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TV Review: ‘Rodeo Girls, Tequila Sisters’
7 hours ago
Two disparate groups of females make their debut the same week, both grabbing for the reality-tv brass ring: “Rodeo Girls,” a pretty self-explanatory A&E series about women who “work hard, ride fast and play rough”; and “Tequila Sisters,” a TV Guide Network half-hour about wannabe Kardashians of almost breathtaking banality. If “Rodeo” at least explores a relatively interesting pastime — think “The Real Horsewives of Arizona” — there’s not enough tequila in the world to make the latter worth watching, despite the odd moment of unintentional mirth.
Built around a handful of female barrel racers, “Rodeo Girls” clearly centers on Darcy Lapier as what amounts to its version of “Dynasty’s” Alexis Carrington — a wealthy, thrice-married, glammed-up rider who enjoys competitive trash-talk as much as the next gal. She instantly raises the hackles of her rivals, many of whom resent the way she flaunts her money.
Darcy provides one truly memorable exchange, »
- Brian Lowry
NBC’s ‘Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’ Draws 25 Million Viewers
6 December 2013 3:59 PM, PST
On the same day NBC was basking in the ratings success of its live “Sound of Music” presentation, it also learned that one of its annual live events — the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — has produced its best numbers yet.
According to Nielsen, Thursday’s coverage of the 87th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 9 a.m. to noon Et generated the event’s biggest average audience in the 26-year history of Nielsen’s People Meter sample, 25.2 million. This is a 12% gain from last year’s 22.4 million.
NBC Research estimates that 46.7 million viewers watched all or some of the parade, up 8% from last year’s 43.2 million and the biggest cume audience for the event in 20 years (since 47.1 million in 1993).
In adults 18-49, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade did a 6.6 rating/27 share (roughly 8.4 million in this age group), up 2% from last year’s 6.5/26 and the top score since a 6.7 in »
- Rick Kissell
Legendary TV Lands Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films in First Major Producing Pact
6 December 2013 3:17 PM, PST
Pact is the first major deal for Bruce Rosenblum, the former head of Warner Bros. Television, who became Legendary’s president of television and digital media this summer.
Debbie Liebling, president of Red Hour Television, will oversee the development of the company’s series for Legendary. Her prior credits mainly include such comedies as “Bridesmaids,’ “The Change-Up,” “Borat” and Red Hour’s “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.”
As a shingle, Red Hour Television was launched in 2012. While it’s set up shows at HBO, FX, Fox, NBC, ABC and USA Network, only IFC’s “Birthday Boys” and “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail,” at Comedy Central, have received greenlights. »
- Marc Graser
‘Low Winter Sun’ Cancelled by AMC
6 December 2013 2:18 PM, PST
“Low Winter Sun” has been cancelled by AMC after one season, the network confirmed to Variety.
Drama, which debuted on the cabler in August, failed to attract a substantial audience, even though AMC phenomenon “Breaking Bad” served as its lead-in on Sunday nights.
Detroit-set crime drama is based on a British miniseries and centered on homicide detectives who kill a dirty cop. The show opened to 2.5 million viewers (3.3 million with L+7), but quickly began sliding, drawing well under 1 million viewers by the end of its run in October.
- AJ Marechal
Fox Tweaks Schedule Plans for ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ ‘Following’
6 December 2013 2:17 PM, PST
Fox has made a slight scheduling change in the comings and goings of its Monday dramas, and will now give rookie “Sleepy Hollow” a two-hour finale.
The net said Friday that “Sleepy Hollow,” which was originally scheduled for a one-hour finale on Jan. 20, will now get a two-hour sendoff on that night.
Kevin Bacon drama “The Following” is still getting a second-season premiere on Sunday, Jan. 19 (following Fox Sports’ coverage of the Nfc Championship) but will now not start on its regular night of Monday until Jan. 27.
The moves allow Fox to make “Sleepy Hollow,” which has been one of the highest-rated new shows of the season in adults 18-49, more of an event. It also means that Fox can stretch out “The Following” one more week, meaning it will get to wrap in the May sweep.
- Rick Kissell
Fox Sports 1 Hits Ratings High in November With Football, Ufc
6 December 2013 12:37 PM, PST
Closing strong with its biggest football game and its second biggest Ufc event to date, Fox Sports 1 in November delivered its most-watched month yet.
The young network, which launched in August, averaged 457,000 viewers in primetime from Nov. 1-30, according to Nielsen, more than double its average for October (215,000) and nearly double what it drew in September (246,000). Fox Sports 1 also set a new high in total-day average, with its 134,000 viewers up 17% over October (115,000) and 33% above September (101,000).
Leading the way last month was the Nov. 29 college football rivalry game between Oregon and Oregon State, which set a network record when it was watched by an average audience of 2.18 million — the biggest tune-in of the day for a cable sports program. The previous high for a program on FS1 was the Nov. 7 football game between Oklahoma and Baylor (2.11 million).
And on the month’s final day, the “Ultimate Fighter Finale” and “Ultimate Fighter »
- Rick Kissell
‘Peanuts’ Holiday Specials to Stay on ABC Through 2020
6 December 2013 12:20 PM, PST
Let NBC have their live musicals. Charlie Brown and his friends are sticking with ABC.
The network has extended its deal with Peanuts Worldwide LLC and Lee Mendelson Film Productions to air the classic animated holiday specials “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” through 2020. The specials, created Charles M. Schulz and based on his “Peanuts” comicstrip characters, began airing on ABC in December 2001.
“We are thrilled that our 13 year association with ABC will now extend to 20 years,” executive producer Mendelson said in a statement. “The network has shown us tremendous support from the start, including restoring the original length to our holiday shows. Charlie Brown and Snoopy are dancing today!”
The “Peanuts” comicstrip launched in seven American newspapers on October 2, 1950 and popularized phrases like “security blanket” and “good grief.” The first of these holiday specials, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” aired »
- Whitney Friedlander
It’s Official: Drew Goddard to Write, Direct Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ Pilot
6 December 2013 11:38 AM, PST
Goddard, whose credits also include films “Cabin in the Woods” and “Cloverfield,” will also serve as showrunner and executive producer of the 13-episode series, which will premiere in 2015.
The news comes as Netflix rounds out a positive week. The online channel’s original series “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards” cleaned up WGA award nominations, and the latter announced that its second season will premiere on Valentine’s Day. “Lilyhammer,” the Norwegian-American television series starring Steven Van Zandt that is Netflix’s first original series, has its second season debut on December 13.
Goddard is repped by UTA and attorneys Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller.
The Wrap first broke the news that Goddard was in negotiations for the project. »
- Whitney Friedlander
FCC to Push Back Auction of Airwaves to 2015
6 December 2013 11:29 AM, PST
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler on Friday said that the agency’s goal for an auction of broadcast spectrum for wireless use is now the middle of 2015.
The agency had previously indicated that the incentive auction would be conducted by the end of 2014. Broadcasters had questioned whether they would be ready in time, particularly with a host of issues that remain to be resolved.
In a blog post, Wheeler said that “managing a complex undertaking such as this also requires an ongoing commitment to continuously and honestly assess its readiness and its project plan.”
With ever-increasing demand for spectrum for wireless use, the auction calls for broadcast stations to voluntarily give up spectrum and then share in the proceeds when it is put up for bid to mobile and telecom firms. Success of the auction, however, depends on a number of factors, including the complex design of the software. Earlier this week, »
- Ted Johnson
Producer Christina Wayne Pacts with Endemol Studios
6 December 2013 11:00 AM, PST
Christina Wayne has hung out her own production shingle in a pod deal with Endemol Studios.
Pact is the first of its kind for Endemol’s Los Angeles-based scripted development arm.
Wayne brings her Assembly Entertainment banner to Endemol after spending the past three years as prexy of Cineflix Studios. She first made her mark as a development exec during her earlier tenure at AMC, where she shepherded “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” to great acclaim. She also worked with Endemol in the early development of the AMC’s “Hell on Wheels,” which is now heading into its fourth season.
“Endemol has built an impressive scripted business in a short period of time,” Wayne said.
Wayne’s departure from Cineflix was hastened by the Canadian company’s decision to scale back its scripted development biz and channeling most projects through its Buccaneer Media joint venture with British producer Tony Wood. »
- Cynthia Littleton
‘Scandal’s’ Season Three Episode Order Cut To 18 By ABC
6 December 2013 11:00 AM, PST
Gladiators, we have news: the episode order for season three of ABC’s “Scandal” has been reduced from 22 to 18, Variety has confirmed.
While the Alphabet is mum on the reason behind the episode reduction, it’s likely that the season has been shortened to accommodate show star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy, which was announced this fall.
“Scandal,” one of ABC’s most buzzed-about shows, continues to grow on the net’s Thursday night lineup, last night hitting a six-week high even while facing NBC’s powerhouse live telecast “The Sound of Music.”
The fall season finale for the Shonda Rhimes drama will air next Thursday, and then enter a short winter hiatus before returning to ABC in January to wrap up its third season.
- AJ Marechal
The Next Live TV Musical: 10 Things to Consider
6 December 2013 10:59 AM, PST
Now that “The Sound of Music Live!” has scaled the Nielsen mountaintop, it seems inevitable we’re going to be seeing more live musicals, just as the 1990s version of “Cinderella” starring Brandy spawned copycats.
But before network programmers start digging through their drawers, there are several factors to consider that might both help replicate NBC’s success and make future productions a little more fully realized than “Sound of Music” could manage, its success notwithstanding:
1. Being kid-friendly is a good idea. Not only did “Sound of Music” bring in a family audience, but it doubtless played better with those who had nothing with which to compare it. And if you’re going to undertake these sort of gambles, providing the widest possible target makes sense — and as a bonus, can introduce kids to the concept of musical theatre that isn’t animated.
2. Stunt casting really isn’t necessary. Stars always help, »
- Brian Lowry
‘House of Cards’ Creator Beau Willimon: ‘You Can Never Go Wrong Putting a Camera on Robin Wright’
6 December 2013 10:32 AM, PST
A bevy of sartorially savvy guests packed the tony back lounge of Soho House Dec. 5 to celebrate the Details Magazine’s mavericks issue, which honors Hollywood’s most forward-thinking self starters.
“House of Cards” scribe Beau Willimon wouldn’t divulge any secrets from the Netflix original series’ upcoming season, saying only, “It’s coming out on Valentine’s Day so I hope you cancel whatever Valentine’s Day plans you have and watch.”
“You can never go wrong putting a camera on Robin Wright,” he quipped.
A+E’s Nancy Dubuc was also singled out by the mag for her showbiz acumen. Out late on a school night, Dubuc conceded that her dream party would be dinner in bed with her kids, though one »
- Daniel Doperalski
‘Terminator’ TV Series in Development with ‘X-Men’ Writers
6 December 2013 10:31 AM, PST
“Terminator” continues to make good on its “I’ll be back” promise — this time, with a new TV show.
Skydance Prods. and Annapurna Pictures — the shingles behind Paramount’s 2015 “Terminator” reboot — have teamed to develop a fresh “Terminator” television series, hiring “X-Men: First Class” scribes Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller to write and exec produce.
TV project is said to follow a critical moment from the first “Terminator” film — where the film’s story goes one way, the upcoming television show will take that same moment in a completely different direction. Skydance and Annapurna expect the new “Terminator” TV series and rebooted “Terminator” film franchise to have intersecting narratives, as well.
This won’t be the first time that »
- AJ Marechal
TV’s Holiday Chaos: Can ‘Sound of Music’ and Other Ambitious Shows Strike A Chord?
6 December 2013 10:20 AM, PST
TV is hoping to use “How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria” to solve its ongoing problem with viewership.
The networks are serving up specials and program launches so fast and furious this month that TV is starting to serve up content a lot like Twitter does, with short bursts of something original capturing the collective fancy before another piece of video comes along and makes everyone forget about it, and so on.
Whatever happened to “peace on earth” as Christmas draws near?
The last few weeks have seen the requisite number of holiday specials, everything from the usual dose of Charlie Brown on ABC to NBC’s holiday-themed “Saturday Night Live” leftovers. Now the grid is filing up with ambitious fare that seems a little out of place in December. Sure, NBC’s “The Sound of Music” fits in well enough with an audience sated on Thanksgiving dinner »
- Brian Steinberg
‘Downton Abbey’ Tea Truck to Cruise NYC Streets
6 December 2013 9:51 AM, PST
PBS will give fans of the “Downton Abbey” Crawley clan free tea and biscuits from a mobile tea truck tooling around New York City next week, in a marketing stunt ahead of the Jan. 5 U.S. premiere of season 4.
The truck will be parked at a different Manhattan location each day Monday through Friday. Costumed servers will dole out free tea and cookies to fans and let them take photos against the backdrop of Highclere Castle.
The cast of the hit Brit series — the most-watched drama in PBS history — also will be in Gotham next week for media appearances, a VIP screening and a Dec. 12 standing-room-only fan event at The TimesCenter that will include a panel discussion with exec producers Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame.
See Also: ‘Downton Abbey’ Renewed for Fifth Season
- Todd Spangler
‘Entourage’ Creator Doug Ellin Inks Overall Deal with CBS TV Studios
6 December 2013 9:29 AM, PST
The scribe-producer inked a three-year overall deal with the studio that calls for him to develop broadcast and cable TV projects through his newly formed banner, which has yet to be named. Jim Lefkowitz is leading development efforts at the production company.
“With his unique narrative and creative edge, Dougis one of the defining voices in entertainment for today’s generation,” said David Stapf, prez of CBS TV Studios. “He made his mark in pop culture with ‘Entourage’…Needless to say, after his long stint at HBO, we jumped on the opportunity to work with him.”
Pact has already bore fruit, as Fox handed a put pilot commitment to “The Moody’s,” a comedy based on Aussie series “A Moody Christmas” about a son who abandons his lofty goals to move back home and help run the family biz. »
- AJ Marechal
HBO ‘Sondheim’ Docu Shines Spotlight on Theater Legend’s Life, Creative Process
6 December 2013 8:15 AM, PST
It’s hard to surprise musical theater fans, who feel like they already know everything about legends of the industry like Stephen Sondheim. But for legit avids who sit down to watch the Dec. 9 premiere of HBO documentary “Six by Sondheim,” one thing about the film’s cornucopia of archival interview footage will likely prove instantly striking: So many talkshows!
The depth and variety of the footage (stretching back to the ’60s) give the impression that guests on vintage TV yakkers sat around having in-depth chats about musical theater all the time — as if it wouldn’t be uncommon these days to catch Andrew Lippa on “The View” and Jeanine Tesori on “Fallon.”
Maybe credit the overlap of Sondheim’s rise to prominence with the flourishing of the television age. But whatever the explanation, the filmmakers discovered they had a wealth of resources to tap as they assembled a look »
- Gordon Cox
‘Sound of Music’ Ratings Sing for NBC Thursday Night
6 December 2013 8:07 AM, PST
NBC’s live revival of “The Sound of Music” averaged 18.5 million viewers Thursday, handily beating competitors in the Big Four throughout its three-hour telecast.
The Carrie Underwood-starrer peaked at the 9 p.m. hour, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, nabbing over 19 million viewers. The special’s biggest turnout was with women 25-54, a demo that notched a 7.0 in household rating during the primetime broadcast.
For its three hours, “Sound of Music” drew a 4.6 rating and 13 share among adults 18-49. In particular, “Sound of Music” gave NBC a rare victory in overall viewers in the brutal 8 p.m. timeslot, normally dominated by CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (4.6/14, 15.3 million). “Big Bang” hadn’t finished second in overall viewers since May 2012, though the Eye’s top sitcom still topped “Sound” in 18-49 for the halfhour.
Excluding sports, NBC scored its best Thursday in overall viewers since the “Frasier” series finale on May »
- Jon Weisman
Al Jazeera America Starts On Time Warner Cable Lineup Today
6 December 2013 8:02 AM, PST
Al Jazeera America, the infant cable-news network armed with grand ambitions and lots of money from the Qatar government, debuts today on Time Warner Cable, a crucial step for the fledgling outfit, which will now gain more presence in important markets such as New York City and Los Angeles.
The agreement was unveiled in October. By notching distribution on Time Warner Cable – as well as Bright House Networks, which take advantage of Time Warner Cable programming pacts – Al Jazeera America expects to be available in almost 55 million homes.
Al Jazeera launched August 20.
The network ” remains committed to providing in-depth, unbiased journalism,” said Ehab Al Shihabi, Al Jazeera America’s interim CEO, in a prepared statement, “and we’re excited to work with Time Warner Cable to make our channel available to their customers.”
Time Warner Cable is expected to make the network available to digital basic subscribers.
- Brian Steinberg
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