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Jul 6, 2009

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Peter Johnson: Wonderland Chief on 'Target' For a Great Season

 Hard to believe but it's been five years since Fox development executive Peter Johnson left the drudgery of network TV to head up McG's Wonderland Media. With the company's "Human Target" already generating some heat for Fox, and "Supernatural" fans always hungry for tidbits of information, it seemed like a good time to catch up with Johnson. 

My Q&A with the always-friendly, music-loving, comic book-writing producer-executive is right here. Spoiler alert: When it comes to "Supernatural"-- or "SN," as the fans call it-- don't expect Johnson to spill the beans. 

Continue reading Peter Johnson: Wonderland Chief on 'Target' For a Great Season

Jun 4, 2009

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Showtime Emmy Campaign: Ahead of the Times?

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Showtime has opted against running Emmy advertising in the daily Hollywood trades in order to mount an exclusive 13-day kudos campaign in the Los Angeles Times.

Starting Friday—the first day Emmy nomination ballots are available for viewing—Showtime will take out so-called “tower ads” in the Times every day (save Saturdays) through June 22. The ads run the full length of a page, from top to bottom, and feature branding tied to each series: “Sho Many” for “The United States of Tara” and “Sho Killer” for “Dexter.”

Two shows will be promoted each day, with one ad on the left side of a double-page spread and the other ad on the right. Nearly a dozen series will be touted during the campaign.

Showtime takes pride in stirring up buzz for how it markets its Emmy contenders, from splashy DVD boxes earlier this decade to its more recent move to online screeners. But with the Times play, the CBS Corp.-owned premium cable network is trying to drum up attention by focusing on where its advertising is going.

Showtime communications chief Richard Licata, who oversees the network’s Emmy marketing, said the network believes print trade advertising is no longer cost-effective for the Emmys. The network did pay for a splashy insert in the current issue of Emmy magazine, which is sent directly to Emmy voters.

“I don’t know how many people are depending on the trades every morning anymore,” said. “Everybody goes out to their driveways in the morning and picks up the LA Times, and then reads the Calendar section.”

He said the Times play is unique for a network.

“No TV network has ever gone to them to campaign for Emmys,” Licata said. “That’s a domain for the movie world. And I’m always looking for new ways to break through the clutter and to create a new trend for Emmy campaigning.”

Then there’s the matter of money.

Continue reading Showtime Emmy Campaign: Ahead of the Times?

  • POSTED 4:48 PM
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Jun 1, 2009

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CBS, TV Academy Move Emmys to Sept. 13

UPDATED 3:37 p.m.

CBS and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences are moving up the date of this year’s Emmy broadcast to Sept. 13, a week earlier than first announced.

The network and the TV Academy had planned to air the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 20. But after that decision was made, the NFL came out with its Sunday schedule, and it turned out CBS had a football doubleheader on Sept. 20.

Football almost always bleeds over into primetime when networks have doubleheaders. And because CBS is loathe to pre-empt “60 Minutes,” broadcasting the Emmys on Sept. 20 would have likely resulted in the awards starting late. CBS and the Academy decided it made sense to simply move the Emmys a week earlier.

The decision has other benefits.

The primetime NFL game scheduled for Sept. 13 on NBC—the Bears vs. the Packers-- is expected to be less of a barnburner than the Sept. 20 showdown (the Giants and Cowboys).

“It’s the right thing to do,” said CBS scheduling chief Kelly Kahl. “This benefits us, and it benefits the Academy.”

The rescheduling could play havoc with the Creative Arts Emmys, which are currently set for Sept. 12. It would be odd to hold back-to-back ceremonies, but having them a week earlier would be equally awkward since it will be Labor Day Weekend.

"The rescheduling of the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast may affect the location and date of the Creative Arts Awards, which is currently under consideration," an ATAS spokeswoman said.

Nominations for this year’s Emmys are still set to be revealed July 16.
 

Continue reading CBS, TV Academy Move Emmys to Sept. 13

May 30, 2009

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'Medium' Man to NBC: 'Chuck' Off!

 

“Medium” creator Glenn Gordon Caron is questioning NBC’s decision to stick with “Chuck,” even as the network failed to make a deal to renew his series.

Appearing on next week’s edition of KCRW’s “The Business,” Caron tells host Kim Masters that he suspects “Chuck” was picked up as a favor to Warner Bros. Television, which produces a number of shows for NBC.

“'Chuck' is a very good show, but …they’ve tried to launch it vigorously, twice. They’ve spent an enormous amount of money, and twice they’ve been unable to wrangle an audience for it. So one has to stop and say, ‘OK, now why would you elect to do that a third time?' Is it simply because people are eating subway sandwiches?”

 

Caron suggests it’s because of NBC’s relationship with Warners. 

 

Continue reading 'Medium' Man to NBC: 'Chuck' Off!

  • POSTED 12:17 AM
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May 19, 2009

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Silverman: 'Not One Hand Raised' for 'Medium,' 'Earl'

Ben Silverman

NBC chief Ben Silverman is making it clear: Fan love for "Chuck" helped ensure the show's survival for a third season.

And he's making it just as clear that lack of passion for "Medium" and "My Name Is Earl" doomed those series.

In the case of "Chuck," Silverman said, "Both the fans of the shows that matter and the advertisers of the shows raised their hands to say, 'We need "Chuck" on the schedule.' We will send you Nerds. We will buy Subway $5 footlongs. We will do whatever it takes."

Continue reading Silverman: 'Not One Hand Raised' for 'Medium,' 'Earl'

  • POSTED 8:20 AM
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May 18, 2009

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Fringe

J.J. Abrams: 'Fringe' Will Be Fine

J.J. Abrams isn't overly worried about Fox's decision to shift "Fringe" to Thursdays.

The writer-producer-director took a break from counting the massive box office take for his "Star Trek" reboot to weigh in on the network's surprise scheduling shift.

"With realistic expectations, I have faith that 'Fringe' will thrive," he said via e-mail.

Continue reading J.J. Abrams: 'Fringe' Will Be Fine

  • POSTED 11:03 AM
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May 17, 2009

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Chenbot Alert! 'Big Brother' Back July 9

Julie Chen

"Big Brother" fans, mark your calendars: The madness begins again Thursday, July 9.

That's the date CBS has set for the 11th season premiere of summer's longest-running reality tradition. The network isn't talking, but two people familiar with the matter confirmed the scheduling.

What's not certain is whether CBS also plans to continue the show's recent Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday air pattern. It might want to wait until its fall schedule is finalized, since CBS likes to move existing shows into their new fall timeslots over the summer, letting "Brother" fill in the holes left by dead or relocated shows.

One caveat: If CBS makes any radical schedule changes Wednesday, it's possible the July 9 premiere date could change. But it's not likely.

Let the countdown begin.

(Full disclosure: I originally posted the date as Thursday, July 7. Which might be true … on a year when July 7 is a Thursday, not a Tuesday. The dangers of late-night blogging, example 283…).

Continue reading Chenbot Alert! 'Big Brother' Back July 9

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The Dark Knight of TV Promos Returns

The man who coined the phrase "Must See TV" is now at ABC.

Vince Manze, the longtime NBC marketing wiz who struck out on his own last fall, has signed a consultancy deal with ABC. He has been a key part of ABC's new "ABC House" marketing campaign, according to ABC marketing co- chief Mike Benson.

"Vince just has a great track record," Benson said. "Just because NBC doesn't want to use him anymore, it doesn't mean he's not worth using."

Continue reading The Dark Knight of TV Promos Returns

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Medium

'Medium' Could Be on the Move

"Medium" could be on the move.

Negotiations between NBC and CBS Television Studios are said to be at an impasse, leading to informed speculation that the show could be headed to the CBS Television Network.

NBC had been looking to bring back "Medium," but with a deal similar to what the network negotiated last year: A firm 13-episode pickup with an option to expand the order to 22 episodes later in the season. That's the deal NBC brokered with CBS' studio arm last year; the network eventually increased its commitment to a full season.

Continue reading 'Medium' Could Be on the Move

  • POSTED 4:37 PM
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Chuck

Is Today the Day for 'Chuck' Fans?

No guarantees, but sources are thinking NBC and Warner Bros. could reach a deal sometime today for "Chuck" to return. However, given likely budget cuts to the show, the cast now will be dining exclusively on Five Dollar Footlongs from Subway (Eat Fresh). Not because of product placement, but because that's all they'll be able to afford.

Welcome to the (new) Hollywood.

Continue reading Is Today the Day for 'Chuck' Fans?

  • POSTED 8:54 AM
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Apr 27, 2009

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Chuck

'Chuck': Schwartz's Top Five

The Internets have been blowing up today in anticipation of tonight's "Chuck" season finale. Our research spy in TV land indicates that the NBC show is getting a new mention on Twitter at least once every 1.5 minutes. And if all goes according to plan, the Subristas who work the line at Subways everywhere should be bracing for some long lines tonight.

Charles in charge, indeed.

What more could Nerd Herd lovers want—besides, you know, great ratings and a third season of "Chuck"?

Well, how about a Very Special Guest Post by none other than Josh Schwartz, the show's co-creator? We asked, and he delivered a TV MoJoe Planetary Exclusive:

Continue reading 'Chuck': Schwartz's Top Five

  • POSTED 3:34 PM
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Subway: Good Night, and Good 'Chuck'

Wanna save "Chuck"? If you've got five bucks, and aren't averse to processed deli meats, you might just be able to help.

Chuck

In fact, Subway-loving fans of NBC's Monday night dramedy already may have done their part to keep the show on the air.

A few weeks ago, "Chuck" featured a pretty prominent product placement for Subway. We're talking characters lovingly caressing a footlong sub, with one even mentioning the company's "$5 footlongs" slogan in a scene.

Unlike Tina Fey's casual mention of McDonald's McFlurry on "30 Rock" last year, the Subway love in "Chuck" was paid for. It generated plenty of attention on Madison Avenue, including a glowing writeup in AdAge.

Subway marketing officer Tony Pace told the magazine it was happy with the arrangement. But TVMoJoe has learned that "happy" may have been an understatement.

Continue reading Subway: Good Night, and Good 'Chuck'

  • POSTED 9:25 AM
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