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Upfront TV: Surprise “Smash” Renewal | “Hannibal” Foe Cast | “Deadliest Catch” Returns | CMA Awards

Published on March 23, 2012
  • It was a bit wobbly out of the gate, but NBC has renewed “Smash” (Mondays, 10-11 P.M. ET) for a second season. The network calls “Smash” its #1 drama in adults 18-49 and total viewers. “Smash” is up 160 percent in 18-49 versus NBC’s season average in the time period prior to “Smash” (with a 2.6 rating vs. a 1.0, “live plus same day”) and in total viewers, “Smash” has improved the time period by 100 percent (7.7 million vs. 3.9 million). The show debuted February 6, following a number of Broadway wannabes through the audition and casting process. Stephen Spielberg is executive producer, and the show stars Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”), Anjelica Huston (“Prizzi’s Honor”), and a number of newcomers, including Katherine McPhee of “American Idol” (pictured).

  • This should be interesting. Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins in “Silence of the Lambs” and “Red Dragon”) is coming to NBC this fall in a 13-episode series, reports Deadline Hollywood. The series delves into the backstory between lecter and FBI Agent Will Graham, played previously by William Peterson (“CSI”) and Edward Norton. Gaumont International Television has cast British actor Hugh Dancy, of Showtime’s “The Big C” and an Emmy nominee for HBO’s “Elizabeth I.” The backstory is thattt made his career as the agent who ultimately caught up with serial killer Lecter, but not before Lecter eviscerated Graham and left him suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Also from Deadline Hollywood and NBC: the midseason comedy “Bent” brought in great reviews, but miserable ratings on Tuesday. Lacking a better plan, NBC ran back-to-back episodes between 9 and 10 P.M. The romantic comedy starring Amanda Peet and David Walton took a paltry 1.0 among adults 18-49 in the 9 P.M. slot, and a 0.9 in the 930 P.M. slot. That makes “Bent” the lowest-rated in-season comedy debut ever, says Deadline: Last year’s “The Paul Reiser Show” did better with a 1.1, and was nearly immediately yanked from the schedule.
  • Discovery has scheduled the eighth-season premiere of “Deadliest Catch” for Tuesday, April 10 at 9 P.M. ET/PT. This season pits rival fishing captains against one another in the icy Bering Sea, searching the highly-prized (and very profitable) Alaskan king crab. There is an air of desperation this time around, as the crews will have their fishing quota slashed by almost half due to economic forces, and must resort to make-or-break tactics. Later in the season, fishing opilio or “snow crab,” the fleet faces some of the harshest weather conditions any of them have ever experienced in more than a quarter century of fishing.
  • Always a ratings draw, CBS has announced three more performers for its 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. Country music superstars Sara Evans, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban are scheduled to perform and Beth Behrs, star of the CBS comedy “2 Broke Girls,” and “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Nancy O’Dell are scheduled as presenters at the Awards, which will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, on Sunday, April 1 8:00-11:00 PM (live ET/delayed PT) on CBS. They join previously announced performers Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Chris Young, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts. Six years after her last studio album, ACM Award-winning artist Sara Evans returns, as she is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year (an award she won in 2005). Carrie Underwood is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year, marking her seventh consecutive nomination in this category, which she has won three times.