Sep 23, 2014
3:51 pm

New Reality Project Has Couples Abandoning Their Old Lives (Deadline)

A new reality project that has just been acquired for cable steps into the realm of social experiment. reports that the project, with the working title “Escape Your Life,” was acquired by TNT.

Three couples will be moved to new locations and given six weeks to find jobs, a place to live, and rebuild their lives, the story says.

“The format asks the question, ‘Is a new life truly the answer to all their problems?’ At the end of the series, each couple will face a choice: go back to their old lives or stay in their new ones,” the piece adds.

Deciding to stay in the new location comes with a condition: they have to agree to never return to their former lives.

The project follows Fox’s social experiment “Utopia,” in which participants take on the task of creating a new civilization in a remote location.


Sep 23, 2014
3:49 pm

Maybe It’s Time for a New Version of the Oscar-Winning Classic ‘Gentleman’s Agreement,’ This Time Focusing on the Discrimination Faced by the LGBT Community (TVWeek)

That’s the point TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross talks about in his latest insightful and thought-provoking blog entry, which we invite you to read if you click here.

Sep 23, 2014
3:40 pm

Charlie Sheen Maneuvering for Return to ‘Two and a Half Men’ … BUT … and There’s a Big ‘But’ (THR, TV Guide)

With TV Guide reporting that former “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen is looking to return to the show, producer Warner Bros. Television is denying that it will happen, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

Sheen told TV Guide that he has approached the show with an idea about how he could return to the CBS comedy.

“I’ve reached out to them and they’ve reached back,” Sheen told the publication. “We’re trying to figure out what makes the most sense. If they figure it out like I’ve presented it to them and they want to include me in some final send-off, I’m available and I’m showing up early. If not, it’s on them.”

TV Guide notes that a return “would seem unlikely,” following Sheen’s departure in 2011, when he publicly criticized executive producer Chuck Lorre and CBS. He also sued Lorre, the network and Warner Bros. TV.

The TV Guide piece notes, “That’s why such a return is probably a pipe dream on Sheen’s part. He didn’t just burn a bridge with the show, he torched it. And indeed, insiders say there’s been no outreach from the show’s end, and caution not to take Sheen seriously.”

THR adds that CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler indicated back in July that CBS was not talking with Sheen about coming back on the show.

The THR story notes that Sheen “reached out to Lorre via Twitter in 2013, writing that he had an idea that the showrunner needed to hear ‘after I make amends to you and yours,’ adding that he planned to do so in person. (Lorre is not on Twitter.) Nothing came from the post.”

two and a half men-with sheen-title

Sep 23, 2014
3:31 pm

Big Opening Night for the Fall Broadcast Season — Including Strong Starts for Two New Dramas (Variety)

The 2014-15 TV season got off to a hot start Monday night for broadcast nets in general and in particular for two new drama series, as both Fox’s “Gotham” and CBS’s “Scorpion” opened strong, Variety reports.

“NBC (‘The Blacklist’) and Fox (‘Sleepy Hollow’) also launched the sophomore seasons of their biggest new shows from last year, with the former looking very strong in its return and the latter taking a fall — likely losing some drama audience to time slot competitor ‘Scorpion,’” the story reports.

CBS also unveiled its temporary Monday placement for its hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” creating a showdown between TV’s top comedy and its top reality shows, NBC’s “The Voice,” which is No. 1 in young adults, and ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” which leads the way in total viewers, the piece notes.

“In the night’s opening half-hour — which featured ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘The Voice,’ ‘Gotham’ and ‘Dancing With the Stars’ — 43% of adults 18-49 and 45% of adults 25-54 watching television were tuned in to one of the Big Four networks, according to Nielsen. In total viewers, they totaled more than 49 million.”

And those numbers will swell as DVRs and other forms of delayed viewing are accounted for.

Based on preliminary Nielsen “live plus same day” figures, including time-shifted viewing through 3 a.m. today, “The Big Bang Theory,” which aired back-to-back episodes, was the top entertainment show of the night in the key demo of viewers 18-49, with a 5.3 rating/17 share, along with 17.8 million viewers overall, at 8 p.m., followed by a 5.4/15 and 18.0 million viewers at 8:30.

“Despite taking on much tougher competition than it faced a year ago when it premiered on Thursday (also with back-to-back originals), ‘Bang’ was down just a bit,” Variety notes.

“Big Bang’s” strong debut appeared to boost its leadout, with the premiere of CBS’s new drama “Scorpion” pulling a 3.3/9 in 18-49, with 14.0 million total viewers — “which matched last summer’s ‘Under the Dome’ as the net’s strongest drama premiere in 18-49 over the last three years,” the story notes, adding: “CBS was hoping that the drama about genius crime-solvers would mesh well with the ‘Big Bang Theory’ audience, and that appeared to be the case on Monday. Considering the huge lead-in it had, ‘Scorpion’ held up pretty well on the half-hour, going from a 3.4 to 3.1 in 18-49.”

Up against “Scorpion,” the season-two premiere of Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” managed a 2.0/5 in 18-49 with 5.5 million total viewers — off 43% in the 18-49 demo from its series premiere (3.5) and down from the season-one finale (2.4).

“Leading into ‘Sleepy Hollow’ on Fox was the much-anticipated Batman prequel ‘Gotham’ (3.2/10 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall), which placed third among the broadcasters in 18-49 for the 8 o’clock hour, but is also one of the net’s best drama premieres in recent years — and did this rating as a self-starter kicking off the night,” Variety reports. “Among 8 p.m. dramas to bow on Fox, ‘Gotham’ is the top-rated in 18-49 since ‘Prison Break’ in 2005.”

NBC’s “The Voice” held up reasonably well against the increased competition, delivering a 3.9/11 in 18-49, with 12.7 million total viewers — down about 20% from its premiere a year ago. ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” settled for a 2.0/6 in the 18-49 demo and 12.0 million total viewers, slipping about 15% from last week’s season premiere.

“It was no contest at 10 p.m., with NBC’s ‘The Blacklist’ (3.4/10 in 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall) beating the combined demo scores of CBS’s season finale of ‘Under the Dome’ (1.8/5 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and ABC’s special preview of new Tuesday drama ‘Forever’ (1.5/4 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall),” the report adds.

The top program of the night overall was expected to be on cable, where ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” served up two big-market teams in the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets. The game had a 9.2 overnight household rating.

big bang theory-title

Sep 23, 2014
3:29 pm

Hulu Developing Stephen King Time Travel Thriller (LA Times)

Hulu is working on a nine-hour series based on a Stephen King time travel novel. The Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports that the project is based on “11/22/63,” about a Maine high school teacher who can travel back in time and decides to try to stop JFK’s assassination.

The project will include J.J. Abrams and King as executive producers, with Bridget Carpenter of “Friday Night Lights” writing the adaptation of the 849-page novel.

“If I ever wrote a book that cries out for long-form, event TV programming, ’11/22/63′ is it,” King said in a statement.

Hulu and Warner Bros. TV will collaborate on the project, with the latter handling distribution overseas.

The story notes: “Last summer, CBS aired an event series based on King’s novel ‘Under the Dome.’ That was successful enough to garner a second season. And surely ’11/22/63’ will follow the same model.”

11:22:63-book cover

Sep 23, 2014
10:01 am

Former ‘Judge Judy’ Director Sues Michael Eisner (TheWrap)

Former “Judge Judy” and “Judge Joe Brown” director Jerry Kupcinet has sued Michael Eisner and his Tornante Company, alleging breach of contract and fraud over his work for and later firing from “Judge Faith,” reports

“Kupcinet alleges that he was removed from the show he helped create and the breach of contract cost him substantial fees as both an executive producer and director for ‘Judge Faith.’ Instead, he claims he and his Jerry Kupcinet Productions have received no compensation for the three months of work on the pilot,” the story reports.

The lawsuit also names Trifecta Entertainment and Hank Cohen, its chief executive.

The legal filing claims Cohen asked Kupcinet to produce and direct the “Judge Faith” pilot based on an oral agreement, although a later written agreement allegedly failed to mention the terms of the oral agreement, the story says. Kupcinet “was advised it was to show Trifecta’s ownership of the show, which was necessary to sell it,” the story says, citing the lawsuit.

The article adds: “This misrepresentation of the meaning of the written document constitutes fraud, according to the document, as Trifecta failed to inform him that signing it would render the oral agreement he had established with Cohen null and void. Instead, Kupcinet alleges he was misled into [believing] the document was only about ownership of the show.”

After Kupcinet Production produced the pilot, taking on the costs, Eisner allegedly wanted Kupcinet out, with Cohen reportedly delivering the news. After that, the show was picked up in syndication toward a national debut, the story adds.

“Kupcinet is seeking compensation for his work on the show, as well as credit as an executive producer and director, and that a trust be imposed on all money wrongfully obtained by the defendants as a result of Kupcinet’s work on the ‘Judge Faith’ pilot. He further asks that the written agreement be rescinded, as well as court costs and damages,” the story reports.

judge faith

Sep 23, 2014
9:57 am

Kris Jenner Files for Divorce From Bruce Jenner (People)

Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian family, has filed for divorce from former Olympian Bruce Jenner, reports People magazine.

The couple announced their separation 11 months ago. The pair wed in 1991, and are parents to Kendall, 18, and Kylie, 17.

“According to court documents obtained by People, Kris has requested joint physical and legal custody of Kylie (their only minor child), and that she keep all her jewelry and assets amassed since their separation. She requested all other assets be divided later,” the story notes.

While they announced their separation last October, the court papers say the couple had actually split in June 2013, the piece adds.

Kris Jenner told the publication after they announced their separation, “I just think it has evolved. I really can’t put my finger on it. We’re just happier now.”

bruce jenner-kris jenner

Bruce and Kris Jenner

Sep 23, 2014
9:53 am

AT&T Offers Stripped-Down Package With HBO, Amazon Prime, Broadcast Nets and Broadband (Variety)

AT&T is selling a stripped-down television and broadband package that offers HBO, Amazon Prime Instant Video, broadband and broadcast networks for $39 per month, reports Variety.

“The telco’s new $39 bundle includes U-basic TV, HBO and HBO Go, U-verse Internet Max Plus (which provides up to 18 megabits per second downstream), as well as one free year of Amazon Prime. Customers must sign up for a 12-month contract, after which standard rates will apply. Note that it’s available only in areas where AT&T has launched U-verse,” the story reports.

Other cable and broadband providers have been testing packages that cost less and that are geared to people who are inclined to skip pay-TV cable bundles, the piece adds.

“But AT&T’s bundle appears to be the first to include one year of Amazon’s Prime, normally $99 per year in the U.S., as part of the deal. Prime provides free shipping on millions of Amazon products as well as access to the Prime Instant Video service.”

at&t logo

Sep 23, 2014
9:51 am

Video: Paula Deen Resurfaces With Her Own Network — and a Return to ‘Today’ to Take Another Shot at That Apology (Time)

Celebrity TV chef Paula Deen, who fell from grace more than a year ago over her admitted use of the N-word, resurfaced on NBC’s “Today” show in an interview segment this morning with Matt Lauer.

Time magazine reports that Deen appeared along with her two sons and admitted that her infamous interview on the show a year ago — in which she declared “I is what I is” while attempting to apologize for using racial slurs — was a mistake. The “Today” clip from a year ago became a viral sensation and continues to haunt Deen.

This time around, she was more decisive with her apology, saying: “My words hurt people. They disappointed people, and quite frankly I disappointed myself. And for that I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry for the hurt I caused people. Because it went deep.”

The report adds: “It was a ‘dark and difficult year,’ Lauer recalled to Deen … . The celebrity chef lost her Food Network show in 2013 after a leaked deposition revealed she admitted using the N-word ‘a very long time’ ago, and also that she had planned to host a ‘Southern plantation-styled’ wedding featuring African-American servants.”

Deen agreed with Lauer, adding: “That was a woman in trauma, shock, trying to understand what happened. And you know the cold hard fact, Matt, is I probably should not have been here. I should have been home, maybe under the care of a doctor.”

Deen’s appearance was in part a promotion for her new endeavor, The Paula Deen Network, a digital content site. She recently obtained rights to her programming from The Food Network, which will be a part of the site, and she intends to air 20 additional new shows each week, the story notes.

“Other things to look forward to? A documentary showing her side of the story will premiere exclusively on the digital network. Oh, and there might be a book,” the report adds.

Here’s a clip:

Sep 23, 2014
9:47 am

Sony to Start Selling $99 PlayStation TV in October (Re/Code)

Sony will begin selling the $99 PlayStation TV in the U.S. and Canada on Oct. 14, reports Re/Code. An additional $40 will gain consumers a PlayStation 3 controller, an eight gigabyte memory card and the Lego Movie video game, the story adds.

“The company says hundreds of games from Sony’s back catalog will be available on the PS TV at launch, but left unanswered is when precisely its Web-TV service, which has already secured agreements with Viacom, will start selling to the public,” the piece notes.

PlayStation TV-bundle-8GB-Lego-DualShock3

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