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Hot Off The Press! The Latest Television News and Info - Page 101  

post #3001 of 25503
Thread Starter 
CBS Announces its 2005-2006 Prime Time Schedule
(source: CBS via thefutoncritic)

The CBS Television Network, riding a wave of momentum in all ratings categories, introduced six new series today designed to strengthen an already dominant primetime line-up and continue its ratings leadership.
The six new series feature a unique mixture of concepts and genres, including a sci-fi adventure, a suspense thriller, a paranormal drama with an emotional twist, a Jerry Bruckheimer crime drama set in the suburbs and two ensemble comedies. The freshmen series are THRESHOLD, CRIMINAL MINDS, GHOST WHISPERER, CLOSE TO HOME, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and OUT OF PRACTICE.

They will join a line-up featuring more top 20 hits than any other network and a leadership position in every program genre. CBS will return television's #1 drama and scripted series, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION; the #1 returning comedy, TWO AND A HALF MEN; the #1 news magazine, 60 MINUTES; and the premiere reality series SURVIVOR and the two-time Emmy Award-winning THE AMAZING RACE.

CBS will win the 2004-2005 season by nearly three million viewers ahead of second place ABC -- the largest margin any network has held in 16 years. The Network is also #1 in adults 25-54 for the second consecutive year and is #1 in adults 18-49 with regularly scheduled programming for the first time in 30 years. CBS is also in a virtual tie with Fox for first in adults 18-49 with all programming.


CBS's powerful Thursday night line-up of SURVIVOR, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION and WITHOUT A TRACE returns intact. The Network is #1 on Thursday in viewers for the third consecutive season, with an 8 million viewer lead over NBC, and is first in both adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 for the first time in 20 years.

On Monday, CBS made two key scheduling moves to sustain the Network's leadership position in the post-"Everybody Loves Raymond" era. THE KING OF QUEENS returns to Monday at 8:00 PM, where it previously dominated the time period, and TWO AND A HALF MEN, which is the first show ever to build on "Everybody Loves Raymond's" demos, moves to 9:00 PM, establishing protected time periods to introduce two promising new comedies. At 8:30 PM, CBS is scheduling the unique comedy HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, which is told through flashbacks from the future, and at 9:30 PM CBS will premiere the ensemble comedy OUT OF PRACTICE about a family of doctors. The night's #1 show in all key categories, CSI: MIAMI, caps the line-up at 10:00 PM.

On Tuesday, CBS is introducing one new show to its growing Tuesday line-up. Designed to capitalize on the momentum of NCIS and the strong demo lead-in from THE AMAZING RACE at 9:00 PM, the new suburban crime drama CLOSE TO HOME is being scheduled at 10:00 PM.

One new drama is also being added to CBS's revitalized Wednesday. The suspense thriller CRIMINAL MINDS will be broadcast at 9:00 PM, forming a compelling and compatible two-hour block of drama with CSI: NY at 10:00 PM. CSI: NY dethroned "Law & Order" as the time period winner last season.

The newly modeled Friday night line-up introduces a diverse and compelling blend of dramas starting at 8:00 PM with the emotional paranormal drama GHOST WHISPERER, followed by the alien invasion adventure THRESHOLD at 9:00 PM, and culminating with NUMB3RS, which finished its freshmen season as the night's #1 show in all key categories, at 10:00 PM.

CBS also announced that it has ordered two new midseason series -- EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT MEN, starring Jenna Elfman, and THE UNIT, from acclaimed writer David Mamet and Shawn Ryan, executive producer of "The Shield."

The new dramas are (all times ET/PT):

GHOST WHISPERER (Friday, 8:00 PM) stars Jennifer Love Hewitt ("Party of Five") in a drama, inspired by the work of famed medium James Van Praagh, about Melinda Gordon (Hewitt), a young newlywed with the unique ability to communicate with the earthbound spirits of people who have died and who seek her help. Melinda uses her gift to relay significant messages and important information to the living, but sometimes the messages she receives are intense and confusing. As a result, she is often met with questions and skepticism by the survivors. But when Melinda is able to help both the lost souls who contact her and those who are still alive, she knows that her unique talent is an asset and not a liability. David Conrad ("Profiler") and Aisha Tyler ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") also star. John Gray ("Helter Skelter," "Martin & Lewis"), Ian Sander and Kim Moses ("Profiler") are executive producers for Touchstone Television in association with Paramount Network Television.

THRESHOLD (Friday, 9:00 PM) stars Carla Gugino ("Sin City"), Charles S. Dutton ("Something the Lord Made"), Brian Van Holt ("House of Wax"), Robert Patrick Benedict ("Felicity") and Brent Spiner ("The Aviator") in a suspenseful drama about a team of experts who are assembled when the U.S. Navy makes a chilling discovery: an extra terrestrial craft has landed in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey (Gugino) is a government contingency analyst whose job is to devise response plans for worst-case scenarios. When her plan called THRESHOLD is activated upon the news of the UFO, she and her hand-picked team of eclectic specialists get to work deciphering the intention of the craft and preparing for the possibility of a crisis situation -- an alien invasion. Brannon Braga ("Enterprise"), David Heyman ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban") and David Goyer ("Blade: Trinity") are executive producers for Paramount Network Television.

CLOSE TO HOME (Tuesday, 10:00 PM) stars Jennifer Finnigan ("The Bold and the Beautiful") in a legal drama that tears away the facade of suburbia to reveal that sometimes quiet and tranquil streets can hide the darkest of crimes. Annabeth Chase (Finnigan) is a young, aggressive prosecutor with a perfect conviction record who tries the cases that take place in her own backyard. Returning to work after having her first child, Annabeth is ready to take on the most difficult cases, fueled by her passion to protect her community and her family. Kimberly Elise ("Diary of a Mad Black Woman"), John Carroll Lynch ("The Drew Carey Show") and Christian Kane ("Friday Night Lights") also star. Jerry Bruckheimer ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Without A Trace"), Jonathan Littman ("Cold Case," "The Amazing Race"), Jim Leonard ("Thieves") and Simon West ("Lara Croft: Tomb Raider") are executive producers for Jerry Bruckheimer Television in association with Warner Bros. Television.

CRIMINAL MINDS (Wednesday, 9:00 PM) stars Emmy and Tony Award winner Mandy Patinkin ("Chicago Hope"), Thomas Gibson ("Dharma & Greg") and Daytime Emmy Award winner Shemar Moore ("The Young and the Restless") in a suspense thriller about an elite squad of FBI profilers who analyze the country's most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next move before they strike again. Each member of the team brings their own area of expertise to the table as they pinpoint predators' motivations and identify their emotional triggers in order to stop them. Matthew Gubler ("The Life Aquatic") and Lola Glaudini ("The Sopranos") also star. Mark Gordon ("The Day After Tomorrow," "Grey's Anatomy") and Ed Bernero ("Third Watch") are executive producers, and Jeff Davis and Deborah Spera ("Fathers and Sons") are co-executive producers for Touchstone Television in association with Paramount Network Television.

The new comedies are (all times ET/PT):

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (Monday, 8:30 PM) is a comedy about Ted (Josh Radnor) and how he fell in love. It all started when Ted's best friend, Marshall (Jason Segel, "Freaks and Geeks"), drops the bombshell that he's going to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Lily (Alyson Hannigan, "American Pie"), a kindergarten teacher. At that moment, Ted realizes that he had better get a move on if he hopes to find true love, too. Helping him in his quest is Barney (Neil Patrick Harris, "Doogie Howser, M.D."), a friend with endless, sometimes outrageous, opinions, a penchant for suits and a fool-proof way to meet women. When Ted meets Robin (Cobie Smulders, "Veritas: The Quest"), he's sure it's love at first sight, but destiny may have something else in store. With voice-over by Bob Saget ("Full House"), the show is told through flashbacks from the future. Carter Bays & Craig Thomas ("Late Show with David Letterman") are executive producers for Twentieth Century Fox Television.

OUT OF PRACTICE (Monday, 9:30 PM) is a comedy about a family of physicians who share the same profession but have little else in common. Ben Chase (Christopher Gorham, "Felicity") is an earnest young couples' counselor whose family doesn't consider him to be a "real" doctor because he doesn't have "M.D." after his name. But despite their lofty credentials, Ben might be the best prescription for the future of this family. Stockard Channing ("The West Wing"), Henry Winkler ("Happy Days"), Ty Burrell, ("In Good Company") and Paula Marshall ("Spin City") also star. Joe Keenan ("Frasier") and Christopher Lloyd ("Frasier") are executive producers for Paramount Network Television. Multiple Emmy Award winner Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier") directed the pilot.

The midseason series are:

EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT MEN stars Jenna Elfman ("Dharma & Greg") in a comedy about Bex Atwell (Elfman), an attractive secretary with simple goals: find true love, have an exciting career and a normal relationship with her father. But in a world where men behave like, wellmen, she realizes that she may be overly ambitious. Now, Bex is determined to figure out what men are all about while wondering why women even bother to try to understand them in the first place. Brady Smith ("Just Pray"), Hugh Bonneville ("Doctor Zhivago"), Rhea Seehorn ("Romy and Michele: In the Beginning"), Lauren Tom ("Friends") and Dabney Coleman ("Nine to Five") also star. Fred Barron ("According to Bex," "Caroline in the City") is the executive producer for Touchstone Television in association with Paramount Network Television. Multiple Emmy Award winner James Burrows directed the pilot.

THE UNIT stars Dennis Haysbert ("24"), Scott Foley ("Felicity"), Robert Patrick ("The X-Files") and Golden Globe Award winner Regina Taylor ("I'll Fly Away") in an action drama that follows a covert team of special forces operatives as they risk their lives on undercover missions around the globe, while their families maintain the homefront, protecting their husbands' secrets. Max Martini ("Saving Private Ryan"), Michael Irby ("Piñero"), Demore Barnes ("The Associates"), Abby Brammell ("Revenge of The Middle-Aged Woman") and Amy Acker ("Catch Me If You Can") also star. Pulitzer Prize-winning and two-time Academy Award-nominated writer David Mamet ("Glengarry Glen Ross") and Emmy Award-nominated writer Shawn Ryan ("The Shield") are executive producers for Twentieth Century Fox Television.
post #3002 of 25503
Thread Starter 
New Season: CBS Picks Up Sixpack
By John Eggerton Broadcasting & Cable

CBS has added six new shows--four dramas and two ensemble comedies--but went out of its way to point out that its "powerful Thursday night" remains intact when it released its new season schedule Wednesday.

That appeared to be a response to both ABC and The WB, which vowed in their schedule announcements to make that night more competitive.

CBS will do some remaking on Monday to retain its strength there, moving its top sitcom, Two and a Half Men, which has flourished as the lead-out to Everybody Loves Raymond, to Raymond's 9 p.m. slot now that Raymond has ended its run.

CBS is also slating two new comedies at 8:30--after King of Queens--and at 9:30 after Two and a Half Men, sheltering both with strong lead-ins.

The 8:30 show is How I met Your Mother, "told through flashbacks from the future," and at 9:30, Out of Practice "about a family of doctors."

The new series include yet another drama from Jerry Bruckheimer, the busiest man on TV, though no new reality shows.

The newcomers, in addition to the two comedies above, are Threshold, Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, and Close to Home.

Among the shows not returning are the low-rated 60 Minutes Wednesday, sitcom Listen Up as well as Raymond and JAG, which both ended their network runs this year.

For midseason are comedies Everything I Know About Men, starring Jenna Elfman, and drama, The Unit.
post #3003 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Upfront and center

Network executives and celebrities gather in Manhattan this week, making their best pitch to advertisers about the new 2005-06 season in an annual ritual known as the upfront. Los Angeles Times reporters are filing the latest updates about prime-time shows, flashy presentations and parties here.

By Shawn Hubler, The Los Angeles Times with a dispatch from Matea Gold in New York . Day 3 .

So long, "60 Minutes Wednesday." And "Joan." And "Amy." And Jason, too

May 18, 10 a.m. EDT

CBS is cancelling the newsmagazine that generated so much controversy, but the reason is not what you think, says the network: It's on a mission to young-up its audience, and so is canceling four out of five of its oldest-skewing shows.

Gone are "Joan of Arcadia," "Judging Amy," the Jason Alexander sitcom "Listen Up" and Wednesday's edition of "60 Minutes." Yes, the one that spawned "Rathergate." And one of the venues that was supposed to be Dan Rather's post-anchorman home.

CBS Chairman and Viacom Co-President Leslie Moonves said this morning that the show's cancellation wasn't linked to the controversy over its infamous Sept. 8 segment on President Bush's Air National Guard service.

Moonves said Rather would continue to work for "60 Minutes" on Sundays.

"Unfortunately, '60 Minutes Wednesday' was down in every single category," Moonves told reporters gathered in a studio on the 19th floor of CBS headquarters. No matter that Rather just won a prestigious Peabody Award for CBS' Abu Ghraib prison story, which aired on the same newsmagazine last year.

People weren't watching.

Moonves said the newsmagazine was down 14% "across the board in every single demo."

"It was the oldest skewing show on the schedule," Moonves added. "This was a ratings call, not a content call."
post #3004 of 25503
Thread Starter 
By Virginia Heffernan Television Critic of The New York Times at the Television Upfronts


Let the Healing Begin

What I realized about ABC yesterday is that there's genius in Stephen McPherson's emphasis on what Mr. McPherson, the president of ABC Entertainment, calls "the shared experience, the guilty pleasure, the thrill ride."

Prime-time network television is about just that: sharing, caring, pleasure, thrills, feeling good. It's not about the divisive, wiseacre NBC concepts, "upscale" and "redneck."

Especially not now. Network television has got to address and, sure, I'm under the sentimental spell of these upfronts America's desire to be whole again. At, literally, the end of the day, in primetime, Americans want to feel better, to calm the bipolar jumpiness that came with the presidential election, to heal the red/blue stress fractures and to settle the values battles that make neighbors seem like aliens.

So Mr. McPherson, who called "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (and not "Lost" or "Desperate Housewives") exemplary of the network's aesthetic, knew there was no percentage in claiming that ABC is some kind of arts foundation. NBC had gone this route, harping on upscaleness and shows it considered ironic ("My Name Is Earl") or bold ("The Office"). In taking this approach at the upfront, NBC just make television seem. . .well, not very relaxing. Kind of threatening, actually.

But when you turn to ABC after a day spent wondering, say, whether you're nuts for still being an atheist in our evangelical nation or whether your neighbor's the lunatic for studying all the extras on the "Passion of the Christ" DVD you find out you're not crazy. And neither is he. Both of you could be candidates for ABC's new reality show "Welcome to the Neighborhood" (which puts diverse families together and teaches them to get along), and you'd learn a lot from each other. Though tears might be shed, you'd both be better people, better Americans, for it.

Television. Making American whole again. Nice work, ABC.
post #3005 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Tuesday's prime-time program ratings have been posted at the top of Latest News the first item in this thread.
post #3006 of 25503
Thread Starter 
For CBS, departing from tried and true
Fall lineup of four new dramas and two comedies

CBS's schedule has been very predictable the past few years as it became more competitive among adults 18-49: introduce new shows that mirror its biggest drama hit, CSI, and its biggest comedy hit, Everybody Loves Raymond, in those demos.

To that end, there were many new police procedurals and sitcoms about bumbling husbands and beautiful wives.

Now that CBS is challenging for the season title in 18-49s, it finally seems ready to take more chances. And its new schedule, unveiled early this morning, reflects that. Of the six new shows on the fall schedule, four dramas and two comedies, none fit the CSI or Raymond mold.

Of course a few do resemble shows on other networks that are very popular among 18-49s. Jennifer Love Hewitt's psychic drama Ghost Whisperer sounds a lot like NBC's Medium. Close to Home sounds like a cross between ABC's Desperate Housewives and Boston Legal. And Threshold is the fourth drama introduced thus far in the upfront to deal with supernatural phenomena.

In a further nod to its new focus on 18-49s, CBS also has shed long-running Judging Amy, along with low-rated Joan of Arcadia, Listen Up and Wednesday's 60 Minutes II, considered endangered since last fall's botched report on President Bush.

The new schedule features lots of new shows but few big changes among returning shows. All the shuffles came among the returning comedies, moved around to accommodate Raymond's exit.

King of Queens moves back to Monday at 8 after two years on Wednesday. It's followed at 8:30 by How I Met Your Mother, a sitcom starring Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan told via flashback.

As expected, Two and a Half Men moves into Raymond's 9 p.m. slot. New comedy Out of Practice, about a family of doctors including Henry Winkler and Stockard Channing, takes Men's old 9:30 slot. CSI: Miami remains at 10.

NCIS and Amazing Race return at 8 and 9 on Tuesday. The new legal drama Close takes Amy's 10 p.m. spot.

Wednesday gets a new look with former Monday leadoff Still Standing at 8 and Yes Dear at 8:30, bumping 60 Minutes II. New drama Criminal Minds, about FBI profilers, takes the 9 p.m. slot, followed by the returning CSI: NY.

Thursday remains the same with Survivor, CSI and Without a Trace.

Friday gets a big makeover with Whisperer leading off the night at 8 and Threshold, about a spacecraft that lands in the Atlantic Ocean, at 9. Mild midseason hit Numb3rs returns at 10.

CBS did not change Saturday or Sunday. Saturday features crime drama repeats at 8 and 9, followed by 48 Hours at 10. Sunday's lineup is 60 Minutes at 7, Cold Case at 8 and the two-hour Sunday Night Movie at 9.

CBS also ordered two series for midseason: The comedy Everything I Know About Men starring Jenna Elfman and the special forces drama The Unit with Dennis Haysbert (24).
post #3007 of 25503
Thread Starter 
For Fox, expect a big push in dramas
Imprint of new chief Peter Liguori for next season
By Toni Fitzgerald medialifemagazine.com

As president of FX, Fox's cable sister, new Fox entertainment president Peter Liguori revived the network with high-rated and critically adored dramas like Nip/Tuck and The Shield. Liguori's knack for picking smart dramas should be very much in evidence when Fox announces its new fall season Thursday morning.

The network reportedly has ordered four new dramas, one of them among the most ambitious pilots attempted in the past few years, chronicling a group of friends as they age over 20 years.

Those dramas will help patch a Fox schedule that has the biggest primetime franchise in "American Idol" but very few consistent timeslot winners in the fall when Idol is off.

Outgoing Fox entertainment president Gail Berman's fingerprints will still be seen on some of the schedule.

Low-rated Berman favorites Arrested Development and Bernie Mac will be back, for example. But Liguori seems determined to put his FX-like imprint on the schedule that he inherited just two months ago, hence the ambitious slate of dramas.

What follows is a look at Fox's likely schedule for the coming season, based on a variety of sources, from analyses by the big media agencies to what the network has said to snippets of speculation by media buyers. The network formally announces it schedule tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday need the most help. On Tuesdays, House, which got a tremendous boost airing after "Idol" this spring, should be capable of decent ratings on its own. But Fox needs a strong show in the 8 p.m. slot until "Idol" returns in January.

The network has already given a pick-up to Prison Break, a drama about a man trying to free his brother from death row. Other dramas rumored to be getting orders include the intriguing Reunion, which follows friends from high school graduation to their 20-year reunion, Bones, about a forensic anthropologist, and Head Cases, with Chris O'Donnell as an attorney recovering from a nervous breakdown.

Fox will have four new comedies: Kitchen Confidential, about a bad boy chef, The War at Home, about raising two teenagers, The Loop, about a Chicagoan taking his first real job, and Freebirds, about a college grad who returns home to the Midwest. The latter two will likely debut at midseason.

24 will remain on Monday, though it may not debut until midseason once again. Trading Spouses could pair with one of the new dramas on that night.

On Tuesday Bones seems like a good match for House. Fox will likely have all comedies on Wednesday, where That 70s Show returns, as does, in somewhat of a surprise, the Pamela Anderson sitcom Stacked.

Kitchen Confidential and The War at Home could fill out the night.

After The O.C. Thursday at 8, Fox will likely put one of the dramas. Reunion or Head Cases seem most likely.

Friday needs major help. Fox has tried dramas and comedy here the past three seasons and nothing has worked. Prison Break may land here, along with incumbent Bernie Mac.

Saturday will stay the same with Cops and America's Most Wanted.

King of the Hill and Malcolm and the Middle should both return at 7 and 7:30 on Sundays, with The Simpsons following. Arrested could stay at 8:30 or perhaps move to Wednesday or Friday.

Family Guy should stay at 9, with American Dad's fate less certain. "Mac" could certainly relocate here, though its production may depend on star Bernie Mac's health. He was ill earlier this year.

Of course, Fox also has an ambitious summer reality slate. If any of those shows do well, they could extend into the fall. More so than any other network, Fox has a history of playing around with its schedule before fall, meaning anything promised this week may change by mid-July.
post #3008 of 25503
I'm going to predict doom for any show up against a stalwart with the same demographic:

- Criminal Minds is as good as sunk against Lost. The demo isn't identical, but Lost is a juggernaught.
- The Night Stalker is doomed against CSI. (Thanks NBC, you took MY idea and screwed it up with the schedule, just like the first time around!)
- Emily's Reason Why Not won't get off the ground in January against Two And A Half Men.
- Close To Home won't find any more viewers for a legal drama against Boston Legal and L&O:SVU
- Alias would have done well against Survivor and Joey/Will & Grace, except Jennifer Garner's pregnancy will sink it before the fall.
- Friday wasn't kind to Enterprise (admittedly on less watched UPN), but I suspect Threshold won't have the sci-fi viewers to draw from either.

+ Fathom has a chance against MNF/The Bachelor and King Of Queens/How I Met Your Mother.
+ How I Met Your Mother has a chance against MNF/The Bachelor and Fathom.
+ Out of Practice could blow away Jake In Progress if it's even mediocre, and with a head start against MNF.
+ What About Brian doesn't cross demographics with CSI: Miami, so it might have a shot.
+ If Ghost Whisperer is the least bit compelling (and not solving crimes could shove it either way), there will be a lot of people watching just to avoid Supernanny and Three Wishes.

? Freddie may get a shot against Yes, Dear, but the demo might be different enough to support both.
? Invasion could struggle against CSI:NY, but if they start it early with hype, and it's decent, it could strike at the heart of the weak CSI little brother.

post #3009 of 25503
Thread Starter 
I rarely post stories about cast changes here (especially changes as inconsequential as the one I am about to post) but I still miss "Ed" and so...

Julie Bowen Bounces to 'Boston'

By Rick Porter

(zap2it.com)--With appearances on two ABC series under her belt this season, Julie Bowen will make the network her full time home come fall.

The former "Ed" star will join the cast of "Boston Legal" for its second season, ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson told reporters Tuesday (May 17) at a press conference announcing the network's 2005-06 schedule. Meanwhile, Rhona Mitra and Monica Potter are leaving the show.

"Boston Legal" will begin its second season on a new night (10 p.m. ET Tuesdays) with five episodes left over from this year, thanks to the success of "Grey's Anatomy" in its former Sunday timeslot. McPherson says it's possible some scenes from those five shows will be reshot to include Bowen.

Details on her character are scant thus far. McPherson says that creator David E. Kelley is hoping to add a stronger female perspective to the show through her and Candice Bergen, who joined the series midway through this season and will also return. "I think he wants to get some of that 'Ally McBeal' voice out," McPherson says.

Bowen had a recurring part on ABC's comedy "Jake in Progress" this year, playing a woman who won a "Swan"-like TV makeover contest and became involved with the title character (John Stamos). She also guest-starred on an episode of "Lost," playing Jack's (Matthew Fox) bride-to-be.
post #3010 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Nets Put a Hit on Joey
Fall slates for ABC and the WB target NBC on Thursday
(From Stephen Battaglio's The Biz column at TVGuide.com)

Look out, NBC: Everyone is coming after a piece of Thursday.

ABC and WB, which both presented their 2005-06 fall lineups to advertisers on Tuesday, are moving established shows to the night once owned by the Peacock.

Alias is being parked at 8 pm by ABC. WB is moving Smallville into the hour, followed by Everwood at 9. Neither network can be expecting to take a chunk out of CBS, which is now No. 1 on Thursday with the resilient Survivor, CSI and Without a Trace. But after the ratings tumble Joey, Will & Grace and The Apprentice took in the past year, new competitors are smelling blood, just as Fox did last year when it moved The O.C. to the night.

Why are so many big shows moving to Thursday? Even a modest ratings success with young viewers can mean an ad-revenue bonanza to the network. Movie studios drive up the demand for Thursday ad time because they want to promote new releases to the audience that will be making their dates for that weekend. And retailers want viewers before weekend shopping begins.
post #3011 of 25503

Originally posted by fredfa
Why are so many big shows moving to Thursday? Even a modest ratings success with young viewers can mean an ad-revenue bonanza to the network. Movie studios drive up the demand for Thursday ad time because they want to promote new releases to the audience that will be making their dates for that weekend. And retailers want viewers before weekend shopping begins.

More proof that TiVo and TiVo-like devices and accessories are rapidly becoming "must have" devices for watching TV.
post #3012 of 25503
Thread Starter 
I guess people older than 49 don't go to stores on weekends.

(And that philosophy about reaching young viewers to get them to go to the movies has been doing really well this year, hasn't it?)
post #3013 of 25503
Thread Starter 
By Virginia Heffernan Television Critic of The New York Times at the Television Upfronts


Leslie Moonves, the great-nephew of David Ben-Gurion, a founder and the first prime minister of the state of Israel, showed his family grit over bagels at Black Rock, the CBS headquarters, this morning.

The co-president of Viacom is known for his charm with the press, for whom this meeting is arranged annually. He should also be known for his contempt for NBC. Having joked about the macabre overtones of the word "unveiling," Mr. Moonves said that it might have been the mot juste to describe the television schedule announced on Monday at NBC's upfront.

The jocky journalists in the room cried "Hey yo!" in mock disapproval for the slam on the competition. But, really, they couldn't get enough of this guy.

"We're happy to give Jeff Zucker his only hit this year," Mr. Moonves continued, referring to the president of NBC Universal and "Medium," a successful drama for that network that was produced by Paramount, which is owned by Viacom.

Hey-yo! The room's turning ugly!

This must be how real men, people who work at a place called Black Rock, talk.

And it did seem like the big leagues, this place, the No. 1 network with adults, and the home of "Survivor" and "CSI."

The CBS upfront starts at 3 p.m at Carnegie Hall. I can hardly wait for more of this belligerence and adrenaline and Zucker-bashing.

But the upfront won't tell the whole story, apparently. Mr. Moonves exhorted us to watch the new pilots in their entirety. And not just the "seven-minute cut-downs," he added. Because they are strong, bold, brilliant, courageous, victorious television shows.

"There's no hiding-the-weenie here," Mr. Moonves said.

Evidently not.
post #3014 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Frank Gorshin Dies at 72
Actor played The Riddler in "Batman" television series
From Associated Press

The Los Angeles Times May 18, 2005

Actor Frank Gorshin, the impressionist with 100 faces best known for his Emmy-nominated role as The Riddler on the old "Batman" television series, has died. He was 72.

Gorshin's wife of 48 years, Christina, was at his side when he died Tuesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, his agent and longtime friend, Fred Wostbrock, said today.

"He put up a valiant fight with lung cancer, emphysema and pneumonia," Mrs. Gorshin said in a statement.

Despite dozens of television and movie credits, Gorshin will be forever remembered for his role as The Riddler, Adam West's villainous foil in the question mark-pocked green suit and bowler hat on "Batman" from 1966-69.

"It really was a catalyst for me," Gorshin recalled in a 2002 Associated Press interview. "I was nobody. I had done some guest shots here and there. But after I did that, I became a headliner in Vegas, so I can't put it down."

West said the death of his longtime friend was a big loss.

"Frank will be missed," West said in a statement. "He was a friend and fascinating character."

Gorshin earned another Emmy nominations one for a guest shot on "Star Trek."

In 2002, Gorshin portrayed George Burns on Broadway in the one-man show "Say Goodnight Gracie." He used only a little makeup and no prosthetics.

"I don't know how to explain it. It just comes," he said. "I wish I could say, 'This is step A, B and C.' But I can't do that. I do it, you know. The ironic thing is I've done impressions all my life -- I never did George Burns."

Gorshin's final performance will be broadcast on Thursday's CBS-TV series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

Born in Pittsburgh, Gorshin broke into show business in New York. He did more than 40 impressions, including Al Jolson, Kirk Douglas, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin and James Cagney.

Later, he took his impressions to "The Ed Sullivan Show" on a memorable evening -- the same night the Beatles were featured. He did impressions in Las Vegas showrooms, opening for Bobby Darin, paving the way for other impressionists like Rich Little.

Sammy Davis Jr. said it was Gorshin who taught him to do impressions, Wostbrock said.

"He said you had to look like them and walk like them. Once you get that down, the voice comes easy," he said.

Gorshin's movie roles included "Bells are Ringing" (1960) with his idol Dean Martin and a batch of fun B-movies such as "Hot Rod Girl" (1956), "Dragstrip Girl" (1957) and "Invasion of the Saucer Men" (1957).

"He was fun, fascinating, wild and always a class act," Wostbrock said. "Here's a guy who always wore great clothes, stood up when a woman walked into the room -- he was a gentleman. We did all our deals with a handshake. There was never a signed contract."

His other TV credits included roles on "General Hospital, "The Edge of Night" and "The Munsters" as well as guest appearances on "Donny & Marie," "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," "Murder, She Wrote," "The Fall Guy," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," "Wonder Woman," "Charlie's Angels" and "Police Woman."

Besides his wife, Gorshin leaves his son Mitchell Gorshin of Orlando, Fla., and sister Dottie Roland of Pittsburgh.

Wostbrock said the funeral would be private and Gorshin would be buried in the family plot in Pittsburgh.
post #3015 of 25503
"paving the way for other impressionists like Rich Little." not to mention Jim Carrey who seems to not only follow in his foot steps as the Riddler but also got his start as a comedian doing impressions. Gorshin was also an excellent actor as well who never feared working close to the edge of over the top. As a fan I was always impressed by his work on Batman and Star Trek maybe one day we will get our Batman DVD's.
post #3016 of 25503
Thread Starter 
You are right.
Frank Gorshin was a very, very influential talent, adash66.
(And welcome to the thread!)
post #3017 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Without Grace, Kutcher, `'70s' should be 86'd

By Maureen Ryan Chicago Tribune staff reporter May 18, 2005

"That '70s Show" isn't ending its run on Wednesday (7 p.m., WFLD-Ch. 32). But it should.

Not that it's in anyone's interest to shove such an amiable comedy off the airwaves, but stars Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher are leaving the show after the seventh season ends Wednes-day. The "'70s" won't be the same without them.

Kutcher may be back for occasional appearances in Season 8, but since his comically stupid Michael Kelso is such an integral part of the show, it makes little sense to soldier on with-out him as a major player. Grace, whose Eric Forman has been such a worthy Wisconsin everyman for all these years, won't be coming back at all; in the finale, his character goes off to take a humanitarian job in Africa.

The rest of the "That '70s Show" ensemble is talented and obviously very comfortable working together, but these two actors were the heart and soul of the show. It's hard to imagine that a show centered on Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson) or Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) would have the same drawing power.

Still, at least Forman and Kelso get a worthy sendoff in Wednesday's one-hour episode. For-man's girlfriend, Donna (Laura Prepon), gives him a comical "Star Wars"-related going-away gift, and Kelso, is, well, Kelso (suffice to say his behind is exposed more than once). Meanwhile, Hyde wrestles with an ultimatum from Jackie (Mila Kunis), who wants to get married. Hyde's not so keen on it.

"Love is for losers who are afraid to be alone," Hyde fumes.

"Ah, no, you're thinking of kittens," Forman answers. And as always, Grace's comic timing is perfect.

Though there's an extended scene of parental rage when Forman's parents discover exactly what has been going on in the basement all these years -- "And here I thought it was my dryer that made our clothes smell funny," Forman's mom fumes.

"That '70s Show" has never really been merely a chronicle of '70s-era Midwestern pot dabblers.

It is about finding your way into adulthood with your friends gathered around you, preferably in your parents' basement, and having some laughs along the way.

It has always been gently funny stuff, but quite probably less funny next year.
post #3018 of 25503
Thread Starter 
'60 Minutes' spin-off canceled

CBS chief says that the Wednesday installment of the popular newsmagazine was not dropped because of its controversial report on George W. Bush's Vietnam-era service in the National Guard
By Matea Gold Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- CBS announced today that it is canceling "60 Minutes Wednesday," a spin-off of its venerable Sunday night newsmagazine that ignited a crisis at the network after relying on unsubstantiated documents for a story last fall about President Bush's service in the National Guard.

CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves said the decision to drop the program had nothing to do with the political storm surrounding the Sept. 8 report by Dan Rather alleging that Bush got preferential treatment during his Vietnam-era stint with the Texas Air National Guard. The network later apologized for the story, saying it could not authenticate the documents it had cited.

But Moonves said he was more concerned that the newsmagazine had older viewers a undesirable demographic for advertisers and had dropped 14% in its overall ratings compared to the same period last year.

"It was the oldest-skewing show on the schedule," Moonves told reporters at an early morning breakfast briefing at CBS' Manhattan headquarters. He announced the show's cancellation while unveiling the network's prime-time line-up for the fall.

"If '60 Minutes Wednesday' was a 10 rating, it would be on the air," he said. "It was a ratings issue and not a content issue at all, not even in the slightest."

Rather, who has reported for both "60 Minutes" shows since departing as the network's top anchor, will remain a contributor to the Sunday night program, Moonves said.

"Exactly what his role is going to be, how much he's going to do, it's really premature," he added.

The decision to drop the program comes as CBS seeks to shake its reputation as the grayest network among the broadcasters.

Moonves noted that CBS is losing four of the five programs that do the best among older viewers including dramas "Judging Amy," "Joan of Arcadia" and "JAG"-leaving only the original "60 Minutes" as the standard-bearer for viewers over 55.

"I think we're definitely a different network than we were five years ago," he said, referring to more popular shows, such as "Survivor" and the "CSI" franchise. "...We're younger. We're certainly hipper."

For the news division, the cancellation of "60 Minutes Wednesday" caps a tumultuous eight months that threatened to tarnish the network's historic reputation as a news leader and taint Rather's legacy after the National Guard story aired, and bloggers and other critics alleged the network relied on forged documents in its report.

An independent panel commissioned by CBS did not determine the veracity of the letters purportedly written by Bush's former commander about preferential treatment given to the young pilot but concluded in a report made public in January that the reporting did not meet the network's standards.

In the searing fallout last fall, the segment's producer, Mary Mapes, was fired and three executives were forced to resign. Rather also stepped down as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" in March, a year short of his 25th anniversary on the broadcast.

The network chairman said today that he did not know if the cancellation of the newsmagazine would cause any layoffs among those left at the show, saying that he hopes to reassign many of the correspondents and crew to the Sunday night program and other parts of the news division.

"We're seeing who on-camera, behind the camera, fits into either '60 Minutes' Sunday or the rest of the news organization," he said. "We're hoping to incorporate as many people as we can."

"60 Minutes Wednesday" will be replaced with two comedies "Still Standing" and "Yes, Dear" a move Mooves said would help build an audience for a new 9 p.m. drama called "Criminal Minds" about FBI profilers.
post #3019 of 25503
Thread Starter 
It looks like Fox has the (18-49) season
CBS's strong gains will likely be wiped out by 'Idol'
By Abigail Azote medialifemagazine.com

CBS has given an impressive performance so far this season and through sweeps, winning last week in adults 18-49 by a considerable margin. But with most of CBS's major series finales behind it, it looks like the season and sweeps win in that demo will still go to Fox, with its super-sized two-hour American Idol finale set to air next week.

In the week ended May 15, CBS came out on top among 18-49s with a 4.8 rating and 13 share, up 20 percent from the week before. The jump was powered largely by the strong Tuesday finale of Amazing Race and Sunday's Survivor: Palau finale.

The Survivor finale was down from last year's average but still delivered a considerable 7.8 18-49 rating, enough to propel CBS past Fox in that demo.

Yet even with CBS's strong performance for the week, it was not able to pass Fox, only narrow its lead for the season. Through May 15, Fox remained the leader among 18-49s with a 4.1 to CBS's 4.0.

This week's Everybody Loves Raymond series finale on Monday and tomorrow night's CSI season finale will certainly help CBS's numbers.

It will also get a boost from next week's season-enders for CSI: Miami and NCIS, as well as from the Rob and Amber Get Married special on Tuesday and the Janel Maloney-starrer TV movie Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution on Wednesday.

But those gains will most likely be wiped out when Fox's American Idol season finale airs next Wednesday night.

This season Idol has averaged an 11.5 18-49 rating on Tuesday and a 10.8 Wednesday, up 4 percent and 2 percent over last year. The Wednesday finale should average at least a 12.0 among 18-49s. Anywhere near that rating will secure the network a first place among 18-49s for the season, its first ever.

Though CBS is ahead, Fox appears likely to win sweeps, too. Through Monday, including the Everybody Loves Raymond finale, CBS was at a 4.4 average for sweeps. Fox followed with a 3.9. ABC was third at 3.7 and NBC fourth at 3.2. "Idol" will give Fox a major boost there.

In other broadcast ratings news for the week ended May 15:

Among adults 18-49, CBS came in first with a sizable lead at a 4.8 rating and 13 share. Fox followed at 4.0/11. ABC was third at 3.4/10, NBC fourth at 3.2/9, UPN fifth at 1.6/4 and WB sixth at 1.4/4.

Bottom five (18-49s): 108. WB's Jack and Bobby 0.9; 109. WB's What I Like About You 0.9; 110. NBC's Crossing Jordan (Saturday repeat) 0.9; 111. UPN's All of Us 0.8; 112. WB's Charmed 0.7.

Bottom five (total viewers): 108. UPN's Eve 2.3 million; 109. WB's Jack and Bobby 2.0 million; 110. UPN's All of Us 1.99 million; 111. WB's What I Like About You 1.9 million; 112. WB's Charmed 1.6 million.

Show on the rise: Veronica Mars, UPN, Tuesday 9 p.m. The season finale attracted 240,000 more viewers 18-49 than in the previous week, an 18 percent increase. The episode averaged a 1.2 that demo and 2.99 million total viewers.

Show on the decline: The OC, Fox, Thursday 8 p.m. Even with rare a George Lucas TV cameo, the drama with all the beautiful people fell week to week, with 650,000 less total viewers. Among 18-49s, the show averaged a 2.8 rating, down 10 percent from the previous week.
post #3020 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Fox's laugh track
Net goes for 12 comedies on fall sked

By JOSEF ADALIAN Variety.com
Don't tell Fox execs comedy is dead: Net is planning to unveil a fall sked today boasting a whopping 12 comedies -- and not a single new reality show.

While some things could change by the time Fox Entertainment prexy Peter Liguori presents his first lineup to advertisers, industry insiders expect the net to spread its dozen laffers over four nights, with a three-hour Sunday sked and hourlong blocks at 8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Overall, Fox will have more comedies than NBC (four) and CBS (six) combined, as well as far more than any other network.

Unlike last year's experimental (and ultimately confusing) three-part sked, Fox will keep things relatively simple this year, briefing ad buyers on a late summer/fall lineup and a January sked that includes reality powerhouse "American Idol." Overall, net seems to be looking to keep its schedule as consistent as possible throughout the season, making as few changes as possible post-"Idol."

And though Fox isn't planning as much scripted programming this summer as last year, net has made it clear it plans to debut some of its shows as early as August, hoping to revisit its successful launch of "The OC" two years ago.

In another switch from recent years, "We're going to try to be as consistent as we can and bring on as much of our schedule as possible prior to baseball," Fox scheduling guru Preston Beckman told Daily Variety last week in a discussion about the net's summer strategy.

According to insiders familiar with the Fox gameplan, the net isn't giving up on reality. Net has renewed frosh successes "Nanny 911" and "Trading Spouses" for next season and will have both shows available in case any fall efforts stumble. Fox's reality division is also working on a slate of other projects that could be ready for midseason, while some of the net's summer reality skeins could be continued if they break out.

As for the sked itself, it's believed that critical darling "Arrested Development" will lead off Fox's Monday comedy block at 8 p.m. in the fall, likely followed by Sony/New Line's new Darren Star half-hour "Kitchen Confidential."

Fox is likely to slate buzzworthy serialized hour "Prison Break" at 9 p.m., probably launching it in late summer so it can wrap its first season by earlier January. That's when Fox is expected to duplicate this season's successful strategy of airing "24" from January until May without any repeats.
No repeat zone

Indeed, if "Prison Break" works out, Fox will be able to claim Mondays at 9 as a "no repeat zone," with original product in the timeslot virtually year-round.

On Tuesdays in the fall, look for new crime drama "Bones" at 8 p.m. followed by the second season of medical smash "House" at 9.

Come January, "Idol" will almost certainly return to its normal 8 p.m. Tuesday slot, with "Bones" sliding to 9. Fox used this strategy last year to turn "House" into a hit, and the net no doubt hopes the same play will work for the Barry Josephson-produced "Bones." It's expected "House" will then shift to Mondays at 8 p.m. in January.

As for Wednesdays, "That '70s Show" begins its final season in its longtime 8 p.m. slot and will be followed this fall by the Pam Anderson laffer "Stacked," insiders said. Comedic drama "Head Cases," also from Josephson, will have the unenviable task of facing ABC's mighty "Lost" at 9 p.m., at least until January, when "American Idol" reclaims the timeslot. Fox will probably sked laffer "The Loop" in the post-"Idol" slot.
Soap night

Fox has made it clear that "The OC" is staying put Thursdays at 8 p.m. It will likely be followed at 9 by another soapy drama, the innovative "Reunion," in which each episode reps a single year in the life of a group of high school grads.

With ABC abandoning comedy on Friday nights, it seems a no-brainer for Fox to at least try a pair of established (if aging) comedies from 8-9 p.m., which explains the relocation of "Bernie Mac" and "Malcolm in the Middle" to 8 and 8:30, respectively. Laffer duo will likely be followed by the tentatively titled "Deviant Behavior," a "CSI"-like drama created by "CSI" vet Josh Berman.

If Fox goes with this scenario, it will mean the net's entire Friday block with be produced or co-produced by Regency Television.

As for Saturdays, TV's longest-running two-hour block of programming -- "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted" -- will return, with "Mad TV" back in latenight.

Toon time

Fox should also stay relatively stable on Sundays, with a couple of twists. Rather than announce a program for the 7 p.m. slot and then never actually air it -- a longtime Fox tradition -- Liguori and his team seem to have decided it's much better to just air repeats of its various animated laffers. NFL overruns generally prevent Fox from airing entertainment programming at 7 in the fall anyway.

"King of the Hill" will return for what will likely be its final season at 7:30, followed by "The Simpsons" at 8. Industry sources believe family laffer "The War at Home" will inherit the 8:30 p.m. timeslot, while resurrected hit "Family Guy" and solidly performing newbie "American Dad" will remain from 9-10 p.m.

Experimental laffer "Freebirds" has also been ordered and will premiere sometime next season.

Fox execs declined comment Wednesday.
post #3021 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Upfront and center

Network executives and celebrities gather in Manhattan this week, making their best pitch to advertisers about the new 2005-06 season in an annual ritual known as the upfront. Los Angeles Times reporters are filing the latest updates about prime-time shows, flashy presentations and parties here.

By Shawn Hubler, The Los Angeles Times contributions from Scott Collins in Los Angeles.
Day 4: The Final, Piteous Cry for Ad Dollars .
May 19, 1:30 a.m. EDT

The last two of the Big Six broadcast networks make their case to the ad-buying community today. UPN (best known, perhaps, as the home of "America's Top Model") goes first, presumably with claims that will give the rival WB a run for its money.

Then, the grand finale: Fox.

The hoopla tends to imply that unprecedented amounts of money will change hands when all this is over. In fact, advertisers aren't expected to commit much more to the networks than the $9 billion and pocket change they promised last year.

Cable and the Internet have inexorably chipped away at mainstream television's appeal to advertisers. So has Spanish language TV. So has TiVo. The banter this week has been all "CSI" vs. "Medium" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" vs. "Desperate Housewives," but the elephant in the room has been network shows vs. "Nip/Tuck" and "Entourage" and "Project Runway" and "Showdog Moms & Dads." Or all of the above, with the commercials zapped out.

The truth is, behind all the corporate trash talk and glitzy show tunes and self-congratulatory statistics, the networks are locked in a cutthroat battle for a shrinking audience.

But we're sounding like Debbie the Downer. And that's a Saturday Night Live reference! From a network! And from the standpoint of a couch tater or more accurately, a youthful couch tater - the news today is expected to be good.

Fox is expected to introduce at least a half-dozen new shows aimed at yes further seducing that beloved 18-to-49-year-old demographic, which is already drawn, like moths to a porch light, to its "American Idol", "House", "The O.C." and "24."

There are reportedly new shows about young adults who are rebellious attorneys ("Head Cases"), young adults who are crime-solving scientists ("Bones"), young adults who are back in the ole' hometown ("Freebirds"), young adults working their first jobs ("The Loop"), and dysfunctional baby boomer families ("The War at Home").

Fox's goal is to beat back CBS' come-from-behind grab at their demographic.

UPN, meanwhile, wants to best WB for the really young adolescents. Early buzz is centering on "Everybody Hates Chris," a comedy inspired by comedian Chris Rock's childhood in Brooklyn, and a dramedy with Denise Richards about twentysomethings in Silver Lake.
Party Watch: You're-Only-As-Old-As-You-Feel Edition
By Shawn Hubler, The Los Angeles Times with dispatches from Matea Gold and Amy Wallace .
May 18, 9:10 p.m. EDT

The CBS party at the Village Green in lush Central Park was like some flashback to the '80s - the guy who played Doogie Howser posing with fawning admirers. The Fonz.

Or maybe it was the '90s. Because, look! There was Dharma!

Whatever, the feeling wasn't that we were now getting down with the new young-skewing CBS. It was more like we were killing a cocktail hour with the network of the formerly young.

But, frankly, here on Day 3 of this nonstop spin-fest, in the wrong time zone, with jet lag, we were feeling a little formerly young, too. Not to whine, but it's a good 10 blocks and one long avenue between Carnegie Hall, the site of CBS' earlier upfront extravaganza which began with a bunch of Jeff Zucker jokes and ended with Aretha Franklin (who, by the way, was making hit records during the Johnson administration) and Tavern on the Green, the site of the CBS party.

Sure, there were buses on hand to ferry the partygoers, but who wants to sit in rush hour traffic on a balmy spring evening in Manhattan?

And so we were lured into . . .

The upfront walk

Yes, there we were, trapped in a herd of hundreds upon hundreds of black-suited, stiletto-heel-clad, mostly twenty- and thirtysomething ad types, wending their way through the streets of Manhattan and the walkways of Central Park.

They were the embodiments of youthful multi-tasking, these foot soldiers of media age capitalism, a cell phone-talking, lip gloss-applying, BlackBerrying horde. Cyclists screeched to a halt. Couples in horse-drawn carriages gaped. The column marched on, seemingly unending. And then when everyone got to the party, and past the scent of Central Park carriage horse manure, and finally had their mitts around their free pina coladas, what?

Some "Survivor" people? The aforementioned Neil Patrick Harris and Henry Winkler and Jenna Elfman to pose for pictures?

CBS Chairman and Viacom Co-President Les Moonves and his immaculate new wife and his immaculate new wife's diamond were all doing their best to dazzle, but it felt - well, you know that Hillary Duff song, "So Yesterday"?


See, this is our point exactly.

Is being middle-aged really so wrong?
The CBS Upfront.
By Shawn Hubler, The Los Angeles Times with dispatches from Matea Gold, Maria Elena Fernandez and Meg James in New York.

May 18, 4:35 p.m. EDT

CBS goes upfront: Ooooh. Dis! CBS is at Carnegie Hall, just wrapping up its official presentation with a rousing round of "Respect" from Aretha Franklin, who isn't having much success with this weary audience of ad buyers, who are mostly white guys in suits.

CBS seems, we don't know, a little too interested in this respect thing. Moments into the presentation, Viacom Co-President Les Moonves was already doing what he does best. Namely, whipping out his Bruckheimers and showing everybody what wussy boys he has for competition.

Like, in the show's first segment, the cast of "Avenue Q" came out with cute puppets depicting Jeff Zucker, Bob Iger and Rupert Murdoch (respective heads of NBC, ABC's parent Walt Disney Co. and Fox), and had them sing a song that went, "It sucks to be me . . ."

"Once we had Seinfeld and Must-See TV/But now our Thursday is a pile of debris/ . . .," the Zucker puppet sang sadly. After which a Moonves puppet warbled: "It's great to be me!"

And then there was this bit where Moonves is digitally inserted into clips from "Million Dollar Baby," and he hit a bag with Zucker's face on it. "That's what I call a Zucker punch," he smirked.

Trendwatch: Patterns are starting to emerge, here on Day 3 of the upfronts. (And not just because we've spent the past 72 hours being hypnotized by TV pitchmen with huge electronic screens.)

Kid stuff: Nobody wants you if you're over 50. Not even CBS. Well, OK, they still have a soft spot for you. (See? There's a half-hour sitcom with Stockard Channing and Henry Winkler, right there, at the tail end of Monday night.) But it's a really, really little soft spot. And it's almost gone.

Advertisers want young people, presumably because they're less set in their ways. It's all about that 18-to-49-year-old demographic. So even at the network that once was the grayest, it's in with Jennifer Love Hewitt and out with Jason Alexander, who, as any geezer remembers, once played George on "Seinfeld."

Monsters. Hey, kids love 'em. "Lost" is gonna be cloned within an inch of its life next year. ABC's new "Invasion" is featuring aliens. NBC's new "Fathom" has sea monsters. CBS' new "Threshold" has a UFO in the mid-Atlantic hey! alien sea monsters. And WB's "Supernatural" has dead hitchhikers. (But they're young!)

Bruckheimer! Hey, kids love him, too. They love him so much, we're giving him his own exclamation point. We're just going to give in and name our big screen "Jerry."

"What's on Jerry tonight?" our kids will say. And the answer will always be reassuring: "The Amazing Race," cops and explosions. The guy at this point has 10 shows on the air next year (six of them on CBS). Not even Aaron Spelling had that many in one season. How many pensive, nonverbal anti-heroes can one nation support?

Español: Univision unleashed its own impressive display of firepower this morning. The massive L.A.-based Spanish-language network made its upfront presentation today, too.

At Lincoln Center, with Broadway-style show tunes. Big production numbers, with big panels of the New York skyline that fell away to reveal big, neon signs that said UNIVISION. There were cigars for all the male ad buyers. And a long-stemmed rose for every woman. With every single thorn removed.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a little thing we like to call entertainment. But the numbers were no song and dance.

It's one thing to know that the youth demographic is increasingly a Latino demographic in this country. But did you know that Univision is now the fifth-largest network in any language? And that 56 times last season, they ranked fourth among all networks among that most coveted audience, 18- to 34-year-old primetime viewers?

And that 43 times last season, they ranked third in that group? And that 26 times last season, they ranked second?

And that 21 times, they ranked first?
post #3022 of 25503
Thread Starter 
At CBS, it's out with the old, in with the young

For the network's fall season, older-skewing shows, such as "Judging Amy," are gone in favor of an appeal to the youth demographic
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK By Paul Brownfield [b]Los Angeles Times [b]Staff Writer May 19, 2005

Welcome to CBS, where the viewers are only getting more 18-49. So 18-49 that the network is poised to become No. 1 in the key demographic, were it not for Fox and that ace in the hole, "American Idol."

As steward of the most-watched network in prime time, Viacom Co-President Leslie Moonves couldn't stress the youth-skewing enough Wednesday from the stage at Carnegie Hall (where, I'm obligated to point out, my brother was in the audience as one of the network's executives). The network has taken the machete to the more earnest or older-skewing shows "Joan of Arcadia," "Judging Amy," "JAG" and "60 Minutes Wednesday." But CBS' presentation, stalled by a stiff paean to its sports department and Moonves' own penchant for annual vaudeville, made the show seem like something best experienced at a large table where the question is, "Chicken or fish?"

None of those canceled shows, by the way, feature disfigured corpses. In contrast, "Criminal Minds," one of the new shows, stars Mandy Patinkin and Thomas Gibson ("Dharma & Greg") as members of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. Translation: people who deal on a regular basis with serial killers and psychos. CBS keeps discovering new levels of sub-departments and quasi-elite units that regularly come face-to-face with this population. In addition to "Criminal Minds," it also has a horrible-looking show, "Threshold," about a government contingency analyst (don't ask me) leading a team investigating an apparent extraterrestrial invasion. It stars Carla Gugino and our collective fear about the unseen enemy, post-9/11.

"Threshold" is among three new dramas that present their stars as complex thirtysomething women. Jennifer Love Hewitt will get the most attention as a woman who communicates with people's dead loved ones in "Ghost Whisperer," which seems like "Touched by a Medium," because it's creepy but offers hope, and like "Medium" it features its lead actress in bed with an understanding husband.

On CBS, the new show to watch is probably "Close to Home," starring Jennifer Finnigan (last seen a few months ago on NBC, over-acting in the sitcom "Committed") as an assistant district attorney who delves into, yes, violent domestic crimes. "Close to Home" is like Nancy Grace's show on CNN Headline News, although it's hard to believe that, lacking Grace, it will be as well-acted.

"In suburbs across America, behind white picket fences, lie the darkest of secrets," the tagline to the show goes. Over at ABC they've discovered that tired concept as comedy, thanks to "Desperate Housewives," but CBS can't seem to see past all the evil on our nation's Wisteria Lanes.

For its Monday night block of comedy, CBS has ordered two new sitcoms that look like placeholders for the night's popular shows, "King of Queens" and "Two and a Half Men."

The premise for "How I Met Your Mother" is better than the execution looks a twist on the domestic sitcom in which a father is telling his kids how he courted their mother. Look for Neal Patrick Harris, in a third-banana role, to get most of the laugh lines. "Out of Practice," the other new Monday night comedy, looks god awful, from "Frasier" writers Joe Keenan and Christopher Lloyd, about a family of doctors, the parents played by Henry Winkler and Stockard Channing. Think big jokes about liposuction.
post #3023 of 25503
Thread Starter 
CBS Promotes Fall Lineup and Takes Shots at Rivals

By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN The New York Times May 19, 2005

Though a Broadway parody opened the show and a performance by Aretha Franklin closed it, CBS's "upfront" presentation of its fall program schedule yesterday at Carnegie Hall was a restrained affair. But, at some moments, it was also angry.

Leslie Moonves, a co-president of Viacom, which owns CBS, mercilessly baited Jeff Zucker, the president of the NBC Universal Television Group and Mr. Moonves's archrival. In a film promoting CBS's dominion over the other networks (CBS is now the top-rated network among adults), Mr. Moonves was shown smashing a stand-in for Mr. Zucker through a brick wall.

Puppets intended to look like the rival network executives Robert A. Iger of ABC, Mr. Zucker and Peter Liguori of Fox were operated by cast members from "Avenue Q," the musical. As a monitor showed what CBS characterized as its competitors' recent failures, the puppets lamented their loser status.

On stage, Nina Tassler, the president of CBS Entertainment, recalled advice she said she had received from Mr. Moonves about how to make her presentation strong: "Jokes about Jeff Zucker are always funny." Later, Mr. Moonves acknowledged that he had a problem. No less than Dr. Phil, he said, had put him on a 12-step program to "cut down on bashing" NBC and Mr. Zucker.

But the CBS team couldn't resist one more joke. "A priest, a rabbi and Jeff Zucker go into a bar," Ms. Tassler said. The crowd roared.

Ms. Tassler talked the audience through every prime-time hour from Monday to Sunday.

She geared her remarks to the industry, speaking of "protected time slots," and how "NCIS" - a moderately successful military drama - "is the unsung hero of Tuesday."

The presentation included appearances by the stars of the network's new shows - Jennifer Love Hewitt from "Ghost Whisperer," Stockard Channing from "Out of Practice" and Carla Gugino from "Threshold." Ms. Hewitt said her series, about a woman who can talk to ghosts, might suggest to viewers that they could see dead loved ones again.

After Mr. Moonves summarized the schedule one more time, Aretha Franklin took the stage.

Ms. Franklin's performance suited Carnegie Hall, as well as the air of indomitability that Mr. Moonves clearly wanted to project. Accompanied by a big band, Ms. Franklin sang "Respect."
post #3024 of 25503
Thread Starter 
By Virginia Heffernan Television Critic of The New York Times at the Television Upfronts


Look on My Works, Ye Mighty

Aretha Franklin, jeez.

She's in white, a fur collar, and pearls. A huge band plays with her. She's singing "Respect."

Oh so this is why I'm at Carnegie Hall. But does Aretha really skew younger?

Maybe it doesn't matter. CBS's new shows look like so many of their old ones self-assured, safe, blue chip.

It's a conservative shop, CBS. Does Leslie Moonves even need any more respect?


Cold Front

This is an extremely clinical presentation. One for the accountants.

The new shows "How I Met Your Mother," "Out of Practice" and "Close to Home" have a muted, withholding palette, heavy on light green and tan. None of the rousing montages of the network's sensibility have been rousing. And the executives evince their greatest excitement for ratings and demographics.

There's a lot of talk about "protected timeslots" and how "NCIS" is the unsung hero of Tuesday. Even the child from the network's confounding hit, "Two and a Half Men," says to the room, "We want your money."

CBS isn't dour like NBC or maudlin like ABC, but they sure are cold.


There Was a 'Zucker-Punch' Joke Too

"Jokes about Jeff Zucker are always funny," or so says Nina Tassler, the president of CBS Entertainment. Apparently, this was part of the advice Mr. Moonves gave her before she took the stage today.
"A priest, a rabbi and Jeff Zucker walk into a bar," she begins, gamely. The crowd roars.


Rich Means Old

To Mr. Moonves, upscale the NBC shibboleth means old, a theme he's been sounding throughout the upfront. Earlier today, at his press breakfast at CBS headquarters, he said, "there are no 18 to 34 upscale," meaning there are no young, rich people.

He did modify this comment, however. "The only people 18 to 34 upscale I know are my own children."
Presumably, they watch CBS.

Mr. Moonves did mention casually at the breakfast that his network is No. 1 in households with incomes of $100,000 or more. But he didn't stress this, because to him rich means old. And he's determined this year to show that the geezer network is "skewing younger and younger."

It sounded like a form of leering, and if not that then at least protesting too much. He's better at attack than spin.


Moonves Enters the Ring

No way. The cast of "Avenue Q," the Broadway show, just appeared with puppets of Bob Iger, Jeff Zucker and Peter Liguori of ABC, NBC, and FOX and had them lament their own problems in a rousing chorus of, "It Sucks to Be Me!"

And now Leslie Moonves has managed to interpolate himself into film from "Million Dollar Baby." As Clint Eastwood beams ringside, Mr. Moonves K.O.s every show the other networks throw up.
Except "Desperate Housewives," which, in the person of a slim brunette, socks him below the belt.
"We're winning in a dominant fashion," Mr. Moonves says, when he appears on stage. Bam.


Let's Get It Started, Again

I'm far above sea level, stranded at seats that seem dangerously far from the stage at Carnegie Hall. At this cheap-seats altitude, I should be here for Maria Callas or Itzhak Perlman or someone, but instead it's the CBS upfront.

Distorted CBS eyes stretch across the august stage, part of a purply light show. That eye is unnerving, always has been. "Let's Get it Started" is playing, as it has at all the big-three networks presentations this week. Jock jams. They're fun. That's something we all can agree on.
post #3025 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Surprise: Fox and UPN Aim for Young Viewers

By JACQUES STEINBERG and BILL CARTER The New York Times May 19, 2005

This week's presentations by the six main broadcast networks to advertisers attending the so-called upfront market in Manhattan will conclude today, when Fox and UPN detail their fall schedules.

Fox, seeking to prove that it can create hit shows beyond "American Idol," "24," and "House," will introduce four new dramas and four comedies, according to interviews with a talent agent, a studio executive and a network official, each of whom had been told about at least part of the schedule but none of whom would agree to be identified.

The dramas include "Prison Break," which, as previously announced by the network, is a drama about two incarcerated brothers making various efforts to escape. Another drama, "Bones," is about a forensic anthropologist (played by David Boreanz, formerly of "Angel") who solves crimes. A third, "Reunion," watches a high school graduating class as it ages by 20 years.

The new comedies from Fox, a unit of the News Corporation, include "The Loop," about a young executive and his friends living in downtown Chicago, and "The War at Home," about parents who were unruly as teenagers but are now trying to raise teenagers of their own. That program stars Michael Rapaport, formerly of the Fox program "Boston Public," and will have characters making side comments to the camera, known as confessionals.

Each of the Fox shows appears intended to raise the network's standing among its target audience - young viewers, including those aged 18 to 49, a Nielsen category that the network is likely to win in the current season, but by a narrow margin.

UPN, which is owned by Viacom, will finish the current season behind Fox, CBS and NBC in the same category, but in a tight battle over such viewers with WB. It is expected to announce today that it has picked up two new comedies and two new dramas also aimed at young audiences.

One of the comedies, "Everybody Hates Chris," is based on the childhood of the comedian Chris Rock, who narrates the story of a teenager growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1980's. One of the dramas, "Sex, Lies and Secrets," is about a group of twenty-somethings living on the outskirts of Hollywood.
post #3026 of 25503

Originally posted by fredfa
Indeed, if "Prison Break" works out, Fox will be able to claim Mondays at 9 as a "no repeat zone," with original product in the timeslot virtually year-round.

Pity those without a DVR.
post #3027 of 25503
I appologize if this has been asked and answered but do you know
why Ed Green(Jesse Martin) is not on Law & Order any more.
I really like him and his charactor?
post #3028 of 25503
By John M. Higgins, Broadcasting & Cable, 5/16/2005

Network upfront presentations are designed to be gigantic cheerleading sessions. But when NBC kicks off the annual week of broadcast presentations at New York's Radio City Music Hall this week, expect bombastic NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker to express something uncharacteristic: a bit of humility.

This is the same stage where, last year, Zucker unveiled a fall slate that almost completely bombed, sending NBC's prime time ratings from first place all the way down to fourth.

Lots of networks attempt to gloss over their blemishes, but NBC's shortcomings are too massive for even a showman like Zucker to skirt gracefully. ¿I will acknowledge up top the reality of the situation,¿ he says of his presentation this week. ¿We're not going to run from that; we're not going to hide from that. We're not going to let the elephant sit in the room.¿

Zucker's modesty isn't the only change in this year's upfront market. Buyers are much quieter, the economy is slowing, and advertisers in a few major categories may not buy as much. As a result, the latest upfront forecasts are expected to show little growth¿if any at all.

It is easy to see the lack of enthusiasm. A year ago, the prime time upfront market was so energized that ad buyers didn't even wait until broadcast networks finalized their fall slates. They rushed to cable's Turner networks. After years of watching giant buying agencies spend their money on broadcast first, Turner's TNT, TBS and CNN found buyers pulling them to the head of the line.

By the end of upfront week last year, Turner Broadcasting's cable networks had written more than 75% of their upfront business. It took weeks for ABC to hit that level. This year at the same time, Turner has signed hardly any business.

Meanwhile, the $1 billion children's upfront market is sluggish. Usually, it is all wrapped up when the prime time cocktail parties commence. This year, advertisers and networks targeting kids are likely to see that sales process roll beyond the closing of upfront week. As of late last week, buyers had committed just 50% of the money that networks expect them to spend.

What has changed? First, look to the broad economy. Lehman Bros. economists predict economic growth will slow during the second half (that is, the fall TV season) to 5.3%, down from 6.1%. Since advertising spending usually moves in sync with gross domestic product, those tenths of a point can have significant ripple effects.

Second, some of the biggest advertisers are simply sitting out this year. Rising gas prices have frozen high-margin SUV sales. Ford and GM are having such dramatic problems that bond-ratings agencies have just downgraded them to ¿junk¿ status. (Foreign-car sales are better.)

Movie studios are also seeing tough times. And pharmaceutical companies, beset by new regulatory scrutiny over advertising of prescription drugs (see page 24), are anxious about stepping up their ad-spending campaigns.

Another change: ratings parity. Although NBC may have fallen to last place, the four major networks are in a tight pack. NBC is not all that far behind CBS in the key 18-49 demo¿just a few hundred thousand shy. A year ago, the gap between first and fourth was 1.3 million viewers.

NBC's loss dilutes its power to charge high prices but doesn't necessarily give it all to CBS. Where does the leverage go? Back to the advertisers.

And despite big hits like ABC's Desperate Housewives and Lost , cable continues to drain the audience from broadcasters. But, of course, that is an old story.

The message: bad news for the broadcast sector as a whole. Two forecasts, from Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto and Lehman Bros. Vijay Jayant, are negative on broadcast.

Noto forecasts that the Big Four broadcast networks' upfront take might fall 5%, from $8.5 billion last year to $8.1 billion. He sees average CPMs (the cost per thousand viewers) increasing 5% and audience guarantees falling 3%. Networks unhappy with prices will hold out more inventory, he says, and pray that the scatter market is stronger next fall and winter.

Jayant is negative in one way, predicting CPM growth of just 4%. But he sees audience guarantees down only 2% and expects networks to sell about as much inventory as they did last year (83%). Net result: upfront volume up 2.7% to $9.6 billion.

In February, B&C predicted that broadcast volume would be flat. We'll stick with that.

Of course, individual broadcast networks will do far better than those averages. ABC's audience is up 16% this season, and analysts predict that its upfront take will jump by 10%-18%. CBS, the new, undisputed No. 1, could also do well. Jayant sees CBS increasing 8%, but Noto expects a soft market to prompt the network to hold back a bigger portion of its inventory.

Neither analyst published a forecast for cable. (Hello!!! Remember cable?) But B&C estimates that cable's take could rise as much as 10% to $7.2 billion, most of that coming at the expense of broadcast.

As he prepares for the NBC upfront presentation on Monday, Zucker notes that, at last year's upfront, ABC was a dog, mired in fourth place. Days earlier, it had fired its two top programming executives.

A turnaround was only one desperate housewife and some lost souls away. Says Zucker: ¿One or two moves got them back to parity this year.¿
post #3029 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Jesse was given four episodes off (the last four this season) so he could work in the movie movie version of "Rent".
(When "Rent" first opened off Broadway, Martin he received an Obie Award for his performance.)
He will be back next season on L&O.
post #3030 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Fox : The Stable and Balanced Net
By Staff Broadcasting & Cable

Projecting that it will win its first adults 18-49 season crown ever, Fox will defend its title with a comedy-heavy fall schedule that also features five new dramas, two new sitcoms, but not a single new unscripted series.

While preaching "stability and balance" at a Thursday morning media conference call--in contrast to last year's three-separate-seasons approach--Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori unveiled a lineup featuring a dozen comedies, with the venerable Saturday night block of Cops and Americas Most Wanted representing the lone reality offerings (it has several sitting on the bench, however).

As B&C reported last Sunday, Fox picked up new dramas are Prison Break, Bones (yet another forensic drama, TV's newest rage), dramedy Head Cases, and Reunion (a look at the lives of six friends over 20 years in only one season), plus another drama, The Gate (working title).

The new comedies, also as reported in B&C, are Kitchen Confidential and The War at Home, as well as The Loop, which will launch in January. On the bench for midseason is comedy Free Birds, plus returning reality shows Nanny 911 and Trading Spouses.

Still on the rather patriotic-sounding schedule for fall are American Dad, American Idol, America's Most Wanted, Arrested Development, The Bernie Mac Show, Cops, Family Guy, House, King of the Hill, MadTV, Malcolm in the Middle, The O.C., The Simpsons, Stacked and That 70s Show.

Of its 18-49 victory (CBS claims the crown if Fox's Super Bowl and baseball playoff ratings are excluded) Liguori says: "We don't know what it's like to be number one, but we certainly know that people are gunning. It is exciting and daunting all at the same time."

As usual, Fox's fall sked is a bit complex, tap-dancing around the MLB playoffs and then reshaping itself when hits American Idol and 24 return in January.

One of the most talked-about moves is the return of critical darling Arrested Development, slated to lead off Mondays at 8 p.m., giving way in January, when returning breakout star House moves from Tuesday at 9 to Monday at 8.

"The decision was based on this: quality, quality, quality," Liguori said of Arrested Development that was long-rumored to be on the chopping block. "I recognize that putting it on at eight o'clock is pretty much a bold, bodacious move."

As for the new fare, the most buzz has seemed to surround Prison Break, a drama in which a man gets arrested on purpose to help his brother, a death-row inmate, break out of jail.

Set for Mondays at 9, Fox will air seven hours of the show before the baseball hiatus, with the full run ending in time for 24 to reclaim its usual timeslot.


9:00-10:00 PM PRISON BREAK


8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM HOUSE


8:00-8:30 PM THAT 70s SHOW
8:30-9:00 PM STACKED
9:00-10:00 PM HEAD CASES


8:00-9:00 PM THE O.C.
9:00-10:00 PM REUNION


9:00-10:00 THE GATE (working title)


8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS

7:00-7:30 PM Animated Encores
8:30-9:00 PM THE WAR AT HOME
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD

(All Times ET/PT)

8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM 24


9:00-10:00 PM BONES


8:00-8:30 PM THAT 70s SHOW
8:30-9:00 PM STACKED
9:30-10:00 PM THE LOOP

8:00-9:00 PM THE O.C.
9:00-10:00 PM REUNION


9:00-10:00 THE GATE (working title)


8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS


7:00-7:30 PM Animated Encores
8:30-9:00 PM THE WAR AT HOME
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD
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