Hundreds of reporters have assembled at TCA summer press tour, but as far as I’m aware, I’m the only one who wrote a detailed story about the fascinating panel with CBS, FX, Fox and Showtime’s research gurus, who talked about how audiences actually watch TV now.
“We’re in a new era of television,” said David Poltrack, chief research officer for CBS, noting that weekly TV viewing has increased 2% over the last three years, from 35 hours and 36 minutes to 37 hours and 50 minutes. “This is a golden era of television content, and the public is embracing television and engaging with television in a way that they never did before, because it is so much good programming.”
While I usually try to summarize my stories a bit here, there’s so much terrific information throughout the piece about delayed viewing lifts and multi-platform audiences that I urge you to read the whole thing yourself.
As upfronts wrap today, I wrote this Quartz piece about one big change to this year’s proceedings: the networks are finally serious about programming year-round, and they’re actually putting their money where their mouths are.
But as broadcast ratings continue to erode, those networks can no longer assume that their viewers will stay loyal and return in the fall. So when CBS took a chance on adapting Stephen King’s Under the Dome as a “limited series” last summer, and it became the highest-rated scripted summer series in 21 years, the network kept it in the same spot this year (it returns June 30). With the addition of Extant and other summer shows, CBS will have 90 hours of original programming this summer.
It’s a big change from the broadcasters’ traditional hands-off approach to summer, allowing the cable networks (and more recently, Netflix) to swoop in and take all the audiences for themselves.
Four years after the clock ran out on 24, Jack Bauer is back. Fox has relaunched the franchise with a 12-episode “event series” called 24: Live Another Day. I only wish the show was closer to the show’s exhilarating early seasons rather than the formulaic later ones. As I wrote in my Daily Beast review,
Aside from the thrill of seeing Jack—and Sutherland—back on the clock, barking orders and unleashing new methods of ass-kicking (for his next trick, he’ll do it with the hands cuffed behind his back!), 24’s absence hasn’t made me grow fonder of its tropes. This time around, many of them—Jack being underestimated by everyone around him, his first anguished utterance of “Dammit!,” the first of what will be many double-crosses—seemed more dutiful than inspired. The later seasons of 24 indicated that all the format’s tricks had been exhausted, and so far, Live Another Day’s writers haven’t indicated that they’ve discovered any new ones.
Four years after the clock ran out on 24, Jack Bauer is back! Kiefer Sutherland’s former CTU agent will return to Fox May 5 in 24: Live Another Day, a 12-episode limited series. At TCA winter press tour, the cast and producers talked about the show, which I wrote about for Quartz.
Yet despite Bauer’s significant backstory, “you can pick this series up without having seen season 8, or the show at all,” said executive producer Manny Coto. That said, it’s not just you: Not even the producers can keep track of all the show’s various twists and turns over the years. “Sometimes we have to check Wikipedia” to see if the characters are still alive, says Coto.
I also spoke with executive producer Howard Gordon about why the show, which has faked previous locations like New York City and Washington, felt it was essential to film on location in London.