male lead aged 53-57. It ended up casting 62-year-old Oscar winner Kathy Bates and tweaking the character. The most dramatic “aging up” in the casting process happened on the ABC procedural Body of Proof (then Body of Evidence) whose lead Megan was conceived as 35-40 years-old. The producers met several actresses in that age range before they thought of Dana Delany (55) who was eventually cast in the role. Additionally, CBS last summer … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After Toy Story 3 cracked the billion dollar worldwide gross mark and got a Best Picture nomination for Disney, I’m told the studio is making moves to pair stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in Jungle Cruise, the live action film inspired by the venerable Magic Kingdom theme park ride. The studio has hired Roger S.H. Schulman to write a script that’s being produced by Mandeville’s David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, who themselves are coming off a Best Picture nomination for The Fighter. No director yet, I’m told.
Schulman has written on such films as Shrek and Jungle Book 2. Disney has been trying to get Jungle Cruise out of dry dock for several years, but the combination of Hanks and Allen in a family film makes this the equivalent of an E-ticket for a family-themed film. Hanks just direct Larry Crowne, starring with Julia Roberts and producing with Playtone partner Gary Goetzman. Hanks also is attached to another family film project based on the Mattel toy Major Matt Mason, which Playtone is also producing at Universal. CAA reps Hanks.
Allen is returning to TV for the first time since Home Improvement. The new pilot will shoot in April for ABC, through Fox Studios. WME and Messina/Baker. Paradigm and Rain Management rep Schulman.
After weeks of negotiations, Tim Allen has officially come onboard ABC’s comedy pilot written by Jack Burditt. The project, first known as Man Up and then renamed to The Last Day of Man, is now untitled. The multicamera show, from 20th TV and 21 Laps/Adelstein Prod., centers on a guy (Allen) fighting for his manhood in a world of women. Burditt is executive producing with Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy, Becky Clements as well as Allen and his managers Richard Baker and Rick Messina. The project landed at ABC in November as a potential starring vehicle for Allen. If it goes to series, the comedy will mark Allen’s return to primetime and to ABC where he starred in the long-running hit Home Improvement.
After a heated bidding between ABC and CBS that stretched over the weekend, Man Up, a new half-hour project from veteran comedy writer-producer Jack Burditt (30 Rock) and a potential starring vehicle for Tim Allen, has landed at ABC with a put pilot commitment. Word is new ABC programming chief Paul Lee was personally involved in the network’s efforts to get the comedy that would bring Allen back to ABC where he toplined one of the network’s biggest comedies, Home Improvement. Man Up, from 20th TV and studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein, is a multi-camera family comedy about a guy fighting for his manhood in a world of women. Burditt is writing as well as executive producing along with Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy and Becky Clements. Allen has been looking to return to TV and met with a number of writers in the past few months.