The difference between making Adult Swim’s new animated half hour Rick And Morty, and making NBC’s live-action comedy Community at Sony, is that Adult Swim exec vp Mike Lazzo is “a bona fide genius, especially in the world of network executives,” Dan Harmon said this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Harmon came to the tour today to talk about Rick And Morty, the comedy about a genius inventor grandfather and his less-than-genius grandson that Harmon is doing with creator Justin Roiland. But Harmon is best known for creating and exec producing Community, for being sacked from the show last season because of his behavior, for being brought back to the show for its fifth when the fourth one tanked, for saying that watching the fourth season of Community was like “being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach,” and then issuing a mealy-mouthed apology.
“[Lazzo] has the autonomy and the humility and the mental power to actually take a script, recognize it as what it is, a document, read it and then tell you what his reactions are to it as an individual,” Harmon continued, answering the which-place-is-better question. “He never says ‘I don’t think people are going to like this’. He never branches out into the business of speculating into the biomass for which we are creating this opiate. He never says ‘people are going to react this way’ and he never confuses the script for the final product,” Harmon said. Then he added: “On the NBC side, it’s even better.” Read More »
The networks have agreed to extend their current contracts with Major League Baseball to 2021 at about double what they’re paying now, according to media reports. The deals have not been officially announced. If true, though, it means Fox will pay about $4 billion over eight years for its slate of games that includes the World Series and some League Championship Series matchups that it shares with TBS, according to USA Today. TBS parent Turner will play about $2.8 billion over the eight years. The packages are essentially the same, with TBS giving up some first-round playoff games to Fox and its soon-to-be-rebranded Speed channel, Sports Business Daily reports. The publication also says MLB Network could receive some of those early-round games — the League Divisional Series — from Fox. Read More »
Michael Wright, EVP and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, has been promoted to President, Head of Programming. In his new position, Wright will continue to oversee all programming and scheduling for TNT and TBS, original programming for TCM and original content for all three networks’ digital extensions. He is based in Los Angeles and reports to Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. During his 10 years at Turner, Wright has overseen the development of hit TNT series The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles and TBS’ off-network acquisition of The Big Bang Theory. He was also part of the team that recruited Conan O’Brien for a late-night show on TBS. TNT and TBS are launching four and three new series this year, respectively, as both networks are shifting form premiering originals only in the summer and winter to a year-round model. Wright, who joined TNT in 2002, was named SVP of original programming for the network in 2004. His duties expanded to include TBS in 2005 and TCM in 2007. Prior to joining Turner, Wright served as VP of movies and miniseries for CBS Prods. and CBS Entertainment.
The NBA’s locked-out players rejected the league’s latest offer for a new collective bargaining agreement today, with union executive director Billy Hunter calling the proposed deal “extremely unfair.” He said the players’ association is beginning the process of disbanding the union — the first step in filing an antitrust action against the league and sending the whole mess to the courts. It’s the same tactic the NFL’s players used during their lockout over the summer, but this time the move could jeopardize the entire NBA season; already, the league had cut 10 games from the normal season in a revised schedule as the two sides remain far apart in contract talks. It would mean a big hit on ad revenue for ABC/ESPN, TNT/Turner and regional sports networks that hold lucrative TV rights to games. Commissioner David Stern had called the latest labor offer the league’s best, proposing a 50-50 split in revenue between players and owners. He said the next offer on the table will be much less favorable: a 53-47 split in favor of the league.
It’s not good news for ABC/ESPN and Turner, who own the lucrative national TV broadcast rights to the league’s games and reaps millions in advertising — even more of late as NBA ratings have grown during the past few years. And it’s no picnic for teams, who have been slashing staff in anticipation. Despite plenty of bargaining sessions during the past few days, little progress has been made on a new labor contract, and there seems to be no common ground on which to build. If the owners’ lockout holds, expect a lot of college basketball and football to fill in the programming gaps. Here’s the release that the league just put out:
NEW YORK — The NBA announced today that it has canceled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 regular season because a new collective bargaining agreement has not been reached with the National Basketball Players Association. This cancellation includes all games originally scheduled to be played through November 14.
“Despite extensive efforts, we have not been able to reach a new agreement with the players’ union that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship while fairly compensating our players,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said.
Refunds plus interest are available for all NBA season-ticket holders for all preseason and regular-season games that are canceled.