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vrijdag 16 maart 2012

Has Sky become the unexpected saviour of the British sitcom?

Has Sky become the unexpected saviour of the British sitcom?

In the wake of a recent spate of original commissions, Jake takes a look at Sky’s contribution to UK sitcom…

It would be too easy to say that the British sitcom is in decline and just leave it at that. Yet a casual look over the last five years brings up recent hits such as the fantastic The Inbetweeners, Simon Amstell's Grandma's House, the love-it-or-hate-it Miranda, Outnumbered and the sublime Rev. There was also a new series from Ricky Gervais but we don't talk about that. Along with continuing favourites such as The Thick of It, Outnumbered and Peep Show, the UK sitcom is still capable of pulling an audience and critical praise.

But it's clear that narrative based comedy isn't the priority it once was. The new controller of BBC Three, Zai Bennett, has cancelled Ideal, Lunch Monkeys and the excellent Mongrels. ITV has yet to commission any narrative comedy since No Heroics and FM. Channel 4 has dropped its Comedy Labs pilot scheme which recently featured Milton Jones's very promising House of Rooms. And Channel 5 has only ever commissioned two sitcoms in its 15 year existence, Angelo's and Respectable. Several months into 2012, only one brand new sitcom  has been aired. The lacklustre Pramface on BBC three.

With a small number of new sitcoms and comedy dramas being commissioned over the next year by, it's hard not to feel saddened at this state of affairs. Particularly when the US is in the middle of a golden age with Community, Parks and Recreation, Louie, Delocated and recent export, the Zooey Deshcanel vehicle New Girl.

The problem with narrative comedy is the amount of risk that's involved. Get it right like the The Inbetweeners and you have a show that finds a growing audience via word of mouth and becomes must-see TV. Get it wrong and it'll be buried very quickly (with bizarre levels of vitriol) like The Persuasionists. In this multichannel age, there's just not enough room for failure or to let a series grow naturally. ITV's director of television admitted that the network had lost its nerve when it came to comedy which is a shame considering its rich history in the genre. But the smaller cable channels are starting to fill the gap with their own productions.

Repeats-centric channel Dave are behind the Red Dwarf revival with forthcoming new episodes, though it'll have to work hard to erase memories of the final two series. And the UK arm of Comedy Central has ordered another series of its first homegrown production Threesome from Doctor Who writer Tom McRae.

But the biggest investment into the future of British narrative comedy has come from Sky, with six brand new series broadcast in 2011 and plenty more to come in 2012.

Sky's brightest move was in hiring ex-BBC comedy controller Lucy Lumsden as its first head of comedy. Her first commission for Sky was the series of quirky short autobiographical films, Little Crackers. Based on anecdotes from various comedians and actors such as Harry Hill, Catherine Tate and Victoria Wood, Little Crackers was a Christmas hit and the start of Sky's biggest UK production investment.

Through 2011, Sky broadcast several brand new series, their first since Time Gentlemen Please and Baddiel's Syndrome. Making sure this isn't a token effort, Sky has put its whole weight behind their recent commissions with widespread promotion and recommissioning the majority of their new programming.

Putting aside this writer's reservations about the Murdoch empire along with its recent revelations, Sky is doing something right. And what's more they're doing it better than the big three networks. Time will tell if this initiative lasts beyond the first couple of years but there's a real chance that this could help bring the British sitcom back out of its fallow period and into the mainstream again.

Here's a quick look at the highlights of Sky's recent commissions:


Jane Horrocks stars as the manageress of Valco supermarket. Produced by Ash Atalla (The Office, The IT Crowd), Sky purpose-built a replica of a supermarket especially for filming. This paid off when the first episode managed the biggest multichannel comedy launch in history.

This is Jinsy

Originally piloted on BBC Three, newcomers Chris Bran and Justin Chubb write and star in the adventures of Sporall and Arbiter Maven. Residents of the Mighty Boosh and Spike Milligan-coloured world of Jinsy island. Peppered with guest stars such as Peter Serafinowicz, Harry Hill, Kevin Eldon and a great turn from David Tennant.


Darren Boyd, recently seen as John Cleese in the BBC Four drama Holy Flying Circus, stars as Tim Elliot. A luckless divorcee held in high contempt by his hyper-intelligent son Marcus who becomes a secret agent by accident. Featuring Robert Lindsay channelling a psychopath Alan Sugar as Tim's boss, 'The Examiner'. With Spy, Sky have succeeded in producing a pre-watershed family sitcom that is fresh and most importantly laugh out loud funny.

The Cafe

Gentle bittersweet comedy set in a family run beach cafe in Weston-Super-Mare. Co-created by and starring Ralf Little (The Royle Family, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps) and Michelle Terry who stars as Sarah Porter. A wannabe writer who's had to return home from London but still dreams of the bigger life.


Sky's big hope. Ruth Jones writes and stars as the super-mum Stella in this Gavin & Stacey flavoured slice of life series set in the small town of Pontyberry, South Wales.

But what next?

The future of Sky's comedy initiative is in healthy shape with Chris O'Dowd's Moone Boy and Kathy Burke's Walking and Talking, both based on their Little Crackers entries. What's especially intriguing about Burke's series is it's the return to TV of the legendarily offensive stand-up magician Jerry Sadowitz.

There's also the Charlie Brooker spoof detective film A Touch of Cloth and the new sitcom from Simon Bird, Joe Thomas and Jonny Sweet, Chickens. It was originally piloted on Channel 4 and featured the misadventures of three men who refuse to fight in World War 1. Come 2013, we could see a very healthy comedy portfolio from the most unlikely of sources.

On the main networks, the current trend is for showcasing stand ups with a proven track record on the live circuit, with stand-up showcases and panel shows. It's early days but hopefully Sky's big gamble will pay off. Maybe then we could start seeing the results spread across other channels...

'MasterChef' 2012 champion crowned in final

'MasterChef' 2012 champion crowned in final

Shelina Permalloo has been crowned MasterChef champion for 2012.

The 29-year-old beat fellow finalists Andrew Kojima and Tom Rennolds to become only the second female winner in eight years.

On her win, Permalloo said: "I am completely and utterly overwhelmed. I never thought it was going to be me that would win, the guys [Tom and Andrew] were so amazing and I just never thought it could happen to me.

"I am so happy and pleased that I was able to win by staying true to my roots. I am proud to have made my family proud and to support Mauritians as well. I think if my dad was around he would have been the proudest person ever."

Judge John Torode said: "What Shelina has done throughout this competition is outstanding. She is a very special cook with an exceptional talent who always wears a smile and cooks with care, to assault the senses and bring sunshine to a plate."

Gregg Wallace added: "If ever there was a restaurant that had to happen it is Shelina's because her food is incredible. You can't find it in very many places; you can't really find it outside of Mauritius. I agree, she really does put sunshine on a plate."

The final task saw contestants prepare a three-course meal for judges Torode and Wallace.

Permalloo will next appear at the BBC Good Food Show at the Glow, Bluewater from April 12-15.

Of the live show, she added: "I'm really excited and equally nervous to be cooking live alongside some incredible chefs like Tim Anderson and Lisa Faulkner at the launch of BBC Good Food at Glow, Bluewater. It will be incredible to be in the same space as these guys!"

Talking about her toughest moment during the series, she said: "I think every challenge was tough but the best thing was how much you learn at the end of it. Thailand was probably the most physically exhausting because of the heat and the sheer amount of arm power needed to pound those pastes!

"Cooking for royalty in Thailand was an incredible experience, I doubt I'll ever have the honour of cooking for royalty again, seriously a once in a lifetime opportunity."

On her future career, she added: "I dream of opening a restaurant one day, raising the profile of Mauritian food in the UK, and be working with, and surrounded by, food."

Tim Anderson became the youngest ever amateur winner of MasterChef last year.

'MasterChef' beaten by ITV1's Champions League football

'MasterChef' beaten by ITV1's Champions League football

Last night's instalment of MasterChef was beaten by live Champions League football, according to overnight data.

The BBC One cooking show took 4.6m (18.9%) in the 9pm hour, but ITV1's sports coverage averaged 5.44m from 7.30pm.

At 10pm, 8.01m (36.4%) were watching the football as the match between Chelsea and Napoli went into extra time.

On Channel 4, Superscrimpers: Waste Not, Want Not had 1.57m (7%) from 8pm (+1: 162k/0.7%) and One Born Every Minute managed 2.94m (12.1%) from 9pm (+1: 417k/2.3%).

Channel 5's NCIS grabbed 1.86m (7.7%), which was preceded by Big Body Squad taking 1.15m (5.1%).

BBC Two showed The Fisherman's Apprentice with Monty Halls (1.6m/7.1%), Rights Gone Wrong? (908k/3.7%) and Roger and Val Have Just Got In (737k/3.6%).

Overall, ITV1 secured primetime with 24.5% (+1: 0.3%) ahead of BBC One's 20%. Channel 4 took third place with 7.2% (+1: 1.1%), beating Channel 5's 5.4% and BBC Two's 4.8%.

On the multichannels, Sky Living's The Secret Circle and Grey's Anatomy attracted 177k (0.8%) and 179k (1%) respectively.

Holly Willoughby to front revamped 'Surprise Surprise'

Holly Willoughby to front revamped 'Surprise Surprise'

Holly Willoughby has been confirmed as the host of a revamped special one-off edition of Surprise Surprise.

Originally hosted by Cilla Black, the show famously created tearful surprises and family reunions for guests and the new special promises to "make some dreams of a lifetime come true".

"What an incredible honour to be asked to present this Surprise Surprise special for ITV1. I can't wait to get out there delivering new surprises to the nation," said Willoughby.

Exec Michael Kelpie added: "Surprise Surprise is one of those iconic ITV shows that I remember watching with my family growing up and the chance of bringing it back is a dream come true."

Producers are currently searching the country for people to appear in the series and want to hear from anyone who would like to nominate a member of the community for a "Willoughby surprise". Applicants should contact

The original LWT production of Surprise Surprise aired between 1984 and 1997 and famously featured host Black singing the theme tune at the start and end of every episode. The track featured on Black's Surprisingly Cilla album and was released as a single.

Channel 4 launches search for 'ultimate Jewish mother'

Channel 4 launches search for 'ultimate Jewish mother'

Channel 4 has launched a search for the "ultimate Jewish mother" as part of a new TV series in collaboration with The Jewish News.

The broadcaster, which has faced criticism for its portrayal of minority groups in the hit Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, intends to launch new four-part series Jewish Mum of the Year, made by Princess Productions, later this year.

Despite the Jewish community making up just 0.4% of the British population, the number of successful Jewish people in business, politics and entertainment is significant, including Lord Alan Sugar, Sir Philip Green and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Channel 4 said that the Jewish mother has "come to epitomise what it means to be a mum" - including renown as "brilliant home-makers, incredible cooks and fiercely protective of their children".

The broadcaster added that Jewish mums are noted for being "excessive, overprotective, neurotically anxious and ever present - yet also an emblem of unstinting love and devotion".

The new series follows The Jewish News as it searches around the UK to track down the 'Jewish Mum of the Year', including particular focus on the big Jewish communities in Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Essex and London.

The "heart of gold" TV show will seek out "the traditional, the overbearing, the cheek-pinching and the charming", putting contestants through various tasks to prove their skills, including home-making and event organising, as well as testing how well they know their kids.

Channel 4's head of factual entertainment Liam Humphreys said: "This entertaining series will be a warm-hearted celebration of the cultural institution that is the Jewish mother.

"We hope the Jewish News' search for the greatest Jewish Mum in Britain will provide new insights for all of us as we enter the wonderful world of Bar Mitzvahs, match making and Friday night dinners, discovering the secrets behind one of the most successful and engaging communities in Britain."

Lady Gaga Taking Vow of Silence After Oprah Interview

Lady Gaga Taking Vow of Silence After Oprah Interview

Oprah Winfrey has done the seemingly impossible, and silenced Lady Gaga. At least where the media is concerned.

"Poker Face" chanteuse Gaga (born Stefani Germanotta) told Winfrey in her interview for "Oprah's Next Chapter" -- airing Sunday -- that she's taking a vow of silence where interviews are concerned, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“Other than this interview, Oprah, I do not intend to speak to anyone for a very long time," the singer said in the interview, to air Sunday. "No press, no television, if my mom calls and says, ‘Did you hear about…’ I shut it all off.”

The "Alejandro" songbird's apathy toward the media has grown so deep, in fact, that she doesn't even follow news reports about herself.

“I don’t read a damn thing," Gaga said.

It's a jarring shift in attitude for the singer, who gained her reputation with such publicity-grabbing stunts as wearing a dress made of meat to the MTV Video Music Awards and letting slip with chestnuts such as, "I can actually mentally give myself an orgasm."

Winfrey and Gaga have been chummy in recent weeks. In late February, the talk-show giant joined the singer at Harvard University to help Gaga launch her Born This Way Foundation, which aims to "explore the best ways to reach youth and create a new culture of kindness, bravery, acceptance and empowerment."

Idris Elba to star in Warren Ellis mini-series 'Ascension'

Idris Elba to star in Warren Ellis mini-series 'Ascension'

Idris Elba has signed up to star in TV mini-series Ascension.

The drama, which will focus on mankind's desire to reach the stars across the ages, has been written by Warren Ellis (Red).

Elba will play both the Egyptian lord Imhotep in 3000 BC and a brilliant astronomer in the near future, reports Deadline.

The actor - who will next be seen in Ridley Scott's Prometheus - is known for his roles in HBO's The Wire and BBC drama Luther.

Series co-creator Vivek J Tiwary will produce Ascension with Ellis, while Elba will executive produce.

The series is currently being shopped to UK broadcasters.

Syfy's "Face Off" Sets Series Records - For Fifth Time

Syfy's "Face Off" Sets Series Records - For Fifth Time

For the fifth time this season, Syfy's smash hit Face Off broke its own series records, establishing new marks in total viewers (2.46 million), Adults 18-49 (1.36 million), Adults 25-54 (1.36 million) and household ratings (1.6) during the second season finale on Wednesday, March 14 at 10PM (ET/PT) as the family man from Shelley, Idaho, Rayce Bird, was crowned the winner.

Versus the season one finale, the Face Off season two finale rose 65% in total viewers, 63% in Adults 25-54, 58% in Adults 18-49 - the top delivery in this demo for a Syfy original series since the May 5, 2010 Ghost Hunters - and 45% in HH rating.

Face Off was the #1 cable original series telecast on Wednesday in Adults 25-54 and was the #3 original series telecast among Adults18-49.

For the full second season, including Live + 7 viewing data through the 2/22 episode and Live + Same Day viewing for the final two episodes, Face Off averaged a 1.7 HH rating and 2.53 million total viewers, including 1.48 million Adults18-49 and 1.38 million Adults 25-54.

Compared to the full season one average, this was up 63% in total viewers, 55% in HH rating, 53% in Adults 18-49 and 44% in Adults 25-54.

The series premiere of the unscripted program Monster Man followed Face Off at 11PM. Monster Man delivered 1.35 million total viewers, 729,000 Adults 18-49 and 700,000 Adults 25-54, while more than doubling Syfy's performance in the Wednesday, 11pm-12am timeslot in the prior four weeks by an astounding +123% in total viewers, +112% in Adults 18-49 and +102% in Adults 25-54.

Season two of Face Off delivered 6.1 million page views (up 195% versus Season 1), 865K uniques (up 199%), 939K visits (up 196%) and 1.8 million video streams (up 280%).

Face Off also was watched nearly 3.5 million times on VOD, up 96% compared to season one's total viewing in 2011.

Monster Man ranked as the best premiere day for an original reality series in uniques since the premiere of Face Off (1/26/11).

Driven by GetGlue, Face Off delivered a series high in social activity, ranking #8 among all cable shows while Monster Man ranked #9.

Monster Man, which moves into its regular Wednesday 10PM time slot beginning March 21, goes behind the scenes of one of Hollywood's most respected monster prop building workshops -- Cleve Hall and his very unique family business. Executive producers are Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney for Gurney Productions.

Face Off will return for a 10-episode third season of special effects competition, offering a new group of rising SFX make-up artists the opportunity to showcase their imagination and creativity. Production will begin later this Spring for a Summer 2012 premiere. Face Off is a production of Mission Control Media with Michael Agbabian and Dwight D. Smith serving as executive producers.

In April, Syfy will continue expanding its popular reality programming roster with the premieres of Dream Machines on Tuesday, April 10 at 10PM, and Total Blackout, hosted by Jaleel White (Family Matters, Dancing With the Stars), on Wednesday, April 25 at 10PM.

'Gossip Girl' Likely to Be Renewed for Shortened 6th Season

'Gossip Girl' Likely to Be Renewed for Shortened 6th Season

"Gossip Girl" will likely be renewed for a shortened sixth and final season, according to an individual close to the production.

The CW drama is expected to return for a reduced number of episodes like fellow CW drama "One Tree Hill" did for its final season, the individual said.

A spokesman for the network said that CW has not yet made a decision about picking up any of its scripted shows for next year.

Given its low ratings, the show is seen as perpetually on the bubble. "Gossip Girl" averaged 1.7 million viewers, and a 1.9 rating in the women 18-34 demo, this year. That's a far cry from the 2.35 million viewers the show averaged in its debut season.

But renewal could be more palatable to the network because all of the show's stars, including Blake Lively, Ed Westwick, Chace Crawford, and Leighton Meester, are under contract for another season. That will spare CW the potentially costly ordeal of re-negotiating salaries.

"Gossip Girl" centers on the romances, trysts and social rivalries of a group of privileged young adults living in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

The series celebrated its 100th episode in January. At the time, the show's producers expressed optimism that "Gossip Girl" would be back with more rivalries and bed-hopping.

"We're not writing a series finale this year," Executive Producer Stephanie Savage told

'Apprentice' winner Tom Pellereau launches nail file business

'Apprentice' winner Tom Pellereau launches nail file business

The 2011 Apprentice winner Tom Pellereau has revealed his nail file business plan, a project he began working on before he starred on the BBC One reality series.

Pellereau, 32, secured a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar after winning last year's series and has today announced plans for his S shape nail files, which will be available to buy from Sunday.

His three designs - an S-file, an S-buffer and an "emergency" S-file - will be available at the recommended retail price of £4.49.

"Since the Apprentice final I've been working night and day to create the Stylfile Collection," said Pellereau.

"Working with Lord Sugar and benefiting from his experience in retailing, manufacturing and marketing has been invaluable. It has been the experience of a lifetime, and seeing my product on shelf is a dream come true."

Sugar added: "Tom's done extremely well at turning a very good concept into three excellent products and getting them stocked with some of the biggest retailers in the country."

Previous Apprentice winners had landed a £100,000 job within Sugar's business empire.

The Apprentice returns to BBC One at 9pm on Wednesday, March 21 on BBC One.

'Being Human': Mark Gatiss hints at 'filthy, disgusting' role

'Being Human': Mark Gatiss hints at 'filthy, disgusting' role

Mark Gatiss has dropped hints about his forthcoming guest role on Being Human.

The Sherlock actor will appear in the final two episodes of the paranormal drama's fourth series.

"I wanted to do something different with it," he told The Guardian. "Before Dracula, [vampires] weren't these gothic, Byronic, romantic creatures, they were filthy and disgusting.

"I wanted to have red hair, because you never have ginger vampires, and terrible teeth, and these really dirty fingernails. And they gave me everything I wanted.

"So there's lots of lovely close-ups of my filthy hands and terrible teeth. He's about 3,000 years old, he's literally rotting from the inside."

Gatiss added that his character Mr Snow arrives in pursuit of fellow vampire Hal (Damien Molony).

"The Old Ones have come back to pick up where they left off with Hal," he explained. "Hal seems to have escaped them for the past 55 years, and then there's a lovely scene where I say to him I've just given him the afternoon off. Because the timescale that we work on, 55 years is just the blink of an eye."

He described filming on the BBC Three series, which also stars Lenora Crichlow and Michael Socha, as "fantastic".

"When I was a kid I used to recreate the end of Dracula, rising from the grave," he admitted. "All these years I've wanted to be king of the vampires, so I had a fantastic time."

Being Human continues on Sunday at 9pm on BBC Three. In the US, the show airs on Saturdays at 9/8c on BBC America.

'Sherlock' exec Mark Gatiss: 'Fall reveal will be worth the wait'

'Sherlock' exec Mark Gatiss: 'Fall reveal will be worth the wait'

Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss has admitted that he was surprised at the reaction to the show's second series.

The BBC detective drama's most recent run showed Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) appear to plummet to his death, only to later reappear unharmed.

"I've never known something become such a public talking point," Gatiss, who also plays Mycroft Holmes, told The Guardian.

The actor and writer promised that the eventual reveal of how Sherlock survived would be "worth the wait".

"There's some very clever theories, some of them elaborate, and I enjoy them all," he said. "But if I were to tell you if someone had worked it out then it wouldn't be a secret."

Asked if any of the fan theories were correct, he added: "It may be, sort of, in some of the theories. There's a lot of very clever people out there."

Sherlock exec Beryl Vertue recently announced that a third series will begin filming in early 2013.

The second run of three episodes concluded on January 15, pulling in an overall audience of 9.78m for BBC One.

TV Tonight 16th of March 2012

TV Tonight 16th of March 2012

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing.

    20/20 S34E31: "Season 34, Episode 31"
    7 Days (NZ) S04E05: "Season 4, Episode 5"
    Alaska Wing Men S02E10: "Man Down"
    America's Most Wanted S25E16: "Season 25, Episode 16"
    Ancient Aliens S04E06: "Secrets of the Pyramids"
    Antiques Road Trip S04E25: "Series 4, Episode 25"
    Benidorm S05E04: "Series 5, Episode 4"
    Bering Sea Gold S01E08: "The Bitter End"
    Big Brother Sverige S08E24: "Del 24"
    Black Rock Shooter S01E07: "Wish Upon the Star Shooting Through the Dark"
    Bref S02E14: "Bref. Je suis allé en boîte de nuit"
    Cleverdicks S01E15: "Episode 15"
    Come Dine With Me S18E54: "Series 18, Come Dine With Me"
    Come Dine With Me S18E53: "Series 18, Series 45"
    Comic Relief Does Glee Club! S02E04: "Series 2, Episode 4"
    Coronation Street S53E54: "Fri Mar 16, 2012 [Episode 1]"
    Coronation Street S53E55: "Fri Mar 16, 2012 [Episode 2]"
    Dateline NBC S21E30: "FR2126"
    Days of our Lives S47E90: "Ep. #11800"
    De Stem van Vlaanderen (The Voice of Flanders) S01E17
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E186: "Episode 1866"
    Degrassi S11E36: "Not Ready To Make Nice (1)"
    Dickinson's Real Deal S08E74: "Series 8, Episode 74"
    Doctors S13E221: "Daddy's Girl"
    EastEnders S28E45: "March 16, 2012"
    Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers S03E03: "Series 3, Episode 3"
    Emmerdale S41E65: "March 16, 2012"
    Fairly Legal S02E01: "Satisfaction"
    Flikken Maastricht S06E07: "Season 6, Episode 7"
    Four In A Bed S04E05: "Series 4, Episode 5"
    Four Weddings (2010) S03E32: "...and a Hookah Lounge"
    Fred: The Show S01E10: "Best Freds Forever"
    Gardeners' World S45E02: "March 16, 2012"
    General Hospital (US) S49E244: "#12518"
    Ghost Adventures S06E02: "Peabody-Whitehead Mansion"
    Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden S22E140: "Season 22, Episode 140"
    Guilty Crown S01E21: "Emergence"
    High School DxD S01E11: "Episode 11"
    Hollyoaks S18E55: "March 16, 2012"
    Home and Away (AU) S25E40: "Episode 5475"
    House Hunters S48E54: "Out of Storage in Salt Lake"
    House Hunters International S25E57
    In Plain Sight S05E01: "The Anti-Social Network"
    Inu x Boku SS S01E10: "Episode 10"
    Jeopardy! S28E130: "Show #6335"
    Kill Me Baby S01E11: "Episode 11"
    Killer Trials: Judgment Day S01E12: "Murder in the Mansion"
    Killer Trials: Judgment Day S01E11: "Hidden in Plain Sight"
    Live with Regis and Kelly S29E144
    Livet på Laerkevej S01E06: "Season 1, Episode 6"
    Mastermind (UK) S40E23: "Series 40, Show 23"
    Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries S01E04: "Death at Victoria Dock"
    Neighbours S28E50: "Episode 6360"
    Nikita S02E16: "Doublecross"
    Nytt På Nytt S26E11: "Season 26, Episode 11"
    On Death Row S01E02: "Linda Carty"
    Persona 4 The Animation S01E23: "In Order to Find the Truth"
    Phineas and Ferb S03E29: "Let's Bounce"
    Pointless S06E25: "Series 6, Episode 25"
    Popstokk S02E10
    Primetime S23E08: "What Would You Do? (8)"
    Real Time With Bill Maher S10E09: "Season 10, Episode 9"
    Romanii au Talent S02E05: "Auditii #5"
    Safari Vet School S01E11: "Episode 11"
    Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta S03E15: "Say No to the Ball Gown"
    Senhime Zesshou Symphogear S01E11: "Episode 11"
    Shark Tank S03E09: "Season 3, Episode 9"
    Spartacus: Vengeance S02E08: "Balance"
    Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) S04E22: "Revenge"
    Supernatural S07E16: "Out With The Old"
    Sweet Home Alabama S03E09: "A Friend In Need"
    The Chase (2009) S05E34: "Series 5, Episode 34"
    The Culture Show S16E07: "Series 16, Episode 7"
    The Ellen DeGeneres Show S09E123: "Amanda Peet"
    The Graham Norton Show S10E20
    The Jeremy Kyle Show S07E130: "Backstage Special"
    The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson S08E50: "TBA"
    The Real Hustle (UK) S11E08: "Celebrity Chancers: Episode 8"
    The Revolution (2012) S01E45: "Season 1, Episode 45"
    The Rosie Show S01E85: "Kat Von D, Zachary Knighton"
    The Tonight Show with Jay Leno S19E259
    The Ultimate Fighter S15E02: "Season 15, Episode 2"
    The View S15E128: "Eric McCormack, Annie Potts, Isabel Toledo"
    Thuis S17E145: "Season 17, Episode 145"
    Tracy Beaker Returns S03E12: "Series 3, Episode 12"
    WWE Friday Night SmackDown! S12E77: "Season 12, Episode 76"

NBC Announces Three New and Returning Series Premieres for Summer 2012 Schedule

NBC Announces Three New and Returning Series Premieres for Summer 2012 Schedule

"Love in the Wild" Returns June 7 (8-10 p.m. ET) while "Saving Hope" (Working Title) Begins June 7 (10-11 p.m. ET) and "American Ninja Warrior" Debuts May 21 (9-11 p.m. ET)

NBC unveiled premiere dates for three new and returning series for Summer 2012 that include the return of "Love in the Wild" (Thursday, June 7, 8-10 p.m. ET), the series debut of "Saving Hope" (working title; Thursday, June 7, 10-11 p.m. ET) and the return of G4's "American Ninja Warrior" (Monday, May 21, 9-11 p.m. ET).

Following its special two-hour premiere on June 7, "Love in the Wild" will return in its regular time slot on Thursday, June 14 (9-10 p.m. ET). "American Ninja Warrior" will resume in its regular day and time on Monday, May 28 (9-10 p.m. ET). "Saving Hope" will continue in the Thursday (10-11 p.m. ET) time period.

"American Ninja Warrior" will premiere on G4 Sunday, May 20 (9-11 p.m. ET).

The ever-engaging funny woman Jenny McCarthy returns to her hosting roots as she joins NBC's adventure-dating series "Love in the Wild" as the host for the show's second season that will feature even wilder adventures. McCarthy will head to the tropical paradise of the Dominican Republic to guide contestants through rigorous adventures as well as the choppy waters of relationships in their quest to find love. The host, best-selling author and activist recently reprised her recurring role on "Two and a Half Men" and re-joined hosts Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest in reporting live from Times Square on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest" this past New Year's.

The Summer 2011 run of "Love in the Wild" averaged a 1.8 rating, 5 share in adults 18-49 and 5.5 million viewers overall. In adults 18-49, "Love in the Wild" finished #1 or tied for #1 in its time period among ABC, CBS and NBC with seven of eight telecasts.

"Love in the Wild" puts relationships to the ultimate test with exhilarating and wild adventures that push participants to the limit, both physically and emotionally. Single men and single women, all looking for love, will experience a romantic quest unlike anything they could have ever imagined. These singles have tried it all -- speed-dating, blind-dating, Internet dating -- and now, they will journey to a tropical paradise to see if they can find that special someone. During elimination, all of the couples will come together to reveal whether a connection has been formed with their current partner -- or if they would like to switch and get to know someone else. At the end of every episode, heartbroken singles are sent home. The series culminates with just one couple left standing. "Love in the Wild" is produced by Endemol USA. Tom Shelly serves as executive producer.

For embeddable clips from "Love in the Wild," please visit .Please like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @LoveInTheWild.

"Saving Hope" is a new, hour-long original drama series that stars Erica Durance ("Smallville"), Michael Shanks ("Stargate Atlantis"), Daniel Gillies ("The Vampire Diaries"), Huse Madhavji ("Combat Hospital," "Star!" "Daily"), Julia Taylor-Ross ("Rookie Blue") and Kristopher Turner ("Rookie Blue," "The Listener"). The series is from acclaimed Gemini Award-winning producers Ilana Frank and David Wellington ("The Eleventh Hour," "Would Be Kings," "Rookie Blue").

In "Saving Hope," when charismatic Chief of Surgery Charlie Harris (Shanks) at Hope-Zion Hospital ends up in a coma, he leaves the hospital in chaos -- and his fiancée and fellow surgeon, Alex Reid (Durance), in a state of shock. Along with newly arrived star surgeon, Joel Goran (Gillies), Reid races to save Harris' life. As the action unfolds, the comatose Harris explores the hospital halls in "spirit" form, not sure if he's a ghost or a figment of his own imagination. Reid, along with her fellow doctors, press on to save his life and those of their other patients as they deal with the complicated and courageous decisions that are made in their daily struggle to keep hope alive.

"Saving Hope" is produced by Ilana C. Frank Films (ICFF) with Entertainment One (eOne), in association with CTV and NBC. The series is executive-produced by Ilana Frank and David Wellington for ICFF, Noreen Halpern ("Hell on Wheels," "Call Me Fitz") and John Morayniss ("The Firm," "Haven") for Entertainment One and Lesley Harrison. Executive producers and show-runners are Morwyn Brebner ("Rookie Blue") and Aaron Martin ("Being Erica"). The series was created by Malcolm MacRury ("Crash and Burn," "Republic of Doyle") and Morwyn Brebner. David Wellington directed the pilot.

For embeddable clips from "Saving Hope," please visit Please like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at

G4 and NBC team up to air "American Ninja Warrior," the heart-racing obstacle course competition series with a nationwide search to find the ultimate athlete who will be crowned the first true "American Ninja Warrior." The networks collaborated with the original Japanese broadcaster, Tokyo Broadcasting System Television (TBS), to bring the competitive course over to the U.S., which is being held entirely on U.S. soil for the first time. Following NBC's highly rated special airing of the "American Ninja Warrior" finale last summer, G4 and NBC have expanded their collaboration this year to take the worldwide phenomenon to the next level with G4 airing the preliminary rounds while NBC will broadcast the preliminary finals and the grand finale.

Six regional qualifying competitions throughout the country will determine the finalists who will ultimately have a shot at a $500,000 cash prize and the chance to win the coveted "American Ninja Warrior" title in the national finals in Las Vegas. Over the past 15 years, only three competitors have successfully completed the infamous Ninja Warrior course atop Mount Midoriyama, Japan. "American Ninja Warrior" is back to find the toughest, most skilled U.S. competitors and give them a shot at conquering the almost impossible obstacle course.

A. Smith & Co. Productions returns to produce the fourth season of "American Ninja Warrior." "American Ninja Warrior" is executive-produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions' founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed ("Hell's Kitchen," "I Survived a Japanese Game Show," "Pros vs. Joes"). Holly Wofford and Viki Cacciatore also serve as executive producers.

For embeddable clips from "American Ninja Warrior," please visit . Please like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @ninjawarrior.

TV Announces New Celebrity Hosts and Marks for the Much-Anticipated Return of Hit Series "Punk'd," Premiering Thursday, March 29

TV Announces New Celebrity Hosts and Marks for the Much-Anticipated Return of Hit Series "Punk'd," Premiering Thursday, March 29

MTV's pop culture phenomenon series "Punk'd" returns for an all-new season on Thursday, March 29 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, featuring the hottest celebrities in Hollywood, and the most hilarious and crazy moments in "Punk'd" history. This season Ashton Kutcher hands over the hosting reins to a new celebrity each week. Joining previously announced celebrity hosts Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Kellan Lutz, Bam Margera, Hayden Panettiere, "Punk'd" alumni Dax Shepard, and Tyler, The Creator, are Nick Cannon, Lucy Hale, Mac Miller and Heather Morris. Rounding out the ranks of unsuspecting celebrity marks are Dianna Agron, Ron Artest, Lauren Conrad, Zac Efron, Shenae Grimes, Ian Harding, Vanessa Hudgens, Josh Hutcherson, "Jersey Shore's" Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Chloe Moretz, New Boyz, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Darrelle Revis, Emma Roberts, Cody Simpson, The Wanted, who join previously announced targets Rob Dyrdek, Liam Hemsworth, Khloe Odom Kardashian, Sean Kingston, Demi Lovato, "Teen Wolf's" Tyler Posey, and Taylor Swift.

The celebrity hosts take "Punk'd" to a whole new level this season, with more complex, hilarious and fun punks than ever before. For the first time in the series' history, the curtain will be pulled back, giving viewers an inside look at what goes on behind-the-scenes to pull off these elaborate pranks. Get ready for some real outrageously fun moments that you wouldn't expect from your favorite stars!

"Punk'd" is executive produced by Katalyst's Jason Goldberg and Ashton Kutcher. Lauren Dolgen, Colin Nash, Kristina Edwards and Jennifer Russakoff are the Executives in Charge for MTV.

British TV viewers becoming nation of 'chatterboxes'

British TV viewers becoming nation of 'chatterboxes'

Almost half of people aged under 35 claim to have commented to others via online or text message while watching a TV programme, in an emerging trend called "chatterboxing".

According to the Telescope 2012 study by the BBC's TV Licensing organisation, the rise of "two-screen" viewing of TV shows, in which people use a laptop, smartphone or tablet while also watching programmes, is changing habits around television consumption.

One in four adults (26%) said that they have commented to others via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, online forums or SMS about a TV programme they were watching, but this increases to just under half (44%) among people under 35.

Rather than dilute the importance of live TV viewing, this trend of "chatterboxing" has actually done the opposite, said the report. An ICM poll found that 24% of people aged under 35 watch a programme live rather than on catch-up because they enjoy the social media chatter, while 19% do so because they were worried about 'social media spoilers'.

In positive news for Channel 4's new 'social buzz'-driven catch up TV channel 4seven, the report found that social media is also driving people's TV viewing. One in six respondents aged under 35 (17%) said that they can be persuaded to watch a programme if they see online chatter about it.

Psychologist Corinne Sweet said that "chatterboxing" taps into people's desire to share emotional experiences around television with others, even when they are on their own.

"Wanting to communicate with others when you experience emotions such as sadness, entertainment, fear or awe is a part of the human condition," she said.

"As television often prompts these feelings, it is not surprising that more of us are taking advantage of evolving technology to share our thoughts as we watch TV, even if we are home alone."

Twitter UK spokesperson Rachel Bremer added: "People come to Twitter to connect with what they are most interested in, and that may be a TV show, character, or live event.

"The public nature of the platform means that people can easily follow and join conversations about what they're watching in real time, adding to the social experience of television viewing."

The TeleScope survey found that people in Britain consume 28 hours of television every week, of which 2.5 hours is via catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD on the television set.

TV fans are also topping this up by spending on average three hours per week watching programmes on smaller screens, including laptops, smartphones and tablets, according to ICM polls. In total, this adds up to 31 hours per week, or more than two months of TV per year.

One in four people (25%) said that they have watched TV on the go via services such as iPlayer and Sky Go, rising to 65% among over 35s.

For the London Olympics this summer, 88% of respondents plan to watch the action on a TV set, while 7% will catch the action on a PC or laptop, but only 1% respectively expect to watch on smartphones and tablets.

Live TV remains dominant, but timeshifted viewing via catch-up services or personal video recorders now accounts for 9.2% of all UK TV consumption, up from 7.1% in 2010.

Alongside virtual gatherings around programmes, TV is also bringing people together physically, as a third of adults under 35 have had a TV-themed party in the last five years, including popular themes of The X-Factor, World Cup 2010, Royal Wedding and Eurovision.

BBC TV licensing head of revenue management Pipa Doubtfire said: "This year's TeleScope report points to the fact that people are taking advantage of new technologies to ensure they can enjoy TV in more ways than ever before, whether watching on bigger sets at home, via mobile technologies on the go, or on catch-up. And, of course, the chatterboxing phenomenon is bringing a new dimension to TV as a collective, social experience."

Iain Logie Baird, the grandson of TV inventor John Logie Baird and curator at the National Media Museum in Bradford, said few would have imagined the shape of modern TV viewing when his grandfather introduced the first practical set in 1926.

"Television continues to hold our attention for two reasons. Firstly because of the quality and choice of content. Secondly because a huge range of interfaces have evolved to suit every taste and lifestyle," he said.

"We can easily control how and when we watch TV by creating our own TV schedules from the abundance of content available, or tuning in on-the-go via a mobile device.

"We have more choice than ever before, and each person, family or household has the opportunity to mould their television experience according to their personal preference."

Yesterday, BBC director general Mark Thompson confirmed plans for the corporation to create an iTunes-style store this year, offering paid downloads of BBC programmes.

'Jersey Shore' Finale: Can Motherhood Extend Snooki's 15 Minutes?

'Jersey Shore' Finale: Can Motherhood Extend Snooki's 15 Minutes?

"Jersey Shore" ends its fifth season Thursday on MTV with no renewal for a sixth season in sight and hard-partying star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi pregnant. Sagging ratings, and the network's failure to renew the show yet, suggest the clocking is finally ticking down on the reality TV franchise critics love to hate.

Can Snooki -- arguably the show's biggest breakout -- extend her own tenuous grasp on fame with a bun in the oven? Does she have the potential to remake herself, and even expand her brand, in the vein of reality TV mamas like Tori Spelling, Nicole Richie and Bethenny Frankel?

First, Snooki wanted to star in a spin-off dating series called "Snookin' for Love." Later this year, she will co-star with "Shore" castmate Jenni Farley in the "Laverne & Shirley"-ish spin-off "Snooki and JWoww vs. The World." That MTV show, currently filming in Jersey City, is the second "Shore" spinoff to "The Pauly D Project," debuting later this month.

But in the US Weekly cover story in which she officially announced her mama-to-be status and engagement to Jionni LaValle, Polizzi told the magazine she now wants to star in a family series, "like Tori and (husband) Dean (McDermott)."

Unlikely? Sure, we've seen her fall-down drunk on the beach, flash her ladyparts at fellow clubbers in Italy and discuss all her bodily functions in graphic detail, all behaviors that would suggest she's hardly mother of the year material.

But, as much as reality TV fans love a great hot mess story, they love a makeover tale even more.

Take the woman Polizzi aspires to be, Tori Spelling. In the space of less than two years between 2004-2006, Spelling married Charlie Shanian, began an on-set affair with then-married co-star Dean McDermott, divorced Shanian and married the subsequently divorced McDermott. They soon began their own family, which has resulted in three Oxygen reality series and three books, including the bestselling "Mommywood," penned by Spelling.

Likewise, Nicole Richie was known as the wild child BFF of her equally notorious reality TV co-star Paris Hilton until she traded the party girl life for motherhood in 2008, and Bethenny Frankel was a popular, but still ensemble cast member of the "Real Housewives of New York City" until she became a mommy in 2010 and spun off into solo Bravo reality series, "Bethenny Getting Married?" and "Bethenny Ever After."

Besides, we should all remember that -- gasp -- perhaps certain personas and behaviors we witness on reality TV are exaggerated for maximum shock value.

"I think she has the right to raise her kid how she wants," said Howard Bragman, longtime Hollywood publicist and Vice-Chairman of "Does that mean she's going to get endorsement deals and be the hero of the mommy bloggers? That remains to be seen.

But I've seen people turn their lives around. Look at Nicole Richie."

The key for Polizzi is deftly managing how she moves forward in pursuit of new opportunities. "It takes a certain amount of fame to change the direction," said Bragman, the author of the fame, branding and publicity how-to book "Where's My Fifteen Minutes?" "But also understand that that ship she's on has been traveling very rapidly in one direction, and it's hard to turn it midstream. And we don't want to lose what made Snooki Snooki … her style choices, her bigger than life personality."

For its part, MTV has wished the pint-sized star well in her impending maternity. "We support her as she starts this new chapter of her life," it said last week. MTV had no additional comment for this story.

Snooki definitely needs to pull off some makeover magic on her lifestyle if she does want to keep that reality TV and endorsement money rolling in. "Jersey Shore" ratings are down -- season five premiered to 7.6 million viewers and last week's new episode (the first to air since Polizzi's pregnancy announcement) drew 4.8 million viewers, the show's lowest ratings of the season.

And Polizzi's Q scores, the numbers that indicate how well-liked a celebrity is -- or is this case, isn't -- are even lower. Snooki's positive Q score is 10. Her negative Q score, i.e. the number of people who rate her as fair or poor: 70.

Based on the 76 reality TV personalities the Q Scores company tracks, the average positive score in the category is 18, and the average negative score is 32. The aforementioned Frankel gets a 20 positive and 49 negative, and Polizzi's "Shore" co-star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino has positive nine, negative score of 66.

"What you have is that people are not liking these major players," said Q Scores president Steve Levitt. "They're watching the shows for other reasons."

He pointed out that reality stars like Polizzi are famous for notorious behavior. "People want to look into their lives to see what they're doing now, but that's not the same as having a good feeling for them," Levitt said.

So what, specifically, can Polizzi do to make her Tori Spelling dreams come true?

"Respect," Bragman said. "Respecting the law, respecting herself, respecting her child."

He said people will be watching what she does after having the baby to see whether she is "going to turn into a New Jersey housewife, basically."

New Jersey housewife … "Real Housewives of New Jersey" … do we smell crossover potential here?

CBS Announces Renewals for 18 Primetime Shows for the 2012-2013 Season

CBS Announces Renewals for 18 Primetime Shows for the 2012-2013 Season

Renewals Showcase the Strength, Stability and Success of Television's #1 Network

In a move that renews a large portion of television's #1 primetime lineup, CBS announced today it has picked up 18 returning series for the 2012-2013 broadcast season.

The renewals include four comedies, nine dramas, three reality series and two newsmagazines. The returning shows encompass every night of the week and every hour, many of which are #1 in their time period and some #1 on the entire night.

The renewed comedies include the previously announced multi-year pickups of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and THE BIG BANG THEORY, the season's #1 comedy and the first scripted program to top "American Idol" in viewers and adults 18-49; 2 BROKE GIRLS, the season's #1 new comedy in viewers and key demographics; and sophomore hit MIKE & MOLLY.

Also in comedy, CBS and Warner Bros. Television are in preliminary discussions regarding future seasons for TWO AND A HALF MEN.

Renewed dramas are NCIS, television's #1 drama/scripted program for the third consecutive year; NCIS: LOS ANGELES, the #2 drama for the second straight year; HAWAII FIVE-0, CRIMINAL MINDS, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, PERSON OF INTEREST, the #1 new series of the season, THE MENTALIST, BLUE BLOODS and the award-winning and critically acclaimed THE GOOD WIFE.

Among the Network's returning reality series are THE AMAZING RACE, UNDERCOVER BOSS and the previously renewed SURVIVOR.

Television's top newsmagazines, 60 MINUTES and 48 HOURS MYSTERY, will also return in the fall.

"This large-scale renewal is testimony to the strength, stability and success of a deep and diverse roster of top-rated programming," said Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment. "It positions us for continued success next season and certainly creates an environment that will give our new shows the best possible chance to succeed."

Season-to-date, CBS is first in viewers (12.13m) and adults 25-54 (4.1/10) and a strong second in adults 18-49 (3.1/08). The Network is posting across-the-board year-to-year growth, up +1% in viewers, +2% in adults 25-54 and +3% in adults 18-49.

Development Update: the 16th of March

Development Update: the 16th of March

CULT (The CW) - Matt Davis ("The Vampire Diaries") has booked the male lead on the drama pilot, about Skye Yarrow (Jessica Lucas), a production assistant on a wildly popular television show named "Cult," who teams with Jeff Sefton (Davis), a journalist blogger, to investigate the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program in real life. Writer Rockne S. O'Bannon and director Jason Ensler are behind the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which also stars Alona Tal and Robert Knepper. (

L.A. NOIR (TNT) - Alexa Davalos ("Clash of the Titans") has snagged a role on the drama pilot, about the epic battle between Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker (Neal McDonough) and mobster Mickey Cohen (yet to be cast) in the 1950s. She'll play Jasmine, "a beauty with a complicated past," in the project, from writer/director Frank Darabont. Jeremy Strong, Jon Bernthal and Milo Ventimiglia also star. (

THE LIFE (ABC) - Suleka Mathew, Jaime Ray Newman, Sterling Beaumon and Jakob Salvati have all been cast in the drama pilot, about Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell), the widow of an assassinated criminal who is suddenly forced to adopt her late husband's role in order to protect her family. Beaumon and Salvati will play her sons, Gabriel ("handsome in a techno-geek way") and Boris ("slight, sensitive, immediately lovable"); with Newman as her Marta's younger sister Katrina "Kat" Lazarev ("sweet, fun, loyal as hell") and Mathew as Marta's best friend Dina Tomlin ("perfectly manicured, dyed, preserved"). ABC Studios is behind the hour, which also stars Lee Tergesen, Luke Goss and Rade Serbedzija. Mark Pellington is directing from a script by Melissa Rosenberg. (

MIDNIGHT SUN (NBC) - Alexia Fast ("The Secret Circle") is the latest addition to the pilot, a drama about the FBI's investigation into the disappearance of a remote cult in Dugan, Alaska - led by Bennett Maxwell (Titus Welliver) - which taps into a grander political conspiracy. She'll play Miranda Bailey, a rebellious teen whose boyfriend, Owen Fuller (yet to be cast), is among the missing. Connor O'Farrell, Daniella Pineda, David Harbour, Emma Bell, Julia Stiles and Michael Raymond-James also star. Brad Anderson is directing from a script by Lisa Zwerling for Universal Television. (

- Charles Esten ("Enlightened") has scored a role on the drama pilot, which centers around the Nashville music scene and its stars, both rising and fading. He's on board as Deacon Claybourne, the strikingly handsome lead guitar player for Rayna James (Connie Britton) with whom she shares a flirty rapport. Clare Bowen, Eric Close, Hayden Panettiere, Jonathan Jackson, Powers Boothe, Robert Wisdom and Sam Palladio also star in the project, from writer Callie Khouri and director R.J. Cutler. ABC Studios ad Lionsgate Television are producing. (

NOTORIOUS (NBC) - Katherine LaNasa and Neil Jackson are the latest additions to the drama pilot, about Joanna Locasto (yet to be cast), a police detective who returns undercover to the wealthy family she grew up in - as the maid's daughter - to solve the murder of Vivian Lawson, the notorious heiress who was once her closest friend. LaNasa will play Sofia Lawson ("40s, beautiful: don't f--- with her"), second wife of the Vivian's father Robert Lawson (Victor Garber); while Jackson is on board as Julian Lawson ("sweet, sexy, bad boy, sex-addicted"), the youngest son. Liz Heldens is behind the hour, which comes from the Universal Television-based BermanBraun. (

PARTNERS (CBS) - Molly Shannon and Tracy Vilar have both been cast in the comedy pilot, about two male architects - one straight, Charlie (David Krumholtz); one gay, Louis (Michael Urie) - whose relationship itself resembles a marriage. Vilar will take over for Elizabeth Regen as Ro-Ro, the guys' colorful assistant; while Shannon will guest as Cassandra, a newly created role. In addition, Lucy Davis's character - Renata, the bookkeeper for Charlie's finace Ali (Sophia Bush) - is being written out. Said changes are part of a slight casting overhaul following its audience run through on Friday. Warner Bros. Television is behind the project, from co-creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick and director James Burrows. Brandon Routh also stars. (

PURE EVIL (Showtime, New!) - Trey Callaway ("CSI: NY") has booked a potential drama at the pay channel about "a brilliant and sinister CEO of the world's largest tech and media conglomerate." Arnold and Anne Kopelson are also on board to executive produce the hour via their Kopelson Entertainment banner alongside Steve Barnett and creator Callaway. (

REBOUNDING (FOX) - Andrea Savage ("Dog Bites Man") has boarded the comedy pilot, about Danny Markle (Will Forte), a man recovering from the death of his fiance with help from friends on his pick-up basketball team. She'll play his sister Amanda ("33, harried, angry") in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which also stars Aly Michalka, Hayes MacArthur, Malcolm Barrett and Matt L. Jones. Jason Winer is directing from a script by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman. (

THE SELECTION (The CW) - William Moseley ("The Chronicles of Narnia") and Andrew Elvis Miller are both set to board the pilot, a drama set 300 years in the future about America Singer (Aimee Teegarden), a poor woman who is chosen by lottery to compete to become the next queen of a war-torn nation. The former will play America's boyfriend, Aspen Leger ("strong, smart, and bears the burden of supporting his entire family"), whom she must keep a secret due to her being one caste above him. Miller then will guest as Gavril Fedaye ("trim, bright-eyed, smooth-voiced"), the Ryan Seacrest-esque host of "The Capitol Report," a TV series devoted to The Selection. (

UNTITLED HILARY WINSTON PROJECT (NBC) - Freddie Prinze Jr. and Joanna Kerns are the latest to be cast in the comedy pilot, about Agnes Little (Sarah Wright), a shy, focused woman who, after being dumped by her fiance, leans on her co-workers to help her come out of her shell and plot her revenge. He'll play said ex, Noah Jaworski ("nerdy handsome"), with Kerns as her mom, Connie. Aubrey Dollar, Kyle Howard and Mena Suvari co-star in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, which Adam Shankman is attached to direct. (,

UNTITLED KARYN USHER PROJET (FOX) - Louise Lombard ("CSI") has booked a role on the drama pilot, about Jane Forsythe (Saxon Sharbino), the orphaned 14-year-old daughter of a CIA agent who is recruited to become an operative herself. She's set as Wendy Hollingsworth ("a beautiful, cosmopolitan woman in a slightly geeky shell"), the ex-girlfriend of Kevin Lear (Julian McMahon), the best friend of Jane's late father. The Brett Ratner-helmed hour also stars Angela Bassett. 20th Century Fox Television is producing. (

- Anna Camp ("The Good wife") has scored a role on the comedy pilot, about Mira Kaviraya (Mindy Kaling), a young doctor trying to navigate both her personal and professional lives. She'll play her best friend Gwen, an attorney-turned-stay-at-home-mom who's always taking care of her. Chris Messina, Dana DeLorenzo, Ed Weeks and Zoe Jarman co-star in the Universal Television-based half-hour, to be directed by Charles McDougall. (

UNTITLED LOUIS CK/SPIKE FERESTEN PROJECT (CBS) - Stage actress Patti Murin has booked the female lead on the pilot, a multi-camera comedy that revolves around a group of young people working to achieve their creative dreams amid tough financial times. She's set as Anna, an intelligent assertive vintage clothing seller in her twenties. Ashley Tisdale and Dan Byrd co-star in the project, to be directed by Andy Ackerman. CBS Television Studios and Universal Television are producing. (

Nickelodeon's "The Legend of Korra" to Premiere on Saturday, April 14

Nickelodeon's "The Legend of Korra" to Premiere on Saturday, April 14

The mythology of the beloved animated franchise from Avatar: The Last Airbender creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, continues with the Nickelodeon premiere of The Legend of Korra on Saturday, April 14, at 11:00 AM (ET/PT), with a one-hour television event featuring back-to-back episodes. The all-new series centers around a new Avatar named Korra, a 17-year-old headstrong and rebellious girl who continually challenges and bucks tradition on her quest to become a fully realized Avatar in a world where benders are under attack. The Legend of Korra will air regularly on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.

"Mike and Bryan created an incredibly layered world with the animated Avatar franchise -- rich with mythology and artistry," said Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group. "The Legend of Korra takes their vision even further, into a more modern world led by a new Avatar who is a fearless and spirited teenage girl."

The Legend of Korra takes place 70 years after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender and follows the next Avatar after Aang - a girl named Korra (Janet Varney) who is from the Southern Water Tribe. With three of the four elements under her belt (Earth, Water and Fire), Korra seeks to master Air. Her quest leads her to Republic City, the modern "Avatar" world that is a virtual melting pot where benders and non-benders from all nations live and thrive. Korra quickly discovers that the metropolis is plagued by crime as well as a growing anti-bending revolution that threatens to rip the city apart. Under the tutelage of Aang's son, Tenzin (J.K. Simmons), Korra begins her airbending training while dealing with the dangers at large.

In the premiere episode, "Welcome to Republic City," Korra leaves the safety of her home and travels to bustling Republic City to begin her airbending training. Once there, she is shocked to find a big city full of dangers, including criminal bending gangs and a vocal anti-bending revolution. In episode two, "A Leaf in the Wind," Korra is living with her airbending teacher Tenzin on Air Temple Island. Frustrated with her inability to master airbending, she turns her attentions to Republic City's famous Pro-bending Arena. There she befriends two brothers, Mako (David Faustino) and Bolin (P.J. Byrne), who compete in professional bending matches. Korra is immediately drawn to Pro-bending's dynamic fighting style.

The Legend of Korra cast includes Janet Varney (Dinner and a Movie) as Korra, David Faustino (Married... with Children) as Mako, P.J. Byrne (Horrible Bosses) as Bolin, J.K. Simmons (The Closer) as Tenzin, Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop) as Amon, Lance Henriksen (Aliens) as The Lieutenant, Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) as Chief Lin Beifong, Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-0) as Hiroshi Sato, Seychelle Gabriel (Falling Skies) as Asami Sato and Eva Marie Saint (Superman Returns) as Katara. The series is co-created and executive produced by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, co-creators of the Emmy Award-winning Avatar: The Last Airbender. Joaquim Dos Santos is co-executive producer.

Starting today, fans can work to unlock an exclusive sneak peek of The Legend of Korra premiere at Beginning April 1, fans may log on to for an interactive experience and introduction to Republic City. Show information, fun facts, micro games and additional new content make up this "Welcome to Republic City" online experience. Also leading up to the television series premiere, Xbox users will have the opportunity to download the first episode and trailer for free and purchase episodes from Avatar: The Last Airbender. The first The Legend of Korra episode will be available on VOD. In conjunction with the series premiere, Nick's mobile channel NIMO, will have a live simulcast of the first two episodes.

Launched in February 2005, Avatar: The Last Airbender aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon and was consistently ranked among the top five animated properties on television among boys 2-11 and 6-11. Avatar: The Last Airbender was the inspiration for the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies live-action epic adventure, The Last Airbender. In 2007, the series was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Animated Program and took home the Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation. In 2008, Avatar: The Last Airbender won a Peabody Award.

An award-winning filmmaker, DiMartino was a director at Film Roman for six years, working on the prime-time animated series King of the Hill, Family Guy and Mission Hill. During his tenure there, DiMartino animated and directed the short animated film Atomic Love, which has gone on to screen at festivals across the country including Sundance and the Los Angeles Film Festival. It also aired as part of the Nicktoons Animation Festival.

Konietzko began his career in animation as a character designer at Film Roman for Fox's prime-time series, Family Guy. He soon moved to the post of assistant director for two more Film Roman shows, Mission Hill and King of the Hill, working beside animation director DiMartino. Konietzko then became a storyboard artist and later an art director for the Nickelodeon animated series Invader Zim.

The Legend of Korra is being produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, Calif.

TNT Announces 2012 Summer Premiere Dates

TNT Announces 2012 Summer Premiere Dates

Lineup Includes Five Returning Hits, Four New Series and a Fond Farewell to One of Cable's Biggest Hits of All Time

The drama is back in full force this summer as TNT unveils the premiere dates for its slate of outstanding original series. Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies, Leverage and Franklin & Bash are among the hit series set to return this summer. They will be joined by four brand new series: Dallas, Perception, Major Crimes and the unscripted competition show The Great Escape. Certain to be one of the summer's biggest programming events, fans will also bid a fond farewell to The Closer as the blockbuster drama series wraps up its extraordinary seven-season run with six final episodes.

"Each show in TNT's summer lineup entertains in its own unique voice, but together these drama series are designed to appeal to viewers who want to be taken on a great ride," said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "Whether it's a clever procedural, an action-adventure drama, or a sweeping family saga, the dramas on TNT all have that popcorn sensibility. They're meant for viewers who crave smart storytelling and engaging characters, and who above all else simply want to pull up a seat and have a good time."

The following is TNT's summer schedule, including series premiere dates.

Rizzoli & Isles
· Season Premiere: Tuesday, June 5, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
· Season 3: 10 summer episodes
For the past two summers, Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander have proven that two heads are better than one in this drama series based on the crime novels by best-selling author Tess Gerritsen. As Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, the pair share a quirky chemistry and put away some of Boston's most notorious criminals.

Franklin & Bash
· Season Premiere: Tuesday, June 5, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
· Season 2: 10 episodes
Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer star in this light-hearted legal drama as two fly-by-the seat-of-their-pants lawyers working for a button-down law firm. Malcolm McDowell plays the firm's wonderfully eccentric patriarch. Also starring are Garcelle Beauvais, Dana Davis, Kumail Nanjiani and Reed Diamond.

· New Series, Two-Hour Series Premiere: Wednesday, June 13, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
· Season 1: 10 episodes
This summer, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray reprise their famous characters as J.R., Bobby and Sue Ellen Ewing return to Southfork with secrets, schemes and betrayals. This time, they're joined by the next generation of Ewings, played by Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe, who take ambition and deception to a new level. Dallas also stars Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo and Brenda Strong. Shot on location in the title city, Dallas comes to TNT from Warner Horizon Television, with premiere episode writer Cynthia Cidre and director Michael M. Robin serving as executive producers. It was developed by Cidre and created by David Jacobs.

Falling Skies
· Two-Hour Season Premiere: Sunday, June 17, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
· Season 2: 10 episodes
The wait is nearly over as basic cable's #1 new series of 2011 returns to continue its extraordinary story about life and survival in the wake of a catastrophic alien invasion. Noah Wyle stars as a college professor who becomes an unlikely resistance leader in this gripping series from DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg. Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Maxim Knight and Connor Jessup also star.

The Great Escape
· New Series Premiere: Sunday, June 24, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
· Season 1: 10 episodes
This fast-paced, nail-biting competition series drops ordinary people into the middle of their own epic action/adventure movie. Each week, Rich Eisen (NFL Total Access) hosts as teams of competitors try to find their way out of seemingly impossible situations for a chance to take home a cash prize. The series, from Fox Television Studios, is executive-produced by the Oscar(R)-winning team of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, as well as the Emmy-winning producers of The Amazing Race, Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri. The series is created and executive produced by Justin W. Hochberg (The Apprentice) and Charlie Ebersol (The Wanted).

The Closer
· Premiere: Monday, July 9, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
· Season 7: Six final episodes
TNT's record-breaking series returns one last time to bring its extraordinary seven-year run to an end. Emmy(R) winner Kyra Sedgwick stars as Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, whose impeccable investigative and interrogation skills have resulted in countless confessions and convictions. Mary McDonnell, who will continue her role as Captain Sharon Raydor in TNT's upcoming series Major Crimes, also stars.

· New Series Premiere: Monday, July 9, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
· Season 1: 10 episodes
Drama fans are about to meet one of the most unique crime solvers on television when TNT premieres this fascinating new series about an eccentric neuroscience professor who is recruited by the FBI to help solve complex cases. Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Eric McCormack stars as Dr. Daniel Pierce, who possesses an intimate knowledge of human behavior and a masterful understanding of the way the mind works. Although Pierce's mind may be brilliant, it's also damaged as he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Perception also stars Rachael Leigh Cook, Arjay Smith and Kelly Rowan. Produced by ABC Studios, the series was created by executive producer Ken Biller and co-executive producer Mike Sussman, with McCormack serving as producer.

· Season Premiere: Sunday, July 15, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)
· Season 5: 10 summer episodes
Television's coolest gang of thieves, grifters and con artists are back in the fifth season of this fast-paced, light-hearted caper series from blockbuster executive producer Dean Devlin and Electric Entertainment. Academy Award(R) winner Timothy Hutton stars, along with Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge.

Major Crimes
· New Series Premiere: Monday, Aug. 13, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), following The Closer finale
· Regular Timeslot: Mondays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
· Season 1: 10 episodes
This all-new drama series is ready to take television's favorite squad of detectives into bold new territory. Two-time Oscar(R) nominee Mary McDonnell will continue her role from The Closer as Los Angeles Police Captain Sharon Raydor. Major Crimes will focus on how the American justice system approaches the art of the deal as law-enforcement officers and prosecutors work together to score a conviction. Joining McDonnell are fellow Closer veterans G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz and Phillip P. Keene, with guest appearances by Jon Tenney and Robert Gossett. New cast members include Graham Patrick Martin as a homeless juvenile and Kearran Giovanni as an ambitious undercover detective. Major Crimes is produced by The Shephard/Robin Company, in association with Warner Bros. Television, with The Closer's James Duff, Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin serving as executive producers.

TBS Puts Fanboys & Physicists to the Test in New Unscripted Competition Series "King of the Nerds"

TBS Puts Fanboys & Physicists to the Test in New Unscripted Competition Series "King of the Nerds"

TBS, which has basked in the glory of nerd-dom with the enormously popular acquired sitcom The Big Bang Theory, is now ready to take things to the next level. TBS has greenlit the new unscripted competition series King of the Nerds, hosted by two of the stars of the movie blockbuster Revenge of the Nerds, Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong.

TBS has ordered eight episodes of King of the Nerds, which is being executive-produced by Ben Silverman (The Biggest Loser, The Office) and Jimmy Fox (Mob Wives) of Electus, Rick Ringbakk (The Amazing Race), Tod Mesirow (MythBusters) and Craig Armstrong (Survivor) of 5X5 Media, as well as Carradine and Armstrong. The show is slated to premiere in early 2013. Electus International, the global distribution arm of Electus, will distribute the series internationally.

King of the Nerds is primed to become television's ultimate nerd-off. The show invites competitors spanning the full nerd spectrum to come together to face challenges that will test their intellect, ingenuity, skills and pop-culture prowess. The nerds will first compete as teams before moving on to individual challenges, all with the goal of being named the quintessential master of all things nerdy.

"It's been said we're living in the 'Age of the Nerd', and if so, what better way to acknowledge that than to have a competition to crown the King of the Nerds?" said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "King of the Nerds is a lot of fun as it not only celebrates nerd culture, but also illuminates it. We believe King of the Nerds is an ideal fit with The Big Bang Theory, and we look forward to having it on the network"

"King of the Nerds will be the first-ever nerd-on-nerd warfare competition series. Who better to have as our hosts than Robert and Curtis, the founding fathers of the Nerd Universe," said Jimmy Fox, head of creative development for Electus. "We are incredibly excited to partner with TBS to not only celebrate the nerd in each and every one of us, but to bring an incredibly fun, smart and entertaining competition series to the TBS audience."

King of the Nerds is the latest new series slated for launch on TBS. In May, the network will premiere the new buddy comedy series Men at Work, starring Danny Masterson, James Lesure, Michael Cassidy and Adam Busch. Also this summer, TBS will launch Sullivan & Son, a new sitcom starring comedian Steve Byrne and executive-produced by Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Rob Long. Later this year, TBS will debut Wedding Band, a new scripted comedy series starring Brian Austin Green, Harold Perrineau, Peter Cambor and Derek Miller, Melora Hardin, Jenny Wade and Kathryn Fiore.

Robert Carradine has starred in such hit movies as The Long Riders, The Big Red One and Ghosts of Mars. His television credits include roles on Lizzie McGuire and The Cowboys, as well as guest appearances on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Practice, NYPD Blue, The Pretender and Nash Bridges. Carradine has also been cast in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming western Django Unchained, with Leonard DiCaprio.

Curtis Armstrong is known for his memorable performances in Revenge of the Nerds and Risky Business. Additional film credits include Ray, Akeelah and the Bee and the upcoming Sparkle. For television, Armstrong has played regular roles in the series Dan Vs., American Dad and Moonlighting, along with guest roles on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Hot in Cleveland and TNT's The Closer.

Katie Couric Talk Show Gets a Premiere Date

Katie Couric Talk Show Gets a Premiere Date

Katie Couric's syndicated daytime talk show "Katie" will premiere Sept. 10, the show's executive producer, Jeff Zucker, said Thursday.

Zucker made the reveal via an internal webcast to stations that will air the syndicated offering. Zucker also announced that director Joe Terry, a 14-year veteran of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and co-executive producer Kathy Samuels, an alum of "Rachael Ray" and "Access Hollywood," have joined the show's production staff of the live, weekday show.

Last year, Couric said that she hoped the show would provide a forum for "smart conversation" -- while also keeping things light and entertaining.

"Smart conversation, those are the two words that I would like to aspire to, and also fun conversation," Couric said during an interview with ABC News.

"We'll be running the gamut from everything from serious stories, like a new cancer drug, or what's going on with the deficit and trying to explain it so people can really understand it, to dealing with kids and technology and what is all this technology doing to our children's brains and ability to socialize, to bullying, to fun, popular culture stories," Couric added.

'Weeds' Creator Jenji Kohan Signs Overall Deal With Lionsgate

'Weeds' Creator Jenji Kohan Signs Overall Deal With Lionsgate

Jenji Kohan's influence at Lionsgate is growing like a robust Maui Wowie plant.

The "Weeds" creator has inked an overall deal with Lionsgate, which produces the Showtime pot series.

Under the agreement, Kohan will remain on as the show runner and executive producer of "Weeds," as well as serve as co-creator and executive producer of the upcoming Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black" and develop other projects.

"What can I say?" Kohan quipped of the new pact. "Lionsgate is my joint, yo.”

The eighth season of "Weeds" goes into production in Los Angeles next month for a July 1 premiere date.

"Orange Is the New Black," meanwhile, is a one-hour drama with comedic elements based on Piper Kerman's memoir, "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison." Production on the series, which is also co-created and executive-produced by "House" producer Liz Friedman, is slated to begin this fall.

'American Idol' and Fox Win Night as Several Shows Hit Lows

'American Idol' and Fox Win Night as Several Shows Hit Lows

"American Idol" powered Fox to an easy win in ratings and total viewers on a Wednesday night when seven shows hit or tied series or season lows, according to preliminary numbers.

"Idol" and Fox averaged a 5.3 rating/15 share in the advertiser-treasured 18-49 demographic and 17.9 million total viewers during the top 12 finalists performance show that aired from 8-10 p.m.

CBS was second in ratings and total viewers, averaging a 2.8/8 and 11.1 million. "Survivor: One World" at 8 had a 2.9/9 and 10.3 million. "Criminal Minds" at 9 hit an all-time ratings low with a 2.8/7 -- down 10 percent from its last original episode two weeks ago -- and had 11.3 million total viewers. (Its numbers matched the network's overall numbers almost exactly.) "CSI" at 10 had a 2.7/8 and 11.5 million total viewers.

ABC was third in ratings and total viewers, averaging a 2.2/6 and 6.4 million. At 8, "The Middle" had a season low rating of 2.1/7, and 7 million total viewers. It was down 19 percent in the demo. At 8:30, "Suburgatory" hit a series low 2.1/6 and had 6.3 million total viewers. "Modern Family" at 9 had a 4.4/12 and 10.5 million. It was the second-highest-rated and fourth-most-watched show of the night, despite hitting its season low. At 9:30, "Happy Endings" had a 2.4/6 and 5.5 million. It was up 20 percent from last week's season low in the demo. At 10, the ABC News special "Revenge for Real" had a 1.2/3 and 4.5 million total viewers.

NBC was fourth in ratings and total viewers, averaging a paltry .8/2 and 2.9 million. It was handily beaten by Univision, which averaged a 1.4/4 rating and 3.4 million viewers across the night.

At 8, NBC's "Whitney" tied its series low of 1.4/5, and had 4 million total viewers. "Are You There, Chelsea?" at 8:30 had a series-low 1.0/3 and 2.9 million. A "Law & Order: SVU" rerun aired at 9. At 10, "Rock Center With Brian Williams" tied its series low .6/2 and had 2.6 million total viewers.