September 2013

You Knew When This Was Announced That It Was Shakier Than Jell-O: NBC Kills Its Miniseries Project About Hillary Clinton

"NBC has canceled its planned Hillary Clinton miniseries," reports The Huffington Post..

The story continues, "The project, which was announced [with much fanfare] in July with Diane Lane attached to star, was officially killed after months of headlines and threats from the Republican National Committee."

The article adds, "The proposed miniseries, 'Hillary,' had Courtney Hunt attached as writer and director and would 'recount Clinton's life as a wife, mother, politician and cabinet member from 1998 to the present,' NBC said originally. The script began with Clinton living with husband Bill Clinton in the White House during his second term."

The NBC announcement follows CNN's announcement -- reported earlier today -- that it has also canceled its Hillary Clinton project, which was to have been a documentary.

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Sunday's Network Premieres Overshadowed by Football, Record 'Breaking Bad' Finale

The broadcast networks continued to roll out fall premieres Sunday night, but in the end nothing came close to NBC's "Sunday Night Football" numbers, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

The networks' new fall lineups also had to compete with the series finale of "Breaking Bad" on AMC, which delivered a series-record 10.3 million total viewers and 6.7 million in the 18-49 demo, according to AMC.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that NBC coasted to an easy win among the broadcast networks in viewers 18-49 for prime time overall, averaging a 5.6 rating to place well ahead of Fox (3.3 average), ABC (2.0), CBS (1.6) and Univision (1.1). NBC also won big in total viewers, averaging 15.3 million for prime time to lead CBS (9.5 million), Fox (8.1 million), ABC (6.7 million) and Univision (2.9 million).

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" clash between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons averaged a preliminary 6.7 in the 18-49 demo, down from a 6.9 for last week's game. Sunday's broadcast also average 18.47 million total viewers.

The one new series to roll out on the broadcast nets was ABC's "Betrayal," which managed only a 1.5 average rating in 18-49 at 10 p.m. That number was down 29% from the "666 Park Avenue" premiere in the same time slot a year ago, and matched "Red Widow" as ABC's lowest-rated in-season Sunday premiere of all time.

ABC's season premiere of "Once Upon a Time" delivered a 2.6, down a hefty 33% from last year's season premiere but up 13% from the spring finale. The network's "Once Upon a Time" clip show at 7 p.m. drew only a 1.3, down 32% from last year.

ABC's "Revenge" opened its new season with a 2.4 in adults 18-49, off 25% from the year-ago premiere but up 41% from the season two finale.

Fox's season premieres of its Sunday "Animation Domination" lineup were down, with the best rating delivered by "The Simpsons" -- a 2.8 average in 18-49, down 26% from last year's premiere. "Family Guy" had a preliminary 2.6 (down 21%), "Bob's Burgers" came through with a 2.1 (down 19%) and "American Dad" also had a 2.1 (down 16%)

CBS's start times were offset by a 15-minute football overrun, scrambling the network's preliminary ratings, but the report notes that the entire lineup was down from last year. The network's best number was for the 8 p.m. hour, with a 2.0 in the 18-49 demo for the combo of "60 Minutes" and "The Amazing Race."

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'Breaking Bad' Finale Chalks Up Huge Ad Payday -- How AMC Squeezed Every Last Drop Out of Its Runaway Hit

For advertisers seeking to reach viewers of AMC's "Breaking Bad" finale, the price skyrocketed to levels rivaling episodes of top broadcast series, going as high as $300,000 to $400,000 for a 30-second spot, Jeanine Poggi reports in Advertising Age.

That pricing puts the show in the same realm as broadcast hits such as "American Idol," the piece reports.

Some media buyers were able to swing broader deals to bring the price down to the $200,000 range, but even that represents a large jump from AMC's typical ad rates, Poggi notes.

"The network has worked hard to maximize its revenue from the final weeks of the series." Poggi writes. "In order to secure a spot in any episode during the final half of the show's fifth season, AMC asked marketers to guarantee that they'd buy a large amount of other ads, such as movies on AMC or time on sibling channels like We TV and IFC, according to the buyers."

The report adds: "The $300,000 to $400,000 price tag would put the 'Breaking Bad' finale in contention with regular episodes of some of broadcast TV's most costly shows, but it still pales in comparison to some big broadcast series finales. ABC asked around $900,000 for ads in the series finale of 'Lost' in 2010, and broadcasters sought more than $1 million for commercials in series finales of 'Seinfeld,' 'Friends' and 'Everybody Loves Raymond.' CBS charged about $450,000 for a 30-second spot for the series finale of 'M*A*S*H' all the way back in 1983."

Poggi also notes: "Ads in recent episodes outside of the finale ranged between $130,000 and $140,000 in the so-called 'scatter market,' according to a buyer, and cost less than that in the annual upfront negotiations that precede each TV season."

The finale of "Breaking Bad" aired last night, Sunday, in an extended 75-minute episode, with AMC reporting that a series-record 10.3 million total viewers tuned in.

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CNN Renews Emmy-Winning Series

Fresh off its triumph in the Emmy Awards, a CNN show got more good news, with the cable news channel announcing it has been renewed. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" will be back for a third season.

The show gave CNN its first two Primetime Emmys earlier this month, winning for outstanding informational series and outstanding cinematography for a nonfiction series at the Creative Arts Emmys, the report notes. The channel has ordered an eight-episode third season, which is set to roll out in spring 2014.

In a statement, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said: “We had high expectations for this series when it launched back in April. Yet [Bourdain and Zero Point Zero Productions] keep raising the bar -- first with the spectacular series premiere in Myanmar, later in the season with the groundbreaking Libya episode and then at the start of season two with a sensitive and incredibly informative tour of Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank."

Season two premiered Sept. 15, delivering 240,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo, the piece notes.

anthony bourdain.pngAnthony Bourdain

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The Cost of 'Breaking Bad': AMC Asks $400,000 for Finale -- Network Worked Hard to Maximize Revenue as Show Reaches Its End

By Jeanine Poggi
Advertising Age

To advertise in AMC's "Breaking Bad" finale cost some marketers as much as a 30-second spot in broadcast behemoths like "American Idol" and "Modern Family."

At the top end, AMC sought between $300,000 and $400,000 for a 30-second ad in the final episode of the series, according to media buyers. Other buyers reported a price tag closer to $200,000. Several variables affect how much marketers pay.

Even the lower range represents a significant jump for AMC. Ads in recent episodes outside of the finale ranged between $130,000 and $140,000 in the so-called "scatter market," according to a buyer, and cost less than that in the annual upfront negotiations that precede each TV season.

The network has worked hard to maximize its revenue from the final weeks of the series. In order to secure a spot in any episode during the final half of the show's fifth season, AMC asked marketers to guarantee that they'd buy a large amount of other ads, such as movies on AMC or time on sibling channels like We TV and IFC, according to the buyers.

Commercial time in the "Breaking Bad" finale was sold out by late last week, buyers and an AMC spokesman said.

The AMC spokesman declined to comment on the cost of ads.

The $300,000 to $400,000 price tag would put the "Breaking Bad" finale in contention with regular episodes of some of broadcast TV's most costly shows, but it still pales in comparison to some big broadcast series finales. ABC asked around $900,000 for ads in the series finale of "Lost" in 2010, and broadcasters sought more than $1 million for commercials in series finales of "Seinfeld," "Friends" and "Everybody Loves Raymond." CBS charged about $450,000 for a 30-second spot for the series finale of "Mash" all the way back in 1983.

The "Breaking Bad" finale was set to air Sunday, Sept. 29, in an extended 75-minute episode. The series has been breaking records since it returned with the final half of its fifth season in August, nearly doubling its viewership from the premiere of the first half of the season last year. On Sunday, Sept. 22, the penultimate episode was watched by 6.6 million viewers, the most in the show's history.

The show's late bloom has been credited to streaming digital platforms, like Netflix, that have allowed viewers to catch up to the series in time for the final season.

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Eva Longoria Drama Project in the Works at NBC

Eva Longoria is working with NBC on a new drama project, Deadline.com reports. The hourlong project from Longoria‘s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment is the legal drama "Vega v. Vega."

"Written/co-executive produced by Laurie Silverstein, the show centers on a brilliant, young, successful lawyer who suddenly finds herself forced to go into a practice with her mother, a pioneering female attorney with whom she has a love/hate relationship," the story reports. "Attorney Elizabeth Bradley, who starred on David E. Kelley’s NBC reality series 'The Law Firm,' serves as producer. Bradley started her legal career in the law firm where her mother was a partner, and the two later launched a successful practice together, Bradley & Bradley, LLP."

The new project, UnbeliEVAble's fourth sale of the season, is produced by Warner Bros. TV and UnbeliEVAble, with Longoria, George W. Perkins, Sunta Izzicupo and Ben Spector executive producing, the report notes.

"The company also has 'Trust,' an hourlong soap based on the popular Colombian telenovela 'Pura Sangre,' which centers on an attorney, at ABC; a legal/mystery drama at the CW with writer Albert Kim; and a comedy inspired by sex therapist Laura Berman at NBC," Deadline adds.

Thumbnail image for eva-longoria.jpgEva Longoria

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Report: Two People Closely Connected to Lindsay Lohan Are Banned From Her OWN Show

Two people closely connected to actress Lindsay Lohan have been banned from her new show on Oprah Winfrey's OWN cable network, according to a new report by TMZ.com.

The two people are her parents, Michael and Dina Lohan, the story reports.

The show's producers "want nothing to do with her parents, and TMZ has learned ... an executive decision was made to ban them from the show," the website reports. "Michael and Dina Lohan will NOT film a single scene for the upcoming series. No one will even refer to DiLo's DWI arrest earlier this month -- according to production sources."

Dina Lohan was arrested Sept. 12 on suspicion of drunk driving in Long Island, N.Y., as we reported previously.

"We're told producers were struggling a few weeks back with the show's direction ... and after intense debate decided to not include the 'Lohan family circus,'" TMZ adds. "We're told cameras did capture Michael and Lindsay together on 3 days -- but it's unclear whether that footage will make the final cut ... and there won't be any further shooting with daddy dearest."

The show will focus on Lindsay Lohan's recovery and comeback, as was its original plan, the piece notes.

Lindsay Lohan, who has a $2 million deal with OWN, recently was confronted by Winfrey, who ordered the actress to focus more on her work on the show, as we reported late last week.

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Spinoff in the Works for One of TV's Most Popular Sitcoms

One of the top comedy series on television may get a spinoff. Deadline.com reports that 20th Century Fox TV and ABC are discussing a potential spinoff for ABC's "Modern Family," which just won a fourth consecutive Emmy for outstanding comedy series.

Discussions are in the early stages and many ideas are in contention, the story reports, noting that one idea is for a show to be built around Rob Riggle, who appeared in two episodes last season as Gil Thorpe, a rival real estate agent to Phil Dunphy.

"Thorpe is abrasive and has a penchant for inserting his name in words, like 'Thorpedoed' and 'Gil Pickles,'" the piece reports.

The idea is being developed by "Modern Family" executive producers Paul Corrigan and Brad Walsh, who wrote one of the two episodes featuring Riggle last season.

"Modern Family" co-creator and executive producer Christopher Lloyd will likely continue with the main series, although co-creator Steve Levitan may have some involvement with the spinoff, the report adds.

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Veteran TV Director Dies -- He Also Helmed the Last Elvis Presley Movie

A director who racked up a string of TV and feature film credits over a career spanning six decades -- including directing the 1969 movie "Change of Habit," Elvis Presley's final film -- has died.

The Los Angeles Times reports that William A. Graham, who directed the pilots for "Police Story" and "The Big Valley," died Sept. 12 at 87.

Graham died of complications from pneumonia, the report notes, citing his wife, Janet.

After studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, Graham started in TV by directing segments of anthology programs such as "Kraft Theatre." He went on to direct episodes of many series, including "The X-Files," "The Fugitive," "Twelve O'Clock High" and "Batman."

Graham also directed a number of feature films, including "Waterhole No. 3," "Return to Blue Lagoon" and "Where the Lilies Bloom."

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Drama That Was Canceled After Season One, Then Revived, Survives Again -- Picked Up for a Third Season

A drama series that has had a rocky road to success -- being canceled after its first season, only to be revived for a summer run -- has made it to a third season. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that "Unforgettable" has been renewed for season three by CBS.

The procedural starring Poppy Montgomery will return for 13 episodes in summer 2014. The renewal comes after the drama averaged 8.23 million viewers this summer and scored a 1.4 average rating in adults 18-49 and a 2.0 in adults 25-54.

"It ranked as Sunday's top scripted program in total viewers. In its Sundays at 9 p.m. slot, 'Unforgettable' was up nearly double year over year in all three metrics," the story notes.

The renewal means that CBS is moving forward with both of its summer scripted dramas, following the renewal of "Under the Dome."

poppy-montgomery.pngPoppy Montgomery

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