April 2012

Star of NBC Sitcom Lands Talk Show

The star of an NBC situation comedy has landed a deal to do a weekly half-hour talk show for E!, Variety reports. The new show is “Love You, Mean It With Whitney Cummings,” built around the star of “Whitney.”

Cummings, who is also co-creator of CBS's "2 Broke Girls," will have Julian McCullough as her sidekick on the show, which will is set for the Wednesday 10:30 p.m. slot, where it will be paired with “The Soup.” It’s premiere is expected toward the end of the year.

"Love You" will be produced by Chelsea Handler's Borderline Amazing Productions. Handler, Cummings and Tom Brunelle are executive producers on the show, which has been in development for two years.

"This show gives me a chance to get back to my stand-up roots,” Cumming said. “And I'm really excited to be able to say (almost) whatever I'd like on TV again."

Cummings originally made a name for herself on TV as a regular guest on E!'s "Chelsea Lately."

Lisa Berger, E!'s president of entertainment programming, said, "We're continuously looking for strong points of view for the comedy programming that is such a key part of our makeup. Whitney is someone we identified early on that we wanted to develop with."

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ABC Drama Reverses Course, Surges in Ratings

An ABC drama series had a ratings turnaround Sunday night, reversing course after hitting a series low two weeks ago and helping the network win the night in the 18-49 demo in the Nielsen overnights, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

Freshman drama “GCB” surged 27% to a 1.95 average rating, two weeks after it slumped to a series-low 1.5. ABC won prime time overall with a 2.2 average rating, ahead of Fox (1.9 average), CBS (1.6) and NBC (1.4). Total viewers was a win for CBS with 8.9 million, to 7.4 million for ABC, 5.8 million for NBC and 4.1 million for Fox.

The rest of ABC’s lineup was down -- “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” off 13% from a week ago to a 1.4 average in 18-49; “Once Upon a Time,” down 3% to a 2.9; and “Desperate Housewives,” off one-tenth of a ratings point from its previous original to a 2.5.

CBS was off across the board, with the season finale of “The Good Wife” tying its season low with a 1.7 average in 18-49; “Amazing Race” also tying a season low with a 2.2, down 15%; and “NYC 22” down two-tenths of a point to a 1.2.

NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” sank two-tenths to a 1.9 in 18-49.

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'Grey's Anatomy' Star Saves Teenager From Crash

Actor Patrick Dempsey, best known as McDreamy on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," was in the right place at the right time to be a real-life hero at the site of a car crash near his Malibu home last week, reports People magazine.

A 17-year-old driver, Weston Masset, had lost control of his Mustang, causing it to roll three times. Dempsey pulled Masset out of the wreckage using a fire extinguisher and a crowbar.

"I was scared for my life. I was upside down," recalled Masset.

Dempsey called paramedics and stayed with the teenager to make sure he was cared for. At one point, the youth asked Dempsey, "Are you famous?" Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd on "Grey’s," answered, "Yeah, I'm a doctor."

Masset told ABC News, "He was there for me. It would have been a lot worse without him." Weston's mom said she was "super grateful."

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J-Lo Relaunching Website to Let Fans 'Backstage' on Upcoming Tour

To give fans more access to her backstage during her upcoming concert tour, "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez will relaunch her website -- JenniferLopez.com -- today, reports People magazine.

Lopez's site will have added interactive features, including a new online community that has "backstage pass" elements for fans to get closer to the action. J-Lo will include a tour diary and ask her fans to write in to the site about their experiences, favorite costumes, songs, dances, etc.

Although J-Lo has not yet announced the 2012 tour, the expectation is that she will be on the road in cities around the world this summer.

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New York Has a New Tallest Building

The Empire State Building just lost its standing as New York City’s tallest building -- being surpassed by a skyscraper that’s under construction, CBS News reports.

The new titleholder is One World Trade Center, being built on the site of the original World Trade Center. The new building passed the height of the Empire State Building when construction workers put up steel columns to push the building’s still unfinished frame past the 1,250-foot mark.

The report adds: “The tower still isn't as high as the antenna that sits on the Empire State Building, but when complete will stand at 1,368 feet, beating out the midtown skyscraper that was for decades the world's tallest. When counting a 408-foot-tall antenna spire that will sit on its roof, the ‘Freedom Tower’ will measure 1,776 feet.”

The story notes that experts usually don’t figure the antenna into the equation when determining building height. But even without the antenna, the new tower will be the second-tallest building in the country, behind Chicago’s Willis Tower.

one-world-trade-center.jpgOne World Trade Center

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A 'Murphy Brown' Comeback?

The creator of CBS's situation comedy "Murphy Brown," Diane English, is in talks with CBS and Warner Bros. to resurrect the title character in a series of political-commentary specials, reports TV Guide. Candice Bergen, who is currently on Broadway in "The Best Man," would be back as Murphy.

At the TV Land Awards, where the classic 1980s series received the Impact Award, English told TV Guide, "I'd love to have the show back on during this election year. We're having a little conversation with CBS about a few episodes, and I think it's possible. Candice knows about it, and we're going to talk to her more in July once she wraps her Broadway play."

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NBC Yanks Series Off Schedule

NBC has pulled a series off its prime-time schedule, TVLine.com reports. The series, which has aired just four episodes, is the midseason comedy “Best Friends Forever.”

Series star and executive producer Lennon Parham wrote on Twitter on Friday, "BFF Fans: Wanted to let you know that our show is being taken off the air until the summer," adding that she hoped the show's fifth and sixth episodes would be posted online, according to the article.

The show, which starred Parham and Jessica St. Clair as friends who reunite as roommates in Brooklyn, drew 3.9 million total viewers and a 1.2 rating in the 18-49 demo on its April 4 premiere, but that had dwindled to 2.65 million total viewers and a 0.8 demo rating for last week’s episode, the story notes.

The show will be replaced with a second airing of "Betty White's Off Their Rockers" in the Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. time period.

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One of the Kardashians Pulls the Plug on Her Reality Show

One of the members of the predominant family in reality television has had enough and is pulling the plug on her reality show, TMZ.com reports.

Khloe Kardashian and her husband, Lamar Odom, are ending their E! show "Khloe & Lamar," a spinoff of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” the story reports.

The reason is that Odom wants to focus on reviving his NBA career, the story says. After putting up career low numbers this season, Odom was moved by the Dallas Mavericks to the inactive list, the story notes.

The pair will make occasional appearances on "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," but the second season of "Khloe & Lamar" will be its last, the piece adds.

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In Another Bad Sign for NBC Show, the Network Shuffles Its Finale Out of May Sweeps

NBC has tweaked the schedules for a couple of its season finales, moving the finale of a low-rated series out of the May sweeps period and moving another season finale into sweeps, TVLine.com reports.

The freshman series “Awake,” which has been performing poorly, gets bumped from the sweeps lineup, while fan favorite “Community” gets an upgrade to sweeps, the story reports.

The finale of "Community" moves up a week to May 17. The finale is a double-episode program, which will be added to a night that already has a previously scheduled "Community" episode, meaning that NBC will air three episodes of the show on May 17, the story says. The regular episode will air at 8 p.m., followed by the season finale of “30 Rock,” then the back-to-back “Community” episodes.

The loser in the scheduling change is "Awake," which was supposed to have a double-episode finale on May 17. Instead, the freshman drama will air its second hour of its finale on May 24, the night after the sweeps period ends, the piece notes.

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Game Changer: Basic Hulu Service Moving to a Model Requiring Viewers to Prove They Subscribe to TV via Cable, Satellite or Phone Co.; Also, If You Want to Stream the Olympics, You'll Likely Have to Show You Pay for TV. Killing Cord Cutters?

Hulu, which has allowed viewers to watch shows for free online, is moving to an authentication model that will require viewers to prove they have a cable or satellite TV subscription, reports our good friend, former Ad Age reporter Claire Atkinson, in the New York Post.

Hulu customers will have to log in with their cable or satellite TV account number, the story says.

Furthermore, if you want to watch many of the events during the upcoming Olympics from London by streaming, you'll also have to show that you subscribe to TV, Atkinson writes in a separate article

The decision was behind Providence Equity Partners' decision last week to sell its stake in Hulu after owning it for five years, the piece adds. Other networks are considering authentication services as well, with Fox expected to negotiate soon with Comcast on a TV Everywhere agreement that will require a log-in for paying customers, the piece notes.

"The move toward authentication is fueled by cable companies and networks looking to protect and profit from their content," the story points out.

Hulu is owned by News Corp., Disney and Comcast.

In the article about authentication and the upcoming Olympics, Atkinson writes, "To view certain track events at this summer’s Olympic Games, viewers will be forced to leap over some hurdles.

"In fact, the hurdles are likely to be there for viewers across every sport as NBCUniversal, in its first Olympics under Comcast ownership, moves to require those streaming events on their computers or tablets to prove they are pay-TV customers.

"That means if you are planning to watch any of NBCUniversal’s unprecedented 3,500 hours of streaming Olympic coverage or 302 medal presentations from work, make sure you bring your pay-TV bill along with your lunch.

"Any cable or satellite or telecom company bill will do. Cord-cutters, for the most part, need not apply."

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