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Upfront TV: BET’s Late Show | Burstyn Joins “Animals” | “Titanic,” Brolin Bore | Romney on SNL?

Published on April 16, 2012
  • Black Entertainment Television (BET) plans to launch its late-night talker “Don’t Sleep With T.J. Holmes” in the fall, reports the New York Times. The Monday-through-Friday show will compete head-to-head with “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, “Chelsea Lately” on E! and “Conan” on TBS. T.J. Holmes recently joined BET from CNN, and his show will include news commentary and satire in the vein of Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, and will tackle “social issues and current events important to BET’s audience.
  • Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA winner Ellen Burstyn (“Big Love,” “Requiem for a Dream”) will join USA Network’s original series “Political Animals,” alongside Sigourney Weaver (“Avatar”), Ciarán Hinds (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), Carla Gugino (“Entourage”), James Wolk (“Shameless”), Sebastian Stan (“Gossip Girl”) and Brittany Ishibashi (“The Mentalist”). This six-hour event drama (what used to be called a miniseries) from acclaimed television and film producers Greg Berlanti (“Brothers & Sisters”) and Laurence Mark (“Dreamgirls”) is slated for the network’s summer lineup.
  • All the 100th-anniversary hoopla couldn’t get viewers interested in “Titanic” on ABC Saturday night. Part one of the four-part miniseries took an 0.8 rating among adults 18-49, reports TVByTheNumbers. Last week’s airing of “The Ten Commandments,” a 50-year-old flick, took twice that rating, with a 1.6 A18-49. Worse news at NBC, where the Ford-funded “Escape Routes” reality TV show took a 0.3.

  • “Saturday Night Live” had an off night as well, reports Deadline Hollywood. Actor Josh Brolin failed to excite like Sofia Vergara did last week, and the show was down 7% for a 2.7 rating. But SNL will have the curiosity factor to boost it, if Mitt Romney signs on. As Hollywood Reporter details, Romney has been offered the spot but has yet to accept. Nearly all presidential candidates since 2000 have appeared on SNL, with Sarah Palin delivering top ratings in 2008, and Al Gore after losing to GW Bush in 2000. Politicians excite on SNL, and so do athletes. New York Giants QB Eli Manning will host SNL on May 5, with musical guest Rihanna. Manning’s Super Bowl rival Tom Brady delivered SNL a 5.9. 
  • Turns out being a “talking head” is one of the 10 worst jobs, according to a poll by jobsite CareerCast. Radio and TV broadcasters ranked #10 on a list of worst jobs—newspaper reporter was #5. Both are low in physical demands of course, but low in pay, high in stress, and poor in job security. high in stress. “As the digital world continues to take over…the need for print newspapers and daily newscasts is diminishing.”