Mar 27, 2015
1:11 pm

Primetime Emmys Settle on Producer for 2015 Ceremony (Variety)

The Primetime Emmy Awards have decided who will produce this year’s ceremony, set to air Sept. 20 on Fox. The TV Academy announced that Don Mischer will return to the post, Variety reports.

Also returning will be Mischer’s partners Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare. The ceremony will be hosted by Andy Samberg.

Mischer is a mainstay as Emmy producer. This will mark the 13th time Don Mischer Productions will be behind the Emmys broadcast, Variety notes. Last year’s Mischer-produced NBC telecast pulled in 15.6 million viewers, according to the report.


Mar 27, 2015
1:01 pm

‘Walking Dead’ Spinoff Gets a Title (USA Today)

Details about AMC’s hotly anticipated spinoff to its hit zombie series “The Walking Dead” have been scarce, but thanks to a tweet today from executive producer Robert Kirkman, we now know the show’s title: “Fear the Walking Dead.”

USA Today notes: “The show will also be centered around the zombie apocalypse in the original ‘Dead,’ but will be set in Los Angeles. AMC has already given the show a two-season order. The six-episode first season will premiere on the network in late summer and the second season will run in 2016.”

Kim Dickens of “Gone Girl” and “House of Cards” and Frank Dillane of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” are among the new show’s cast members, the report notes.

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Mar 27, 2015
12:47 pm

NBC Gets in Business With Ellen DeGeneres (TVWeek)

NBC has placed an order for a new series to be executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres. The network announced it ordered eight episodes of “First Dates,” from DeGeneres and Warner Bros.’ Shed Media.

NBC describes the show as “an observational documentary series … that takes a peek at what happens when a couple meets for the first time and love may be in the air.”

The announcement adds: “Based on a hit U.K. format, this unique hour-long series offers an authentic look at a variety of real first dates happening over one night at the same restaurant. The audience will be along for the full ride in a relatable viewing experience that plays like a real romantic comedy.”

Production is set to start in July in Chicago.

DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman are executive producing for A Very Good Production, along with Pam Healey and John Hesling for Shed Media, Tim Carter for Twenty Twenty and Anthony Dominici.

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Mar 27, 2015
12:17 pm

Mayweather-Pacquiao Docuseries Announced (B&C)

The upcoming Big Fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio, set for May 2, will be carried by both Showtime and HBO, and now Showtime has announced some programming to go along with the eagerly anticipated event.

B&C reports that Showtime will take viewers behind the scenes as Mayweather trains for the fight, in “Inside Mayweather vs. Pacquiao,” a four-part docuseries. The program is set to premiere April 18.

Showtime, which has a contract with Mayweather, and HBO, which has a deal with Pacquiao, will carry the fight live on pay-per-view.


Mar 27, 2015
8:47 am

Analysts Offer Gloomy Forecast for TV’s Upfront (Media Life)

A number of indications point to a rough ride for sellers in this year’s upfront ad sales period, according to a report by Media Life Magazine. High on the list is the latest round of forecasts.

“Magna Global predicts the volume of total broadcast and cable sales will decline by 7 percent compared to last year, to $20 billion. That includes a 10 percent decline for broadcast and a 5 percent dip for cable,” the story reports. “Last year, by comparison, broadcast volume fell by 6 percent and cable was off 5 percent.”

None of the major forecasters are pointing to possible upfront gains or even a flat sales period, the report notes. Increases in CPMs, meanwhile, are expected to be smaller than a year ago, with the usual variation by network.

Among the other indications, TV ad spending is off pace so far this year, the report notes. Based on the Standard Media Index, revenue was down 16% last month.

Additionally, scatter pricing for the current TV season has been soft, the article reports. And of course, the growth of digital as a viable competitor to broadcast and cable remains a big factor.

Please click on the link at the top of this story for additional analysis.

Mar 27, 2015
8:31 am

‘CSI’ Star Returns to Series Television (TVWeek)

One of the biggest stars of CBS’s “CSI” franchise is making a return to television. WGN America announced that William Petersen has been added to the cast of its drama series “Manhattan.”

Production is set to begin next month on the show’s second season, in which Petersen will be a series regular. Petersen, who played Dr. Gil Grissom for 10 years on “CSI,” will tackle the new role of Col. Emmett Darrow, ranking military officer at Los Alamos.

Returning cast members include John Benjamin Hickey, Olivia Williams, Ashley Zuckerman and Rachel Brosnahan.

Please click here for full details.

william petersenWilliam Petersen

Mar 27, 2015
8:29 am

Ken Burns’ Latest Subject Is One Nobody Wants to Talk About (Chicago Tribune)

The newest documentary from Ken Burns premieres Monday on PBS stations, and unlike topics Burns has tackled in the past — baseball, jazz, the Roosevelts, the National Parks — this time around the subject matter isn’t exactly an easy sell.

“Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” a three-part, six-hour series, tracks the history of the disease all the way from ancient Egypt to the latest research breakthroughs, the Chicago Tribune reports. The project is a collaboration between Burns, producing this time, and the film’s director, Barak Goodman.

“Cancer is perhaps the most feared of all diseases — which is exactly why Burns sees it as a vital topic, if never a welcome one,” the story reports.

Said Burns: “The essence of drama is conflict, and the essence of conflict is live or die. Those are the stakes here. … One out of three women and half of all men will get cancer” during their lifetime.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. Burns says of the documentary, “There are sad moments and there are exultant moments.” Then he adds: “If you’re curious about who you are and what your fate is, you’ve got to know about this.”

Please click on the link near the top of this story to read the Tribune’s in-depth report.


Mar 27, 2015
8:27 am

Willie Nelson to Open a Chain of Marijuana Stores Featuring His Own Brand of Weed — It’s Our Non-TV Story of the Day (Daily Beast)

Legendary country outlaw and pot aficionado Willie Nelson is moving into a new career as a pot dealer — in states where the herb is legal.

The Daily Beast reports that Nelson announced he will feature his own brand of weed, Willie’s Reserve, along with branded bongs in his new chain of stores. Nelson, 81, intends to get out ahead of big industry, the story reports.

A spokesman for Nelson called the singer’s approach to the new enterprise “the anti-Walmart model.”

The spokesman, Michael Bowman, says the initiative, including Willie’s Reserve, “was developed by his family, and their focus on environmental and social issues, and in particular this crazy war on drugs, and trying to be a bright light amongst this trail as we’re trying to extract ourselves from the goo of prohibition.”

Bowman hints that new stores can be expected in the next calendar year in states where “there’s a pretty clear path on where retail can go,” such as Colorado, Washington and Alaska.

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Mar 27, 2015
8:21 am

‘Breaking Bad’ Creator Vince Gilligan Reveals the TV Shows That Influenced Him (TVWeek)

Classic television was apparently a big influence on Vince Gilligan, the man behind one of the most acclaimed TV series of all time, “Breaking Bad.”

Gilligan, who also is the co-creator of “Breaking Bad” spinoff “Better Call Saul,” revealed some of those influences as he prepared for a stint as the host of MeTV’s special event program “Vince Gilligan’s Island of MeTV,” in which Gilligan will showcase some of his favorite TV shows.

Said Gilligan: “Shows like ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘The Honeymooners’ made a big impression on me growing up. Now, decades later, I find myself staying up late into the night re-watching old episodes of those series and many more on MeTV.”

Along with episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and “The Honeymooners,” classics to be featured on the program include “Taxi” and “Columbo.” The program airs April 5.

Gilligan will be joined by “Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk on the show.

For episode titles and other details about “Vince Gilligan’s Island of MeTV,” please click here.

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Mar 27, 2015
8:17 am

NBC, Aiming for Fifth Consecutive Summer Ratings Win, Unveils Summer Premieres; Lineup Includes Two New Comedy Series (TVWeek)

NBC has its sights set on winning the summer ratings battle among broadcast networks for the fifth consecutive year in the key demo of adults 18-49.

With that in mind, the network took the wraps off a schedule of summer programming that includes two new comedy series and two new unscripted shows, along with the return of a lineup skewed heavily toward alternative programming.

A key night for the network will be Aug. 5, when the new sitcoms “Mr. Robinson” and “The Carmichael Show” premiere. Comedy series “Welcome to Sweden” returns July 19.

The lineup of new unscripted programming features “The Island,” premiering May 25, and “I Can Do That,” set to roll out May 26.

Unscripted shows “Food Fighters,” “Hollywood Game Night,” “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” and “Last Comic Standing” all have July return dates.

Please click here for dates and full details on all of the programming.

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