Fall TV updates: FOX gives ‘Dads’ full season order, ABC likes ‘Back in the Game’ & ‘Super Fun Night’

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on October 26th, 2013

Despite critics panning the series as its September premiere approached, FOX has granted Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild’s Dads a full season order; the back-nine increases the season’s episode total to 22. You can certainly argue that the “bad press” for Dads helped increase its popularity leading to its FSO. The raunchy sitcom starring Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, and Martin Mull averages a 2.2/7 rating among adults 18-49, a respectable number in these DVR-heavy times. FOX head Kevin Reilly explained the reason behind the season one order:

“FOX has been looking to break into the multi-camera format for some time,” he said. “With Dads, we have an asset that we can grow, and we’re looking forward to seeing where the fantastic cast and the creative minds of Seth, Alec, Mike and Wellesley take us the rest of the season.”

Shifting to ABC and single-cam comedies, comedies Back in the Game with James Caan and Super Fun Night with Rebel Wilson have each received two additional script orders–a good sign for fans of these shows. Previously the alphabet network showed confidence in its other half-hour sitcoms The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife by ordering three more scripts apiece for them. Is the network bold enough to grant FSOs to four of these guys? Time–and ratings–will tell.

Fall TV updates: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, ‘The Crazy Ones’, ‘The Millers’ & ‘Mom’ get full season orders, ‘Ironside’ & ‘Welcome to the Family’ cancelled

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on October 19th, 2013

What does the FOX say? It says Brooklyn Nine-Nine is getting a full season order bringing its season 1 tally to 22 episodes. Though the Andy Samberg/Andre Braugher sitcom has been landing so-so-to-low ratings since debuting to 6 million viewers and a 2.5 demo rating, the network sees its potential to grow into a bonafide hit by not only granting it a full season but also giving it the plum post Super Bowl slot. When Super Bowl XLVIII ends on Sunday, February 2 it will lead into a “special one-hour comedy event” with new episodes of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Ratings are guaranteed to spike and with any luck these FOX comedies will retain a chunk of its new viewers when things go back to normal after the Super Bowl.

B99 has had a string of fine half-hours since opening in September. Samberg’s wacky Jake Peralta and Braugher’s deadpan Captain Holt is a match made in comedy heaven, as is the supporting cast anchored by MVP Joe Lo Truglio.

Expect a season 2 renewal next; Fox entertainment head Kevin Reilly is a fan: “It’s exciting to see that both critics and fans love Brooklyn Nine-Nine as much as we do,” he said. “With Andy and Andre out in front of this incredible ensemble, it feels like this show is going to be around for a long time.”

CBS also made some major announcements this week. A trio of new comedies–The Crazy OnesThe Millers, and Mom–have all been picked up for full 22 episode seasons. The three shows, in that order, ranks as the top three freshman comedies on TV. David E. Kelley’s The Crazy Ones with Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar averages 13.71 million total viewers and a 3.6/10 in the adults 18-49 demo; Greg Garcia’s The Millers with Will Arnett and Margo Martindale averages 12.41 million viewers and a 3.2/09 rating; and Chuck Lorre’s Mom with Anna Faris and Allison Janney averages 7.98 million viewers and a 2.6/06 rating.

“We’re proud of CBS’s leadership position in comedy and excited to build on it with the back nine pick-ups of these three new comedies,” said Nina Tassler, CBS Entertainment President. “These series are creatively distinct, continue to improve each week and are led by strong showrunners, writing and production staffs, and feature amazingly talented casts.”

Unlike FOX and CBS this week, NBC was forced to clean off its axe and kill not one but two shows. Drama Ironside with Blair Underwood and comedy Welcome to the Family have been cancelled. Ironside will air its fourth and final episode this Wednesday and Welcome to the Family has been pulled from the schedule effective immediately. In their most recent airings, Ironside and Family produced meager 1.1 and 0.9 demo ratings in 18-49, respectively.

To fill in Ironside‘s Wednesdays at 10PM void NBC will air original episodes of Dateline and various specials until Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire spinoff Chicago P.D. premieres January 8. Filling in Welcome to the Family‘s Thursdays at 8PM void are episodes of The VoiceSNLParks & RecSunday Night Football, the live telecast of The Sound of Music, and The Sing Off. Dan Harmon’s Community returns to NBC’s schedule Thursday, January 2 with two new back-to-back episodes. Click after the break to view the full breakdown of the network’s Wednesday & Thursday plans.

And lastly there’s ABC. Though the alphabet network didn’t make any major pickups or cancellations this week, they did show support for struggling in the ratings but widely buzzed about sitcoms The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife. Both freshman comedies have received an order for three additional scripts each, a sign of confidence from the network. These shows deserve a full season order, and hopefully this move brings them one step closer to that goal. In their most recent outings, The Goldbergs attracted 5.1 million total viewers and a 1.6 demo rating and Trophy Wife landed 4.1 million viewers and a 1.3 demo rating. Like FOX did with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, let’s pray ABC can see past the low ratings and embrace the relatable creativity these shows have been producing. (Click here for more…)

Fall TV updates: ‘Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ picked up for full season, ‘We Are Men’ cancelled

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on October 12th, 2013

After axing one Tuesday drama in Lucky 7, ABC has commissioned a full season order for their hugely successful superhero drama Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. In typical fashion, the alphabet network is tacking on “the back nine” increasing S.H.I.E.L.D.’s season one episode count from 13 to 22. Joss Whedon’s latest foray into television premiered to a whopping 12.1 million total viewers and a 4.7 rating in the 18-49 demo making the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot TV’s highest-rated drama debut in almost four years. Though the show slipped in the ratings in week 2, numbers still remain solid and it sees significant DVR gains; in short, Whedon has finally concocted a TV show that will likely remain on the air for years to come (BuffyAngel join good company).

Over at CBS We Are Men, the comedy starring Jerry O’Connell, Tony Shalhoub, Christopher Nicholas Smith, and Kal Penn, has been cancelled after only two episodes aired. It premiered poorly to 6.4 million total viewers and a 2.0 18-49 demo rating; things went from bad to worse in week 2 when those numbers dropped majorly to 5.4 million and a 1.8, respectively. These ratings simply don’t live up to the Eye’s sitcom standards and so We Are Men is gone for good. Starting next week, Monday’s 2 Broke Girls moves from 9PM to take over Men‘s 8:30PM slot; repeats of The Big Bang Theory will air at 9PM for three weeks and then Mike & Molly comes off the bench to take over the vacant time slot.

FOX is showing support for its new sitcoms by ordering more scripts for a couple of them. As previously reported, the network ordered an undisclosed amount of additional scripts for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and now the same is being done for Seth MacFarlane’s Dads. FOX ordered 6 more scripts for the Seth Green/Giovanni Ribisi comedy, even as its most recent episode amounted to a paltry 1.3 demo rating and 3.1 million total viewers. Though to be fair, FOX’s Tuesday night comedy lineup isn’t performing so well ratings-wise in general. We’ll see where this goes.

In sum, ABC’s Lucky 7 and CBS’ We Are Men are the first two cancellations of the 2013-14 TV season; NBC’s The Blacklist and ABC‘s Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. are the first to get full season orders, and FOX’s Sleepy Hollow is the first to be renewed for a second season. The fate of FOX’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Dads hang in the balance leaning towards getting the back nine since additional scripts have been ordered for each.

Fall TV updates: Good news for ‘Sleepy Hollow’ & ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘Lucky 7′ not so lucky

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on October 5th, 2013

We are more than a few weeks into the new fall season of television and this is the time when networks typically announce “back nine” pickups and cancellations. This year, however, marks a unique occasion. Instead of increasing Sleepy Hollow‘s 13-episode count by nine for a “full season pickup,” FOX is limiting its run to 13 installments and renewing it for a second season already. The supernatural drama scored big the ratings when its pilot aired days before official premiere week; 10.1 million tuned in and it landed a solid 3.5 rating in the adults 18-49 demo. And if you include DVR gains following the three days after the pilot aired, 13.6 million viewers ended up watching the series premiere and the 18-49 rating jumped to a 5.0. These impressive numbers make Sleepy Hollow FOX’s most successful fall drama premiere since the debut of 24 in November 2001. “The show has proven to be a risk well worth taking – it’s a conceptual blast unlike anything else on television and it all holds together with inventive writing and a fantastic cast,” said FOX head Kevin Reilly in a statement. “I can’t wait for fans to experience what else is in store for this fall and even more of this wild ride into Season Two.” Sleepy Hollow airs Mondays at 9PM on FOX.

This week FOX also renewed The Simpsons for a remarkable 26th season. “For more than a quarter of a century, The Simpsons has captured the hearts and minds of fans in a way that transcends ages, languages and cultures,” said Reilly. “This groundbreaking series is not only the longest-running scripted show in television history, it’s one of the greatest sitcoms of our time, and I’m looking forward to yet another landmark season.” The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8PM on FOX.

Though FOX’s critically-adored cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t faring so well in the ratings (it debuted to 6 million total viewers and a 2.5 demo rating before falling to 1.4 million viewers and a 1.4 in its most recent episode), TVLine reports that the network has ordered an undisclosed amount of additional scripts. A full-season pickup might be around the corner.

Elsewhere, NBC decided to go the traditional route with its breakout new drama The Blacklist by giving the James Spader vehicle a full season pickup increasing its season one episode count to 22. Across its first two episodes the series averages 12 million total viewers with a 3.6 demo rating in adults 18-49. It’s the fall’s most-watched new drama in terms of total viewers. “The many layers of Red Reddington and his mysterious reasons for getting into bed with the FBI seem to be fascinating to fans of this show,” said NBC exec Jennifer Salke said in a statement. “With great talent like James Spader and Megan Boone on board, as well our stellar executive producers and the whole cast and crew, we believe this outstanding series will continue to make NBC a big destination on Monday nights.” The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10PM on NBC.

I hope you didn’t invest too much into ABC’s lotto drama Lucky 7 because that show just became the first to get axed this fall. After airing only two episodes the alphabet net has cancelled Lucky 7 and pulled it from the schedule effective immediately (repeats of Scandal will fill the Tuesday at 10PM void for now). The show debuted to 4.4 million viewers and a 1.3 demo rating and dropped significantly in week two which stuck a 0.7 rating; oh, the irony. Who will join the not-so Lucky 7 in the cancellation bucket next? My money’s on another ABC drama Betrayal. Keep it here to find out.

2013 Fall TV Schedule: ABC

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on September 14th, 2013

Much like NBC, the Alphabet network is premiering most of its shows during the official premiere week of September 23. A few shows enter the ring before that week: Reality series Dancing with the Stars kicks off Monday, September 16 and on Friday the 20th Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing returns along with The Neighbors and Shark Tank. Enter premiere week: Tuesday the 24th introduces four brand new shows–sitcoms The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife sandwiched between buzzy drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Lucky 7; Wednesday the 25th is home to The Middle, new Bad News Bears inspired sitcom Back in the Game with James Caan and Maggie Lawson, the one-hour season premiere of Modern Family, and Nashville. ABC’s sudsy Sunday night lineup premieres the following week on September 29 with Once Upon A TimeRevenge, and new marital drama Betrayal. Three shows won’t make their mark until October: the new Rebel Wilson half-hour Super Fun Night (Wednesday, October 2), Shonda Rhimes’ red-hot Scandal (Thursday, October 3), and the spinoff Once Upon A Time In Wonderland (Thursday, October 10).

Click here to preview the new shows. Browse the gallery below for key art.

Jump after the break to view the full fall schedule.

(Click here for more…)

Comic Con: Beloved Disney characters join ‘Once Upon A Time’ this season

Posted in Hilarity,News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on July 27th, 2013

A princess, a pirate, a wizard, a queen, a knight, and a savior join forces in search of Neverland. That’s what this season 3 teaser masked as a season 2 recapper hypes as near the fall return of ABC’s Once Upon A Time.

The Once team did a good job at not revealing much, but they did say Neverland will play a big part in season 3. And who will we meet there? Well, Peter Pan of course. “Peter Pan has a complicated motivation,” said series co-showrunner Adam Horowitz. “It’s a little different than you’ve seen before.” Added showrunner Eddy Kitsis, “He might be frightening. To some people.” Also on the horizon is the formal introduction of Tinker Bell who has “a surprising connection” to somebody we already know and Ariel aka The Little Mermaid.

After the break you can watch two clips that were screened first at Comic Con. The first teases The Little Mermaids arrival, and the second is an extended look at a funny bit made for the season 2 DVD called “Good Morning Storybrooke” featuring some of the cast.

Elsewhere, it was announced that another Lost alum will be joining the Once family. Naveen Andrews (who played castaway Sayid Jarrah) will embody the villainous Jafar in the Once spinoff Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. Andrews will appear in the first episode as the season’s “very, very, very evil villain” and Kitsis promises his portrayal of the Aladdin character will be “very frightening.” (Click here for more…)

‘OUAT in Wonderland’ scoop: a longer season promised with hope for more stories to tell

Posted in News,Television,Uncategorized by Scott Meisner on July 6th, 2013

Once fans, perk up! Originally envisioned as a standalone, limited series to bridge the gap during Once Upon A Time‘s winter hiatus, spinoff Once Upon A Time In Wonderland is spinning into a more traditional series for the alphabet network. At the Upfronts, ABC announced that Wonderland will air concurrently in the fall alongside the flagship series; OUAT remains at Sundays at 8 and Wonderland slides into the Thursday at 8 timeslot. And now, EW reports that the original episode order of 13 is being expanded; a final count is still unknown but it will fall between 14 and 21 in total. Traditionally, a show will get a 13 episode order and if it fares well in the ratings it will get “picked up” for a “back nine” or 9 additional episodes usually rounding a full season out at 22 installments. ABC is so confident in this spinoff, however, that it is allowing creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis to craft a story with exactly the right amount of episodes required to tell it.

“We really want to tell the story without having to worry about how to stretch it for five years,” says Kitsis. “The upfront order will be it for the season.” Adds Horowitz, “This is not meant to be a 22-episode season. Whatever it ends up being, we’ll have told a complete story, with a beginning, middle and end.”

So Wonderland remains a standalone tale, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t come back for more. “If the audience responds and people love these characters, the plan would be to bring it back next year and tell a whole new story,” Horowitz says.

The creative duo describe the difference between the flagship series and its spinoff. Once from the beginning was imagined as a long, intricate tale with multiple story arcs that necessitate more than one season to properly pull off. Wonderland, on the other hand, is inherently designed to open and close a major arc inside a single season, much like FX’s American Horror Story does.

On Wonderland Horowitz remarks, “The DNA of this show is different and consciously so. The idea is you can just come on in and enjoy the ride.” Adds Kitsis, “If you’ve seen Once, you’ll be rewarded; if you haven’t, you won’t miss a beat.”

OUAT returns and OUAT In Wonderland premieres this fall on ABC. Watch the Upfronts trailer for Wonderland here.

TV reminder: ‘Wilfred’ returns June 20 on FX (also: status update on ABC’s ‘Zero Hour’ & ‘666 Park Ave.’)

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on June 15th, 2013

Everyone’s favorite talking dog Wilfred (Jason Gann) returns for more adventures with his easily persuaded neighbor Ryan (Elijah Wood) on Thursday, June 20 at 10PM on FX. FYI, the 13-episode third season will air two episodes a week. Previously on Wilfred, Ryan made an intriguing discovery that he had actually drawn a family picture–Wilfred included–when he was just a boy. What does that mean? Who-slash-what is Wilfred? Will we finally find out this season?! If you’re not watching Wilfred, you’re missing out on what has to be the most hilarious, dark and deep existential dramedy on television. It makes you laugh, it makes you think, and most of all, it keeps you guessing at its true intent.

On a totally unrelated note… it’s summer time and most fall/midseason shows have come to their conclusions. A couple that were cancelled are getting their time in the sun to finish out their respective runs. ABC’s conspiracy thriller Zero Hour returns tonight at 8PM with two new back-to-back episodes. It will continue to air Saturdays at 8 until its two-hour series finale which lands on August 3. Supernatural series 666 Park Avenue has four episodes left in its run, and it will begin its final rollout next Saturday, June 22 at 9PM leading out of a new installment of Zero Hour666‘s one-hour finale falls on July 13. So there you have it.

USA decides not to pick up ‘Happy Endings’, sitcom stumbles into grave

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on June 2nd, 2013

This sucks. This is so sucky. Every now and then there’s a network series that is so incredibly raw and genuine and infectious that catches the attention of a small percentage of TV viewers and for that reason it gets the sharp axe. For some, life goes on; ABC’s Cougar Town and NBC’s Southland both found life after death in the cable arena on TBS and TNT, respectively. Even FOX’s Breaking In managed to come back from the dead and return to FOX, but that didn’t last long. And most recently there is Arrested Development, an irreverent show that got cancelled before its time telling stories up and seven years later it was resurrected on Netflix.

One causality to low ratings this season was the critically acclaimed Happy Endings, an ABC sitcom with an all-star cast and impeccable writing. Like Arrested before it, Endings comes out up with too many jokes to count and leaves it up to the viewer to sift through it all laughing all the while. It’s fast-paced, younger-skewing nature is probably what led to its demise; ABC president Paul Lee admitted it was “on brand” for the network but unfortunately wasn’t “broad” enough to warrant a fourth season. And so backing studio Sony TV began shopping it around to cable nets to find a new home for it. USA showed interest in possibly picking it up for another season, but Deadline reports those talks have shut down and the cable network ultimately decided to pass on it and invest in its own programs. Sony TV continues to shop it, but now it’s really starting to look like Happy Endings has come to the end of the road.

That’s such a shame, since its ensemble cast including Casey Wilson, Elisha Cuthbert, Eliza Coupe, Adam Pally, Zachary Knighton, and (who I considered to be the funniest man on TV this season) Damon Wayans Jr. make a wonderful, natural comedic team that are always in sync week after week. I guess all we can do now is be thankful that the show even managed to make it to three seasons despite bubble ratings along the way, just like we did with Arrested. Now hopefully it won’t take a network nearly a decade to realize just how funny and hip Happy Endings really is and produce at least another season.

2013 Upfronts: ABC orders 13 new series for next season

Posted in News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 14th, 2013

On Tuesday ABC took the stage at the 2013 Upfronts, unveiling 11 new series coming to the network next season: five comedies, seven dramas, and one reality show. Jump after the break to get more information about all of the new shows including synopses, cast and creator/executive producer listings, clips, and initial reactions.

Significant changes to the schedule include: Tuesday night at the network undergoes a complete overhaul; the highly anticipated drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. opens the night at 8PM leading into two new sitcoms The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife and another new drama Lucky 7… The Dancing with the Stars results show has been yanked from the sked on Tuesday to make room for S.H.I.E.L.D. and it will now be integrated in the two-hour Stars performance show on Mondays… On Wednesdays The Middle will serve as the lead-in for the new James Caan sitcom Back In The Game and Rebel Wilson’s Super Fun Night gets the plum post-Modern Family slot at 9:30PM; Nashville will continue to close the night… Originally the plan was to have Once spinoff Once Upon A Time In Wonderland air in the winter when the flagship series will be on hiatus, but the network ultimately decided to run both Once and its spinoff concurrently in the fall; Wonderland opens Wednesday night to lead into Shonda Rhimes’ dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal to make for a “empowered female” night… The Neighbors relocates to Fridays at 8:30PM paired with Last Man Standing.

Elsewhere: ABC president Paul Lee shared his plan to divide some of the network’s high profile dramas in 12-episode halves; at least OnceRevenge, and Scandal will air 12 episodes uninterrupted in the fall, take a break, and then return with another 12 episodes that will last until May. Bridging the gap in-between will be limited series like reality show The Quest… Lee also spoke about his “hard decision” to cancel the acclaimed comedy Happy Endings: “I do think Happy Endings is absolutely on brand,” he said. “What we found was it was just too narrow. It was a very hard decision because, as you know, I love that show and I found it very hard to make that decision. On the same token, I think Super Fun Night and Mixology [coming midseason] are broader shows that will bring in a wider audience.” Happy Endings still has the opportunity to be saved by a cable network like USA… Returning sitcom Suburgatory and new comedy Mixology, along with new dramas Killer Women, Mind Games, and Resurrection are being held for midseason… Following in FOX’s footsteps, ABC is touting “limited series” with shorter, cable-like runs; midseason’s Resurrection will play out as a limited series with 13 episodes.

Programs not returning next season: 666 Park AvenueBody of ProofDon’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23, Family Tools, Happy Endings, How To Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life), Last Resort, Malibu Country, Private Practice, Red Widow, and Zero Hour. (Click here for more…)

ABC picks up ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, first look photos & teaser clip inside

Posted in News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 11th, 2013

No surprise here: Disney owned ABC is going all in with Marvel by picking up to series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., from Avengers director Joss Whedon. Read the shiny new series synopsis now:

Clark Gregg reprises his role of Agent Phil Coulson from Marvel’s feature films as he assembles a small, highly select group of Agents from the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Together they investigate the new, the strange, and the unknown across the globe, protecting the ordinary from the extraordinary. Coulson’s team consists of Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), highly trained in combat and espionage, Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) expert pilot and martial artist, Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker); brilliant engineer and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) genius bio-chemist. Joining them on their journey into mystery is new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet). From Executive Producers Joss Whedon (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer”); Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” pilot co-writers (“Dollhouse,” “Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”); Jeffrey Bell (“Angel,” “Alias”); and Jeph Loeb (“Smallville”) comes Marvel’s first TV series.  “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is produced by ABC Studios and Marvel Television.

Check out the kick-ass cast photo above; in the middle of it all is Phil Coulson, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who sporadically popped up throughout Marvel’s Phase One movies and supposedly died in The Avengers. Guess not; #CoulsonLives. For more proof, check out a seven second teaser after the break. And during tonight’s finale of Once Upon A Time at 8PM, ABC will air a lengthier spot promoting the new series. I’ll post it here after it airs. Also after the break, a first look at the show’s lens-flair-y logo.

Update: The full 30-second teaser trailer has landed. Watch it after the break. (Click here for more…)

ABC picks up ‘Once Upon A Time In Wonderland’

Posted in Image cache,News,Television by Scott Meisner on May 11th, 2013

Here’s the first production still from the Once Upon A Time spinoff now titled Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. English born actress Sophie Lowe stars as Alice, seen for the very first time in the image posted above. Here’s the latest synopsis provided by ABC:

In Victorian England, the young and beautiful Alice (Sophie Lowe) tells a tale of a strange new land that exists on the other side of a rabbit hole.  An invisible cat, a hookah smoking caterpillar and playing cards that talk are just some of the fantastic things she’s seen during this impossible adventure.  Surely this troubled girl must be insane and her doctors aim to cure her with a treatment that will make her forget everything.  Alice seems ready to put it all behind her, especially the painful memory of the genie she fell in love with and lost forever — the handsome and mysterious Cyrus (Peter Gadiot).  But deep down Alice knows this world is real and just in the nick of time, the sardonic Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha) and the irrepressible White Rabbit (John Lithgow) arrive to save her from a doomed fate. Together, the trio will take a tumble down the rabbit hole to this Wonderland where nothing is impossible.

This fresh adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s tale down the rabbit hole comes from Once co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and will be executive produced by Steve Perlman and Zack Estrin. Wonderland is envisioned as a standalone, limited series that will air when the flagship series is on its winter hiatus. In a way, it will bridge the gap during the break. Next week ABC will be unveiling its entire slate of new series for next season and there the network will likely shed even more light on the exciting promise of a new realm to be explored.

‘Apartment 23′, ‘Zero Hour’, ‘666 Park Avenue’ & ”Do No Harm’ are coming back from the grave to wrap their seasons

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on May 2nd, 2013

As they say, good things come to those who wait. If you tuned into cancelled shows like Zero Hour and Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 this season, you are getting the opportunity to get hooked once more.

Let’s start with the alphabet network. Starting May 17, Apt 23 fans can watch the remaining eight episodes from the sitcom’s second season via ABC.com, Hulu, and iTunes. Conspiracy thriller Zero Hour is due to return Saturday, June 15 at 8PM; on that day the network will air two episodes back-to-back and then the remaining eight episodes will air Saturday nights until the end. Though ABC hasn’t confirmed a return date, fans will finally learn (well, fingers crossed) if Terry O’Quinn is indeed the devil on 666 Park Avenue this summer.

On NBC, Do No Harm–which only lasted two weeks when it premiered in midseason–will return to finish its freshman run starting Saturday, June 29 at 10PM.

[Via Deadline; TVLine 1, 2]

April Fools! 2013 Edition

Posted in Entertainment,Hilarity,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on April 1st, 2013

Here we are again: April Fools Day. Only this time around it’s 2013 and no one is safe. We start, as is tradition, with Google’s masterful pranks. It’s all after the break…or is it. (Click here for more…)

‘Once Upon A Time’ spinoff set in Wonderland in the works [Update: series get a title & three stars]

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on March 23rd, 2013

It’s true: a Once Upon A Time spinoff is in the works! Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, creators of the ABC fantasy series based on classic fairy tale characters, are imagining a new realm to explore in a completely new series separate from their current show. They are working closely with Once consulting producer Jane Espenson and writer Zack Estrin (Zero HourThe RiverNo Ordinary FamilyPrison Break) to make Wonderland the main setting for the spinoff series. The original plan was to make the Mad Hatter (played by Sebastian Stan in Once) the protagonist of the new series. But there’s a reason why the charming actor hasn’t been featured in the current season of Once a whole lot–he’s a very busy actor and for this reason he unfortunately likely won’t be able to headline the proposed spinoff. The latest rumor to come out of the mill says that the Once spinoff in Wonderland will star Alice, a classic fairytale character we still haven’t met in Once just yet. According to Deadline the new series will surround Alice with other new characters including “Amahl, described as exotic, soulful and optimistic; and The Knave, a sardonic adventurer, a man of action, a loner and a heart-breaker.” The site also reports that the spinoff will take place in a post-curse world but will indeed feature flashbacks so viewers may once again be acquainted with (spoiler alert) the not-so-dearly departed Cora who once ruled Wonderland as the Queen of Hearts.

Interestingly, the Once spinoff set in Wonderland starring Alice is being envisioned as a 13-episode anthology series a la American Horror Story, meaning it will have a solid beginning, middle, and end to simply serve as a bridge between the fall and winter episodes of the main series Once Upon A Time. Most of this is simply speculation at the moment, as we won’t know more until Kitsis, Horowitz and their creative team present their spinoff ideas to ABC later this year after Once wraps its second season. Still, intriguing news for fans of the show!

Update (3/29): In the past week the Once spinoff really started to make some headway. Though shooting is not set to begin until May after the flagship series wraps its second season, a title has been bestowed unto the offshoot and its three main characters have been casted. Aussie actress Sophie Lowe has been cast as the protagonist Alice in Once: Wonderland. Her character is described as one “who has a generous heart but carries the scars of a long hard life.” Surrounding Lowe are British actors Peter Gadiot and Michael Socha who are set to play Cyrus (“Alice’s love interest with a background shrouded in mystery”) and The Knave of Hearts (“a sardonic adventurer, a man of action, a loner and a heart-breaker”). A fourth lead named Amahl (“an exotic, soulful and optimistic character”) has yet to be cast. With a name and a cast forming, Once: Wonderland is slowly but surely spinning into reality.

[Via Deadline 1, 2, 3]

ABC cancels ‘Zero Hour’ after 3 airings

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on March 2nd, 2013

And just like that, Zero Hour‘s time is up. The search for the Hank’s wife and the unravelling of the mystery involving the disciples’ secret clocks have come to a screeching halt as ABC decided to cancel the conspiracy thriller on Friday. Cancellation came because the show from Prison Break‘s Paul Scheuring couldn’t manage to find a sizable audience. In its February 14 series premiere, Zero Hour drew 6.3 million total viewers and a 1.3 in the 18-49 demo–ABC’s lowest rated in-season premiere of a scripted program in history. Things went from bad to worse as its third and most recent airing only attracted 5 million total viewers and a low 1.0 demo rating, prompting ABC to release the axe. But is it the show’s fault, really? An entertaining and intriguing thriller, Zero Hour‘s poor performance can certainly be chalked up to its placement on the schedule–you can say the series didn’t stand a chance as a midseason entry tossed in the challenging Thursdays at 8 timeslot. Previous ABC dramas like FlashFowardMissing, and most recently Last Resort suffered similar fate there.

So what happens to the 10 remaining unaired episodes of Zero Hour? Will viewers ever receive answers to the widespread mysteries the show has laid out thus far? At the TCAs Scheuring assured audiences that every season of the show would wrap up a major thread in the end and “reset” with the introduction of a new overarching mystery. ABC hasn’t confirmed anything, but there are whispers that like with 666 Park Avenue the Alphabet network may allow the series to run its single season course sometime this summer. One can hope.

FOX pulls ‘Ben And Kate’ and ABC yanks ‘Apt. 23′ from their schedules, effectively canceling them

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on January 24th, 2013

Breathe, breathe. It’s tough news, I know. This week FOX and ABC pulled low-rated comedies Ben And Kate and Don’t Trust the B—- In Apartment 23 from their respective schedules. Ben And Kate, a freshman single-cam sitcom, managed to find its comedic groove early on but it never gained a foothold in the ratings. A dynamic cast led by the-one-and-only Nat Faxon delivered an absurd mixture of funny and heart week in and week out. In fact, FOX championed its creativity in October when the network expanded its original 13 episode order to 19. “Ben And Kate [has] everything we want to stand for in comedy: smart writing, hugely appealing casts and comedy that feels contemporary and real–which is why we’re confident [it] will continue to build on what is already an appointment comedy night for young, influential audiences on Tuesdays,” said FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly. Though its numbers hovered in poor territory, FOX gave it time to find an audience and unfortunately it never quite found one broad enough to stay on the air. B&K averaged a 1.5 rating in the all-important 18-49 adult demographic, and that’s with 7-day DVR playback included; in so many words, not good enough. In a statement FOX says they plan to air the remaining six episodes at some point in the future. [Update: FOX has stopped production on the show so only 15 episodes will be produced meaning there are 2 unaired episodes that may or may not screen in the future.] And even though the net isn’t confirming cancellation, a sudden yank from the sked like this pretty much seals the deal.

The same goes for ABC’s wild comedy Apt. 23. But in this case you could really see the axe coming. Though the show certainly managed to grow creatively from its shortened first season, the viewers at large didn’t seem to notice and didn’t latch on. The way in which ABC aired the show was an ominous sign for fans. Many episodes that were originally produced for season one bled into season 2 and made storylines jump all around the place; this would introduce confusion for newcomers. After ABC pulled 666 Park Avenue from its Sunday lineup, the net decided to run Apt. 23 and Happy Endings twice a week, in the Sunday 10PM hour and on their regular Tuesday night. This experiment only lasted so long; Apt. 23 has been abandoned (its most recent ep drew a low 1.1 demo rating) and (thankfully) Happy Endings will continue its run on Tuesdays. No word on whether or not the remaining eight unaired episodes of Apt. 23 will see the light of day. For now, it’s goodbye peachy June, goodbye creepy Eli, goodbye obsessive Robin, goodbye hopeless Mark, goodbye infectious Luther, goodbye James Van Der Beek, and so long Chole. We’ll miss your bitchy ways.

TCA 13: Creator Paul Scheuring aims to explore the human condition in his conspiracy thriller ‘Zero Hour’

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on January 10th, 2013

After watching the bizarre and slightly corny trailer for ABC’s upcoming conspiracy thriller Zero Hour, I must admit it made it sort of hard for me to recommend this midseason drama. The only elements pushing me to give it a try was that Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring is behind it and that revered actor Anthony Edwards (ER) stars. Today’s TCA panel pimping Zero Hour led by Scheuring and with some comments from Edwards has injected some much-needed confidence into me–it’s very high concept, it’s serialized to the core, and this show might just be an addicting thrill ride that educates and poses some lofty, intriguing questions about religion and history.

Briefly, Zero Hour stars Edwards as Hank Galliston, a publisher of a skeptics magazine, who has spent his career following clues, debunking myths and cracking conspiracies. But when his wife, Laila (Jacinda Barrett), is abducted from her antique clock shop by an international terrorist, Hank gets pulled into one of the most compelling mysteries in human history, stretching around the world and back centuries.

“The entire show is about the man or the woman beneath the identity,” Scheuring explained. “If you wear a Christian cross, are you automatically good? If you wear a Nazi armband, are you automatically bad? And that I think ultimately makes for more complex and interesting drama. All those different characters wear these different surface adornments, like Naziism, Christianity. But what’s the human beneath it?… I want to have a more sophisticated three-dimensional view of the characters as opposed to ‘Nazi! Bad!’ I mean, who cares?” After posing a hypothetical question ‘is the Christian God is real’ he stated, “Scientifically, that’s the question we are starting to ask as the season goes along.” (Along the same lines of he was stated earlier, he made a rather controversial statement when he said “The idea that all Nazis are bad is something we are exploring, 100 percent.”)

Scheuring shared, “There were two mandates: deliver something gigantic and make a spectacle.” Later he went on to admit, “There’s a fair amount of crazy in here.” Though critics are making comparions to the movies that star Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Scheuring was adamant, “We’re not the Da Vinci Code.” (Click here for more…)

TCA 13: Melissa Rosenberg teases a satisfying run for ‘Red Widow’ with lots of potential for more

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott Meisner on January 10th, 2013

In my humble opinion, unlike Zero Hour‘s trailer the one for Red Widow bodes well for the upcoming ABC drama from Melissa Rosenberg (Dexter, the Twilight saga) and starring Radha Mitchell. The show revolves around Mitchell’s character Marta Walraven, a stay-at-home mom who gets tangled up in a bloody and dangerous tale involving her husband’s death and organized crime. Specifically, she must assume the role of her organized crime husband Franklin after he is assassinated in a drug-related incident.

At the TCAs Rosenberg made it a point that if you tune in you will get answers to some of the series’ big questions that are introduced inside the string of the first season’s eight episodes. “Having learned from The Killing, we are answering the questions of who killed Franklin and where is the coke.” (If you didn’t know, there was a huge backlash when AMC’s The Killing failed to reveal the season’s murderer in the finale.) “The question of how Marta is going to get herself out of this is a series-long question. And each effort will lead to the continuing story line,” Rosenberg expanded.

Red Widow is based on the 2010 Dutch series Penoza. After a successful run, Penoza (which was originally deemed an eight episode mini-series) received an order for more episodes but its writers had killed off many the characters and so they had a harder time reinstating the show. Rosenberg is more than aware of this and said, “By the end of the season, we’ll have a satisfying answer to the season, but I’m not giving anybody up. I’m not killing everyone, and I’m not letting anyone off the hook. Some people die, but not all of them. For me, it’s all about building characters and relationships you can cling to for five or seven years.”

Rosenberg envisions Mitchell’s Marta to eventually transform into a dark, deeply flawed antiheroine. She said the character is inspired by such flawed characters as Breaking Bad‘s Walter White and Dexter‘s Dexter Morgan. “She could go as bad as Walter White,” she said. “We don’t go that far in the [first season], but there is definitely room to evolve.” Mitchell compared her character to Luc Besson’s creation in La Femme Nikita by describing Marta as “a character under duress. I always thought the character was iconic, and a kind of character I wanted to explore if I had one more character in my career.”

Red Widow premieres Sunday, March 3 at 9PM.

[Via Deadline; THR]

TCA 13: ABC’s Paul Lee comments on a so-so fall, expresses excitement for Joss Whedon’s Marvel series ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on January 10th, 2013

Following NBC and FOX, ABC entertainment president Paul Lee took the stage at the TCA winter press tour to grade his network’s fall season and discuss the future. “We have a lot to shout about, and we also have a lot to do,” is how he kicked off the conversation.” He also said, “We were disappointed there weren’t any big breakout hits on broadcast, including ABC.” I guess he opted to ignore NBC’s Revolution when he went with that self-deprecating jab. He expressed concerns with cancelled dramas like Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue and the faltering Dancing with the Stars, but he also praised low-rated comedies Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and shared his excitement for Joss Whedon’s Marvel series S.H.I.E.L.D. For the full scoop see the bullet-point breakdown after the break. (Click here for more…)