Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Back with a Vengeance ---- TV News


CBS Puts 'CSI: Miami' Twist Online
FOLLOWING NEXT MONDAY NIGHT'S BROADCAST of "CSI: Miami," CBS will lure viewers to to watch an original bonus scene, featuring a plot twist that will not be revealed to television viewers until later in the season, CBS said Tuesday. The General Motors' Hummer brand of trucks is the exclusive sponsor of the bonus scene page, and will actually appear in the bonus scene, which is approximately two minutes.

All through "CSI: Miami"'s last three seasons as well as the current season, GM's hummer has been a prominent online and television sponsor, and has featured throughout as the "official crime scene vehicle."

Other bonus material produced by includes footage from recent behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with cast and crew members.

Nearly all of CBS's advertisers are looking into online options, according to Linda René, CBS's senior vice president of prime-time sales. "This is a relatively customized deal with Hummer, but we have online extensions for many of our television partners," said René.

CBS has recently been conducting similar tests with its prime-time content online. In early November, CBS agreed to make three entire episodes of its sci-fi series "Threshold" available at for three days each.

Rent Advance from Starz
Starz Cinema will be early with its Rent.

The network will air a sneak peek of exclusive footage from Revolution Studios’ movie adaptation of Broadway musical Rent under terms of an agreement between Revolution, Columbia Pictures and Starz Entertainment Group LLC.

During Starz Cinema’s Stage to Screen Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. (EST/PST), the network will feature exclusive content including behind-the-scenes footage and the world television premiere of a musical number from the Rent movie performed by the cast, many of whom played the same roles in the original Broadway production.

“Starz wants to bring the entire movie experience to our viewers, and this partnership with Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures is a wonderful way to do so,” Starz Entertainment senior vice president of program acquisitions Stephan Shelanski said in a prepared statement.

The Stage to Screen special offers viewers a chance to see movie adaptations of several Broadway favorites, plus the opportunity to see footage from Rent that is only available on Starz Cinema,” he added.

'E-Ring' fit for full season
NBC has given a full-season order to the new drama "E-Ring," while another freshman drama, "Night Stalker," has been canceled by ABC after six airings.

After a shaky start in the Wednesday 9-10 p.m. period, running against ABC's juggernaut "Lost," "E-Ring" improved its rating performance when it was shifted to the 8-9 p.m. hour Oct. 5. EDITOR'S NOTE: EST, NATCH

Last week, the Jerry Bruckheimer TV/Warner Bros. TV series, starring Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper, matched its highest 18-49 rating (2.8) and drew its largest audience to date

CBS Flips Frosh Time Periods
CBS is switching the time periods of two of fresman dramas Close to Home and Threshold. EDITOR'S NOTE: DUE TO MY DWEEBING HIATUS, THIS NEWS IS A TAD BELATED. SORRY.

Close to Home, which currently airs on Tuesday at 10 p.m. will move to Friday at 9 p.m., while Threshold, will normally airs on Friday in that time period will move to Tuesday at 10.

Close to Home will air on Friday, Nov. 11 and Nov. 18, during the November sweeps, while Threshold will air on Tuesday Noc. 22 and Nov. 29.

While no reason was given, both shows have only produced mediocre ratings thus far, and it seems like Close to Home might have a better audience flow leading out of Ghost Whisperer on Friday nights, while Threshold might do better leading out of The Amazing Race. EDITOR'S NOTE: CBS IS FIGURING THAT "CLOSE TO HOME" HAS MORE IN COMMON WITH "GHOST WHISPERER" IN THE SAPPY FACTOR, THAN IT DOES WITH "THRESHOLD" IN THE SCIFI FACTOR?

The two dramas are the only two of six new shows that CBS has not yet given full season orders for, and this test of new time periods could determine whether the shows stay on the air or not.

WB bumps episode orders for drama, comedy series
WB Network has picked up additional episodes from two freshman series. The one-hour "Related" has received an order for six segments, bringing its season total to 19, while the comedy "Twins," which stars Sara Gilbert, Molly Stanton and Melanie Griffith has been given a five-episode pickup for a total of 18.

The reduced back-orders for "Related" and "Twins" are said to be partially related to the ongoing process of cost-cutting throughout the divisions of Warner Bros. Freshman series normally get a nine-episode back-order for a full-season 22 episodes, a procedure WB followed with its best-performing new show, hot drama "Supernatural."

Aquaman getting his own show?
The popularity of his appearance on a recent episode of “Smallville”, may have won funky fish hero “Aquaman” his own show.

According to, there’s some serious buzz down at the brothers Warner water towers suggesting the WB is about to introduce another comic-book inspired TV show to their line-up.

“Aquaman” would star as Alan Ritchson as the gallant sovereign of the irrigate. Like Tom Welling, Alan Ritchson is a former model.

The “Smallville” episode featuring “Aquaman” rated it’s pants off : it averaged a season-high 2.9 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 6.4 million viewers overall, so no wonder they’re considering making the wet-one a permanent member of the family.


'Smallville' star, scribe on Fox project
"Smallville" star Michael Rosenbaum has partnered with the show's writer/executive producer Greg Beeman to pen "Welcome to Paradise," a single-camera half-hour project for Fox based on Rosenbaum's life as a teenager in the late 1980s.

Rosenbaum is exec producing the show, which has received a script commitment, with former WB Network Entertainment president Jordan Levin, his producing partner, former Regency TV president Pete Aronson, and Mike Karz ("Malibu's Most Wanted").

"Welcome to Paradise," set up at Fox TV Studios, centers on a 13-year-old boy whose eccentric family moves from New York to Indiana.

Thoms on 'Cold Case' for CBS
Tracie Thoms has joined the cast of CBS' "Cold Case" as a regular.

On the Jerry Bruckheimer TV/Warner Bros. TV crime drama starring Kathryn Morris, Thoms will play Kat Miller, a streetwise young narcotics detective who joins the Philadelphia homicide squad after assisting in solving a case from 1973. Thoms will make her debut on the show in the episode slated to air Sunday.

Thoms co-starred on Fox's critically praised drama "Wonderfalls." The actress, who will next be seen in Chris Columbus' feature adaptation of the musical "Rent," is repped by the Gersh Agency and Schachter Entertainment

USA commits to Grazer's 'Wife'
USA Network is developing a six-hour miniseries based on the best-selling novel "The Starter Wife" by Gigi Levangie Grazer.

USA has acquired the rights to the novel, which chronicles the life of a Hollywood wife as she faces divorce after years of marriage to a Hollywood studio chief.

Scribes Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott, whose credits include the 1999 feature "Runaway Bride," have been tapped to write the screenplay adaptation and will executive produce the mini for NBC Universal TV Studio and 3 Arts Entertainment. McGibbon, Parriott, Grazer and 3 Art's Stephanie Davis and Howie Klein will executive produce the project, slated to go before the cameras in the spring.

Scott to plot NBC 'Heist'
Scottish actor Dougray Scott has been tapped as the lead in NBC's hot one-hour pilot "Heist," which Doug Liman is directing.

Meanwhile, Eric Balfour and newcomer Milena Govich have joined the cast of "Conviction," the network's midseason drama series from Dick Wolf. EDITOR'S NOTE: ERIC BALFOUR IS ONE OF THOSE NOT-VERY-INTERESTING ACTORS (TO ME, ANY WAY) WHO KEEP SHOWING UP IN PILOTS. IF WE WATCH ONE, WILL THEY STOP CASTING HIM?

"Heist," from NBC Universal Television Studio, Hypnotic and Sony Pictures TV, is an ensemble dramedy that chronicles over the course of a season a group of thieves' attempt to simultaneously rob three jewelry stores on Beverly Hills' famed Rodeo Drive. Scott will play the mastermind of the operation.EDITOR'S NOTE: PURTY CRIMINAL.

'Lipstick' applied by NBC, Bushnell
NBC Universal Television Studio has pacted with "Sex and the City" writer Candace Bushnell to adapt her latest book, the novel "Lipstick Jungle," into a half-hour series for NBC.

Writer-producer Robin Schiff has been tapped to pen the project with Bushnell.

"Lipstick" has been given a script commitment by the network.

"Lipstick," considered by some as a follow-up to "Sex and the City," chronicles the lives of Nico O'Neilly, Wendy Healy and Victory Ford, Nos. 8, 12 and 17 on the New York Post's list of "New York's 50 Most Powerful Women," who would do anything to get ahead and stay on top EDITOR'S NOTE: WHILE TALKING AD NAUSEUM ABOUT THEIR SHOES, NO DOUBT. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Cronenberg rings in new HBO series
HBO dials 'Ringers' from 'Violence' helmer

Paybox has ordered a pilot script, which Wesley Strick ("Cape Fear") will write and Cronenberg will direct. Cronenberg and Strick will both exec produce along with feature producer Carol Baum ("The Good Girl").

Morgan Creek Prods. is on board to produce.

The original film "Dead Ringers" is the story of twin gynecologists, both played by Jeremy Irons, who go insane after becoming romantically involved with the same woman. EDITOR'S NOTE: AS ONLY JEREMY IRONS, DIRECTED BY CRONENBERG, CAN DO. (HIDEOUS, WEIRD, GROSS MOVIE. YUCK)

Cronenberg's most recent TV work was a guest starring role on the ABC spy drama "Alias."

He is attached to helm and produce "London Fields," based on Martin Amis' 1991 novel of the same name about a promiscuous psychic troubled by disturbing premonitions.

Three jump in gene pool for Fox pilot
Rhea Seehorn, Richard Kind and Will McCormack have joined the cast of the Fox comedy pilot "Genetically Challenged."

The half-hour project, from Warner Bros. Television, centers on Zach (Coby Ryan McLaughlin), a young lawyer who works to overcome various traits that he has inherited from his parents.

Kind will play Zach's father, Shermie, an obsessive, highly neurotic guy who has micromanaged his son's every move since childhood. Seehorn will portray Brooke, a fellow attorney and friend of Zach who finds herself in predicaments because of her endless attempts at finding the perfect man. McCormack is taking the role of Ricky, Zach's lawfirm associate who also happens to be his antithesis -- a laid-back guy who skates through life mostly on luck.

Vinick Sways Voters, er, Viewers on 'West Wing'
By Lisa de MoraesTuesday, November 8, 2005; C01
After watching the live debate between Jimmy Smits's Rep. Matt Santos (D-Tex.) and Alan Alda's Sen. Arnold Vinick (R-Calif.) on "The West Wing," young viewers have changed their minds about the two faux candidates and want Alda in the White House.

Viewers 65 and older, however, came out strong for Santos, according to a survey by pollster Zogby International conducted right after Sunday's broadcast on NBC.

Yes, Jimmy Smits now skews older than Alan Alda.

For a network that chases young viewers exclusively but has seen its median age spring forward by nearly three years in one season -- from 46.4 to 49.2 years -- this ought to stop the suits in their tracks. Particularly since the network made it fairly clear it intend to put Smits in the Oval Office (his face, but not Alda's, is featured in the group mug shot on the home page of NBC's "West Wing" Web site, for instance.)

Despite a boatload of pre-broadcast hype, the debate episode did little to move the ratings needle -- the show averaged about 9.6 million viewers in the 8 p.m. hour, according to stats. That's its biggest audience this season -- which isn't saying much, since it's averaging only 8.2 million viewers. And the broadcast still finished third in its time period, pounded by ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (18 million viewers) and CBS's "Cold Case" (16 million).

More important to NBC's sales department, "West Wing" finished a distant fourth in its time period among 18-to-49-year-olds, which the network says is the only age bracket it sells to advertisers.EDITOR'S NOTE: NBC SHOULDN'T EVEN BE TALKING ABOUT BULK NUMBERS FOR THIS SHOW. THEY SHOULD FOCUS ON HOW UPSCALE THE AUDIENCE IS. THE LIVE DEBATE EPISODE WAS WONDERFULLY WELL WRITTEN, AND, LIKE WITH A REAL POLITICAL DEBATE, BEYOND THE KEN OF THE RIFFRAFF.

But those numbers aren't half so interesting as the ones spit out by pollster Zogby yesterday, showing how much ground Smits's Santos lost to Alda's Vinick in the debate, despite obvious efforts to make Santos look heroic.

Before the episode, viewers between 18 and 29 preferred Santos over Vinick, 54 percent to 37 percent. But after the debate, in which veteran Alda gutted pretty-boy Smits without him even knowing it, Vinick now leads among viewers under age 30, 56 percent to 42 percent.

(Among viewers 65 and older -- or, as TV execs like to call them, the Irrelevantest Generation -- Santos has a lead of 68 percent to 27 percent.)

Also switching camps were men, whom the networks have a harder time attracting than women and therefore chase harder. (The TV industry is a lot like dating: If you hang around a lot, the suits ignore you; play hard to get, they chase you with a passion.) EDITOR'S NOTE: OF COURSE YOU RISK THOSE OF US YOU TAKE FOR GRANTED TURNING THE SET OFF ALLTOGETHER, EH?

Among men, Vinick now leads with 55 percent to Santos's 39 percent.

Women were the only ones who did not change their minds after watching Alda fillet his opponent. Before the debate, women came out very strong for ever-so-handsome Smits/Santos; post-debate, they were just as pro-Santos, 68 percent to 23 percent. Really, why did they give women the vote? EDITOR'S NOTE: GRRRRR..... (HOW ABOUT THIS. FROM A WOMAN. VINICK DID WIN THE DEBATE. BUT THE PEOPLE HIS CHARACTER HAVE TO ANSWER TO....THE SAME SCARY FAR RIGHT CABAL AS IN REAL WORLD POLITIC....FORCE ANY THINKING PERSON TO STAY WITH SANTOS. BESIDES, IT'S NOT LIKE SANTOS WAS BAD OR INEPT OR INARTICULATE IN THE DEBATE; HE JUST WASN'T QUITE AS HOT AS VINICK).

Let's review, shall we?

"West Wing" producers and NBC look for a way to create "West Wing" event programming during the November sweeps to help goose ratings on the show, which has struggled mightily since being shipped to Sunday.

How about a live debate?

Great idea, they say, though Smits hasn't done much live performing and doesn't do well with improv, as he himself noted during a pre-debate phone news conference.

How hard can it be, execs ask?

Sure, it's live, but it'll be scripted and we'll give Smits lots of heroic lines such as: "What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party? I'll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. . . . So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'liberal,' as if it's something dirty, something to be ashamed of, something to run away from, it won't work, senator, because I will pick it up, and I will wear that label as a badge of honor."

Debate: Alda debones Smits.

Morning after: Numbers not so great and young viewers now strong for Alda to get presidential role next season. Great sweeps stunt turns into NBC headache.

Zogby rep Fritz Wenzel told The TV Column yesterday that the poll results show Smits "is a better scripted actor" and that Alda's Vinick "has a relatability" that Santos lacks.

Vinick "did much better than Santos" in the debate, Wenzel said, but even he was surprised that "there was so much movement in the numbers" in Vinick's favor.

"The other example we've had of an actor in the White House was right along the same lines as Vinick last night. Ronald Reagan was called the Great Communicator for a good reason. He was able to relate to people and not so much issue-to-issue but person-to-person."EDITOR'S NOTE: THE ARTICLE MISSES A COUPLE OF IMPORTANT POINTS, THOUGH. A) THE NBC.COM POLL HAD SANTOS AHEAD BY A VERY WIDE MARGIN, SO THERE ISN'T AS CLEAR A MANDATE FOR ALDA TO TAKE THE PRESIDENCY IN THIS FICTIONAL WORLD AS THE POST WOULD HAVE US BELIVE. B) HOW ABOUT THE BIGGER PICTURE THAT WATCHING TWO REASONED, ARTICULATE, NON-FERAL, CARING MEN VIE FOR THE ROLE OF OUR LEADER WAS THE TRUE AMERICAN FANTASY.



Blogger Drewster said...

Threshold doesn't have a full season yet? What's up with that?!

8:35 PM  
Blogger Janel said...

Don't knock the shoes!

1:43 AM  

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