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‘Undateable’ Renewed for Season 2 by NBC

3 hours ago

Buddy comedy “Undateable” has been renewed for a second season by NBC.

Exec producer Bill Lawrence tweeted Thursday evening that he was “overexcited” to do a second season of the Warner Bros. TV comedy. NBC has ordered an additional 10 episodes.

NBC is in the hunt for new half-hours as it prepares for a massive overhaul of its comedy lineup in the coming season. “Undateable” was ordered last year for the 2013-14 season, but the Peacock couldn’t make room for it until the summer.

The show about four male friends and their dating challenges premiered May 29 and delivered respectable numbers (by summer standards) in back-to-back airings on Thursday, although viewership tailed off toward the end of its run. But NBC execs are said to be encouraged but the show’s creative direction and the appeal of stars Chris D’Elia, Brent Morin, Ron Funches and Rick Glassman.

Undateable” is also »

- Cynthia Littleton

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Wilton Schiller, Writer, Producer for ‘Lassie,’ ‘The Fugitive,’ Dies at 95

6 hours ago

Wilton Schiller, a writer and producer with a 50-year career that took him from the Golden Age of television to series such as “Lassie,” “Dragnet” and “The Fugitive” to “The Six Million Dollar Man,” died July 27 at home in Studio City, Calif. He was 95.

Schiller wrote hundreds of episodes of series such as the original “Superman” series, as well as “The Adventures of Superman,” “Leave It to Beaver,” “Dragnet,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” “Broken Arrow,” “Rawhide,” “Adam 12” and “M Squad.”

He wrote for “The Fugitive” and produced the last year of the series, with the final episode breaking all U.S. records for viewership. Recently the series was included in the top 101 television series of the last six decades by the Writers Guild of America.

Schiller also produced the series “Ben Casey” and “Mannix,” served as executive story consultant for “Six Million Dollar Man,” and co-wrote the two-part telepic “Captain America” with his wife, »

- Carmel Dagan

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‘Galavant': John Stamos to Guest Star on ABC Musical Comedy

8 hours ago

John Stamos will be bringing his singing chops to a new realm, with a guest appearance set for “Galavant,” ABC’s upcoming musical comedy series. Stamos will appear as a rival to the show’s titular knight, played by Joshua Sasse.

“We are absolutely thrilled that John Stamos is joining us on the series as Galavant’s longtime rival — a dashing knight who squares off against him once more in a local joust,” says Dan Fogelman, the series’ executive producer. “We’ve wanted John to do an arc on this show since inception.”

While he is currently set to film one episode next month in England, there is a chance for the character to recur.

Stamos is best known for his role on “Full House,” but has recently appeared on “Necessary Roughness” and “The New Normal,” and has performed on Broadway.  Stamos also still tours with The Beach Boys.

“He’s funny as hell, »

- Shelli Weinstein

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Kevin Magee To Depart Fox Business Network

9 hours ago

Kevin Magee, who has been the overseer of day-to-day operations at Fox Business Network since its days as a start-up enterprise, is departing, the network confirmed Thursday, leaving the management structure of the 21st Century Fox-owned outlet under review.

“I’m writing you today to tell you that I am leaving Fox Business and Fox News Radio. I’ve been thinking this over for a while now and it was a difficult decision to reach,” Magee, an executive Vice President, said in a note to staffers. Magee also supervised the operations of Fox News Radio.

He has played a central role at Fbn  since before its 2007 launch and helped monitor its current lineup featuring Maria Bartiromo in the morning.

Fbn has vied with NBCUniversal’s CNBC in trying to capture the business-news aficionado, and while its audience is typically smaller, it has in recent months pursued a strategy of offering »

- Brian Steinberg

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‘Sharknado 2’ Draws Syfy Record 3.9 Million Viewers

11 hours ago

Sharknado” hasn’t yet jumped the shark with viewers, as Syfy’s sequel to last year’s creature feature drew a sizable crowd of 3.9 million viewers on Wednesday night — dwarfing the original’s total, according to Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” estimates.

Sharknado 2: The Second One,” in which Ian Ziering and Tara Reid return to battle a Sharknado unleashed on New York City, gave the network its most-watched original movie ever.

See Also: Twitter Much Bigger for ‘Sharknado 2

By comparison, the NBCUniversal cabler averaged 987,000 viewers in primetime for the first four weeks of July. And in recent years, its biggest recent movie prior to last night was “Swamp Shark,” which gobbled up about 2.2 million in June 2011.

In adults 18-49, “Sharknado 2″ averaged about 1.6 million viewers — nearly triple what the original attracted — and outdrew Wednesday broadcast originals like “Extant,” “Motive” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The first »

- Rick Kissell

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‘Sharknado 2’ Stirs Up Bigger Twitter Storm for Syfy

11 hours ago

Syfy’s campy “Sharknado 2: The Second One” delivered a bigger tempest on social media than its first showing, scoring as the most-tweeted TV show Wednesday as users and advertisers looked to gleefully lampoon — and gain attention from — the cabler’s creature feature.

About 5.5 million people saw at least one of the 581,000 tweets sent about “Sharknado 2” on NBCUniversal’s Syfy on July 30, according to Nielsen. Tweets about the TV movie were sent by 188,000 unique authors and seen a total of 67.2 million times, the research firm said. The first “Sharknado” produced 318,232 tweets from 111,604 unique users for its initial airing in July 2013.

See Also: Syfy’s ‘Sharknado 2’ Scares Up 3.9 Million Viewers in Premiere

According to Syfy’s estimates, “Sharknado 2″ delivered a total of 1 billion Twitter impressions worldwide, with the made-for-tv pic at one point last night holding all top 10 trending topics in the U.S. That would mean there »

- Todd Spangler

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Television Academy Lauds Casting Director Marion Dougherty with Governors Award

12 hours ago

The late casting director Marion Dougherty will be awarded the Television Academy’s 2014 Governors Award.

Dougherty will be feted for her more than 50-year legacy as a casting director in film and television, starting with NBC’s “Kraft Television Theatre.” She is credited with coining the term “casting director” and for giving early breaks to such notables as Dustin Hoffman, William Shatner, Glenn Close and Christopher Walken.

Dougherty, who died in 2011, was the subject of the 2012 HBO docu “Casting By.”

The TV Academy also announced the juried award winners for outstanding costumes for a variety program or special and outstanding individual achievement in animation. These categories do not have nominations, and winners are voted on by a panel of specialists in the respective disciplines.

The awards will be presented during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on August 16.

Outstanding Costumes For A Variety Program Or A Special

Saturday Night Live • Host: »

- Shelli Weinstein

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‘Doctor Who’ Premiere: BBC America Announces Special Events Before Peter Capaldi’s Debut

13 hours ago

Leading up to Peter Capaldi’s first season debut as the infamous time traveler on “Doctor Who,” BBC America will premiere a series of specials, and will team up with Fathom Events for theatrical screenings of the season premiere.

Doctor Who: The Companion” will air at 9 p.m. on August 16, followed by ‘The Real History of Science Fiction: Time” at 10 p.m.

BBC America will also be airing “Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord” at 10 p.m. on August 18, after the “Doctor Who Takeover Week” kicks off earlier that day at 8 a.m.

Beginning on August 6, BBCAmerica.com will also be giving fans a chance to vote for their favorite “Who” episodes. The top selections will run in a marathon on August 24.

The net has again partnered with Fathom Events for two days of screenings of the feature-length premiere episode ‘Deep Breath’ on August 23 and 25. The episode will »

- Shelli Weinstein

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Emmy Writer and Director: The Nominees Who Knew Too Much

13 hours ago

Documents, images and consultants’ testimony can lend unexpected dimension to a narrative in development. This year’s Emmy writing and directing nominees remind us that research changes a story because it changes the storyteller — it lobs a curve at preconceptions or perspective.

Some writers bring the best research of all: personal experience. For Nic Pizzolatto, a south Louisiana upbringing meant he could write “True Detective” “from my memory and my perception … keyed towards the environment I knew we would find there.” But Ryan Murphy didn’t know the Crescent City from Adam before “American Horror Story: Coven,” having to persuade local residents en route.

“The city, to be honest, was a little nervous about us … but I really wanted to send a love letter to New Orleans, the mystery and magic of it,” Murphy says. Once early episodes evidenced six months of diligent, respectful research, “doors formerly closed were opened to us. »

- Bob Verini

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Costume Designer Janie Bryant on ‘Mad Men’s’ Timeless Style

13 hours ago

A leggy starlet with a headful of hair-sprayed curls emerges from her convertible to welcome a grizzled, yet handsome man after his long flight.

The message to “Mad Men” viewers watching the AMC show’s season opener is clear: It sure didn’t take long for Megan Draper to adjust to life in the City of Angels.

What helped make the scene so memorable was the ice blue, itsy bitsy, teeny weeny babydoll dress worn by actress Jessica Pare.

Aside from causing fashionista fan girls to swoon across the Twittersphere, the episode also garnered costume designer Janie Bryant and her team an Emmy nod — Bryant’s fourth for the series and a category she won (with Le Dawson) in 2005 for “Deadwood.”

“We wanted to give Megan an amazing dramatic entrance,” Bryant says. “That was actually a vintage dress that I used. I loved it because it was the color of the sky, »

- Whitney Friedlander

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Emmys Drama Preview: Why Serials Knocked Procedurals Out of the Race

13 hours ago

It seems obvious to say, yet it’s still a striking thought: A procedural drama, historically a staple of television, is unlikely to ever win another best series Emmy — and, indeed, will probably struggle even to get nominated.

That’s reflected in this year’s nominees — all of them serialized — highlighting an appetite for such storytelling that has permeated not just television, where it has found its deepest and most satisfying roots, but multiple forms of entertainment.

Indeed, modern-day film franchises have adopted a serialized approach, as evidenced by the book-to-screen successes that have become such lucrative annuities, from “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings” to “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games.” Where James Bond’s adventures were once crafted into largely stand-alone affairs, the latest run starring Daniel Craig adopted a trilogy-like connection more reminiscent of Jason Bourne than vintage incarnations of 007.

There are many suspects for why »

- Brian Lowry

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Is it Time to Expand the Emmys Best Drama Series Category to Ten Slots?

13 hours ago

Should the top drama category at the Emmys be expanded? The answer from many in the biz is a resounding yes. After all, we are living in a time of smallscreen riches. The elite competition has been so tough and so strong — from AMC’s gritty contemporary meth opera “Breaking Bad” to PBS’ high-brow period soap “Downton Abbey” to the new tough guys on the block at HBO’s “True Detective” — that it makes sense to expand from six to 10 nominees.

“It’s absolutely the time to consider whether to expand or not,” says Roma Khanna, president, Television Group & Digital, MGM, which produces History’s drama series “Vikings” and FX’s miniseries “Fargo.” “The number of phenomenal shows in the marketplace right now is more than we’ve ever seen, and the number of outlets has increased.”

Mordecai Wiczyk, co-ceo of Media Rights Capital, which produced Netflix’s Emmy-nominated “House of Cards, »

- Thelma Adams

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Vince Gilligan and Beau Willimon on Netflix, Antiheroes and Their Biggest Mistakes

13 hours ago

“Are we just supposed to pretend we’re in a smoky café in Budapest and just talking about making TV?” asked Beau Willimon, at the start of his conversation with “Breaking Bad’s” Vince Gilligan for Variety. If only! In reality, both showrunners were hard at work on set: Willimon on the next season of “House of Cards,” Gilligan on “Better Call Saul,” the highly anticipated prequel to “Breaking Bad.” Between praise for each other’s shows, they talked about the struggles to maintain their vision and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Variety: Who’s more evil, Frank Underwood or Walter White?

Gilligan: (Laughs.) That’s a tough one! I think Frank Underwood is smoother about it. They’re both pretty ruthless, but you would have to say Frank’s been much more effective using his evil. Because he’s gone all the way to the top. »

- Debra Birnbaum

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Why TV Production Has Migrated Overseas

13 hours ago

If watching TV’s most prestigious dramas gives you wanderlust, there’s a good reason. More U.S. series than ever before are filming outside of North America, and it’s not simply a case of runaway production. Networks, especially the big guns in basic and premium cable, are embracing the unique value of shooting a show overseas.

Take HBO’s mega-hit “Game of Thrones,” Emmy nominated for best drama for a fourth consecutive year. The fantasy saga is headquartered in Belfast, Ireland, with a second unit based in Croatia and a cast made up primarily of actors from the U.K.

“We have been shooting here for four years going on five and we are still finding new locations for our kingdoms,” says executive producer Bernie Caulfield, who noted that the varied terrains and Medieval architecture necessary for the show would have been inconceivable in the U.S.

“Today »

- Geoff Berkshire

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‘Downton Abbey’ Earns Intense Fanbase and Emmy Love

13 hours ago

Downton Abbey” merits its best drama nom this year. Despite two previous nominations, the PBS period piece that broke the “Upstairs, Downstairs” mold has never won the Emmy in that competitive category. Season after season it compels: a combination of soap opera, fast-paced storytelling and cinematic production values, plus stellar ensemble acting.

The ratings for the Carnival Films/Masterpiece co-production — the highest rated drama in PBS history — underscore its popularity. Even competing against the closing night of the Olympics, the season 4 finale logged an average 8.5 million views, up nearly 4% from the final episode of season 3.

And, while executive producer Gareth Neame has in the past said the show he constructed with Julian Fellowes was like a warm bath, anyone who has seen the show since its inception would beg to differ. Recalling the horrifying bathroom episode in season 1, it’s a warm bath where there is a bar of soap »

- Thelma Adams

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CBS TV Studios Names Drama Development Pair

13 hours ago

CBS TV Studios has named two new drama development execs.

Meghan Lyvers (pictured right) comes to the Eye as senior VP of drama development. Brianna Bennett (pictured left) has signed on as VP of drama development.

The appointments fill the void at the studio left in June when Beth Miyares left to join Fox Broadcasting as senior VP of drama development.

Film and TV vet Lyvers was most recently a development exec at the Television 360 arm of Management 360, where she helped shepherd projects for clients including Michael Chiklis, Christina Applegate, Brad Garrett, Taye Diggs and Marc Forster.

Before Television 360, Lyvers worked for Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Prods. as veep of production and development. She helped launch the Tribeca film fest and worked on such pics as “About a Boy,” “Meet the Fockers” and “Analyze That,” as well as the Tribeca-produced CBS cop drama »

- Variety Staff

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‘Big Brother,’ ‘Talent’ Set Ratings Pace Wednesday; ‘Extant’ Steady in Move

14 hours ago

Reality veterans “Big Brother” on CBS and “America’s Got Talent” on NBC were the most popular programs among young adults on Wednesday, a night that saw CBS rookie drama “Extant” stabilize as it moved to its new, later timeslot. Over at CW, magic series “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” opened at the high end of the network’s summer ratings range.

CBS and NBC tied for the night’s 18-49 lead, with the Peacock leading outright in total viewers, according to preliminary “live plus same-day” Nielsen estimates.

For CBS, “Big Brother” (2.2 rating/9 share in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) was down a smidge from last week, winning its hour in key demos as well as total viewers and tying “America’s Got Talent” as Wednesday’s No. 1 program in 18-49. A repeat “Criminal Minds” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) followed, matching last week’s “Extant” score in 18-49. And in its new 10 p. »

- Rick Kissell

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‘PBS NewsHour’ Names Sara Just as Executive Producer

14 hours ago

Weta president and CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller has announced the selection of Sara Just as executive producer of “PBS NewsHour” and senior vice president of NewsHour Productions LLC.

Just will oversee the daily operations of the nightly news program, co-anchored by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff.

Currently the Washington deputy bureau chief at ABC News, Just is set to join “PBS NewsHour” on September 2.


- Shelli Weinstein

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All3Media America Announces Six Executive Promotions, New Hire

14 hours ago

All3Media America has announced the promotion of six senior execs, as well as a new hire for the company, chairman Stephen Lambert and president Eli Holzman announced Thursday.

Aaron Saidman, one of the earliest hires at the original Studio Lambert USA, has been promoted to executive vice president, development and current programming. Saidman served as a producer on the first season of “Undercover Boss” before joining the company as head of development.

Wally Parks, after being with All3Media America for four years, has been promoted to executive vice president, production, while Jacob Cohen-Holmes has moved up to senior vice president, development and current programming. Cohen-Holmes currently oversees programming day-to-day across all companies in the All3Media America Hub.

Jonathan Parkman, promoted to senior vice president, post production, has been tasked with managing post production operation with Parks.

Dana Boratenski, another Studio Lambert vet, has been promoted to vice president, »

- Shelli Weinstein

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USA, Syfy Launch Xbox Apps with Access Restricted to Pay-tv Customers

15 hours ago

Sharknado 2″ is coming to Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console — but you have to subscribe to a participating cable, satellite or telco TV service to gain access to it.

NBCUniversal has launched apps for cablers USA Network and Syfy on Xbox One, the programmer’s first content services on the platform. USA Now and Syfy Now provide access to new episodes day-after-air, along with recent episodes from each network.

NBCU has authentication deals with pay-tv providers including Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, At&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, Cablevision Systems and Cox Communications. Time Warner Cable is the biggest operator that isn’t on board.

For Microsoft, the addition of NBCU’s “TV Everywhere” services is aimed at making Xbox a more attractive hub for entertainment. Earlier this month, Microsoft said it was shuttering Xbox Entertainment Studios, ending its bid to produce original content for the device.

USA Now gives authenticated subscribers access to full seasons, »

- Todd Spangler

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