Two Tivos To Paradise 11.1.13: How I Met Your Mother, The Walking Dead, MasterChef, Homeland, and more
Posted by Al Norton on 11.01.2013
News and thoughts on The Walking Dead getting renewed, a How I Met Your Mother spinoff, Homeland getting sent up by Sesame Street, the new Following trailer and more!
Hello friends. What's good? To say this was an incredible week for me would be the understatement of all time; last Friday I had an exclusive interview with Ben Affleck run here on the site that BLEW UP THE INTERNET, getting picked up by just about every major news and entertainment site in the country. If you Googled "Ben Affleck" all weekend, and lord knows I did, it was my interview that was the first thing that came up. Easily the most exposure I've ever had as a writer and I am pretty sure it was the most links from other sites 411Mania has ever had. My huge thanks to Ben, who made me only the second person he's talked to since taking the role of Batman. While everyone focused on the part of the interview where he discussed his hesitation to take the role, I, of course, was more interested in him talking about his new show in development at Fox as well as finding out what it is he watches.
And then Wednesday night my beloved Red Sox won the World Series, their third title in ten years. I can honestly say that in the 7 years I've been writing this column, hell, in the 42+ years I've been on the earth, I've never had as satisfying and rewarding a TV viewing experience as having my son sitting in my lap as we watched the last out of the 9th inning. Life is indeed good.
Showtime's newest sports documentary Against The Tide premieres on November 15th…
The final season of Nikita begins next month…
What does the news say?
For Just One Moment, To Be Bold And Naked, At Your Side
CBS is in talks with How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for How I Met Your Father, a comedy that would feature a new group of friends and focus on the female lead's search for her soul mate. If picked up, the characters would likely be introduced during the final episode of HIMYM this spring, and MacLaren's - the bar where Ted, Barney, et al hang out would be featured in the new show as well. Also a part of the development team for HIMYF is Emily Spivey (Up All Night, Parks and Recreation, SNL, MADtv, King of the Hill), who is currently writing on Modern Family.
While I fully understand why CBS would be interested in this – any show with any sort of potential built-in audience is always going to be of particular appeal in the high stakes world of broadcast network television – I really couldn't think this was a worse idea, mainly because, as I go into detail about below, HIMYM is not exactly going out on a strong note, which makes me think the writing staff hasn't learned from their mistakes over the years and each season of this new show we'd get 10 – 12 high quality episodes and 10 – 12 big wastes of time.
Sure, there are potentially interesting storytelling possibilities with a female character as the lead, and my guess is some high quality actresses would make themselves available for the role, but it would ALWAYS be compared to the original ("oh, they want this character to be the new Barney" and "I like Marshall and Lilly so much better than this couple") and be guaranteed to come up lacking.
Again, if the writers had shown any ability to review their work and improve upon their weak points, I might be able to be sold on the concept of HIMYF – they could seize the opportunity to present an actual realistic version of New York (in terms of race, sexual orientation, and economic diversity) and at the same time tighten the storytelling so we had less filler – but I just can't see that happening. That being said, what I can see happening is them writing a show with enough heart, and casting it with enough talent, that I buy in anyway and complain as I go along for the ride.
Snow Can Wait, I Forgot My Mittens, Wipe My Nose, Get My New Boots On
Fox has unveiled their winter lineup, with returning favorites and series premiere...
Friday 1/10, 9:30pm - Enlisted (series premiere)
Wednesday 1/15 8pm - American Idol (season premiere)
Sunday 1/19 6pm NFC Championship Game
9pm Rake (series premiere, special night)
Monday 1/20 8pm Sleepy Hollow (season finale)
9pm The Following (season premiere)
The network also said that Surviving Jack had its order cut from 13 to 8 episodes and to demonstrate it was because of scheduling issues as opposed to lack of faith in the new comedy, Fox is giving it a Thursdays at 9:30pm slot later in the spring, with American Idol as a lead-in. They also noted that Glee would return sometime in the spring, with no specific date given.
Fox was ahead of the rest of broadcast TV with how they programmed 24 to run without interruption, and they're doing the same thing with season two of The Following, which was one of the top scripted demo performers of last season.
Enlisted and Surviving Jack were two of my favorite comedy pilots of last spring so I am looking forward to seeing more of them. Enlisted made me laugh out loud a ton, with some really sharp wordplay and a great cast, but there was also a heavy dose of silliness that will need to be cut back on to have any long term success. Hell, who am I kidding; Fox is putting it on Fridays at 9:30 so it doesn't really have any shot at long term success.
Jack, on the other hand, will have one of the best lead-ins on all of television and could really be a breakout hit.
Fox is having a really strong 2013-2014 season, with all three of their new shows getting full seasons orders and/or renewed for the fall, which is a much stronger percentage than the other members of the big four, all of which have lost at least one show and would have cancelled more if they had programming alternatives ready to go.
I'll Call You In The Middle Of The Night, Before You And Me Have A Problem
Graham Elliot is a 3-time James Beard Award nominated Chef who has appeared on Iron Chef America, Top Chef Masters, and The Today Show. He is best known to TV audiences for his role as a judge on MasterChef, which begins the two part finale of its "Junior" edition tonight at 8pm on Fox.
TTTP: What was your first reaction to hearing about the concept of MasterChef "Junior"?
Graham Elliot: I probably had the same reaction as everyone else: "wow that sounds awesome, why didn't we do it earlier?!"
TTTP: Were there conversations with the three of you, and also maybe with producers, about how to handle the tone and content of the critiques?
Graham Elliot: No, I think we all knew from day one that if we treated the contestants like our own kids then we would be fine. As fathers with ten children between the three of us, we made an effort to lead, inspire, challenge, encourage...all the things a great parent/coach tries to do.
TTTP: I know you all say most of the food being prepared on the show is really good but are you just being nice? If the judging were like on The Voice, so you couldn't see who had made what you were eating, are their dishes that would have gotten the kids an apron on the regular edition of MasterChef?
Graham Elliot: The food was at such a higher level that after the first challenge, Joe, Gordon and I looked at each other and knew instantly that we were in for a treat! Their flavor combinations and cooking techniques were at such a level that we never in a millions years would've believed that the dishes were coming from 8-13 year olds.
TTTP: Why do you think there are SO many shows about food on TV right now? I mean, at one point it could be described as a trend but now this is clearly a type of programming as prevalent on the airwaves as police procedurals and singing competitions.
Graham Elliot: It's amazing, I thought a few years ago that "celeb chefs" and the foodie culture we're going to nosedive the same way the whole "super model" world did. But with the advent of reality cooking shows it just gets bigger and bigger. The good part is that with shows like MC Junior, we can positively influence families to eat better, explore new ingredients and teach kids that cooking is like any other artistic/creative outlet.
TTTP: What chef who is featured on a food series (that you're not on) would you most want to cook your next birthday meal?
Graham Elliot: I'd have to say Mario Batali; we both love music, he knows how to party and everything I've ever had of his is tasty and badass.
Don't miss part one of the season finale of MasterChef "Junior Edition", tonight at 8pm on Fox.
It's Time To Play The Music, It's Time To Light The Lights The Muppet Show video of the week…
But You Were Up To Your Old Tricks In Chapters Four Five And Six
Ratings Notes From The Last Seven Days…
Fox's coverage of game two of the World Series was up double digits from last year..Elementary was up 20% in the demos but still finished behind Scandal in the demos at 10pm...The Big Bang Theory won the night in totals and demos...The Vampire Diaries was down but for the second week in a row topped ABC and NBC in the demos at 8pm...Sean Saves the World, The Michael J Fox Show, and Parenthood all matched last week's demos...Grey's Anatomy was up from last week...Once Upon a Time in Wonderland was down again to a new series low...
Another strong outing for Shark Tank, up 20% in total viewers to tie a series high and winning the night in the demos as well...Grimm returned strong, up from last season's premiere and finale and finishing second at 9pm in the demos...Blue Bloods was the most watched show of the night...Dracula opened solidly, retaining all of its lead-in demos and winning 10pm in that measure... NBC was happy with the initial numbers for the Grimm and Dracula premieres on Friday night and now that the Live+3 Day stats are in they are thrilled; Dracula was up 56% (it won the 10pm time slot live anyway but built on that with the Live+3) and Grimm was up 58%, so while it finished second at 9pm (and on the night) to Shark Tank live, it ended up in first place on the night when everyone's Live+3 Days were in. Bottom line is that Grimm is a HIT and that Dracula got off to a great start.
Game three of the World Series was up 21% from Fox's coverage of last year's game three…South Carolina – Missouri's 3.05 million viewers made it ESPN2's most watched college football game of the season…
Despite going up against Game 4 of the World Series, NBC's top rated Sunday Night Football, and The Walking Dead, Showtime's Homeland still hit a season high with 2 million viewers on Sunday night. With replays included it pulled in 2.73 million pairs of eyes, making it the second most watched episode for the series, behind only the season two finale…The Walking Dead won Sunday night in the demos for all of TV, with numbers in that measure that will almost assuredly be the best for the week as well. While episodes two and three have not topped the new series high (and all-time cable series record) set by the season premiere, they both were higher in the demos than any episode from the show's first three seasons…Sunday Night Football was the top demo performer of the night for the broadcast networks, although Fox's football overrun combined with game 4 of the World Series (up 10% in the demos from last year) gave them the night's highest demo average...Once Upon a Time was up in the demos, the top non-sports performer of the night in that measure...The Good Wife matched last week while The Mentalist was up a smidge...Amazing Race dropped to a season low...Revenge matched last week while Betrayal was up a tad for the second week in a row (still finished a distant last both for the hour and on the night)...
As usual, The Voice won the night in the demos, with Fox's coverage of game 5 of the World Series finishing second overall and The Blacklist (up from last week) being the top scripted demo performer...Hostages was up for the second week in a row but still finished a distant fourth at 10pm...HIMYM was down while 2 Broke Girls was up...Mom was down in totals and demos...
Despite having a rerun of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD as a lead-in, The Goldbergs was up in total viewers and matched last week's demos, while Trophy Wife was up in total viewers AND demos (this is a HUGE step towards both shows getting full season pickups)...The Voice won the night in demos, with NCIS' 19 million viewers topping the night...Person of Interest hit a series low in the demos (it doesn't usually go up against The Voice)...NCIS: LA won 9pm in total viewers...The 5.4 million who tuned in to the Bulls-Heat game made it the second most watched opening game in TNT's long history of NBA coverage…
Fox's coverage of Game Six of the World Series easily won the night in total viewers and demos...Super Fun Night and Nashville each hit season/series lows...Revolution still finished fourth in the demos at 8pm but didn't have any drop despite facing the World Series, while Arrow had the night's biggest dip, down 22%...CSI was down 14%...
All The Young Dudes, Carry The News
Industry News, Notes, and Hot Rumors…AMC has renewed The Walking Dead for a 5th season. The zombie drama continues to be far and away the # 1 show on all of television with the 18-48 demos that advertisers care about…Comedy Central picked up new seasons of Brickleberry, Key & Peele, and Drunk History…Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told the press that talks have begun for more episodes of House of Cards. The original deal for the show was for 26 episodes, which were broken up into two seasons, the second of which will be available in the first quarter of 2014…Cinemax has picked up a 10 episode fourth - and final - season of Strike Back…Fox is working on Street Soldier, an event series (i.e. one season series) based on the life of Eddie MacKenzie, a boxer and drug dealer who worked as an enforcer for Whitey Bulger. Michael De Luca (Moneyball, The Social Network, Magnolia, American History X) is executive producing along with Peter Facinelli (the Twilight films), who would play the lead role...Dick Clark Productions is launching The People Magazine Awards on NBC in late 2014, honoring those who made major pop culture contributions during the year. There will be categories for movie/TV/music performances as well as for style, hot trend, and sexiness, and the top award will go to the most popular person of the year… Andrew Dice Clay will guest on an upcoming episode of The Blacklist... Price is Right fans mark your calendars - Bob Barker will return to the show for the December 12th episode to celebrate his 90th birthday. That entire week will be Barker-themed, with other surprises and tributes planned…Disney is doing a Good Luck Charlie – Jessie crossover episode next month; when Teddy and PJ from GLC find themselves stranded by a storm in NYC and end up celebrating the glories of the seasons with Jessie! Look for it on November 29th…Ellen DeGeneres and Liz Feldman (2 Broke Girls) are developing a comedy for NBC about a lesbian who becomes pregnant using her straight make best friend as a sperm donor right as he meets the woman of his dreams. Ok, not RIGHT as he meets the woman of his dreams but in the same general time span...CNN has picked up a second season of Morgan Spurlock's Inside Man. The eight episode run will air in the spring of 2014…Craig Ferguson will host Celebrity Name Game, a syndicated game show set for a fall 2014 premiere. Developed by Coquette Productions (Courtney Cox & David Arquette), the show is based on the board game Identity Crisis and finds celebrities and contestants working together to correctly identify names from entertainment, politics, sports, and pop culture in general…CBS will air a live two hour Garth Brooks concert on Friday, November 29th, with the singer paying tribute to his influences, performing songs by Merle Haggard, George Jones, Simon & Garfunkle, James Taylor, Otis Redding, Bob Seger and George Strait. The show will also mark the last night of Brooks' three year run at Wynn Las Vegas…Emmy winner Michael Imperioli will guest on an episode of Fox' upcoming Rake...Alana De La Garza will reprise her Law & Order ADA character on an upcoming episode of L&O: SVU...Gilles Marini (Brothers & Sisters, Switched at Birth) landed a recurring role on 2 Broke Girls...Craig Robinson will guest on Brooklyn Nine-Nine... Fans of Tim & Eric will be thrilled to learn they will be coming back to Adult Swim with Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories, a 15 minute anthology series focused on the world of fantasy, with heavy doses of dark comedy and, as usual, many celebrity guests.
Turns Out Not Where But Who You're With That Really Matters
AKA The Best Thing I've Watched In The Last Seven Days…
The actual best thing I watched this week – other than the Red Sox winning the World Series, of course - was the Homeland parody by Sesame Street found above so I thought I'd use this space to talk about the show that disappointed/frustrated me the most in the last seven (or really 14 days)…
You know when you have an amazing meal and you say, "that's the best meal I've ever had" but what you really mean is "that's the best meal I've had in a long time"? Well reverse it and that's how I feel about Monday's HIMYM; it might not have been the worst episode of the show's run but it certainly felt like it at the time. The treading water the last two weeks has been painful but at least last week had a few laughs whereas this past Monday was almost devoid of them outside of a couple of fleeting moments.
Worst of all to me, a show that has always been emotionally grounded - that's a huge chunk of the appeal and why we've stuck with Ted and his quest all these years - took the moment where Lily found out Marshall's big secret and played it for silly laughs. Think of how much better that scene would have been if it ended with her saying, "I've never been more proud of you...and I've never been more hurt by you..."
I was not turned off last spring when I read that they were going to do the entire season focused on the wedding weekend, especially not on a show that does flashbacks/forwards/sideways so well, but after a very strong start, we've been left with the TV equivalent of Styrofoam packing peanuts since, and it's starting to wear thin.
People Say I'm Crazy Doing What I'm Doing. Well, They Give Me All Kinds Of Warnings To Save Me From Ruin
What's flashed before my eyes the last seven days…I laughed so hard at Deon Cole and Tom Lennon on last Thursday night's @Midnight it actually made me sad about two things, that TBS hasn't done the only logical thing and picked up a second season of Deon Cole's Black Box and that Sean Saves the World isn't funnier…I've been a big James Wolk fan since Lone Star, and my appreciation for his talents has grown with each new gig (Political Animals, Shameless, Mad Men), but nothing - including his episodes of Happy Endings - made me think he was as comedically gifted as he has shown so far on The Crazy Ones. It's about as high praise as I can think of to say that Wolk holds his own with Robin Williams. At 28, the sky is pretty much the limit for him as far as I can see…Wow, did that last scene of Thursday night's Parenthood - with Ryan explaining his family history to Sarah - blow me away. Even better, the ads for next week made it clear that, much like real life, one powerful conversation is not some sort of magic elixir and that Sarah's doubts about Ryan and Amber's wedding/marriage continue to be an issue. Also, if not a spinoff, how about some webisodes of Max's time with Hank?!?!?... At this point I think Mark Cuban has sown up a spot on our TTTP TV Entertainers of the Year list; he's far and away the best Shark in the Tank because he can clearly see the potential in a concept, seems to have some grasp of the buying/spending habits of consumers under 40 (I like Robert but there are so many times when he says something along the lines of, "do people really spend money on this?"), and when he wants to make a deal, he jumps in and makes one. He also gets HUGE bonus points for getting ABC to ditch the part of the contract that participants signed saying the producers/ABC would get a percentage of their company/future profits simply by allowing them to appear on the show; Cuban told ABC he wouldn't return to the show if they kept that in and the network relented…First off, I HATED the scenes-bleeding-together editing style of last week's Grey's Anatomy. Second, you had to know the minute you saw actors as talented as Jere Burns and Annie Potts that it was going to be more than a fractured ankle. Potts is always great and Burns is one TV's best character actors - so happy he's going to be full time on Justified next season…Wow, has Sons of Anarchy turned the season around or what?!?! Special praise for Dayton Callie, who's been great throughout the series run as Wayne Unser but the writers have given him some particularly strong material as of late. He ranks high on my list of actors doing consistently exemplary work but who never get the spotlight…So clearly the Once Upon a Time writers (who are of course Lost alums) want the audience to buy into the formula Hook = Sawyer. Does that make Emma = Kate and Neal = Jack?. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin is CLEARLY Ben Linus, that's for sure!...
TV Pick Of The Week American Masters is hands down the best documentary series on TV so I was thrilled to learn they were doing an episode on the great Jimi Hendrix, someone who I think people under, say, 35, have heard was the best guitarist who ever lived and know he had a drug problem but that's the extent of their knowledge. These incredible two hours will change all that…
Don't miss American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin', Tuesday at 9pm on PBS (check your local PBS channel for exact time).
Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
*Showtime's incredibly powerful but difficult to watch new series Time of Death begins tonight at 10pm…
*The second of Discovery's two NFL in Season special, this one focused on last Sunday's 49'ers – Jaguars game in London, airs Friday at 10pm.
*Once Upon a Time (Sunday, 8pm, ABC) introduces us to their version of Ariel, with the perfectly cast Joanna Garcia Swisher playing the role.
*John Noble (Fringe) makes his Sleepy Hollow debut this Monday at 9pm.
*Mike & Molly begins a new season this Monday at 9pm on CBS.
*Tuesday is a GREAT night for guest stars on Fox comedies; Patton Oswalt stops by Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Damon Wayans Jr. returns to New Girl, and Timothy Olyphant pays a visit to The Mindy Project.
*Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are back for a SIXTH to host The 47th Annual CMA Awards this Wednesday at 8pm on ABC.
*Rhys Ifans begins a hopefully recurring role as Sherlock's brother on Elementary (Thursday, 10pm, CBS).
Two Tivos To Paradise 3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, @Midnight, After the Catch, American Idol, Antiques Roadshow, Archer, Arrow, Around the World in 80 Plates, Auction Hunters, Baby Daddy, Back in the Game, Boardwalk Empire, Being Human, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Burger Land, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Chicago Fire, Chopped, Comic Book Men, Community, Cougar Town, Counting Cars, The Crazy Ones, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Dancing with the Stars, The Deadliest Catch, Deon Cole's Black Box, Destination Truth, Fact or Faked, Falling Skies, Family Guy, Feed the Beast, Flipping Out, Food Network Challenge, Food Network Star, The Fosters, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Lab, Ghost Mine, Glee, Graceland, Great Food Truck Race, Grey's Anatomy, Haunted Collector. Haunted Highways, Haunted Treasure, Hawaii 5-0, Hollywood Treasure, Hostages, House of Lies, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Inside Amy Schumer, Iron Chef America, The Jeselnik Offensive, Justified, Key & Peele, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, The League, Longmire, Lost Girl, Louie, Mad Men, Major Crimes, Men at Work, The Michael J Fox Show, The Middle, Mike and Molly, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Monster Man, Nashville, Necessary Roughness, New Girl, The New Normal, Next Iron Chef, The Originals, Outside the Lines, Parks & Recreation, Project Runway, Psych, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off, Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook Off, Raising Hope, Ray Donovan, Real Time With Bill Maher, Rectify, Restaurant Impossible, Revenge, Revolution, Royal Pains, Rules Of Engagement, Saturday Night Live, Shark Wranglers, So You Think You Can Dance?, Sons of Anarchy, The Soup, Suits, Suburgatory, Supernatural, Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts, Top Chef: Masters, Tosh.0, Trophy Wife, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, Worst Cooks In America,
People Love You When They Know You're Leaving Soon
Here ends another Two Tivos To Paradise.
We'll be back in seven days with all the latest in TV news.
Sources for this week's column include Daily Variety, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, and Hollywood Reporter (plus the web sites for those publications) as well as Aintit.cool.com, TVline.com & Deadline.com.