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Upfront TV: “Political Animals” Premiere | FOX’s “The Choice” | No Romney, SNL | Derby Ad Opps

Published on May 03, 2012
  • USA promises that “Political Animals” will be “The television event of the summer,”and has announced a premiere date of July 15 at 10 P.M. ET, 9 P.M. CT. “Animals” is a limited-run six-hour series. In addition to headliner Sigourney Weaver (of the “Alien” franchise), Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes”) stars as President Paul Garcetti, who defeated Elaine (Weaver) in the presidential primary and then appointed her as his Secretary of State. The project also stars Carla Gugino (“Entourage”), James Wolk (“Shameless”), Sebastian Stan (“Gossip Girl”), Brittany Ishibashi (“The Mentalist”) with Ellen Burstyn (“Requiem for a Dream”) and Ciarán Hinds (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”). Principal photography has begun in Philadelphia with executive producer Craig Berlanti directing the first episode.
  • “FOX Mocks ‘The Voice’ With a New Dating Show, ‘The Choice,’” reported the New York Times. The NYT sees it as a swipe at NBC’s “The Voice,” the only significant rival to FOX’s “American Idol.” Hosted by Cat Deeley and debuting Thursday, June 7 (9:00-10:00 P.M. ET/PT), “The Choice” features the world’s most eligible celebrities (to be announced) competing to find true love among a group of sexy singles they can’t see—rather like “The Voice.” Also like “The Dating Game” from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Filmed in front of a live audience, each episode begins with four eligible celebrity bachelors sitting in rotating chairs, “turning their backs on love” and using only their suitors’ voices and answers to make their selections. When the celebrity bachelor likes what he hears, he will pull his “love handle,” spinning his chair around to bring him face-to-face for the first time with his potential mate. If more than one celebrity pulls the handle, they must battle it out for her affection.
  • Alas, no Mitt Romney appearance on “Saturday Night Live” this season, executive producer Lorne Michaels confirmed in a conference call reported by Deadline Hollywood. “We only have three shows left and they’re pretty jammed-packed,” the executive producer said during a conference call. “It might be in the fall, but we’ll never know, that’ll all depend on his availability.” SNL’s 37th season wraps up May 19, and will launch season 38 in September, during campaign season. Michaels extended an invitation to Romney in April, but Romney and Michaels have yet to come to terms on an appearance.
  • Plenty of ad opportunities still available for the Saturday Kentucky Derby. The NBC Sports Group will present 14½ hours of Kentucky Derby coverage beginning today at 4 P.M. ET on NBC Sports Network, and culminating with the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on NBC, Saturday, May 5 beginning at 4 P.M. ET. Once again this year, a host of NBCUniversal properties will participate in promoting the food, fashion, celebrity and entertaining spectacle that is the Kentucky Derby. Among other coverage, “Today’s” Jenna Wolfe will report live from Churchill Downs on Friday and continue coverage on Saturday’s Weekend “Today” when she interviews NBC’s on-horse reporter Donna Brothers. “Today” coverage from Churchill Downs continues on Sunday with an interview with the Derby-winning jockey and trainer. Wolfe will also be featured on NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage, where she will contribute features. Local Media & Comcast regional sports nets: NBC Kentucky Derby feature teasers were distributed to all 235 NBC affiliates and 11 Comcast Regional Sports Networks. Additionally, DailyCandy’s Lilliana Vazquez participated in a Satellite Media Tour about Kentucky Derby fashions and traditions, and a reporter from NBC NewsChannel will file live reports from Churchill Downs on Friday. Other coverage will run on E!, Bravo, CNBC, Style and iVillage.
  • Cross media ad opportunities abound arouns Syfy’s “Defiance.” This transmedia event will launch in Spring 2013, and has commenced production on the series pilot in Toronto, ON. Syfy partnered with Trion Worlds to produce this first-ever convergence of television and Massive Multiplayer Online gaming, featuring an interconnected world and storylines that will co-exist on both platforms. The pilot is directed by Scott Stewart (“Legion,” “Priest”) and written by veterans of “Farscape,” “Caprica” and “Battlestar Galactica.” Set in the near future, “Defiance” introduces a completely transformed planet Earth, inhabited by the human and alien survivors of a universal war. Forced to co-habitate, the disparate group struggles to build a new society among the devastation. The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of the game will exist in a single universe (which will debut simultaneously), where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story.