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Candice Bergen is heading to Battle Creek. Murphy Brown herself will play Constance a con artist, E! News has learned. Bergen's character is described as charming, quick-witted and clever and she comes in to help Milt (Josh Duhamel) and Russ (Dean Winters) on a case. Oh, and to make matters more interesting, she's also Russ' mother! Bergen will appear in the seventh episode of the new CBS series. Battle Creek hails from Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan and House creator David Shore and follows two mismatched law enforcement officers—Milt Chamberlain of the FBI and Russ Agnew of the Battle Creek Police Department—who couldn't be more different. The midseason drama also stars Damages »
This coming week, Titan Books is set to release Showrunners: The Art of Running A TV Show, Tara Bennett’s companion book to the upcoming documentary Showrunners, the ultimate insider’s guide to creating and running a hit show which includes legends such as Joss Whedon, Damon Lindelof, Ronald D.Moore, Jane Espenson, Terence Winter, Kurt Sutter, Janet Tamaro and Bill Prady. Here’s an exclusive excerpt from the book, which hits shelves on September 5th…
With the industry in such flux, writers are also trying to navigate the best paths for their creative careers. Is broadcast in too much disarray to invest? Is cable the right fit for future development? Maybe TV needs to get its act together, and film is the place to hang out for a while? All showrunners are mulling these options, and more, as they think about what their personal futures hold.
Robert King, Showrunner: »
- Gary Collinson
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.] Show: "Battle Creek" (CBS - Midseason) The Pitch: "Hi! My name is Vince Gilligan. You might remember me from such shows as..." "Sold!" "Wait, but I'm not actually going to be available to do anything here." "We *said* 'Sold.'" "Woo-hoo!" Quick Response: Vince Gilligan's script for "Battle Creek," which sat in a desk for a decade before getting a straight-to-series order from CBS, is Not "Breaking Bad." It's a goofier, lighter brew than what you're expecting and if I had to compare it to anything in Gilligan's filmography, I might actually go with something earlier and more comedic, like "Home Fries," which Nobody at CBS wants to hear. I liked "Home Fries." It's kooky and charming. "Battle Creek" is also kooky and charming, but I can't say with certainty that that's what anybody at CBS is going to want it to be long-term, a long-term that will take »
- Daniel Fienberg
Related Fall TV 2014: Your Handy Calendar to 99+ Season and Series Premieres
Modern Family returns Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 9/8c.
Ready for more of today’s newsy nuggets? Well…
Patton Oswalt joins stars Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters as the unorthodox mayor of Battle Creek, Mich., in the freshman season’s sixth episode, “Cereal Killer,” EW has learned exclusively. The character’s full name? Mayor Scooter Hardy. There really was no other casting choice.
Duhamel stars as Milton Chamberlain, a handsome, charismatic FBI agent with unlimited resources, who opens a field office at the underfunded police »
- Mandi Bierly
It’s been 12 years since CBS bought Vince Gilligan’s script for an odd-couple cop drama. Now, with the help of “House” creator David Shore and others, “Battle Creek” will finally make its way to TV this winter as part of the Eye’s midseason lineup.
While this is a lesson on hope for all struggling screenwriters with scripts in turnaround, it’s also one on partnership. Both men — creators in their own right of immensely popular dramas with distinct tones of voice — are exec producing the Sony TV and CBS TV series along with Melissa Bernstein, Erin Gunn, Mark Johnson and pilot director Bryan Singer, but Gilligan is ceding day-to-day showrunning activities to Shore so he can concentrate on AMC’s “Better Call Saul.” At “Battle Creek’s” TCA press panel, the two talked about how that partnership has played out.
“Twelve years ago, I wanted to make this »
- Whitney Friedlander
Vince Gilligan originally write the script for his upcoming CBS drama "Battle Creek" a dozen years ago. So when asked at press tour about the selection of the Michigan town as the setting, Gilligan admitted that he couldn't remember what he did last week, let alone a script he wrote that long ago. In this case, "Battle Creek" co-star Josh Duhamel stepped in to refresh Gilligan's memory, explaining that the "Breaking Bad" creator had been fascinated with the name of the city (which he has never visited) just from seeing it on Kellogg's cereal boxes since childhood. CBS had "Battle Creek" — which stars Dean Winters as a cynical Battle Creek cop and Duhamel as the perfect FBI agent who sets up a field office across the hall from the detective squad — in development a dozen years ago, didn't make it at the time because the right actors couldn't be found. »
- Alan Sepinwall
Making his second appearance during the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Vince Gilligan returned to the stage Thursday afternoon for a show he probably never thought would see the light of day. Battle Creek, the Breaking Bad creator's 12-year-old pilot script, landed a series order at CBS last year with House's David Shore on board to take the reins. And while Gilligan was effusive about the revived project, he was adamant about playing a small role moving forward. "I'm sorry I'm not a bigger part of this show as I'd like to be as my duties on
- Michael O'Connell
Though the cast of “The Big Bang Theory” is still negotiating their contracts for the new season, “We’re feeling very confident that these deals will be able to be worked out,” chairman of CBS Entertainment Nina Tassler told reporters Thursday at the annual Television Critics Assn. press tour. “I just love being able to answer the questions year after year.”
Tassler also addressed plans for the upcoming latenight transition, with Stephen Colbert set to inherit David Letterman’s 11:30 p.m. slot. “We’re having preliminary conversations with Stephen, very early conversations about format,” said Tassler. “We know he’s retiring his character on Comedy Central. He does want to have an interview format. As to dates, we’re in the middle of those conversations right now.”
As for the 12:30 p.m. slot, Tassler said they’re still evaluating formats and hinted that the show may not be »
- Debra Birnbaum
Good thing news broke on Wednesday that the cast of "The Big Bang Theory" is still negotiating with CBS and Wbtv, because without that, there wouldn't have been much excitement to be expected from Thursday (July 17) morning's Television Critics Association press tour panel with CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler. So we've got that to look forward to. We can also probably expect some queries about Thursday Night Football, the early performance of Halle Berry's "Extant" and maybe CBS' difficulties launching midseason shows (but probably not). Click through for the full live-blog... 9:02 a.m. CBS starts promptly. 9:02 a.m. CBS is America's most watched network for the 11th time in 12 years. 9:03 a.m. "I admit it, I'm still really pissed about 'The Good Wife,'" Tassler says, trumpeting CBS' Emmy nominations, most for any broadcast network. 9:03 a.m. Tassler is a fan of new platforms, »
- Daniel Fienberg
Until about 10 minutes ago, there has been so much conflicting information, if not outright misinformation, about what exactly "Better Call Saul" will be: A straight "Breaking Bad" prequel? A time-bending journey that includes adventures during the reign of Heisenberg? A comedy? A drama with occasional laughs? Huell's story? AMC's press release about the full cast and basic premise and setting fill in some of the details — including that it begins six years before Saul (then known as Jimmy McGill) meets Walter White — and now co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould will hopefully bring more of the show (not due to premiere until early 2015) into sharper clarity, without actually giving too much of the fun away. I'll be live-blogging all of Gilligan's charming Virginian self-deprecation, all of Gould's jokes, and whatever nuggets we actually get about the new show. (Note: all times will be Pacific.) 5:10 p.m.: Gould and »
- Alan Sepinwall
They came, they schmoozed, they screened. More than 1,500 television buyers from around the world have made the studio rounds in Los Angeles the past few days, checking out the 50-plus new series that landed orders from major networks last week.
The L.A. Screenings are a lower-profile affair than the upfront presentations mounted in Gotham last week, but in many ways they are equally important. International licensing, to linear and digital platforms, is crucial to funding production, particularly for high-end dramas. Unlike upfronts, which are geared to advertising sales, L.A. Screenings are organized around the studios that control the international distribution rights to shows.
“This is an important week,” said Armando Nunez, president and CEO of CBS Global Distribution Group. “It tees up a (sales) process that depends on the market. Every year there are more channels to put content on. We need to talk to them all and »
- Cynthia Littleton
ABC Studios is selling a diverse slate of new hours as well as a trio of unique comedies.
On the drama side, “Marvel’s Agent Carter” and “The Whispers” may hold the most global appeal, but others have potential as well.
“Agent Carter,” the second series from Marvel in the last two years, follows Peggy Carter in 1946 as she balances her administrative work with embarking on secret missions for the covert Ssr (Strategic Scientific Reserve). It should hold more appeal for women than last year’s “Agents of Shield.”
In “Whispers,” aliens have invaded Earth by using our most unlikely resource to achieve world domination — our children. As the kids unwittingly help these unseen enemies, the clock counts down in a race to save humanity.
- Variety Staff
For international TV buyers headed to the L.A. Screenings this week, the range of selections couldn’t be broader, including everything from ever-popular procedurals, event dramas, complex genre series and, to a lesser extent, comedies.
Now that the upfronts are over, the studios’ international divisions pick up the road show at the L.A. Screenings, which started on May 13 and run through May 23.
Just as in the U.S., procedurals remain the bread-and-butter of TV networks around the world. Last season, Sony Pictures Television’s “The Blacklist” was one of the top new dramas internationally, launching almost simultaneously with its U.S. premiere.
This season, buyers have several new procedurals to choose from, including two spinoffs of CBS’ strong franchises, “CSI: Cyber” and “NCIS: New Orleans.”
- Paige Albiniak
What’s the best new show coming to CBS? Well, we have high hopes for Vince Gilligan and David Shore’s Battle Creek, but as CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler explained during the network’s upfronts presentation, that doesn’t premiere until midseason. For fall, CBS knows what you want: More NCIS! Your guide to non-ncis offerings also appears below.
- Melissa Maerz
CBS has unveiled its schedule for the 2014-15 season, along with summaries and trailers for its fall offerings. Among the Eye’s upcoming shows: spinoffs for “NCIS” and “CSI”; a Kevin Williamson thriller starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott; Matthew Perry’s latest attempt to headline a comedy post-”Friends”; and a procedural from “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan and “House’s” David Shore.
Check out the summaries and first looks for fall below:
A mystery thriller starring Halle Berry as Molly Woods, a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family after returning from a year in outer space. Her mystifying experiences in space lead to events that will ultimately change the course of human history.
A comedy about a loud, sports-crazed Boston family whose somewhat athletically challenged son, Ronny, is chosen by his father to be his assistant high school basketball coach, to »
- Laura Prudom
Following the 2014-15 schedule announcement, CBS released the full trailers for its fall slate of new dramas and comedies. Including midseason, the network will debut eight scripted series, six of them dramas: Kevin Williamson's Stalker, starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott; Madam Secretary with Tea Leoni; Nick Santora's Scorpion; Battle Creek, from Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan and David Shore; and two spinoffs, NCIS: New Orleans and CSI: Cyber. Photos: Broadcast TV's New Shows for 2014-15 Season Two comedies will launch during the new season, Matthew Perry's The Odd Couple redo and The McCarthys. Check out the trailers for
- Philiana Ng
CBS said it would launch new editions of its long running ‘NCIS’ and ‘CSI’ franchises, air a final year of “Two and a Half Men” and follow a strategy of airing more original programming throughout the 2014-2015 TV season as it echoed the chorus of TV networks vowing to launch new content throughout the year, not just between May and September.
“We no longer have a midseason,” said Nina Tassler, chairman of CBS Entertainment, during a presentation of the new schedule to reporters Wednesday morning. Instead, she said, CBS intends to launch new series in fall, spring and summer.
Indeed, the network’s fall schedule – which includes four new dramas and a comedy – seems an attempt to mix the return of veteran shows with the need to launch new series to keep viewers surprised and interested.
“We roll out big shows all year long,” she said, noting the success CBS »
- Brian Steinberg
The CSI franchise — which includes the new spinoff CSI: Cyber — moves to Sundays after The Good Wife, and The Big Bang Theory will start off the season on Mondays to help launch fall, according to CBS’ new schedule released today.
NFL Football will debut on Thursdays this fall with a total of eight games. Afterwards, the Eye’s winning comedy lineup will return Oct. 30, which includes Tbbt at 8. The Amazing Race moves to Fridays.
Here is the schedule:
Mike & Molly, »
- Lynette Rice
All week long as the other networks have been frantically renewing and canceling established shows and picking up new shows, CBS has been the cool kid leaning up against the wall in a leather jacket smoking a cigarette. [Yes, I'm picturing Pre-Upfronts Week as a '50s problem drama.] Late Friday (May 9), CBS decided to get in on the action, announcing seven series pickups, five dramas and two comedies. [Actually, it's kinda only six series pickups, since Vince Gilligan's "Battle Creek" had been acquired as a 13-episode series commitment pre-pilot.] On the drama side, CBS is moving forward with the "Battle Creek," the planted spinoff "NCIS: New Orleans," "Stalker" (formerly "Untitled Kevin Williamson"), "Scorpion" and "Madam Secretary." On the comedy side, CBS has ordered "The McCarthys" and "The Odd Couple" to series. It's unclear which shows are headed for midseason and which are targeted for fall. And CBS isn't expected to announce any additional pickups or cancellations today. So let's get down to the details on CBS' new shows for the 2014-15 season, »
- Daniel Fienberg
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