Best Development Season...EVER!

Jun 21, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Fox Creates New VP Slot to Boost Diversity

Fox Broadcasting has created a new executive position devoted to boosting diversity in its programming and has tapped former UPN executive Ron Taylor to fill it.

RonTaylor.jpgTaylor will serve as VP of Diverse Programming and Content for the network. He'll be charged with "developing scripts that feature diverse themes or are written by diverse writers, and will provide input on other Fox scripted projects," the network said.

He reports to Matt Cherniss, Fox's EVP of programming.

“By integrating diversity efforts more directly into our development process, Fox can deliver even more relatable, relevant shows to our viewers," Cherniss said, noting Taylor's "unique eye for strong, diverse writing and directing talent."

Taylor most recently was VP of diversity development for Fox Entertainment, a division-wide role that had him working for both the network and Fox's TV production units.

He was one of the early executive hires at UPN, working there from 1994-1997. He's also held gigs at Warner Bros. and Disney, as well as VP of development and current programming for what's now Sony Pictures Television.


Continue reading Fox Creates New VP Slot to Boost Diversity

May 21, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

The Upfront View From Los Angeles

In this recessionary times, more than a few folks have opted against making the shlep to New York for the upfronts this year.

Dawn Ostroff

Thankfully, modern technology means you don’t have to actually be in New York to get the Upfront Experience. Most of the networks do a decent job of holding mini-fronts in Los Angeles for ad buyers left behind.

Take The CW. It invited West Coast types to the Directors Guild of America theater this afternoon to get the full Ostroff.

The Dub (as Variety is now fond of calling it, forsaking the much classier C-Dub) did a bang-up job with its event.

Continue reading The Upfront View From Los Angeles

May 19, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Twitterati on 'Modern Family': Mostly Raves

ABC's decision to screen the full pilot for "Modern Family" seems to be paying off—at least with the Twitterati.

Modern Family

The early feedback from TV reporter types who've been Tweeting ABC's upfront has been positive, bordering on glowing.

"'Modern Family' may not be as groundbreaking as (Steve) McPherson tried to suggest, but it's *really* funny and likable," wrote Dan Fienberg, critic for

"It's freakin' funny," raved Maria Elena Fernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Continue reading Twitterati on 'Modern Family': Mostly Raves

Best Development Season...EVER!

Without a Trace

Gone, 'Without a Trace'

No surprise, but CBS has pulled the plug on "Without a Trace," "The Unit" and "11th Hour."

That's the word from people familiar with the matter. All three shows had been at death's door for weeks now.

There's better news for "Cold Case," "Numbers," "The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Gary Unmarried" and "Rules of Engagement." They'll all be back on CBS next season.

Continue reading Gone, 'Without a Trace'

  • POSTED 12:20 PM
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Best Development Season...EVER!

The CW Skinny

Melrose Place

The CW will add three dramas to its fall lineup—but not a spinoff of "Gossip Girl."

The network has greenlit hours "Melrose Place," "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Beautiful Life" for the 2009-10 season. All three shows are expected to air in the fall.

A planned "Gossip" spinoff has been shelved, people familiar with the matter said. Also exiting the CW schedule: "Privileged," "The Game" and "Everybody Hates Chris."

Returning shows include "90210," "Supernatural," "Smallville," "America's Next Top Model" and "Gossip Girl."

Continue reading The CW Skinny

Best Development Season...EVER!

The NBC Schedule

More on the details of NBC's new lineup over at The quick-and-dirty, cut-and-paste schedule is after the jump

Continue reading The NBC Schedule

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May 18, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Modern Family

ABC and NBC: The Final Countdown

Tomorrow is two-fer Tuesday in TV land, with both ABC and NBC announcing their fall schedules.

Both networks have already announced most of their pickups. The only question marks hanging over NBC: The fates of "Medium" and "My Name is Earl." Both seem longshots to return, at least on the Peacock network.

Look for official word on ABC's lineup to emerge around 5 a.m. LA time Tuesday. NBC should follow around 8 a.m.

Continue reading ABC and NBC: The Final Countdown

  • POSTED 8:53 PM
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Best Development Season...EVER!

Samantha Who?

The 'Who' is Dead; Long Live Samantha?

Variety is reporting that ABC has pulled the plug on "Samantha Who," but I wouldn't be surprised if we see Christina Applegate pop up again soon on the network.

"Who" had seemed pretty dead to me after it moved to Thursday and failed to generate much love from viewers. Expectations were low in the timeslot, but "Who" didn't even match those low hopes.

Still, there had been buzz in recent days that ABC was trying to find a way to keep "Who" alive by changing the way the show was shot. It made some sense...and yet not really.

"Who" has had every chance to succeed on ABC. And yet, despite a strong core of fans (including Mama Adalian), it just never took off.

What is clear, however: Applegate is a major star. And ABC executives love her.

Continue reading The 'Who' is Dead; Long Live Samantha?

  • POSTED 11:35 AM
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Best Development Season...EVER!

'Undercover Boss' Gets Real at CBS

CBS has made its 2009-10 series orders.

Reality pilot "Undercover Boss" has landed a pickup, while comedy "Accidentally on Purpose" is also a go.

As expected, dramas "Miami Trauma," "The Good Wife," "Three Rivers" and "NCIS: Cool J" are all a go as well.

CBS won't officially inform bubble shows of their fates until tomorrow. And some of the shows listed above will be held for midseason.

Continue reading 'Undercover Boss' Gets Real at CBS

May 17, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs

The curtain is about to go up.

In just over 24 hours, Fox will kick off Upfront Week 2009 with its presentation at City Center in New York. Insert your own cliche here about months of sweat, planning, hoping and dreaming coming to fruition. Or take a moment to predict just what song the "Glee" cast will perform for jaded advertisers, no doubt moving some to tears ("Don't Stop Believin'" is the current favorite according to my Vegas connections. I think "Wheel in the Sky" might be a better metaphor for the cyclical nature of TV, but...I digress).

Today promises to be thick with last-minute rumors. We've been hearing for weeks about shows jumping networks; we'll find out shortly whether that was posturing, or whether the moving vans will actually be used. I'd love to see "Medium" jump to CBS, because honestly, the show has always belong there (Fridays at 9 after "Ghost Whisperer," to be precise.

Continue reading Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs

May 16, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Eleventh Hour

CBS: Looking Good for Three Shows; Bubble May Have Burst for "Eleventh Hour"

CBS is moving closer to picking up its 2009-10 roster of dramas.

The network has given producers of "Three Rivers," "The Good Wife" and "NCIS: LL Cool J" authorization to begin staffing writers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. While not a guarantee of a pickup, it's almost always followed by a pickup.

There's also buzz that current CBS dramas "The Unit" and "Eleventh Hour" have been spotted on the corner of "Harper's Island" and "Swingtown" (read: they're dead). While "Eleventh Hour" has been a longshot at renewal for months now, the fate of "The Unit" has been far less certain. Indeed, Variety reported last night that things were looking up for the 20th Century Fox TV show-- so maybe it's not wise to count it out just yet.

A CBS rep, citing the network's policy against saying anything of consequence in the days leading up to the upfronts, declined comment.

Continue reading CBS: Looking Good for Three Shows; Bubble May Have Burst for "Eleventh Hour"

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Best Development Season...EVER!

Whedon Confirms: 'Dollhouse' a Go

Joss Whedon is talking about Fox's decision to order more episodes of his Friday night drama "Dollhouse."

In a post on Whedonesque, the creator calls Fox's pickup "nothing short of a gift":

Any thread that contains both "Shpadoinkle" and "Yub Yub" is truly exciting. And anything that reunites me with my stunning cast and my crazy staff (or "room fulla Tophers", as I call them) is nothing short of a gift. Heady times, indeed. We're two weeks away from finishing "Cabin" and now it looks like no summer vacation after all. But oh, the terrible things my brain is brewing... Just wait. We'll make it worth it.

Thanks for hanging in.

Continue reading Whedon Confirms: 'Dollhouse' a Go

May 15, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

More ABC Buzz: Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer

A very reliable industry insider says that ABC has given a thumbs up to the Patricia Heaton comedy "The Middle," as well as the Kelsey Grammer comedy project. This is consistent with scuttlebutt that ABC is very high on its comedy development.

This is unconfirmed information, however. More later....


UPDATE: Grammer's show is now being called "Hank." It had been known as "Awesome Hank". Maybe somebody worried about a Barney Stinson lawsuit?

Continue reading More ABC Buzz: Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer

Best Development Season...EVER!

More Love from ABC: 'Eastwick' and 'Forgotten'

ABC is picking up the pace of its pickups.

According to two people familar with the network's plans, the David Nutter-directed revival of "The Witches of Eastwick" (called simply "Eastwick") and the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced "Forgotten" have both snagged series orders from ABC.

In addition, things are looking good for another season of reality show "True Beauty," which did nicely behind "The Bachelor" last winter.

All three projects are from the Warner Bros. TV family.

Continue reading More Love from ABC: 'Eastwick' and 'Forgotten'

Best Development Season...EVER!

Bubble Yum: Your Friday Fix

Even as speculation heats up that "Dollhouse" might yet return for another season, there remain plenty of shows on the bubble the Friday before upfront week. What's different this year, however, is why they're on said bubble.

"Usually, 80% of bubble shows are there for creative reasons, with 20% on the bubble because of financial matters," one top agent says. "This year, the equation has been reversed."

Take "Chuck": NBC has decided it wants the show to return. (Yay!) But multiple sources said the network is looking to cut costs dramatically. Given that the show is already produced on a relative shoestring, Warner Bros. TV may have to scramble to make "Chuck" work.

Continue reading Bubble Yum: Your Friday Fix

May 14, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

'Bones': Crisis Averted at Fox?

Fox and 20th Century Fox TV are thisclose to making a deal for a fifth season of "Bones"—but getting there wasn't without some tense moments.

With less than 100 hours before Fox announces its fall schedule, the network and its sister studio couldn't say late Thursday that a deal had been closed for another season of the show. However, people familiar with the matter said that the situation was moving quickly, and that a deal could be finalized as soon as tonight or tomorrow morning.

So, when all is said and done, "Bones" will almost certainly be back on Fox, and viewers will never know the difference.

But behind the scenes, there has been a bit of drama in recent days as 20th and Fox haggled over finding an appropriate license fee for "Bones."

Continue reading 'Bones': Crisis Averted at Fox?

Best Development Season...EVER!

Fox Says 'L'Chaim' to 'Past Life'

Samantha Who

By today's supercharged standards, this is already old news. But yes, Fox has picked up "Past Life" to series, according to a person familiar with the matter. The news broke over at Variety earlier today.

The green trade also has the latest on the fight to keep "Samantha Who" alive. It suggests ABC wants to turn the show into a single/multicam hybrid, a la "How I Met Your Mother." I had heard buzz last week that ABC executives have also let it be known that they'd be "thrilled" to have "Samantha" star Christina Applegate simply start over in a whole new show.

Continue reading Fox Says 'L'Chaim' to 'Past Life'

May 13, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Is Fox Planning A Big Move Next Monday?

The new fall schedule Fox will announce next week promises to offer both stability—and quite possibly, surprise.

While the network isn't saying much about its plans until Monday, when it kicks off upfront week, industry insiders believe that radical across-the-board changes are unlikely. Indeed, thanks to a series of shifts made during the past six months, Fox heads into next fall with it arguably its strongest lineup in years.

Still, while stability may be the watchword at Fox, that doesn't mean the network's announcement will be drama-free. Insiders indicate Fox may be ready to take some big chances.

Continue reading Is Fox Planning A Big Move Next Monday?

May 12, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Lie to Me

Upfront News: Fox Plans to 'Lie' More

Fox, which kicks off next week's upfront festivities on Monday, is starting to move forward with its plans for the 2009-10 season.

The network has picked up freshman drama "Lie to Me" for a second season, a Fox spokeswoman confirmed. Shawn Ryan ("The Shield") is joining as showrunner. It's unclear what, if anything, this means to the future of Ryan's CBS bubble drama "The Unit."

Meanwhile, industry insiders confirm that Fox has greenlit drama "Human Target" and half-hour "Sons of Tucson." Reports of the pickups were first published on the Web sites of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter earlier this afternoon.

Both "Target" and "Tucson" have long been considered likely candidates for series orders. They join already greenlit Fox fall series "Glee" and "Cleveland."

In kinda sorta related news: E! Online is reporting that Starz has ordered another season of "Party Down," the critical fave from Rob Thomas.

Continue reading Upfront News: Fox Plans to 'Lie' More

May 10, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Boo! 'Ghost Whisperer' Headed Back to CBS

It appears as though "Ghost Whisperer" will haunt CBS for another season.

Ghost Whisperer

A person familiar with the situation said the network has picked up the Jennifer Love Hewitt series for next fall. Details of the pickup were not immediately available.

While a CBS renewal had always been the most likely option, ABC Studios—which co-produces "Ghost" with CBS Paramount Network Television—has been informally shopping the series to other networks. ABC and, to a much lesser degree, Fox had indicated they would be interested in the show if CBS didn't close a deal.

At issue: A new license fee for "Ghost." Networks normally need to pay the full cost of a series once it reaches its fifth season. But given current broadcast economics, CBS had balked at that scenario.

Continue reading Boo! 'Ghost Whisperer' Headed Back to CBS

May 8, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Flash Forward

'Flash' Will Go Forward

ABC has made it official and picked up drama "Flash Forward" for next season.

The news is not unexpected, given the huge series penalty attached to the project, according to multiple reports. What's more, ABC has been airing promos for the show for the past week.

According to ABC, "Flash Forward," which is based on Robert J. Sawyer's novel of the same names and stars Joseph Fiennes, "chronicles the aftermath of a global event in which everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes, 17 seconds, and has mysterious visions of six months into the future."

David Goyer is exec producer-writer-director. Brannon Braga is exec producer and co-wrote the pilot. Other executive producers are Jessika Goyer, Vince Gerardis, Ralph Vicinanza and Marc Guggenheim. Guggenheim—new to the project—will be showrunner along with David Goyer.

ABC earlier this week greenlit its first comedy project for the 2009-10 season, ordering "Modern Family" to series.

Continue reading 'Flash' Will Go Forward

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May 4, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

Ben Silverman at the NBC Infront

NBC Infront: What We Learned

Trying to judge a network's future by its presentation to advertisers is always a risky proposition.

Spin levels are dangerously high. Clips can be misleading (think the end of the pilot for "Yes, Dear," or the entire first episode of "Joey"). And, let's face it: Most new babies appear cuter than they actually are. Unless a network does a disastrous job putting together its presentation, there's a tendency to grade its efforts on something of a curve.

And yet, those of us who get paid to write about TV can't help but issue snap judgements, however incomplete the evidence. Heck, in the age of Twitter, conclusions are drawn and broadcast around the world in real time.

With all those caveats in mind, how did the Peacock do with its infront? After the jump, Five Things We Learned About NBC Today.

Continue reading NBC Infront: What We Learned

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Best Development Season...EVER!


Taking the Wraps Off NBC's Slate

NBC is continuing its move toward the middle.

The network Monday greenlit a programming slate heavy on meat-and-potatoes fare, including two medical dramas ("Trauma" and "Mercy"), a broad family hour ("Parenthood") and an old-fashioned multicamera half-hour from director James Burrows ("100 Questions"). Also on NBC's slate: a single-camera comedy starring E! host Joel McHale and Chevy Chase ("Community") and an ambitious "limited" series from "Heroes" alum Jesse Alexander ("Day One") that will be heavily promoted during the Winter Olympics in advance of a March debut.

Continue reading Taking the Wraps Off NBC's Slate

May 3, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!

NBC Finalizes Pickups as ABC Ponders a 'Ghost'

Lots of drama this weekend as NBC prepares to brief advertisers on its 2009-10 plans Monday.

There was buzz that CBS' "Ghost Whisperer" could be in play, possibly moving to ABC. That's still considered a longshot. Click here for a full report.

Over at NBC, as of late Saturday, odds seemed to heavily favor the network greenlighting the comedies "Community" and "100 Questions" (known in some parts as "100 Questions for Charolotte Payne"), as well as dramas "Parenthood" and "Trauma."

There are also many fans of David E. Kelley's "Legally Mad" inside NBC. Despite its quirky tone -- it features singing lawyers -- some inside the network believe the show represents a chance worth taking, particularly since Mr. Kelley's series traditionally do well among upscale audiences like those NBC is targeting.

The ambitious sci-fi-themed "Day One" is also a contender. If it moves forward, however, it will likely be positioned as a limited series (a k a miniseries).

Continue reading NBC Finalizes Pickups as ABC Ponders a 'Ghost'

Apr 30, 2009

Best Development Season...EVER!


Plunging Right In: NBC Buzz

Usually, pilot buzz around this time of year is pretty unreliable. After all, screenings have just started, and most conversation is driven by agents and studios talking up their own projects.

This year, however, the rules are a bit different. In less than 100 hours, NBC will take the wraps off of its 2009-10 series pickups and renewals. So it's not surprising that buzz is starting to build around some of the network's projects.

I had hoped to avoid playing the buzz game, but some things—like Joe Biden gaffes—are simply unavoidable. Keep in mind that NBC likely hasn't made any final decisions yet, and what seems “hot” on Thursday afternoon could be ice cold come Monday.

Continue reading Plunging Right In: NBC Buzz

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