Exit Stage Right: NBC Head Ben Silverman to leave network

July 27, 2009 by  
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ben-silverman-1207-2-lgBrash, non-conventional Ben Silverman is stepping down as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios after a little over two years on the job to pursue another venture (and because his reign hasn’t been a great one, to be honest).

Silverman will stay in place for several weeks to help shuffle off NBC’s fall schedule, the network said in a news release. Jeff Gaspin, president and CEO of the NBC Universal Television sector, has been promoted to chairman.

As one of the founders of the Reveille production company, Silverman exec-produced such hits as The Office, Ugly Betty and The Biggest Loser, and helped to save the accaimed critically but ratings-challenged Friday Night Lights from being cancelled.

Huge ratings numbers eluded Silverman during his tenure, however. How’s this for a distinctive mark: 20 of the 25 shows that started while he was in office have now been cancelled; Chuck, Southland and Parks and Recreation are all that remain.

Now for the real reason for his leaving: Silverman will form a new media company with Barry Diller, one of Reveille’s first investors, it turns out. The unnamed business will invite develop special content for TV, the Internet and other mediums with upfront interaction with advertisers to make it worth their investment as well being quality for audiences.

Ratings Summary for Prime Time: Week of July 13th

July 22, 2009 by  
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mlballstarlogoThe week of July 13th was the week of the Baseball All-Star Game, at least ratings wise: Fox beat the competition this week with the hallowed baseball classic with 14.59M people tuning in to watch. America’s Got Talent was second with 13.51M viewers in a bit of shock; the tail end of last season of the show saw mediocre ratings.

Next is Two and a Half Men, which is a shock to this writer personally. The show can be funny, but is mostly crude and spotty in terms of quality, yet its been a top 10 show for awhile now. The Big Bang Theory (a much more inventive show) is still grabbing viewers consistently with 8.23 million viewers.

More details available here.

CSI: NY adds Sarah Carter to its cast, according to various sources

July 17, 2009 by  
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SHARKShark former alumni Sarah Carter is joining CSI: NY in a series regular role, according to various sources.

Carter will play a forensic school graduate on track to become a CSI. To that end, she will at first serve Mac Taylor’s team as a crime scene clean-up technician, and banter with various cast members and become involved in the crime-solving process.

If you’ll recall: The New York CSI gang may need Carter’s character bulking up their ranks this season. The latest finale ended on a cliffhanger, with a drive-by shooter spraying the crew with a hail of bullets, meaning someone will probably bite the bullet, figuratively and literally.

Carter’s CSI-in-training is also keeping a secret, to be revealed sometime during the coming season of CSI: NY.

On her best known role, Shark, Carter played an attorney working for James Woods’ daredevil prosecutor. The actress’ credits include short appearance arcs on Smallville, Numbers and Dirty Sexy Money.

Breaking News: Maura Tierney ill; delays start of series?

July 12, 2009 by  
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mauratierneyAccording to NBC and several sources, it appears this is the case. Maura Tierney is undergoing a “medical evaluation,” resulting in the suspension of production on her new NBC show, “Parenthood,” the network confirmed on Saturday. This usually isn’t a good thing when a statement like this is released.

The show was set to premiere this fall, has been suspended for eight weeks “due to a medical evaluation that valued cast member Maura Tierney is undergoing,” NBC said. This usually signals serious health issues that cropped up suddenly, based on previous experiences. Hopefully that isn’t the case.

Maura’s role as Sarah, one of four adult children roles on “Parenthood,” follows up her 10 year gig as nurse Abby Lockhart on NBC’s drama, “ER”, so this shouldn’t be totally alien to her.

NBC is having to shuffle their lineup due to this development, its been rumored.  Here’s a quote from a blog about the changes planned:

To fill the fall void, NBC has summoned to work the cast and crew of the medical drama Mercy, which wasn’t scheduled to debut until midseason. Mercy will now premiere in the fall, though it’s unclear if it will occupy Parenthood‘s Wednesdays-at-8 slot.

We wish Maura well in whatever obstacle comes her way.

Sci Fi Channel becomes SyFy: Same stuff, just a sillier name

July 7, 2009 by  
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syfySci Fi Channel has a new name, but it sounds exactly the same: Syfy. May we ask: why? To attract the younger fanbase? I think they already had that, perhaps. To sound “cool”? A silly sounding, Disney-like name doesn’t make anyone sound cool really.

The official rebranding of the 17-year-old network took place Tuesday with a new logo, new tagline (“Imagine Greater”), a new website and a new series to debut to go with it, Warehouse 13.

The Syfy name was unveiled in March when network brass cited the need to expand the channel’s lineup, change people’s perception of the network (as a maker of shlocky, cheap original “movies” with fake looking effects and lousy acting) and trademark a “unique” name. They felt “Sci Fi Channel” made the network’s image too limiting.

Despite the name change, Syfy has no plans on shooing away its existing fanbase. The program lineup, which includes such fare as Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth, will remain the same pretty much, and the Battlestar Galactica prequel series, Caprica, will come out in January.

Our take: Purely a advertising/image thing, not a substantive change to the shows being produced for the channel.

The Power of Paula: Paula Abdul to appear in Lifetime show, Drop Dead Diva

July 2, 2009 by  
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paulaabdulWe love our Paula, whether she’s coherent or not. And we’ll be seeing more of her on TV, it appears: Paula Abdul will mix her actual life with fiction as she guest stars in a new drama for Lifetime.

It’s been confirmed the “American Idol” star will play a fiction version of herself on Lifetime‘s drama series soon to debut, “Drop Dead Diva.”

Next week, Paula will film her role as a judge in an episode of the show, which stars Brooke Elliott as a former skinny model who dies and wakes up in the body of a “bigger girl” attorney named Jane. Talk about twisting things up a bit.

It seems Jane was told by a partner in her firm to throw in the towel on a particularly rough case, and Paula will appear in a dream sequence to convince Jane otherwise.

This show attracts other females stars as well: its also been confirmed that Rosie O’Donnell is a part of several episodes. Girl Power! “Drop Dead Diva” premieres Sunday July 12 at 9 PM.