Sunday 14th September 2014

VARIETY LIVES!

ITV has revived one of its oldest entertainment formats – Sunday Night at the London Palladium.  First aired in 1955, when it was hosted by Tommy Trinder.  The show featured top comedy and music acts, as well as variety acts of all kinds.  Revivals occurred in 1973-74, with Jim Dale as host, and then again in the 1980s, when Jimmy Tarbuck hosted from a number of different venues. More recently, there was a single-season revival hosted by Bruce Forsyth in 2000.

The format hasn’t changed for the latest update, apart from having a different guest host each time.  Stephen Mulhern took up the reins for the first show, and guests included Bryan Adams, Little Mix, Alan Davies and American quick-change artistes David & Dania.

Sunday Night at the London Palladium, at 7pm on ITV, attracted an audience of 4.3m 21.4%, with a further 185.1k (0.8%) on ITV+1. 

US SCREENWATCH Week 4th-10th September 2014

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Big Brother (CBS) Increases to a 2.3 in A18-49

Extreme Weight Loss  (ABC) Up to a 1.0 in A18-49

Under The Dome (CBS) Up two tenths in A18-49

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Food Fighters (NBC) Down a tenth in A18-49

Reckless (CBS) Falls to a 0.7 in A18-49

Dateline (NBC) Down 18% in A18-49

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On Thursday 2nd September at 8pm, ABC had the premiere of their special The Story of Frozen. Produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Lincoln Square Productions, the special gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of its Oscar-winning hit CG fairy tale, Frozen.  The show had a respectable airing, with 4.9m viewers and a 1.1 in A18-49.

On Monday 8th September at 10pm, A&E launched their new original reality series, Love Prison. The show selects couples who are dating online, but have yet to meet in person. These couples then finally meet face-to-face while living in a house on a deserted island for one week.  With all comforts and distractions taken from one another, the reality show tests whether or not they are able to last the week and leave the island together.

On Tuesday 9th September at 9pm, FOX premiered their new, hyped up reality series, Utopia. Based on a Dutch format, the U.S. version is a 365-day-long social experiment where 15 people have been selected to live and work together on a plot of land while being filmed by 130 cameras. There’s no host, competition or prize, but there is a small stable stocked with a chicken coop, two dairy cows, and a large open-air barn where the cast can sleep. This second premiere was very disappointing and considerably lower than its original preview airing on Sunday which obtained a 2.0 in A18-49, whereas Tuesday’s premiere fell all the way to a 0.9 in the demo. In total viewership, the show did moderately with 4.6m viewers.  Its competition was not too strong either, with Extreme Weight Loss, Big Brother, Food Fighters and an Arrow repeat in its first hour.  NBC’s long-running America’s Got Talent however, stole the 10pm timeslot with 9.7m viewers.

Also that night at 9pm CBS had a 2-hour long programme - their special live event, Fashion Rocks. The concert, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, combines fashion and music, and featured performances by Afrojack, The Band Perry, Duran Duran, KISS, Miranda Lambert, Jennifer Lopez, Usher and others. The special didn’t generate much interest, with 2.4m viewers tuning in and a 0.6 rating in A18-49.

On cable that night at 9pm, OWN Network had the premiere of their new Tyler Perry soap, If Loving You is Wrong. The show follows a group of husbands, wives and friends who live and love in the same middle class neighborhood. On the surface they appear to happy – raising children, working jobs, finding and maintaining romances – but below, their lives are linked by deceit and lies that threaten to destroy everything. The network aired two new back-to-back hour-long episodes and made a very strong start, becoming the most watched series premiere in the channel’s history. Episode 1 drew 1.93m viewers and Episode 2 maintained 1.92m. 

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Coming up in development…

ABC has a new drama in development, Marvel’s Agent Carter. The show follows Peggy Carter, who finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy has to balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark, while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America. The show is produced by ABC Studios.

ABC also has another drama in development, Las Reinas. Produced by ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Company, the show centers around Alex Della Reina, Miami PD’s premiere detective. Alex is a woman caught between two families - the police force itself, and her hated real family - who run Florida’s most powerful and dangerous criminal syndicate.

CBS have a new drama in development, Last Hour. The show centers on the premise that, during an undercover operation, the most dangerous and critical time comes in the last sixty minutes. The series follows a female FBI Agent’s journey through the final hour of a sting operation, which plays in real time. The series is produced by Universal Television.

Tuesday 9th September 2014

Girl Power

The final episode of Kay Mellor’s drama series In the Club aired at 9pm on BBC1, and won its slot (a habit with this show), with an audience of 4.7m (22.8%).  The six episode season has ended with an overnights average of 4.4m (21.2%), which no doubt will receive a hefty boost from PVR viewing when all the consolidated data is in.

This drama about a group of pregnant women, which has a much higher proportion of female stars than many primetime series, has also attracted a slightly younger audience profile than the slot benchmark:  the age groups between 16 and 54 all made up a higher proportion of the audience than the BBC1 slot average, with a lower proportion of adults 55+.

So congratulations to writer Kay Mellor (who also penned The Syndicate, and Fat Friends), on another hit series in which she has provided a good number of strong roles for women!

Monday 8th September 2014

Connected

BBC4’s popular “brainy” gameshow, Only Connect, has had two transmissions now in its new home on BBC2.   For those who like to test the little grey cells, the show asks two teams to identify the connections between apparently unconnected things. The lateral-thinking test has proved hugely popular on BBC4, supplying four out of the channel’s top ten highest rated transmissions in 2013.

As ever on the BBC, if something proves fantastically popular, they move it to a channel that attracts higher viewing,swapping from BBC2 to BBC1 in the case of Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off, and in this case from BBC4 to BBC2.

It’s highest rated episode in 2013 drew 963,200 (4.4%) based on overnights figures, rising to 1.2m with the arrival of the consolidated final figure.  Episode 1 of the transmissions on BBC2, which aired on 1st September, just topped 2m (8.9%) in overnights, and this was boosted to 2.2m (9.1%) in the consolidated figures.  Episode 2, which aired on the 8th September at 8.30pm, attracted 1.9m (9%), so it looks likely to maintain a steady fanbase in its new home.

SHADOW PLAY

Last night saw the launch on ITV of its latest crime thriller, a four-parter called Chasing Shadows.  The ITV Studios production features a strong cast, headed by League of Gentleman’s Reece Shearsmith, Alex Kingston (ER, Doctor Who), Noel Clarke (Kidulthood, Doctor Who) and Don Warrington (Rising Damp). The new series focuses on a police missing persons’ unit investigating a spate of teenage suicides, but whose members start to believe that a serial killer is preying on vulnerable youngsters.

The first episode, at 9pm on ITV, was watched by 3.6m (16.7%).  The audience skewed very strongly towards the older demographics, with more than 40% falling into the 65+ age range, and 22% in the age group 55-64.

US Screenwatch Thursday 4th September 2014

What’s new on TV in the US

Our regular US correspondent is on holiday at present, but to keep you in the loop, here is an update on the new and returning series coming up on US channels in September:

Sun 7th September

Utopia                                      FOX    8pm

Boardwalk Empire                  HBO    9pm

Tuesday 9th September

Sons of Anarchy                     FX       10pm

Monday 15th September

Dancing with the Stars            ABC    10pm

Tuesday 16th September

New Girl                                  FOX    9pm

The Mindy Project                  FOX    9.30pm

Sunday 21st September

The Good Wife                       CBS    9pm

Monday 22nd September

The Big Bang Theory              CBS    8pm

Gotham                                   FOX    8pm

The Voice                                NBC    8pm

Sleepy Hollow                         FOX    9pm

The Blacklist                           NBC    10pm

Tuesday 23rd September

NCIS                                       CBS    8pm

Wednesday 24th September

The Middle                              ABC    8pm

Survivor                                  CBS    8pm

Modern Family                        ABC    9pm

Nashville                                 ABC    10pm

Thursday 25th September

Bones                                      FOX    8pm

Grey’s Anatomy                      ABC    8pm

Scandal                                   ABC    9pm

Friday 26th September

Hawaii 5-0                               CBS    9pm

Blue Bloods                             CBS    10pm

Sunday 28th September

Brooklyn Nine-Nine                FOX    8.30pm

CSI                                          CBS    10pm

Revenge                                 ABC    10pm

 

Tuesday 2nd September 2014

BIRTHDAY BOY

ITV aired a documentary to celebrate the upcoming 30th birthday of Prince Harry. The ITV in-house production (through Shiver) looked at the development of the second son of Princess Diana and Prince Charles over three decades, and at his military career and his work for the “Walking With the Wounded” charity.

The programme attracted a relatively modest audience of 3.3m (16.1%), however, this actually provided a Performance Index of 135.8.  This means that, for its genre, the programme put in an above-average performance in the timeslot.

Week 25th - 31st August 2014

X RATED

Autumn is once more upon us – or so it seems as the rain clouds gather, and The X Factor is back again on ITV.  This year sees the return of boss Simon Cowell and former judge Cheryl Cole, as well as the arrival of a new judge, former Spice Girl Mel B, along with the only judge who has survived all the changes of personnel, Louis Walsh.

With all the hype around the return of Cowell and Cole, no doubt expectations were high for a strong start for the new season, and certainly it was up on last year.  Saturday’s show, at 8pm, attracted 9.5m (43%), an increase on last year’s overnights figure of 9.2m (42%).  However, the second show, last night at 8pm, drew 8.2m (34.9%).  While this is very well above the benchmark Share of 24.6% for the timeslot, it was well down on last year’s second-show figure of 9.9m (39.1%).  Over half a million of Saturday night’s X Factor viewers checked out BBC2’s Dragons’ Den on Sunday evening, and over 970,000 took in some of BBC1’s Countryfile, so maybe it was just down to the competition, and the consolidated figures will pick the total right up.  There may be an advantage to viewing via PVR for many fans, as it will allow them to fast forward through the excruciating number of ad breaks …

US Screenwatch 22nd-28th August 2014

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Unforgetable (CBS) Up a tenth in A18-49

Rising Star (ABC) Season Finale gets a 0.9 in A18-49

Big Brother (CBS) Season high of 2.5 in A18-49

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Wipeout (ABC) Down two tenths in A18-49

20/20 (ABC) Falls to a 0.7 in A18-49

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With a week heavily dominated by NFL Football and a number of repeats, this week we look at some recent cable premieres and those coming up.

On Monday 25th August, BBC America had the premiere of their new special Top Gear: Cars of the People, at 9pm. The show had Top Gear’s James May being tasked to choose the definitive ‘car of the people’.  This has recently aired on BBC Two in the UK, where three episodes averaged 2.4m (11.3%).

On Tuesday 26th August at 9pm, BBC America also premiered their new documentary series, Superhuman Animals. The show focuses on various animals with amazing senses.

On Sunday 31st August, PBS will be premiering their period medical drama, Breathless at 9pm. Co-produced by ITV Studios and Masterpiece, the stylish 60′s medical drama is set in London and stars Jack Davenport as a brilliant surgeon who believes he can truly make a difference in women’s lives. The show also follows a group of doctors and nurses working in the hospital, and a web of ambition, lies, love and secrets that surrounds them. When the series aired in the UK last year, it averaged a relatively lowly 2.7m (12.7%) on ITV in a peaktime 9pm slot.

On 3rd September, ID will be premiering their new series Dead on Arrival. The show follows naive newcomers who fall prey to big city dangers.

Looking further ahead, on 15th November, the highly anticipated new original mystery thriller The Missing, is set to premiere on Starz at 9pm. The series, starring James Nesbitt, Frances O’Connor and Tcheky Karyo, focuses on the psychological fallout and manhunt after a couple’s five-year-old disappears while on vacation with them in France in 2006. The show is told over two time frames and centers on how relationships have been impacted by the child’s disappearance, as well as catching the kidnapper. The eight episode long limited series is co-produced by New Pictures and Company Pictures.

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In development…

Amazon have a new comedy, Really. The show centers around a happily, married couple, Jed and Lori, who have three kids and a good relationship with each other, along with three other hard partying couples. Jed, however, accidentally witnesses two of his close friends (who are married to other people) in a sexual liaison. Jed is then faced with a difficult choice of keeping their secret or blowing up the friend group. The show is produced by Amazon Studios and Fanfare Productions.

Comedy Central have a new talk show in development, Gettin’ Some Strange with Kurt Braunohler. The show has host Kurt Braunohler cover the strangest stories of the day, revealing the crazier side of the world. The series is to be produced by Avalon Management Group.

Disney Channel is developing a new comedy, Fairest of the Mall. The show is about 14-year-old Gwen who is devastated when she’s fired from her job in the mall at “Ampersandie & Snitch”, because she was framed for shoplifting by her “friend,” Bethany. Determined to get her job back, Gwen enlists the help of Finn who works at “Circuit Circus” in the mall and winds up working there instead, with a bunch of lovable eccentrics who all become good friends.

TV Land is also developing a new comedy, Untitled Jon Sherman Project. The show revolves around a 30-something woman as she navigates the executive ranks among her old-school male counterparts. Meanwhile her 20-something male assistant tries to make it amid his female-dominated peers. The show is produced by Electus.

 

 

US Screenwatch Wk 15th-21st August 2014

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MasterChef (FOX) Up to a 2.0 in A18-49

Rising Star (ABC) Increases by 15% in A18-49

Hotel Hell (FOX) Up 15% in A18-49

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America’s Next Top Model (The CW) Season premiere only gets a 0.5 in A18-49

Bachelor In Paradise (ABC) Down 13% in A18-49

Whose Line Is It Anyway (The CW) Season finale falls to a 0.6 in A18-49

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On Wednesday 13th August, TNT premiered their new drama series, Legends. Coming from 24 and Homeland executive producer Howard Gordon, the show debuted at 9pm and is produced by FOX 21. The series, based on the novel by Robert Littell, follows Martin Odum, an undercover agent working for the FBI’s Deep Cover Operations (D.C.O.) division. Martin has the ability to transform himself into a completely different person for each job, but after a mysterious stranger suggests that Martin isn’t the man he believes himself to be, he begins to question his own identity. The show got off to a slightly underwhelming start for the network with 2.6m viewers tuning in and a 0.5 rating in a18-49, with another 1m viewers for its 11pm airing. The new series also fell short of the channel’s most recent summer drama premieres The Last Ship (5.3m viewers) and Murder in the First (3.76 million), which both got off to a very impressive start.

On Monday 17th August at 10pm, Pivot Network premiered their new hour-long docu-series, The Operatives. The series shows a group of former elite soldiers who have collectively spent decades defending their countries, and now put their expertise to use to defend the nature. Each week the team exposes one of the world’s most deplorable eco offenders, dealing with things like secret Namibian seal clubbing, miners whose work destroys a rainforest and illegal shark finning.

On Wednesday 20th August, at 10.30pm A&E will premier their new original reality series, Epic Ink. The show follows life at a tattoo shop, Area 51 Tattoo, located in Springfield, Oregon. The artists specialize in hyper-realistic tattoos featuring beloved characters and scenes from favorite sci-fi films and pop culture. Produced by Matador, each episode has closet nerds, creative cosplayers or sci-fi fans travel to Springfield from across the country to get tattoos done by the artists.

On Sunday 7th September at 10pm, TLC will be premiering their new series Angels Among Us. The show centers around a wife and mother from Upstate New York, who possesses a special gift that allows her to see, hear and talk to guardian angels. The show will be following the network’s supernatural reality series Long Island Medium. The half-hour 12 part series is produced by Tremendous Entertainment.

Also that night, OWN will launch their new docu-series The Specials, produced by Kada Media. The show follows five housemates with intellectual disabilities living the classic student lifestyle in England.  Narrated by the housemates, the series was filmed over 4 years, and all 13 episodes will air back-to-back from 2:30pm to 9pm.

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Coming up in development…

AMC have a period comedy in development, We Hate Paul Revere. The show centers on two brothers living in Colonial Boston who don’t like local industrialist and activist Paul Revere. The show is produced by Dakota Pictures.

Cinemax have a drama in development, Signal. Inspired by true events, the show follows a young man who launches a propaganda business in the Middle East and gets rich on the back of millions of dollars of US Government contracts. The drama is produced by Electus.

WGN America have a drama in development, Ness. Produced by Sony Pictures Television, the show takes a look at Eliot Ness post-Untouchables, when he became the top cop in Cleveland, the most dangerous city in America during the 1930s. The show sees him fighting the mob, his own corrupt police department, and a serial killer on the streets, all while battling his alcoholism.

Amazon have a comedy in development, Just Add Magic. The show follows three 12 year old girls, initially focused on making the soccer team, but they get somewhat sidetracked when Kelly, whose passion is baking, discovers in her attic a strange old cookbook, with recipes for baked goods that also have powerful spells. The show is produced by Amazon Studios.