Today in TV History
One of the most expensive failures in the history of television, “Supertrain,” debuted in 1979. Patterned by the success of ABC’s “The Love Boat,” this inane NBC anthology set on a mammoth high-speed train expired after nine episodes. Also on this day: Variety hour “This is Tom Jones” premiered on ABC in 1969 and “America’s Most Wanted” with John Walsh opened on seven Fox-owned stations in 1988.
In Today’s Issue
-Metered Market Thursday Ratings
-ABC Picks-Up Summer Drama “Astronaut Wives Club”
-Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics TV Schedule on NBC, NBCSN, MSNBC, CNBC and USA
-“Beatlemania Will Return to CBS on Sunday Night” by Ed Martin
-Lifetime Orders Scripted Comedy “Un-Real”
-AMC to Develop New Drama “Preacher”
-Hank Azaria and Sherilyn Fenn Join “Ray Donovan” on Showtime
-AXS TV to Broadcast 12 Hours of Stagecoach Country Music Festival
-TLC Orders 35 More Episodes of “Sex Sent Me to the ER”
-James Carville Joins Fox News Channel as a Contributor
-Cable Rankings – Wednesday 2/05/14
-On the Air This Weekend
-First Out of the Box
Thursday 2/06/14 Metered Markets
Winter Olympics-Ignited NBC Dominates; Jay Leno Exits “Tonight” With a Four-Year High
Note: The Philadelphia market is excluded from the following averages.
Fox 5.2/ 8
ABC 2.4/ 4
CW 1.5/ 2
-Percent Change from Year-Ago Evening – Thursday 2/07/13:
NBC: +436, CW: – 6, Fox: -16, CBS: -27, ABC: -56
XXII Winter Olympics (NBC), “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS), “American Idol” (Fox)
-Losers (excluding repeats):
“The Taste” (ABC), “Rake” (Fox)
Given that the Opening Ceremony is airing this evening, it was odd to see NBC populate Thursday with coverage of figure skating, snowboarding and freestyle skiing from the XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But the network did reign supreme (on a night it has no traction on) with an 11.8 rating/18 share in primetime, peaking in the 9 p.m. half-hour with a 12.9/19 and beating No. 2 CBS by 79 percent. What follows is the half-hour breakdown:
8:00 p.m.: 11.5/18
8:30 p.m.: 12.1/18
9:00 p.m.: 12.9/19
9:30 p.m.: 12.3/19
10:00 p.m.: 11.8/19
10:30 p.m.: 9.9/17
Immediately following the local news was the departure of Jay Leno as host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” which averaged a stellar 9.2/22 in the overnights from 11:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. (boosting lead-out “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” to a record 4.6/15 from 12:30-1:30 a.m.). Comparably, this was “Tonight’s” best overnight rating since March 2009, with a 229 percent advantage over the season to-date average prior to this week (2.8/ 7).
Despite facing The Winter Olympics, CBS dropped by only seven percent in the overnights from one week earlier. Mega-hit “The Big Bang Theory” finished second behind The Olympics with a still solid 11.0/17 at 8 p.m. And, yes…Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) have finally gotten to first base! Next was “The Millers” at a third-place 6.3/ 9 at 8:30 p.m., which was 43 percent below “The Big Bang Theory.” The remainder of the Eye net line-up — “The Crazy Ones” (#2: 4.8/ 7), “Two and a Half Men” (#2: 5.4/ 8) and “Elementary” (#2: 6.10) from 9-11 p.m. – also only lost minor steam week-to-week. And the growth of 12 percent for “Two and a Half Men” out of “The Crazy Ones” (rare for a 9:30 p.m. sitcom) is all the more reason to believe CBS will be asking Warner Bros. for a 12th season renewal.
Two comments to the writers on “The Millers” and “Two and a Half Men”:
1. Please try to find a way to make Margo Martindale less despicable as matriarch Carol Miller. It is truly painful to watch, particularly last night.
2. Please do an episode where Alan Harper (Jon Cryer) manages to keep his pants on the entire 22 minutes.
Over at Fox, “American Idol” was right on par from last week despite facing The Olympics, with a 7.4/11 in the overnights from 8-9 p.m. (which was just 11 percent below the 8.4/13 one year earlier). But recent entry “Rake” slipped to a series-low 3.0/ 5 at 9 p.m., which was 62 percent below the 8:30 p.m. portion of “American Idol” (7.8/12). Three-week overnight track for “Rake”: 4.5/ 7 – 3.6/ 6 – 3.0/ 5.
Elsewhere, cooking competition “The Taste” on ABC slipped to a series-low 2.5/ 4 (#4) from 8-10 p.m., which led into a 2.3/ 4 (#3) for an encore of “Shark Tank” at 10 p.m. And The CW was equal to one week earlier with its pairing of dramas “The Vampire Diaries” (#5: 1.7/ 3) and “Reign” (#5: 1.3/ 2), which probably has a better chance of a second season renewal than also on-the-fence “The Tomorrow People.”
Source: Nielsen Media Research
OTHER NETWORK NEWS
ABC Picks-Up Summer Drama “Astronaut Wives Club”
ABC has ordered 10-episodes of 1969-based drama “Astronaut Wives Club” for this summer, which promises to tell the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. Based on the book of the same name by Lily Koppel, the show is from writer-producer Stephanie Savage (“Hart of Dixie,” “Gossip Girl”) and executive producers Josh Schwartz, Len Goldstein and Michael London.
Other original scripted dramas scheduled to air this summer include returning “Mistresses,” “Motive” and “Rookie Blue” on ABC, “Under the Dome” and upcoming “Extant” from Steven Spielberg on CBS, and the revival of “24: Live Another Day” on Fox.
Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics TV Schedule on NBC, NBCSN, MSNBC, CNBC and USA
More than 500 hours of Olympics coverage will air in the U.S. exclusively on the networks of NBC through Sunday, Feb. 24. NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will broadcast 230 hours of coverage — the largest share among the five NBC platforms. NBC will televise 185 hours, with primetime the primary daypart. MSNBC and USA will mostly broadcast Olympic hockey, while CNBC will primarily air the popular Olympic sport of curling. For a complete listing of all events, click on the following: http://tinyurl.com/obqgguh
“Beatlemania Will Return to CBS on Sunday Night” by Ed Martin
The following is the latest must read column from MediaPost Editor-at-Large, media critic and TV historian Ed Martin:
Sunday night at 8 p.m. — exactly 50 years to the date and time that The Beatles made their legendary live appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” — CBS will telecast the special “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles.” It will include an interview with the two surviving members of the group, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, conducted by David Letterman in The Ed Sullivan Theater, the home of Sullivan’s show for most of its 23-season run (from 1948-71). The special will also feature appearances by contemporary artists including Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons and Dave Grohl.
“The Night That Changed America” serves as yet another example of a significant anniversary of a historic event being linked to CBS. Much of that credit goes to the long-time relationships the network enjoyed for so many decades with newsman Walter Cronkite and with Ed Sullivan, whose show repeatedly served as the primary prime-time platform for performers to gain their first significant exposure to a national audience. For more, click on the following: http://tinyurl.com/q4aanap
Lifetime Orders Scripted Comedy “Un-Real”
Lifetime has picked up a scripted sitcom called “Un-Real,” which is based on independent short film “Sequin Raze” and is described as a dark comedy that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the chaos surrounding the production of a dating competition series. Ten episodes have been ordered, with “Un-Real” the first scripted series on Lifetime fully financed and controlled by A&E Studios. The project comes from Marti Noxon (“Mad Men,” “Fright Night”) and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro (“Sequin Raze”), who will executive produce. A&E Networks will handle global sales for “Un-Real.”
The cast of “In-Real” will include Shiri Appleby (“Girls”), Megyn Price (“Rules of Engagement”), Freddie Stroma (“Pitch Perfect”) and Josh Kelly (“One Life to Life”). No planned launch date has been announced.
AMC to Develop New Drama “Preacher”
AMC and Sony Pictures Television have announced an agreement to develop “Peacher” as a potential new scripted drama on AMC. Based on the twisted 1990s comic book series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, “Preacher” will be produced and written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (“This is the End”). Sam Catlin (“Breaking Bad”) will serve as executive producer and showrunner.
The official description from AMC: “Preacher” follows Reverend Jesse Custer, a tough Texas preacher who has lost his faith, has learned that God has left Heaven and abandoned His responsibilities. He finds himself the only person capable of tracking God down, demanding answers, and making Him answer for His dereliction of duty. Accompanying Jesse on his journey is his former girlfriend and a friendly vampire who seems to prefer a pint in the pub to the blood of the innocent. On his tail is one of the most iconic bad guys in print – an immortal, unstoppable killing machine named the Saint of Killers – a western lone gunman archetype whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill Jesse.
AMC, needless to say, is looking for the next “Walking Dead” (which returns with new episodes this Sunday).
Hank Azaria and Sherilyn Fenn Join “Ray Donovan” on Showtime
Showtime Liev Schreiber drama “Ray Donovan,” which debuted last June and will return on an undisclosed date this summer, has announced the multi-episode casting additions of Hank Azaria (“The Simpsons”) and Sherilyn Fenn” (“Twin Peaks”). Azaria will play James Cochran, the head of the L.A. division of the FBI who becomes a thorn in Ray’s side, while Fenn will co-star as his wife Holly. Production on the upcoming second season’s 12 episodes is currently underway in Los Angeles.
AXS TV to Broadcast 12 Hours of Stagecoach Country Music Festival
AXS TV will be the official broadcaster of the 2014 Stagecoach Country Music Festival for the second consecutive year, with online marketplace StubHub as the broadcast partner. Now in its eighth year, Stagecoach will take place in Palm Desert, California from Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27. AXS TV will also present an hour-long best of special on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET, highlighting the most unforgettable moments of Stagecoach 2013. For more information, visit Stagecoachfestival.com.
TLC Orders 35 More Episodes of “Sex Sent Me to the ER”
TLC, which is no stranger airing reality programming of a sensationalist nature, has ordered 35 additional episodes of recently introduced “Sex Sent Me to the ER.” Debuting on December 28, 2013 as an initial four-part series, “Sex Sent Me to the ER” features actors reenacting real-life accidents that occurred during sex. The series is produced by GRB Entertainment, with clips currently available at http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/sex-sent-me-to-the-er.
James Carville Joins Fox News Channel as a Contributor
Fox News Channel has signed Democratic strategist James Carville as a contributor, with upcoming appearances on various programming offering political commentary on the news of the day. Carville, who was a cost-host of the first incarnation of “Crossfire” from 2002-05, exited CNN last year after his contract was not renewed. Carville, of course, is known for his work on the 1992 presidential campaign for Bill Clinton.
Cable Rankings – Wednesday 2/05/14
What follows are the top 20 most-watched shows on basic cable for Wednesday, February 5:
“Duck Dynasty” (A&E, 10 p.m. ET): 6.51 million, “American Pickers” (History, 9 p.m.): 3.53, “Wahlburgers” (A&E, 10:31 p.m.): 3.47, “The O’Reilly Factor” (Fox News Channel, 8 p.m.): 3.10, “The Big Bang Theory” (TBS, 9:30 p.m.): 3.05, “The Big Bang Theory” (TBS, 8:30 p.m.): 2.85, “The Big Bang Theory” (TBS, 9 p.m.): 2.75, “Duck Dynasty” (A&E, 9:30 p.m.): 2.69, “Duck Dynasty” (A&E, 9 p.m.): 2.60, “American Pickers” (History, 10 p.m.): 2.57, NBA Regular Season (ESPN, 10:36 p.m.): 2.55, “A Bugs Life” (Disney Channel, 8 p.m.): 2.52, “The Big Bang Theory” (TBS, 8 p.m.): 2.41, “Duck Dynasty” (A&E, 8:30 p.m.): 2.38, “Duck Dynasty” (A&E, 8 p.m.): 2.33, “The Kelly File” (Fox News Channel, 9 p.m.): 2.22, “American Pickers” (History, 8 p.m.): 2.14, “American Dad” (Adult Swim, 10:30 p.m.): 2.09, “The Big Bang Theory” (TBS, 10:30 p.m.): 1.96, “Castle” (TNT, 8 p.m.): 1.90
Source: Nielsen Media Research
Veteran producer and television and film executive Barry Jossen has joined the newly formed A+E Studios as Executive Vice President. Based in Los Angeles, Jossen will oversee all scripted programming operations of A+E Studios, the in-house production arm of A+E Networks, including creative affairs and production on all scripted programming produced and co-produced by the studio. Jossen most recently served as head of ABC Studios.
On the Air This Weekend
8:00 p.m. “Last Man Standing” (R)
8:30 p.m. “Last Man Standing” (R)
9:00 p.m. “Shark Tank” (R)
10:00 p.m. “20/20”
8:00 p.m. “Undercover Boss” (R)
9:00 p.m. “Hawaii Five-O” (R)
10:00 p.m. “Blue Bloods” (R)
8:00 p.m. XXII Winter Olympics (Opening Ceremony)
8:00 p.m. “Bones” (R)
9:00 p.m. “Enlisted
9:30 p.m. “Raising Hope”
8:00 p.m. Movie: “Attack the Block” (2011)
Of Note on Cable:
-“Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” (Food Network, 10 p.m. ET): season premiere
Saturday, February 8
8:00 p.m. Movie: “The Pursuit of Happiness? (R)
10:30 p.m. “The Middle” (R)
8:00 p.m. “Two and a Half Men” (R)
8:30 p.m. “The Millers” (R)
9:00 p.m. “The Mentalist” (R)
10:00 p.m. “48 Hours”
8:00 p.m. “XXII Olympics”: Figure Skating, Snowboarding, Freestyle Skiing
8:00 p.m. “Rake” (R)
9:00 p.m. “The Following” (R)
Of Note on Cable:
-Movie: “The Girl He Met Online” (Lifetime, 8 p.m. ET)
Sunday, February 9
7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (R)
8:00 p.m. “Movie: Toy Story 3 R (2010)
10:00 p.m. “Castle” (R)
7:00 p.m. “60 Minutes”
8:00 p.m. “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America – A Grammy Salute” (2 1/2 hours)
10:30 p.m. “The Millers” (R)
7:00 p.m. XXII Winter Olympics (Figure Skating, Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Ski Jumping)
7:00 p.m. “Bob’s Burgers” (R)
7:30 p.m. “American Dad” (R)
8:00 p.m. “The Simpsons” (R)
8:30 p.m. “Bob’s Burgers” (R)
9:00 p.m. “Family Guy” (R)
9:30 p.m. “American Dad” (R)
Of Note on Cable:
-“Snapped: Killer Couples” (Oxygen, 9 p.m. ET): Winter premiere
-“The Walking Dead” (AMC, 9 p.m. ET): Winter premiere
-“The Curse of Oak Island” (History, 10 p.m. ET): season finale
-“Talking Dead” (AMC, 10:01 p.m. ET)
-“Comic Book Men” (AMC, 11:59 p.m. ET): Winter premiere
First Out of the Box
Which one of the following five TV series was the first to debut?
a) “Criminal Minds” (CBS)
b) “Desperate Housewives” (ABC)
c) “Heroes” (NBC)
d) “Las Vegas” (NBC)
e) “Lost” (ABC)
The answer to yesterday’s question…
Which one of the following options was not the actual title of a TV drama?
a) “Jessica Novak”
b) “Kate McShane”
c) “Kay O’Brien”
d) “Laurie Hill”
e) “The Trials of Rosie O’Neill”
…Is: d) “Laurie Hill,” which was a comedy that aired on ABC for just six episodes in the fall of 1992. As for the dramas…
-“Jessica Novak” (CBS): 1981 (4 episodes)
-“Kate McShane” (CBS): 1975 (11 episodes)
-“Kay O’Brien” (CBS): 1986-87 (13 episodes)
-“The Trials of Rosie O’Neill” (CBS): 1990-91 (26 episodes)
Today’s All Stars:
Steve Albright, Gerry Bixenspan, John Brooker, D.C. Carter, Larry Collins, Tom Condosta, Audrey Davis, Jerry Gibbons, Maureen Goldman, Mary Ann Harkness, Caryn Gray, Bob Ingersoll, David Jackino, Synda Kollman, Rick Locke, Jody McIntyre, Tom Moore, Richard Naldrett, Jennifer O’Malley, Alex Petrilli, Jr., Gordon Purcell, Colleen Roth, Larry Smith
Marc Berman is the Editor in Chief for TV Media Insights, the online destination for television and media. Berman has appeared on camera for Extra, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, The CBS Evening News, CNN, and more; and his 2014 desk calendar, “Today in TV History,” is presently available.
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