Sep 18, 2014
10:21 am

Live, From New York, It’s a New Era for ‘SNL’: A Popular Cast Member From the Past — the Longest-Tenured Performer in the History of ‘Saturday Night Live’ — Is the Show’s New Announcer (NY Times)

“Saturday Night Live” dipped into its own history to find a replacement for legendary announcer Don Pardo, who died last month after working as the show’s announcer for virtually its entire run.

Writing in The New York Times, Bill Carter reports that the venerable NBC late-night show named Darrell Hammond, who was a performer on “SNL” from 1995 through 2009, as Pardo’s replacement. Hammond ranks as the longest-serving performer in the history of the show, the story adds.

“He also had the distinction of quietly subbing for Mr. Pardo on several occasions when the announcer could not do the show for health reasons. Mr. Hammond, who was among the best impressionists in the history of ’SNL,’ read … the introductions in the famous Pardo voice,” the story adds.

Replacing the longtime announcer was something that Lorne Michaels, the show’s creator and executive producer, said he never wanted to do.

“There were a lot of sweet ideas about carrying on with Don somehow,” Michaels told the publication. “Because everyone has a Pardo impression. But he had the greatest run and he’s a completely beloved figure. So I thought: Don’t turn this into something else. That period ended.”

darrell hammond

Darrell Hammond

Sep 18, 2014
10:09 am

Marathon to Mark 20th Anniversary of One of TV’s Most Popular Sitcoms of All Time (TheWrap)

A programming marathon is in the works for next week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Friends,” one of the most popular comedy series in TV history. reports that TBS has set the marathon for Monday, Sept. 22, to mark the date when the hit NBC comedy first aired two decades ago.

The run will start at 10 a.m. on Monday and end at 8 p.m., with 20 episodes of the show airing, the story notes.

“The TBS marathon coincides with the Warner Bros. — which produced the show — and Eight O’Clock Coffee pop-up replica of Central Perk, the neighborhood coffee shop frequented by the characters on the sitcom,” the story notes. “The shop is located at 199 Lafayette Street in SoHo, New York City, and will be open through Oct. 18.”



Sep 18, 2014
10:01 am

Moonves: CBS May Be Offered Via Direct-Over-Internet Subscription … and Showtime Too (Deadline)

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves told an audience at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference that some of his company’s top programming outlets may be headed for a direct-over-Internet subscription model. reports that Moonves said there’s a “very strong possibility” that Showtime will be offered to consumers in an Internet subscription, adding, “and possibly CBS as well.”

The service might be “like HBO did with HBO Nordic. … And there could be some kind of offering direct to consumers here. It’s something we’re looking at,” Moonves is quoted as saying.

The story adds: “Asked about how it might be offered, Moonves said it could be [an] online service. But he added that ‘there are ways of going direct to consumer in different packages. … Maybe we make it easier for consumers to get Showtime without a lot of the other stuff’ — apparently referring to the pay TV bundle that consumers have to buy first in order to subscribe the premium network.”

“It all goes to the bottom line,” Moonves added.

les moonves

Leslie Moonves

Sep 18, 2014
9:51 am

Warner Bros. Bracing for Layoffs, as Work Force May Be Cut by More Than 10 Percent; One Unit Is Expected to Be Hit Hardest (Variety)

Warner Bros. Entertainment is gearing up for a hefty layoff as the studio seeks to cut costs. Variety reports that the company will cut as many as 1,000 jobs, with the Home Entertainment unit to be hit hardest.

That would represent more than 10% of the studio’s 9,000-person workforce, the story notes. The cuts are expected to be made in late October or early November. The studio had been widely expected to cut jobs, after Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara warned in a Sept. 4 memo that layoffs were coming.

“Senior managers are currently assessing their businesses to come up with ways to trim overhead. Only at the end of that process will an exact reduction figure be known. It could be somewhat lower than the current numbers being speculated, but cuts are expected to be substantial,” the story notes.

Movie and TV production units will be the least impacted by the cuts, the story reports.

“There is no head count target or percentage reduction target,” said the studio’s executive vice president of corporate communications, Dee Dee Myers. “This is a budget issue, not a head count issue.”

warner bros-logo

Sep 18, 2014
9:39 am

TiVo Survey Identifies Fall’s Most Eagerly Anticipated New Comedies and Dramas (TVWeek)

A new survey conducted by TiVo names the new dramas and comedy series that the company says viewers are looking forward to the most.

The survey cites CBS’s “NCIS: New Orleans” as the most eagerly anticipated new drama, with Fox’s “Gotham” coming in second.

Among the new crop of comedies, NBC’s “Bad Judge” ranked as the most highly anticipated, followed in second place by CBS’s “The McCarthys.”

“Awareness remains low for many of the new fall series, with the exception of the familiar ‘NCIS’ franchise’s adding ‘NCIS: New Orleans,’ a title 47 percent of respondents already know well,” TiVo notes in its announcement. “Twenty-six percent of the respondents report they are not familiar with any of the new broadcast series, while 31 percent are familiar with ‘Gotham,’ 26 percent with ABC’s ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ and 24 percent with CBS’s ‘Madam Secretary.’ CW’s new superhero entry, ‘The Flash,’ had only an 18 percent awareness overall, but 25 percent among men and among persons ages 18-34.”

Please click here to read the full press release from TiVo.

ncis-new orleans-title

Sep 18, 2014
9:31 am

How’s the New Lineup on ‘The View’ Getting Along? Not Very Well, According to Report (NY Post)

While ABC’s daytime talk staple “The View” returned this week with its best ratings in eight years, two of its new co-hosts are already clashing on-air and behind the scenes, reports the New York Post’s Page Six.

Rosie O’ Donnell and Nicolle Wallace reportedly had an “off-air spat after clashing on-air,” the publication notes.

The story reports: “On Tuesday, token Republican Wallace, a former George W. Bush spokesperson, and human wrecking ball O’Donnell clashed on-air after Wallace claimed President Obama ‘doesn’t love people.’ O’Donnell swung back, ‘When Kanye West says, ‘I don’t think President Bush cares about black people,’ it’s like an international incident. But you can say that you don’t think Obama likes people?’”

Their argument reportedly continued behind the scenes, with executive producer Bill Wolff stepping in the get them to calm down.

Executives at ABC also have reportedly been getting worked up over the show. The story quotes an inside source saying: “ABC News head James Goldston and Daytime head Lisa Hackner are fighting over who gets control of ‘The View.’ The situation has become so fraught that [Disney/ABC senior VP] Abra Potkin had to step in. It is a monumental clash of egos.”

A rep for the network poured cold water on the rumored clashes, attributing the story of the Wallace-O’Donnell blowup to someone “just trying to stir up controversy,” and noting that “The View” comes under the purview of ABC Entertainment boss Paul Lee, with Hackner reporting to Lee.

view-2014 cast-title

Sep 18, 2014
9:21 am

Veteran TV Writer Dies — His Work Included ‘Max Headroom,’ ‘Scarecrow and Mrs. King,’ Lorne Greene’s ‘Code Red’ and Other Shows (Variety)

A television writer who worked on shows including “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and “Max Headroom” has died. Variety reports that David G.B. Brown died Sept. 6 at age 67.

Brown’s credits include seven episodes of the CBS series “Scarecrow,” which starred Bruce Boxleitner and Kate Jackson, and he wrote seven episodes of the Lorne Greene show “Code Red,” which aired in 1981-82.

His other work included writing for “Flo” and “Tales of the Golden Monkey.”

Sep 18, 2014
9:17 am

Another Cable Channel Gets a New Name, New Branding (B&C)

The cable channel TVGN, which is owned by CBS and Lionsgate, is undergoing a transition and will re-emerge in the first quarter as Pop, B&C reports.

Said Brad Schwartz, president of entertainment and media for Pop: “When something stands out from the rest, it pops. It’s what everyone is talking about. When something is so good that it earns a culture of fandom, that’s pop — and that’s what we want our channel to symbolize, a fresh new media personality that puts us firmly alongside the audience.”

Schwartz also cited the distinction between TVGN, which was previously called the TV Guide Network, and the magazine TV Guide, which is not a part of the TVGN entity owned by CBS and Lionsgate. Schwartz indicated it was important to rebrand to enable the cable network to control its own brand.

“Rebranding cable channels has been one of Schwartz’s specialties, having put new names and looks on eight channels over the course of his career in the U.S. and Canada,” B&C notes, adding: “Getting renamed and rebranded also seems to be happening to more and more cable channels these days. Among the recent identity changes have been Bio channel becoming FYI, style becoming Esquire and Discovery Health and Fitness becoming Discovery Life.”


Sep 18, 2014
9:07 am

A ‘Parks and Recreation’ Favorite Is the New Voice of Grumpy Cat (EW)

A popular cast member from the NBC comedy series “Parks and Recreation” will do some moonlighting as Grumpy Cat.’s Inside TV reports that Lifetime cast Aubrey Plaza as the voice of the grumpy-looking feline, who has become an Internet meme, in the cable channel’s new live-action film.

Plaza, who plays April Ludgate on “Parks and Rec,” will provide the voice for the cat in “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever,” which is written by Tim Hill of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and Jeff Morris of “The True Memoirs of an International Assassin.”

The film follows the cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, as it becomes grumpy living in a mall pet shop. A 12-year-old girl who can communicate with the animal rescues the cat from the shop on Christmas Eve. The movie will debut Nov. 29 at 8 p.m.

grumpy cat's worst christmas ever-title

Sep 18, 2014
7:28 am

‘MADtv’ Actress Developing Comedy for ABC (Deadline)

ABC has a new comedy project in development from an actress known for her work on “MADtv.” reports that the network bought the untitled project from Stephnie Weir, who was a cast member on the sketch comedy show from 2000-2006 and was also one of the show’s writers.

The project, from Weir and CBS TV Studios, is set in a credit union. The project focuses on a branch manager who believes the credit union can compete with the new UberBank, the story notes.

The deal extends Weir’s relationship with ABC, which has bought three previous scripts that have gone to pilot, the report adds.

Weir will appear on the new FX comedy series “The Comedians” with Josh Gad and Billy Crystal.

stephnie weir

Stephnie Weir

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