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NBC Poised To Make Scheduling Changes

Nellie Andreeva

NBC Unveils Midseason Schedule, Moves ‘Whitney’, ‘Up All Night’, ‘Rock Center’ & ‘Harry’s Law’

I hear that NBC is about to make some scheduling moves. The network is keeping mum, but there is speculation that rookie comedies Up All Night and Whitney, both with full-season orders, may be swapping places. Up All Night is getting murdered in the Wednesday 8 PM slot, so it will probably benefit from a protected run behind The Office. It also is single-camera and has a workplace element like the rest of NBC’s Thursday’s lineup. Up All Night will likely move to the Thursday 9:30 PM spot, but Whitney may be a bit too racy for the Wednesday family hour. Also possibly on the move is NBC’s new fairytale drama Grimm, which started off strong in the Friday 9 PM slot but has been slipping since. While the series’ long-term potential is still unclear, given the dearth of strong prospects at NBC this fall — especially on the drama side — the network probably should give the newbie a shot. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Ends Fall Run With A Bang, ‘Big Bang’ Tops Night

Nellie Andreeva

ABC’s veteran medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (4.0/10 in adults 18-49) had its fall finale last night. The series ended on a high note – Grey‘s was up 14% from its fast national rating last week. Private Practice (2.9/8), which is heading into its two-hour fall finale next week, was up 12%. On a low note, ABC’s canceled drama Charlie’s Angels (1.1/3) at 8 PM was down a tenth to a series low in its final airing. It dragged down ABC’s nightly average, so the network (2.7/7, 8 million) finished third in both 18-49 and total viewers.

CBS aired a new The Big Bang Theory (5.2/15, 15.7 million) and Rules Of Engagement (3.6/9), followed by drama reruns of Person Of Interest (2.0/5) and The Mentalist (1.9/5). For a third straight week, Big Bang went up in the fast nationals vs. the previous Thursday. The last two times, the comedy posted a new Thursday high in 18-49 and may again tie or surpass its current Thursday best (5.4) when the Live+Same Day ratings are released this afternoon. Big Bang once again topped the night in both 18-49 and total viewers. Rules was down a tenth from last week. CBS (2.8/7, 10.9 million) topped the night in viewers and finished second in 18-49 to Fox.

The second results edition of Fox’s The X Factor (3.3/9) was down 8% from last week. Bones (2.7/7) was down 18% from its season premiere last week. Fox (3.0/8, 9.5 million) still won the night in the demo. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: CBS, NBC Comedies Rebound, ‘Bones’ Debuts, ‘Big Bang’ Rocks

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 2 PM: Big boost in the finals for Big Bang, which indeed posted a new 18-49 Thursday with a 5.4 rating, up from 5.1 in the fast nationals. Going up a tenth are ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, NBC’s The Office and Parks & Recreation, Fox’s The X Factor and the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, which hit a season high.

PREVIOUS: All series that were pushed down by Game 6 of the World Series last Thursday bounced back last night. CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (5.1/15 in adults 18-49, 15.5 million) was up 13% from its fast national 18-49 rating last week. The hot comedy posted a new Thursday high in total viewers and will do the same in adults 18-49 when the finals are released later today. (It currently runs tied with the Thursday demo high it logged just two weeks ago but will be adjusted up as it always does.) Big Bang once again ranked as the highest-rated program of the night in 18-49 and total viewers. Rules Of Engagement (3.7/10, up 12%, 11.9 million) also posted new Thursday highs in total viewers and 18-49. Person Of Interest (2.7/7, 11.7 million) was flat, while The Mentalist (2.9/8, up 16%, 13.6 million) hit a season high in 18-49 and drew its largest audience since the season premiere.

Fox’s The X Factor (3.6/10, 11.3 million) aired its first-ever result show, which also was the series’ first hourlong edition. For those reasons, there is no apples-to-apples comparison to previous episodes, but X Factor grew nicely half-hour to half-hour, from a 3.3 to a 4.0 in the demo. At 9 PM, Bones opened its seventh season with a 3.3/8 in adults 18-49 and 10 million viewers. In 18-49 that was up 22% from the show’s debut last season, but this year Bones had a lofty X Factor lead-in vs. being a self-starter at 8 PM last year. Additionally, there was a significant half-hour-to-half-hour drop-off, from a 3.5 to a 3.1, which you don’t want to see in a 9 PM drama. Still, Fox (3.4/9, 10.6 million) edged CBS (3.3/9, 12.9 million) for the top spot in 18-49 to post a seventh consecutive Thursday demo win this season. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: Epic Game 6 Boosts Fox, ‘Prime Suspect’ Hits Low

Nellie Andreeva

After a lousy ALCS championship series and a slow start to the World Series, Fox got cooking last night with a thrilling 11-inning Game 6, which forced a rare World Series Game 7 (we hadn’t had one in nine years). It’s a dream come true for Fox executives and a nightmare for NBC ones whose Friday premieres of Grimm and Chuck tonight will have to face that game. (CBS has opted to sub its originals with repeats at the last minute.) The big game last night, which will propel Fox to an easy nightly win in 18-49 and total viewers when time-adjusted ratings are released, impacted the competition in a typical pattern, pushing down male-skewing shows like CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and Person Of Interest and NBC’s Community and The Office, while boosting female-oriented series such as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, NBC’s Whitney and the CW’s The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle.

Maybe ABC should’ve tried a Charlie’s Angels series with Charlie Brown as the boss. Last night, a rerun of the 45-year-old cartoon It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at 8 PM drew a 2.3/6 among 18-49, which was higher than any episode of the canceled Charlie’s Angels in the slot. Vs. last year, the Charlie Brown animated special was up 5%. Grey’s Anatomy (3.7/9) was up 3% from last week, and Private Practice up 4%. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Happy Endings’ & ‘Revenge’ Rise, ‘Up All Night’ & ‘CSI’ Slip

Nellie Andreeva

With baseball games on Fox and TBS, the other broadcast networks faced rather atypical competition but survived mostly unscathed. Most series were flat or very close to their levels from last week, with four exceptions. On the plus side, ABC’s sophomore Happy Endings (3.3/8 in adults 18-49), which featured Megan Mullally as a guest star, grew 14% from its fast national number last week, while its lead-in, Modern Family, was virtually unchanged. ABC’s gains carried over to the 10 PM hour where Revenge (2.7/7, 7.9 million viewers) was up 8% from its 18-49 fast national last week. (Both series were adjusted in the finals.) In the negative column, NBC’s rookie Up All Night (2.0/6) was down 9% from last week’s fast national, while CBS’ veteran CSI (2.6/7, 10.8 million) was down 10% to a season low and slipped to second place in the 10 PM hour among 18-49 behind ABC’s Revenge. CSI still topped the time period in total viewers.

Also noteworthy last night — both repeats of freshman series slated in the wake of last week’s cancellations did better than the shows they replaced: NBC’s Whitney (1.3 vs. 1.0 for Free Agents last week) and Ringer (0.4 in 18-34 and 18-49, up 33% in 18-34 and flat in 18-49; 1.2 million viewers, up 9%). Here are the numbers for the rest of the rest of the series. Read More »

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Comedy Genre Completes Comeback With Dominating Fall Showing, Dramas Falter

By | Sunday October 9, 2011 @ 11:35pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It turns out Modern Family was the Robin that signaled the comedy spring at the broadcast networks. Two years after the Emmy-winning ABC series became the first out-of-the-gate big comedy hit in years, the genre’s comeback is complete, while dramas appear headed for a down cycle. Here are the facts:

Four new series have been given full-season orders so far this fall — all of them comedies: Fox’s New Girl, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and NBC’s Up All Night and Whitney. For the first time in a long time, there has been no breakout new drama 3 weeks into the season, and no hourlong freshman series has been given a back-nine order. What’s more, two of the four renewed new comedies, New Girl and 2 Broke Girls, have become rare instant hits. In comparison, it took CBS’ The Big Bang Theory a couple of seasons to find its footing and rose to a hit status after being put behind Two And A Half Men in its third season. And CBS’ How I Met Your Mother just found a new gear with series highs in its seventh season.

With many veteran dramas fading, comedies dominate the fall schedule, especially in the key adults 18-49 demographic. A comedy series has been the top entertainment program in 18-49 on every night that features comedies during … Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Dives, ‘Suspect’ Steady, ‘Office’, ‘Grey’s’ Hit Low

Nellie Andreeva

Fox got some really bad news last night when the Yankees get eliminated from the playoffs, leaving the network’s post-season baseball coverage without its 2 biggest draws – the Yankees and the Red Sox, which bowed out a week ago. Softening the blow was the fact that the network won its third Thursday in a row among adults 18-49 with The X Factor (3.8/10), which still refuses to grow but has been extremely persistent in its ratings performance. The reality series matched its fast national rating from last week, just as it did on Wednesday. (X Factor always gets adjusted up in the ratings.) Keeping steady was actually a major accomplishment last night as the big Yankees-Tigers game on TBS pushed most broadcast series down.

There were only 2 other series not to drop week-to-week last night and one of them was a show that needed good news — NBC’s Prime Suspect (1.5/4), which matched its performance last week even as its lead-in, Whitney (2.3/6) was down 8%. Prime Suspect is the only new NBC series whose fate is undecided but the network’s brass are rallying behind it, and its hold last night is encouraging thought it needs to eventually grow to earn a pickup. That could happen next week when the network will start airing reruns of the show in the Monday 10 PM slot vacated by cancelled Playboy Club to give the crime drama starring Maria Bello additional sampling. Prime Suspect was not the lowest-rated NBC series on Thursday this time – it was tied with Community (1.5/5), which was down 17%. Parks & Recreation (1.9/5) was down 10%, while The Office (3.1/8) was down 11% to log its lowest-rated episode in 6-and-a-half years, since the finale of its poorly rated 6-episode first season in the spring of 2005. While baseball was a factor, it is still disconcerting for the veteran comedy to drop so much as it raises concerns about the show’s viability without star Steve Carell. Read More »

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NBC Cancels New Comedy ‘Free Agents’

By | Thursday October 6, 2011 @ 9:51am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 11:30 AM: NBC has made it official: Starting next week, repeats of Whitney will air in the Wednesday 8:30 PM slot vacated by Free Agents.

PREVIOUS: The inevitable happened this morning after another poor showing from NBC’s freshman comedy. Free Agents averaged a paltry 1.0 rating in 18-49 and 3.3 million viewers last night. The underperforming new comedy got a stay of execution last week, when it also posted a 1.0 demo rating, for one more shot at improving — but that didn’t happen. There is no final decision yet what NBC will put in the Wednesday 8:30 PM slot, but reruns of new comedy Whitney are a strong possibility. NBC’s boss Bob Greenblatt earlier this week replaced canceled The Playboy Club with repeats of new drama Prime Suspect for additional sampling. I won’t be surprised if Whitney eventually migrates to Wednesday with originals while 30 Rock rejoins NBC’s Thursday lineup. Production on Free Agents was stopped right away. As one commenter noted, “They canceled the show in the middle of an episode and in the middle of a work day. Actors were just called to not come to set today. Harsh.” Based on the British series of the same name, Free Agents starred Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn as co-workers who start sleeping together. Azaria started the season with two series on the air, Free Agents and The Simpsons. With Free Agents just cancelled … Read More »

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NBC Cancels ‘Playboy Club’, Gives Full-Season Orders To ‘Up All Night’ & ‘Whitney’

Nellie Andreeva

Second Time No Charm For ‘Playboy Club’ ‘Charlie’s Angels’ & ‘Prime Suspect’: What Went Wrong?
UPDATED: NBC is giving new comedy series Up All Night and Whitney a major vote of confidence with early full-season pickups. Meanwhile, as we indicated in the ratings story earlier this morning, low-rated new drama The Playboy Club has become the first new series to be canceled this fall. The 1960s drama is being pulled from the schedule effective immediately and will be replaced by Brian Williams’ new primetime newsmagazine, Rock Center With Brian Williams, which will premiere October 31. For the next three weeks, NBC will air repeats of its other struggling new drama, the well-received Prime Suspect, in the Monday 10 PM hour for additional sampling, while keeping originals on Thursday. “We made comedy an important goal for us this season and I’m very pleased to be making full-season commitments to both Whitney and Up All Night,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “We’re thrilled with the creative direction of both shows as well as the potential for them to continue to build loyal audiences over the coming months.”

While not breakout hits of the size of Fox’s New Girl or CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, Up All Night and Whitney have been solid in their first couple of weeks, especially compared to the performance of NBC’s new drama series. The pickup of Whitney, which will be joined shortly by a full-season order for 2 Broke Girls at CBS, will give Whitney Cummings, who created and stars in Whitney and co-created 2 Broke Girls, two successful new shows this fall.  As for Playboy, the series was expected to get the ax last week after its low-rated premiere was followed by a Week 2 decline, but Greenblatt gave the period drama another shot. Unfortunately, the series dropped again last night to a 1.2 demo rating despite its lead-in actually improving a bit. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Gentleman’ Debuts Low, ‘Angels’, ‘Whitney’ & ‘Suspect’ Drop

Nellie Andreeva

NBC’s Bob Greenblatt Not Rushing To Cancel Low-Rated ‘Playboy Club’ Or ‘Free Agents’

CBS’ decision to put two unproven new series back-to-back on lucrative Thursday night — comedy How To Be A Gentleman and drama Person Of Interest — was quite a gamble for a risk-averse network like CBS. And now, the tandem starts to spell trouble for the network in their first airing together. In its premiere, How To Be A Gentleman (2.7/8) was down 33% from the debut of the now-defunct $#*! My Dad Says in the 8:30 PM slot last year but still did better than anything but X Factor in the half-hour. Gentleman dragged down Person Of Interest (2.7/7, 12.4 million), which slid a modest 13% from its premiere last week directly behind The Big Bang Theory. The ripple effect continued with The Mentalist (2.5/7, 12.7 million), down 11%. The only good news for CBS last night came at 8 PM, where Big Bang (4.8/15, 14.5 million) matched the fast national 18-49 rating for its season premiere last week and was once again the top program of the night in viewers and the 18-49 demo. CBS (3.0/8, 12.3 million) was No. 1 for the night in total viewers and second in 18-49.

How quickly they fall. After a disappointing start last week, ABC’s Charlie’s Angels (1.5/4) took a 29% dive in Week 2 and is facing likely early cancellation. Grey’s Anatomy (3.5/9) was down 15% from its two-hour opener last week. At 10 PM, Private Practice launched its fifth season with a 2.8/8, down 15% from last season’s debut and its lowest-rated premiere ever, but it still won the 10 PM hour in 18-49. ABC (2.6/7, 8.4 million) finished third for the night in viewers and 18-49. Read More »

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PREMIERE WEEK: Comedies In Comeback, Dramas Mixed While NBC & CW Struggle

Nellie Andreeva

As network executives break out the “I Survived Premiere Week” T-shirts, they are probably relieved as most nets have something to brag about. Overall, the comedy genre’s comeback was in full force: Half-hour series had a big showing, claiming the top six highest-rated non-sports programs of premiere week among adults 18-49, including rookies 2 Broke Girls (7.1/16 in Live+Same Day) and New Girl (4.8/12) and returning Two and a Half Men (10.7/25), Modern Family (average of 6.1/16 for two episodes), How I Met Your Mother (5.0/13) and The Big Bang Theory (5.0/15). (Additionally, Modern Family, HIMYM and The Middle were all up double-digits from last fall’s premieres, while Big Bang was essentially flat). For comparison, the highest-rated drama series last week was veteran NCIS (4.3/12) and the highest-rated reality series was the X Factor premiere (4.4/12).

Comedies also stood out among the crop of new series, with two potential breakout hits, Fox’s New Girl and CBS’ 2 Broke Girls; two promising new entries, NBC’s Whitney (3.3/8) and Up All Night (2.4/7); and only one dud, NBC’s Free Agents (1.3/4). In contrast, there were no drama breakouts this past week, with four solid openers — ABC’s Revenge (3.3/9) and Pan Am (3.1/8) and CBS’ Person of Interest (3.1/8) and Unforgettable (2.9/8) — and three disappointments in NBC’s The Playboy Club (1.6/4) and Prime Suspect (1.8/5) and ABC’s Charlie’s Angels (2.1/6). Read More »

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NBC To Stream ‘Up All Night’ And ‘Whitney’ Episodes On Yahoo Before Original Airings

By | Monday September 26, 2011 @ 5:57pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It worked big time for the premiere of Fox’s comedy New Girl, and NBC will now stream the second episodes of its promising new comedies Up All Night and Whitney in their entirety before they air. NBC has struck a deal with Yahoo to have the Wednesday episode of Up All Night and the Thursday episode of Whitney streamed and promoted on Yahoo’s site starting tomorrow morning. Following a 2-week stint of having the pilot of New Girl pilot available on iTunes, VOD, airplanes, Hulu and in hotels, the Fox comedy blew past any ratings projections to open with a 4.8/12 in adults 18-49 and 10.3 million viewers last week. The Yahoo deal does not include NBC’s third new comedy, Free Agents, which appears headed to a quick cancellation.

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Big Bang’ Tops, ‘Angels’ & ‘Prime Suspect’ Soft, ‘X Factor’ Holds

Nellie Andreeva

Last night’s ratings continued the trend this premiere week of new comedies on average opening stronger than the dramas. Two more high-profile new dramas, ABC’s Charlie’s Angels and NBC’s Prime Suspect, had lackluster openings, while NBC’s comedy Whitney was promising. CBS’ Person of Interest was solid (as has been every series — new or returning — on CBS this week), but at first blush it looks more like The Mentalist than the series it replaced, CSI, in terms of breakout potential. Here is the rundown network-by-network.

ABC’s Charlie’s Angels reboot (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.7 million) got off to a slow start given its pre-sold title. (Last fall, CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 reboot premiered with a 3.9 demo rating.) Still, Charlie’s Angels was up 31% from last fall’s debut in the slot of My Generation, which was canceled a couple of weeks later. Despite a slightly better lead-in this year, Grey’s Anatomy‘s (4.1/10) two-hour premiere was down 24% from last season’s hourlong opener (which too was down 21% year-to-year) to log the veteran medical drama’s lowest-rated season premiere. ABC (3.4/9, 9.8 million) was third for the night in demo and viewers.

CBS opened big with two back-to-back episodes of The Big Bang Theory, which drew a 4.8/15 — down a fraction (2%) from Big Bang‘s Thursday debut last fall — and 14.1 million viewers at 8 PM and a 5.0/14 and 14.7 million at 8:30 PM. Big Bang was the top program of the night by a wide margin in both 18-49 and total viewers. Person of Interest (3.1/8, 13.2 million) was down 9% in the demo from last fall’s premiere of veteran CSI in the Thursday 9 PM hour. The Mentalist (2.8/7, 13.4 million) was down 18% from last season’s opener. CBS (3.6/10, 13.4 million) finished No. 2 in 18-49 and first in viewers. Read More »

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Jane Kaczmarek Joins New NBC Comedy Series ‘Whitney’

By | Thursday August 11, 2011 @ 11:13am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Former Malcolm In the Middle star Jane Kaczmarek has joined the cast of NBC’s upcoming comedy series Whitney as a recurring. Created by Whitney Cummings, the multicamera comedy revolves around Whitney (Cummings) and Alex (Chris D’Elia), a happily unmarried couple. Kaczmarek will play Whitney’s outspoken mom who has been married several times. Beverly D’Angelo played the role in the pilot, and those scenes will now be reshot. Whitney premieres Sept. 22 in the plum post-Office Thursday slot. Kaczmarek, repped by ICM and Greenlight Management, earned seven consecutive lead comedy actress Emmy nominations for her role on Malcolm. After a drama stint on TNT’s Raising the Bar, she recently returned to comedy with a guest spot on last week’s episode of FX’s new irreverent comedy Wilfred.

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TCA: NBC’s ‘It’ Girl Whitney Cummings On The Appeal Of Multicamera Sitcom Genre

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.

Whitney Cummings, the actress-comedian who was introduced by NBC programming honcho Bob Greenblatt as the ‘It’ Girl circa 2011, met the press at TCA this afternoon, fresh from a wildly overachieving upfront season that’s poised to take her from relative obscurity to double-threat superstardom virtually overnight. Cummings was on hand to hype her new self-titled comedy Whitney that she created and executive produces as well as stars in. But another series she co-created with Sex and the City guru Michael Patrick King, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, also got picked up after having been the network’s best-testing pilot ever. Oh, and her new four-camera sitcom also has the prime placement on NBC Thursday nights at 9:30 coming out of The Office. All in all, not too shabby for a standup comedian and actress whose biggest previous credits were on MTV’s Punk’d and hanging out late nights with Chelsea Handler on E! Read More »

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Final Thoughts On The Broadcast Upfronts: Wind Of Change

Nellie Andreeva

Exactly 20 years ago, German rock band Scorpions released Wind of Change, which became an anthem for our generation of young Eastern Europeans going through a dramatic political change: the fall of communism. Coming back from the broadcast upfront presentations in New York last week, I’ve been having a hard time getting the catchy tune out of my head. While less far-reaching and profound, there is a clear sense of changing of the guard and a new direction for the broadcast networks this year. I can’t remember a time where the majority of the networks had new heads at their upfront presentations. Paul Lee took over for Steve McPherson at ABC, Bob Greenblatt for Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad at NBC, and Mark Pedowitz is succeeding Dawn Ostroff at the CW. There is a similar changing of the guard among the top TV producers this year. Upstart Chernin Entertainment and DreamWorks TV, which is re-entering the broadcast arena, topped the pods with the most new series, three each, with another recently launched company, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, scoring two new shows. And in its first season, Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods.got one pilot, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, picked up to pilot, with another, Fox’s Family Album, in serious contention. Meanwhile, such longtime upfront fixtures as Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Mark Gordon Co. and Wonderland didn’t land any new series for next season. Read More »

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The Return Of TV’s Multicamera Comedies

Nellie Andreeva

After getting to the brink of extinction on ABC, NBC and Fox last year, multicamera comedies staged a comeback this upfront season. While the genre has been alive and well on CBS, the number of multicamera comedies on the other broadcast networks had steadily declined in the past few years to three during the 2009-10 season — the short-lived ABC’s Hank, Fox’s Brothers and NBC’s 100 Questions, which didn’t even air in-season — then to only one this season, ABC’s Better with You, which also has been canceled. But sitcoms rebounded this year, with ABC, Fox and NBC ordering a total of five multicamera comedies: NBC’s Whitney and  Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, ABC’s Last Man Standing and Work It and Fox’s I Hate My Teenage Daughter. Three of them, Last Men Standing, Whitney and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, are on the fall schedule in key slots — Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing is launching a new comedy block for ABC on Tuesday, while Whitney and Teenage Daughter landed their networks’ cushiest time periods: after The Office and The X Factor, respectively. Read More »

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TV’s Sexual Revolution: Female-Driven Series Dominating Early Orders

Nellie Andreeva

How many new comedy series with a female lead were picked up last May? Zero. How many have been picked up so far this season? Every single one. All four new comedy series ordered so far by Fox and NBC this season have female leads. That is how many the four broadcast networks combined have on the air this season: NBC’s 30 Rock starring Tina Fey and Parks and Recreation starring Amy Poehler, and ABC’s The Middle starring Patricia Heaton and Cougar Town starring Courteney Cox. Half of those were created by women. All four of the newly picked series come from female creators. While not at 100%, female-centered series are also dominant on the drama side. One of the two new Fox dramas, Alcatraz, has a female lead, Sarah Jones, and was co-written by a female writer, Liz Sarnoff. Of the two NBC drama pickups, one is the female-centered Prime Suspect starring Maria Bello and written by Alexandra Cunningham and the other the female-skewing Smash, which has two leads, one played by Debra Messing. And the two locks at ABC are all about ladies (though penned by male writers), Charlie’s Angels and Good Christian Bitches.

The four newly picked up half-hour series will probably be joined by 3-4 more for a complete domination of the freshman comedy class of 2011 the way ensemble relationship comedies were all the craze last year. What’s more, it looks like as many as three new comedy series are two-female lead shows. Read More »

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UPDATE: NBC Picks Up Whitney Cummings & Emily Spivey Pilots, ‘Smash’ & ‘Prime Suspect’

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 5:30 PM: And we’re done. Word is that NBC won’t be making more series pickups beyond the four shows from in-house studio UMS, thus prolonging the agony of producers awaiting word on the fate of their pilots until tomorrow. Also, I hear that the UMS-produced pilots that didn’t get a nod today are not necessarily dead, with dramas Grimm and Reconstruction said to be alive, and possibly comedies Bent, Parham/St. Clair and Dan Goor.

UPDATE 5:20 PM: The Emily Spivey comedy, starring Christina Applegate as a professional woman and new mom, is now officially a go as a series order with a new name, Up All Night.

PREVIOUS 4:55 PM: NBC opened its own pickup season today with a series order to the untitled Whitney Cummings comedy pilot, now titled Whitney, a romantic comedy created by and starring the racy comedienne; the Broadway-themed Smash, exec produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Debra Messing; and Prime Suspect, a Maria Bello-starring adaptation of the classic British series. A pickup of the untitled Emily Spivey comedy starring Christina Applegate is also said to be under way. It seems like NBC is starting off by ordering the projects from its own studios (all four pilots above are from UMS) before moving onto outside suppliers, such as 20th TV, which has hot dramas REM and The Playboy Club as well as Metro, which is also in contention, and Warner Bros, which has the Chelsea Handler comedy in contention, while its Wonder Woman appears doubtful and Mann’s World highly unlikely at the moment. Read More »

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