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fredfa's Avatar fredfa 08:36 AM 05-30-2007
TV Notebook
House gets a dose of staff shake-ups for next season
By Peter Johnson USA TODAY

For three seasons on Fox's hit drama House, three resident fellows have been working under the predictably unpredictable Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) as they try to diagnose medical problems that threaten the lives of patients at a fictional hospital in Princeton, N.J.

The relationships have struck a chord with viewers: A top 5 show among young adults, House averaged 19 million viewers this season, up 14%.

But at some point, viewers are bound to ask, " 'How long can that stay the same? How long can someone work for House and not change themselves?' " executive producer Katie Jacobs says.

Tuesday's delayed season-finale cliffhanger shook things up and "address what has been the cumulative experience and how has that impacted each of them," Jacobs says. "Next season will be different. We're not saying who is coming back and who is not, just that it'll look very different."

In the final episodene resident, Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps), whose future has been in doubt the past few episodes, does leave the hospital but it doesn't necessarily mean he's gone. House fired Dr. Chase (Jesse Spencer) and in the closing moments Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) handed House her resignation.

It's all news to Lisa Edelstein, who plays House's boss, hospital administrator Lisa Cuddy. Cuddy offered Foreman his own team to keep him from leaving Princeton and taking a post at a New York hospital. "They don't tell me anything," Edelstein says with a laugh. "Hopefully, I'm coming back."

This season, it was revealed that House and Cuddy, whose saucy cat-and-mouse relationship continues to play out, had a one-night stand.

Producers are talking about plotlines for the fourth season that will deal more with their mutual attraction, Jacobs says. "I can't see them pairing them in a permanent fashion. But they are close; they have gone through a lot together. Might there be a moment of weakness in which the two might explore their chemistry? Maybe."

Says Edelstein: "I would love for them to have a relationship, because it could be as complicated as the rest of their relationship is. But I don't know how it would affect the dynamics of the show."

The first half of this season dealt with House's addiction to the painkiller Vicodin, which he takes for chronic leg pain, by having him tracked by a detective and ending up in drug treatment. He still pops pills in every episode, yet Jacobs says she believes questions about his drug use and abuse have been put to rest.

She says: "He actually operates at his best while taking care of the pain in his leg. You could argue that he functions at a higher level while taking care of the very real pain he is suffering. It is not made up, and hopefully we've dealt with both sides of that issue."

But Edelstein doubts his drug use will ever entirely be put to rest. "It colors so much of his experience, and it is so complicated. He really needs the drugs, and he really is abusing them, and he really uses them as an emotional crutch. So until he stops, will he even be capable of any kind of relationship or true friendship? Possibly not."

Jacobs views House as a crime drama in which the suspects are diseases. "It's a procedural show with characters. I'm hoping that the audience is as engaged with what's going on with our people inside our hospital as they are with the mystery diseases of the week."

She says that in real life, doctors often cure patients by trial and error, "eliminating certain possibilities. It's not as unusual as people think."

Edelstein says viewers can "receive the show on whatever level they are capable of receiving it. It's great for kids because it's funny, obnoxious and gross, and great for their parents because it's smart."

fredfa's Avatar fredfa 08:55 AM 05-30-2007
TV Notebook
NBC tags a duo to revive its primetime
Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff are appointed co-chairman
By Toni Fitzgerald staff writer Wednesday, May 30, 2007

To replace ousted NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly, NBC yesterday turned to both an insider and an outsider to help pull the network out of fourth place.

Reveille Productions head Ben Silverman and NBC Universal Television West Coast president Marc Graboff were named co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment and of the NBC Universal Television Studio, days after word leaked that NBC was giving Reilly the boot.

Though nominally both men will be responsible for NBC's daytime, late-night and most importantly, primetime schedule, Silverman will deal with the creative side while Graboff will handle the business side.

Reilly did not have oversight of the TV studio, which has produced hits like House for other networks. Now, however, NUTS will primarily focus on providing NBC with programming.

The shakeup came two weeks to the day after Reilly introduced NBC's new fall schedule to advertisers, who were not pleased with his conservative approach and sci fi-focused new programs.

Though NBC Universal president Jeff Zucker, whose frosty relationship with Reilly was well known, insisted yesterday that no changes were planned to the fall schedule, there will likely be a few tweaks, perhaps on oft-criticized and long-sliding Thursday night.

There's not enough time for a major overhaul, with the upfront expected to break soon and just over three months before the new season. The real test for the newly hired duo will be what midseason changes they make, including new programs, and what they do next year.

NBC is desperate to crawl out of the basement after three yeas of finishing last among adults 18-49, following years in which it owned that demographic with hits like Seinfeld, Friends and ER.

But during Zucker's tenure as entertainment president, the network failed to find worthy successors to those programs, and its ratings have slumped despite airing critical hits such as The Office, My Name is Earl and Friday Night Lights.

Now Silverman and Graboff must maintain NBC's reputation for such quality programming while continuing to attract upscale viewers and improving ratings.

The two come from very different backgrounds. Silverman is a former William Morris agent turned reality show producer who has brought a number of international hits to the U.S.

His reality successes include USA Network's Nashville Star and NBC's The Restaurant, but he may be best known for Reveille's smart repurposing of foreign shows.

Reveille's Ugly Betty and The Office, two of the most lauded new comedies on broadcast the past few years, were acquired from abroad. Silverman also helped launch Who Wants to be a Millionaire, based on the British game show, which became a huge hit for ABC nearly a decade ago.

Silverman, who has long admired former NBC president Brandon Tartikoff, pioneered the now-common product placements in reality shows several years ago with Restaurant.

He's also been named one of People magazine's most eligible bachelors.

Meanwhile, Graboff is a lawyer who's close with Zucker and has been with the network since 1997. He was a CBS vice president prior to that, dealing mainly with business. He also was a partner at two Los Angeles law firms before entering television.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 08:59 AM 05-30-2007
TV Notebook
NBC, in Shake-Up, Names Outsider to a Top Position
By Bill Carter The New York Times May 30, 2007

NBC Universal shook up its entertainment operations yesterday, hiring one of the hottest young production talents in television, Ben Silverman, as a co-chairman of both the entertainment division and its television studio.

He will share that title with Marc Graboff, giving them control over NBC's entertainment business in California. Mr. Graboff has been president of NBC Universal Television since February.

At the same time NBC announced the departure of Kevin Reilly, the president for entertainment, who had been the chief programmer for the NBC network. Only three months ago, Mr. Reilly signed a three-year contract to remain as head of the network's entertainment division.

Yesterday's announcements, which had been expected, were the culmination of an intense weekend of negotiations as Jeff Zucker, the chief executive of NBC Universal, put together an offer to hire Mr. Silverman, who has been among the most successful suppliers of programs to NBC Universal over the last three years through his company, Reveille.

NBC has held an interest in the company and it announced yesterday that it had extended its deal with Reveille for two years but not acquired the company outright. In a telephone interview, Mr. Zucker said, We never contemplated buying Ben's company, and Mr. Silverman said, I didn't want to sell it.

Instead, Mr. Silverman said he would appoint an executive to run the company, and while he would retain an interest, it would not benefit from any program decisions he made for NBC. Mr. Graboff compared the arrangement to a blind trust.

For much of the last decade, Mr. Silverman, 36, has pushed deals that helped reshape the content of television programs. As an agent for the William Morris Agency in London, he was in the middle of transactions that brought reality shows to American networks, including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Survivor.

As an independent producer, he was active in buying format rights to foreign shows and turning them into American series, with The Office on NBC and Ugly Betty on ABC. He developed reality series for network and cable channels, including The Biggest Loser for NBC and Nashville Star for the USA network.

Mr. Silverman has aggressively sought to bring advertisers into program development and has deals in place with Microsoft's MSN site to offer sponsored short video series on the Internet.

Mr. Zucker said the deal to secure Mr. Silverman's services had been put together hurriedly in the last 7 to 10 days, largely because Mr. Silverman and his company were in play at other media outlets. Though he did not specify who else might be interested in hiring Mr. Silverman, two executives who were involved in NBC's negotiations said two other media companies had initiated contact with Mr. Silverman.

I knew if I wanted this to happen, I had to act now, Mr. Zucker said, adding that he had for years considered Mr. Silverman an ideal candidate for a top-level entertainment job with NBC. I always thought this was something that Ben was born to do, he said.

Mr. Silverman said he grew up as a latchkey kid in New York watching NBC programs, and this made his new post a dream job for me. He said he intended to continue pursuing program ideas all over the world.

The overall plan for the Silverman-Graboff team, Mr. Zucker said, is to redefine our programming, our relationship with advertisers and our ongoing commitment to the new digital frontier.

NBC said Mr. Silverman and Mr. Graboff would share responsibility for the network's prime-time, late-night and daytime programs, and would supervise the entertainment division's digital programming. They are also responsible for managing the network's and the studio's marketing and financial strategies.

Mr. Graboff said the division of responsibilities would flow naturally, with me handling most of the business and administrative side, and Ben handling the creative side.

Mr. Silverman's first assignment may be to shore up NBC's prime-time programs because it has the least successful lineup of programs among the broadcast networks, and Mr. Zucker has emphasized that owning the most popular content is the chief goal of the company.

Mr. Zucker hired Mr. Reilly four years ago to lead a comeback in NBC's prime-time fortunes. Mr. Reilly brought several successes to NBC, including the drama Heroes this year, and was highly regarded for his taste in programs.

But the network, which has had to cut costs as a result of revenue shortfalls, continues to suffer from a shortage of the kind of hits it needs to turn around four years of negative momentum.

Mr. Reilly often expressed frustration at not being able to produce as many projects as other network entertainment chiefs did. NBC executives said they had not tied Mr. Reilly's hands over money.

Mr. Zucker said in a telephone news conference yesterday that the prospect of having Mr. Reilly continue under Mr. Silverman had not been discussed. Kevin made a decision that it was time for him to move on, he said. He declared that Mr. Reilly had added a number of quality programs to the network and that they would be his legacy to NBC.

Mr. Zucker said no changes were contemplated in the prime-time schedule that Mr. Reilly announced this month. He added that advertisers had expressed enthusiasm about the new shows.

Though Mr. Silverman is getting a different job and title, Mr. Reilly sought to step away from NBC after it became clear that Mr. Zucker was wooing Mr. Silverman. NBC is expected to announce other changes in its entertainment division, with another executive assuming other duties of Mr. Reilly's in the next few days.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 08:59 AM 05-30-2007
Wow, is it 100 pages already? It seems like yesterday when our million plus viewed 'HoTP' thread was needlessly killed. How time flies when Zucker and his cronies continually screw-up their own TV network for our continued amusement.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:02 AM 05-30-2007
I'vre got my CP set at 60 posts a page -- keeps the number lower.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:40 AM 05-30-2007
The 2006-2007 Season
Your Vote (Still) Counts
(And So Do Votes of Your Family Members)

If you haved been puzzled about all these posts of three TV shows, here is the deal:

It isagain time for you to vote on what you think are the best programs on prime time network TV.

Just network TV, no cable, no premium, just the networks. (We'll look at cable/premium later in the year, after the summer season.)

To prod your memory, a list of the eligible shows is here:

The rules are simple. List your three favorite network TV shows, in order. No explanations, no comments about how you wish cable was included, no comments on your ballot at all. Just the three shows in order.

You may cast a separate ballot for your wife, husband, significant other and each child 12 years or older.

The polls will be open for a a few more days, and I'll probably announce your favorites about the time the Television Critics Association announces its award nominations.

As usual, feel free to cast your ballot here, or send me a PM. All will be counted.

If you want to see last season's mid-year poll results -released last December 3, go here:

As for your comments, feel free to post away. Just send them in a separate posting from your ballot.

Again, it is not too late -- the polling booth remains open.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:47 AM 05-30-2007
TV Notebook
NBC, Ceasefire
By Peter Lauria New York Post May 30, 2007

Ben Silverman's first order of business in saving NBC's primetime lineup is developing a better working relationship with CEO Jeff Zucker than Kevin Reilly, the person he's replacing, did.

While Zucker's decision to reel in Silverman to be co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio with Marc Graboff is widely viewed as a coup, sources said NBC will need to foster a team culture around him to be successful. And that's no small feat for an executive suite known for backbiting and ruthless politics.

Sources inside and outside NBC said Zucker's relationship with outgoing NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, who is stepping down after three years, ranged from "hot and cold" to "lousy."

Some even suggested that Reilly, who is currently negotiating a severance package with NBC for the 33 months left in his contract, is unfairly taking the fall for a primetime schedule that he inherited as dead-on-arrival but still managed to get wheezing with hits such as "Heroes."

For its part, NBC already seems to realize that Silverman, 36, is going to need a strong supporting cast to thrive.

Indeed, part of the reason Graboff, who was NBC Universal's president of television, was elevated along with Silverman is to help indoctrinate him to the NBC system and run interference with GE on the financial side. With Graboff on board, Silverman is free to focus on programming, marketing and digital development.

"These are two tremendous talents that complement each other well," Zucker said on a conference call.

One source inside NBC said, "The network believes it has the executives with the business chops in place, but it is looking to Silverman for the creative genius."

For Silverman to be successful, sources said GE is going to have to give him both creative and financial freedom - two things that aren't easy to come by in the conglomerate's button-down, quarter-by-quarter culture.

"If they give him the flexibility and budget to make his own calls, it could turn out great for them," said a source. "If they try to micromanage his ideas, it won't."

In an interview with The Post, Silverman said that everyone from GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt on down has been supportive of his vision. "Their response to what I said I required to do the job has been, 'Go, go, go,' " Silverman said.

Sources said Zucker had to move quickly in installing Silverman - both because other networks were also courting him and because of the advertising community's negative reaction to Reilly's upfront presentation two weeks ago.

Silverman's production studio Reveille will remain an independent entity with a first-look deal with NBC.

His largest successes have come from taking international hits - "The Office" and "Ugly Betty" - and repackaging them for an American audience. But Silverman has also found success with reality shows such as "The Biggest Loser" and "30 Days" and originally developed scripted fare including "The Tudors."

According to sources, just bringing Silverman on board will go a long way toward reinvigorating the dour culture that has invaded NBC.

"NBC has been feeling sorry for itself lately," said one source, "but Ben's attitude is, 'We can win again.' "
steverobertson's Avatar steverobertson 09:48 AM 05-30-2007
Friday Night Lights

Criminal Minds

CSI Miami
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:56 AM 05-30-2007
As usual, Ms. Finke does not mince words.

Critic's Notebook
My Final Wrap & Analysis
By Nikki Finke LA Weekly in her deadlinehollywooddaily blog

Granted, the TV networks have always been the killing fields for creativity, but camaraderie usually governed the treatment of its executives. So the brazen brutality with which NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker gave his entertainment president the bum's rush was the talk of the town all Memorial Weekend, especially because he tried to keep it secret and couldn't. Oops. I spoiled Zucker's best-laid plans by first reporting here last Friday that he was negotiating with 36-year-old prolific producer Ben Silverman in private to take over NBC's showbiz duties all the while keeping Kevin Reilly in the dark about his imminent ouster. Hollywood fumed that the well-liked Reilly, who just signed a new three-year contract in March, didn't even know he was losing his job until he read it in my blog. Then I updated here on Sunday to explain that Silverman would get the bigger job of NBC Universal West Coast chairman of something or other (similar to that enjoyed by the network's last Hail Mary hire, Don Ohlmeyer, back in the '90s) and share the title with Zucker's Burbank capo Marc Graboff who would be promoted to run the business side of things. Finally, today, NBC announced that Silverman and Graboff were named co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio.

On the surface, this seemed to neatly solve the problem of Hollywood naysayers wondering whether Silverman has the right stuff to be a network suit knowing what they do about Ben's high-flyin' lifestyle. (His moveable frat is his fancy private jet. And his ex-William Morris Agency colleagues still talk about the time he partied so hearty that his office looked ransacked, with empty beer bottles strewn all over and desk stuff dumped on floor. Silverman later told management that someone broke into his office.) But a deeper look shows that Silverman is way more fiscally responsible than Graboff is. As insiders tell me, one of the myriad problems at NBC is that their answer to every problem is to throw gobs of money at it and build convoluted management structures -- and Graboff is a chief architect of that failing system. The irony here is that Ben, as crazy as he is, is extremely cheap when it comes to business. He refuses to pay anything for rights or writers. He is infinitely more responsible with money and deals than Graboff, which is an open secret inside NBC, a source explained. Graboff no doubt is a good guy and very personable, and for that people like working with him. But he also makes the worst deals in town, throwing money away like crazy and focusing only on the short-term impact. For this, agents and lawyers like him because they know he can be easily worked.

The TV networks have been known to use psychics to set their primetime schedules. But I'm convinced that, to save his embattled fourth-place NBC mired with a 2007/2008 primetime schedule that sucks, Zucker is trying to channel the ghost of the late Brandon Tartikoff, the network's best and boldest programmer, by hiring his protégé. (Silverman got his big break working for the TV legend when Tartikoff ran New World Entertainment in the early 1990s.) Just as NBC turned to thirtysomething Brandon in 1981 to bail it out of its bottom-feeding when there was turmoil in the executive ranks, a writer's strike looming and few shows in the Top 20, so is NBC turning to thirtysomething Ben now to bail it out of its bottom-feeding when there is turmoil in the executive ranks (involving Reilly's No. 2 Katherine Pope, and Angela Bromstad, president of NBC Uni TV Studio: Katherine Pope Asking Exit?), a writer's strike looming and few shows in the Top 20. As a long-time friend of Tartikoff's, I remember him boasting about Ben. He's good for the Jews. Funny, that's also how Silverman was describing his soon-to-be NBC ascent: It's good for the Jews.

Silverman has been a member of NBC Universal's extended dysfunctional family since launching his Reveille production company in 2002 after he left his post as a top TV agent at WMA. From London, Silverman trend-spotted British shows that he thought could work in the U.S., like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire which jump-started ABC's single season climb from last to first place. But he also tried to bring over the sitcom Couples, which despite a ton of hype became one of NBC's most visible failures. Based at Barry Diller's USA Entertainment in its first few years and one of those rare suppliers working across all genres, Reveille was restructured in 2005 following NBC's merger with Universal. In February, Silverman signed to stay put at NBC Universal with a new rich two-year deal for Reveille. (Under the seven-figure pact, the network and its cable offspring have a first look at all scripted and unscripted projects from the hot producer of such series as NBC's Emmy-winning The Office and ABC's Golden Globe-winning Ugly Betty in exchange for development funds. Silverman continued to own the international distribution rights on Reveille's unscripted series that included NBC's The Biggest Loser, USA Network's Nashville Star, FX's 30 Days and Bravo's Blow Out.) Last fall, Reveille launched a film division, which had a first-look deal at NBC's Universal Pictures.

I heard from a lot of Hollywood insiders all weekend who thought Silverman would come to his senses and not take the job since it was like a gig on the Titanic. But one reason 30 Rock and Burbank were roiled by my scoop is that Zucker had to speed up the final negotiations with Silverman. But other damage had been done: Zucker looked like a putz for the way he'd treated Reilly. The entertainment prez came to NBC as the celebrated FX programming chief responsible for the edgy Nip/Tuck and The Shield. But from the start of his tenure, Reilly found that all the network wanted to do was save money after pouring too many dollars down the drain on shoulda-woulda-coulda development that didn't garner ratings. Within a year, repeated rumors that Reilly was about to get canned were emanating mostly from Zucker's office. They finally stopped only in March when Reilly was re-upped. "He wasn't sure he wanted to stay unless they took really good care of him," a source told me at the time.

As for NBC's miserable 2007/2008 primetime, when I saw it I thought: if NBC thinks it's going to get to No. 1 with this schedule, it's delusional. For the most part, the shows are way too safe -- especially when CBS' Nancy Tellem is developing edgy programming, and ABC's Steve McPherson campy programming, to keep their networks on top. The very idea that there's no new NBC comedy on the schedule this fall, after eight comedy pilots were ordered, and only one midseason, demonstrates NBC's reluctance to roll the dice. Not to mention repackaging the lame Bionic Woman or pacting with alum Jerry Seinfeld to air 20 "minisode" shorts which are nothing more than movie promos and yet NBC has to pay for them. This is suicide considering all the cheap shlock airing at 8 pm (soon, a Singing Bee crapfest) per Zucker's orders. Instead of new shows, NBC is stockpiling old ones: 30 episodes of The Office, 25 eps of My Name Is Earl, 30 eps Heroes and its spinoff. This is partly out of strike fears and partly to reduce the number of audience-losing repeats which is at least a solid strategy to fix this past season's biggest beef among viewers. Needless to say, Madison Avenue responded badly to the sked.

Zucker needed a fall guy in more ways than one. Ergo Reilly's ouster. As a high-placed TV agent told me, Jeff's been a total dick to him. All you can ask of a network entertainment president is a hit a year. Kevin got full credit for My Name Is Earl and fell on his sword to keep The Office. This year, he has Heroes. Meanwhile, the churlishness Zucker showed Reilly in recent years was childish even on the network playground. Showbiz reporters often found themselves caught in the middle of he said, she said debates between their dueling publicists Corey Shields (Zucker's protector) and Rebecca Marks (Reilly's gatekeeper) - an unheard-of situation inside the same entertainment company. Looking back, Reilly predicted his own demise at his May upfront presentation to advertisers when a projection screen behind him showed the words ''Big fat disappointment to describe the horrible season it had been. Here's hoping that, soon enough, NBC's parent company General Electric will be saying the same about Zucker's fatally flawed tenure.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 10:01 AM 05-30-2007
Tuesday's fast national and metered market over night prime-time ratings - and Media Week Analyst Marc Berman's view of what they mean -- have been posted at the top of Ratings News the second post in this thread.
Plasmacat's Avatar Plasmacat 10:34 AM 05-30-2007
twaller's Avatar twaller 10:37 AM 05-30-2007
The Office


dad1153's Avatar dad1153 10:40 AM 05-30-2007
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

As usual, Ms. Finke does not mince words.

Critic's Notebook
My Final Wrap & Analysis
By Nikki Finke LA Weekly in her deadlinehollywooddaily blog

As insiders tell me, one of the myriad problems at NBC is that their answer to every problem is to throw gobs of money at it and build convoluted management structures -- and Graboff is a chief architect of that failing system.

The TV networks have been known to use psychics to set their primetime schedules. But I'm convinced that, to save his embattled fourth-place NBC mired with a 2007/2008 primetime schedule that sucks, Zucker is trying to channel the ghost of the late Brandon Tartikoff, the network's best and boldest programmer, by hiring his protégé.

But one reason 30 Rock and Burbank were roiled by my scoop is that Zucker had to speed up the final negotiations with Silverman. But other damage had been done: Zucker looked like a putz for the way he'd treated Reilly.

As for NBC's miserable 2007/2008 primetime, when I saw it I thought: if NBC thinks it's going to get to No. 1 with this schedule, it's delusional.

Zucker needed a fall guy in more ways than one. Ergo Reilly's ouster. As a high-placed TV agent told me, Jeff's been a total dick to him. All you can ask of a network entertainment president is a hit a year. Kevin got full credit for My Name Is Earl and fell on his sword to keep The Office. This year, he has Heroes. Meanwhile, the churlishness Zucker showed Reilly in recent years was childish even on the network playground.

Here's hoping that, soon enough, NBC's parent company General Electric will be saying the same about Zucker's fatally flawed tenure.

I wonder if Finke will get a Christmas card from Zucker this December. Any fruit baskets or bottles or alcohol as gifts from Zucker are definitely off limits for Finke (Drano anyone?).
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 10:44 AM 05-30-2007
The 2006-2007 Season
Your Vote (Still) Counts
Some Early Results

Adding the family votes has made a big impact on the voting. It adds a lot more depth to what I am seeing.

So far, out of almost 500 ballots cast, here are the top 15 leading vote getters.

(NOTE: They are listed in alphabetical order, not in order of popularity so far in this poll.)

American Idol
Brothers & Sisters
Desperate Housewives
Friday Night Lights
Grey's Anatomy
Law & Order: SVU
The Office
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 10:47 AM 05-30-2007
The 2006-2007 Season
Your Vote (Still) Counts
Mid-Season Results

And here were the top 15 in the most recent poll, which ended last December 3rd:

1. Heroes
2. House
3. Lost
4. Grey's Anatomy
5. Friday Night Lights
6. Studio 60
8. Veronica Mars
9. The Office
10. Desperate Housewives
11. Men In Trees
12. The Unit
13. Law & Order: SVU
14. 24
15. Ugly Betty
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 10:52 AM 05-30-2007
Nikki has the kind or memory which must make top executives and their PR people cringe. As always, an opinionated but fascinating read.
Critic's Notebook
Don't Sweep This Under The Rug, NBC
By Nikki Finke LA Weekly in her deadlinehollywooddaily blog May 30, 2007

Yesterday, new creative honcho Ben Silverman and his boss Jeff Zucker gave interviews to compliant media (The New York Times, Variety, etc) who matter-of-factly reported NBC's bizarre decision not to buy Silverman's production company or demand he divest it before coming to work for the corporation. Hollywood insiders told me that NBC had to insist on either course of action before hiring Ben because of the perception if not the reality of the obvious conflict of interest. Given how successful Silverman's Reveille has been creating, producing or packaging an eclectic mix of scripted and reality programs, spread across broadcast networks, cable networks and the Internet, Hollywood sputtered all Memorial Weekend over what a fortune it would cost NBC to bring in Ben. Yet the last thing Zucker wanted to do was look like a Big Spender to Wall Street. So a supposed solution was reached: Zucker claimed NBC simply extended its deal with Reveille for another two years without acquiring the company outright. In turn, Silverman will still own an interest in the company but appoint an exec to run it like a blind trust, complete with claims that Ben won't participate in new shows for Reveille or profit financially from any programming decisions he makes that benefit his company.

Who are they kidding? This sweet arrangement of letting Ben have his cake and eat it too is unworkable. And NBC knows this based on very sour past experiences.

I researched what happened the last time NBC put a prolific producer in charge of its creative division: Don Ohlmeyer, whose busy Ohlmeyer Communications Co was producing both entertainment and sports, including such valuable franchises as the Skins Game golf tournament and the Indianapolis 500. (OCC was owned in part by RJR Nabisco and providing programming for networks and cable.) At the time NBC announced that Ohlmeyer would become its West Coast chief on February 4, 1993, both Bob Wright and Dapper Don said OCC would continue to operate intact -- albeit under someone else's direction and with Ohlmeyer remaining at "arm's length."

Sound familiar?

It didn't last long. Six weeks later, on March 16th, 1993, Ohlmeyer divested himself of the sports programming and sports sales interests of his production company to avoid any appearance of impropriety. But that happened only after an outcry in the trades and newspapers. News reports back then spoke of questioning in some quarters whether Ohlmeyer could "navigate the ethical shoals of running a network's entertainment division while maintaining a financial interest in his own outfit, Ohlmeyer Communications Co?" As a result, reporters were then told that, even though NBC's and OCC's legal departments felt "there was no conflict", Ohlmeyer was rumored to be putting his interest in OCC into a blind trust. But that didn't satisfy, either. "The Ohlmeyer ties to both OCC and NBC appear to some TV exex as a conflict of interest, though concern about Ohlmeyer's continuing stake in OCC doesn't seem to offend his competitors or his bosses at GE," Variety wrote. "A former NBC executive said, 'Even if Ohlmeyer's company doesn't do business with (NBC's) entertainment division, the mere perception a conflict of interest is the last thing that network needs at this moment.'" In the end, Ohlmeyer, Wright and NBC decided that divestiture was the only way to stop the controversy.

Nor was this the first time. I read that, in the past when NBC tapped independent production executives like Grant Tinker and Dick Ebersol for leadership positions, they divested themselves of their lucrative production franchises so they would not create a conflict of interest. "In 1989, for example, when Ebersol was tapped to run NBC Sports, he dumped his financial interest in Later With Bob Costas and a sporadic Saturday-night wrestling program, which continued to run on the network," Variety reported long ago. "Tinker, too, divested himself of his financial stake in MTM Enterprises not long after his then-boss, RCA chairman Thorton Bradshaw, tapped him to helm the web in 1981. Upon the urging of RCA's attorneys, Tinker tried putting his MTM interest in a blind trust. When that situation became sticky, Tinker willingly sold his interest to MTM's other principals."

In 1993, Tinker told Variety he didn't think Ohlmeyer's situation was "that big a conflict" because Don was running NBC's showbiz whereas his OCC produced mostly sports. Fast forward to today: Silverman will be running NBC Universal's creative domain while his production company produces entertainment for it. Obviously, NBC, like the compliant media covering it, has no institutional memory.
jwebb1970's Avatar jwebb1970 10:52 AM 05-30-2007

Does this vote count?
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 11:00 AM 05-30-2007
Critic's Notebook
NBC's Reilly out;
"Quality with Noise" in
By David Kronke Los Angeles Daily News Television Critic in his The Mayor Of Television blog

For more than a month, I had been trying to get NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly on the phone for a story we had discussed a while back.

Guess we know now why he wasn't returning my calls.

In January, Reilly declared: There's been a lot of conjecture, instability, and I can tell you from the top of the organization down it just has never felt better, you know, the support I have gotten from Jeff to do what I wanted to do creatively and to build the team. And what I really feel right now inside the building is a confidence back in terms of what we're doing and a confidence I tell you I have in the individuals with -- to a person, the people we have working with us at NBC I hope to work with for a long time and that feels really good to be able to say that. It's actually shockingly weirdly becoming fun again, which has been -- people are saying What's that feeling that we have? Oh, that's fun.'

So much for that. Reilly was the fall guy for NBC (though, in typical blundering-network style, he got ashcanned mere months after signing a lucrative three-year extension on his contract, so NBC - the network preaching austerity, the one that announced its intentions late last year to strip its 8 p.m. hour with low-budget reality nonsense - will be forking over a nice wad of cash to him nonetheless, with no headaches attached). The network has been in trouble since the middle of Jeff Zucker's tenure as Entertainment president; he now, of course, runs the whole show as NBC-Universal president and CEO, a career trajectory we should all be so lucky to chart. Reilly was essentially brought in to perform CPR on a coma patient; he was kind of like the new War Czar: He was there to take the blame when things inevitably didn't improve fast enough.

Despite a fairly spectacular cave-in near the end of the past TV season, Reilly decided to proceed with patience, bringing back low-rated new shows like 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights and low-rated old shows like Law & Order and adding only four new dramas to the schedule when a lot of programmers would've thrown a lot more new shows up against the wall in hopes that a couple would stick. Of the new shows, one is potentially great: Chuck, an action-comedy about a techie who inadvertently gets the entire CIA database downloaded into his brain, which sets him up for a lot of unexpected (and unwanted) derring-do and danger and international intrigue. Unlike a lot of shows in this genre, Chuck refuses to take itself seriously, which makes it quite refreshing. (Following the success of Heroes, NBC kind of overloaded on the sci-fi-y stuff, with Bionic Woman and Journeyman, about a newspaper reporter who can travel back in time, both of which take themselves very seriously indeed. (If I were Journeyman, my first order of business would be to go back and stop Al Gore from inventing the Internets, so I'd have a smidgen of job security.))

So Reilly's out and Ben Silverman's in, with a snazzier title and reportedly greater leeway. As TV executives go, Reilly was a more honest, straight-shooting kind of guy; Silverman tends to talk a little more in industry-ese.

For example: Silverman declared, I want to find big shows that are quality shows. To me, the hallmark will be quality with noise.

Quality with Noise would be a great name for a band, but it feels like one of those rubrics that sound like what one's bosses want to hear but may in fact be reductive, contradictory and perhaps untenable (another popular one: smart but accessible).

At least Silverman has already, for good or ill, chosen the epitaph for his tenure at NBC when he eventually, inevitably departs.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 11:04 AM 05-30-2007
Nikki Finke is on fire! More Nikki, please.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 11:07 AM 05-30-2007
Critic's Notebook
NBC cancels Reilly over poor showing
By Phil Rosenthal Chicago Tribune Media Columnist May 30, 2007

Television critics would have shown little mercy to NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly had he canceled "30 Rock" and "Friday Night Lights," a pair of well-written, beautifully acted gems.

Instead, Reilly renewed the first-year shows, which averaged a scant 6 million viewers or so per week on the fourth-place network, and NBC showed him the door.

The network on Tuesday named "Ugly Betty" and "The Office" producer Ben Silverman co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio alongside Marc Graboff, who has been West Coast head of NBC Universal TV for less than four months.

Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal, to whom Silverman and Graboff will report, insisted Reilly's exit had nothing to do with NBC's fourth-place prime-time finishes in three years on the job.

But as Jay Leno joked Friday, on the occasion of his 15th anniversary as host of "The Tonight Show," it was a shame NBC wasn't around still to celebrate with him. And, make no mistake, the NBC schedule for fall that Reilly unveiled to advertisers earlier this month isn't likely to return the network to No. 1 or even No. 3.

Three of NBC's four new dramas are science fiction, which, despite NBC's success this season with "Heroes," tends to be a tough sell. And, while a comedy such as "30 Rock" might have potential, dramas historically have been more difficult to grow, boding poorly for "Friday Night Lights."

"Obviously, one of our major goals is to turn around NBC's prime-time ratings performance and I am confident that both Ben and Marc will lead us on that road," Zucker told reporters. "But the industry is also starting to realize that success is not measured simply in ratings but in the value of your assets and how you monetize them, and I don't think anyone has done a better job of leading that effort than Ben."

Simply put, Silverman, whose production company has been responsible for hits in both reality and scripted genres, has a heck of a track record at product placement.

Although the plan is for Graboff to be in charge of business operation with Silverman as the creative guy, Silverman is finance-minded.

"One thing I absolutely have learned in my process of managing a company that is part reality studio is the approach to how we put those deals together and how we build businesses off the reality shows and how can we apply that to our scripted base as well," Silverman said.

"The reaction today on Madison Avenue has been overwhelming," Zucker said. "That's because there's no television executive today who is more well-known to Madison Avenue than Ben Silverman. Nobody has been at the forefront of working more closely with advertiser and advertising than Ben."

A former William Morris agent, Silverman has worked not only to develop shows for TV but online, which should become a bigger business for NBC Universal as network and cable audiences splinter. All programs, regardless of their format and forum, are pretty much the same, he said.

"I don't believe in any genre ghettos," Silverman said. "I'm about storytelling, emotional connections, great narratives and great characters, and those great characters exist in docu-soaps, in competition reality, in sitcoms and in dramas.

Reilly, who recently had signed a new three-year contract at NBC, proved at that network and earlier at cable's FX that he is a smart, creative guy with a knack for high-quality, inventive TV. He deserves to be a finalist on HBO's list for Chris Albrecht's vacated position or some other top job.

Stellar reviews and an audience of 6 million will get you a long way in pay cable. In broadcast TV, however, it gets you your walking papers.

WHOSE NETWORK TV: My Network TV, the stopgap programming service launched by News Corp. to service stations orphaned last year when CBS Corp. and Time Warner's Warner Bros. shuttered UPN and the WB to launch the CW, announced a fall lineup for its sophomore season Tuesday that completes its retreat from little-watched telenovelas in favor of reality shows.

Whether it will fare any better with viewers is another matter. It's banking on two shows rejected by the public four years ago, with revivals of the NBC discard "Meet My Folks" and Fox's abandoned "Paradise Hotel."

MEMORIAL DAY: CNN plans to use the May 10 murder of 16-year-old Julian High School student Blair Holt on a CTA bus as a jumping-off point to examine the alarming local statistics concerning youth violence with "24 Hours in Chicago," a one-hour report within "Anderson Cooper 360" on Thursday at 10 PM ET/PT.

"One of our goals is to tell untold stories from around the world, and it is unconscionable that this particular story in Chicago happens to be among them," David Doss, "360" senior executive producer, said in a statement. "We attempt to find out why there isn't national outrage and also delve into how these tragedies occur in the first place.",print.column
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 11:14 AM 05-30-2007
Last week's complete network average prime-time results (with demographic and season-to-date averages) are now at the bottom of RATINGS NEWS the second post in this thread.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 11:32 AM 05-30-2007
Overnight Nielsens in the 18-49 Demo
Strong 'House' finale on a slow night
Cranky Fox doc drama averages a 6.5 in 18-49s
By Toni Fitzgerald staff writer Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It was nowhere near the huge numbers the show pulls when paired with American Idol, but Fox's House had a very strong season finale last night, a showing that will rank among the summer's top programs.

The third-year drama's season ender averaged a 6.5 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, topping the combined total of ABC, CBS, NBC and the CW in the 9 p.m. timeslot. It also drew 16.86 million total viewers.

That was down from a 9.2 in 18-49s and 21.19 million House averaged in its second-to-last episode two weeks ago, when it had the benefit of Idol's big lead-in. Last night's lead-in, the new reality show On the Lot, averaged a mere 1.8 and 4.04 million, or less than a quarter of Idol's audience.

House's finale rated higher than finales for hits like NBC's Heroes and ABC's Lost, but behind ABC's Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy.

House's numbers would have been much bigger had the show finished during the regular season. Despite a fair bit of promotion by Fox, some viewers may have not realized that the finale was airing this week, when nearly all the other broadcast shows had already wrapped.

It seems a smart move by Fox to hold the show's finale until after the regular season finished last week. It didn't need the extra ratings points to secure another May sweeps win, and the network got a chance to promote its summer shows to a big audience.

House propelled Fox to first for the night among viewers 18-49 with a 4.2 average rating and a 12 share. NBC was second at 2.3/7, ABC third at 2.3/6, Univision fourth at 1.9/5, CBS fifth at 1.7/5 and CW sixth at 0.5/1.

Although it was fifth for the night among 18-49s, CBS led the 8 p.m. hour with a 2.2 for a repeat of NCIS. NBC and Univision tied for second at 2.0, NBC for a Law & Order rerun and Univision for La Fea Mas Bella, with ABC fourth with a 1.9 for an hour of George Lopez repeats, Fox fifth with a 1.8 for On the Lot and CW sixth with a 0.6 for a repeat of Gilmore Girls.

At 9 p.m. Fox took the lead with a 6.5 for House, with ABC and NBC tied for second at 2.2, ABC for an hour of According to Jim reruns and NBC for a repeat of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. That left Univision fourth with a 2.0 for Destilando Amor, CBS fifth with a 1.5 for a repeat of The Unit and CW sixth with a 0.4 for a rerun of Veronica Mars.

ABC led at 10 p.m. with a 2.8 for the Boston Legal season ender, followed closely by NBC with a 2.7 for a repeat of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Univision was third with a 1.6 for Ver para Creer and CBS fourth with a 1.4 for the CBS News special Flashpoint: Kimberly Dozier and the Army's Fourth ID.

Fox also led the night among households, averaging a 6.3 rating and a 10 share. NBC was second at 5.3/9, CBS third at 4.7/8, ABC fourth at 4.4/7, Univision fifth at 2.3/4 and CW sixth at 0.9/2.
WilliamR's Avatar WilliamR 12:14 PM 05-30-2007
My wife's picks:

Amazing Race
steverobertson's Avatar steverobertson 12:22 PM 05-30-2007
My wife's


Prison Break

Keenan's Avatar Keenan 12:55 PM 05-30-2007
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Nikki Finke is on fire! More Nikki, please.

She is a good read. I just added her RSS feed to my homepage, don't know why I hadn't done it sooner.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 01:17 PM 05-30-2007
TV Sports
Big Ten Network Taps Revsine as First On-Air Talent
By Ben Grossman Broadcasting & Cable 5/30/2007 2

The Big Ten Network today named Dave Revsine to be its lead studio host, the first on-air hire for the network set to launch in August.

As part of his duties, Revsine will host a nightly studio show on the network. Revsine, who is a Northwestern alum, has been with ESPN since 1996.

"Dave brings a wealth of knowledge and a real passion for college sports to the network," says Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman. "When you couple his talent and experience with his being a Northwestern graduate and a Chicago native, it's obvious why we see Dave as the ideal candidate to lead the network's on-air coverage."

At the ESPN networks, he held a variety of roles, but focused primarily on college sports. He begins his duties at the Big Ten Network July 1 in advance of the launch.

"I wanted to devote myself full time to where my passion is, and that's to college sports, and for the conference I care most about," Revsine said. "When I got on the plane after my first interview, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. I'm glad they shared that opinion."

The network now will turn its attention to hiring football and basketball studio analysts.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 01:20 PM 05-30-2007
I am always sad that she spends the bulk of her time on the movie industry.

TV really needs someone with her on-nonsene, hold-their-feet-to-the-fire, cutting-edge view of things. (Sort of the anti-Ausiello.)

Bill Carter of the NY Times may well be the best-connected report ercovering the TV beat, but you often don't find out what is really going on until he publishes a book.

Originally Posted by keenan View Post

She is a good read. I just added her RSS feed to my homepage, don't know why I hadn't done it sooner.

ion-man's Avatar ion-man 01:25 PM 05-30-2007
My wife's favs:

#1. Ugly Betty
#2. Desperate Housewives
#3. Grey's Anatomy
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 01:50 PM 05-30-2007
Thanks, ion-man.

Keep those votes streaming in folks
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:59 PM 05-30-2007
Fred, you're the new Ryan Seacrest and yes, we will continue text-messaging our votes to help you elect this thread's new... AMERICAN IDOL!
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