TVBizwire

'GMA' Names a New Co-Host

ABC's top-ranked morning show "Good Morning America" is reaching into its own ranks to find its newest co-host. Joining Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos as a co-host will be Lara Spencer, EW.com reports.

"Spencer has been on the show as a lifestyle anchor, a position created just for her, since 2011, but before that, she was a national correspondent for 'Good Morning America' from 1999 to 2003," the story reports.

The report adds: "This isn’t the only 'GMA' news this week: 'Live! With Kelly and Michael' co-host and former football star Michael Strahan officially announced April 15 that he’ll be joining the hosts a few times a week while still keeping his 'Live!' gig."

lara spencer.jpgLara Spencer
 

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'Saturday Night Live' Plans Three-Hour Anniversary Special

NBC's late-night sketch comedy institution "Saturday Night Live" is planning a three-hour special to celebrate its anniversary. EW.com reports that the special will honor 40 years on the air next February.

"The live special honoring the late-night sketch series will air from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2015, and promises to feature past and present cast members, in addition to special and musical guests," the story reports. "The lineup of performers has not been solidified yet, though it’s likely to be impressive, given the mass of comedic talent that has passed through Studio H in Rockefeller Center."

In a statement, NBC Entertainnment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said: “'Saturday Night Live' is an institution unlike anything else in television history. The many brilliant ‘Not Ready for Primetime Players’ over the years is a who’s who of film and television comedy for the last two generations. The roster includes everyone from the iconic first cast in 1975 to household names ranging from Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler, to Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers -- to name only a few. ... This special is just one of the many ways we plan to celebrate 'SNL‘s' historic 40th season next year.”

The report notes that "SNL" has won 40 Emmys, more than any other show.

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Could the 'Other' Jimmy Become King of Late-Night? Special 'Kimmel' Installment Shakes Up the Rankings

ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" got a ratings boost Thursday night from a special episode that rode the coattails of the network's high-rated "Scandal" season finale.

"For the first time since Jimmy Fallon took over 'The Tonight Show' this year, the other Jimmy was the King of Late-Night thanks to his 'Scandal' Season 3 finale-themed show -- though NBC’s and CBS’s late-night shows were repeats," Deadline.com reports. "In metered-market household results, 'Kimmel' drew a season-high 3.4/8 rating. That beat 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’s' 2.1/5 and 'Late Show with David Letterman‘s' repeat, which drew a 2.1/5."

Kimmel was also on top in adults 18-49 in the people meter markets, with a 1.4/6 to Fallon's 0.8/4 and a 0.4/2 for Letterman.

"Last night’s 'Tonight Show' replayed its February 20 show with First Lady Michelle Obama and Will Ferrell as guests. Other than Thursday’s show, 'JKL' has been in repeats all this week," the report notes, adding: "Last night’s result actually is the best 'JKL' has done since the show’s move to 11:35 PM in January 2013."

Kimmel has been focusing on Thursday nights and connecting with "Scandal" for a while now. The report notes that he has featured an actor from "Scandal" every Thursday since "Scandal's" midseason premiere back on Feb. 27.

Last night's "Kimmel" installment, dubbed “Behind the Scandalabra,” included an interview with "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes, along with a "Scandal" blooper reel.

jimmy kimmel.jpgJimmy Kimmel

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CBS Series Finale Sinks to the Show's Lowest Rating of All Time

A CBS prime-time series ended its run Thursday night, and the show's final episode failed to even match the ratings for its lead-in, the series' second-to-last episode. Based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo, the finale of the sitcom "The Crazy Ones" notched the show's lowest rating ever.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that back-to-back installments of "Crazy Ones" in the 9 p.m. hour delivered a 1.6 average in the 18-49 for the first episode, down 6% from a week ago, while the finale sank to a 1.3, a series low and down 24% from last week.

The rest of CBS's Thursday night prime-time lineup consisted of repeats, with two editions of "The Big Bang Theory" (2.2 average in 18-49 and a 2.6) faring better than "NCIS" (1.0), as CBS settled for a second-place tie with Fox, behind the night's top broadcast network, ABC.

ABC served up two fresh shows, including the season finale of "Scandal," which wound up as the night's top broadcast program. "Scandal" was up 13% from a week ago with a 3.4 average in the 18-49 demo, while "Grey's Anatomy" slipped 4% to a 2.5. A repeat of "Grey's" opened prime time for the network, settling for a 0.8.

Fox got a modest uptick out of its half-hour "American Idol," which rose 6% from a week ago to a 1.9 average in adults 18-49. "Hell's Kitchen" was also up, surging 21% to a 1.7, but "Surviving Jack" delivered a series low, falling 17% to a 1.0.

NBC's all-original lineup included a couple of season finales, but the network still found itself in a fourth-place tie with Univision. The finale of "Community" improved 11% on last week with a 1.0 average in the 18-49 demo, and the finale of "Parenthood" rose 18% from a series low last week, delivering a 1.3.

NBC's "Parks and Recreation" fell 10% from last week, which was already a series low, to a new all-time low with a 0.9 average in 18-49. "Hollywood Game Night" also registered a 0.9.

For prime time overall, ABC's 2.2 average was the best number in the 18-49 demo, followed by Fox and CBS (both with 1.6 averages) and NBC and Univision (both 1.0). Total viewers was closer, with CBS coming out on top with 7.4 millon, to 7.3 million for ABC, followed by Fox (5.5 million), NBC (3.3 million) and Univision (2.7 million).

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ABC Family Orders Paranormal Crime Project

ABC Family is greenlighting a project described as a paranormal crime procedural drama. Deadline.com reports that the cable net gave a pilot order to "Stitchers," written by Jeffrey A. Schechter ("Overruled").

"'Stitchers' follows a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be ‘stitched’ into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave," the story reports. "Schechter executive produces alongside Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken. Production is slated to begin in June."

The report notes that the order fills a hole in the cable net's slate of projects that came up unexpectedly. "ABC Family got a vacancy on its drama pilot slate when the network pulled the plug on Saudi Arabia-set 'Alice in Wonderland' four days after greenlighting it to pilot after pressure from a Muslim advocacy group," the story reports.

The piece adds: "'Stitchers' joins two other recently picked up ABC Family drama pilots, 'Recovery Road,' based on Blake Nelson’s novel about a teenage girl dealing with addiction; and 'Unstrung,' about a brother-sister duo of tennis players."

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Fox Scraps Programming Block

Fox is scrapping a programming block that airs weekly. B&C reports that the broadcast network will pull the plug on the Saturday late-night installment of Animation Domination HD.

The block's last evening is slated for June 28, the story reports. No replacement has been announced, although the report notes that it’s likely Fox will air repeats in the 11 p.m. ET time slot.

Sunday’s animation block, which features fan favorites such as “The Simpsons" and "Family Guy,” is remaining on air, the story adds.

The story reports: “The Animation Domination High Def (ADHD) brand will continue on digital platforms, including FoxADHD.com. New programs will be hatched as part of the brand with hopes that they’ll graduate to prime time, says a Fox representative, and two that were ‘incubated’ in ADHD will air in prime next year. The Fox rep stressed that late-night was never designed as the ultimate destination for ADHD content.”

The plan to scrap the Saturday animation block was mentioned at an affiliates meeting earlier this month, after an affiliate pointed out the difference in tone between “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” and the more low-brow animation block on Saturdays. Some viewers “feel the content is too risque. That prompted a network exec to say the Saturday block would be going away,” the story reports.

The report adds: "College football games that go long on Fox Saturday nights were a factor in the decision to take ADHD off the air, according to the Fox representative, as well as the 18-34-targeted block not ideally matching up with Fox’s older late night demos."

The story points out that the block was also a target of decency watchdogs, noting: "On April 16, the Parents Television Council called on Fox to take down an ADHD promotional video, called 'Easter Bunny’s Coming,' that the PTC called 'the most explicit material we’ve ever seen produced by a broadcast television network.'”

Fox requested that affiliates not talk to the media about the meeting earlier this month, but the report notes that station execs "did not appear sorry to see the ADHD program block go. Some had tired of fielding calls from upset viewers. One said the decision to scrap it might affect the revenue equation in the larger markets, but would not move the needle in his DMA."

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ABC Pulls Promos Over Molestation Accusations Against Bryan Singer

In the wake of molestation allegations against director, writer and producer Bryan Singer, ABC has pulled some promos off the air. Deadline.com reports that the network is pulling some of its promos for the new drama series “Black Box."

The “X-Men” director is an executive producer on the straight-to-series drama, and ABC pulled promos that featured his name, the article reports. Singer is accused of molesting a minor 15 years ago.

"Black Box" stars Kelly Reilly as a neuroscientist who suffers from bipolar disorder. The official long trailer for the show, which is widely available online and can be seen below, references Singer indirectly, saying the new series is “from the executive producers of ‘House.’”

“Black Box” is set to premiere April 24.

"In addition to 'Black Box,' Singer also executive produces the upcoming CBS drama series 'Battle Creek,' from 'Breaking Bad' creator Vince Gilligan and 'House' creator David Shore," the report notes. "On that direct-to-series project he also directed the opening episode. Singer just completed work on the pilot, which has been getting good early response. CBS is yet to start airing promos for 'Battle Creek,' which is not slated to launch until fall."

Singer's next feature film, "X-Men: Days of Future Past," is due in theaters in five weeks.

Here's the official long trailer for "Black Box":

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Chelsea Handler Opens Up About Possible Move to CBS -- and She Has a Definitive Answer on the Subject

Chelsea Handler responded to reports that she has been in talks with CBS about a new show, telling Ellen DeGeneres on her show that she has no plans to join a regular network, reports EW.com’s Inside TV.

“I would never go to CBS,” Handler said. “My mouth? What would they do with me there?”

Handler had posted a photo on Instagram that showed her holding a piece of paper with the CBS logo, which sparked speculation that she was in talks with the network.

As previously reported, CBS denied it was in talks with Handler about its 12:30 late-night broadcast, noting that she had had a “general meeting with our syndication group.”

chelsea handler 2.pngChelsea Handler

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Daytime TV Fixture's New Gig: Writing a Marijuana Blog

A well-known television personality who's a mainstay on daytime TV is now writing a marijuana blog. The Denver Post tapped Whoopi Goldberg to be a celebrity contributor to its pot blog, The Guardian reports.

In her first post, Goldberg wrote about the vaporizer she uses to inhale the drug. “The vape pen has changed my life. No, I’m not exaggerating. In fact, her name is Sippy. Yes, she’s a she. And yes, I named her Sippy because I take tiny, little sips -- sassy sips, even -- from her. And with each sip comes relief -- from pressure, pain, stress, discomfort,” she wrote on the Cannabist website.

Goldberg writes that she uses marijuana for relief of headaches that are the result of glaucoma.

whoopi goldberg.jpgWhoopi Goldberg

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Joan Rivers Names an Oscar Winner as the Person Who Gave Her the Hardest Time About Her 'Fashion Police' Work

Joan Rivers, appearing on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” was asked by a viewer what was the “worst backlash she ever received” for her E! show “Fashion Police,” and the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports that Rivers cited an incident involving an Oscar-winning actress.

“The worst criticism was, ugh, Gwyneth Paltrow," Rivers said, making a face. "She came in and yelled at us, but she stood up. She couldn't sit down because she's got a stick up her rear end."

Andy Cohen, the host, covered his face to hide his reaction to Rivers’ comments. She continued, “The 'world's most beautiful woman' voted on by Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder.”

Cohen responded, “"You love a Helen Keller joke, don't you?”

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Gwyneth Paltrow

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