Monday May 11, 2015

So that was the penultimate episode of Mad Men.  Things are wrapping up and we await the fate of Don Draper and Roger Sterling this week.  I'm sure you'll be reading a lot about that here between now and then.  That was an interesting storyline to run on Mother's Day.  I won't ruin it in case you haven't watched yet, but here's one take on it, in the event you have watched.

Jimmy Kimmel talked with Howard Stern this morning about how he ended up in Manny Pacquiao's corner last weekend. Interesting story, best told in Kimmel's own words as opposed to mine.  If you can catch the replay it's worth a listen.

TJ Miller talks about last night's Silicon Valley.

I saw this over the weekend but wasn't sure if it was real or not.  Evidently it is.  NBC’s Undateable was picked up for an all-live, 13-episode third season. “Live programming is one more way to make a show undeniable,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment. Last week's live show drew 4.21 million viewers.

I hope Hot Dog and Big Daddy stay together.  If that means anything to you, email me, we should be friends.

The cast of Greek reunited again for some karaoke.

HGTV premieres A Sale of Two Cities tonight and describes the show as follows: "Find out how much location really matters as two families search for homes in different cities on the same budget. Do you actually get more for the money if you sacrifice living in a prime location? See who comes out on top when our home seekers explore properties in exactly the same price point in two different cities on opposite ends of the country."

A lot of news coming from the network upfronts this week.  I'll pass along anything and everything pertinent.  For starters:

New Girl will not return until midseason next year as Fox has chose to hold it back.  Interesting decision.

American Idol has been renewed for one more season, it's 15th, which will be the show's last . . . thankfully.  Per EW, "Fox chairmen and CEOs Gary Newman and Dana Walden fielded several questions about their decision and the show’s final season. 

“'You know, it was not an easy decision,' said Newman. 'American Idol has been such a vital part of Fox for its run, and we spent a lot of time talking with producers about the future of American Idol and collectively we arrived at the conclusion that it was time to bring the show to an end. But we wanted to do it in a way that felt special and celebratory and treated the show the way it deserved to be treated.'

"Walden agreed it was a 'pretty emotional decision,' and revealed the final season will feature appearances by former judges and contestants. 'There’s a lot of enthusiasm around former judges and contestants coming back,' she said.

"Added Newman: 'Next year, it’s going to be a true season-long celebration. We’re already talking about surprises we can have for the fans to make it feel special and send it off [in a way] that makes it as significant as the run it’s had on our network.'  

"Reporters pressed on whether the executives considered, perhaps, moving the series to summer—which is where the show launched in 2002. 'We really didn’t give a lot of thought to that,' Newman said. 'Idol had been the No. 1 show on broadcast for eight seasons. It was a collective decision that the right way to send this show out is right in the time period it has been for the last [few] years. It still has a great deal of popularity in viewing, and we’re going to deliver a special season.' 

"American Idol XV will have the same judges as the last two cycles—Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr.— along with the show’s host, Ryan Seacrest, who has been with the series from the beginning.

"Idol was once dubbed Fox’s Death Star, a series so popular it decimated any rival that dared to air at the same time. At the musical competition’s ratings peak in 2006, Idol drew more than an incredible 36 million viewers for its season finale. Yet ratings have fallen nearly every season since Idol’s peak. This year, Idol delivered a series-low 11.6 million viewers, and that’s including DVR playback. While Idol is pulling a higher average than some surviving shows, producing Idol isn’t cheap—there’s famous singers judging the talent, a multi-city audition tour, and live shows to produce."

Per Deadline, "[t]he second season of blockbuster drama Empire will consist of 18 episodes, Foxchairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman confirmed during the network’s press call this morning. It will be split in two parts, consistent with Fox’s new drama scheduling strategy the two laid out. It will include splitting seasons: Part 1 in the fall, ending with a cliffhanger, and Part 2 in the spring. The first season of Empire featured 12 episodes. At the time of the renewal, Fox and the series’ producers hinted that Season 2 would be longer, but likely not a full 22 episodes.

"In other Empire news, Ne-Yo, who has spoken of his love for the show and desire to appear on it, has closed a deal to write music for Season 2, joining the series’ music producer Timbaland. There are no current plans for Ne-Yo to act on the series."

"Amazon has ordered a pilot for A History of Radness, a music-driven half-hour sitcom written and executive produced by “Hannah Montana’s” Andrew Green, TheWrap has learned exclusively.

"The story follows siblings Jack and Tessie from their less-than-cool middle school beginnings at Pleasant Meadows Middle School to the start of their music careers as they put together a band of like-minded musicians, considered outsiders by fellow classmates.

"Musician Henry Rollins will guest star as Coach Carlucci and Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino will lend narration.

"The pilot will feature original music written by Hutch Harris of the post-pop-punk trio The Thermals with an original score by James Iha, formerly of The Smashing Pumpkins."

"Vulture can confirm that CBS has ordered four dramas and two comedy pilots for the fall season (Supergirl has already made it to series). Three of the dramas, Code BlackRush Hour, and Limitless, are based on feature films or documentaries, and the fourth is a spinoff of Criminal Minds. The Giant Eye network is also determined to get into the single-camera comedy game: BothAngel From Hell and Life in Pieces are single-cams, a slight surprise for a network that built its brand on multi-cam sitcoms.

"Code Black: Written by Michael Seitzman and directed by David Semel, the show is based on Ryan McGarry's feature documentary of the same title (he's also an executive producer). The cast includes Marcia Gay Harden, Bonnie Somerville, Raza Jaffrey, and Luis Guzmán (!) as medical professionals in one of the busiest ERs in the country.

"Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders: It's not CBS if there isn't a spinoff. This is the second Criminal Minds spinoff (after the short-lived CM: Suspect Behavior), with Gary Sinise starring as an FBI agent in charge of helping American citizens who find themselves in danger abroad. Half-Korean babe Daniel Henney also stars.

"Limitless: Craig Sweeny writes and Marc Webb directs this drama based on the 2011 feature film starring Bradley Cooper (he's also an executive producer on this). The show follows Jake McDorman as Brian Finch as he uses an ability-enhancing drug called NZT and has to use his new superpowers to solve cases for the FBI.

"Rush Hour: Sorry, there's no Jackie Chan or Chris Tucker in this one. Justin Hires plays the cocky black cop and Jon Foo plays the straitlaced Hong Kong cop in this reboot of the classic buddy comedy from the '90s.

"Angel From Hell: Jane Lynch and Maggie Lawson star in this single-cam comedy, where Amy (Lynch) comes into Allison's (Lawson) life and claims to be her guardian angel. She may just be crazy!

"Life in PiecesBetter Off Ted alum Justin Adler runs the show on this family comedy starring Dianne Wiest and James Brolin, where the story is told from the perspectives of the various family members. Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt, and Thomas Sadoski play the kids!"

Per Realscreen, "[a]s part of its upfront presentation, U.S. broadcast net NBC revealed it has slotted Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris – its version of the UK variety show format Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway – for Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

"The series, to be produced by ITV Studios, combines comedy sketches, game show and hidden camera prank elements, musical numbers, and appearances from top celebrities. The UK original, hosted by British comedians Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (aka Ant and Dec) has aired on ITV for twelve series since 2002, and recently nabbed the award for best entertainment program at the BAFTA Television Awards in London.

"Harris has been a longtime fixture on American television, beginning with his stint as a teenage medical prodigy in Doogie Howser on ABC from 1989-1993, and more recently, the comedy How I Met Your Mother on CBS. He has also served as host of the Tony Awards and hosted the 2015 Academy Awards.

"On NBC, Tuesdays are also home for top unscripted series The Voice‘s results show. No premiere date has been announced as of yet for Best Time Ever."

As reported by Access Hollywood, "[s]orry Jimmy Kimmel, Jerry Seinfeld isn't impressed with your planned homage to David Letterman.

"Earlier this week, Kimmel announced he would air a re-run of Jimmy Kimmel Live! opposite Letterman's final Late Show on May 20, so as not to compete with the departing late night legend.

"Count Seinfeld as someone who isn't exactly touched by the gesture.

"'Is that a classy move?' Access Hollywood's Billy Bush asked Seinfeld in an exclusive new interview. 'You're not moved?'

"'No,' Seinfeld quipped. 'He loves Dave so much. We get it. We understand.'

"The comedian – who is now focused on his Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee web series – suggested that if Kimmel really wanted to pay tribute to Letterman, he shouldn't air anything at all.

"'Why not put up a test pattern if you really want to respect the guy?' Seinfeld suggested. 'I think TV Land put up a test pattern on the night of my ['Seinfeld'] finale out of respect. That was a very nice gesture.

"'That's what I would do,' Seinfeld added, with a smile. 'That's a real tip of the cap!'

In related Late Show news, Seinfeld also addressed the long-running rumor that Letterman's bandleader, Paul Shaffer, was originally offered the role of George Costanza (which eventually went to Jason Alexander) – but Shaffer never returned Seinfeld's call regarding the role.

"True story?

"'Not true," Seinfeld insisted, dispelling the tale Shaffer told in his own 2009 memoir. "I don't know where he got that idea.'"  Shots fired.