The ratings woes continue for the singing competition that once dominated prime-time television. "American Idol" registered the lowest rating in its 13-season history Thursday night, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.
TVbytheNumbers.com reports that "Idol" delivered a 2.2 average rating in viewers 18-49, falling 8% from a week ago. Leading out from "Idol," Fox's drama series "Rake" delivered another 0.8 -- the same as last week -- as Fox settled for an uncompetitive third-place finish among the broadcast nets.
In total viewers, "Idol's" 9.71 million average didn't come close to the 17.91 million delivered by CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" in head-to-head competition at 8 p.m., and "Idol's" total also trailed CBS's "The Millers" (11.78 million) and "Two and a Half Men" (10.45 million).
In the 18-49 demo, "Idol" trailed not only all three of those CBS sitcoms, but also ABC's "Scandal" (2.8 average rating) and "Grey's Anatomy" (2.6).
CBS's "Big Bang" was once again the dominant show of Thursday night, leading off prime time with a 5.2 average rating in 18-49 (up 4% from a week ago) and helping the Tiffany Network coast to an overall win for the night. "The Millers" delivered a 3.0, up 11%, and "Two and a Half Men" ticked up 8% to a 2.7.
The picture wasn't entirely rosy for CBS's comedy lineup, as "The Crazy Ones" continued to struggle, equaling its series low with a 1.7 average in 18-49 -- off 11% from a week ago. On the drama side, CBS's "Elementary" rose 6% to a 1.7.
Second-place ABC brought back "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," which equaled the modest number for its most recent original installment in viewers 18-49, a 0.8 average. The 2.6 average for "Grey's" was a 16% drop from a week ago, while "Scandal's" 2.8 represented an 18% drop.
Last place among the big four broadcast nets went to NBC, with no prime-time show doing better than a 1.2 in adults 18-49. Both "Parenthood" and "Parks and Recreation" hit that number, with both series ticking up 9% from last week.
NBC's "Hollywood Game Night" went the other direction, dipping 8% to a 1.1 average in 18-49, while bubble show "Community" equaled its series low from a week ago, a 1.0.
For prime time overall, CBS's 2.7 average was the best on broadcast in the 18-49 demo, followed by ABC (2.1 average), Fox (1.5), and NBC and Univision (tied at 1.1). CBS also claimed a comfortable win in total viewers with 10.7 million, ahead of Fox (6.64 million), ABC (6.58 million), NBC (3.3 million) and Univision (2.7 million).more »
A former supermodel who successfully transitioned to an acting career has found her next TV role. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that Rebecca Romijn is on board with "The Pro," NBC's upcoming comedy starring Rob Lowe.
"The single-camera comedy is set in and around a tennis and golf club pro shop, and stars Lowe as Ben Bertrahm, a former doubles champion who is reunited with his ex-partner Bobby Welch (Rob Riggle) after a public feud that left them both floundering in life," THR reports.
The piece adds: "Romijn will play Margot, a driven but insecure and lovable wealthy one-percenter who is a board member at the prestigious L.A. Tennis & Golf Club who takes lessons from Ben. She lost her husband in a heli-skiing accident when she was pregnant with Nathanial and though she dates, she's never gotten serious about any other man since then, though Ben wouldn't mind breaking that streak."
The casting comes six months after Romijn's series "King & Maxwell" ended its short run on TNT. Besides a number of TV roles, including "Eastwick" and "Just Shoot Me!," Romijn has been active in feature films, including playing Raven Darkholme/Mystique in the "X-Men" movies.
"'King of the Hill's' Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory will pen the script for 'The Pro,' with Lowe, Karey Burke, Marc Gurvitz and Todd Holland exec producing," the report notes. "Holland will also direct the single-camera pilot. 'Key & Peele's' Colton Dunn, 'Parenthood's' Rosa Salazar and Andrea Savage co-star."more »
A former NBC executive who served two terms as president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has died. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hank Rieger died Wednesday in Oceanside, Calif., at 95.
Rieger a former publicity exec for NBC, reportedly died of natural causes.
"Rieger served the television industry's governing bodies for 40 years, first as president of the Hollywood Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, then as president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (from 1973-75 and then from 1977-80) and as editor and publisher of Emmy Magazine, which he created for the organization," THR reports. "In 1994, Rieger was honored with the Television Academy's Syd Cassyd Award in recognition of his long and distinguished service."
Said Bruce Rosenblum, current chairman and CEO of ATAS: “Hank Rieger worked tirelessly for many years on behalf of the Television Academy. He believed in the Academy’s ability to have a positive impact on the entire entertainment industry, and we are deeply grateful for all he contributed.”
THR notes: "In 1965, Rieger began a 15-year run as West Coast director of press and publicity for NBC, promoting such popular TV programs as 'Bonanza,' 'I Spy,' 'Star Trek,' 'Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,' 'Sanford and Son' and 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.' He traveled overseas with Bob Hope when the famed comic entertained U.S. troops.
"After leaving NBC in 1979 to operate his own PR firm, he became the West Coast PR representative for the then-fledgling ESPN, a relationship he maintained until his death."
Rieger also worked with Special Olympics, and helped bring the 1984 Summer Olympics Games to Los Angeles, the report notes.more »
A cable news channel focused on financial news is pulling the plug on one of its shows. Deadline.com reports that the five-year run of "The Kudlow Report" on CNBC is about to end.
The show will run through the end of this month, and that's it, the report notes, with its host, Larry Kudlow, remaining with CNBC as a senior contributor. The show airs at 7 p.m. ET weekdays.
"No word yet as to a replacement program," the story reports. "Kudlow, who has been a part of CNBC for its 25-year history, had headlined 'The Kudlow Report' since January of ’09, after hosting 'Kudlow & Company' from ’05 to '08, and partnering with Jim Cramer in 'Kudlow & Cramer' before that."
In a memo to CNBC staffers, network President Mark Hoffman said: “In my career, I have encountered few television hosts with Larry’s range. As an interviewer, he is unfailingly polite and energetic, skillfully grilling guests but always ending a segment graciously. Larry has always brought great enthusiasm to every program and appearance.”
The report adds: "Kudlow raised some eyebrows in January when he nominated Fox News co-founder and CEO Roger Ailes to be part of CNBC’s First 25 list of people who have had the 'greatest influence, sparked the biggest challenges and created the most disruptions in business over the past quarter century.' CNBC was compiling the CNBC First 25 to celebrate its own 25th anniversary (Ailes ran CNBC in the early 1990s)."more »
HBO has a diversity problem with its one-hour scripted dramas and miniseries, writes Maureen Ryan at The Huffington Post.
From 1975 to 2014, HBO only had two women represented among the 38 “narrative architects” of one-hour HBO dramas and miniseries, the story reports. (The story defines a “narrative architect” as either the creator, lead writer, chief adaptor or lead developer.) Only one person of color, Michael Henry Brown of 1993’s “Laurel Avenue,” is represented.
But in HBO’s post-“Sopranos” years, diversity has actually decreased, Ryan says.
“Guess how many women or people of color have been a creator or narrative architect on a one-hour HBO drama or miniseries since 2008 (the year after "The Sopranos" ended)?” she asks.
“None. Not one.”
The lack of female narrative architects may be one reason why so many “problematic female characters” exist on HBO shows, Ryan writes.”True Detective,” a crime drama that’s received critical acclaim, has depicted women in “a familiar array of cable-drama types: ‘crazy’ mistresses, nameless strippers, randy hookups, disgruntled daughters, dismayed wives,” she says.
Ryan adds: “To a lesser extent, critics have also noted the spotty depiction of ‘True Detective’s' non-white characters. Two African-American detectives questioning Marty Hart and Rust Cohle have had a fraction of the screen time of [Woody] Harrelson and [Matthew] McConaughey's characters.”
HBO said it’s trying to better. “We have just launched a new program called HBO Access that seeks emerging, diverse filmmakers ... and we are currently developing new programming with such talent as Oprah Winfrey, Steve McQueen, Jenji Kohan and many others,” a representative said via email.
HBO isn’t alone in over-representation of white men. Among five major TV outlets -- AMC, FX, Showtime, Netflix and HBO -- Ryan counts 97 narrative architects, including only 12 women and only two people of color.
“Even as a snapshot of the industry, however, the numbers tell a clear story about who gets the keys to the fanciest car, culturally speaking. At the outlets responsible for many top programs, women and people of color are enormously under-represented as creators,” Ryan writes.
Research from the Women’s Media Center found that shows without women creators had casts that were 41% female, but shows with at least one female creator had casts that were 47% female.
“Given how few women and people of color are present at a show's creation, is it any wonder we can't escape this debate?” Ryan asks.
She adds: “We wonder why women are too often depicted as nags, flunkies or side salads. We wonder why women often get less to do, have less to say and so often feel the impulse to take off their shirts. We wonder why people of color aren't often depicted with compelling emotional lives or as complicated characters. We wonder why non-white men and women are hardly ever the protagonists.
“I recognize that men are entirely capable of writing good female characters, and that white people can write quality roles for characters of color (but let's not kid ourselves, it doesn't happen often enough). But when networks go to the same wells again and again, it starts to seem like the narrative concerns of programs created by men are the only narrative concerns that matter. They're not."more »
An actor who lost his role on a high-profile TV drama series in a widely publicized firing a few years ago is returning to the show. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Isaiah Washington, who starred as Dr. Preston Burke on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” before he was fired in 2007, will be back on the series.
Washington will guest star in a May episode, returning years after he was "famously fired" following anti-gay remarks about co-star T.R. Knight and fights on the set, the story notes.
His return coincides with the departure of one of the show’s original stars, Sandra Oh, whose character was at one time engaged to Burke. Oh will leave the drama after its current 10th season.
"It's important to me that Cristina's journey unfolds exactly as it should," showrunner Shonda Rhimes said in a statement. "Burke is vital to that journey -- he gives her story that full-circle moment we need to properly say goodbye to our beloved Cristina Yang."
Burke's character left the show after he stood up Oh’s character on their wedding day.
In a statement, LGBT rights group GLAAD said Washington’s statements promoting marriage equality and a PSA “have sent a strong message of support for LGBT people.” It added, “We look forward to seeing him return to one of our favorite shows.”more »
CBS News has named a company veteran as the newest correspondent on “60 Minutes.” TVNewser reports that the company is adding Bill Whitaker to the show's lineup.
The CBS News veteran, who joined the network in 1984, has reported from locations as varied as Los Angeles and Tokyo, covering earthquakes in Japan and the O.J. Simpson trials, the story notes.
CBS News Chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager said: “Bill Whitaker is one of the great veterans of CBS News. He has had a distinguished career covering just about every kind of story all over the world."more »
A key executive at Turner appears to be a casualty of a management shakeup at the media company. The Los Angeles Times’ Company Town reports that Turner Animation President Stu Snyder is headed out the door at the Time Warner unit.
Snyder has run the unit for six years, overseeing Turner’s animation work along with Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim. Snyder said he’s leaving at the end of March, according to the report.
“Snyder's departure comes in the wake of a new management regime taking the reins at Turner. In January, John Martin was promoted from chief financial officer of Time Warner to chief executive of Turner. As part of the restructuring, David Levy, Turner's head of sales and distribution, was named president,” the story notes.
The report adds: “Tensions between Snyder and Levy led to the former's decision to resign, a person familiar with the matter said who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.”
A replacement for Snyder hasn’t been named.more »
As many of you know, starting on Tuesday afternoon, March 4, 2014, Google posted a warning that going to our TVWeek website could cause harm to your computer. Some browsers then picked up on that warning as well.
We took this warning very seriously and our terrific IT staff got busy to see if our site had been compromised by any malicious software. Google itself said we had not hosted any malware, but that it was concerned if something had been planted on the site that would cause us to inadvertently be an intermediary distributing such software.
Everything our IT department checked out was OK. But we were concerned that the part of our website that allows comments left by users presented some vulnerability to someone who might want to plant something on the site. So we disconnected our comments and asked Google to check our site again. They did and have given us a clean bill of health. We hope to reconfigure how we allow comments soon, and open our stories back up to user comments.
Meanwhile, please once again enjoy our site!
Managing Director, TVWeek
P.S. FYI ... Some users have told us that they have had to reboot their browsers once and then the malware warnings no longer appear.more »
An NBC News correspondent was temporarily blinded by a malfunctioning camera light while covering the Michael Dunn trial in Jacksonville, Fla., TVNewser reports.
Kerry Sanders wrote in a letter to friends and colleagues: “I was in front of a TV camera from 7:30am until 5:30pm reporting for the TODAY Show, MSNBC and Nightly News. The HMI light malfunctioned and the UV light was slowly burning my corneas, as well as frying the skin on my face. Not only could I not see, but my eyes burned in pain as if two hot coals smoldered in my sockets. The darkness lasted a frightening 36-hours. I still see foggy halos and out-of-focus views. The doctors say my eyesight will eventually return to normal.”
Sanders wrote that he suspected something was wrong when he felt increasing pain.
“But hey, I’m the guy who toughed out a deadly scorpion bite on assignment in Afghanistan. I’ve marched into Iraq embedded with the toughest of the toughs, the US Marines. I can push through this, right?” he wrote.
In agony, he made his way to the ER, where doctors “concluded my corneas were fried.”
His eyesight is now about 80% returned, he noted.
When he returns to work, the first thing he plans to examine is “those damned HMI lights, in the off-position, of course," he wrote. "Right now I’m not sure what to look for, but you can be sure I’m going to find out. And if being around camera lights is anywhere in your job description, you should too.”more »