The clock that's been ticking since November on The Chase, NBC's highly promoted Jerry Bruckheimer crime drama, has finally struck midnight. NBC has pulled the low-rated show from its Wednesday timeslot in favor of an extra hour of contest show Minute To Win It. There are several unaired episodes in the can, but don't expect to see them except possibly as a summer burn-off.
The Kennedys has finally found a home. The Hollywood Reporter says the miniseries will debut on ReelzChannel,a cable movie network that's available in about 60 million American homes. The miniseries, starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes, has been searching for a venue the past three weeks after the History Channel folded in the face of Kennedy family pressure and decided not to show it.
With Charlie Sheen in rehab, and Two And A Half Men out of production, CBS has some big gaps in its schedule. The network just announced it has ordered two episodes apiece of Mike And Molly and Rules Of Engagement to help fill the empty time slots.
I've had a lot of email over the years from viewers who wondered why CBS never disciplined Sheen for his regular adventures with hookers and/or mind-altering substances. The answer is that he always came to work, and CBS didn't care (much, anyway) about any image problems. Particularly since they more or less matched up with the image of his party-boy character on the series.
But that may change. The Hollywood Reporter says Sheen has jeopardized $250 million in syndication fees and countless millions more in ad revenue by going off the rails. That's the kind of thing that will get your named linked with Lindsay Lohan's not in gossip columns but corporate accounting offices.
Programming note: The Two And A Half Men episode scheduled next week -- one of only two remaining in the can -- is titled Three Hookers And A Philly Cheesesteak. Heh-heh.
The lastest scheme to resurrect The Kennedys miniseries, reports Deadline Hollywood , is to air it on stations belonging to Tribune Broadcasting. (Good news for South Florida: They include WSFL-CW 39, as well as channels in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia and other big markets.) Tribune, in turn, might sell the series to stations in cities where it doesn't own anything.) All this is said to be contingent on permission from the History Channel, which even though it refused to air the show under pressure from the Kennedy family, retains veto rights on where it can air.
Kennedys’ Home Movies (9 p.m. Sunday, TLC) –- There’s no longer a single member of the family holding elective office, but many Americans remain fascinated by the Kennedy dynasty. This documentary uses home movies, snapshots and other souvenirs to trace the family political history starting with patriarch Joe and ending up with the aspiring young pols of the fourth generation.
Independent Lens: For Once In My Life (11 p.m. Tuesday, WPBT-PBS 2) –- A profile of Miami’s Spirit of Goodwill band, a collection of 29 musicians with disabilities ranging from autism to blindness.
Note: Days and times for PBS shows are for the Miami area, and may differ elsewhere
Let me program your TiVo! Just click on my best bets for the week at www.tivo.com/guruguide.
Stuff to read on a Friday afternoon: A Hollywood Reporter piece on why the cable-news nets cannot shut up about Sarah Palin for even five minutes at a time. (Most horrifying factlet in the story: In one five-hour span, MSNBC mentioned Palin in connection with the Arizona massacre 166 times; Jared Loughner, the accused gunman, only 18 times.) Gossip in the New York Post that ex-NBC boss Jeff Zucker and soon to be ex-CBS anchor Katie Couric, who worked together at The Today Show all those years ago, may be planning a syndicated talk show. And the scoop from Deadline Hollywood that HBO has picked up the newest drama series from West Wing's Aaron Sorkin. This one takes place behind the scenes at a cable-news network. No word yet on who will play Sarah Palin.
Television and the Internet are merging with such whiplash speed that viewers for a while will have trouble keeping track of all the little technological boxes on top of their sets, much less the countless thousands of shows they can watch, entertainment executives told a TV producers' convention Tuesday in Miami Beach.
"With more and more content out there, it becomes hard and harder to find,'' said Nick Buzzell, a producer at NBTV Studios, which makes shows for TV and the Internet. "With all this digital technology, there's still consumer confusion. . . . [And] if the consumer is confused, none of it's going to work.''
Buzzell was speaking at one of several panels on the convergence of TV and the Internet held on the second day of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) meeting at the Fontainebleau Hotel.
With a plethora of devices from video-game consoles to DVD players now able to liberate the Internet from computers and carry it onto television sets and an increasing number of companies that provide movies, TV shows and original content via broadband rather than broadcast, viewers are headed for uncharted territory, the executives agreed.
"The explosion of online video has just begun,'' said Ted Sarandos, who acquires movies and TV shows for Netflix. Read my full story in Wednesday's Miami Herald.
It won't be the most colossal sale made this week at the Fontainebleau. But it surely tells you everything you need to know about this week's convention of the National Association of Television Program Executives, where 5,000 members of the boob-tube-ousie are gathering to wheel and deal TV shows.
"I'm not going to tell you the name of the country,'' says Stephen J. Davis, president of Hasbro Studios, which makes family and children's shows such as The Transformers. ``But my head of sales came bursting into my office. `This is great! They want to buy everything we have! And they want to pay $55 an episode!'
"And we're going to do it, even though what they're paying us won't cover the cost of shipping the shows. Because you want to get a toehold in that market.''
From $55-a-show blue-plate specials to staggering intercontinental deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars, practically everything you've ever seen on television plus much more that you haven't is on sale at the three-day NATPE convention that kicks off Monday.
Though NATPE also includes educational sessions, professional seminars and just-plain-stargazing interludes with people such as Regis Philbin and Sabado Gigante's Don Francisco, the convention has less to do with art than with the art of the deal. NATPE is the television industry's most bustling international marketplace. Producers, network executives and TV-station bosses from all over the world will be schmoozing and selling shows. And as with that Hasbro deal that Davis hopes to seal here, no market is too small.
"We have meetings each half hour, all over the hotel,'' says Marta Sacasa, vice president of a Nicaraguan station, who expects to take a dozen or so shows home with her to the smallest TV market in Central America. "We have meetings at breakfast, meetings at lunch, meetings at dinner, meetings over drinks. And then there are the random meetings in corridors, which might be the most important of them all.'' Read my full story on NATPE wheeling and dealing in Monday's Miami Herald.
Archer (10 p.m. Thursday, FX) Returning for a second season, this animated spy spoof is pee-in-your- pants hilarious. If these venal, hypersexed and dumbfoundingly stupid spies were actually running U.S. intelligence - well, things probably wouldn't be all that different, except a lot funnier.
Selling The Girl Next Door (8 p.m. Sunday, CNN) Reporter Amber Lynn went undercover as a prospective hooker to do this sobering report on teenage prostitution, which by some accounts involves hundreds of thousands of girls under the age of 18.
American Experience: Panama Canal (9 p.m. Monday, WPBT-PBS 2) The Panama Canal, completed in 1914 after a disastrous French attempt to build it failed, was the greatest engineering marvel in U.S. history until the space program came along. But it exacted a terrible price in lives and dollars, as this documentary recounts.
Note: Days and times for PBS shows are for the Miami area, and may differ elsewhere.
Let me program your TiVo! Just click on my best bets for the week at www.tivo.com.
ABC has just announced that Nightlinewill shink by six minutes on Feb. 4. Nightline will sign off at midnight, six minutes earlier than it does now, and Jimmy Kimmel Live will get the extra six minutes. Innocent bystanders are advised to seek immediate shelter from all the incoming "End of broadcast journalism as we know it!" missiles expected to follow the announcement.