Tag Archives: CBS

5 Predictions From TV Networks Execs Last Year That Were Way Off

failed upfronts predictions

The networks will play a variety of pop hits during their TV upfront presentations next month, but the only song that really should be part of the soundtrack that is The Lego Movie’s “Everything is Awesome.” After all, each of the the network executives who take the stage will be full of optimism that their new crop of shows will finally be the ones that take them to the top.

But as I wrote at Adweek, everything is not awesome, even for the top network in adults 18-49 (which will again be ABC). Before we hear a new batch of (at least partially) empty upfronts promises, I looked back at the five worst predictions from last year’s presentations. Among them: then Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly’s declaration that Jump of the Century and Hieroglyph will be airing soon on the network:

Reilly was far from the only one to disappear from Fox shortly after the upfronts. He touted two programs to advertisers that were canceled before they ever made it to air: straight-to-series pickup Hieroglyph (Fox pulled the plug a month later) and Jump of the Century, in which two rival stuntmen would attempt Evel Knievel’s failed jump across Idaho’s Snake River Canyon (it was scrapped last July). “The power of broadcast really shines through when there’s urgency to view,” Reilly said of Jump of the Century. Of course, it also really shines through when the shows are actually broadcast.

There’s a lot more silly predictions where that came from, so sure to read the rest of the story.

5 Predictions From TV Networks Execs Last Year That Were Way Off

Billy Gardell: No Hard Feelings if Melissa McCarthy Leaves ‘Mike & Molly’ After Next Season

Mike and Molly

Mike and Molly will be returning for a sixth season, but beyond that, the show’s future is likely in the hands of its star, Melissa McCarthy, who will need to decide if she wants to sign a new contract for the CBS sitcom or become a full-time movie star.

News leaked out Wednesday, via this since-deleted Instagram post from Mike & Molly producer Julie Bean, that CBS had picked up the comedy for a sixth season (CBS, which tends to announce all of its renewals at once, hasn’t confirmed the news. UPDATE: CBS officially renewed Mike & Molly, Mom and 2 Broke Girls early Thursday afternoon).

Mike and Molly Instagram

While McCarthy certainly seems excited by the Season 6 pickup in that photo, it remains unclear if the actress will want to keep her day job when her contract is up next spring. Right now, McCarthy and her co-star Billy Gardell are “signed through next season,” Gardell told me earlier this year. “Then I’m sure they’ll talk about that.”

Since the series launched in 2010, the actress has become one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars thanks to films like Bridesmaids and The Heat. Will McCarthy, who is squeezing in another two movies during her Mike & Molly summer hiatus — including the much-anticipated Ghostbusters reboot — want to stay tethered to a CBS sitcom when she could be making even more films (and a lot more money) each year? If the answer is no and McCarthy opts to depart, Gardell says there will be no hard feelings.

“Listen, when you’re that big of a movie star … she’s put her time in here,” Gardell says. “If we go seven, eight years, that would be wonderful. But we also all respect and love each other and understand business is business. She’s a huge movie star, so if she chooses to do movies in another year, we wish her nothing but the best.”

Gardell, who says he is “absolutely” thrilled for McCarthy’s movie success, tells me that he’s not trying to convince her to stay (at least, not yet). “Listen, nobody controls anybody’s destiny,” he says of his costar. “She has been incredibly gracious, hasn’t changed at all and has brought the same love and professionalism every week.”

The actor credits McCarthy’s meteoric rise for convincing executive producer Chuck Lorre and the Mike & Molly producers to make a major change last season, and shaking up the format —  where McCarthy’s Molly was a teacher who was getting ready to have a baby with Gardell’s Mike — to better play up her physical comedy strengths. “That was a scary change to make mid-direction,” he says. “But Chuck very smartly foresaw we were painting ourselves into a corner by heading for the pregnancy, because you’ve got the best physical comedian in 20 years. Let’s not put her in the hospital; let’s let her do her thing. And I think it’s been done smoothly and right now we’re doing great.”

Mike & Molly is not a huge hit for CBS, but as I wrote in my Adweek cover story on the state of TV comedy, it has become a prized utility player for the network, coming off the bench each midseason to plugs leaks in the schedule from the fall. “You get to this place where you know your fans will wait for you, and you know they’re going to come back strong,” Gardell told me in that story. “And the network knows that, so they know they have a little room to try new stuff.”

But if McCarthy opts to leave TV behind, CBS will only have that safety net for one more season.

Which Networks Made the Naughty and Nice Lists This Year?

networks naughty nice

I’ve wrapped my Best (& Worst) in 2014 week, but I have one final look back for this year: my Adweek story about which networks made Santa’s naughty and nice lists in 2014. The easiest call by far? NBC, which topped the nice list:

It was a very good year for the Peacock Network, which won the 2013-14 season in 18-49 (a 2.7 average), its first demo victory in 10 years. The network picked up where it left off this fall, where it’s once again leading the pack in 18-49 (thanks largely to Sunday Night Football and The Voice). Not even Peter Pan Live’s disappointing ratings can stall NBC’s momentum, especially with Super Bowl XLIX waiting in the wings on Feb. 1.

How did the rest of the networks fare? Take a look!

And with that, TV & Not TV will be taking a holiday hiatus for a few days (barring breaking news). But we’ll be back at the end of the week with news of an exciting TV appearance this weekend that should mark TV & Not TV’s television debut.

Until then, happy holidays!

Which Networks Made the Naughty and Nice Lists This Year?

TV’s 10 Worst Time Slots: Can Any Show Survive?


I’m very excited to begin contributing to Adweek, as they look to expand their TV coverage online. My first story for them is something that I’ve wanted to write for more than a year: a look at the worst TV time slots on television, the ones that have been radioactive for years on end, and manage to bring about the end of almost every show that is aired there.

I looked back at several years of TV schedule grids, and pulled together this collection of TV’s equivalent of death row.

Abandon hope, all ye who are scheduled here:

TV’s 10 Worst Time Slots: Can Any Show Survive?

TV Shows Based on Movies: Often Doomed


Three stories in a row! The Atlantic picked up my recent Quartz story about why Hollywood can’t stop turning movies into TV shows.

TV Shows Based on Movies: Often Doomed

Hollywood Won’t Stop Until it Turns Every Movie Into a TV Series


What’s the opposite of “great minds think alike”? In the past month, the broadcast networks have announced plans to turn 10(!) movies into potential series. As I wrote at Quartz,

Hollywood apparently won’t stop until it turns every movie into a series. It’s the strongest indication yet that there are no original ideas left among the broadcast networks, which already packed this fall’s television lineup with comic-book adaptations and spinoffs.

Hollywood won’t stop until it turns every movie into a TV series

Why TV Time Slots Still Matter for New Shows

TV time slots still matter

During the next month, 20 new shows will debut, and half of them will be lucky to make it to a second season. As I wrote at Quartz, CBS is trying its best to beat the odds:

Its new shows are almost carbon copies of a beloved long-running series in time slots immediately before them (known as a show’s lead-in) or after them (its lead-out), in an effort to capture as much of the returning show’s audience as possible.

At TCA summer press tour, I spoke with CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler about her strategy that paired Criminal Minds with Stalker, Madam Secretary with The Good Wife and (duh!) NCIS with NCIS: New Orleans:

“It may not be where people end up consistently watching a show, but when you’re in this ‘discovery’ phase—when audiences are trying and sampling—that’s when I think lead-in matters more than anything,” Tassler told Quartz.

Why TV time slots still matter for new shows

Surprise! Halle Berry’s Career is ‘Extant’


I was pleasantly surprised by Extant, the “event series” starring Halle Berry that CBS is hoping will do just as well for them this summer as Under the Dome did last year at this time. The show, as I write at The Daily Beast, is a substantial upgrade over Dome, thanks in large part to its star:

The show’s name, Extant, means “still in existence; surviving”—the opposite of extinct. The word could also refer to Berry’s career, which seemed to have flatlined in recent years, outside of the X-Men franchise. Extant can only thrive if Berry does, and so far the actress, making her first TV series appearance since the short-lived 1989 Who’s the Boss? spinoff Living Dolls, delivers in what is a difficult, enigmatic role. Berry has never deployed her talents consistently during her career, but acquits herself quite admirably here. While at first, she seems to be frustratingly underplaying Molly’s reaction to the pregnancy news, it turns out that there’s a method to her stillness. You see, Molly also knows things—some of which unfold in flashbacks—with many more revelations likely to come in future episodes. Until they do, Berry utilizes her star quality to keep us riveted and awaiting whatever twist comes next. And she makes the most of her standout scene in the premiere, in which she silently and captivatingly unpacks several years of emotional baggage.

My long-term reservations about the show aside, I applaud CBS for proving, at least for now, that quality broadcast television can indeed be extant during the summer months.

Surprise! Halle Berry’s Career is ‘Extant’

The Biggest Winners at This Year’s Emmys Didn’t Win the Biggest Awards


Shortly after I left People, my friend Mitra Kalita reached out to me about contributing to Quartz, Atlantic Media’s global business site, where she works as Ideas Editor. After 16 years at People, it took me a some time to wrap my brain around how to write about TV for Quartz’s readers. But today I made my Quartz debut, with this take on last night’s Emmys, and how Netflix was one of the night’s biggest winners, even though it didn’t take home many trophies:

No, the political drama didn’t receive best drama or best actor for star Kevin Spacey, as many had predicted. But the awards it did win—best director for David Fincher, and two other technical awards (for casting and cinematography) at last week’s Creative Arts Emmy ceremony—legitimized the streaming video service in the same way that early Emmy wins once did for then-interlopers HBO, AMC and FX.

I really enjoyed the challenge of thinking about TV — and an event covered by hundreds of outlets and watched by millions — in a unique way, and I look forward to doing a lot of this kind of writing for Quartz in the days and weeks to come!

The biggest winners at this year’s Emmys didn’t win the biggest awards