- A true upset in the just-announced Critics’ Choice Awards. As TVLine reports, NBC’s always-on-the-bubble “Community” leads the way in nominations, including Best Comedy Series, Best Actor (Joel McHale), Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Danny Pudi and Jim Rash) and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs). That puts “Community” ahead of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” as well as NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” each with five nominations. Time will tell if this does “Community” any good. Before you move your ad spend, note that critical opinion can be way out of sync with Nielsen ratings (hence single-season runs for stuff like “My So-Called Life” starring Clare Danes, and long runs of “The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island,” both universally panned by the intelligentsia).
- Modern westerns are fraught with ratings peril. For every “Deadwood” there are a half-dozen failures like “The Magnificent Seven,” “Lazarus Man” and “Hell On Wheels.” But A&E set a new record for itself with the Sunday premiere of “Longmire,” according to Hollywood Reporter. The Sunday debut pulls in 4.1 million viewers for A&E, topping the network’s previous scripted efforts including "The Glades," "The Cleaner and "Breakout Kings." The broadcast also ranked as a top performer among the 25-54 demographic, averaging 1.4 million for the hour. Based on the Walt Longmire Mystery novels by best-selling author Craig Johnson, “Longmire” stars Australian actor Robert Taylor (The Matrix) as Walt Longmire, the charismatic, dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. “Longmire” also stars Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Gallactica”), Lou Diamond Phillips (“Numb3rs”), Bailey Chase (“Damages”), Cassidy Freeman (“Smallville”) and newcomer Adam Bartley.
- If youth is fleeting, so is youthful viewership. The Sunday night MTV Movie Awards broadcast was down nearly 30% from its 2011 viewership, according to The Wrap. The show averaged still-pretty-good 3.2 million total viewers, compared to last year’s 4.5 million total viewers. But the MTV Movie Awards faced a couple of handicaps. First, it was up against the season finale of “Game of Thrones” on HBO, and the NBA playoffs. And it was hosted by British comic Russell Brand, whose star seems to have fallen.
- NBC has found its Hannibal Lecter. You would know him better by his role as the Bond villain Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale” than by his own name—Mads Mikkelsen. As Deadline Hollywood reports, Danish-born Mikkelsen will star opposite Hugh Dancy FBI agent Will Graham in the 13-episode series "Hannibal" that predates “Silence of the Lambs.” The premise is that Graham is unaware psychiatrist Lecter’s insanity, and enlists Lecter in helping the FBI hunt serial killers. The role of Lecter was made famous by Anthony Hopkins, who won an Oscar for “Silence Of The Lambs,” while both William Peterson (CSI) and Edward Norton have played Graham.
- NBC has also found its new Herman Munster. Jerry O’Connell (best known as Vern, the hefty kid in “Stand By Me”) will play Herman in the “Munsters” reboot “Mockingbird Lane,” says Entertainment Weekly. He will be joined by British comic Eddie Izzard as Grandpa. By all accounts, this treatment will be a darker one than the 1960s sitcom, and is scripted by Bryan Fuller of “Pushing Up Daisies.” Fuller is both writer and producer, and told EW that he wants the show to be an "American Harry Potter," or a family version of "American Horror Story."
Upfront TV: Fios Spanish Channels | Redgrave Joins “Animals” | “Today” Narrowly #1 | “Scream” Series
- Verizon FiOS TV will add 10 new high-definition Spanish-language channels, nine of them from independent distributor Olympusat Inc., reports Multichannel News. Olympusat’s UltraHDPlex lineup of channels include movie network Ultra Cine; music network Ultra Fiesta; kids-targeted channel Ultra Kidz; Mexican film-based Ultra Mex; women-oriented Ultra Luna; male-orientedUltra Macho; Spanish-dubbed cotemporary films channel Ultra Film; documentary-themed Ultra Docu; and the Mexican and Latin America classic film service Ultra Clásico, said company officials. The 10th channel, Multimedios Television, offers Spanish-language family and entertainment programming broadcast from Monterrey, Mexico. Overall, Verizon offers up to 75 Spanish-language channels on FiOS TV in selected markets.
- USA Network has signed Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave for a guest stint on its “Political Animals,” reports Deadline Hollywood. Redgrave will play Diane Nash, a the first openly gay member of the Supreme Court who is friend and mentor to Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver). The six-episode series will center on the divorced former First Lady and newly appointed Secretary of State played by Weaver, who throws herself into the job after recovering from the dissolution of her marriage to ex-President Bud Hammond (Ciaran Hinds) and losing the presidential nomination. The series is slated to debut July 15 and air in the Sunday 10 P.M. slot.
- NBC’s “Today” show retained its #1 slot in May, winning a “nail-biting competition” with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” reports The New York Times. The margin was just 13,000 viewers, which is within the Nielsen Company’s margin of errors. A year ago in May, the total viewer gap between the shows was a less nebulous 780,000, advantage “Today.” “Today” stayed No. 1 among 25- to 54-year-olds, but GMA staffers claim to be closing the gap.
- MTV is developing “Scream,” a series adaptation of the Wes Craven horror franchise, sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. Since 1996, the franchise, with Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, has included four outings and grossed more than $330 million worldwide. The “Scream” project comes as MTV has found scripted success with “Teen Wolf,” a somber adaptation of the 1980s movies that starred Michael J. Fox and Jason Bateman. MTV has just renewed “Teen Wolf” for a second season.
- Samuel L. Jackson will return to Spike TV to host “VGA TEN,” the tenth anniversary of the “Video Game Awards” live on Friday, December 7 at 9:00 P.M. ET/6:00 P.M. PT. The acclaimed international film, stage and video game star, most recently featured in the summer blockbuster, “The Avengers,” has hosted the “VGAs” three times from 2005-2007. The broadcast will once again air live and simultaneously on both Spike TV and Spike.com. “VGA Ten” will also air in over 100 countries and territories around the world. Also returning to the “VGAs” is Executive Producer Mark Burnett, the multi-Emmy Award-winning acclaimed producer of “Survivor,” “The Voice,” “The Apprentice,” the “63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards,” the “MTV Movie Awards” and the “People’s Choice Awards.”
- NBC Sports Group has signed Hines Ward, a four-time Pro Bowler who played 14 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers before retiring after the 2011 season, as an analyst across its NFL, college football and studio programming. As part of the multi-year agreement, Ward will be a regular contributor to NBC’s “Football Night in America”; serve as an analyst every Saturday on NBC’s and NBC Sports Network’s college football studio programming with Liam McHugh and Doug Flutie; and will regularly appear on “NBC SportsTalk” with Mike Florio and Peter King to preview and recap the week in the NFL. Ward appeared on NBC’s Super Bowl XLVI pre-game show, and is a two-time Super Bowl champion. The Super Bowl XL MVP finished his 14-year career with 1,000 catches for 12,083 yards and 83 touchdowns, all Steelers’ records.
- Fox Business Network will begin airing “Money with Melissa Francis, beginning Monday June 4, scheduled weeknights between 5 P.M. and 6 P.M., reports Multichannel News. Francis will break down the day's top stories, focusing on how they impact American taxpayers. Francis will continue in her role as co-anchor of FBN's “Markets Now” at 1 p.m. alongside Lori Rothman. The debut of “Money with Melissa Francis” will shift the FBN evening lineup, with “The Willis Report” moving to 6 P.M. from its previously staked 8 P.M. slot. “Lou Dobbs Tonight” will remain weeknights at 7 P.M., and Neil Cavuto will take over at 8 P.M. with “Cavuto.”
- AMC will air a 19-hour chock-full-of-extras marathon of its zombie drama “Walking Dead” running between January 7 and 8. The marathon will end with a live episode of its recap “Talking Dead,” which will feature a first-look scene from season three. As Hollywood Reporter describes, the cable network will air for the first time a black-and-white version of the pilot episode of the series based on the comics created by Robert Kirkman (themselves in black and white). Episodes will air from January 7 to 8, and the “Talking Dead” primetime special will air live Sunday, July 8 at 9 p.m., followed by the black-and-white pilot episode at 10 p.m. “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick will introduce each episode of the series with cast members on location in Atlanta, where production on Season 3 is under way.
- Oxygen has slated the season two return of “The Glee Project” for Tuesday, June 5 at 10 P.M. ET/PT. Lea Michele joins the show as the first guest mentor. If the music is a bit—well—grating, the show will be a test of social TV viewing. Viewers can chat about the music and the contenders on Twitter using @TheGleeProject and post their thoughts on the guest mentors, homework assignments and music videos using #TheGleeProject. Each week fans will be able to interact with their favorite contenders using Oxygen Connect, while earning points and badges. And they can enter for a chance to win a trip to meet their favorite contender face-to-face by completing weekly “Superfan Search” missions. Fans can also engage with the show by voting for their contender during the “Last Chance Performance” using special hashtags featured on-air.
- Animal Planet original series “River Monsters” finished its fourth season on Monday as the network's most- watched series ever, reports Broadcasting & Cable. “monsters” follows extreme angler Jeremy Wade as he tracks down huge freshwater fish, and drew 1.5 million viewers during its fourth season, according to the network. “Monsters” also topped its previous year's performance in all demos including adults 25-54 (up 9% to 836,000 viewers); men 25-54 (up 6%, 500,000 viewers) and women 25-54 (336,000 viewers). The series' season four premiere was the most-watched debut in Animal Planet's history, delivering nearly 1.8 million total viewers.
- The Weather Channel Companies has ordered a full season of “Iron Men,” a docu-series profiling the iron workers who spend their days battling weather conditions hundreds of feet above New York City to build skyscrapers, bridges, arenas and other major structures. In addition to the four episodes currently airing, nine new episodes have been ordered that will premiere later this year. New episodes will take place at the 4 World Trade Center site in addition to the Barclays Center, the new home of the Brooklyn Nets, and the Alexander Hamilton Bridge. “Iron Men” is produced by Pipeline39 (formerly known as KPI), the producers of “The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero,” “MonsterQuest” and “MegaStructures.” “Iron Men” first premiered on May 8, 2012, as part of “Braving the Elements,” a new docu-series anthology revealing the work, subculture and characters of professions exposed to theelements and impacted by the weather. The series will now be a standalone series outside of “Braving the Elements,” moving into its own timeslot on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 9 P.M. ET.
- CBS has already sold more than 50% of its ad inventory the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII broadcast, and expects to reach 80% in the next few weeks, reports Ad Age. John Bogusz, exec VP for sports sales and marketing at CBS, told Ad Age that the pace of sales is being pushed by automotive marketers. So CBS is feeling no pinch from GM, which announced that it will not advertise. GM complained about the $3.8 million-per-thirty-second pricetag and put its ad dollars elsewhere—like the UK. Citing its global marketing thrust, GM has signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the UK’s champion Manchester United football club.
- NBC has announced “Justin Bieber: All Around the World,” a one-hour special featuring the teen idol, to air Thursday, June 21st from 8-9 P.M. ET. Bieber’s first-ever network special will be a combination documentary/performance show, following his tour around the globe as he showcases his new album “Believe,” including #1 single “Boyfriend.” CBS is promising viewers “an all access pass to his life over a 12-day period, something rarely seen on TV today.” A “Justin-cam” will allow viewers to experience “what life is like through the eyes of Justin Bieber.” In addition to worldwide sales in excess of 15 million units, Bieber has more than 43 million Facebook fans, more than 22 million Twitter followers, and over 2.9 billion YouTube views.
- Next year’s 55th Annual Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 10 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, reports Deadline Hollywood. CBS will air the Awards from 8-11:30 PM (live ET/delayed PT). CBS will also air “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!” on December 5. This year’s 54th Grammy Awards, which followed Whitney Houston’s death, drew 39.9 million viewers, which was the largest Grammy audience since 1984 and the second-largest in history.
- Grammy -winning rock group No Doubt, with lead singer Gwen Stefani, will perform together live for the first time in a year-and-a-half July 22 at the TEEN CHOICE 2012 Awards on FOX. The California-based band last shared the stage in 2010 when they performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, at the annual Kennedy Center Honors. No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal reports being “so stoked.” TEEN CHOICE 2012 will celebrate “the hottest teen icons” in television, music, film, sports, fashion, comedy and the web in “the choicest” two-hour event airing live Sunday, July 22 (8:00-10:00 P.M. ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.
- This matters, if “social TV” takes wing. Ad Age has identified new TV shows with “top Twitter stars,” using data from social-media analytics company Networked Insights. The five most-followed actors on Twitter include Dane Cook who will star in NBC’s “Next Caller,” Matthew Perry (?!) on NBC’s “Go On,” with Anthony Anderson (“Guys With Kids,” NBC), Robert Buckley (“666 Park Ave,” ABC) and Max Adler (“Last Resort,” ABC) rounding out the five. The five most-followed women include Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project,” FOX), Ashley Greene (“Infamous,” NBC), Sophia Bush (“Partners,” CBS), Reba McIntire (“Malibu Country,” ABC) and Meagan Good (“Infamous,” NBC). Dane Cook, star of NBC's "Next Caller," has by far the most Twitter followers (more than 2.8 million) of anyone carrying a new series.
- There will be two “Silence of the Lambs”-inspired shows on TV, according to Indie Wire. Lifetime is developing “Clarice,” based on the character portrayed by Jodie Foster in “Lambs,” which will cover her early career (before meeting Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter). No announcement as to air dates, but “Lambs” fans can watch “Hannibal” on NBC this fall, which follows the yet-to-be-caught Lecter as he dines on strangers and helps FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) solve crimes.
- Actor Michael Chiklis (“The Shield”) will host, and singer Jennifer Hudson will perform when CBS covers the “Boston Pops Firework Spectacular” on July 4 10:00-11:00 P.M., live ET/delayed PT. This is the second year for Boston-area native Chiklis to host the broadcast, now in its 39th year. Hudson will perform some of her biggest hits with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart. The entire concert will be broadcast in HD (high definition), courtesy of Liberty Mutual Insurance. In addition, the final 20 minutes of the broadcast, featuring the spectacular fireworks display, will be presented commercial-free by Liberty Mutual Insurance.
- ABC will debut its true-crime limited series “Final Witness” beginning Wednesday, June 27 at 10:00—11:00 P.M. ET. Each episode examine one case from start to finish, taking viewers inside the murder from the victim’s point of view. A hybrid of documentary and drama, “Final Witness” features interviews with real-life witnesses, prosecutors, law enforcement, family and friends, along with riveting dramatization that thrusts viewers into the heart of each crime. Shot around the world at the actual locations with cinematic style and infused with an indie-band soundtrack, ABC promises that “Final Witness” creates an Unforgettable look at the human psyche at its darkest. In the series premiere, “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” the program revisits the cold-blooded murders of almost every member of the Caffey family in rural East Texas.
- A French court has dismissed a copyright lawsuit against Google and YouTube, a case that “has parallels with the long-running struggle between YouTube and Viacom in the United States,” reports the New York Times. France’s Tribunal de Grande Instance declared that YouTube has made adequate efforts to remove programming like “Heroes” and “Grey’s Anatomy” from YouTube, for which France’s TF1 owns French broadcast rights. TF1 sought $176 million in damages and (humiliatingly) must pay Google’s $100,000+ legal expenses. Google lost a similar suit in Germany and Italy, while in the US, an appeals court has revived a copyright suit brought by Viacom.
- Batman news: MTV has announced that the "2012 MTV Movie Awards" will feature exclusive footage from Warner Bros. Pictures' and Legendary Pictures' “The Dark Night Rises,” with director, writer, producer Christopher Nolan and actors Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman on hand to celebrate the "Dark Knight" trilogy. Hosted by comedian, actor and TV personality Russell Brand, the "2012 MTV Movie Awards" will air live on Sunday, June 3, at 9:00 P.M. ET/PT from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.
- Critical darling “Mad Men” is suffering in the ratings, reports Business Insider. Sunday’s episode drew just under two million viewers, about one-third fewer than the show did on March 25, and a 45% drop-off from the 3.54 million viewers AMC claimed for the show’s two-hour premiere in March.) AMC moved its ad-themed reality show “The Pitch” from Monday to follow “Mad Men” on Sunday at 11 P.M., which has doubled the ratings for “The Pitch” to a still 0.1 or less.
- Struggling CNN has announced aggressive multi-platform coverage of “the spectacular pageantry of the Diamond Jubilee,” which marks Queen Elizabeth’s 60 year reign over the UK and Commonwealth. CNN’s special live coverage will be anchored by Piers Morgan and Brooke Baldwin, across CNN/U.S. and CNN International. Users will be able to watch the simulcast live online at CNN.com/live or on the CNN App for iPad and iPhone by authenticating through their cable, satellite or telco providers. CNN’s live simulcast coverage begins on Sunday, June 3, from 11 A.M. at 1 p.m. ET on location at the Tower Bridge for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. On Tuesday, June 5, from 9 to 11 A.M. ET, CNN will broadcast the Royal Carriage Procession, in which the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry of Wales will depart the Palace of Westminster for Buckingham Palace, travelling along a processional route by horse-drawn carriage. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and members of the Royal Family will appear on Buckingham Palace’s balcony, at which point the Royal Air Force will fly over the palace and the Queen’s Royal Guard will deliver a celebratory cascade of rifle fire as a salute.
- Also from CNN, it has recruited world-renowned chef, bestselling author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain to host of a new weekend program showcasing the network’s coverage of food and travel. The announcement was made by CNN Worldwide Executive Vice President and Managing Editor, Mark Whitaker.“For more than a decade, Anthony Bourdain has been a trailblazer in educating Americans about different cuisines and cultures around the world, as well as an outspoken commentator on social trends ranging from the rise of celebrity chefs to the impact of fast food chains to the spread of vegetarianism and veganism.” said Whitaker. “Examining the world through the prism of Tony’s unique expertise and passions continues CNN’s long-standing commitment to international reporting and to promoting global understanding.” The show will launch in early 2013, and will be shot on location and examine cultures from around the world through their food and dining and travel rituals. It is slated to air domestically on Sundays in prime time with repeat airings on Saturday nights.
- Bryant Gumbel will return to morning broadcasts on NBC, reports MediaBistro. The former NBC “Today” and CBS “Early Show” anchor will serve as guest co-host of ABC’s syndicated “Live! with Kelly” on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5. Gumbel, who anchors “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO, was one of “Today”‘s longest-serving anchors, and helped launch a revamped version of “The Early Show” back in 1999. Gumbel famously criticized “Today” weatherman Willard Scott (“This guy is killing us”) and film critic Gene Shalit (“Often late and his interviews aren’t very good”) in an internal memo in 1989 that was leaked to the press. Although Gumbel drew fire from the viewing public, the general take from industry insiders was that “someone had to say it.” The other guest co-hosts on next week’s “Live!” are actor Neil Patrick Harris and “Saturday Night Live’”s Andy Samberg.
Viacom has unveiled the results of a new study exploring the social TV phenomenon through the lens of the viewer. While fairly nascent, social TV and co-viewing trends represent a shift in TV viewing from what Viacom calls a “lean-back” to a “lean-forward” experience. If there is a takeaway for advertisers, it is that those “behind the scenes” streams, additional scenes and blooper reels that networks run on their websites are pretty valuable ad real estate.
Viacom finds that viewers engage in an average of seven different types of social TV activities – online or offline – on at least a weekly basis. The most common activities include watching TV with others (85%), searching for supplemental content (61%) and viewing TV show clips on social networks (58%). The new research reveals that consumers engaging in social TV activities "C's the moment" primarily by communicating, consuming content and checking comments.
The two-phase study involved 24 ethnographies in Boston and San Diego with VMN viewers aged 13-52 that engage in social TV activities on at least a weekly basis. National online surveys were conducted with over 1,500 VMN viewers aged 13-54. When asked what social TV means to them, the most commonly reported words were "interactive," "friends" and "Facebook "or "Twitter." The leading source of discovery of social TV services is through search (38%), followed by social networks (26%) and ads run on shows (22%).
"One of the main goals of this research was to understand how to inspire social TV activity among our audiences," said Colleen Fahey Rush, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Viacom Media Networks.
Content is king for social TV users. Viewers want something special from their social TV services rather than commoditized content that can be found through online searches. The number one request for content is full-length episodes (88%), followed by sneak peeks of new episodes (75%), and behind-the-scenes extras (71%) and highlight clips (71%).
The majority of TV socializers are interested in rewards with real value, like free merchandise or signed cast photos. When putting aside the material aspect, virtual rewards offer an emotional pay-off, described as being similar to the feeling when 'liked' on Facebook. Trivia and casual games related to a show are of greater interest if they offer some kind of reward. Real fans want to have their knowledge and skills tested, and expect the game to be challenging.
Communicating is a top priority for social TV users. Many respondents described cobbling together unique communication systems to interact with different social circles while watching a show. "When I'm watching Jersey Shore, I have Facebook chats with 10 friends and I'm texting a dozen people, and I can be on the phone to my best friend," said one participant.
There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of chat options. Of those interested in chat features, 56% prefer communicating through the social TV app/service, 53% through Facebook, 50% through individual or group texts and 38% through Skype or Apple FaceTime. For those that use check-in services, 71% check in to a show to let their friends know and 64% check in to let other fans of the show know. Check-in services are a unique way of communicating viewing activities while simultaneously encouraging others to tune-in and join a shared experience.
Smartphones dominate the use of social TV apps at 82%, trailed by tablets at 18%. For services that are delivered via HTML websites and associated apps, 52% of usage occurs on smartphones or tablets, followed closely by desktop or laptops at 48%.
Social TV users check comments about their favorite shows for a variety of reasons. Comments provide a different point of view, can pick up on something a viewer may have missed on their own and most importantly, create a direct connection between fan and show. "I love reading Daniel Tosh's tweets while watching Tosh.0. It gives the show a whole other dimension," said one survey respondent.
Not all sources of comments are equally valued. The number one source viewers want to hear from is a show's cast and crew, followed by the people they know. Audiences are sensitive to the quality of comments from a show's cast and crew – they look for authenticity and prefer the star(s) to be in character.
Social TV Users "C's the Moment" During Live Viewing
"Viewers C's the Moment" reveals that live TV show viewing unlocks the real value of social TV services and co-viewing activities. Features relating to communication, content and comments are twice as likely to be used during live than time-shifted viewing. Social TV enthusiasts reported feeling "left out" of the conversation if they missed a live airing.
One respondent said, "I'm most likely to engage with Social TV networking when it's live. So when a new show comes on, I'm very likely to check-in just before the show, see comments from other people, [and] make my own comments during the show as well."
Social TV activities also increase directly after a live show, when viewers can access exclusive content like sneak peeks without interrupting the live viewing experience. "I go to the website and watch the director's cut…after it airs as I like the extra scenes. I like to feel that I am getting something extra and it extends the show," said a participant.
Social TV can also help foster show discovery. Features like check-ins, viewer comments and shared video clips help viewers discover shows, incentivize them to watch and encourage them to join the live conversations.
ABC is “building on its momentum from the 2011-2012” season which included the No. 1 comedy (“Modern Family”), No. 1 drama (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and No. 1 freshman drama (“Once Upon A Time”) this season in the key Adult 18-49 demographic. But it also included the flagging “Dancing with the Stars” and the wishy-washy “Happy Endings” and “Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23.” So the Falls schedule shows some tinkering.
Like NBC and Fox, ABC is going “long on comedy”, reports Broadcasting & Cable, with four new comedies over three nights, and a dedicated family comedy block on Fridays. “The Neighbors,” about a family that moves to New Jersey to find that its neighbors are space aliens, will air after the flagship “Modern Family” at 9:30 P.M. in the fall. So “Happy Endings” and “Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23,” which took turns in that slot, will be back-to-back on Tuesday at 9 P.M. opposite Fox's “New Girl” and the much-anticipated “The Mindy Project.”
On Fridays beginning November, the network will offer a one-hour family comedy block, with “Last Man Standing” and “Malibu Country,” with Reba McIntyre.
The network will try to goose its flagging reality franchise “Dancing With the Stars,” describes the New York Times, by trying an “all-star version,” with “fan favorites” from earlier seasons in midseason.
A solid mix of promising new series and returning hits is what drove ABC to strong results in the 2011-12 Season. Season to date among Adults 18-49, ABC claims TV’s No. 1 comedy/scripted series (“Modern Family”), the No. 1 drama (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and the No. 1 freshman drama (“Once Upon A Time”). Led by Emmy-winning “Modern Family,” ABC’s 2-hour Wednesday night comedy block continues to connect with audiences, posting its 2nd straight year of growth with viewers (+3%) and young adults (+6%). In addition, ABC is the only network up during the 10 o’clock hour on Monday-Friday as lead-in to affiliates’ late-local newscasts with Total Viewers (+8%) and Adults 25-54 (+7%).
Fall premiere dates will be announced at a later time.
ABC’s fall primetime schedule is as follows (all times listed are Eastern); new shows are in capitals:
8:00 P.M. “Dancing with the Stars”
10:00 P.M. “Castle”
8:00 P.M. “The Bachelor”
10:00 P.M. “Castle”
8:00 P.M. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
9:00 P.M. “Happy Endings”
9:30 P.M. “Don’t Trust The B—- in Apartment 23”
10:00 P.M. “Private Practice”
8:00 P.M. “HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS (FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE)”
8:30 P.M. “THE FAMILY TOOLS”
8:00 P.M. “The Middle”
8:30 P.M. “Suburgatory”
9:00 P.M. “Modern Family”
9:30 P.M. “THE NEIGHBORS”
10:00 P.M. “NASHVILLE”
8:00 P.M. “LAST RESORT”
9:00 P.M. “Grey’s Anatomy”
10:00 P.M. “Scandal”
8:00 P.M. “Shark Tank”
9:00 P.M. “Primetime: What Would You Do?”
10:00 P.M. “20/20”
8:00 P.M. “Last Man Standing”
8:30 P.M. “MALIBU COUNTRY”
9:00 P.M. “Shark Tank”
10:00 P.M. “Primetime: What Would You Do?”
8:00 P.M. “Saturday Night College Football”
7:00 P.M. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 P.M. “Once Upon A Time”
9:00 P.M. “Revenge”
10:00 P.M. “666 PARK AVENUE”
NEW FALL AND MIDSEASON SERIES
“666 PARK AVENUE.” At the ominous address of 666 Park Avenue, anything you desire can be yours. Everyone has needs, desires and ambition. For the residents of The Drake, these will all be met, courtesy of the building’s mysterious owner, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn). But every Faustian contract comes with a price. When Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable), an idealistic young couple from the Midwest, are offered the opportunity to manage the historic building, they not only fall prey to the machinations of Doran and his mysterious wife, Olivia (Vanessa Williams), but unwittingly begin to experience the shadowy, supernatural forces within the building that imprison and endanger the lives of the residents inside. Sexy, seductive and inviting, The Drake maintains a dark hold over all of its residents, tempting them through their ambitions and desires, in this chilling new drama that’s home to an epic struggle of good versus evil.
“666 Park Avenue” stars Rachael Taylor (“Charlie’s Angels,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” Transformers) as Jane Van Veen, Dave Annable (“Brothers & Sisters,” “Reunion”) as Henry Martin, Robert Buckley (“One Tree Hill,” “Lipstick Jungle”) as Brian Leonard, Mercedes Masöhn (“The Finder,” “Chuck,” “Three Rivers”) as Louise Leonard, Helena Mattsson (“Iron Man 2,” “Nikita,” “Desperate Housewives”) as Alexis Blume, Samantha Logan as Nona Clark, with Vanessa Williams (“Desperate Housewives,” “Ugly Betty,” “Shaft,” “Soul Food”) as Olivia Doran and Terry O’Quinn (“Lost,” “Millennium,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Alias,” “The West Wing,” “Jag”) as Gavin Doran.
“LAST RESORT.” 500 feet beneath the ocean’s surface, the U.S. ballistic missile submarine Colorado receive their orders. Over a radio channel, designed only to be used if their Homeland has been wiped out, they’re told to fire nuclear weapons at Pakistan.
Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) demands confirmation of the orders only to be unceremoniously relieved of duty by the White House. XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) finds himself suddenly in charge of the submarine and facing the same difficult decision. When he also refuses to fire without confirmation of the orders, the Colorado is targeted, fired upon, and hit. The submarine and its crew find themselves crippled on the ocean floor, declared rogue enemies of their own country. Now, with nowhere left to turn, Chaplin and Kendal take the sub on the run and bring the men and women of the Colorado to an exotic island. Here they will find refuge, romance and a chance at a new life, even as they try to clear their names and get home.
“Last Resort” stars Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age”) as Captain Marcus Chaplin, Scott Speedman (“The Vow”) as XO Sam Kendal, Daisy Betts (“Sea Patrol”) as Lieutenant Grace Shepard, Dichen Lachman (“Being Human”) as Tani Tumrenjack, Daniel Lissing (“Crownies”) as SEAL Officer James King, Sahr Ngaujah (“House of Payne”) as Mayor Julian Serrat, Camille de Pazzis as Sophie Gerard, Autumn Reeser (“Hawaii Five-O,” “No Ordinary Family”) as Kylie Sinclair, Jessy Schram (“Falling Skies,” “Once Upon A Time”) as Christine Kendal.
“MISTRESSES.” Welcome to a provocative and thrilling drama about the scandalous lives of a sexy and sassy group of four girlfriends, each on her own path to self-discovery, as they brave the turbulent journey together.
Meet Savi (Alyssa Milano), a successful career woman working toward the next phase in her life — both professional and personal — simultaneously bucking for partner at her law firm while she and her husband, Harry (Brett Tucker), try to start a family of their own. Savi’s free-spirited and capricious baby sister, Josselyn (Jes Macallan), couldn’t be more different – living single, serial dating and partying, and regularly leaning on her big sister along the way. Their common best friend, April (Rochelle Aytes), a recent widow and mother of two, is rebuilding her life after tragedy and learning to move forward, with the support and guidance of her closest girlfriends. And friend Karen (Yunjin Kim), a successful therapist with her own practice, reconnects with the girls after her involvement in a complicated relationship with a patient goes far too deep.
“Mistresses” is a salacious new drama about a group of friends caught in storms of excitement and self-discovery, secrecy and betrayal, and bound by the complex relationships they’ve created.
“Mistresses” stars Alyssa Milano (“New Years Eve,” “Romantically Challenged,” “Hall Pass,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Charmed,” “Melrose Place”) as Savannah, Yunjin Kim (“Lost”) as Karen, Rochelle Aytes (“Work It,” “White Collar,” “Detroit 1-8-7,” “Desperate Housewives”) as April, Jes Macallan (“Kiss Me,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Crash and Burn,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Shameless”) as Josslyn, Jason George (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Closer,” “Against the Wall,” “Castle,” “Off The Map,” “Eastwick”) as Dominic, Brett Tucker (“Castle,” “Spartacus: Vengeance,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” “NCIS,” “Neighbours”) as Harry, Erik Stocklin (“Grey Sheep,” “Sick Day,” “Let’s Big Happy”) as Sam.
“NASHVILLE.” Chart-topping Rayna James (Connie Britton) is a country legend who’s had a career any singer would envy, though lately her popularity is starting to wane. Fans still line up to get her autograph, but she’s not packing the arenas like she used to. Rayna’s record label thinks a concert tour, opening for up-and-comer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), the young and sexy future of country music, is just what Rayna needs. But scheming Juliette can’t wait to steal Rayna’s spotlight. Sharing a stage with that disrespectful, untalented, little vixen is the last thing Rayna wants to do, which sets up a power struggle for popularity. Could the undiscovered songwriting talent of Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen) be the key to helping Rayna resurrect her career?
Complicating matters, Rayna’s wealthy but estranged father, Lamar Hampton (Powers Boothe), is a powerful force in business, Tennessee politics, and the lives of his two grown daughters. His drive for power results in a scheme to back Rayna’s handsome husband, Teddy, in a run for Mayor of Nashville, against Rayna’s wishes.
“Nashville” stars Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights,” “American Horror Story”) as Rayna, Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes”) as Juliette, Powers Boothe (“MacGruber,” “24”) as Lamar, Charles Esten (“Enlightened,” “Big Love”) as Deacon, Eric Close (“Chaos,” “Without a Trace”) as Teddy, Clare Bowen as Scarlett, Jonathan Jackson (“General Hospital”) as Avery, Sam Palladio as Gunnar and Robert Wisdom as Coleman.
“Nashville” was written by Callie Khouri (“Thelma & Louise”) who is an executive producer along with R.J. Cutler (“The September Issue,” “The War Room,” “Flip That House,” “A Perfect Candidate”) and Steve Buchanan. The pilot for “Nashville” was directed by R.J. Cutler. The series is produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Gaylord Entertainment.
“RED WIDOW.” When Marta Walraven’s (Radha Mitchell) husband is brutally murdered, her first instinct is to protect her three young children. Her husband’s business partners – Irwin Petrova (Wil Traval), Marta’s scheming and untrustworthy brother, and Mike Tomlin (Lee Tergesen) — were involved in an illegal drug business deal with rival gangsters, and Marta’s husband paid the ultimate price. She already knows the violent world of organized crime; her father, Andrei Petrova (Rade Sherbedzija), and loyal bodyguard Luther (Luke Goss) are gangsters too. She and her sister Kat (Jaime Ray Newman) had always wished for a safer life without bloodshed and fear. For a while Marta lived happily as a stay at home housewife in San Marta’s cooperation, FBI Agent James Ramos (Mido Hamada) now promises justice.
Marta discovers a tenacity she never knew she had, and takes on the gangsters and the FBI to unveil the truth about her husband’s death. As she digs into this dark underworld, she’ll test her own strength, relying on her resourcefulness, determination and family ties like never before. To get out of this mob, she needs to beat the bad guys at their own deadly game.
“Red Widow” stars Radha Mitchell (“Melinda and Melinda,” “Silent Hill,” “Rogue,” “Henry Poll Is Here,” “The Children of Huang Shi,” “The Waiting City”) as Marta Walraven, Wil Traval (“Rescue Special Ops,” “Underbelly,” “All Saints”) as Irwin Petrova, Erin Moriarty (“One Life To Live”) as Natalie Walraven, Sterling Beaumon (“Arthur Newman, Golf Pro, “Clue”) as Gabriel Walraven, Lee Tergesen (“Army Wives”) as Mike Tomlin, Jakob Salvati as Boris Walraven, Mido Hamada as FBI Agent James Ramos, Luke Goss as Luther, Jaime Ray Newman (“Drop Dead Diva”) as Kat Petrova, Suleka Mathew (“Hawthorne”) as Dina Tomlin and Rade Serbedzija (“24”) as Andrei Petrova.
“ZERO HOUR.” As the publisher of a paranormal enthusiast magazine, Modern Skeptic, Hank Galliston has spent his career following clues, debunking myths and solving conspiracies. A confessed paranormal junkie, his motto is “logic is the compass.” But when his beautiful wife, Laila (Jacinda Barrett), is abducted from her antique clock shop, Hank gets pulled into one of the most compelling mysteries in human history, stretching around the world and back centuries.
Contained in one of his wife’s clocks is a treasure map, and what it leads to could be cataclysmic. Now it’s up to Hank to decipher the symbols and unlock the secrets of the map, while ensuring the answers don’t fall into the wrong hands – a man they call White Vincent (Michael Nyqvist). With his two young associates, Rachel (Addison Timlin) and Arron (Scott Michael Foster), in tow, along with Becca Riley, a sexy FBI agent (Carmen Ejogo), Hank will lead them on a breathless race against the clock to find his wife and save humanity.
“Zero Hour” stars Anthony Edwards (“Big Sur,” “Flipped,” “ER”) as Hank, Carmen Ejogo (“Sparkle,” “Chaos,” “Away We Go”) as Beck, Scott Michael Foster (“Californication,” “The River”) as Aaron, Addison Timlin (“Californication”) as Rachel, Jacinda Barrett (“Matching Jack,” “Middle Men,” “New York, I Love You”) as Laila and Michael Nyqvist (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Patrol”) as White Vincent.
“HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS (FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE).” Polly (Sarah Chalke) is a single mom who’s been divorced for almost a year. The transition wasn’t easy for her, especially in this economy. So, like a lot of young people living in this new reality, she and her daughter, Natalie (Rachel Eggleston), have moved back home with her eccentric parents, Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins) and Max (Brad Garrett). But Polly and her parents look at life through two different lenses. Polly’s too uptight. Her parents are too laid back. Polly’s conservative when it comes to dating (no action, whatsoever), while her parents are still sexually adventurous. They think Polly turned out okay, so what’s the big deal? Well, they say it takes a village to raise a child…and in Polly’s case, this village is on fire. But with help from her best friend Gregg (Orlando Jones), her lovable yet irresponsible ex-husband Julian (Jon Dore) and her cool and fun assistant Jenn (Rebecca Delgado Smith) Polly takes her first steps toward getting a life, starting with a social one.
“How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)” stars Sarah Chalke (“Mad Love,” “Scrubs”) as Polly, Jon Dore as Julian, Rachel Eggleston as Natalie, Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “‘Til Death”) as Max, Orlando Jones (“Rules of Engagement”) as Gregg, Elizabeth Perkins (“Weeds”) as Elaine, Rebecca Delgado Smith as Jenn.
“MALIBU COUNTRY.” When Reba Gallagher (Reba) discovers that her husband, Bobby, (Jeffrey Nordling) a country music legend, has a cheatin’ heart, her world is turned upside down. Reba dreamt of becoming a country star herself, but put her career on hold to raise a family. Now she’s questioning all of that, big-time. With the ink on her divorce barely dry, Reba packs up her sharp-tongued mother, Lillie May (Lily Tomlin), her two kids and the U-Haul and heads for sunny California to begin a new chapter. Leaving Nashville in the rear view, they start over at their Malibu residence — the last remaining asset they have. Reba gets to know her new open and loving neighbor Kim (Sara Rue) and her son, Sage, but also discovers that relocation to Southern California is going to be quite an adjustment for a traditional southern belle: the West Coast seems like the polar opposite of Music City, and Reba feels like an outsider. Still, with the support of her family she sets about finding her voice, jump-starting her music career with the help of her new music agent, Geoffrey (Jai Rodriguez), and embracing this chance to begin again.
“Malibu Country” stars country music superstar Reba (“Reba,” “Tremors”) as Reba, Sara Rue (“Rules of Engagement,” “Less Than Perfect”) as Kim, Justin Prentice as Cash, Juliette Angelo as June, Jai Rodriguez (“Bones,” “How I Met Your Mother,” one of the original hosts of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”) as Geoffrey and Lily Tomlin (“Eastbound and Down,” “Damages,” “Desperate Housewives,” “West Wing,” “Nine to Five,” “All of Me,” “Nashville”) as Lillie May.
“THE NEIGHBORS.” How well do you know your neighbors? Meet the Weavers, Debbie (Jami Gertz) and Marty (Lenny Venito). Marty, in hopes of providing a better life for his wife and three kids, recently bought a home in Hidden Hills, a gated New Jersey townhome community with its own golf course. Hidden Hills is so exclusive that a house hasn’t come on the market in 10 years. But one finally did and the Weavers got it!
It’s clear from day one that the residents of Hidden Hills are a little different. For starters, their new neighbors all have pro-athlete names like Reggie Jackson (Tim Jo), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye), Dick Butkis (Ian Patrick) and Larry Bird (Simon Templeman). Over dinner, Marty and his family discover that their neighbors receive nourishment through their eyes by reading books, rather than eating. The Weavers soon learn that the entire community is comprised of aliens from Zabvron, where the men bear children and everyone cries green goo from their ears.
The Zabvronians have been stationed on Earth for the past 10 years, disguised as humans, awaiting instructions from home, and the Weavers are the first humans they’ve had the opportunity to know. As it turns out, the pressures of marriage and Parenthood are not exclusive to planet Earth. Two worlds will collide with hilarious consequences as everyone discovers they can “totally relate” and learn a lot from each other.
“The Neighbors” stars Jami Gertz (“Entourage,” “Modern Family,” “Still Standing,” “Ally McBeal”) as Debbie Weaver, Lenny Venito (“Bored to Death,” “Men in Black III,” “Person Of Interest,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as Marty Weaver, Simon Templeman as Larry Bird, Toks Olagundoye as Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Clara Mamet as Amber Weaver, Tim Jo (“Glory Daze”) as Reggie Jackson, Ian Patrick (“Wanderlust”) as Dick Butkis, Max Charles (“The Three Stooges,” “The Amazing Spider-Man”) as Max Weaver, Isabella Cramp as Abby Weaver.
“THE FAMILY TOOLS.” Mixing family with business is never easy, and Jack Shea (Kyle Bornheimer) is about to learn that lesson the hard way. When Jack’s father, Tony (J.K. Simmons), has a heart attack and is forced to hand over the keys to his beloved handyman business, Jack is eager to finally step up and make his father proud. Unfortunately Jack’s past career efforts have been less than stellar, so everyone seems to be waiting for him to fail. His new job isn’t made any easier by Tony’s rebellious, troublemaker assistant, Darren (Edi Gathegi), and Darren’s flirtatious sister, Liz (Danielle Nicolet), who works at the local hardware store. Yet with the support of his Aunt Terry (Leah Remini) and his oddball yet endearing cousin Mason (Johnny Pemberton), Jack Shea may just find his true calling right at home.
“The Family Tools” stars Kyle Bornheimer (“Bachelorette,” “Romantically Challenged,” “Perfect Couples”) as Jack Shea, J.K. Simmons (“Ultimate Spiderman,” “Generator Rex,” “The Closer”) as Tony Shea, Edi Gathegi (“X Men: First Class”) as Darren, Johnny Pemberton (“21 Jump Street,” “Aim High”) as Mason, Danielle Nicolet (“X Men TV Series”) as Liz and Leah Remini (“In the Motherhood,” “King of Queens”) as Terry.
- NBC joins the pirate craze. The network has picked up “Crossbones” from the successful producing team of Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald (“Gladiator,” “Men in Black,” “The Ring”). Ten episodes of the action/adventure series have been ordered and production will begin in the fall. The premise: It’s 1715 on the Bahamian island of New Providence, the first functioning democracy in the Americas, where the diabolical pirate Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard) reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors. Part shantytown, part marauder’s paradise, this is a place like no other on earth – and a mounting threat to international commerce. But who are the greater villains—the cutthroats or the British? Interestingly, but for Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” films with Johnny Depp, pirate films and TV have been legendary duds since the 1940s. Four films in the last 30 years (“Swashbuckler” with Rober Shaw, “Nate & Hayes” with Tommy Lee Jones, “Pirates” directed by Roman Polanski and “Cutthroat Island” with Geena Davis) have all tanked.
- “It’s official,” writes Hollywood Reporter. Britney Spears will join Fox’s “The X Factor” as one of its new judges (a spot Janet Jackson declined), alongside popstar Demi Lovato, for a reported $15 million. The Wall Street Journal described the 2011-2012 season as a “disappointing debut year” for X Factor.
- CNN is planning to launch a feature film banner called CNN Films, reports TVNewser, to create non-fiction films for TV and theatrical release. CNN Films will pursue well-known, distinguished documentarians and filmmakers to produce the features. The films will air on CNN, and in limited theatrical release and at film festivals. The first features are expected to debut sometime in 2013. CNN will continue to produce and acquire long-form programming under the “CNN Presents” and “In America” banners, separately from CNN Films.
- Katy Perry will debut a new song, “Wide Awake,” in an exclusive performance on the “2012 Billboard Music Awards,” airing live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 20 (8:00-11:00 P.M. ET) on the ABC Television Network. “Wide Awake” was written for her upcoming film, “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” which will be released on July 5. Katy Perry’s two albums have generated a string of No. 1 hit singles and multi-platinum sales over the past four years. The special edition “Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection,” available now, features three new songs, including “Part of Me,” her 7th Hot 100 No. 1 hit, and “Wide Awake,” written for the forthcoming 3D “Katy Perry: Part of Me” film.
- Groupon is the focus of a new sitcom, reports Vanity Fair (although Groupon is not directly involved). CBS has just ordered a sitcom about two friends who moved to Los Angeles to work at Groupon. The series is called “Friend Me” (which muddies the waters with Facebook). The show will star Christopher Mintz-Plasse, from "Superbad," and Nicholas Braun, from "Red State." One of the pair is an online poker addict, while the other tries to drag his friend out into the real Los Angeles. Groupon has denied any involvement with the series.
Fox has announced its 2012-13 primetime lineup, which brings Kevin Bacon to broadcast TV in “The Following,” as an ex-FBI agent tracking a serial killer (and a cult of copycats). Also in the lineup, “Mob Doctor,” following a young thoracic surgeon (Jordana Spiro) who juggles career and mob debt, as a Reuters story describes.
"Alcatraz" and "The Finder," both of which debuted in January as midseason replacements, will not have sophomore seasons.
FOX 2012-2013 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE (All Times ET/PT)
8:00-9:00 P.M. “Bones”
9:00-10:00 P.M. “THE MOB DOCTOR”
“THE FOLLOWING” joins in midseason.
8:00-8:30 P.M. “Raising Hope”
8:30-9:00 P.M. “BEN AND KATE”
9:00-9:30 P.M. “New Girl”
9:30-10:00 P.M. “THE MINDY PROJECT” (new)
“THE GOODWIN GAMES” joins in midseason.
8:00-10:00 P.M. “The X-Factor”(fall) / “American Idol” (midseason)
8:00-9:00 P.M. “The X-Factor Results” (fall) / “American Idol Results” (midseason)
9:00-10:00 P.M. “Glee”
8:00-9:00 P.M. “Touch”
9:00-10:00 P.M. “Fringe” (Fall)
“Hell’s Kitchen” (returns midseason)
7:00-10:30 P.M. “Fox Sports Saturday” (fall)
“Cops” (returns midseason)
“ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF” (new) will join late-prime in 2013.
7:00-7:30 P.M. NFL Game (fall) / “ANIMATION DOMINATION” (encores)
7:30-8:00 P.M. “The OT” (fall) / “The Cleveland Show”
8:00-8:30 P.M. “The Simpsons”
8:30-9:00 P.M. “Bob’s Burgers”
9:00-9:30 P.M. “Family Guy”
9:30-10:00 P.M. “American Dad”
NEW SERIES SYNOPSES
“Ben and Kate” – What happens when an exuberant, irresponsible dreamer who always says “yes” moves in with his overly responsible little sister to help raise her five-year-old daughter? BEN AND KATE, a new single-camera young ensemble comedy, follows these odd-couple siblings as they push each other out of their comfort zones and into real life. KATE FOX (Dakota Johnson, “The Social Network”) followed the rules all her life…until she got pregnant in college and dropped out just shy of graduation. After the birth of her daughter, MADDIE (Maggie Jones, “We Bought a Zoo,” “Footloose”), Kate put her twenties on hold. Now working as a bar manager to make ends meet and maximize her time with five-year-old Maddie, she’s uber-prepared for every possible catastrophe – except for the arrival of her older brother, BEN FOX (Nat Faxon, “Bad Teacher”). Ben likes trouble a lot more than his sister does. His infectious energy makes you want to follow him into any number of bad ideas. He’ll totally screw up your life, but somehow, you’ll feel good about it. Where Kate is all about planning and preparing, Ben is big on spontaneity and out-of-the-box ideas. But don’t let the Velcro wallet fool you – he’ll probably be a millionaire someday. When Ben comes to crash on Kate’s couch for a few days, he finds a sad state of affairs. Kate’s surviving, but not living. Ben realizes that for the first time in their lives, Kate needs his help and he’s determined to bring some much-needed chaos into her overly stable world. He starts by offering to help look after Maddie so Kate can get back to experiencing her mid-twenties and making mistakes, since the one real “mistake” she’s made turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her. Always there to help with Ben’s crazy schemes is his partner-in-crime, TOMMY (newcomer Echo Kellum), who worships Ben like a hero and nurses a serious crush on Kate. Kate’s British best friend, BJ (Lucy Punch, “Bad Teacher”), is a cocktail waitress at the bar that Kate manages and an all-around hot mess who would do anything for Kate, even if her advice is often questionable and occasionally illegal. From writer/executive producer Dana Fox (NEW GIRL, “What Happens in Vegas”) and executive producer/director Jake Kasdan (NEW GIRL, “Bad Teacher”), BEN AND KATE is a heartwarming story of deeply mismatched siblings: a sister who needs to go for her dreams and a brother who needs to get his head out of the clouds.
“The Mindy Project” is a new single-camera comedy from Emmy Award-nominated writer/producer and New York Times best-selling author Mindy Kaling (“The Office”) that follows a woman who, despite having a successful career, desperately needs to break bad habits in her personal life. After all, how many doctors make inappropriate toasts at their ex-boyfriend’s wedding, nearly drown at the bottom of a stranger’s pool and get arrested for disorderly conduct just moments before having to deliver a baby? Funny, impatient and politically incorrect, MINDY LAHIRI (Kaling) can quote every romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan that exists. She loves the good ones and the bad ones, because the girl always gets the guy. Mindy is determined to be more punctual, spend less money, lose weight and read more books – all in pursuit of becoming a well-rounded perfect woman…who can meet and date the perfect guy. Mindy is a skilled OB/GYN and shares a practice with a few other doctors, none of whom make life any easier for her. JEREMY REED (British writer/comedian Ed Weeks) is the walking definition of total bad news. He not only shares a practice with Mindy, but sometimes her bed as well – despite her best efforts to resist. He is funny, self-absorbed and super sexy. In contrast, DANNY CASTELLANO (Chris Messina, “Damages”) is a hothead and guys’ guy who has a habit of stealing Mindy’s patients. Danny criticizes her for everything, including her struggling love life and her lack of professionalism – even though it’s obvious to everyone except Mindy that he secretly admires her work. His blue-collar childhood gives him a big chip on his shoulder, but he is a dedicated physician, which Mindy can’t stand to admit because he’s always getting on her case. Rounding out the office staff are the receptionists – BETSY PUTCH (Zoe Jarman, “Huge”), young, earnest and easily excitable, who thinks the world of Mindy and is always trying to impress her; and SHAUNA DICANIO (newcomer Dana DeLorenzo), a self-assured Jersey Girl who is indifferent to Mindy, always knows where the cool party is and carries a poorly concealed torch for Danny. Mindy is in constant communication with her beloved best friend from college, GWEN GRANDY (Anna Camp, “The Good Wife”), who also happens to be the governor’s daughter. Gwen is a hilarious, sometimes too-blunt friend, and secretly a former carefree party girl (which only Mindy seems to remember). Although Gwen is now happily married to a financial analyst, with a six-year-old daughter, this lawyer-turned-Pilates mom remains squarely in Mindy’s corner. As Mindy attempts to get her career off the ground and meet a guy who passes her red flag test (no drug habits, no skinny jeans and no secret families, among others), only time will tell if she gets her romantic comedy ending.
“The Mob Doctor” – For most physicians, the Hippocratic oath is sacred. But for one Chicago doctor, who is indebted to the mafia, saving lives isn’t her only concern. THE MOB DOCTOR is a fast-paced medical drama featuring a brilliant young female cardiothoracic surgeon who is split between two distinct worlds as she juggles her promising medical career with her lifelong debt as a doctor to Chicago’s Southside mob. DR. GRACE DEVLIN (Jordana Spiro, “My Boys”) is a top resident at Chicago’s Roosevelt Medical Center. Smart and self-assured, she’s heralded as one of the country’s most promising young surgeons. But family ties keep her glued to her Southside roots. To pay off her brother’s life-threatening gambling debt, she makes a deal with the devil and agrees to work “off book” for the mafia men she once despised. During the day, Grace must deal with the emotionally compelling cases at Roosevelt Medical – a toddler in need of a heart transplant, an elderly man desperate to donate a lung to his sick wife, the mass chaos in the wake of a two-train collision on the ‘L.’ But in her other vastly different world, she must juggle an onslaught of mob-related demands, including operating in mob-sanctioned locations, removing bullets from dead bodies to hide incriminating evidence, saving a juiced-up race horse and covertly helping an aging mobster with his erectile dysfunction. All the while, Grace must keep her dual life a secret from everyone: her protective best friend, NURSE ROBERTA “RO” ANGELI (Floriana Lima, “Glory Daze”); her handsome, blue-blooded boyfriend, DR. BRETT ROBINSON (Zach Gilford, “Off The Map,” “Friday Night Lights”); her boss at Roosevelt Medical and Chief of Surgery, DR. STAFFORD WHITE (Zeljko Ivanek, “The Event,” “Damages”); her rival, DR. OLIVIA WATSON (Jaime Lee Kirchner, “Necessary Roughness,” “Mercy”); even her well-meaning screw-up brother, NATE (Jesse Lee Soffer, “As the World Turns”), and her overly dramatic mother, DANIELLA (Wendy Makkena, “NCIS”). The only one who knows the true scope of Grace’s activities is the man to whom Grace owes her debt: the charming and diabolical Southside mob boss CONSTANTINE ALEXANDER (William Forsythe, “Boardwalk Empire”), an oddly compassionate killer whose relationship with Grace is more than it seems. Recently released from prison, the former head of the Chicago mob looks to reclaim his place in the organization, with the help of his right-hand associate – and Grace’s ex-boyfriend – FRANCO (James Carpinello, “The Good Wife”). As Grace tries to heed the demands of these two conflicting worlds – not to mention the needs of her own slightly dysfunctional family – her moral center comes into direct conflict with the very immoral things she’s asked to do. But with nerves of steel and a tough-as-nails exterior, she somehow manages to make it all work – at least for now.
NEW DRAMAS DEBUTING MIDSEASON
“The Following” – The FBI estimates there are currently over 300 active serial killers in the United States. What would happen if these killers had a way of communicating and connecting with each other? What if they were able to work together and form alliances across the country? What if one brilliant psychotic serial killer was able to bring them all together and activate a following? Welcome to THE FOLLOWING, the terrifying new thriller from creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dawson’s Creek,” the “Scream” franchise). When notorious serial killer JOE CARROLL (James Purefoy, “Rome”) escapes from death row and embarks on a new killing spree, the FBI calls former agent RYAN HARDY (Emmy-nominated actor Kevin Bacon, “X-Men: First Class”) to consult on the case. Having since withdrawn from the public eye, Hardy was responsible for Carroll’s capture nine years ago, after Carroll murdered 14 female students on the Virginia college campus where he taught literature. Hardy is a walking textbook of all-things Carroll. He knows him better than anyone; he is perhaps Carroll’s only psychological and intellectual match. But the Ryan Hardy who broke the Carroll case years ago isn’t the same man today. Wounded both physically and mentally by his previous pursuit of this serial killer, it’s been a long time since Hardy has been in the field. This investigation is his redemption, his call to action. In contrast to nine years ago, Hardy isn’t calling the shots on this case. He works closely with an FBI team, which includes all-business and tough-as-nails JENNIFER MASON (Jeananne Goossen, “The Vow,” ALCATRAZ) and young, razor-sharp MIKE WESTON (Shawn Ashmore, “X-Men”).
“The Goodwin Games” – Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And when that will’s worth more than 20 million dollars, you can bet someone’s going to find a way to get the cash. From the executive producers of “How I Met Your Mother,” THE GOODWIN GAMES is a single-camera comedy that tells the story of three grown siblings who return home after their father’s death, and unexpectedly find themselves poised to inherit a vast fortune – if they adhere to their late father’s wishes. If any of the Goodwin kids feel like they deserve the money, then it’s HENRY (Scott Foley, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Felicity”), the eldest child and an overachieving surgeon. He sees himself as a role model for his less successful siblings – and reminds them every chance he gets. Returning home will force Henry to question the choices he’s made, especially as he reconnects with his first love and true soulmate, LUCINDA (Felisha Terrell, “Days of Our Lives”). Middle sibling CHLOE (Becki Newton, “Ugly Betty”) was a child prodigy in math, and her unofficial role as “the smart one” of the family still sends Henry into fits of jealousy. But long ago, Chloe gave up academics in favor of being the popular girl. Now, through a series of hidden messages, her late father will lead Chloe back to her old love of numbers – and back to the person she’s meant to be. Of the three siblings, the youngest, JIMMY (Jake Lacy, “Better With You”), could use the inheritance the most. A small-time ex-con and dull-witted guitarist who’s deep in debt to a loan shark, Jimmy may be the family screw-up, but he has more heart than anyone. Like his siblings,