Tonight marks the season 5 premiere of AMC’s breakout drama Mad Men. Can you even recall the last time you watched an original episode on TV? To refresh your memory, the date was October 17, 2010. Those were the days…
I hope you’re excited to be reacquainted with the likes of Sterling Cooper Draper Price because tonight’s (3/25) premiere is extra long maxing out at two hours. It all starts at 9PM on AMC. Check out some cool stills in the gallery below, and watch a promo after the break.
Update: Last night’s Mad Men season 5 opener brought about record ratings for the period drama. 3.5 million total viewers tuned in to the two-hour premiere (that’s up a significant 21% from season four debut), crowning this episode the series’ most watched episode to date. And so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the important demo numbers are way up, too: in adults 18-49 the show drew 1.6 million viewers (an increase of 30% from the season four debut) and in adults 25-54 it attracted 1.7 million viewers (up 17%). Here’s one more tally for you to nod your head in amazement at: if you include the encore airing of the premiere, a total of 4.4 million people watched last night’s episode. These ratings can’t touch AMC’s other staple The Walking Dead but still I say, hot damn. AMC president Charlie Collier says, “Almost five years ago, with a focus on distinction and quality, AMC launched Mad Men as the first series in its commitment to original scripted dramatic television. Mad Men set the bar high and we are incredibly proud that it continues to engage audiences looking for unexpected, unconventional and uncompromising television.”
If you were touched by the one hour “preview event” that FOX aired of the Tim Kring (Heroes) / Kiefer Sutherland (24) drama in January, then let this be a friendly reminder that the story of interconnectedness continues tonight (3/22) with the “world premiere” of Touch. Last week the network re-aired the emotional and highly rated pilot episode, and tonight things continue where they were left off in the second episode titled “1+1=3.” FOX will air the 13-episode season uninterrupted through May and if the ratings remain strong throughout then you can expect a second season order shortly thereafter.
Touch airs Thursday nights at 9PM on FOX. Follow the journey leading up to the premiere right here.
Update: The ratings are in, and even though they aren’t as high as the numbers from January’s preview episode, they are impressive nonetheless. 11.7 million total viewers tuned into last night’s episode (down 3% from the pilot which clocked in 11.9 million viewers) and scored a 3.2/9 among adults 18-49 (that’s down 18% from the pilot which logged a 3.9/10 in the demo). Paired with American Idol, Touch helped FOX dominate the night in total viewers and the 18-49 demo. All told, Touch is still primed to be a breakout drama for the network. Let’s hope ratings stabilize around these numbers (or better yet–grow!) so that FOX won’t have to sweat it out when it comes time to announce its plans for the 2012-13 TV season.
Human Beings, rejoice! After an extended and dreadful three month hiatus, Community is back.
The 2+ minute trailer embedded above shouts “One community will rise again and everything we know will Chang.” It also previews what’s in store for the second half of the cult comedy’s third season: so much funny.
Hailed as “the entertainment event of the year” by the deep-voiced trailer narrator, Community makes it big comeback tonight (3/15) at 8PM on NBC. For the sake of all that is good in this world, do tune in, tell your friends, and make an effort to support a season renewal of this smart and refreshingly unique sitcom.
Update: The Community comeback episode was up a solid 47% in the ratings from its last original airing on December 7 in the all-important 18-49 demo (2.2/7); that’s a season high. 4.9 million total viewers were accounted for, and that’s up 36% from the last episode. A couple of accolades have been awarded to last night’s airing: it’s been crowned the #1 program in adults 18-34 and men 18-34 during its 8-8:30PM timeslot among the other big networks, beating out FOX’s juggernaut American Idol. Keep in mind, however, that all this went down when CBS aired March Madness in place of their own ratings monster The Big Bang Theory. Still, if Community stabilizes around these numbers and doesn’t drop too far from here a season renewal might be in the comedy’s future.
Rick Grimes and company return tonight in the season 2 premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead. There’s a new showrunner in town (season 1 producer Glenn Mazzara has replaced Frank Darabont at the top), but you can expect the epic storytelling and zombie-infested thrills to absolutely remain in tact. If the season 2 trailer that debuted at Comic Con has anything to say, it’s that this time around every aspect of this amazing show is only going to get better. The creative team led by Darabont and comic book originator Robert Kirkman quickly found their footing in the premiere season, introducing the wide range of characters with precision, emotional impact, and top notch storytelling. This time around AMC is allotting the show 13 episodes; if you were wowed by all that went down in season 1 (which contained a 6-episode story arc), we can only imagine what they are going to do with over double the amount of time. After eyeballing the season 2 poster (which rivals the season 1 poster in how awesome it is), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the survivors will reach Hershel’s farm, an important stop on their journey to salvation as the readers of the comics already know. As a personal aside, I really hope that Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) returns as The Governor!
The Walking Dead returns tonight at 9PM on AMC in an expanded 90-minute episode. FYI, the season will be split in two. Seven episodes will air consecutively this fall and then the show will go on an extended hiatus starting November 4. The remaining six episodes will air beginning February 12 in the new year. Lastly, don’t forget to watch Talking Dead, a live half-hour after-show hosted by Chris Hardwick that will air immediately follow each episode and recap and discuss it. Sunday night is about to become the best time of the week.
Gallery 1 contains shiny character profiles; in the one below that you’ll find stills from the premiere ep “What Lies Ahead.”
Update: The Walking Dead season 2 premiere scared up quite the audience. Check out these record-breaking numbers for a cable program: the premiere at 9PM drew 7.3 million total viewers and 4.8 million viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic. Compared to last year’s pilot, that’s up 38 percent in total viewers (last year: 5.3 million), 36 percent in 18-49 (3.6 million), and 35 percent in 25-54 (3.1 million). And if you factor in the two encore presentations that followed at 10:30PM and 12:30AM, a grand total of 11 million tuned into the season 2 opener. This marks a series high for AMC’s gory staple.
AMC president Charlie Collier shared his excitement over the big ratings. “The Walking Dead is one of those rare television programs that reaches both a core genre fan as well as broad audiences simply looking for a great, character-based story. That The Walking Dead is now the most watched drama in the history of basic cable is staggering, just like our zombies.”
After an extended three month hiatus, NBC’s sci-fi drama The Event returns to the airwaves tonight. After a promising start (remember–what happened to that plane?!), the mysteries started piling on top of each other with no cohesive plot thread tying them together and this resulted in contrived, lackluster plotlines that failed to challenge the viewer intellectually (or in any way for that matter). Save for the handful of character-driven episodes the first half of the season was dominated by run-of-the-mill action sequences, cheesy dialogue, and lots of running (Sean and Leila need more to do!). As the show’s creativity lost its touch early on, viewers dropped in significant numbers. The long hiatus provided the show’s creators plenty of time to retool things; I have faith that the show can transform itself from a rollercoaster of good-decent-filler episodes into a reliable mystery drama that’ll make me want to tune in every week. But first things first–they’ve got to tell us what the event IS! Perhaps episode 15 will provide some answers.
The Event returns tonight at 9PM on NBC. It’s a 2 hour, erm, event, so set your DVRs accordingly. Check out photos from “And Then There Were More” and “Inostranka” in the gallery below. Beware of minor spoilers. Need a refresher? Jump after the break to watch a brief recap.
Update: To the surprise of no one The Event returned not with a bang but as a bust. Though the two-hour return was (for the most part) fast-paced with some fun action segments, the writing is still poor and the story is, well, uneventful. The ratings agree: the show drew a 1.4/4 in the 18-49 demo and 5.2 million total viewers. That’s down 26% from its last original airing back on November 29. If these numbers don’t start to steadily increase and stabilize between now and April, you can kiss this thrill-less sci-fi thriller goodbye.
I consider the 2005-2009 FOX series Prison Break to be one of the most thrilling and entertaining serialized programs produced for television. The Break writer/producer team Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora is ready for a second outing in a familiar setting. Tonight is the series premiere of Breakout Kings, an ensemble drama following an unconventional partnership between the U.S. Marshals’ office and a group of convicts as they work to catch fugitives on the run. “It takes a con to catch a con” is the show’s slogan–sounds like a fun concept. If you’re a loyal Break fan then obviously you know what to expect from Olmstead and Santora; namely edge-of-your-seat action sequences and smart, witty dialogue. Though Kings will play out more like a procedural (the show will focus on a new criminal each week), it is being described as a character-based show so the relationships and personalities that form amongst the ensemble cast of cops and convicts will play an integral part in the show’s development. If you need a solid reason to tune in each week here it is: Break’s Robert Knepper will be reprising the brilliantly sinister Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell later this season in a four episode arc!
Breakout Kings begins its 13-episode season tonight at 10PM on A&E. Check out stills from the pilot below, and click here to read more about show.
Bonus! Click here to watch the producers discuss the round table writing process.
Update: The Breakout Kings premiere received the highest demo numbers for an A&E drama series–1.5 million adults 18-49 and 1.6 million adults 25-54. That’s up 25% and 14%, respectively, from the network’s previous ratings record holder The Glades (which premiered in July 2010). In terms of total viewership, Kings‘ 2.9 million viewers did not beat out The Glades‘ undisputed record of 3.6 million. Says Bob DeBitetto, President and general manager of A&E and BIO: “Breakout Kingsis a smart, action-packed drama with great storytelling and authentic well-drawn characters. Clearly the series has struck a chord with the younger viewers.” Yes, yes it has.
Last night’s Grammy Awards proved to be an exciting night filled with some stellar performances and surprise wins. The most memorable performances include the opening ode to Aretha Franklin (performed by Florence Welch, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams, and Jennifer Hudson), Lady Gaga’s high energy rendition of her new single “Born This Way,” Muse’s flashy “Uprising” performance (what a fantastic song, they deserved the win), the unofficial rap group comprised of Bruno Mars, B.o.B., and Janelle Monae, Mumford and Sons with the Avett Bros., Eminem and newcomer Skylar Grey welcoming back Dr. Dre, Mick Jagger (he’s still got it), and Arcade Fire not one but two performances. In the end, though, my favorite performance of the night has to go to Cee-Lo’s “Forget You” duet with Gwyneth Paltrow and a whole bunch of muppets. The man was dressed as a colorful armored peacock, props! From egg hatching to peacocking, all in all it was an entertaining show to say the least. It also happened to be the highest rated Grammy broadcast since 2004 attracting 26.7 million viewers with a 10.0 adults 18-49 rating.
Now let’s cover the night’s big winners. Lady Antebellum took home five Grammys including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Country Album; “Need You Now” was all over the place. Though Eminem headed into the show with a whopping 10 nominations, Recovery only nabbed him two wins (Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance for “Not Afraid”). Lady Gaga, John Legend, and Jay-Z each took him three trophies, while Esperanza Spalding pulled off the night’s biggest upset to steal Best New Artist from Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine, and Drake. Alt. rock band Arcade Fire also surprised many by taking home Album of the Year against big names like Eminem, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and the night’s shiner Lady Antebellum. Their encore performance at the end of the telecast solidified their highly deserved win.
Typing that post title makes me feel so happy. Anticipation was high before AMC debuted The Walking Dead on Halloween, and creatives Frank Darabont, Gale Anne Hurd, Robert Kirkman and special effects artist Greg Nicotero knew they had to perform well enough to at least appease the rabid Dead comics fanbase if they were to succeed in the TV format. They succeeded and then some. 5.3 million people tuned into the series premiere and AMC renewed the show after only two episodes had aired. It was by all means an instant success. The season finale managed to top the premiere numbers across the board and crowned Dead the most watched drama series in basic cable history in the coveted 18-49 demo. Over 6 million viewers tuned into the finale making it the most watched episode of the season–it gained viewers over the course of one month. Not many network freshman dramas can say they did that. More stats: 4 million viewers in the 18-49 demo watched the finale (boom, new record for cable!); and on top of the 6 million viewer total, an additional 2.1 million people watched the finale during its 11PM and 1AM encore airings.
The show looked great (Nicotero’s zombies were fantastic), the writing and acting were impeccable, and I can’t wait for season two to premiere. Though it hasn’t been confirmed, most speculate that it won’t return until Halloween 2011 so it can help promote AMC’s Fearfest week again.