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post #1441 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 06:14 PM
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Mo works all the time -- she is one of the most prolific posters on the net.

Mo?
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post #1442 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
L&O Stays at NBC
CI Goes to USA
By Jim Benson Broadcasting & Cable 5/13/2007

Law & Order will remain on NBC for an 18th season while companion L&O: Criminal Intent will become the first series to get a full-season order of 22 episodes to air first on cable.

CI originals will play on NBC Universal's USA Network, with a repurposed run coming later on the broadcast network.

NBCU also announced Sunday that Dick Wolf, the creator and executive producer of the L&O franchise, will remain anchored to the company at least until 2012.

But the series commitments are only for next season, with Wolf's deal extending just to overall initiatives between NBCU and Wolf Films. That means Wolf will have to go through the renewal process again as he strives to get L&O past 20 years to break the record now held by Gunsmoke.

TNT had made a run at original episodes of L&O (B&C, May 8), but NBCU ultimately decided to keep the franchise in-house.

NBCU West Coast President Marc Graboff said the deal allowing premiere episodes of CI to move to USA would create maximum scheduling flexibility for NBC, but he declined to indicate whether NBC would run the repurposed episodes the same week, or even if it would carry all 22. He noted NBC will also have flexibility in the scheduling of L&O.

My main objective throughout this was to see if there is a way that it is financially feasible to bring back all three shows, said Wolf, who declined to comment on deal specifics. We have found a way to make them financially feasible.

Wolf emphasized the intense negotiations were the result of economics rather than creative issues, though L&O and CI have seen ratings declines this season.

He emphasized the changes brought about by reduced costs would not be visible to viewers and that there were no major casting changesat least yet.

NBCU had been paying $7 million per episode for L&O--$4 million in production cost and another $3 million in license feesand $6 million apiece for Criminal Intent and Special Victims Unit.

It is estimated to generate around $1.8 million per episode of L&O through domestic syndication on TNT and international licensing deals, on top of the $1 billion-plus the show has already generated. TNT will continue to get the off-net episodes.

Criminal Intent, meanwhile, runs on USA Network and, starting this fall, will air in broadcast syndication (with the Fox O&Os as the lead station group) on an all-barter basis.

The shows have also performed well internationally with localized versions performing well in Russia and France, and Wolf hinted at new undertakings in other territories in the months ahead.

Wolf's Special Victims Unit, which already got picked up, was the first series to be repurposed nine years ago. USA has previously aired Monk before the network run on ABC, but that was for a shortened summer order.

"With this innovative programming move, we have significantly strengthened the already powerful USA network, given NBC maximum flexibility, and in the process have changed the paradigm of prime time television," said Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal's President and Chief Executive Officer, in a statement.

"By changing the traditional way programs are rolled out, we have reinforced NBC Universal's forward thinking approach to new programming strategies and our willingness to embrace bold thinking, Zucker added. In the end, it is all about our viewers. And this will allow our viewers continuing access to the finest programming across the premier networks of NBC Universal. We are thrilled to continue our successful business relationship with Dick Wolf and his team."

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/ind...leID=CA6441591
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post #1443 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
Is It the Woman Thing,
Or Is It Katie Couric?
By Bill Carter The New York Times May 14, 2007

The numbers are stark. Eight months into Katie Couric's job as the first woman to anchor a network newscast on her own, her CBS Evening News has not only settled back into its long-held position of last among the evening news broadcasts, but also regularly falls short of the newscast that Ms. Couric replaced.

In the latest week's ratings, CBS Evening News had its worst performance since the Nielsen company installed its people meter ratings system 20 years ago.

Ms. Couric professed to be unfazed. Honestly, I think we're going to see ebbs and flows, she said in a telephone interview the day after receiving the ratings news. I don't think it's a doom-and-gloom scenario.

But it certainly is not a buoyant scenario either, as Sean McManus, the president of CBS News, acknowledged. We are a distant third, he said. There is no way to sugarcoat that fact.

CBS executives say their research had predicted that the newscast would continue to struggle in the ratings, even after the network's enormous investment in Ms. Couric an estimated $15 million in annual salary as well as millions more to build a new set and promote her and her newscast.

But the network seemed not fully prepared for a host of other developments that followed its expensive decision.

There has been a cascade of hostile comments in the press. Members of the news staff were quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer as suggesting that Ms. Couric might stay only through the 2008 election. And a recent Gallup poll reinforced the notion that Ms. Couric had become a polarizing figure: 29 percent of respondents said that they did not like her, as opposed to 51 percent who said that they liked her. (Her competitors at ABC and NBC both had negative scores under 20 percent and positives around 60.)

Turning around the newscast will be a serious challenge, one former longtime network news executive said. I think it will be very difficult, honestly, said the executive, who asked not to be identified because he expects to work again with one of the networks. Usually it takes a cataclysmic event to change news loyalties.

CBS Evening News continues to bring in revenue for the network the smallest share of a total of about $540 million for the three network newscasts combined and CBS executives said that it remains profitable. But network sales executives have estimated that for each 0.1 rating point a newscast drops among viewers from age 25 to 54, the program could lose $5 million to $6 million in revenue. (A point represents about 100,000 viewers.) CBS executives concede that as the ratings decline, so do the profits.

We're not making as much as we would if the ratings were up, said Mr. McManus.

Despite the low ratings and the reports of sniping from colleagues, the mood inside CBS News remains unshakably upbeat. In an interview in her office overlooking the set, Ms. Couric sought to convey the message, backed up by CBS management, that she was not going anywhere. Not now, not after the 2008 election, not anytime encompassed by her initial five-year contract.

Nor does she want to go anywhere, she insists. I have no regrets, she said.

The network's executives, including Leslie Moonves, the CBS chairman, say they knew that they were acquiring probably the most avidly followed personality in television news, and so they did expect a media spotlight. But some of the other reactions caught them off guard.

Am I surprised by the attention? said Mr. Moonves. No. Am I surprised by the vitriol? Yes.

He and Mr. McManus took pains to deny vigorously that there has been any plan to unseat Ms. Couric. It's a flat-out lie that there has been any consideration, any meeting or any discussion about replacing Katie, Mr. McManus said.

This is a long-term commitment, Mr. Moonves said.

Ms. Couric, 50, made her debut on CBS in September, after 15 years at Today, accompanied by great fanfare. She was expected to appeal to younger viewers. And to a degree she has her ratings, while still usually third, are most competitive among younger women. But the newscast CBS created to try to take advantage of Ms. Couric's morning-show skills has already been discarded, discredited as a colossal misfire.

One senior CBS producer who supports Ms. Couric but requested anonymity because of a working relationship with some people on the program, summed up that initial newscast, saying, it was inane.

Ms. Couric said, I don't think there was ever a vision to blow up the evening news, but to maybe make some changes that would recharacterize it.

The biggest target of criticism was the segment called Free Speech, in which people like the film director Morgan Spurlock and the author Mitch Albom (as well as many unfamiliar voices) sounded off on issues for 90 seconds. But some CBS News staff members said they had been disappointed with the ill-focused approach of the entire newscast.

Part of the problem may have been timing, the former network executive said.

They decided to go away from hard news just when there was a shift in interest to real news, with continuing issues about Iraq and the early buildup to the presidential election.

Mr. McManus defends the choices CBS made. After years of hearing how the evening news was a dying institution, if the network had not tried to shake things up, he said, the industry would have said: why did you hire Katie Couric and put on the exact same newscast?

CBS's evening news broadcast has now been entrusted to the network news veteran Rick Kaplan, who was brought in seven weeks ago to improve the newscast and impose some hard-news discipline. He has increased the number of stories covered by the newscast, quickened the pace and instituted more focus on the lead story, adding sidebar reports to try to add context.

Many of the changes return the program to a more traditional format, but another longtime CBS news producer said that might not be the best use of Ms. Couric's skills. That show doesn't fit her personality, said the producer, who asked not to be identified because he works on another program.

And while the newscast's structure has been pummeled, Ms. Couric has also endured exceptional personal scrutiny. She was criticized for wearing too much makeup or too little. Ms. Couric was caught up in an odd plagiarism incident, when an essay she had presented as her own even though written by a producer turned out to have been lifted from The Wall Street Journal.

She was criticized for being too soft in her initial newscasts, and too hard in an interview with the presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, after they revealed that Mrs. Edwards's cancer had returned. The issue was complicated by the public knowledge that Ms. Couric's husband, Jay Monahan, died from colon cancer in 1998.

Some people asked me if I was going to bring up Jay. I would never, Ms. Couric said. I want to educate people about colon cancer. But I never, ever want to exploit my husband's death.

Ms. Couric's defenders ask whether a man taking the CBS job would have had his looks, hair, and clothes commented on in the same way as Ms. Couric's. Or if a single male anchor's social life would be almost daily fodder for the tabloids.

Maybe we underestimate the huge shift this represented, Mr. McManus said. It was almost a watershed event to have a woman in that chair. He added, There is a percentage of people out there that probably prefers not to get their news from a woman.

Even some doubters inside the network say the newscast has improved under Mr. Kaplan. Ms. Couric has tried to break through on stories the network thinks play to her strengths.

For example, she quickly made her way to the campus of Virginia Tech after the killings there and did many interviews in a special hourlong newscast. (Her numbers increased that night, but ABC, with Charles Gibson still in the New York studio, won the ratings, as it has consistently over the last several months. Brian Williams of NBC was second.)

Even with some improvements, many staff members remain less than confident that the situation can be reversed, said one CBS producer who asked not to be identified because of concern that management did not want employees to criticize Ms. Couric. But Ms. Couric was not necessarily the problem, the producer said. People may be critical of her, but if they work with her, they like her, the producer said.

However, CBS still labors under some entrenched handicaps, like the weak performance of many of its stations, which leaves its evening news with the weakest lead-in audiences of the three networks. The program has typically finished more than 1.5 million viewers behind both of its network competitors. Ms. Couric's newscast audience is now off about 4 percent from the newscast anchored a year ago by Bob Schieffer, who had succeeded Dan Rather for an interim period that lasted 17 months.

Despite those numbers, some advertisers continue to be supportive. Andy Donchin, the director of national broadcast for the advertising agency Carat USA, said, It's still a good place for my clients to sell their products. Among the advertisers his firm represents are Pfizer, Hyundai and Alberto Culver.

Andrew Tyndall, who publishes a report that monitors the network evening newscasts, said Ms. Couric's newscast was a work in progress and that it was too soon to declare whether it would succeed or not. But, he said, she has misplayed the expectations game.

With those early expectations gone and signaling perhaps that CBS has no Plan B in the works, Mr. McManus said that the network is looking for long-term gains.

Our ratings will improve because of the quality of our newscast and the quality of our anchor, he said. That's the only plan that makes sense right now.

As to when that might happen, Mr. McManus said, Three years, four years, five years; that is the time frame that I think, realistically, you need to use to evaluate where the broadcast is and where CBS News is.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/14/bu...gewanted=print
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post #1444 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Daily Nielsen Notebook
May Sweep 18-49 Demo Race
FOX Maintains Lead After 1 Days of the May Sweep:
(Compiled by dumont ) at Marc Berman's Programming Insider blog:

2007 Adults 18-49 vs first 17 nights 2006 A18-49
(results weighted for extra hour on Sundays)

1. FOX 3.6 vs 4.1 (-12%)
2. ABC 3.4 vs 2.9 (+17%)
3. CBS 3.0 vs 3.7 (-19%)
4. NBC 2.4 vs 3.1 (-23%)
5. CW 1.3 vs. 1.3 (even to The WB)
6. MNT 0.4 vs 1.2 (-67% from UPN, first 15 nights only)

TOTAL 6 NETS: 14.0 vs. 16.2 (-14%)

FOX continued to lead ABC by 0.2 in A18-49 after 17 days of the May Sweep.

ABC continues to be the only broadcast network to show year-over-year improvement in A18-49 after 17 days of the May Sweep.

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

http://pifeedback.com/eve/forums/a/t...10515#76410515
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post #1445 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
NBC preps primetime schedule
Network readies big reveal
By Michael Schneider Variety May 13, 2006 (Josef Adalian in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

While a few of NBC's burning questions were resolved by Sunday night, others won't be answered until (Monday afternoon), when the Peacock reveals its fall primetime strategy.

Insiders confirmed that "Scrubs" would indeed return for another season -- ending talk of a move to ABC -- while "Law & Order" is on the callback sheet as well along with earlier survivor "Friday Night Lights."

With the fate of those shows resolved, rival networks itching for intel on NBC's plans wondered whether the net would take a huge gamble and relocate frosh smash "Heroes" -- perhaps to the all-important Thursday night lineup.

Most observers discounted that theory, however, arguing that "Heroes" was more valuable on Monday, where it could possibly help launch a show at 10 p.m. and/or 8 p.m. (Perhaps "Journeyman," "Chuck" or "The Bionic Woman"?)

Even if "Heroes" doesn't move, NBC could possibly open up the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot to a new show -- moving "ER" to a new slot for the first time in its history (possibly Wednesday), or at least resting the show (as the Peacock had originally planned to do this year).

The longterm fate of the medical drama could come into play on Monday. The net's deal with Warner Bros. TV expires after next year, and if NBC decided now that next year is its swan song, it would give the net and studio a chance to plan a big hurrah. There's also intense speculation that Noah Wyle may return to the show for several episodes to fill out his contractural obligation with the studio.

Peacock's plan for its Thursday night comedy block is coming into focus.

"The Office" is expected to get the 9 p.m. tentpole slot, with "My Name Is Earl" at 8, "30 Rock" at 8:30 and "Scrubs" at 9:30.

NBC will pick up six one hour eps of "The Office" for a total of 30 segs. The net picked up just 18 eps of "Scrubs"; in the weeks that the medical laffer doesn't air, net will air a one-hour episode of "The Office."

Then there's also new comedy "The IT Crowd," which could potentially fill one of the half-hour spots while "30 Rock" or "Scrubs" take a rest.

Laffer, from NBC Universal TV Studio and FremantleMedia, is based on a Britcom about a computer tech crew. David Guarascio, Moses Port, Joe Wiseman, Joe Port, Steve Tao and Graham Linehan exec produce.

Also on the scheduling front, now that "Friday Night Lights," "Medium" and "Law & Order" have been renewed, where do they go? (It's probably safe to say those "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" second runs head straight to Saturday.)

Sources said that the net will move "Law and Order" off the Friday sked.

There's some sense in putting "Friday Night Lights" on Friday -- it's easy marketing, and a no-pressure zone that could help nurture the show without asking it to do much heavy lifting. (You can also argue that "Lights' " target aud is young enough to be nostalgic for Friday night football games, but old enough to be home and not actually at some high school field).

On the reality tip, it's still unclear whether "The Apprentice" will be back, or how many segs of "Deal or No Deal" will be brought into service.

Then there's what to do with NBC's new dramas. Besides "Journeyman" and "Bionic Woman," that includes "Chuck" and "Life" -- and one late add, "Lipstick Jungle."

That show, based on the Candace Bushnell book, revolves around women in Manhattan (Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price star). NBC Universal TV is behind the series, which is exec produced by DeAnn Heline, Eileen Heisler and Bushnell.

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...&categoryid=14
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post #1446 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
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For those of you who enjoyed "The Black Donnellys" I am reminded by Aaron Barnhart at his TV Barn blog that nbc.com will begin showing the final episode tomorrow (Monday).

http://blogs.kansascity.com/tvbarn/
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post #1447 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
The New Season:
An immortal cop, a Terminator and a Jezebel headed to Fox?

By Kate Aurthur Los Angeles Times Staff Writer May 13, 2007

The pickups just keep coming. Fox doesn't present its new slate to advertisers until Thursday, but it has apparently ordered some of its new series already.

On the drama side, viewers will get "K-Ville," "New Amsterdam," and "The Sarah Connor Chronicles." Yes, nerds, that last one is the Terminator TV series, which stars Lena Headey (from the movie "300") as Sarah Connor and Thomas Dekker (the cheerleader's best friend from "Heroes") as her son John, who will eventually lead the human resistance.

"K-Ville" is a crime drama about post-Katrina New Orleans, starring Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser, who play partners in the police department. And "New Amsterdam," which was directed by Lasse Hallstrom, is about an immortal New York police detective who's hundreds of years old because a spell was cast upon him in the 1600's. It happens, people!

Comedy-wise for Fox, "Return of Jezebel James" is the Return of Amy Sherman-Palladino to network television after she left "Gilmore Girls" a year ago. It stars Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose as sisters. "The Rules for Starting Over" is a dating comedy about a group of friends in Boston brought to you by the Farrelly brothers, Peter and Bobby ("There's Something About Mary").

Also, we hear "'Til Death," the Brad Garrett sitcom, got a second season. Fox won't confirm any of this, by the way. But we're pretty sure it's true.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/
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post #1448 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
The New Season:
NBC renews 'Law & Order'
By Maria Elena Fernandez Los Angeles Times Staff Writer May 13, 2007

NBC's long-running crime procedural "Law & Order" got a reprieve Sunday as network executives announced that the drama would return for its 18th season in the fall, despite suffering a sharp ratings drop-off.

Sister show "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" will also be back but is being shuttled over to NBC Universal's cable network USA, which will now run the original episodes of the spin-off about the New York criminal justice system. In a reversal of the usual syndication process, repeats of "Criminal Intent" will then air on NBC.

Series creator and executive producer Dick Wolf and NBC Universal executives cast the move as an inventive solution that would allow them to extract the most value out of the franchise, a network mainstay that has lost some of its pull in the last year.

The mother ship, as the original "Law & Order" is called, averaged just 9 million viewers since it was moved to Friday nights this season, a drop of 19%.

"Criminal Intent" has averaged 8.9 million, down 18%. ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," the most popular of the triumvirate, was already renewed earlier this season.)

"Once again, we're doing something that hasn't been done before," Wolf told reporters during an afternoon conference call. "This really is the future."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/
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post #1449 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 10:28 PM
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Is it just me, or does NBC seem to be spinning its wheels? Unless they have an absolutely phenomenal rebound in the fall, 2008 is going to be an incredibly dark year.

Hmm, I guess they really are going to be cycling a lot of reality/gameshow garbage through the 8:00 hour.
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The 2007-2008 Season
MyNetwork Revives 'Folks,' 'Paradise'
Net Taps Dr. Phil, Brings Back Reality Shows
By James Hibberd Television Week May 14, 2007 (Chris Pursell contributed to this report.)

MyNetworkTV is teaming with Dr. Phil and reviving a pair of broadcast reality shows to bolster its lineup next season.

The network will debut the tentatively titled "Divorce Wars" this fall, based on a popular Dr. Phil segment in which unhappy couples are locked in a house for five days to resolve their differences. MyNet is also bringing back former NBC reality series "Meet My Folks" and Fox's bawdy "Paradise Hotel."

The news comes after MyNet met one-on-one with advertisers last week, ahead of other networks' upfront advertising presentations. The network is promoting its shift from a telenovela format to a schedule of reality series, movies, ultimate fighting and specials. In recent weeks theatricals such as "GoldenEye" and celebrity-driven specials produced by "Access Hollywood" have helped bump ratings. Six more "Access" specials are planned for this year, MyNetworkTV President Greg Meidel said.

"Every night we've replaced is up considerably across the board," said Mr. Meidel, who took control of the network in January. "We're like a nimble network that can zig when everybody else is zagging."

Those zigging moves include reviving "Folks," which premiered in 2002 and ran for two seasons on NBC, and "Hotel," which Fox premiered in 2003 and ran for one season. Both are set to premiere this fall.

In "Divorce Wars," Dr. Phil will play a role, watching the featured couple on 27 cameras and occasionally interjecting via intercom, but he will not host the show. A separate host will be cast. "Divorce" will be produced by Harpo Productions.

For "Hotel," which gained an avid fan base on Fox due to its hedonistic, envelope-pushing content, MyNet is promising a tamer version to better attract advertisers.

"It's not so much about doing the wild thing," Mr. Meidel said. "It's still going to be fun, just a little more disciplined."

"Hotel" will launch early next year and will also run on Fox Reality Channel, which has aired the previous seasons. "Hotel" was originally produced by Mentorn, but the new version will be made by Fox Reality Group. "Folks" will be produced by Bruce Nash Productions, which also made the original.

MyNet and Fox Reality are also sharing the June reality series "The Academy," tracking a group of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department recruits.

During the upfronts, MyNet is forgoing elaborate presentations in lieu of roadshow-style meetings with individual advertising agencies. Mr. Meidel and Bob Cesa, executive VP of advertising sales for Twentieth Television, had clocked 21 presentations as of last week.

http://www.tvweek.com/article.cms?articleId=31969
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post #1451 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by URFloorMatt View Post

Is it just me, or does NBC seem to be spinning its wheels? Unless they have an absolutely phenomenal rebound in the fall, 2008 is going to be an incredibly dark year.

Hmm, I guess they really are going to be cycling a lot of reality/gameshow garbage through the 8:00 hour.

We'll get a better idea tomorrow, but so far very little I what I have heard (from any of the networks) sounds all that great.

But last year a lot of shows sounded very promising, and we know how that turned out.
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post #1452 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
The New Season:
NBC orders up some yuks
By Maria Elena Fernandez Los Angeles Times Staff Writer May 13, 2007

It was starting to look like NBC had lost its sense of humor.

With only 24 hours to go before network executives take the stage at Radio City Music Hall to razzle and dazzle advertisers, President of Primetime Kevin Reilly hadn't picked up a single new comedy. But alas, now there is The IT Crowd to add to the fall season lineup.

No, this is not about cool hipsters hanging in the city.

This is about nerdy I.T. department workers and their lackluster love lives. Stars Joel McHale, zany host of "The Soup" on E! and Richard Ayoade.

And in case you're wondering which of your favorite NBC shows is coming back next fall, here are the series that have been renewed, so far: "Heroes," "My Name Is Earl," "The Office," "Law & Order: SVU" "Las Vegas, 30 Rock, Medium, Scrubs, Friday Night Lights, Law & Order. (Law & Order: CI will now air on USA).

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/
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The 2007-2008 Season
Sitcoms Are Dead!
Long Live Sitcoms!
By David Blum, critic at large of The New York Sun Op-Ed Contributor to The New York Times May 14, 2007

Network television isn't dead.

I don't care what you hear this week when the executives of CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and the CW all come to town for upfronts, the presentations where they hawk their fall lineups to dubious advertisers. I don't care what you read in articles about huge hit counts on YouTube or hot-selling Sopranos DVDs or the runaway success of cable shows like The Closer on TNT. I don't care what you think when you watch ABC's According to Jim yes, that's still on the air, and yes, millions of Americans recently tuned in for its very special 135th episode, In Case of Jimergency.

Network television simply cannot be allowed to die, and not just because that would bring a premature end to the career of Charlie Sheen. Its death would also force Hollywood producers to sell their golfing castles in Scotland, fly business class and order the 2002 Ch√Ęteau Ducru-Beaucaillou instead of the 1995. So let's not even go there.

Fortunately, network television has a fail-safe option: the situation comedy.

Admittedly, it's not an obvious solution. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the five networks together have plans to buy as few as five new half-hour comedies to help fill almost 100 hours of prime time each week. That makes the sitcom seem like a long-shot method for a troubled industry to save itself.

But unlike serial dramas like Lost and 24, sitcoms can be repeated again and again, with lots of high-priced commercials, and in no particular order. When producers' prayers get properly answered, these half-hour shows are then sold for millions of dollars into off-network syndication, the magic term to describe television's 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. time slots. It's the backbone of local programming, a means for affiliates in, say, Cleveland and Miami to sell advertising and guarantee viewers without breaking a sweat.

At its peak in the mid-90s, Seinfeld earned NBC $200 million in profit each year, and went on to make more than $1 billion in syndication revenues. Which pays the bills for every network television flop you've ever seen, not to mention the cost of maintaining Jerry Seinfeld's parking garage.

With such huge potential revenue streams, sitcoms remain a viable business plan as long as the factories keep new high-quality models coming off the assembly line. And so the networks create dozens of sitcom pilots each year, and from them emerge the occasional mega-hit half-hours like The Cosby Show, Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond those successes that help justify and finance the networks' continued existence.

Forget all the endless talk about the death of sitcoms: a recent study showed that the average American television-watching household increased its comedy-watching to four and a half hours a week this season, up from less than four hours in the 1993-4 television season.

The only trouble is that viewers are still mostly watching reruns of Seinfeld and Friends. Instead of producing much-needed new hits, the networks have littered the landscape with money-losing duds like Courting Alex and Emily's Reasons Why Not. Anyone hear of Help Me Help You? It made its debut last fall on ABC, and will next appear as a write-off on the network's balance sheet.

But despite the long years since Friends and Raymond and Will & Grace, the networks still do this one thing better than anyone else; for some reason, the cable channels haven't figured out how to consistently duplicate the formula. Or maybe they don't want to waste the many millions it costs the networks to develop all the shows that don't dent the Nielsen Top 10 or 50 and die before producing a return on the investment.

HBO may have stumbled onto a syndication hit with Sex and the City and will soon have another in Entourage, but its occasional other efforts haven't worked at all; don't wait up for reruns of Lucky Louie or The Comeback at 11 p.m. Remember FX's Starved? I didn't think so.

Going forward, the real problem for the networks will be finding fresh ideas for comedies from the junk heap of pitches and pilots. Even a good Friends episode starts to wear thin after the 50th viewing, I happen to know. It speaks to the scarcity of next-big-things that ABC actually produced a pilot based on a handful of 30-second Geico Cavemen commercials, despite the lack of a coherent narrative, recognizable stars or even a logical concept.

That Cavemen has a good chance to get picked up reflects just how little inspiration drives the network development process. This year's pilots also include CBS's Up All Night, set in a 24-hour diner (think Cheers), NBC's I'm With Stupid, set in a mismatched apartment share (think The Odd Couple), and ABC's Carpoolers, set in the world of carpooling (think of changing the channel). Television comedy ruthlessly feeds on its own rich past, finding stale ways to repeat clever premises, fantasizing about the possibility of a windfall.

But even if the ideas aren't innovative or original, the rewards will register if it works. The King of Queens has sold into syndication, and so has Two and a Half Men. It's remarkable that after a half-century, the network sitcom has yet to progress very far beyond the basic lovable-losers blueprint of The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy, but maybe that's part of the reason network sitcoms remain necessary. They fulfill our need for group experience all of us laughing along with a studio audience at the comforting cadence of sitcom humor.

That's why this fall's network schedules will try again to capitalize on the half-hour format, and will for years, maybe decades to come. They may be endangered species, but networks and sitcoms still feed off each other; as long as comedy writers can squeeze a chuckle out of a rim shot, the networks will survive.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/14/op...gewanted=print
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post #1454 of 98001 Old 05-13-2007, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

The 2007-2008 Season
Sitcoms Are Dead!
Long Live Sitcoms!
By David Blum, critic at large of The New York Sun Op-Ed Contributor to The New York Times May 14, 2007

Going forward, the real problem for the networks will be finding fresh ideas for comedies from the junk heap of pitches and pilots. Even a good Friends episode starts to wear thin after the 50th viewing, I happen to know. It speaks to the scarcity of next-big-things that ABC actually produced a pilot based on a handful of 30-second Geico Cavemen commercials, despite the lack of a coherent narrative, recognizable stars or even a logical concept.

That Cavemen has a good chance to get picked up reflects just how little inspiration drives the network development process.

I was talking to a friend last week who knows one of the writers on the new Cavemen show, and according to him even the writer thinks it's a terrible show to work on.

That really doesn't help.


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The 2007-2008 Season
NBC Will Bring Back All Three Law & Order' Shows
By Bill Carter The New York Times May 14, 2007

NBC Universal has made a last-minute deal to retain all three of its long-running Law & Order series, shifting one, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, to its entertainment cable channel, the USA Network, for the first run of new episodes.

But the show that started it all, the original Law & Order, will be back for an 18th season on the NBC network. That decision represents a reprieve for the show, which had seemed increasingly likely to be canceled over the last few weeks

The deal to extend the Law & Order shows (the third entry, Special Victims Unit, had already been renewed for next season) will be announced formally today, the same day NBC presents its prime-time schedule for next fall to advertisers.

Jeff Zucker, the president of NBC Universal, said yesterday that he had completed the deal with Dick Wolf, the creator and executive producer of all three shows. In a telephone interview, Mr. Zucker said the plan to move original episodes of Criminal Intent to USA, with the repeats then set to play shortly thereafter on NBC, represented a new paradigm for network TV.

In the past, the arrangement has always been the other way around, with the broadcast network getting the first play of a series. Up until now, both Criminal Intent and SVU have played first on NBC, with a second run later the same week on USA.

Mr. Wolf said he was thrilled with the deal because my stated goal has been to keep all three shows up and running. The extension of the original Law & Order was especially important to Mr. Wolf because it keeps alive his long-held hope of eclipsing the record of Gunsmoke, television's longest-running drama, which was on the air for 20 seasons.

Mr. Wolf also said that he was happy to have preserved his company's exclusive deal with NBC Universal. Another cable channel, TNT, which owns the rights to repeats of the original Law & Order, had sought to win the rights to new episodes for next season. Mr. Zucker said that idea was something that was explored, but it never got to the finish line.

The importance of the deal to USA cannot be overstated, Mr. Zucker said. This takes USA, which is already the top-rated cable network, to a whole new level.

He suggested that the deal makes USA akin to a fifth or sixth entertainment network, in competition with the big broadcast networks.

Cable networks, including USA, have presented original series before. The extra significance here, Mr. Zucker said, is that USA is getting an original, well-known top-tier drama.

Both Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent won full 22-episode orders, although most series for cable channels do not produce more than 13. Mr. Wolf said that he had found some budgetary savings to make the deal more viable, but that none of them are going to be apparent to viewers.

He said that Criminal Intent would have no major cast changes, and that while there might be some on Law & Order, they will not be massive.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/14/ar...gewanted=print
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I was talking to a friend last week who knows one of the writers on the new Cavemen show, and according to him even the writer thinks it's a terrible show to work on.

That really doesn't help.


It sure seems like a dreadful idea. But I guess we shall see.
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post #1457 of 98001 Old 05-14-2007, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
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As counterpoint to the earlier observations by David Blum..
The 2007-2008 Season
So Long, Network Primetime Comedy.
It's Been Swell
Special Commentary by Barry Garron in The Hollywood Reporter blog Past Deadline May 14, 2007

A lot can happen in 10 years. The price of DVD players has gone way down and the price of gas has gone way up. Ten years ago, you could impeach a president for lying about sex in the Oval Office; now you can't impeach one for lying about starting a war.Ten years ago, traffic on the 405 was awful and now, well, OK, some things don't change.

Or look at television which, of course, is what you're supposed to do with it. In 10 years, the digital revolution has put TV programs in places where, 10 years ago, there weren't even places.

For those who buy ads, it used to be a question of how many spots and where do you want them. Now when they supersize their order, it means billboards, web sites, content wraps and placement on the judges' table. It's enough to make you nostalgic for the days of CBS coffee mugs at K mart.

Another thing that's changed is the number of half-hour comedies, a trend increasingly obvious with each announcement of new fall network schedules in May. Beginning this week, the five networks will disclose their new and returning shows. Experts predict that each network will have only between four and six half-hour comedies.

By way of comparison, in fall 1997, NBC opened the season with 18 comedies. These days, that could be the sum total across all network schedules. Granted, NBC was the leader in comedies that year but ABC had a dozen and even CBS had 10.

Of course, many of those shows were less than memorable. Only the best TV trivia players and the people who actually worked on them likely can recall anything about Fired Up, Over the Top, Built to Last, Between Brothers, You Wish or Meego, all of which were on either ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox.

But there were strong comedies, as well, such as Everybody Loves Raymond, Mad About You, Frasier, Spin City, Dharma & Greg, Friends and Seinfeld.

So what happened? There are as many theories for the reduction in comedies as for the disappearance of dinosaurs. Lousy writing. Boredom with the multicamera form. Cannibalization of the comedy audience from reruns on cable.

It's probably a little of all that. It's also that half-hour comedies are the most vulnerable genre because they, more than any other form of TV, require patience. Even the best ones need time to find themselves. Given the pressures on network execs, patience can be more rare than the ailments on House.

And let's not forget the viewers and their newfound love affair with reality programs.

With few exceptions, unscripted shows operate on a superficial emotional level. For many viewers, maybe even most, TV remains an escape from reality, a distraction that works best when it involves little concentration and less thought. Reality programs satisfy in that regard more completely than even the least clever sitcoms.

Plus, and you can't possibly overstate the importance of this, reality is cheaper and faster to make. So if viewers are willing to settle for it, networks are only too happy to provide it.

And the victim, as we will see once again in a couple of weeks, is the half-hour comedy.

http://www.pastdeadline.com/
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post #1458 of 98001 Old 05-14-2007, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
Upfront Schedule

The annual Upfronts, where the networks make their fall pitches to advertisers and announce their (preliminary, at least) fall prime time schedules, take place starting this afternoon New York City. Of course you'll get full coverage here all during the Upfronts, as we find out what the networks have planned for the fall.

So keep checking in for the next few days as the mysteries, rumors and fantasies about network TV all become unravelled and revealed.

Here again is the upfront schedule:

NBC Monday May 14 3 PM ET Radio City Music Hall
ABC Tuesday May 15 4 PM ET Lincoln Center
CBS Wednesday May 16 4 PM ET Carnegie Hall
FOX Thursday May 17 4 PM ET City Center
CW Thursday May 17 11 AM ET Madison Square Garden
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If you missed it yesterday, here is the latest version of the buildings blocksd from which NBC is expected to announce it 2007-2008 prime time schedule Monday afternoon:

The 2007-2008 Season
NBC's Plans
Upfront Presentation: Monday May 14 3 PM ET Radio City Music Hall

Renewed for 2007-2008
30 Rock
Deal or No Deal
E R
Football Night In America 17 weeks
Friday Night Lights 22 episodes
Heroes
Las Vegas Tom Selleck replaces James Caan
Law & Order
Law & Order: SVU
Medium
My Name is Earl
The Office (24 episodes including four of 60-minutes?)
Scrubs (18 episode farewell season)
Sunday Night Football 17 weeks

Drama Pickups
Bionic Woman
Chuck
Life
Lipstick Jungle
Journeyman

Comedy Pickups
The IT Crowd

Special Circumstances
Law & Order: Criminal Intent (22 first-run episodes on USA, then repurposed on NBC)

Cancelled
Andy Barker, P.I.
The Black Donnellys
Crossing Jordan
Kidnapped
Raines
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
Twenty Good Years
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The 2007-2008 Season
ABC, Fox skeds call 911
Emphasis on doctors, cops, respectively
By Nellie Andreeva The Hollywood Reporter May 14, 2007

ABC and Fox have firmed up their rosters of new series for next season, handing out pickup papers to 10 and seven new scripted shows, respectively.

Sources on Sunday said that ABC is in talks to pick up an 11th pilot, the 20th Century Fox TV-produced comedy "Miss/Guided," to series, which would become a co-production with ABC Studios.

Additionally, ABC is bringing back two midseason entries -- the drama "October Road" and the comedy "Notes From the Underbelly" -- with 13-episode orders, while Fox has renewed the freshman comedy " 'Til Death."

Meanwhile, the NBC Universal TV Studio-produced "Aliens in America," about a Pakistani Muslim exchange student, has emerged as an unlikely frontrunner on the comedy side at the CW. The pilot from writers Moses Port and David Guarascio, who also are behind NBC's newly ordered comedy series "The IT Crowd," was shot months ago. But according to sources, if it is picked up to series, "Aliens" would not be produced by NBC Uni TV but by the network's sister studios, CBS Paramount Network TV and Warner Bros. TV.

A third CW drama has moved closer to a series order as the network has given the go-ahead for high-level staffing offers to be made on the untitled South Africa project. It joins "Gossip Girl" and "Reaper," which last week were given the OK to do the same.

Meanwhile, CBS is moving ahead with two dramas, the untitled Cynthia Cidre project starring Jimmy Smits and the couple-swinging "Swingtown," both given the green light to start making staffing offers.

Fox's seven new series orders -- four dramas and three comedies -- mirror the network's scorecard from last year. ABC's pickups are also on par with what the network did last season.

ABC is staking an early claim on the titles of the most-buzzed-about new comedy and drama series for next season with orders for the half-hour "Cavemen," based on the characters from the Geico commercials, and the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice."

With ABC going for doctors, Fox went for cops and lawyers, handing series orders to "Canterbury's Law," starring Julianna Margulies; the New Orleans-set cop drama "K-Ville"; and the high-concept detective drama "New Amsterdam."

Fox's picks for next season also include the "Terminator"-themed sci-fi drama "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," which John Wirth has joined as an executive producer.

On the comedy side, Fox went for big names in front of and behind the camera, formally picking up the Kelsey Grammer-Patricia Heaton starrer "Back to You" from Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. The show is rumored to be a potential companion for "Death," a reunion of sorts for Heaton and fellow "Raymond" co-star Brad Garrett, who toplines "Death." The network also ordered Amy Sherman-Palladino's "The Return of Jezebel James," starring Parker Posey, and the Farrelly brothers-produced "The Rules of Starting Over."

In addition to "Practice," ABC also is betting on two drama projects from Greg Berlanti -- the star-studded "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Eli Stone" -- as well as "Cashmere Mafia" starring Lucy Liu, "Pushing Daisies," "Women's Murder Club" and "Big Shots" (formerly the untitled Jon Feldman project).

On the comedy side, "Cavemen" is joined by "Sam I Am," starring Christina Applegate as a woman with amnesia, and the male buddy comedy "Carpoolers."

After six seasons, it's the end of the road for ABC's comedy "George Lopez." The network's freshman comedy "The Knights of Prosperity" also seems unlikely to return because of issues with scheduling and reaching an agreement with Ray Romano, who was to co-star next season (HR 5/10).

Meanwhile, the veteran sitcom "According to Jim" is said to still be in contention.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...d1795a820b4da0
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The 2007-2008 Season
The NBC Schedule?
(One Of Several Floating Around)

I don't guarantee anything about this schedule, but it seems plausible enough to enjoy playing with..

Sunday
7 PM ET Football Night In America
8 PM ET Football Night in America

Monday
8 PM ET/PT Deal or No Deal
9 PM ET/PT Heroes
10 PM ET/PT Journeyman

Tuesday
8 PM ET/PT The Biggest Loser
9 PM ET/PT Lipstick Jungle
10 PM ET/PT Law & Order: SVU

Wednesday
8 PM ET/PT Deal or No Deal
9 PM ET/PT Medium
10 PM ET/PT Law & Order

Thursday
8 PM ET/PT My Name is Earl
8:30 PM ET/PT Scrubs
9 PM ET/PT The Office
9:30 PM ET/PT 30 Rock
10 PM ET/PT E.R.

Friday
8 PM ET/PT Friday Night Lights
9 PM ET/PT Las Vegas
10 PM ET/PT Life

Saturday
8 PM ET/PT NBC Spotlight (Mostly repeats)
9 PM ET/PT NBC Spotlight (Mostly repeats)
10 PM ET/PT NBC Spotlight (Mostly repeats)

Being Held In Reserve:
1 vs. 100
The Baby Borrowers
The Bionic Woman
Chuck
The IT Crowd
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The Business of Television
TV's Future: More Expensive For Viewers
Getting upfront and personal for network advertising dollars
By Scott Collins Los Angeles Times Staff Writer in his the Channel Island TV Industry column, May 14, 2007

Mention the term "TV industry" and people might conjure up a glamorous image of Kate Walsh and Patrick Dempsey in formal attire, splashed by klieg lights. But what really rules the profession is mathematical and dull and not sexy at all. It's those statistics known as ratings, and they're about to form the basis for a major behind-the-scenes battle.

Every network has a research department that slices and dices the numbers from Nielsen Media Research, in hopes of convincing advertisers that tens of millions are watching or, if that fails, that at least a goodly portion of high-income, highly suggestible people ages 18 to 49 are watching. TV research is about as scintillating as an Internal Revenue Service form, but these industry drones do the scut work that winds up paying for Walsh's pedicures and Dempsey's hair gel.

Right now, though, the big TV networks are on a collision course with the advertisers that subsidize their shows, including the big hits like ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," Fox's "American Idol" and NBC's "Heroes." The battle has the potential to get very ugly indeed over the next few weeks. And it's all about ratings or, more specifically, how to measure and assign monetary values to the rapidly dwindling broadcast TV audience in our era of TiVo and the Internet.

Why should you, the average viewer, care?

Because what happens will decide how and what you watch, what devices you watch it on and how much you pay for that privilege. And although no one has all the answers, these questions are going to be decided starting now, not at some fuzzy point in the unseen future.

Today, NBC will officially unveil its fall schedule for advertisers in New York, with other networks following this week. Then the networks' salespeople will enter several weeks of negotiations with advertisers' representatives over the bulk of commercial time, which is bought in advance for the new season an annual rite known as "the upfront." Last year, advertisers salted nearly $9 billion among the five English-language broadcast networks during these preseason negotiations. Both sides seem to agree that the figure will likely be flat or even lower this year, as networks frantically try to hold the line against years of audience erosion.

Of course, advertisers and TV networks have had a love-hate relationship for more than half a century. But this year will bring some key differences.

For the first time, advertisers will come armed with Nielsen data showing how many people actually watch commercials, instead of, say, zapping through them with digital video recorders, which cable and satellite operators had helped push into an estimated 20% of U.S. homes by the end of 2006. (By December, nearly one-third of American homes will have the devices, according to Forrester Research.)

And that's not all. Nielsen has also greatly enlarged the proportion of DVR users in its statistical sample this season. That cuts both ways for the networks: On the one hand, it's bound to make the "live" viewing of broadcasts appear significantly smaller than before. But Nielsen also offers another set of numbers, which includes viewers who save programs on DVR and watch them up to one week later. That naturally boosts the final number, which networks like.

None of this data has been part of the ad-buying derby before, and that's why there could be a few chairs thrown during the conference-room horse trading this time.

Advertisers are demanding to pay only for those viewers who watch a program "live" during its initial broadcast, arguing (correctly, according to recent research) that the vast majority of DVR users skip most ads anyway. Network executives counter that viewers are viewers and that discounting "time-shifted" watching grossly underestimates the true reach of a show. (If the network position sounds crazy to you, just remember this: Despite years of audience erosion, the big broadcasters have until recently persuaded advertisers to pay more each year on a per-viewer basis. Pay more, get less? Yep on the grounds that network TV is the only remaining mass medium.)

"This will be the crux of our impending upfront negotiations," said John Rash, senior vice president at Minneapolis ad firm Campbell Mithun, which represents large ad clients buying network TV time. He added that advertisers want to stick with comparing measurements of "live" viewing "because of how we believe people actually watch TV" (and because, he might have added, it'll inevitably prove cheaper to buy time that way).

But that's just it. How people watch TV is changing faster than even industry analysts can keep up with. Viewers set their own schedules with TiVos. They watch a lot of DVDs, not just of movies but of TV series too. They watch TV on YouTube.com or FunnyOrdie.com. They watch TV on their iPods. And although executives may be pained to hear it, viewers like to watch TV without ads. A few years ago, when he ran the WB Network, Jamie Kellner implied that network viewers who skipped ads were committing a kind of theft. (Maybe the threat of jail time would make you think twice about that bathroom break during your favorite show.)

Is everyone watching TV in all these wacky ways? No, not yet Grandma probably isn't downloading "The Office" on iTunes. But enough people are changing their behavior that the statistics are starting to be affected, and not in ways that network executives like.

"2006 was a big year, as we nearly doubled the households with DVRs, making everyone in the industry sweat, as you're seeing in the prime-time audience drop," Forrester analyst James McQuivey wrote me in an e-mail last week.

Audience drop? Oh, right, about that.

It's not coincidental that this whole debate is unfolding at an atrocious time for the network TV business. Ratings this season have generally been lousy among the key demographic of viewers ages 18 to 49, every network is down this season compared with last year (except for Fox, which is flat), according to Nielsen. And the drop-off has accelerated to downright alarming proportions this spring, as even onetime hits such as "Lost" and "24" have slumped to their lowest ratings ever. NBC earlier this year logged the least-watched week in its history. Not content with that dubious achievement, the network turned around and set another record low the following week.

TV executives have various explanations for the bad numbers. Daylight savings time started three weeks early this year, which made people stay outdoors longer. Fox's monster hit "Idol" continues to upset the harmonic rhythms of the TV gods. There are too many darned repeats. Too many programs stink (compared with when, exactly?). And so on.

But it's clear that DVRs are having more impact than any other single factor on the networks' shaky business model. And everyone knows it.

Advertisers simply aren't going to pay as much as they used to, in absolute terms, for conventional 30-second commercials. And networks are going to have to get a lot more creative about what might be called alternative revenue sources. McQuivey points out that networks are already charging a premium of 20%, on a per-viewer basis, for ads that run with TV shows on the Web, as opposed to those that air on broadcast. And new video-on-demand systems will make ad-skipping impossible.

And guess what? It's only going to get more complicated. Instead of counting their revenue in billions during every spring's upfront, network execs will be forced to squeeze dollars here and there from every iteration of new technology that engineers can devise.

Good news for average viewers: You'll have more choice. Bad news: You'll have more bills.

Sound familiar?

As McQuivey said, "Once the PC and TV get connected, then watch out."

But we don't have to wait till then for things to get interesting. Ad buyers and network suits may have their most crucial talks ever later this month. Some of them might even be more entertaining than what's on TV.

http://www.calendarlive.com/tv/cl-et...?coll=cl-tvent
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post #1463 of 98001 Old 05-14-2007, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
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The Business of Television
Upfront Analysis:
Networks on a Roll or Fixing Holes?
By John Consoli MediaWeek May 14, 2007

Advertisers' budgets for spending on television for the 2007-08 season will be flat to up a few percentage points from last year's $8.75 billion, media buyers said. And when the broadcast networks introduce their fall schedules in New York this week, buyers warned, they will need to offer shows with better hit potential, or dollars will go elsewhere.

Media buyers made a point of saying last week that positioning is not enough to win bigger budgets. The CW, for example, is not guaranteed to get ad dollars simply because it targets younger audiences. Nor will NBC benefit just because it reaches higher income viewers. ABC won't draw more money because it has a few shows drawing buzz. And nor will Fox find advertisers flocking to it because it has once again won the adults 18-49 battle.

In other words, none of the five broadcast networks are immune from potentially losing upfront ad dollars. While most buyers said that the majority of this upfront will be spent on sorting out issues around negotiating currency, the quality of new programming and what the networks want to charge for it will matter more than ever.

Here is a ranking of each broadcast network based on schedule stability (starting with least stable) heading into the upfront.

The CW

The strategy of offering the best programming from the defunct WB and UPN this season did not produce the ratings bonanza the network expected. In fact, The CW ranks below Hispanic network Univision across several major demo groups. With the net losing two of its signature shows, 7th Heaven and Gilmore Girls, and its lone new drama, Runaway, failing this season, there are lots of holes to fill. The CW is in dire need of a show that generates buzz among its core 18-34-year-old audience. That show may be Gossip Girl, a drama based on the book series, about the lives of rich New York City teens and their parents. Other new shows expected to make the cut are Reaper, a dramedy centered around 21-year-old guy who becomes a bounty hunter for the devil; Wild at Heart, a drama about a New York veterinarian, who moves to South Africa; and Aliens in America, a comedy based on a Muslim exchange student who lives with a Wisconsin family.

NBC

The network is still the highest priced, but only the fourth highest-rated among the Big Four. Other than its freshman hit Heroes (and critically acclaimed The Office), NBC has nothing buzzworthy. Many of its dramas are old and tired, and scheduling holes abound. Adding Sunday Night Football helped in fourth quarter, but getting viewers to watch entertainment the rest of the year has been a problem. NBC plans to add several Heroes-type dramas to its fall schedule. One is a remake of The Bionic Woman. Another is Chuck, about a computer-whiz who gets the world's greatest spy secrets embedded into his head. The third is Journeyman, which follows a happily married man who travels back to the past. One possible game changer for NBC could be Lipstick Jungle, which tracks three career-oriented women who will do anything to get ahead. But beyond new shows, NBC will most likely have to drop its pricing even lower in order to maintain it share of upfront dollars.

ABC

The network has been fortunate to have three genuine successes on its scheduleGrey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Lost. Ugly Betty is also a hit, albeit on a lesser scale (ratingswise). Because of these buzz shows, ABC has been steadily increasing its pricing. This may be the year media buyers look to push back because the network still has many holes in its lineup. ABC is counting on a Grey's spinoff and has 13 drama and 15 comedy pilots to pick from. One plus is that ABC reaches a lot of women and it could become an alternative to The CW if it can price itself appropriately.

FOX

The network is not a one-trick pony with American Idol, but close. It was in fourth place in the 18-49 demo race until Idol premiered in January and again propelled it to the top. House is a bona fide hit, and Bones had a solid season. However, 24 and Prison Break suffered ratings declines this season. Fox's Sunday animation block is still strong, but lost 20 percent of its audience in the fall vs. Sunday Night Football. While Fox has had success with new game show, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? on Thursdays (it could pair it with its planned Search for the Next Great American Band in the fall), buyers want to see more scripted fare. Under consideration are The Cure, a medical drama; courtroom drama Canterbury's Law; cop drama The Apostles; and Sarah Connor Chronicles, based on The Terminator movies. With less post-season baseball, Fox will be able to spend more time in October rolling out its new shows in a less disruptive environment.

CBS

Despite having the fewest holes on its schedule, media buyers say CBS' failure to produce a big buzz show has prevented it from significantly boosting its ad rates. Still, CBS has the luxury of making upfront decisions to replace veteran shows with marginal ratings, like Close to Home, rather than worrying about filling huge holes throughout its schedule. The network is losing King of Queens, but could pick up I'm in Hell, a sitcom starring Jason Biggs. Because of its stability, CBS will not be under the gun as much as NBC, ABC or The CW to roll back prices.

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/rec..._id=1003584468
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post #1464 of 98001 Old 05-14-2007, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
New game plan for Friday Night Lights
By William Keck USA TODAY

BEVERLY HILLS Now that it appears NBC is going to give the struggling Friday Night Lights a second chance, its tight-knit cast can shift from trying to save the show to getting people to watch it.

Before an event at the Museum of Television & Radio this spring, star Kyle Chandler, 41, and many of his cast members were confident they'd return for a second year which is not to say each didn't find ways to support the show.

Scott Porter, who plays paraplegic quarterback Jason Street, posted Lights videos and behind-the-scenes clips on his MySpace page. Porter, 27, now encourages people to watch episodes at nbc.com or itunes, tune into summer reruns (starting May 27) or check out the Season 1 DVD (due in late summer). "Anyone who didn't watch because they were scared they couldn't catch up, there are now so many ways."

Minka Kelly, whose character, Lyla, is at the center of a love triangle, is proud of Season 1. "But we have so much more to do."

Peter Berg, who created the 2004 film on which the series was based and serves as an executive producer, wants a new time slot for the show, which NBC tried at different times. "It really comes down to that," Berg says. "After Heroes (on Mondays) would be good. Or Sundays at 9 p.m." He'll find out today, when the network announces its fall schedule.

Executive producer Jason Katims says he wrote the season finale with a second year in mind. The team won the state championship, and Coach Taylor (Chandler) accepted a new coaching gig at Texas Methodist University.

The fall story line will advance several months to late summer, with Coach Taylor coaching at that university, while his wife, Tami, and their daughter, Julie, remain in their small town. Tami (Connie Britton), who learned she was pregnant at season's end, will be close to giving birth.

Britton, 39, is looking forward to having the baby next season and likely (says Katims) tackling the topic of postpartum depression.

As for other possible stories, the cast is intrigued by Julie's sex life. Says Zach Gilford, 25, who plays boyfriend Matt: "I think she should lose her virginity to someone else." Aimee Teegarden, who plays the teen, shyly asks, "Why does Julie have to lose her virginity at all?"

Chandler, sounding like Teegarden's real-life dad, wants nothing to do with the topic. "I don't want to even think about my daughter losing her virginity," says Chandler, teasing Gilford: "But if it's not to Matt, that's a benefit."

http://www.usatoday.com/life/televis...t-lights_N.htm
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post #1465 of 98001 Old 05-14-2007, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
Exit laughing:
NBC retreats from comedy
By Nellie Andreeva The Hollywood Reporter May 14, 2007

It's the sign of the times.

For the first time in almost 30 years, NBC won't have a new comedy series on its fall schedule. And, in a hint of the new direction the broadcast networks will be taking in the face of audience demand for as many originals of their favorite series as possible, NBC's top comedies "The Office" and "My Name Is Earl" will produce 30 and 28 episodes, respectively, next season.

NBC is set to unveil its fall schedule today in New York following down-to-the-wire negotiations that secured the return of two veteran NBC series -- drama "Law & Order" and comedy "Scrubs" -- both of which had had potential suitors, TNT and ABC, respectively. "L&O" has been picked up for 22 episodes, "Scrubs" for 18.

It's been an across-the-board retreat from comedy this pickup season, with only a few new half-hour projects getting series orders by the networks. NBC ended up ordering only one new comedy series, "The IT Crowd," which is said to have received a six-episode order for midseason. Also rumored for midseason is newly greenlighted dramedy "Lipstick Jungle."

"Crowd" and "Lipstick" join four other hourlong projects that NBC picked up to series Thursday: "The Bionic Woman," "Chuck," "Journeyman" and "Life".

Because of dramas' poor repeatability, especially when they are serialized, the broadcast networks have been moving steadily toward running hourlong shows in long stretches of original episodes. If NBC's experiment with "Office" and "Earl" is successful, comedies might follow with bigger annual batches of original episodes than the regular 22-24 per season.

Comedies used to perform much better than dramas in reruns, but with the shows now available on many digital platforms right after they air on TV, on-air repeats are becoming less and less relevant. What's more, long stretches of repeats seriously hurt the series' ratings when they come back with originals, which is the case with "Office" and "Earl," which had a great run in the winter, but suffered in the final portion of the season after weeks of repeats in March and April.

While it's a safe bet that "Office" and "Earl" will stay on Thursday, the rest of NBC's fall schedule was still murky Sunday as the network closely guarded details about its lineup.

For a second consecutive year, "ER," which is going into the second year of a two-year pickup, has been rumored to leave its Thursday 10 p.m. period. While it is possible, observers caution that the 14-year-old show's steep price tag would make such move risky.

A couple of new series with sci-fi elements, "Bionic Woman" and "Journeyman," had been speculated as potential companions for NBC's freshman hit "Heroes" on Mondays, while critical darling "Friday Night Lights" could stay true to its title with a Friday berth.

"Lipstick," based on Candace Bushnell's novel, stars Lindsay Price, Brooke Shields and Kim Raver as trio of successful professional women in New York. NBC Uni TV Studio is producing.

"Crowd," from NBC Uni TV and "American Idol" producer FremantleMedia North America, is a multicamera workplace comedy with single-camera elements that is set at an IT department. With its setting and pedigree, the project, based on a British series, is close to the network's hit comedy "Office."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...a25281f21177a1
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post #1466 of 98001 Old 05-14-2007, 06:13 AM
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Since "Friday Night Lights" airing on Friday nights would deprive the show of one of its key audiences (i.e. people that actually go to high school football games on Friday night, not all of them TiVO or DVR friendly), wouldn't it make more sense to save it until January? NBC could promote the hell out of it during "Sunday Night Football" and then put it on Sundays when NFL season is over. Of course this could turn out to be the next American Dreams or Joan of Arcadia (quality shows that died from low ratings on Sunday and Friday on NBC and CBS, respectively): a two-season crtically acclaimed show that nobody watches.
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post #1467 of 98001 Old 05-14-2007, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Since "Friday Night Lights" airing on Friday nights would deprive the show of one of its key audiences (i.e. people that actually go to high school football games on Friday night, not all of them TiVO or DVR friendly), wouldn't it make more sense to save it until January? NBC could promote the hell out of it during "Sunday Night Football" and then put it on Sundays when NFL season is over. Of course this could turn out to be the next American Dreams or Joan of Arcadia (quality shows that died from low ratings on Sunday and Friday on NBC and CBS, respectively): a two-season crtically acclaimed show that nobody watches.

I've never understood the love affair the critics have with FNL. I tried it and I think I probably represent the majority, it just didn't hold my interest and is a show I just doubt I'd ever watch.
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post #1469 of 98001 Old 05-14-2007, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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The 2006-2007 Season
Upcoming Season (and Series) Finales

Monday, May 14
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Two and a Half Men (CBS)
CSI: Miami (CBS)n
King of Queens (CBS)
Everybody Hates Chris (CW)
All of Us (CW)
The Game (CW)

Tuesday, May 15
Gilmore Girls (series finale CW)

Wednesday, May 16
Criminal Minds (CBS)
CSI: NY (CBS)
Medium (NBC)
Crossing Jordan (NBC)
Bones (Fox)
America's Next Top Model (CW)

You always access this information at the bottom of post #4 on the HOTP thread here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&#post10367392
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post #1470 of 98001 Old 05-14-2007, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebkell View Post

I've never understood the love affair the critics have with FNL. I tried it and I think I probably represent the majority, it just didn't hold my interest and is a show I just doubt I'd ever watch.

To each his own I guess, I happen to think this is one of the best shows on tv right now.
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