TCA: Showtime Exec Reveals Nurse Jackie, Borgias and The Big C Spring Premiere Dates, Discusses Dexter End

Thursday marked Showtime’s turn in the hot seat at the TCA Winter Press Tour over in Pasadena and network executive David Nevins shared the following about the network’s programming slate:

On Dexter:

Nevins mentioned that Season 8 is likely to wrap the series, though he’s leaving the door open for a possible Season 9. He also proceeded to defend the semi-incestuous plotline of Debra falling in love with her adopted brother Dexter. “I’m aware that there’s a certain taboo despite the fact that they’re not genetically related, but it’s something that has been building for a number of years,” said Nevins.

On Spring Premieres Dates:

Drama The Borgias (back for Season 2) and comedies Nurse Jackie (back for Season 4) and The Big C (back for Season 3) will all return on April 9th. Nevins mentioned that Nurse Jackie still has life and doesn’t necessarily believe that Season 4 will be its last.

On Documentaries:

The network has ordered a documentary on the life of former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney titled “The World According to Dick Cheney.” The project will be directed by R.J. Cutler (The War Room).  Showtime is also developing a documentary on the life of late comedian Richard Pryor, though it is in the early stages.

On Shameless and House of Lies

Nevins mentioned that Shameless hasn’t yet received its due credit and thinks that new comedy House of Lies hit its potential. On why most of its shows have unlikeable characters, Nevins adds “I don’t ever want to get formulaic.”

On Episodes, Season 2

Nevins believes the show has real potential and mentioned that reading through the Season 2 scripts was memorable. The network will also invest more in marketing the show.

On Homeland, Season 2

Nevins implied that Carrie and Brody’s relationship will get even crazier and the show won’t necessarily pick up from the point Season 1 concluded. (um, please don’t – I’m still trying to forget it happened)

Source: Deadline

Kiefer Sutherland: ’24’ Movie to Film In April, Jump Ahead Six Months

One of the in-development projects we’re intently following at BuzzFocus is Fox’s film adaptation of 24, which Kiefer Sutherland mentions is slated to film at “the end of April or early May.”

Sutherland updated press about the film at the Fox TCA Winter Press Tour this weekend while on hand to speak about his new drama series, Touch.

As anticipated, the movie will not be real time and will feature a 24 hour crisis that spans the length of a two hour film. There’s no details of what that crisis will entail, but Sutherland also mentioned to TVLine that the film will be relatively be a direct continuation of Season 8, jumping ahead six months in time from when Jack Bauer looked dead into the camera and walked away a free man.

Whatever the plans may be, I hope that Bauer is able to find some peace in the film. It’s no secret (SPOILER ALERT) that he can’t seem to find long-lasting love (either his significant others wound up dead or mentally insane). I’d like to think that a man that saves the day ten times (including 24: Redemption) would be able to kick back and enjoy a sunset ending. The other good news is that it Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) will also be in the picture according to William Keck at TVGuide, providing another familiar face that we can’t wait to get reacquainted to.

TCA: Fox President Leaves ‘Fringe’, ‘House’ and ‘Terra Nova’ Fans in Limbo

fringe anna torvWhile many were home watching the New York Giants handle the Atlanta Falcons on Fox, the network giant, Fox President of Entertainment, Kevin Reilly addressed the Television Critics Association in Pasadena on Sunday afternoon. Reilly soured the return of Fringe’s new episodes that will begin airing this week on January 13, by saying that while the show is a point of pride, it is an expensive show and that a sitdown with the Fringe team is needed to determine its future but at this point those discussions have not been started.

So it appears that cost cutting will be needed if fans are going to see a fifth and hopefully last season. Even if it’s an abbreviated 13 episodes to get the series over 100 total episodes, fans will take what they can get. As we all know, the major networks need those numbers, and live viewers more so than anything (not fast-forwarding past the commercials) and Fringe simply does not bring them in enough to make up for the cost of the show. If both sides can’t come to some type of solution, look for at least a tidy ending for Season 4.

“Please don’t start the letter writing campaign right now,” Reilly said. “I can’t take it.”

Also strangely not yet decided is whether or not a second season of Terra Nova is on the slate. Production must know in the coming weeks if it is to make the 2012 fall schedule. Terra Nova was also plagued by the much-famed expensive pilot episode yet ratings were decent enough and general reception was overall positive. Reilly admitted that “creatively, it was hunting.”

I’ll never understand why Fox dips into science fiction. The stories tend to be serial in nature and build off each other. There’s no secret that shows like Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse and Firefly and Josh Friedman’s Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles all suffered in a lack of support from the network. These are big idea shows, with exciting results, but they’re not cheap. Even X-Files took a few years to catch on to the general public (and eventually began its slide in quality in my opinion).

I would rather these shows be made and supported by budget-conscious and creative cable channels than have fans and viewers repeatedly invest themselves in these shows only to have money be the recurring barrier for their success. Maybe it was better that they never picked up horror/comic book adaptation of Locke & Key. Something tells me that it would have suffered the same limbo state. I’m sorry Fox, but spare genre fans the trouble and leave these shows to more patient and supportive networks. Also, Lost numbers were a freak occurrence. Let’s stop thinking every genre show can attain those numbers at every try.

But money is not just an issue for the sci-fi genre. House is also struggling to know if its return next year is clear. When a show is stretched out this long, it becomes a more expensive show to produce (as salaries rise with each season) and it’s drawing in less viewers. Should this be the final season of House, Reilly did say the ending would not be “unceremonious” and like Fringe and Terra Nova, big decisions and meetings with House creator David Shore are imminent.

In animation news, Allen Gregory is done but the network is still in talks with Jonah Hill. Bob’s Burgers is looking very promising for a return next year and there is much hope for Napoleon Dynamite which is premiering on January 15 at 8:30pm. Also Reilly said that Fox will be developing a Saturday late-night animated block of “alternative” animated shows in the same vein as Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim lineup.

Other things Reilly discussed:
• There will not be a Glee spinoff show, but they are exploring ways to follow graduating characters.

• Reilly was not deterred by the saturation of singing and talent competition shows but did predict a down year for American Idol citing that’s what happens with shows that are 11 years old. Ryan Seacrest’s contract with American Idol is nearing the end and is currently being courted by NBC.

The X-Factor gave Fox a very successful fall season however changes could be coming for Season 2, including a change at host.

• A new format for So You Think You Can Dance will be unveiled this year and the network is looking at exploring more opportunities for new programming during the summer months for fear of weeks that bring no ratings.

• Reilly gave a final vote of confidence to I Hate My Teenage Daughter and is proud how it has begun to find its audience but expressed that he believes that multi-camera comedies work best in pairs. He reassures fans that the final six-seven episodes will air in the future.

Source: HitFix

TCA: Syfy’s ‘Total Blackout’ Seeks to Get Laughs Out of Contestant’s Fears

Jaleel White (Family Matters) was at the TCA Winter Press Tour today to talk about his new series on Syfy called Total Blackout, a US adaptation of the Danish game show of the same name.  The series is a half-hour game show in which contestants will battle each other (and their phobias) in a series of challenges.

The main structure of the show is three rounds in which there are no lights, no blindfolds and the players have to identify items in the dark or complete other physical challenges. Night vision cameras will catch all the action.

The TCA panel featured a live demo of the process in which several TV actors and personalities participated, including Sam Huntington (Being Human), Jenni Pulos (Interior Therapy With Jeff Lewis), Sabina Kelley (Best Ink),  Sarah Colonna (Chelsea Lately).  They were all tasked with identifying objects in 3 tanks, which included a feather duster, a foot and eels in water.  The demo was met with raucous laughter from the press attending the panel.

Series creator Henrik Nielsen was also on hand to talk about the show. When asked how they will keep the content fresh from week to week, Nielsen mentioned that they have a slew of gags and challenges to lean on. White also chimed in to mention that he likens the show to Punk’d. In the beginning, it was fresh and new and the challenges were easier to execute. Later on, MTV had to outsmart the celebrities and create more intricate challenges. They will employ that same strategy on Total Blackout.

White also mentioned that he was hoping to get back to producing and starring in web series like his Fake It Til You Make It series (available on Hulu).

Total Blackout doesn’t have a premiere date yet, but it’s slated to air this Spring.

TCA: NBC’s Fashion Star Puts Jessica Simpson in the Mentor Chair

A VERY pregnant Jessica Simpson joined the rest of the talent and producers of Fashion Star at NBC’s TCA Winter Press Tour Friday.

The new series will spice of the reality competition market by searching for the next big brand in fashion. 14 unknown designers will compete to get their collections launched in Saks Fifth Avenue, H&M and Macy’s. Each of these clothing lines will bid on garments designed by the contestants.  That means that each episode, a designer gets the chance to sell their clothes in stores.

Serving as host is former model Elle MacPherson and Nicole Ritchie and John Varvatos will join Jessica Simpson as a fashion mentors. Each week the designers that fail to sell their designs to one of the three stores will put up for elimination. The celebrity mentors will be able to save one of them from this fate.

I’m admittedly not a fashion connoisseur (and very far from it), but this new series does look promising. According to Executive Producer Rick Ringbakk, the show looks to create an immediate and tangible afterlife for it’s contestants: the winning contestant’s designs each week will be available in either of the three partner clothing stores.

When asked about the perceived difference in target audience for the partner stores, Executive Producer Ben Silverman mentioned that the show is created for all audiences and for contemporary clothing. He also believes that the series’ lead-in from The Biggest Loser will allow them to capture the female audience that the show is targeted towards.

What remains to be seen is if Fashion Star can toe the line between legitimately bringing new designs to the marketplace and being an outright commercial for the partner clothing brands. Of course, most commerce-driven reality shows reap the benefits of integrated marketing, but the brands will be such a huge part of each and every episode, that Fashion Star risks missing the mark of its supposed charter.

Fashion Star will premiere on NBC on March 13 at 10PM.

TCA: NBC Develops 5 Shows Early for 2012-2013

NBC took the opportunity of their TCA Winter Press Tour to announce their early development of 5 new series slated for the 2012-2013 programming seasons. Here’s the rundown:

The Munsters – Drama

Writer-Executive Producer Bryan Fuller, known best for Pushing Daisies and Heroes heads up this reimagining of the television classic. The pilot for the one-hour drama will be directed by Bryan Singer, (Usual Suspects, X-Men: First Class).

Beautiful People – Drama

Think of this one as I, Robot for the small screen. Families of mechanical humans are created to service the population. What happens when these creations become self-aware and start thinking on their own? Michael McDonald of Cougar Town fame will serve as the writer and executive producer of this new drama.

The Sarah Silverman Project – Comedy

Following the success of Whitney Cummings’ Whitney, NBC is going back to the well to give fellow comedian Sarah Silverman is getting her own show. The ultitled project will feature Silverman’s character returning to her old life after breaking up with her boyfriend. Doing so will be easier said than done given that most of her old friends have moved on. Silverman will serve as Executive Producer along with Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), Brian Grazer (Frost/Nixon).

Isabel – Comedy

A laugher about a middle-class family that has a daughter with magical qualities.

Save Me – Comedy

John Scott Shepard (The Days) will serve as writer and executive producer of this series that features a woman going through a transformation in a broken marriage that because the best version of herself.

TCA 2012: NBCUniversal Press Tour: ‘Smash’ To Have An Early Premiere On Demand and Online

This afternoon at the gathering of the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt announced that the network’s much anticipated new series Smash will be streaming on On Demand and NBC affiliated sites starting on January 16th, and then on NBC.com and Hulu on the January 23rd before it’s official premiere on Monday, Febuary 6th, after The Voice. (In the 10pm Eastern slot that was once occupied by The Playboy Club.)

Smash centers around a group of performers and creative types (Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston, Jack Davenport, Katharine McPhee) trying to stage a lavish Broadway musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. Episodes will feature performances of brand new songs written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman — the team behind the hit staged translations of Hairspray and the non-hit Catch Me If You Can — as well as covers of popular hits, a la Glee.

Smash was created by playwright Theresa Rebeck (Seminar), based on an idea by Executive Producer Steven “I’ll Release Two Films Within The Same Week” Spielberg.

TCA 2012: NBCUniversal Press Tour: BETTY WHITE IS FREAKING ADORABLE!

At the gathering of the Television Critics Association in Pasadena earlier today, only one star could be the shining light so early in the morning: Betty White!

Miss White was there to announce the debut for her upcoming hidden camera show, Betty White’s ‘Off Their Rockers’, where senior citizens get to play pranks on unsuspecting young whipper-snappers.

“I think young people will get a kick seeing older folks having fun,” Miss White said.

And from the looks of the quick preview that was screened before Miss White’s introduction, the seniors do look like they’re having loads off fun, sometimes without their clothes on.

“Sexuality is a very funny thing. You do need to have a sense of humor about no matter how old you are,” she added.

A special preview of Betty White’s ‘Off Their Rockers’ will debut on Monday, January 19th at 9:30pm Eastern. It will air immediately after a televised special that will honor her 90th birthday — which is January 17th. When asked how it felt turning 90, Miss White quipped:

“Oh, I won’t look a day over 89.”

And Betty White continues to be the most freaking adorable star in America.

‘The Voice’ Season 2 to Enlist Legend Lionel Richie, Kelly Clarkson and other Music Artists

The Voice looks to expand after its strong first season by enlisting music legends and multi-platinum selling artists in the series’ second season.

Joining the fun will be Lionel Richie, Kelly Clarkson, Babyface Edmonds, Jewel, Miranda Lambert, Alanis Morissette, Ne-Yo and Robin Thicke. Each of these artists will serve as advisers to the teams during the Battle Rounds Stage of competition.

Here are the breakdowns of the adviser and team pairings:

  • Team Adam: Robin Thick and Alanis Morisette
  • Team Blake: Kelly Clarkson and Miranda Lambert
  • Team Cee Lo:  Babyface and Ne-Yo
  • Team Christina: Jewel and Lionel Richie

In the battle rounds, two artists from each team will sing against each other in a duet. At the end of the round, the artists’ coaches will decide who to move on to the live shows and who will be eliminated. Whether the addition of these stars will take away from the true competition remains to be seen. Hopefully, their presence will be complimentary rather than self-serving.

You can catch the Season 2 premiere of The Voice at 10PM ET, following Super Bown XLVI on NBC.

TCA 2012: NBCUniversal Press Tour: UP ALL NIGHT vs. WHITNEY

NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt opened up the NBCUniversal Press Tour at the 2012 Television Critics Associate gathering in Pasadena this morning by touting the successes of Up All Night and Whitney.

“Hope [the shows] would be long-term players for us,” Greenblatt said.

He also expressed support for the timeslot switch the shows are doing, with Whitney moving to Wednesday nights at 8pm and Up All Night going to Thursdays at 9:30pm after The Office.

Greenblatt added: “Up All Night did well on its own, which is very encouraging, and we wanted to see if it can grow with The Office as a lead-in.”

And what about Whitney‘s critical drubbing?

“I know the backlash Whitney has been receiving. But I’m pleased with the show. The writers have done a fine job [in the last couple of episodes] with digging at who those characters are.”