Monday, December 19, 2011

Sue Sylvester Working to Save the Community

This morning, at the New York offices of Sirius XM Satellite Radio, my hubby Frank DeCaro sat down with Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy for an hourlong chat for the OutQ station's fab new interview series, "Iconography."

You'll have to tune in to OutQ to hear the juicy interview in its entirety. But there is one thing I can share with you now -- it's not exactly a "spoiler," because the engineers at Sirius had to wrap the recording right before I asked Ryan the final question of the day from my spot in the audience (where I sat next to his fiance, David.)

I asked Ryan how he felt about other shows parodying Glee -- flattered? Annoyed? A little of both? "I realize that that is obviously flattering," he answered -- but added that he's careful not to watch any such parodies, so that he can be sure never to end up copying them in writing Glee, accidentally "doing a parody of their parody."

When I mentioned that last week's episode of Community took some seemingly loving shots at Glee, Ryan seemed intrigued. "Do you guys like that show?" he polled the in-studio audience, getting nods to the affirmative. He must like it, too, because he then revealed a possible spoiler: with Community now on the endangered list at NBC, he at one point was thinking of having Sue Sylvester head a campaign to save it.

It's ironic: NBC's Community shows some on-screen love for ABC's seemingly endangered Cougar Town, only to be itself bumped off the midseason schedule -- and then given a possible shout-out by Fox's Glee. It's nice to see such cross-network love. Now if only more viewers would show up in support.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Snag Yourself Some Happy Endings

If, like Fern here [sorry -- old SNL reference I love], you're not too bright, and haven't yet discovered ABC's Happy Endings -- already one of TV's strongest and funniest comedies after just one abbreviated season -- there's hope for you yet: the season 1 DVDs arrive on September 20. Just around the time of my birthday, meaning I know I'm gonna get some Happy this year!

Here's the press release:

Happy Endings Sony Pictures Television’s break-out comedy on ABC about a witty group of friends whose social life is given a jolt by the breakup of the couple who brought them all together -- debuts on DVD September 20th when Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases Happy Endings: The Complete First Season. The Two-Disc DVD set ($35.99 SRP) contains all 13 episodes as well as special features that include deleted scenes, outtakes, a special “Mike Relm Remix” music video and more!

Happy Endings’ talented ensemble includes Eliza Coupe (TV’s “Scrubs”), Elisha Cuthbert (TV’s “24”), Zachary Knighton (TV’s “FlashForward”), Adam Pally (TV’s “Californication”), Damon Wayans Jr. (The Other Guys), and Casey Wilson (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”). The show is executive produced by Jamie Tarses (TV’s “HawthoRNe” and “Franklin & Bash”), Jonathan Groff (TV’s “How I Met Your Mother”), Joe Russo (TV’s “Community”), Anthony Russo (TV’s “What About Brian”) and co-executive produced by creator David Caspe (the upcoming feature film, “I Hate You Dad”).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Orange Homophobe Scores Big

I guess it's true what they say: everyone loves a pig roast!

Although I have to say, my pal Lisa Lampanelli rocked the roast, Jeffrey Ross was his usual great self, and I loved Marlee Matlin, Whitney Cummings, Gilbert Gottfried, Snoop Dogg and even Larry King. And who didn't enjoy seeing Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino bomb so badly?!





Trump Roast Is Most-Watched Ever Among Men 18-24

And #1 In Prime Across All Of TV For The Night


#1 In All TV Across All Key Demos In Its Timeslot

(Persons 18-49, Persons 18-34, Men 18-34 And Men18-24)


#TrumpRoast And Top Roasters Trend Worldwide On Twitter On Tuesday Night


Donald Trump and COMEDY CENTRAL were crowned kings of Tuesday night, March 15! The “COMEDY CENTRAL Roast Of Donald Trump“ scored big with the viewers on-air and online. The Tuesday night premiere at 10:30 p.m. pulled in 3.5 million total viewers, 5.50 rating M18-24, making this special the #1 highest rated COMEDY CENTRAL Roast EVER and #1 in ALL TV in Prime among M18-34. The Roast along with Tosh.0 leads the network to the highest Tuesday Prime among total viewers and P18-49.

Ratings Performance

· Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump” delivered 3.5 million Total Viewers and a 2.21 P18-49 rating, 4.27 M18-34 rating and 5.50 M18-24 rating.

· Historical – Most-watched COMEDY CENTRAL Roast ever with M18-24 and the 2nd most-watched with M18-34, behind “COMEDY CENTRAL Roast Of Flava Flav” in 2007.

· Timeslot – #1 in ALL TV in its timeslot (10:30 p.m.-midnight) across all key demos: P18-49, P18-34, M18-34 and M18-24. Among total viewers, “COMEDY CENTRAL Roast Of Donald Trump” took the #1 spot in cable.

· Prime “COMEDY CENTRAL Roast Of Donald Trump” was the most-watched show in ALL TV with M18-24 and tied for #1 among M18-34 (“Tosh.0”).

· Best Tuesday Night COMEDY CENTRAL Prime – The channel averaged a 1.13 P18-49 rating and 1.8 million total viewers in its best Tuesday Prime ever ( 8 p.m.-11 p.m.). It was also the 2nd most-watched Tuesday Prime ever among P18-34 (855k) and M18-34 (578k), behind 1/25/11.

Online Performance

· Overall yesterday there were over 43,000 mentions across the social web about the “COMEDY CENTRAL Roast Of Donald Trump.

  • The #trumproast hashtag was used over 27,000 times during the Tuesday broadcast.
  • The “Fireside Chat Room With Jeff Ross,” the LIVE streaming pre-show primed the pump, as mentions of “COMEDY CENTRAL Roast Of Donald Trump” and the #trumproast hashtag started to climb in the 9 p.m. hour and peaked in the 11 p.m. hour with 21,000 mentions. (the half-hour pre-show began at 9:30 p.m. EST)

NBC Gives Early Renewal for The Office, Parks & Rec and Community for 2011-12

Interesting announcement today from NBC: they've renewed The Office, Parks & Recreation and Community for next season. Just yesterday, industry pundits like Nikki Finke were reporting that a Parks & Rec renewal looked likely, because NBC had been making preliminary moves towards syndicating the show, meaning they'd likely want to keep producing more episodes. And Community, although ratings-challenged, has a rabid -- and as noted, demographically desirable -- core of fans (including me.)

Another Thursday night neighbor, 30 Rock, was already renewed last November (by former NBC Prez Angela Bromstad; today's moves come from the new guy, Bob Greenblatt, formerly of Showtime.) But this announcement raises a couple of questions/issues for me:

1) NBC sure is showing some blind faith in The Office, that the show will maintain its quality -- and its ratings -- next season in the absence of Steve Carell's Michael Scott.

And 2) What does this mean for the other NBC Thursday comedies, namely Outsourced and Perfect Couples? My guess is that these two are doomed -- but will NBC keep us waiting until May to find out officially?

Here's the announcement:


UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – March17, 2011 – NBC has issued pickups for three returning comedy series in 2011-12 that include “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Community,” it was announced today by Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.

"I am so pleased to renew these three outstanding comedies which are all at the top of their game creatively,” said Greenblatt. “Along with '30 Rock,' they represent the best of what the NBC comedy brand stands for in terms of originality, wit, and sophistication. 'The Office' continues to fire on all cylinders on the most competitive night of television; 'Parks & Recreation' has come into its own this season as the rightful companion to 'The Office'; and 'Community' is one of the freshest comedies on any network and a solid foundation for Thursday night."

"The Office" (Thursdays, 9-9:30 p.m. ET) is delivering a 4.0 rating, 10 share in adults 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers overall through the season's first 25 weeks, ranking in primetime's top 15 in adults 18-49 and top five in adults 18-34 (excluding NFL pre- and post-game shows), making it NBC's #1 scripted show in both categories. "The Office" is the #2 most upscale primetime show on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or CW in terms of its concentration of adults 18-49 living in homes with $100,000-plus incomes, behind only NBC's "30 Rock."

Season to date, "Parks and Recreation" (Thursdays, 9:30-10 p.m. ET) is delivering a 2.8/7 in 18-49 and 5.5 million viewers overall. With its move this season to Thursday's 9:30 p.m. ET half-hour, "Parks and Recreation" is up versus last season by 17 percent in adult 18-49 rating (2.8 vs. 2.4) and up 9 percent in total viewers (5.5 million vs. 5.1 million). In the valuable adult 18-34 demographic, "Parks and Recreation" is NBC's #2 scripted series and ranks in the top 20 overall with a 3.2 rating.

"Community" (Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m. ET) is averaging a 2.1/6 in 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers overall, continuing to deliver solid numbers in a time period that includes competition from Fox' "American Idol," CBS's "Big Bang Theory" and ABC's "Wipeout." "Community" is also one of the most upscale primetime series on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or CW, with a top-15 ranking in its concentration of adults 18-49 living in home with $100,000-plus incomes.

One of television's most critically acclaimed comedies, “The Office” has been nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series every season and won the award in 2006. Its ensemble has also been nominated every season since 2006 for the SAG Award (winning in 2007 and 2008) and was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for four consecutive seasons (2007-2010). The series received the George Foster Peabody Award in 2006.

In a recent cover story, Entertainment Weekly proclaimed that “Parks and Recreation” is “TV’s smartest comedy.” GQ magazine also enthused: “Look: This is the best comedy going right now.”

TV critics continued to rave about “Community” this season. Time magazine’s James Poniewozik wrote: “Episode by episode, ‘Community’ makes some of the best half-hours on TV.” “‘Community’ is a fantastical, dreamlike jewel-box of a show….it’s a pretty amazing ride…” Also, TV Guide’s Matt Roush called the series, “TV’s most adventurous and unpredictable sitcom.”

In addition, both “Parks and Recreation” and “Community” were honored last week by the prestigious William S. Paley Festival.

From Deedle-Dee Productions, Reveille and Universal Media Studios comes “The Office,” the hilarious documentary-style look into the humorous and sometimes poignant foolishness that plagues the world of 9-to-5 based on the award-winning BBC hit. A fly-on-the-wall "docu-reality" parody about modern American office life, "The Office" delves into the lives of the workers at Dunder Mifflin paper supply company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Regional manager Michael Scott (Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Steve Carell, "Despicable Me,” “Date Night") is the boastful tour guide.

Also starring are Jenna Fischer ("Walk Hard"), John Krasinski ("Away We Go"), Rainn Wilson ("The Rocker"), B.J. Novak ("Inglorious Basterds”), Ed Helms ("The Hangover"), Leslie David Baker ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Brian Baumgartner ("Arrested Development"), Kate Flannery ("The Heir Apparent"), Mindy Kaling (" No Strings Attached "), Angela Kinsey ("Tripping Forward"), Paul Lieberstein (writer, "King of the Hill"), Oscar Nuñez (" The Proposal "), Phyllis Smith ("Arrested Development"), Creed Bratton (former member of The Grass Roots), Craig Robinson ("Hot Tub Time Machine”), Ellie Kemper ("Important Things with Demetri Martin") and Zach Woods ("The Other Guys"). "The Office" is executive-produced by Ben Silverman, Greg Daniels, who developed the series for American audiences, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Howard Klein and Paul Lieberstein.

Named the #1 TV Show of 2010 by New York magazine, "Community," is a smart, exuberant comedy series about a band of misfits who attend Greendale Community College. At the center of the group is Jeff Winger (Joel McHale, "The Soup"), a fast-talking lawyer whose degree has been revoked. Winger forms a study group who eventually learn more about themselves than their course work. Also among the series stars who comprise the group are comedy legend Chevy Chase ("Fletch"), Gillian Jacobs ("The Book of Daniel"), Yvette Nicole Brown ("Rules of Engagement"), Danny Pudi ("Greek"), Alison Brie ("Mad Men"), Donald Glover ("30 Rock") and Ken Jeong ("The Hangover").

“Community" was created by Dan Harmon ("The Sarah Silverman Program") who serves as executive producer with Russ Krasnoff ("The Soloist"), Joe Russo ("Arrested Development"), Anthony Russo ("Arrested Development"), Garrett Donovan ("Scrubs"), Neil Goldman ("Scrubs") and Gary Foster ("The Soloist"). The series is a Krasnoff Foster Entertainment, Harmonious Claptrap, Russo Brothers, Universal Media Studios production in association with Sony Pictures Television.

“Parks and Recreation” -- from Emmy Award-winning executive producers Greg Daniels (NBC’s "The Office," "King of the Hill") and Michael Schur (NBC’s "The Office," "Saturday Night Live") -- is a hilarious ensemble comedy that landed on dozens of critics' "Top 10" lists in 2010. It follows Leslie Knope (Emmy Nominee Amy Poehler, NBC’s "Saturday Night Live," "Baby Mama") a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana, and her tireless efforts to make her quintessentially American town just a little bit more fun.

Leslie's office mate is Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari, "Human Giant," "Scrubs"), a fashion-obsessed wannabe player while Leslie's boss, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman “Children’s Hospital”), hates the very government he works for. Rounding out the characters are Leslie's best friend Ann (Rashida Jones, "I Love You, Man," "The Office"), her ex-boyfriend Andy (Chris Pratt, “Everwood”), and Ron's assistant April (Aubrey Plaza, “Funny People”). Also working in the parks department are Donna (Retta, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") and Jerry (Jim O'Heir, "Castle"). In addition, the show features state auditors Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott, “Party Down”) and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe, “Brothers and Sisters,” “The West Wing”), who were introduced at the end of the second season.

"Parks and Recreation" is a production of Deedle-Dee Productions, Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. Along with Daniels and Schur, Howard Klein (“The Office”) and David Miner (“30 Rock”) also serve as executive producers for the series.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are renewed for season 3

There's one piece of good news in NBC's announcement today: the renewal for season 3 of Who Do You Think You Are. If you haven't caught this series (Fridays at 8 PM Eastern) yet, tune in for a smart, emotional, engaging hour that will inspire you to dig into your own family tree.

As for The Biggest Loser and The Sing-Off... I still maintain that they are two of the horsemen of the apocalypse. If you tune in for The Biggest Loser... well, you are what you watch.

2/22/2011 04:39

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – February 22, 2011 -- NBC issued pickups for three returning alternative series in 2011-12 in "The Biggest Loser," "Who Do You Think You Are?" and the singing competition series "The Sing-Off."

The announcement was made today by Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.

"Alternative series such as these three bona fide hits are important not only to their loyal audiences but also as strong components of the NBC schedule," said Greenblatt. “They are each unique, attention-getting shows with terrific producing and talent auspices, and we're proud to be associated with them."

"The Biggest Loser 10" averaged a 3.1 rating, 8 share in adults 18-49 and 8.3 million viewers overall in the fall and "The Biggest Loser 11" is averaging a 3.3/9 in 18-49 and 9.0 million viewers overall so far this winter. "The Biggest Loser" is NBC's #1 entertainment series among women 18-49 and women 25-54. The series consistently over-indexes in upscale demos.

Season two of "Who Do You Think You Are?" is off to a solid start, averaging a 1.4 rating, 5 share in adults 18-49 and 7.0 million viewers overall over its first two weeks, making it NBC's #1 Friday series so far this season in total viewers. Over those opening two weeks, "Who Do You Think You Are?" was #1 in the time period in all key female demos while scoring NBC's highest 18-49 and total-viewer results in the Friday 8-9 p.m. (ET) slot since October 8. Upcoming episodes will feature Kim Cattrall, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lionel Richie, Ashley Judd and Steve Buscemi.

This season's cycle of "The Sing-Off" averaged a 3.2 rating, 8 share in adults 18-49 and 9.2 viewers overall, jumping versus the prior season by 28 percent in 18-49 rating and 27 percent in total viewers. Each of the five telecasts this season out-delivered each of the four telecasts of last season in 18-49 and total viewers. This year's December 20 finale, in which Pop Gospel sensations Committed were crowned champions, tied as the #1 primetime telecast of that week in adults 18-49.

NBC’s popular series "The Biggest Loser" launched season 11 “Couples Edition” in January with two new trainers -- Brett Hoebel and Cara Castronuova who join returning trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels -- in an engaging new twist that has changed the game completely. Eleven teams of two came to the "Biggest Loser" ranch hoping to transform their bodies, their health and their lives. At the beginning of this season, host Alison Sweeney offered the 11 family and friend teams the unprecedented opportunity to choose whether to work out with trainers Harper and Michaels at the ranch -- or work out at a secret location with the two new trainers (Hoebel and Castronuova), whose identities were initially a mystery. What ensues is a riveting ride of intense emotions, surprising turns and "can’t miss" moments as the two groups fight their weight loss battles.

"The Biggest Loser" is a production of Reveille LLC, 25/7 Productions and 3Ball Productions. Ben Silverman (NBC's "The Office," "Ugly Betty"), Dave Broome ("Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope"), JD Roth ("Unan1mous," "Beauty and the Geek"), Todd A. Nelson ("Unan1mous," "Beauty and the Geek"), Howard T. Owens ("MasterChef," "The Buried Life") and Todd Lubin ("30 Days," "Nashville Star") serve as executive producers.

NBC’s acclaimed alternative series "Who Do You Think You Are?" follows some of today's most-beloved and iconic celebrities as they embark on personal journeys of self-discovery to trace their family trees. During each episode, viewers will be taken on a personal and often mysterious journey following some of America's best-known celebrities into their ancestral pasts, as they uncover stories of heroism and tragedy, love and betrayal, secrets and intrigue that lie at the heart of their family history. At the same time, "Who Do You Think You Are?" celebrates the twists and turns of a great nation and the people who made their way here in search of freedom and opportunity.

From executive producers Lisa Kudrow ("Friends," "The Comeback") and Dan Bucatinsky ("Lipstick Jungle," "The Comeback"), in conjunction with their production company, Is or Isn't Entertainment, and Shed Media U.S., the series is an adaptation of the award-winning hit British television documentary series from Wall to Wall Productions, created and executive-produced by Alex Graham. Jennifer O’Connell and Al Edgington also serve as executive producers.

"The Sing-Off" premiered this season on December 6 as a five-night event hosted by multi-platinum recording artist Nick Lachey. The celebrity judges who critique the singing groups with their expertise are Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five), Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men) and Nicole Scherzinger (The Pussycat Dolls). The program showcases the country’s Top Ten a cappella groups performing popular songs like viewers have never heard them before. There’s no lip-synching, back-up bands or safety net. They are singing for America’s vote with the winner walking away with the ultimate prize -- a Sony Music recording contract and $100,000.

"The Sing-Off" is produced by Joel Gallen’s ("America’s Best Dance Crew") Tenth Planet Productions, Outlaw Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television. Joel Gallen, Deb Newmyer and Sam Weisman are executive producers. Josh Greenberg serves as co-executive producer.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kick-Ass Ladies of the CW

Last Friday, on the penultimate day of the Television Critics of America tour in Pasadena, CA, the CW network presented a panel of its finest ladies, calling it the "Kick-Ass Women of the CW."

On the panel were Nikita's Maggie Q and Lyndsy Fonseca, Vampire Diaries' Candice Accola, Hellcats' Aly Michalka, and Smallville's Erica Durance. Check out my coverage for web site, where I spoke to each of these ladies (except Durance) and Vampire Diaries' showrunner Kevin Williamson as well, to get the scoop on what to expect this spring.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kathy Bates Commutes from Cincinnati to Scranton

At today's panel for NBC's quirky upcoming midseason legal drama Harry's Law from David E. Kelley, I asked Kathy Bates if being on this new series full-time meant that her character from The Office, Jo Bennett, would be able to return, if only to name the successor to Steve Carell's boss character, Michael Scott.

Because Harry's Law actually wrapped production yesterday, Kathy responded, she is free to return to Dunder Mifflin -- and she will be, in fact, in "a couple" of episodes this spring. (Now that she's done being Harry from Cincinnati, she's free to be Jo from Tampa, traveling to Scranton -- all filmed in L.A. Got that?!)

When I pressed her further afterwards, Kathy swore she hadn't yet read any scripts, and so she has no idea as to who's going to take over the Scranton branch. She did like my geeky idea, though, that her great danes from The Office should pop up on Harry's Law. Attention, NBC: crossover!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fox renews Raising Hope for 2011-12

Early this morning here in Pasadena, Fox let critics know a piece of good news: the network has renewed its critically acclaimed comedy Raising Hope for the 2011-12 season.

The network showed faith in the show from the start, which has always scored among very young demographics, and continues to rise among the general audience. And, of course, its stars, including the incredible Martha Plimpton and the irrepressible Cloris Leachman, and its writers, led by creator Greg Garcia, make it irresistably funny.

Later, I'll post my exclusive interview with Plimpton, about working with Cloris, and what it's like to be sitcom-dom's first 40-year-old grandma.

Monday, January 10, 2011

ABC Family renews Pretty Little Liars, Secret Life of the American Teenager





The Third Season of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” Returns

With All-New Episodes Beginning on Monday, March 28

Pasadena, CA (Monday, January 10, 2011) – ABC Family has given new season orders to two of the network’s hit series, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which has been renewed for a fourth season, and “Pretty Little Liars,which was picked-up for a second season. The new season orders were announced today by ABC Family President Michael Riley at the network’s TCA panel at The Langham Hotel in Pasadena.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring viewers new seasons of two of ABC Family’s most successful original series,” said Riley. “Supported by incredibly talented casts and crews, ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’s’ Brenda Hampton has an unparalleled voice in speaking to today’s Millennials, and our partnership with Alloy Entertainment and Warner Horizon continues to deliver an engaging and heart-stopping show keeping ‘Pretty Little Liars’ audiences on the edge of their seats.”

ABC Family's No. 1 original series of all time, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" stood as 2010's No. 1 scripted cable series in Women 18-34 and Females 12-34. The recent winter premiere of "Pretty Little Liars" posted series highs across the board, including in Total Viewers (4.2 million), and became ABC Family's No. 2 telecast of all time in Women 18-34 and Females 12-34. ABC Family just wrapped up 2010 as its most-watched year ever, marking the network’s seventh consecutive year of growth.

The third season of the network’s hit series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” will return with all-new episodes beginning on Monday, March 28 (8:00-9:00PM ET/PT). The series’ fourth season is tentatively set to premiere on the network in summer 2011. “Pretty Little Liars,” currently airing its first season (Monday nights at 8:00-9:00PM ET/PT) on the network, is tentatively set to return for its sophomore season in summer 2011.

Created and executive-produced by Brenda Hampton, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” stars Shailene Woodley, Ken Baumann, Mark Derwin, India Eisley, Greg Finley, Daren Kagasoff, Megan Park, Francia Raisa, with Steve Schirripa and Molly Ringwald.

“Pretty Little Liars” is produced by Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television and is executive-produced by I. Marlene King, Oliver Goldstick and Leslie Morgenstein. The series stars Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Holly Marie Combs, Lucy Hale, Ian Harding, Bianca Lawson, Laura Leighton, Chad Lowe, Shay Mitchell and Sasha Pieterse.

Part of the Disney/ABC Television Group, ABC Family is distributed in over 98 million homes. ABC Family features programming reflecting today's families, entertaining and connecting with adults through relatable programming about today's relationships – told with a mix of diversity, passion, humor and heart. ABC Family's programming is a combination of network defining original series and original movies, quality acquired series and blockbuster theatricals. ABC Family is also the destination for annual Holiday events with "13 Nights of Halloween" and "25 Days of Christmas!" ABC Family. A New Kind of Family.

Source: Nielsen Media Research, National Ratings for 2010: 12/28/09-12/26/10, Most Current; 2009: 12/29/08-12/27/09, Live + 7 days; 7 consecutive years of gains and most-watched year in 2010 based on 000s among Persons 2+ in Primetime (M-Sun 8-11p). Scripted series stories exclude news, sports and reality in basic cable. Pretty Little Liars 1B premiere based on Live+Same Day for 1/3/11; ABC Family’s history: Nov. 2001 to-date.

ABC renews The Middle, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Castle


“Castle,” “Cougar Town,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family”

And “Private Practice” Receive Early Pick-ups for the 2011-12 Season

ABC announced early pick-ups for the 2011-12 season of “Castle,” “Cougar Town,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family” and “Private Practice.”

A solid mix of promising new series and proven returning hits helped the network achieve a strong start to the 2010-11 TV season. Season to date among Adults 18-49, ABC delivers 4 of the Top 10 highest-rated TV shows, the most for any network, including the Top 2 scripted programs. In fact among young adults, the network claims TV’s No. 1 comedy (“Modern Family”), the No. 1 drama (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and the No. 1 unscripted series (“Dancing with the Stars”). In Total Viewers, the network airs 2 of the Top 4 programs, including America’s No. 1 most-watched TV show overall with “Dancing with the Stars.” Led by Emmy-winning “Modern Family,” ABC’s 2-hour Wednesday night comedy block continues to resonate with viewers in its second year, surging by 15% in Total Viewers and by 14% in the key Adult 18-49 sales demographic from the same point last season.


When viewers first met Richard Castle -- a famous mystery novelist and divorced father raising his teenage daughter, while being kept grounded by his Broadway diva mother -- he was creatively blocked. But when the NYPD questioned him in connection with a series of murders staged to imitate crime scenes from his books, Castle found inspiration in NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, a bright and aggressive homicide detective with a fascination for odd and offbeat cases stemming from the years-old unsolved murder of her own mother. Though they instantly clashed, sparks of another sort began to fly, leading both to danger and a hint of romance as Castle stepped in to help find the copycat killer. Once that initial case was solved, Castle and Beckett continued to investigate strange homicides in New York, combining Castle’s writer intuition and Beckett’s creative detective work.

The series stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as Detective Kate Beckett, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, with Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers.

“Castle” is produced by ABC Studios. Andrew Marlowe is creator/executive producer, with Rob Bowman, Laurie Zaks, David Amann and Armyan Bernstein also executive producers.


Courteney Cox stars as Jules Cobb in her Golden Globe®-nominated role as a recently divorced mom in her forties facing the often humorous challenges, pitfalls and rewards of life’s next chapter. Along for the journey are her son – a college freshman -- ex-husband and friends who, together, make up her dysfunctional but supportive and caring extended family… even if they have a funny way of showing it sometimes.

“Cougar Town” stars Courteney Cox as Jules, Christa Miller as Ellie, Busy Philipps as Laurie, Dan Byrd as Travis, Josh Hopkins as Grayson, Ian Gomez as Andy and Brian Van Holt as Bobby and is executive produced by Bill Lawrence (“Scrubs”), Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Kevin Biegel (“Scrubs”).


“Grey's Anatomy” is the recipient of the 2007 Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Series – Drama, and multiple Emmy nominations, including two for Outstanding Drama Series.

The doctors of Seattle Grace Hospital deal with life-or-death consequences on a daily basis – it’s in one another that they find comfort, friendship and, at times, more than friendship. Together they’re discovering that neither medicine nor relationships can be defined in black and white. Real life only comes in shades of grey.

“Grey’s Anatomy” stars Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd, Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang, Justin Chambers as Alex Karev, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, James Pickens, Jr. as Richard Webber, Sara Ramirez as Callie Torres, Eric Dane as Mark Sloan, Chyler Leigh as Lexie Grey, Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt, Jessica Capshaw as Arizona Robbins, Kim Raver as Teddy Altman, Jesse Williams as Jackson Avery and Sarah Drew as April Kepner.

“Grey’s Anatomy” was created and is executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes. Betsy Beers, Mark Gordon, Krista Vernoff, Rob Corn, Mark Wilding, Tony Phelan, Joan Rater are executive producers. “Grey’s Anatomy” is an ABC Studios production.


Two-time Emmy winner Patricia Heaton stars in this warm and witty single-camera comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations. Middle-aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country in Orson, Indiana, Frankie Heck is a harried wife and working mother of three who uses her wry wit and sense of humor in an attempt to get her family through each day intact. Her work life’s no easier. With her friend and co-worker, Bob, she struggles day to day as the least successful sales woman at the town’s only surviving car dealer. Frankie’s unflappable husband, Mike, is manager at the local quarry and her sardonic partner in the daily grind that is raising their average – yes, most definitely average – family.

Between juggling shifts and picking up fast food dinners eaten in front of the TV, Frankie and Mike raise their kids with love, humor and solid Midwestern practicality. Axl, the oldest, is a teenage jock who eats them out of house and home and walks around the house in his underwear. Then there’s Sue, their extraordinarily ordinary teen daughter, who fails at just about everything she tries with great gusto – although she’s hoping her recent acceptance on the school’s beleaguered no-cut cross country team might just turn things around. And last is Brick, their quirky third-grader, who reads constantly, whispers to himself and has a best friend who’s his backpack. But through all the madness shines a loving family, and together, the Hecks are putting THE MIDDLE on the map.

“The Middle” stars Patricia Heaton as Frankie, Neil Flynn as Mike, Charlie McDermott as Axl, Eden Sher as Sue, Atticus Shaffer as Brick and Chris Kattan as Bob.

“The Middle” was created and is executive produced by Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline. The series is from Warner Bros. Television.


ABC’s Emmy Award-winning hit comedy “Modern Family” takes a modern and often hilarious look at the complications that come with being a family today. Jay Pritchett, with his much younger wife Gloria and her son Manny, sits as the patriarch of a large blended family that includes his grown daughter Claire, who has three kids of her own with her husband Phil, and a grown son Mitchell, who adopted a Vietnamese baby with his gay life partner Cameron. These three families are unique unto themselves, and together they give us a window into the sometimes warm, sometimes twisted embrace of the modern family.

“Modern Family” stars Ed O’Neill as Jay, Sofía Vergara as Gloria, Julie Bowen as Claire, Ty Burrell as Phil, Eric Stonestreet as Cameron, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell, Sarah Hyland as Haley, Ariel Winter as Alex, Nolan Gould as Luke and Rico Rodriguez as Manny.

The series is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television in association with Levitan Lloyd Productions. Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd are executive producers/creators.


From Shonda Rhimes, the Golden Globe-winning creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” comes the story of a team of gifted doctors working together to change the lives of their patients for the better as they look to one another for friendship and love.

The doctors of Oceanside Wellness and Pacific Wellcare work on the most difficult cases, patients whose medical needs often pose moral and ethical dilemmas. Though they may heatedly disagree at work, and though their personal lives may complicate matters, at the end of the day they are the best of friends , always ready to be there for each other.

“Private Practice” stars Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Forbes Montgomery, Tim Daly as Dr. Pete Wilder, Audra McDonald as Dr. Naomi Bennett, Paul Adelstein as Dr. Cooper Freedman, KaDee Strickland as Dr. Charlotte King, Brian Benben as Dr. Sheldon Wallace and Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Amelia Shepherd, with Taye Diggs as Dr. Sam Bennett and Amy Brenneman as Dr. Violet Turner.

“Private Practice” was created by Shonda Rhimes and is executive-produced by Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Mark Gordon, Mark Tinker, Steve Blackman and Craig Turk. “Private Practice” is an ABC Studios Production.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Create Your Own Super Villain

As TV critics gather at their convention in Pasadena, NBC is prepping for its big presentation day next week with a few well-timed press releases, geared to get us geeks and our creative juices all revved up.

With its newest big hope for a hit, The Cape, about to debut this Sunday at 9PM Eastern/Pacific, the network here announces a new contest, to create one of the show's villains. Check it out in the press release below -- or, fanboys, I'm sure you'd rather watch the below video, where Cape co-star and ex-Terminator Summer Glau explains it all for you.


UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – January 6, 2011 – Starting January 6, fans of the new NBC drama “The Cape” (two-hour premiere Sunday, January 9, 9-11 p.m. ET; regular schedule Mondays 9-10 p.m. ET) can visit to submit original villain concepts that will give one lucky fan the chance to see their creation during an upcoming episode.

Tom Wheeler, the show’s creator and executive producer, said: “The world of ‘The Cape’ is a pulp-comic universe where no superpowers exist. While the physical cape itself has special abilities, it's loosely based on existing science. So while, your villain can't be a mutant, werewolf or galactic conqueror, you can create a cool enough reality-based source for a villain's special ability. So crack open that can of imagination and serve up Palm City's newest hell-raiser.”

To enter the contest, viewers need to submit the name of their villain, a brief description and a sketch. As indicated on the website, the judges -- a panel that includes Wheeler and producers from “The Cape” -- are looking for “Original and colorful villains that wield unique abilities, quirks and obsessions. This is your chance, be creative!”

The submission window closes on January 28.

"The Cape" is about a man who lost everything and is about to take it all back.

David Lyons ("ER") stars as Vince Faraday, a cop framed for crimes he did not commit, forcing him to team up with a group of carnival misfits to take a new identity, fight crime and win his family back. Fueled by a desire to reunite with his wife, Dana (Jennifer Ferrin, "Life on Mars") and son, Trip (Ryan Wynott, "Flash Forward"), Faraday becomes "The Cape" – his son’s favorite comic book superhero – taking the law into his own hands and battling the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City.

The Cape" is a Universal Media Studios and BermanBraun production from executive producer/creator Tom Wheeler ("Empire"), along with executive producers Berman and Braun, John Wirth ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"), and Gene Stein ("Accidentally On Purpose").

Mrs. C. Thanks You For Your Sympathy

At the Hallmark Channel's TCA dinner tonight, I was delighted to see Marion Ross. I caught her on her way out the door, and so I knew I'd have just a moment to talk. Too bad, because I would have loved to tell her all about how I loved her work on Brooklyn Bridge. Or even on The Drew Carey Show!

But of course, first and foremost, Marion Ross will always be Mrs. Marion Cunningham from Happy Days. And the moment I mentioned the show, she shared with me what must have been foremost on her mind: thoughts of her TV husband and his legacy.

"I was very impressed with the response from the nation over my dear Tom Bosley’s passing," the youthful 82-year-old actress said. "The response was quite large, and I said, 'Look how the public cares about Mr. C. It's great to see and to know that they feel as I do, that Mr. Bosley will be greatly missed."

Dr. Quinn and Sully, Together Again

Tonight at the Television Critics (TCA) Convention, at a lovely party thrown by the Hallmark Channel at the Tournament of Roses mansion in Pasadena, I had the pleasure of sitting down to dinner with the lovely and multitalented Jane Seymour.

Seeing how young Jane looks in person (as you can see from the photo, she looks younger than I do), it's obvious why she's played all those "cougar" roles lately on TV (How I Met Your Mother) and in film (Wedding Crashers). She has quite a few more films coming out soon, too, including the comedy Freeloaders, and a dramatic film Lake Effects. And then of course there's her Hallmark Channel film airing tonight: Perfectly Prudence.

The sequel to Dear Prudence, this new film has Jane's character Prudence Macintyre making changes to her TV program, with the help of two new producers: one an old flame, and the other a sleaze making moves on her daughter. But more importantly, here is a sentence rabid Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman fans have been waiting to read: this film reunites Seymour for the first time with her 19th Century love interest, Joe Lando.

As Jane explained, this second Prudence came together quickly; although a script had been written, it hadn't been greenlighted until its producer became ill and the Hallmark execs visited him in the ICU to perk him up with the prospect of production. The wheels went quickly into motion, and the whole thing was shot this past fall in Michigan, in just 12 days. It was definitely a family affair: Jane appears with her real-life daughter Katie Flynn, as well as her husband James Keach, who had directed Dr. Quinn.

One other interesting side note: while filming Prudence in Michigan, Katie realized that the set must be relatively close to Mackinac Island, forever immortalized as the setting for another Jane Seymour fan favorite, Somewhere in Time. So Jane called the Grand Hotel and asked how to get there -- and the place sent two jets, which picked up the entire Prudence cast and brought them to the island for the day. Then, in October, when the hotel hosted a weekend for the film's 30th anniversary, Jane was filming and unable to attend. So she lent Katie one of her costumes, and lent Katie's boyfriend Christopher Reeve's waistcoat from the film, complete with 1981 penny. When they appeared, and struck some of the film's famous poses, "the fans, you can imagine, went completely nuts," Jane says.

I'm actually not sure which fan base is more rabid, in fact: for Dr. Quinn, or for Somewhere in Time. But as Jane pointed out, Mike-and-Sully lovers, if you want to see the two of them together again, watch tomorrow night and boost those ratings. After all, as she said, after those 12 days of shooting were over, everyone was delighted that they'd produced a really good film.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

RIP Bill Erwin, 1914-2010

Thirty years ago, in the 1980 film Somewhere In Time, Bill Erwin was already playing a very old man. The idea was, he was the current-day version of Arthur, the kid whom Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour knew at the turn of the century.

Some people just seem to make a career out of playing old people, and thus seem to live forever; remember the still-kicking Angela Lansbury playing Laurence Harvey's mother in The Manchurian Candidate 48 years ago? (even though she was only 3 years his senior?!)

Erwin is probably best remembered for his guest-starring spot on Seinfeld, as old man Sid Fields, Jerry's elder charge who ends up biting Kramer in a misunderstanding over his record album collection (remember those?) He continued to turn up on TV for more than another decade, a relic nearly of the Edwardian age who would always make me both laugh and marvel: he's still alive?!

In this 1993 clip, Erwin, who died last week at 96, was a mere lad of 79 -- and became part of the sitcom's extended cast of characters who will live on in syndication for a long time to come.