Tuesday April 8, 2014

TruTV is in the midst of a rebranding.  Per AdAge, "TruTV's slate of programming includes Hardcore Pawn, Container Wars, Storage Hunters and Swamp Hunters, each of which are iterations of series seen on other networks like History and Animal Planet.

"The network's prime-time ratings are down over 31% for the season, averaging 684,000 total viewers.  The sheer tonnage of original content, meanwhile, coupled with cable and satellite operators' desire to shed networks that don't provide additional value to consumers, makes TruTV's refresh vital to its future success.

"So with the recent success of Impractical Jokers, which averaged 2.3 million viewers in the most latest quarter, TruTV will look to the comedic side of reality programming.  Its next slate of programming will start to reflect that shift. The Carbonaro Effect, starring comedic magician Michael Carbonaro, will bow in May. In the show, Mr. Carbonaro performs tricks on unsuspecting people and captures it on a hidden camera.

"The network also greenlit Friends of the People, a scripted, sketch comedy series, and Motor City Masters, a competition series.  Mr. Linn said TruTV will be targeting 'fun seekers,' but noted it won't become Comedy Central, which he said has a certain type of humor that's not for everyone."

Arguments in favor of Stephen Colbert filling David Letterman's chair: "Can Colbert drop the character and still succeed? Of course. Hosting the Report has always been far more difficult than a late night network-style talk show. But can he just be himself and be a success? Inside his slick suits, Colbert possesses every weapon and trick a comedian can utilize. As long as it’s the same guy in the same suits, Colbert will more than hold his own on CBS.

"More than anything else, a talk show host needs to be 'likable' the way Jay Leno always was. More sophisticated fans of comedy will want to demand an “edge” to the material and performance as well. Having both is tough, but not at all impossible. There are quite a few who do that well, including Jimmy Kimmel, Howard Stern, and of course Jon Stewart.

"Colbert’s comedic integrity has never been questioned, and he has been able to make us laugh and think every night for years while not only liking but loving him at every moment."

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but I was not all that thrilled with the way House Of Lies wrapped up this season.  SPOILER ALERT: Marty Kahn's arrest at the hands of Jeannie was not what I expected.  Clever twist, but certainly does end the season on a high note.  That said, the 1.4M viewers who tuned in for the finale was a season high.

Per Deadline, "Cheers George Wendt alum t and Ashley Tisdale are set to co-star in David Kohan and Max Mutchnick‘s multi-camera untitled barbershop comedy pilot at TBS. Also cast in the untitled workplace comedy is Lauren Lapkus (Orange Is the New Black). The project revolves around a group of kids who ran in different circles in high school but now all work together at Buzzy’s Barbershop in Charlestown, MA. Their dreams may lie across the Charles River in Boston, but for now, their work, their lives, their loves and their worries remain in the town they grew up in."

XBox's new slate is coming together.

XBox's new slate is coming together.

Per Variety, Michael Cera, Seth Green and Sarah Silverman are among the newest notable names Xbox Entertainment Studios is turning to as it fills out a slate of original series it will start releasing across Microsoft’s video game platforms and mobile devices this summer.

"Seth Green is set to produce a stop-motion animated show in the vein of Robot Chicken through his Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, while Michael Cera and Sarah Silverman are behind a sketch comedy show through their popular JASH comedy network on YouTube whose creators also include comedians Tim and Eric, and Reggie Watts.

"So far the Xbox slate consists of a significantly diverse group of projects including:

Humans, a remake of the Swedish TV series, about humanoid robot servants, some of whom want their freedom. 

Halo, Microsoft has two series planned around the Xbox’s biggest game franchise. One is a big-budget Game of Thrones-like project that Steven Spielberg will executive produce, while the other is a more modestly budgeted series, to be produced by 343 Entertainment and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free TV in the vein of the Halo: Forward Unto Dawn episodes that were released around the fourth Halo game in 2012. 

Every Street United, A reality show about street soccer that’s time around the World Cup.

■ Filmmakers Simon Chinn (Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire) and Jonathan Chinn (30 Days and American High) will produce a documentary series that explores the events and colorful characters that established the digital age, with each segment helmed by a different director. 

Fearless, Paul de Gelder, the Australian Navy bomb diver who survived a shark attack and has since become a motivational speaker, will star in the show that aims to inspire people to improve their lives.

Street Dreams, A half-hour series loosely based on the life of hip hop artist Nas, during the 1990s when he grew up in Long Island City, New York’s Queensbridge housing complex. 

■ Live Music Events: Xbox plans to produce a live broadcast of events like Manchester, Tenn’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, in July. Microsoft’s Skype video software will be used for backstage interview segments.

■ And Ian Edelman, writer of How to Make It In America, has written a comedy series about pro-skateboarders.

Which Mad Men character are you?  Don Draper for this writer.  Damn straight.  Season 7 premieres this Sunday night.  Expect a lot more fodder about it on this blog between now and then.  

AMC offers 10 ways to get ready for this Sunday night.  I may or may not have made a Mad Men avatar of myself.

Per Deadline, "[r]eality shows are accused all the time of being fake, but an assault and battery complaint filed today against Spike TV’s Bar Rescue might have gotten a bit too real for all concerned. A Vegas doctor is alleging that he was set up by the production company to hit on host Jon Taffer’s wife and then attacked by the bar and nightlife expert for doing so. In the 4-claim jury trial filing (read it here) today in LA Superior Court, Dr. Paul Wilkes is seeking general, actual and punitive damages as well as medical and legal expenses, pain and suffering and 'other and further relief as the Court many deem just and proper' from the February 11, 2013, incident. The doctor is suing Taffer; his wife Nicole, who also is on the show; and Bongo LLC, a limited liability company of producer 3 Ball Productions. Wilkes, who is part owner of the Sin City bar that used to be known as the Sand Dollar, 'has suffered and continues to suffer severe emotional distress which results in physical manifestations including but not limited to migraine headaches, nausea, vomiting, night terrors, crying spells, severe depression and anxiety attacks,' says the filing of the on-camera dust-up that saw Taffer punch the doctor in the jaw, among other things."

A glimpse into what really goes on during the production of Naked And Afraid.  This list of revelations is not for those with a quick gag reflex, as evidenced here: "I burnt my butt-crack on a hot rock at night and the wound was a hot-spot for flies!  The flies laid eggs in my wound and they grew into maggots!"

Who knew there were so many shows with "house" in the title?

A review of Silicon Valley that is more along the lines of what I was thinking: "Instead, we’re stuck with the paint-by-numbers trials and travails of five friends torn between success and one another, because this is a satire with heart. (It tests well.) Instead, we get jokes about how biz-dev guy Jared (Veep’s Zach Woods) sang a cappella at Sarah Lawrence—because he’s a wimp, you see! Instead, we get a lame subplot where a Latino street artist (named Chuy, possibly as a loose reference to the great David Choe, who got rich doing murals for Facebook) is hired to do a logo for Pied Piper and does a mural of Kumail Nanjiani (as Dinesh) in Aztec costume having sex with the Statue of Liberty. Edgy.

"The satire, it burns! (Note: It doesn’t.)  The recurrent themes—that people want money and will sell one another out in stupid ways while deceiving themselves into thinking they’re good people—are nothing new and hardly specific to the setting. Since satire only gains its viciousness from knowing particularity, the show fires one-size-fits-all blanks. The show briefly teases on Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto but ignores the far wider target of Ayn Rand–style techno-libertarianism, possibly because Judge himself is a pro-gun libertarian who didn’t sing a cappella at Sarah Lawrence."

A preview of season 2 of Orphan Black.  If you haven't seen this show, I highly recommend catching up.  Season 1 was good and I have very high hopes for season 2.  Here's a snippet of what's to come: "There’s a lot going on in that Cosima storyline and the Dyad. And some of the guys you thought we’re bad guys last year may not be bad guys this year. At the end of the season we introduced Rachel, and Tatiana does a great job with her. We’ve just finished shooting the finale and Rachel is one complicated individual."

Per TVLine, "Steve Carell (The Office), Cheryl Hines (Suburgatory) and Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) are among the celebrity guests scheduled to appear in Fox’s upcoming improv comedy series Riot, TVLine has learned exclusively.

"Premiering May 13 at 9/8c, Riot features a group of regular players facing off in improv-based challenges designed to test them both mentally and physically — and it all goes down on a stage slanted at a 22-degree angle. (It’s basically controlled chaos.)

In addition to the aforementioned celebrities, the following guests have also been confirmed:
* D.L. Hughley (The Hughleys)
* Tom Green (Tom Green Live)
* Chris Kattan (The Middle)
* Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory)
* David Arquette (Cleaners)
* Oscar Nunez (The Office)
* Andy Dick (The Andy Dick Show)
* Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
* Nicole Sullivan (Cougar Town)
* Michael Ian Black (Burning Love)
* Will Sasso (Justified)
* Andy Buckley (The Office)
* Rob Delaney (Key and Peele)

"The group of comics regularly participating each week includes John Ross Bowie, Jamie Denbo, Brian Palermo, Jordan Black, Jessica McKenna, Meryl Hathaway and Rob Gleeson, with Australian comedian Rove McManus playing host."