Monday 22nd September 2014

MAGICAL?

Derren Brown returned to Channel 4 with his most recent stage show, infamous.  This latest show, nominated for an Olivier Award, was recorded at the Leeds Grand Theatre.  As usual, Brown used extraordinary tricks to debunk the existence of real psychics, guessing very specific family histories while saying it is just a trick.

Brown’s shows have been regulars on Channel 4, with previous premieres attracting more than 2m.  Svengali, broadcast in 2012, was watched by 2.3m (10.6%).  Apocalypse, in October 2012, an even more impressive 2.8m (12.8%).  In December 2013, The Great Art Robbery drew a somewhat lesser 1.9m (9.5%).  Last night’s transmission saw another drop, to 1.6m (7.8%).  However, the audience profile reveals that the composition of the audience featured an above-average proportion of viewers in the younger age ranges 16-24, and 25-34.

US SCREENWATCH 12th - 18th September 2014

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Utopia (FOX) Up 11% in A18-49

America’s Got Talent (NBC) Performance finale up 32% in A18-49

Under the Dome (CBS) Increase of 14% in A18-49

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The Mindy Project (FOX) Season premiere down 32% in A18-49  

Dancing with the Stars (ABC) Down 13% in A18-49

New Girl (FOX) Season premiere falls by 44% in A18-49

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On Friday 12th September at 10pm, Syfy launched their new scripted series, Z Nation.  From production company The Asylum (Sharknado), the show follows a group of survivalists, led by a former soldier, who transport the only known survivor of a zombie virus across post-Apocalyptic America to a lab so that they can try to develop a cure. However, the survivor has a dark secret that could be a huge threat to those around him.  The new show achieved a decent 1.6m viewers for its premiere and 695,000 viewers in A18-49.

On Wednesday 17th September at 9pm, FOX premiered a new drama,  Red Band Society.  The show is based on the Catalan series “Polseres Vermelles” and the experiences of Margaret Nagle, who developed the original series and wrote the pilot.  Described as a dramedy, the show centers around a group of patients in the pediatrics’ ward of a Los Angeles hospital. The new show stars Octavia Spencer as the nurse who runs the ward, and it is executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

Also premiering that night on NBC, but at 10pm, is another new dramedy, Mysteries of Laura.  Again based on a Spanish series, “Los Misterious De Laura”, the show stars Debra Messing as a New York Police Department homicide detective who raises unruly twin sons, and whose soon-to-be ex-husband (Josh Lucas) becomes her boss. The launch will follow the season finale of America’s Got Talent, but will normally air on Wednesdays at 8pm.

Another premiere this Wednesday 17th at 9pm was National Geographic’s new documentary series, Southern Justice. Produced by Electus, the show follows Sheriff Deputies in North Carolina, as they work to keep the peace in the Blue Grass Mountains. The show gives a look into crime in Appalachia, where guns, drugs and alcohol are a constant challenge.

Following that at 10pm, is National Geographic’s other new reality series, Smoky Mountain Money. The show will follow four teams of mountain folk who strike out into the Smokies every September searching high and low for wild American Ginseng. Ginseng is a federally protected endangered species, making the Ginseng harvest incredibly territorial and competitive.

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In development…

ABC has a new drama, Sex, Lies and Handwriting. Produced by Lionsgate, the show follows the exploits of Leslie Bold, an accomplished artist and handwriting expert — with her own newspaper column on the subject — who is unexpectedly drawn into the world of crime-solving because of her extraordinary skills. The series is based on the book by Michelle Dresbold.

CBS also has a new drama, The Town. Produced by Warner Bros., the show centers around a young man who starts investigating his parents’ suicide, as he suspects they were murdered, with the entire town being culpable.

A second drama being developed by CBS is The Colony. Produced by CBS Television Studios, the show is about a group of explorers sent to colonize Mars, willing to leave their lives behind to brave the dangers of another planet, and the terrifying reality they discover.

FOX has a new comedic drama in development, Lucifer. Produced by Warner Bros. the show follows a bored and unhappy Lord of Hell. Lucifer resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the glamour of Los Angeles, where he opens an exclusive piano bar called Lux.

Tuesday 16th September 2014

SCOTLAND DECIDES       

As the clock ticks towards the Scottish referendum, BBC1 at 9pm aired an interview with two key figures, Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown, conducted by David Dimbleby.  With only two days until the vote, and the polls suggesting that the result will be very close, one might think interest would be high.  However, the programme only attracted 2.1m viewers in total (10.6%) – 454,400 of whom were in Scotland, where the programme attracted a 25.3% Share.

Perhaps it is because the arguments have been made, and the decision is out of our hands.  All we can do now is wait for the result.

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.