Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fox renews freshman series "Lethal Weapon" and "Star"

Two more early pieces of news from Fox today: the network has given early renewals to two freshman series, this past fall's adaptation of Lethal Weapon, and a much more recent show to debut, the musical series Star.

Check out the press releases below, with details about each show's current-season performance, as well as loglines of upcoming episodes.


An All-New Episode Airs Tonight on FOX

FOX has ordered a second season of the hit action drama LETHAL WEAPON, it was announced today by David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“LETHAL WEAPON continues to fire on all cylinders,” said Madden. “Every week, it delivers a big, fun rollercoaster ride, but also remains touchingly human and genuinely emotional, and that’s due to the chemistry that’s developed not only between Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford, but the entire cast. We want to thank our producing partners, Warner Bros., as well as Matt Miller, McG, Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz, who have done a fantastic job in crafting a series for which a second-season order is well deserved.”

LETHAL WEAPON delivers a total Multi-Platform average audience of 11 million viewers and ranks among the Top 5 new series this season.

In tonight’s all-new episode, “Unnecessary Roughness,” airing 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT, on FOX, a murder involving a high school football phenomenon draws Riggs (Clayne Crawford) and Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) into the lucrative – and corrupt – world of college recruiting. Meanwhile, Murtaugh considers a big change in his professional life, and Riggs contemplates an even bigger shift in his personal life, as he spends more time with DEA Agent Karen Palmer (guest star Hilarie Burton).

Combining action and drama with ride-or-die friendship and humor, LETHAL WEAPON reimagines the hit movie franchise, as it follows classic cop duo Riggs (Clayne Crawford, “Rectify”) and Murtaugh (Emmy Award nominee Damon Wayans, “My Wife and Kids,” “In Living Color”), who work a crime-ridden beat in modern-day Los Angeles. Grief-stricken after the loss of his young wife and unborn child, ex-Navy SEAL-turned-detective MARTIN RIGGS moves to California to “start over” at the LAPD. He’s paired up with ROGER MURTAUGH, who’s just coming back to the job after a near-fatal heart attack. Riggs’ penchant for diving headfirst into the line of fire immediately clashes with Murtaugh’s prudent, by-the-book technique. One has everything to live for, the other has nothing to lose.

LETHAL WEAPON is a production of Warner Bros. Television in association with Lin Pictures and Good Session Productions. Matt Miller (“Forever,” “The 100”), Dan Lin (“The LEGO Movie,” “Sherlock Holmes”), Jennifer Gwartz (“Forever,” “Veronica Mars”) and McG (“The Mysteries of Laura,” “The O.C.,” “Charlie’s Angels”) serve as executive producers. The pilot was written by Miller and directed by McG. “Like” LETHAL WEAPON on Facebook at Follow the series on Twitter @LethalWeaponFOX and join the discussion at #LethalWeapon. See photos and videos onInstagram by following @LethalWeaponFOX.

All episodes of LETHAL WEAPON are available on FOX NOW, Hulu and On Demand. To watch episodes on FOX NOW, visit


An All-New Episode Airs Tonight on FOX

FOX has renewed the drama series STAR for a second season, it was announced today by David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“Lee Daniels is a true visionary and he and Tom Donaghy have delivered a series with a unique and meaningful point of view,” said Madden. “Our incredible cast, led by Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt, instantly infused their characters with tremendous depth and passion, and the show has proved to be both powerful and really entertaining. We are thrilled that this STAR will continue to shine for a second season.”

Delivering an average Multi-Platform audience of more than seven and a half million viewers, STAR is an emotionally powerful drama that follows three talented singers – running from their pasts and desperate for a new start – with ambitions of stardom, as they navigate the cut-throat music business. The series features Queen Latifah, Benjamin Bratt, Jude Demorest, Brittany O’Grady, Ryan Destiny, Amiyah Scott and Quincy Brown.

Only three more episodes of STAR remain before the jaw-dropping season finale, airing Wednesday, March 15 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. As the season comes to a close, news of Otis’ murder continues to wreak havoc on God’s Blessings Beauty Salon and threatens to break up the family, as the girls will face life-changing decisions that could tear them apart. Special guest stars set to appear on STAR over the next four weeks include Naomi Campbell, Big Boi, Rickey Smiley, Missy Elliott and Paris Jackson. 

STAR is a production of 20th Century Fox Television in association with Lee Daniels Entertainment. Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy are the creators and executive producers of the series. Pamela Oas Williams and Effie Brown also serve as executive producers. Chuck Pratt is an executive producer and serves asshowrunner of the series. “Like” STAR on Facebook at Follow the series on Twitter @STAR and join the discussion by using #Star. See photos and videos on Instagram by following @STARonFOX. 
All previously aired episodes of STAR are available on FOX NOW and On Demand to subscribers of participating pay-TV services. To learn more about FOX NOW, please visit

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Watch out, Greenwich: Fox Renews "The Mick" for season 2

l-r, Sofia Black-Delia, Jack Stanton, Carla Jimenez,
Thomas Barbusca, Scott MacArthur and Kaitlin Olson
in Fox's comedy The Mick

This morning, in advance of the usual barrage of renewals and cancellations in May, Fox announced a season 2 pickup for its midseason comedy The Mick, a show of faith in Kaitlin Olson and her "bad aunt" sitcom.

No word yet on whether The Mick will be on Fox's fall schedule, or will be held, like this year, until after the World Series or beyond for a midseason debut.  Stay tuned!

Below, Fox's full announcement:

 An All-New Episode Airs Tonight on FOX Hit comedy THE MICK, starring Kaitlin Olson, has been renewed for a second season, it was announced today by David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.
“From the earliest stages of development, all of us at FOX had enormous faith in THE MICK, and it hasn’t disappointed,” said Madden. “Kaitlin is a fearless comedic force, and the rest of the cast has just proven to be phenomenal. John and Dave Chernin have a very clear vision of what this show is, and they execute on that vision each week to perfection. We really couldn’t be happier with THE MICK, and we’re so thrilled to renew the series for a second season.”
On tonight’s all-new episode of THE MICK, “The Baggage,” airing 8:30-9:00 ET/PT, on FOX, Mickey’s (Kaitlin Olson) unwanted suitors team up to thwart her new romance. Meanwhile, Sabrina (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and Alba (Carla Jimenez) teach Ben (Jack Stanton) a lesson in responsibility.
Delivering an average Multi-Platform audience of eight million viewers, THE MICK is a comedy about an unapologetic degenerate (Kaitlin Olson) who suddenly finds herself stuck raising her spoiled niece (Sofia Black-D’Elia, “The Night Of”) and nephews (Thomas Barbusca, “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life”; newcomer Jack Stanton) in affluent Greenwich, CT. It’s pretty much everything she never wanted. Regardless, she’s determined to rise to the occasion and transform these little monsters into honest, hard-working, decent members of society – something she knows absolutely nothing about.
The series also stars Carla Jimenez (“Last Man Standing”) and newcomer Scott MacArthur. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, THE MICK was created/written by John Chernin (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Dave Chernin (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). The Chernin brothers, Nicholas Frenkel (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Oly Obst (“Barely Famous”), along with Randall Einhorn (“Nurse Jackie,” “The Office”), who directed the pilot episode, are executive producers. Kaitlin Olson is a co-executive producer on the series.
“Like” THE MICK on Facebook at
Follow the series on Twitter @TheMickFOX and join the discussion at #TheMick.
See photos and videos on Instagram @TheMickFOX. All episodes of THE MICK are available on FOX NOW, Hulu and On Demand.
To watch episodes on FOX NOW, visit

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Henstridge Era Continues, as E! renews "The Royals" for season 4

News coming out of, Los Angeles today, as E! announces a fourth-season renewal for its scripted series The Royals.  Ten episodes will air at an unspecified date, after the season 3 finale airs this Sunday night, February 19.  Read on for the official royal proclamation:

Season Three of the Delightfully Scandalous Original Scripted Series Starring Elizabeth Hurley Averages 1.1M Total Viewers, with More Than 600k in the A18-49 Demo, and 1.6M Weekly Social Engagements  
Third Season Finale Episode Airs This Sunday, February 19 at 10pm ET/PT on E!, Followed by “The Royal Hangover” on Facebook Live at 11pm ET
Los Angeles and Santa Monica, CA, February 16, 2017 – E! Entertainment announced a season four pick-up of the hit original scripted drama series “The Royals,” co-produced by Lionsgate and Universal Cable Productions.  Created by Mark Schwahn (“One Tree Hill”), the hour-long drama follows a fictional modern day royal family as they find love, conspire against one another, and are forced to face long-hidden secrets, all in the name of the crown.  “The Royals’” fourth season will consist of 10 one-hour episodes, to be followed each week by The Loyals’ favorite after show, “The Royal Hangover,” on Facebook Live. 
The third season has been a fun, sexy romp filled with battles for the throne, unexpected trysts, secret relationships, impossible returns, and complicated reveals from the past.   Events have included Queen Helena’s (Elizabeth Hurley) bitter battle against Cyrus (Jake Maskall) to prove Prince Liam (William Moseley) and Princess Eleanor (Alexandra Park) are rightful heirs to the throne after King Simon’s murder; the presumed dead Prince Robert’s (Max Brown) return to the palace; Queen Helena’s obsession with the Crown Prince of Lichtenstein (Elizabeth Hurley’s son, Damian Hurley) from the “Royal & Beautiful” television series; Princess Eleanor and her bodyguard Jasper (Tom Austen) taking a romantic turn in their relationship while he struggles to keep his past from catching up to him; and finally, Cyrus fighting for his life and the throne. 
In the upcoming third season finale episode, airing this Sunday, February 19 at 10pm, Prince Liam finds himself in unexpected places while looking to validate or dismiss the latest palace scandal. Queen Helena is heartbroken over a recent loss, while Jasper makes a final play for Princess Eleanor’s heart, and historic changes assure that nothing will ever be the same behind the palace gates.
Following the episode, the cast of “The Royals” joins creator Mark Schwahn to talk about the latest vices, skirmishes and not-so-secret rendezvous the nobles have taken part in throughout the season on “The Royal Hangover” on Facebook Live at 11pm ET on Sunday, February 19.
 “The third season of ‘The Royals’ has proven to be an entertaining mix of secrets, deceit and desire that our fans can't get enough of,” said Adam Stotsky, President, E! Entertainment and Esquire Network.  “We are excited to see what new scandals await our royal family, and how their dynamic evolves in season four.”
“We’re proud to extend our partnership with our friends at E! and Universal Cable Productions, and we’re pleased that the dedicated fans – the ‘Loyals’ –  are getting another season of their favorite show,” said Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs.  “’‘The Royals’ is the kind of original and provocative series that has become a Lionsgate trademark, and we look forward to an all-new season of saucy palace intrigue and badly behaved sovereigns.”
“Mark Schwahn has created a sensational and opulent world filled with high stakes, scandalous drama and fairytale love stories. We’re excited to continue working with the talented cast and crew along with Lionsgate and E! to deliver more of ‘The Royals’ to loyal fans,” said Jeff Wachtel, President, Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.
"E!, Lionsgate, and Universal Cable productions are wise and benevolent rulers and the Loyals are the true aristocracy,” said Mark Schwahn, creator, writer and director of “The Royals.”  “The writers, cast and crew love making this show, and I'm thrilled to once again play the role of court jester and humbly entertain our dedicated fan base with many more scandalous, sexy, heartfelt and addictive tales from the House of Henstridge." 
The third season of “The Royals” is averaging 1.1M total viewers, with over 600k in the 18-49 demo.  The scripted series ranks among the Top 5 Primetime destinations on Sundays (8p-11p) among W18-34 (#4), and is a Top 10 Primetime destination for 2017 to date among A/W 18-49 and A18-34.  Season three is averaging 1.6M weekly social media engagements, up 52% versus the same season two window.
Source: Nielsen, Live + 3, A18-49, premieres only (12/4/16-1/29/17); Primetime ranks based on 2017 premieres only (1/1/17-1/29/17; Social = ListenFirst
“The Royals” is co-produced by Lionsgate and Universal Cable Productions.  The series is executive produced, written and directed by Mark Schwahn (“One Tree Hill”), and executive produced by Brian Robbins, Joe Davola (“One Tree Hill,” “Smallville”), and Shauna Phelan.  “The Royals” stars Elizabeth Hurley (“Queen Helena”), William Moseley (“Prince Liam”), Alexandra Park (“Princess Eleanor”), Jake Maskall (“King Cyrus”), Tom Austen (“Jasper”), Max Brown (“Prince Robert”) and Genevieve Gaunt (“Wilhelmina”).

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Galentine's Day!

Just a reminder for tonight, as you snuggle with your partner or sit in front of the TV with a new box of bon bons (no judgments here!):  As of yesterday, all 180 half-hours of The Golden Girls became available for streaming on Hulu.

Yes, it's a fun ritual to tune in at 11 PM to see which episodes Hallmark is featuring for the night.  But now, for the first time, you can stream at any time any episode you want.  Like Rose, jonesing for a pain pill, or Dorothy, making surreptitious calls to her bookie, you can find on Hulu the fix you're craving.  Again, no judgments!

Happy Gal-entine's Day!

Attention, Cloud 9 Shoppers: Superstore Renewed for Season 3

The cast of NBC's hit Thursday night comedy Superstore

A smart buy for NBC: giving an early season 3 renewal to its hilarious sophomore comedy Superstore.  Read on for the network's official announcement about the 22-episode third season to come this fall.

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Feb. 14, 2017 — Renewal on aisle 3 … NBC’s “Superstore” is coming back for a 22-episode third season. 
The announcement was made by Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment.
“We are extremely proud of ‘Superstore,’ which is one of the smartest and funniest comedies on television today,” said Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment. “Through the show’s expertly drawn characters, our producers and cast do a remarkable job touching on many issues in which audiences can relate. To its credit, not only does ‘Superstore’ make us laugh, but it makes us think as well.”
So far this season, “Superstore” originals have averaged a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.7 million viewers overall in “live plus seven day” ratings from Nielsen Media Research, lifting the network +29% above its 1.4 average in the Thursday 8 p.m. half-hour last season in 18-49 (excluding sports). Last summer a special post-Olympic telecast of “Superstore” delivered 9.7 million viewers, making it broadcast TV’s most-watched Friday comedy in 12 years.
Last season “Superstore” ranked as NBC’s #1 show on digital platforms, generating more than 33 million full-episode views on Hulu, and video on demand.
“Superstore” centers around Amy (America Ferrera), the store’s most stalwart employee as well as the glue holding the place together. Jonah (Ben Feldman), who is often the target of his colleagues ribbing, is joined on the floor with his fellow associates, including sardonic Garrett (Colton Dunn), the ambitious Mateo (Nico Santos) and sweet teenager and new mom Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom). Overseeing the store is Glenn (Mark McKinney), the affable, clueless store manager, and Dina (Lauren Ash), the aggressive assistant manager who enforces Cloud 9 policy with an iron fist.
From the bright-eyed newbies and the seen-it-all veterans, to the clueless seasonal hires and the in-it-for-life managers, together they hilariously tackle the day-to-day grind of rabid bargain hunters, riot-causing sales and nap-worthy training sessions.
“Superstore” was created and written by Justin Spitzer, who also serves as an executive producer with director Ruben Fleischer, David Bernad and Gabe Miller & Jonathan Green. “Superstore” is produced by Universal Television, Spitzer Holding Company and The District.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Lady Gaga Joins RuPaul for Season Premiere of Drag Race

Well, it looks like Gaga survived that jump off the Super Bowl roof after all.  This morning, I got the email from Citibank about pre-sale tickets for her "Joanne" world tour.  (The pre-sale starts Feb. 8).  And now, Logo has announced that Gaga will be joining RuPaul to judge the season 9 premiere episode of Drag Race.

Check out the announcement video and press release below:

Logo’s Emmy® Award-Winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Lands Lady Gaga For Unforgettable Season Premiere
Snatch The Moment This March
NEW YORK, NY – February 7, 2017 – Fresh off a stunning Super Bowl halftime show performance, Lady Gaga is set to appear on the season premiere of Logo’s Emmy® Award-winning competition series,  "RuPaul’s Drag Race."  Logo today announced that the new season will kick off with “Mother Monster” and RuPaul this March.  

The season nine premiere event features a shocking opening that will go down as one of the most jaw-dropping moments in “Drag Race” history.  Additionally, the premiere event will unveil a court of cut-throat Queens each competing to snatch the crown and strut away with a $100,000 cash prize and the coveted title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.” Along the way, they’ll face an unpredictable competition and deliverwatercooler moments as these talented ladies of drag join the fabulous 100 Queens who fought for the crown before them.

The 13 previously announced Queens include:  Aja (Brooklyn, NY), Alexis Michelle (New York, NY), Charlie Hides (London, UK), Eureka O’Hara (Johnson City, TN), Farrah Moan (Las Vegas, Nevada), Jaymes Mansfield (Madison, Wisconsin), Kimora Blac (Las Vegas, Nevada), Nina Bo'nina Brown (Atlanta, Georgia), Peppermint (New York, New York), Sasha Velour (Brooklyn, New York), Shea Coulee (Chicago, IL), Trinity Taylor (Orlando, FL) and Valentina (Los Angeles, CA).

"RuPaul's Drag Race" season nine is produced by World of Wonder Productions with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe, Mandy Salangsang and RuPaul Charles serving as Executive Producers.  Tim Palazzola serves as Executive Producer for Logo.

After an epic Super Bowl halftime show performance that still has the world talking, Lady Gaga announced the Joanne World Tour set to begin this summer.  For dates and tickets, go to

Friday, February 3, 2017

All My Children reunites on Home & Family

All My Children cast members l-r:
Taylor Miller, Peter Bergman, Kathleen Noone,
Michael E. Knight, Eva La Rue, Susan Lucci,
Jill Larson, Eden Riegel, Kim Delaney and Laurence Lau.
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger
For fans of daytime TV's classic series, this past week of Hallmark Channel's Home & Family was a real treat.  All week long, daytime diva Susan Lucci guest-hosted the two-hour daily program -- and on Thursday, Lucci joined in for a reunion of many of her former All My Children co-stars.

The vibe was familial as the actors joined in different combinations not only to talk about their days on the soap, but to work with Home & Family correspondents such as Debbie Matenopoulos, Lawrence ZarianKym Douglas and Paige Hemmis for segments on beauty, cooking and crafts.

Home & Family hosts
Mark Steines and Debbie Matenopoulos
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger

Later, over cocktails in Home & Family's backyard, I talked with Michael E. Knight, aka AMC's Tad Martin, about how he got his start.  Not long after graduating, he found himself on AMC -- and acting opposite one of his idols.  As a kid, Knight had broken his wrist, and during his recuperation, home from school, he discovered All My Children and its resident vixen, Erica Kane.  So years later, when he got the job on AMC himself, he approached Susan Lucci like a real fan -- and, he admits, probably scared her.  "I know you!  I love you!"

Check out Hallmark's Home & Family, airing weekdays at 10 AM Eastern/Pacific.
All My Children's Kim Delaney (l) and Kathleen Noone
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger
With the delightful Eva La Rue
at Hallmark's Home & Family
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger

Colucci meets Lucci at long last!
With Susan Lucci and my husband Frank DeCaro
at Hallmark's Home & Family
February 1, 2017
Photo by Erica Berger

RuPaul Selects Her New Queens

A much anticipated announcement yesterday from Logo, and its flagship series,RuPaul's Drag Race.  Ru has selected her season 9 queens/contestants, and you can meet them here:

Below, the press release with more info about what Ru has in store for us in the coming season:

Link to All-New Promo:
NEW YORK, NY – February 2, 2017 – Emmy® Award-winning host RuPaul is taking the new season of Logo’s "RuPaul's Drag Race" to the nines with the highly anticipated return of the groundbreaking competition series and revealing the next royal court of Queens set to compete for the crown. 
"‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 9,” said executive producer RuPaul Charles. “Now more than ever!”
Coming this spring, the season nine premiere extravaganza features a shocking opening that will go down as one of the most jaw-dropping moments in “Drag Race” history.  Additionally, it will unveil a court of cut-throat Queens each competing to snatch the crown and strut away with a $100,000 cash prize and the coveted title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.” Along the way, they’ll face an unpredictable competition and deliverwatercooler moments as these talented ladies of drag join the fabulous 100 Queens who fought for the crown before them.
Logo kicked off the season nine cast announcement with a three-day story on the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Instagram account featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the season nine promo shoot, dropping hints to the day, date and time for the official cast announcement.  The story culminated in a Facebook Live, hosted by “Drag Race” judge Michelle Visage where fans got a first, exclusive interview with season nine Queen, Valentina, before the cast was officially announced.   
The 13 Queens who will compete in the pop culture phenomenon that has taken the world by its weave include:
  • Aja
Brooklyn, New York
TW: @ajathekween, IG: @ajathekween
  • Alexis Michelle
New York, New York
TW: @AlexisLives, IG: @AlexisLives
  • Charlie Hides
London, UK
TW: @charliehidestv, IG: @charliehidestv
  • Eureka O’Hara
Johnson City, TN
TW: @eurekaohara, IG: @eurekaohara
  • Farrah Moan
Las Vegas, Nevada
TW: @farrahrized, IG: @farrahrized
  • Jaymes Mansfield
Madison, Wisconsin
TW: @JaymesMansfield, IG: @jaymesmansfield
  • Kimora Blac
Las Vegas, Nevada
TW: @kimorablac, IG: @kimorablac
  • Nina Bo'nina Brown
Atlanta, Georgia
TW: @atlsexyslim, IG: @nina_bonina_brown
  • Peppermint
New York, New York
TW: @Peppermint247, IG: @peppermint247
  • Sasha Velour
Brooklyn, New York
TW: @sasha_velour, IG: @sashavelour
  • Shea Coulee
Chicago, IL
TW: @SheaCoulee, IG: @sheacoulee
  • Trinity Taylor
Orlando, FL
TW: @TrinityTheTuck, IG: @trinitythetuck
  • Valentina
Los Angeles, CA
TW: @AllofValentina, IG: @allaboutvalentina
"RuPaul's Drag Race" season nine is produced by World of Wonder Productions with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe, Kate Fisher and RuPaul Charles serving as Executive Producers. Chris McCarthy, Pamela Post and Tim Palazzola are Executive Producers for Logo.
For up-to-date “RuPaul’s Drag Race” news and exclusives, join the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Facebook page or follow #DragRace conversation on Twitter at @RuPaulsDragRace. Follow along with live gifs from the show on Tumblr and additional content on the show’s Instagram page. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Me of Little Faith; The Good Place scores a season 2

Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in
NBC's The Good Place
I have a confession to make.  When I first heard, about a year ago, that NBC had picked up, straight to series, the high-concept, heaven-set comedy The Good Place, I thought the show would turn out to be too smart for broadcast TV.

I underestimated viewers -- after all, the majority of us who voted did not vote for Trump -- and thought the show's serialized storyline and its dabbling with philosophy and theology would be a turn-off to the NBC crowd.

And then later, in watching the show, I also thought I was picking up on inconsistencies in its writing.  For instance, if Eleanor (Kristen Bell) doesn't get credit for good deeds done for a selfish reason -- i.e., to stay in the Good Place -- then why is Tahani (Jameela Jamil) there?  After all, we've seen how she was driven to her good deeds on earth not by a sense of altruism but by a need to outshine her sister.

I was wrong. On all counts.  Mea maxima culpa.

I certainly should have had more faith in The Good Place creator Mike Schur, who entertained us for years as a writer for The Office -- and even on-screen, as Dwight's idiot brother Mose -- and as the creator of the brilliant Parks & Recreation and co-creator of the equally hilarious Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  I should have realized that here, the Creator had a master plan.

Now, not only has the show scored decent ratings (see below) among well-heeled viewers, but it's scored something even harder to get these days:  buzz.  And, thanks to that buzz, and positive critical reviews, the show has earned what really counts in network TV:  a second-season renewal.

In a press release beginning with "Free yogurt for everyone!" NBC announced its pickup this morning of a second, 13-episode of the series -- which, for those of us who saw the season 1 finale with its shocking and brilliant twist, we're dying to see.  For those who like numbers with their comedy, here are the ratings NBC cited in its renewal decision:

In its rookie season, “The Good Place” has averaged a 1.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers overall in “live plus seven day” figures from Nielsen Media Research, improving the timeslot by +36% over NBC’s Thursday 8:30 average last season. The show’s Jan. 19 season finale delivered 5.2 million viewers after three days of time-shifted and video-on-demand viewing, for the show’s biggest L+3 audience since Oct. 27.

“The Good Place” has also generated a strong upscale audience, indexing at a 135 among adults 18-49 living in homes with $100K+ incomes (with 100 representing an average concentration of those homes).

The announcement does not specify if The Good Place's season two will debut in the fall or if its relatively short run will begin sometime later in the 2017-18 season.  (And I hope it's not a case of Heaven Can Wait.  That, of course, would be bullshirt!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

In rerun heaven, she'll always turn the world on with her smile

Cast members of The Mary Tyler Moore Show,
reunited in 2013 on TV Land's Hot in Cleveland.
l-r, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore,
Betty White, Georgia Engel
She could turn the world on with her smile, and she will continue to do so for decades and generations to come.  TV icon Mary Tyler Moore died today at age 80, after years of declining health due to her lifelong fight with diabetes.

It was actually through the fight against diabetes that I first met Mary, at a Juvenile Diabetes Walk in New York City, a cause to which she was incredibly dedicated.  An animal lover, Mary also co-hosted with Bernadette Peters the "Broadway Barks" benefit each year, a beautiful event celebrating and adopting out animals in Manhattan's Shubert Alley.

But it was my husband Frank DeCaro's encounter with Mary that I'll always remember.  In 1997, Mary had appeared on Rosie O'Donnell's talk show, and talked about her desire to reunite with Valerie Harper in a new show, to be called "Mary & Rhoda."  At the time, Frank was writing a style column for the New York Times, and so, while searching for a topic for his next piece, he decided to write about what Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern's lives would look like in the late '90s, twenty years after we'd last seen them on our screens.

The day after the column ran, Frank's home office phone rang; the voice on the other end said simply, "Please hold for Mary Tyler Moore."  A few seconds later, he heard, "Hello, Fraaaank?" in that famous quaver.

Valerie Harper and Mary Tyler Moore
attend the taping of NBC's 90th Birthday
Tribute to Betty White, January 2012.
Mary invited Frank to lunch, and of course he eagerly agreed.  But on the appointed date and time, all hell broke loose.  A storm raged in Manhattan, and bricks were falling off a building on Madison Avenue.  President Clinton was in town, causing a giant case of gridlock.  And despite trying to get from Chelsea to the Upper East Side restaurant by both subway and cab and then on foot, Frank arrived over an hour late. (Remember, this was JUST before we all had cell phones in our pockets.) Would a TV icon be furious with him -- or would she be gone?

To Frank's delight, Mary had had company for the hourlong wait -- surprise lunch guest Valerie Harper.  I first met Frank by reading his memoir, A Boy Named Phyllis, about growing up in surburban New Jersey and, yes, adopting the nickname Phyllis, after Elton John's supposed sobriquet for Rod Stewart.  The ladies understood his lateness, and they all three -- Mary, Rhoda and Phyllis -- proceeded to have a lovely lunch while brainstorming what the show could be.

Mary & Rhoda ended up going through several sitcom script iterations before being reconceived as a TV movie for ABC -- which scored high ratings.  Mary and Valerie never did reunite again on their own, although they both did join their former Mary Tyler Moore Show castmates Betty White, Cloris Leachman and Georgia Engel in a 2013 episode of Betty's TV Land sitcom, Hot in Cleveland.

Mary leaves behind an incredible showbiz legacy, from her iconic roles on landmark sitcoms The Dick Van Dyke Show and her own self-titled, groundbreaking '70s hit to amazing performances in films such as 1980's Ordinary People and one of my own silly favorites, 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie.

The Television Academy's Archive of American Television project is an amazing resource, interviewing our TV legends about the span of their lives and careers.  Here, a link to Mary's full two-hour interview with the Archive, conducted by Diane Werts in New York City in 1997.  At the end, she discusses just how she'd like to be remembered.