Tuesday, September 25, 2012

White Collar, Covert Affairs, Royal Pains Renewed by USA

On the heels of an unprecedented seventh consecutive summer win as cable’s #1 network across all key demos, USA signaled additional season pickups for three of its hit original drama series – ROYAL PAINS, WHITE COLLAR and COVERT AFFAIRS. The three series rank among the summer’s top ten scripted hours overall in cable in 18-49. The announcement was made today by Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel, co-presidents, USA Network.

"All three of these series have found ways to stay creatively fresh and culturally relevant. The execution in writing, acting and production is among the best on television. In an increasingly competitive landscape, these series got new season pickups the old-fashioned way -- they earned it!," said Wachtel and McCumber.

A high-end performer since its debut, ROYAL PAINS received a 26-episode pickup across two additional seasons with season five of the Universal Cable Productions series commencing in New York in 2013. WHITE COLLAR, from Fox Television Studios, which films in and around New York City, received a 16-episode pickup for season five, to begin filming in 2013; and the Toronto based production of COVERT AFFAIRS, from Universal Cable Productions, received a 16-episode pickup for season four.

ROYAL PAINS follows talented young doctor Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein) a disgraced New York City physician who reinvents himself as the Hamptons' hot new doctor-on-demand to the rich and famous. The drama also stars Paulo Costanzo, Reshma Shetty and Brooke D’Orsay. On December 16, USA will offer a two-hour movie event “Off-Season Greetings,” an intimate look at the backstory of the Lawson brothers and a celebration of the long-awaited nuptials of Evan (Costanzo) and Paige (D’Orsay). From Universal Cable Productions, ROYAL PAINS is written and executive produced by Andrew Lenchewski and Michael Rauch. Paul Frank and Rich Frank also serve as executive producer along with Jeff Kwatinetz from Prospect Park and Connie Burge. Carol Flint, Jon Sherman, Kerry Orent and Jack Bernstein co-executive produce.

Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay star in the critically acclaimed WHITE COLLAR, which focuses on the unlikely partnership between charming con artist Neal Caffrey (Bomer) and straightforward FBI agent Peter Burke (DeKay) who partner to catch other elusive white collar criminals. In the summer finale, Neal finally learns the elusive Sam (guest Star Treat Williams), is his father. When the series returns in January, Neal will continue to uncover secrets from his past, with the help of Peter and fan favorite Mozzie, played by Willie Garson. The series also stars Tiffani Thiessen, Sharif Atkins and Marsha Thomason. WHITE COLLAR was created and is executive produced by Jeff Eastin and comes from Fox Television Studios.

Golden Globe®-nominated Piper Perabo stars as Annie Walker, a young CIA operative whose exceptional linguistic skills and killer instinct make her invaluable to the Agency in the popular spy caper COVERT AFFAIRS. The series, which also stars Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett and Peter Gallagher, returns on Tuesday, October 16 with six all-new episodes that have Annie seeking revenge in Russia for the devastating tragedies that rattled her world. From Universal Cable Productions, COVERT AFFAIRS is executive produced by Doug Liman and David Bartis through Hypnotic and written and executive produced by Matt Corman and Chris Ord.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Chew Needs General Hospital for Ratings

Ironic, isn't it, that ABC's The Chew, which kicked one of the best-loved soap operas off the air, All My Children, is now going behind the scenes at another popular soap to attract ratings? Is this a sign that ABC is realizing how valuable the soaps are to its viewer base?  Here's a news release from the network:
Beginning MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 fans of "General Hospital" have another reason to celebrate as "The Chew" pays house calls to some of the popular drama's most celebrated stars. "General Hospital" airs at 2:00 p.m., ET/1:00 p.m., PT, immediately following "The Chew" on ABC.

Gordon Elliott, executive producer of "The Chew," announced today that the talk & lifestyle show will launch a four-part series next week entitled "Behind the Soap Screen," featuring an in-depth look into the lives of Julie Berman ("Lulu Spencer"), Finola Hughes ("Anna Devane"), Ingo Rademacher ("Jasper 'Jax' Jacks") and Erik Valdez ("Trey Mitchell"). The stars will open their homes to "The Chew" for a glance into their private, off-screen lives, sharing recipes and hobbies.

"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase our neighbors from Port Charles," said Elliott. "Daytime television is all about showcasing personalities, building relationships and storytelling, and many of the 'General Hospital' actors are closet gourmets. We are looking forward to having them on the show." 

An outing to Julie Berman's home includes a peek at her kitchen, where she and husband, Michael Grady, prepare one of their favorite dishes, a grilled chicken and basil pizza. 

Finola Hughes proudly displays her green thumb as she tends her impressive vegetable garden in Malibu. The actress, who grows apples, plums, peaches and avocados, prepares a mouth-watering feta, cherry tomato, kalamata olive creation with flatbread, all with ingredients from her garden.

Ingo Rademacher unveils his breathtaking Hawaiian home, where he resides with his wife and two children. Rademacher's trip includes his backyard, where he grows avocados and raises livestock. He shares his recipe for the perfect avocado and scallion omelet, and takes fellow "General Hospital" co-star Sebastian Roche ("Jerry Jacks") for a paddleboard lesson.

Texas born and raised Erik Valdez cooks a dish he learned from his grandmother. He puts his own spin on her classic ground turkey taco recipe with guacamole, Pico de Gallo, rice and beans, and cooks for his "General Hospital" co-star, Lindsey Morgan ("Kristina Davis"). 

"General Hospital," the most honored show of the 2012 Daytime Emmy Awards, celebrates its golden anniversary on April 1, 2013. Approaching 50 historic years on ABC, it is the longest running American soap opera currently in production and third longest-running drama in American television history. "General Hospital" was created by Frank and Doris Hursley. Frank Valentini is executive producer. Ron Carlivati is head writer.

GMA Beats Today Again

For the week of September 10, 2012, ABC News' "Good Morning America" stood as the morning news leader, ranking as the No. 1 newscast for the 3rd week in a row in both Total Viewers (4.958 million) and Adults 25-54 (1.831 million), according to Nielsen Media Research.  "GMA's" 3rd straight Adults 25-54 victory over NBC's "Today" represents its longest stretch at No. 1 in over 18 years - since a 6-week streak from w/o 7/18/94 thru w/o 8/22/94.  Additionally, "GMA" ranked No. 1 in Total Viewers for the last 5 weeks and in 10 of the last 12 (behind "Today" only during the 2 weeks of the Olympics).  

"GMA" outperformed "Today" (4.306 million and 1.732 million, respectively) by +652,000 Total Viewers and +99,000 Adults 25-54.  "GMA" has turned in its 3 largest Total Viewer leads over "Today" in the past 3 weeks (+883,000 on w/o 8/27/12; +795,000 on w/o 9/3/12) since it first beat the NBC program in April after 17 years.  In addition, "GMA" increased its news demo advantage week to week by +19% (+83,000 on w/o 9/3/12).

For the 4th consecutive week, "GMA" outdelivered "Today" in every head-to-head telecast of the week in Total Viewers (Mon: +656,000, Tues: +923,000, Wed: +369,000, Thurs: +793,000 and Fri: +467,000). "GMA" has now  beaten "Today" for 23 days in a row (8/14 - 9/14/12 - regular telecasts), representing the program's longest run of consecutive single-day Total Viewer wins in nearly 20 years - since a 28-day streak from 2/1 - 3/10/93.

Presenters for Sunday's Emmy Awards

Jane Levy, Hayden Panettiere, James Van Der Beek, Damon Wayans Jr., Aziz Ansari, Kat Dennings and Matthew Perry, along with Primetime Emmy(r) Award winners Kathy Bates and Jimmy Fallon and nominees Steve Buscemi, Stephen Colbert and Seth MacFarlane, have been announced as the final presenters for "The 64th Primetime Emmy(r) Awards." The telecast will air live coast to coast SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET /5:00-8:00 p.m., PT), on the ABC Television Network from the NOKIA Theater L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. 

AZIZ ANSARI - Star of the series "Parks & Recreation"

KATHY BATES - Winner for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series ("Two and a Half Men")

STEVE BUSCEMI - Nominee for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series ("Boardwalk Empire")

STEPHEN COLBERT - Nominee for Outstanding Variety Series ("The Colbert Report")

KAT DENNINGS - Star of the series "2 Broke Girls"

JIMMY FALLON - Winner for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series ("Saturday Night Live")

JANE LEVY - Star of the ABC series "Suburgatory"

SETH MACFARLANE - Nominee for Outstanding Animated Program ("American Dad")

HAYDEN PANETTIERE - Star of the Upcoming ABC series "Nashville"

MATTHEW PERRY - Star of the series "Go On"

JAMES VAN DER BEEK - Star of the ABC series "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23"

DAMON WAYANS JR. - Star of the ABC series "Happy Endings"

They join previously announced presenters Andre Braugher, Connie Britton, Louis C.K., Jon Cryer, Claire Danes, Jeremy Davies, Zooey Deschanel, Giancarlo Esposito, Tina Fey, Michael J. Fox, Ricky Gervais, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jon Hamm, Ron Howard, Mindy Kaling, Lucy Liu, Julianna Margulies, Melissa McCarthy, Julianne Moore, Jim Parsons Martha Plimpton, Amy Poehler, Kiefer Sutherland, Emily Van Camp and Kerry Washington.

Executive-produced by Don Mischer, "The 64th Primetime Emmy(r) Awards" will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, star and executive producer of the late-night ABC talk show, "Jimmy Kimmel Live." It will be broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1-channel surround sound, and carries a TV-14,D,L,V parental guideline.

President & First Lady on The View Together

Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie, executive producers of ABC's Emmy Award-winning talk show "The View," announced today that President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, and First Lady Michelle Obama, will make their first joint appearance on the show, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, ET). President Obama and Mrs. Obama will sit down with
 "The View" hosts Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd as part of the show's continuing "Red, White & View" campaign, which is committed to political guests and discussions.

"We are honored to host President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on 'The View,'" said Ms. Walters in making this announcement. "Although each of them has appeared several times on the program, this first joint appearance marks a significant milestone," she concluded. President Obama and the First Lady's interview, scheduled to tape Monday, September 24, will touch on such topics as their relationship, family life inside the White House and the election.

Monday, September 17, 2012

President Obama Returns to Letterman Tuesday Night

President Barack Obama will visit the LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN, Tuesday, Sept. 18 (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on CBS.

This will mark President Obama’s second visit to the LATE SHOW since his election as President of the United States in 2008 – he last appeared on the broadcast Sept. 21, 2009. Including his appearances when he served as U.S. Senator from Illinois and during his 2008 presidential campaign, this will be his seventh overall visit to the LATE SHOW.

Jesse Martin Returns to Singing in Smash

“Law & Order” star Jesse L. Martin – one of the original members of the Tony-winning “Rent” Broadway cast – will recur over an arc of six episodes in NBC’s “Smash” and will sing in some episodes when the musical drama series returns at mid-season.

Martin will play Scott Welker, who is the artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Workshop whose story crosses with virtually every cast member.

After an extensive career on Broadway in “Rent” and other productions, Martin initially attracted attention on television for his portrayal of a doctor who was the love interest for the title character in “Ally McBeal.” He then played Detective Ed Green on “Law & Order” from 1999 to 2008 and later starred on the series “The Philanthropist.”

Martin later returned to the stage in “The Merchant of Venice” and “A Winter’s Tale” at the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. He accompanied “The Merchant of Venice” when it was later staged at the Broadhurst Theater in New York.

“Smash” is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire – to be a Broadway star. The series stars Emmy Award winner Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”), Oscar winner Anjelica Huston (“Prizzi's Honor”), Jack Davenport (“Pirates of the Caribbean” films), Tony Award winner Christian Borle (“Peter and the Starcatcher”), Katharine McPhee (“American Idol”), Megan Hilty (“9 to 5: The Musical”), Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan (“Newsies”), Andy Mientus ("Spring Awakening"), Leslie Odom Jr. ("Leap of Faith") and Krysta Rodriguez ("Spring Awakening").

American Idol Makes New Judges Official

Fox has finally made the official announcement. When AMERICAN IDOL’s 12th season debuts in January, Mariah Carey – the best-selling female recording artist of all time – and returning judge Randy Jackson, will be joined by two new judges: quadruple-platinum singer, songwriter, rapper and fashion icon Nicki Minaj; and Keith Urban, a four-time Grammy Award winner who has sold more than 15 million albums.

Carey is a multiple Grammy Award-winning global star with more than 200 million records sold worldwide and more No. 1 songs than any solo artist in history, whose 18 Billboard No. 1 singles (17 of which Carey wrote) rival all but The Beatles. Known for her unique performance style and iconic fashion, Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Urban, one of country music’s biggest stars of the decade, has four Grammy Awards and 14 No. 1 hits, and was named Male Vocal Artist of the Year three times, as well as Entertainer of the Year, by the Country Music Association.

“I am thrilled about this year’s judges’ panel! We’ve got global icon Mariah Carey and IDOL’s heart and soul Randy Jackson, who will be joined by Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. Nicki’s an unbelievably captivating international phenomenon who has made an indelible mark on rap and pop. And Keith is another great addition to IDOL – he’s one of the biggest stars in country music and I know that our fans and contestants will fall in love with him,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “With an unparalleled star like Mariah, fan-favorite Randy, chart-toppers like Nicki and Keith and our incomparable host Ryan, we’ve put together one of the most exciting judging panels around.”

“We're ecstatic to welcome Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban to the AMERICAN IDOL family, joining Mariah and Randy at the judges’ table,” said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia. “Nicki is someone who represents a different side of the music industry, who has now crossed into mainstream culture with her unique artistry, style and flair. Keith is one of country music’s true stars who brings with him charm, wit and knowledge about the industry.”

Executive producer Simon Fuller noted, “With the exciting addition of Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj, alongside Randy Jackson, AMERICAN IDOL’s star power has never been so great. For this we have to thank the ongoing commitment and belief of FOX and the dedication and focus of the IDOL production team. We have all been together since the very beginning and we are focused on making IDOL Season 12 the best ever.”

“IDOL has truly never looked better,” said Marc Graboff, President of CORE Media Group (owner, 19 Entertainment). “We couldn't be more pleased about this new team of judges, and, along with our partners at FOX and Fremantle, look forward to a terrific Season 12.”

About Mariah Carey:
With a distinct five-octave vocal range, prolific songwriting and producing talent, Carey has defined the modern pop performance. As a singer/songwriter/producer, she has been recognized with multiple Grammy Awards, nine American Music Awards, Billboard’s Artist of the Decade Award, the World Music Award for World’s Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium and BMI’s Icon Award, to name a few. She has two consecutive and unparalleled Billboard Song of the Decade titles: “One Sweet Day” (with Boyz II Men); and “We Belong Together,” further marking her massive presence on the charts since her 1990 song debut “Vision of Love.” Mariah became the second artist in history and the first female performer to have a song debut at No. 1 with “Fantasy” (1995), the groundbreaking collaboration with O.D.B. of the innovative rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Carey’s original holiday classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” redefined its place in pop culture as one of the greatest holiday hits of all time when it reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2011, 17 years after its debut. Carey’s influential and stellar contribution to the music industry spans multiple genres and is showcased through a multifaceted hit catalog as well as a long list of diverse collaborations.

Carey's ongoing impact transcends the music industry and has left an indelible imprint upon the world at large. She recently made a substantial mark in film with her critically acclaimed role as a social worker in “Precious,” the 2009 film based on the novel “Push,” by Sapphire. A Congressional Award recipient, Carey has generously donated her time and energy to a range of domestic and international philanthropic causes near to her heart, including The Fresh Air Fund/Camp Mariah (a retreat where inner-city children explore career development), Save the Music Foundation and Make-a-Wish Foundation, among several others.

Carey is currently in the studio, writing, recording and executive-producing her next album for Island Def Jam Music Group, with the lead single “Triumphant.”

About Randy Jackson:
A music industry veteran of more than 20 years and a Grammy Award-winning producer, Randy Jackson began playing bass guitar at age 13 and got his big break when he joined the band Journey. A prolific producer, Jackson spent eight years as Vice President of A&R at Columbia Records, followed by four years as Senior Vice President of A&R at MCA Records. However, it was AMERICAN IDOL that propelled Jackson into the mainstream.  Jackson has since expanded into television production, setting up his Dream Merchant 21 Entertainment banner at Warner Horizon Television and launching the hit reality-competition series “Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew.”

About Nicki Minaj:
Nicki Minaj is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, songwriter and voice actress. Known for her underground mix-tape presence, Minaj garnered the attention of Lil Wayne, who signed her to his record label, Cash Money. She immediately rose to prominence when she released her debut album, “Pink Friday,” in November 2010. It quickly became a commercial success, peaking at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a month after its release. She simultaneously became the featured “It” girl on a string of high-profile singles from artists such as Madonna, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Drake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Ludacris, Justin Bieber, Trey Songz and Alicia Keys. Minaj also has become the first female solo artist to have seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Her seventh single, “Super Bass,” has since been certified quadruple-platinum by the RIAA and has sold more than four million copies, becoming one of the best-selling singles in the United States.

Minaj released her second studio album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” in April 2012, which topped charts internationally, and spawned the Top 10 singles “Starships” and “Pound the Alarm.” Since then, the album has sold one million copies worldwide, and has become one of the best-selling albums of 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan. At the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, she won Best Female Video for “Starships.” At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, she won Best Hip-Hop Video for “Super Bass.”

Nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award in the category of Best New Artist, Minaj’s rapping technique has been hailed by critics for its use of alter-egos, accents (notably, British) and rapid-fire pace. Equally well-known for her unique sense of style, her use of colorful wigs and outlandish costumes ranks her as one of the world’s leading fashion icons. Minaj is in the midst of her Pink Friday: RELOADED Tour.

About Keith Urban:
In 2001, the Country Music Association honored Keith Urban with its Horizon Award, designating him a talented artist with a bright future. He is the first Horizon Award winner in history to go on to win the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year, a title he’s captured three times, and the coveted Entertainer of the Year. More than 15 million albums later, Urban is a four-time Grammy Award winner, who has also won a People’s Choice and American Music Award. He’s won five Academy of Country Music Awards and had 14 No. 1 songs, including 28 Top 5 hits. In 2012, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. His latest CD, “Get Closer,” comes on the heels of his fifth consecutive platinum or multi-platinum release. It has produced three consecutive No. 1 singles: “You Gonna Fly,” “Long Hot Summer” and “Without You.”

In 2009, Urban was named radio’s most-played country artist, thanks to No. 1 hits such as “Sweet Thing,” “You’ll Think Of Me,” “Only You Can Love Me This Way,” “Better Life” and “Days Go By.” In addition, his 2002 smash, “Somebody Like You,” was named the No. 1 Country Song of the Decade by Nielsen BDS (based on radio airplay and audience impressions).

But Urban’s reputation as an elite songwriter, musician, vocalist and virtuoso guitarist is no more evident than when he is onstage. His electrifying concerts have played to sold-out venues in Australia, Germany, England, Canada and the United States, all while receiving high praise from critics. In fact, 2009’s Escape Together World Tour, as well as 2007’s Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy World Tour, were both, according to Pollstar, one of the top-grossing tours for their respective years. Last year, his Get Closer 2011 World Tour solidified Urban as one of the music industry’s best live performers.

AMERICAN IDOL has been the No. 1 entertainment program among Total Viewers for the past nine consecutive seasons. To date, IDOL alums have produced 356 No. 1 Billboard hits and garnered nearly 250 million iTunes downloads. Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips’ first single, “Home,” which was released May 23, has been certified platinum. Last year, Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery released his debut album “Clear As Day,” which dominated the Billboard Country Albums chart and has gone platinum, selling more than one million copies. McCreery is the youngest male artist to ever enter the U.S. albums charts at the No. 1 spot.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky Back on TV

Here's more proof that those who participate in The Bachelor and Bachelorette programs are looking for more than romance.  Ali Fedotowsky who "fell in love" with Roberto Martinez a couple of seasons back on The Bachelorette is single again and hosting her own TV program.  Here's the news from NBC:

A new season of 1st Look, the Emmy award-winning lifestyle program hosted by Ali Fedotowsky (The Bachelor, The Bachelorette) that delivers viewers the best places around the country to eat, play and indulge, premieres this Saturday, September 15 after Saturday Night Live. 1st Look’s new season promises some of the best finds yet, with Fedotowsky showcasing the most entertaining game nights, ultimate getaways, the most delicious food trucks around and much more.

“This season of 1st Look is the most fun we’ve ever had,” said Marni Kupfer, Vice President of Lifestyle Production for NBC Owned Television Stations, which produces the show. “Ali takes the viewers on an adventure with her every week. Each episode will have people saying, ‘That looks amazing – I need to try that!’”

“I have such great stories from all around the country and this new season of 1st Look is even more adventurous,” said Fedotowsky, who began hosting the show last spring. “This season, I am doing crazy fun things, like trampoline dodge ball and staying in an incredible place in the Grand Canyon that was beyond anything I could ever have imagined. This is the most fun job on Earth and I love bringing our viewers along for the ride!”

In this Saturday’s episode, Fedotowsky is on the prowl for the best game nights around, finding fun and unique ways for fun seekers to unwind and let loose. In New York, she makes her way into Il Vagabondo, a classic New York Italian restaurant where bocce ball is part of the eating experience. In Los Angeles, Fedotowsky hits SkyZone, a trampoline mecca, with Kevin Manno, where the duo unleash their competitive sides in a game of trampoline dodge ball. And in Chicago, Fedotowsky joins in the fun at WhirlyBall, home of the game that combines lacrosse, basketball and bumper cars.

The second episode of 1st Look, which airs on Saturday, September 22, features Fedotowsky checking into the most unique getaway options around the country. At the Grand Canyon Caverns Suites, she braves the depths of the Grand Canyon, checking into a 65 million year old hotel room and taking a whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River. At the luxurious Winvian Resort and Spa in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut, Fedotowsky explores this 113-acre preserve in which each of the 18 lodges has its own unique structure and accommodations, ranging from a cabin that you can play like an instrument to a tree house. She also heads to Kinnikinnick Farms in Northern Illinois to experience a working farm and stays in one of their amazing tents.

Saturday, September 29’s episode delivers a taste of the food truck movement, with Fedotowsky ordering up some of the newest and most delicious food served on wheels. In Los Angeles, she heads out to Jogaski, where she finds a global mash up of sushi burritos. She also travels to San Francisco to visit Del Popolo’s for the slice that’s taking pizza delivery to the next level. This truck is actually a shipping container, with an authentic brick oven from Italy inside where the pizza is prepared, which can all seen from the outside through a glass wall. In Chicago, food on wheels has literally gone to the dogs when Fedotowsky pays a visit to Fido’s.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

MSNBC Beats Other Cable Networks for the Week of September 3rd

MSNBC was the most-watched cable news network in Monday – Friday primetime (8 – 11 p.m.) for the week of September 3, beating both CNN and FOX News Channel. Last week included extensive coverage from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

For the week, MSNBC averaged 2.53 million total viewers in M-F primetime. FNC and CNN tied with 2.35 million for the week.

This is the first time in MSNBC’s 16 year history that weekday primetime ranked #1 in total viewers for a full week. The week of Sept. 3 was also the network’s second best-ever weekly primetime performance – best was week of Nov. 3, 2008 (presidential election) with 2.73 million total viewers.

Did You Catch "Katie" Yesterday? Ratings were Good

Reports are that "Katie," the new talk show from Katie Couric was anything but overwhelmingly entertaining during its debut as a nationally syndicated program yesterday.  But the ratings were high relative to other high profile talk show premieres.

According to Metered Market, a ratings service, Katie had a 2.8 household rating and a 9 share in the top 56 markets.  That means the show is tied with Rachael Ray's debut in 2006.  Both shows are topped only by Dr. Phil 2002 premiere.

Katie is airing at 3 p.m. weekdays in most markets, many of which are ABC affiliates and include the ABC owned and operated TV stations. It displaced General Hospital in the time slot; GH now airs at 2 on ABC.

The show's initial guests were Jessica Simpson and Sheryl Crow.  But first, there was a video of Katie lying in bed dreaming about the Today Show.  When she woke up, there was Matt Lauer next to her in bed.  Geez.

Simpson had the first half hour to talk about her post-baby weight loss and affiliation with Weight Watchers.  Many reviewers said the extended segment sounded like one big commercial for WW.  (Simpson didn't lose as much weight as she expected, though 40 pounds since May sounds pretty good.)

Other talk shows debuting recently were Steve Harvey, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst, none of which came close to Katie's draw.  All this competition is reportedly digging into the ratings for Anderson Cooper's show, now known as Anderson Live.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sneak Peak at ABC Fall Premieres

From ABC, here are a few snippets of what's to come on the opening episodes of the network's most popular programs:

Modern Family
In the Season 4 premiere, "Bringing Up Baby," Jay's birthday is upon us again and, as before, he makes it well-known that he wishes to keep it as low key as possible, with no grand gestures or surprises. But leave it to the family to miss the mark yet again! Phil takes Jay on a very unconventional fishing trip with his buddies, and Gloria struggles with how to break the pregnancy news to him. Meanwhile, Dylan moves into the Dunphy household temporarily, and Mitch and Cam decide to look into adopting a cat as they continue to cope with their failed attempt to adopt another child.  WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET).

The guest cast includes Reid Ewing as Dylan, Chazz Palminteri as Shorty, Ernie Hudson as Miles and Emily Happe as Candice.
"After the Storm" - After four seasons of "will they" or "won't they," Richard Castle and Kate Beckett finally gave in to their feelings for each other in the much anticipated Season 4 finale. Season 5 picks up on the proverbial morning after, with Castle and Beckett facing new questions -- Was this a one-time fling, or are they now a couple? But before they find the answers, they must take on the forces responsible for Beckett's mother's murder that now threaten Kate Beckett's life. The Season 5 premiere of "Castle" airs MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET).

Guest Cast: Jack Coleman as Senator Bracken, Tahmoh Penikett as Cole Maddox, Maurice Warfield as Vice President Russell, Geoff Pierson as Mr. Smith.
Private Practice
"Aftershock" - Addison settles into her new life after making a decision between Jake and Sam; Violet fears the worst when Pete doesn't show up to his preliminary court hearing; and Charlotte swears Cooper to secrecy when she receives shocking news. Meanwhile, Amelia celebrates one year of sobriety and Sheldon rekindles a romance with his ex-wife, on the sixth-season premiere of "Private Practice," TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET).

Guest starring Alex Rocco as Ed Diamanti, Justina Machado as Stephanie Kemp, and Jillian Bach as Debra Diamanti.
The Middle
"Last Whiff of Summer" - Frankie's plans to recreate the magic of her own childhood summers are foiled when Mike lets it slip that Axl is his favorite Heck child, and Frankie tries to coax the kids into telling them who their favorite parent is. Meanwhile, when Frankie and Mike discover that Axl failed English during the past school year, they force him to make it up in summer school, otherwise he could jeopardize any chance of getting a college sports scholarship after graduation; Brick takes up growing a tomato for his summer project; and Sue tries to bond with a reluctant Mike and to get him involved in different activities with her -- which she plans to document in a giant scrapbook -- on the season premiere of "The Middle," WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET).

Guest starring are Sarah Buehler as office worker, Van Epperson as guy with flag, Hilary Pingle as mom, Ron Rogge as dad and Davis Desmond as boy.
"Destiny" - In the wake of last summer's events in the Hamptons and with the ante even higher, what will Emily's next move be? Will she be able to manage her heart and keep her emotions from getting in the way of her resolve to avenge her father? The Season Two premiere of "Revenge" airs on the series' new night and time, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET).

Guest starring Barry Sloane as Aiden Mathis, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Takeda, Margarita Levieva as Amanda Clarke and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Kara Wallace Clarke.


Saturday Night Live Adds Three Cast Members

NBC's "Saturday Night Live" has added three featured players, Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson and Cecily Strong.

 Bryant trained with iO Chicago, Annoyance Theatre and was an ensemble member of the Second City E.T.C Stage.

Robinson, also an alumnus of The Second City, performed on their Mainstage and in their National Touring Company. He has also performed at the iO Theater in Chicago and at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

Strong has performed as a member of the Second City National Touring Company and has studied at the iO Theater.

SNL enters its 38th season on September 15, with Seth MacFarlane as host and musical guest Frank Ocean.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Michael Strahan's First Week on Live!

Kelly Ripa with her new
co-host, Michael Strahan,
on their first official day.
So what do you think of Michael Strahan's first week as the official co-host of Live! with Kelly and Michael?

I am not sure he was the right choice.  He's definitely a funny guy with a lot of energy who seems to be up for everything.  Yesterday, I saw him lift Kelly Ripa and Kristin Chenoweth and carry each in one arm.  So, he's good on the sight gags and not afraid to mix it up for the sake of comedy.

Strahan tells a good story.  Early this week, he told of going out with his fiance, Nicole Murphy (formerly Eddie Murphy's wife), and his daughter.  They were all at the U.S. Open having lunch and using their cell phones instead of talking to each other.   He made it good for a few laughs.

He's okay with the interviews, knowing how to ask questions and to actually listen to the answers for follow-ups.  I saw the show twice this week and gave him a thumbs up as an interviewer.

But, the key question for me is whether or not he's as quick with the one-liners, which is the one strength you need on a show like Live!  Kelly Ripa is a master.  Regis Philbin was good until he got older, and even then he wasn't bad at all.  Kelly's predecessor, Kathie Lee Gifford, was alright, but she had other strengths that made her appealing, at least back in the day when she was on the show.

I'm not so sure yet about Strahan.

I can also say with relative certainty that I won't turn on Live! just to watch Michael Strahan or to watch the chemistry between the two hosts.  I'm certainly willing to give Strahan a chance, but he'll have to win me over.

Oh, and I'd love to see him get his teeth fixed.  Can't a guy who made a lot of money playing football, who was a football analyst for FOX and is now the host of one of the most popular talk shows in history afford a little dental work?

What do you think?  I'm interested to hear from readers on this.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Master Chef Finalists Reveal Inside Info

During a conference call with the media this afternoon, the two finalists in the FOX program, Master Chef, revealed that their competition to be named the best home cook in the U.S. includes some help from professionals.

When this reporter posed a question about what goes on "behind the scenes," the two answered, but first turned to executive producer Robin Ashbrook to make sure they didn't reveal show secrets.

Josh Marks, the seven-foot contender from Mississippi who works for the U.S. Army, said the Master Chefs are given cooking lessons and have the opportunity to study recipes from a library full of cookbooks, "pretty much every cook book ever written."

He said they work and film six days per week during the 11 weeks of the competition and when they're not filming, they're practicing and studying.

Marks said the cooking classes during the past season included those on how to make a pie crust and other techniques for creating pastries and desserts, perhaps in anticipation of the high stakes souffle bake-off from a couple of weeks ago.

The participants did make it clear that there is no direct assistance for the dishes the chefs are tasked with during their challenges, and that no actual recipes are provided.  There does seem to be some coaching that prepares them for each.

"During the challenge, there's no way in heck that you have a recipe in hand," said Marks.

Christina Ha, his competitor, a fiction writer and grad student from Houston, who is blind, said it's up to each person to decide how much prep to take in.  Some avail themselves; others don't.

"We don't go into the challenges knowing what we're going to cook," she insisted.  "It's up to you to decide how much you're going to study."

Questions from other reporters revolved around which professional chef among the three on the show - Gordon Ramsey, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich - are the most intimidating and when each realized they had a shot to win the whole competition.

To the first question, Josh said Ramsey was the chef he most liked to impress because he sees Ramsey as the best of the of the three.  Not surprisingly if you're a viewer of the program, Christina thought Joe Bastianich was the toughest.

Ha also said the oft-bombastic Ramsey didn't favor her because of her handicap, that he had cursed at her and told her at least once that her food didn't taste good.

Both thought their opportunity to win became most real during the past five shows as the other competitors fell away.

In their final challenge, the two will be asked to conceptualize and prepare a three-course meal before the judges determine the winner who will receive a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize. The final episode airs Monday, Sept. 10 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Tom Brokaw Okay After Trip to Hospital

NBC News president Steve Capus has announced that Tom Brokaw was released this afternoon from a Charlotte, NC hospital.

Brokaw was feeling light-headed this morning during his appearance on Morning Joe at the Democratic National Convention and was taken to Carolinas Medical Center.

“After medical evaluation and a round of tests, Tom was pronounced in great health and has been discharged. We're immensely grateful to the team at Carolinas Medical Center for their excellent care and professionalism,” said Capus.

Around 10am ET, Brokaw tweeted:

“All is well. Early AM I mistakenly took a half dose of Ambien and made less sense than usual. Made a better comeback than Giants...”

Opening Night of DNC Draws 26.2 Million TV Viewers

An estimated 26.2 million people watched the opening night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, September 4, according to Nielsen.   That number is 4 million below the estimated 22.3 million people who tuned in to watch the opening night of the 2012 Republican National Convention on Tuesday, August 28.  (It was pushed back a day due to Hurricane Isaac and nine networks and featured speeches by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ann Romney.)

The kickoff night of the DNC was carried live from Charlotte, North Carolina across nine networks and featured a speech by First Lady Michelle Obama and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

While coverage varied by network, all nine aired live coverage from approximately 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM. The chart below highlights the sum of the average audience for these networks during common coverage.

     Rating   Number of Viewers
All Households    17.3   19,707,000
Persons 2+    9.1   26,245,000
Persons 18-34    4.7   3,163,000
Persons 35-54    8.6   6,923,000
Persons 55+    19.5   15,219,000

Networks Included:
Day 1 – ABC, CBS, NBC, BET, CNN, Current TV, FOX News, MSNBC and PBS.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sullivan & Son on TBS Renewed

TBS has ordered a second season of the popular new sitcom Sullivan & Son.  Currently airing Thursdays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), the comedy is averaging more than 2.5 million viewers in its first season and ranks as one of the Top 25 new summer series on television.  TBS has ordered 10 episodes for the second season, which is slated to launch in 2013.

"Sullivan & Son has gotten off to a strong start, quickly building its own fan base," said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "We've had a great time working with Steve Byrne, Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley, Rob Long and the wonderful cast and crew of Sullivan & Son, and we look forward to seeing the show continue to grow in 2013."

TBS's Sullivan & Son stars Steve Byrne as a corporate attorney who finds new life behind the bar when he leaves his Manhattan lifestyle and moves to Pittsburgh to take over his parents' pub. Byrne is joined by a stellar ensemble cast that includes Christine Ebersole, Brian Doyle-Murray, Jodi Long, Valerie Azlynn, Vivian Bang, Owen Benjamin and Dan Lauria.

Sullivan & Son is executive-produced by Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and showrunner Rob Long. Created by Long and Byrne, Sullivan & Son comes to TBS from Wild West Television in association with Warner Horizon Television.

Master Chef Down to Two

Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot announced the Top Two finalists on MASTERCHEF: Christine Ha, a blind graduate student from Houston, TX, and Josh Marks, a U.S. Army Contract Specialist from Jackson, MS. Becky Reams, a food photographer from Stilwell, KS, was sent home after an emotional elimination round.

“Joe, Graham and I have been utterly blown away by the standard of cooking this season,” said judge and executive producer Gordon Ramsay. “Josh and Christine’s cooking styles and personalities couldn’t be more different, but they both truly deserve their spot in the final and they’re both very hungry to win. Trust me, it’s going to be one hell of a battle for the title of MASTERCHEF.”

“Josh and Christine have grown leaps and bounds since audition day, and it has been a pleasure for Graham, Gordon, and myself to watch these two incredibly strong competitors transform from talented home cooks to inspiring MASTERCHEF finalists,” judge Joe Bastianiach noted.

"Christine and Josh have proven that they deserve a spot in the finale," added judge Graham Elliot. "From Christine's incredible palate to Josh's remarkably bold flavors, both home cooks are not only exceptionally talented, but their undeniable passion for cooking has inspired us as judges."

Next week, on the season finale airing Monday, Sept. 10 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), the Top Two finalists have one last chance to prove to the judges that they have the passion, skill and drive worthy of the MASTERCHEF title. In their final challenge, Christine Ha and Josh Marks will conceptualize and prepare the most important three-course meal of their lives. Later, the judges will reveal America’s next MASTERCHEF, and one deserving home cook will walk away with a book deal and the $250,000 grand prize.
MASTERCHEF will once again travel across the country and give talented home cooks the chance to prove they have what it takes to make their mark on the culinary world. Open casting calls for Season Four of MASTERCHEF will be held on the following dates:
San Diego, CA
Saturday, Oct. 6
Minneapolis, MN
Saturday, Oct. 13
Nashville, TN
Saturday, Oct. 13
Chicago, IL
Saturday, Oct. 20
Miami, FL
Saturday, Oct. 20
Dallas, TX
Saturday, Oct. 27
Cleveland, OH
Saturday, Oct. 27
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Nov. 3
Boston, MA
Saturday, Nov. 3
New York, NY
Saturday, Nov. 10
Portland, OR
Saturday, Nov. 10
Additional details, including venues and times, will be announced soon. Visit www.masterchefcasting.com for the most up-to-date audition information.

The Top Two finalists reveal their favorite MASTERCHEF moments:

Christine Ha
Age: 32
Occupation: Graduate Student
Hometown: Houston, TX
Mystery Box Challenges Won: 1
Team Challenges Won: 4
Keep up with Christine at:

Christine’s favorite MASTERCHEF moment: My favorite MASTERCHEF moment is undoubtedly meeting all of these people who are so different from me and each other, and observing how, regardless of our various backgrounds, we share a common love for food and the creation of it. Experiencing some of the most intense moments of our lives together fostered inexplicable bonds, and many of these people have become family to me.”

Josh Marks
Age: 24
Occupation: U.S. Army Contract Specialist
Currently Resides: Jackson, MS
Mystery Box Challenges Won: 1
Team Challenges Won: 1
Keep up with Josh at:

Josh’s Favorite MASTERCHEF moment: “Cooking at Venice Beach for the Food Truck Team Challenge was, hands down, my favorite moment. The best part was when Gordon came in screaming at us, but when he tasted our food he simply said, ‘It’s delicious!’ and walked out!”

On Tuesday, Sept. 18 MASTERCHEF fans can cook their favorite recipes from the show with the release of MASTERCHEF: THE ULTIMATE COOKBOOK. Readers can pick up kitchen tips from judges Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot, along with the Top 18 contestants from Season Three and some fan favorites from the show’s first two seasons. MASTERCHEF: THE ULTIMATE COOKBOOK also presents more than 100 of Season Three’s best recipes that will transform home kitchens into premiere culinary destinations.

Hell's Kitchen Finalists

Gordon Ramsay last night revealed which two chefs will compete for the title of HELL’s KITCHEN winner: Justin Antiorio from Lyndhurst, NJ, and Christina Wilson from Philadelphia, PA. Dana Cohen of River Vale, NJ, was eliminated. 

As Justin and Christina head into the final showdown on Monday, Sept. 10 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX, they are preparing for the most important dinner service of their lives. In designing their menus, they have carefully selected teams of their past competitors to stand behind them as they face their final test. Tune in to see who will win the life-changing grand prize – a head chef position, working under Executive Chef Kevin Hee, at Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

The Top Two Finalists:

Name: Justin Antiorio
Age: 29
Occupation: Sous Chef
Hometown: Lyndhurst, NJ
Twitter: @ChefJustinHK

Justin’s Highlight: HELL’S KITCHEN has been an unbelievable experience for me and the highlight has been learning so much about myself as a person and really seeing how much patience I have. Being one of the final two contestants is by far one of my greatest accomplishments and with not many chefs making it this far in ten seasons, it is truly an honor and a privilege.”

Name: Christina Wilson
Age: 32
Occupation: Chef de Cuisine
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Twitter: @ChefChristinaW

Christina’s Highlight: I think the highlight for me came when Chef Ramsay announced me as the first contestant going through to the finals. Watching now, I can see in my face that I'm at my breaking point mentally and physically on the show. My emotions have just been jarred by seeing my family and I am running on a whole different kind of adrenaline right now. This moment was big for me because when I needed to dig deeper, I was able to. Now I just need one more big push and I'll be Vegas-bound!”