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.


Monday 18th August 2014

Old Dogs, New Tricks

BBC1’s reliable ratings warhorse, New Tricks, returned at 9pm.  The lineup has now had a major shift from its early days, with Dennis Waterman being the only original star remaining. James Bolam, Alun Armstrong and Amanda Redman have all now moved on to pastures new, and their replacements Denis Lawson, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Tamzin Outhwaite have taken up the reins.

The new season made a slot-winning start with 5.8m (25%), a strong showing although below the performance of previous seasons.  At its peak, the show has attracted over 8m viewers watching live on the night.  The highest performance was in 2011, when an episode achieved an overnights figure of 8.7m (35.97%), and this converted into a final consolidated audience (including recordings viewed within a week) of 9.8m.  However, while the audience for this week’s series launch will no doubt end up well over the 6m mark when PVR viewing has been added in, and can be counted a great success, like its characters, New Tricks may be a little past its prime.

Thursday 14th August 2014

Cuckoo in the autumn

I know Spring is normally the time to see cuckoos, but in this case, we are in the second week of the returning comedy titles on BBC3.  The series previously starred the American Saturday Night Live alumnus Andy Samberg as a new-age hippie, the titular Cuckoo, who turns up in a straight-laced suburban household, married to the daughter of the house.  However, as Samberg is now starring in the hit US police comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, he was not available for the second season.  The producers obviously thought big in their hunt for a replacement, as they managed to land Taylor Lautner, star of the Twilight movies alongside Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart.

He could obviously do with a good laugh after going through that, so he signed up for a stint in the UK doing something completely different.  Remaining in their roles are Greg Davies and Helen Baxendale as parents of a daughter who is drawn to the more outlandish of men.  The first episode of the new-look series (with Lautner as the now-dead Cuckoo’s long-lost son, raised in a cult in India),  scored 654,000 (3.8%) for its first transmission last Thursday, with a further 335,000 (8.4%) watching a second airing at half past midnight, as well as another 363,000 (1.9%) on Friday at 9pm and 220,000 (2.5%) on Sunday at 11.15pm. So, not including further transmissions in the small hours of the mornings, Ep 1 totted up well over 1.5m views.

Last night’s second episode, at 10pm on BBC3, attracted a somewhat  lower 516,000 (2.97%), but added 341,000 (3.4%) at half past midnight, and will no doubt go on to attract well over the 1m mark – before the viewing is consolidated with time-shifted viewing on PVRs.

Screenwatch US Week 7th - 13th August 2014

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20/20 Robin Williams Special (ABC) Up to 7.2m viewers

Running Wild with Bear Grylls (NBC) Scored a 1.5 in A18-49

Mistresses (ABC) Up a tenth in A18-49

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Wipeout (ABC) Falls to a 0.8 in A18-49

Under The Dome (CBS) Down to a 1.5 in A18-49

Rising Star (ABC) Drops two tenths in A18-49

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On Friday 8th August, Cinemax had the premiere of their new original series, The Knick. The Steven Soderbergh-directed show stars Clive Owen as a Victorian-era surgeon in turn-of-the-century Manhattan. The show follows the lives of the surgeons and nurses at Knickerbocker Hospital and a doctor (Owen) who is pushing the boundaries of medicine at a time

with no antibiotics. The premiere drew 1.7m viewers in its first few days across airings on both Cinemax and HBO (sister networks). Its debut on Cinemax achieved 354,000 viewers, with three additional transmissions over the night adding 303,000 viewers. An airing of the episode on HBO on Saturday resulted in 533,000 viewers - a decent start for the new show.

On Saturday 9th August at 9pm, Starz launched their new drama Outlander. The series, from executive producer Ron Moore (Battlestar Galactica), is based on Diana Gabaldon’s best sellers. Set in Scotland, the show centers on Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a British World War II combat nurse who’s on vacation after the war, when she visits a mysterious rock formation and finds herself thrown back through time to the 18th century. From there, she’s forced to try to figure out how to get back to her time while also attempting to survive in a very different and sometimes dangerous environment. The premium cable network began with a week of multi-platform previews that achieved nearly 900,000 views, (not surprising given the books’ massive fanbase).  It then had a network debut of 720,000 viewers.  Like Cinemax’s multiple airings, Starz similarly built up a strong total, with three Saturday replays achieving another 1.5m, followed by a Sunday airing. The new show got a total weekend viewership of 2.3m, beating their other new drama Power, which attracted 2m viewers for its opening weekend.

On Sunday 10th August at 9pm, Spike TV premiered their new summer reality show, Gym Rescue. The show has MMA legends Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock use their years of expertise in the business of mixed martial arts to help turn struggling gyms into thriving enterprises.

Also that night, but at 8pm, National Geographic had the premiere of their new 3-+part mini-series, Life and Death Row. The show follows a story about capital punishment through the lives of the victims as well as the convicted and their families, with each part of the three-part mini-series focusing on a key aspect of the capital punishment system: execution, trial, and appeal.

On Monday 11th August at 11pm, Sundance Channel launched their new magazine show, The Approval Matrix. The show is hosted by Neal Brennan (best known for creating “Chappelle’s Show” with Dave Chappelle), and panelists and host argue a topic while pushing a small block representing that topic around a grid board. The premiere featured Julie Klausner, Willie Geist, Neal Brennan, Whitney Cummings and Matt Roush and the most recent controversial entertainment and news items were debated.

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Some titles in development:

FX have a new comedy, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. The show follows a middle-aged rock ‘n roller who desperately wants to be rich and famous but is so far having no luck. The series is produced by FOX Television Studios and Apostle Pictures.

ABC Family are developing a new drama, Guidance. The show follows High school guidance counselor Anna Schmidt, who doesn’t handle her job with finesse but is entirely committed to helping the kids. The series is produced by AwesomenessTV.

Comedy Central’s new comedy title in development is I Live with Models. Produced by Roughcut Television, the show is set on the fringes of the fashion industry and centers on the everyday comical adventures of four 20-somethings coming face to face with the real world.

Amazon have a comedy in development, The Peak. Produced by Amazon Studios, the show centers around a group of female twenty-somethings living in Hong Kong.

Tuesday 12th August 2014

In or Out?

With the Scottish independence referendum fast approaching, BBC2 aired, at 9.30pm, a national programme about the possible effect of an independent Scotland on England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The programme was presented by regular political host, Andrew Neil.

The programme attracted 1.6m (7.98%), which, while not the highest audience for the slot, gave an excellent performance index figure of 195.65, showing that it had almost twice the viewing of the average current affairs programme in that particular timeslot.

US Screenwatch 31st July - 6th August 2014

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Dateline (NBC) Up 9% in A18-49

Under The Dome (CBS) Up to a 1.6 in A18-49

Wipeout (ABC) Up 13% in A18-49

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Food Fighters (NBC) Down 8% in A18-49

Hotel Hell (FOX) Down 13% in A18-49

Masters of Illusion (the CW) Down 50% in A18-49

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On Thursday 31st July, ABC had the premiere of their new fantasy reality/competition series, The Quest. The show features 12 strangers (who include a high school math teacher, a horse trainer and a mixed martial arts fighter), as they are transported to the mythical kingdom of “Everealm” (Austria), and transformed into knights, in a test to see who can emerge as the One True Hero. The show got off to a very disappointing start, with only 2.8m viewers and a 0.7 rating in A18-49. Unsurprisingly, the newcomer lost out easily to repeats of The Big Bang Theory, The Millers and Hollywood Game Night.

On Friday August 1st, NBC news premiered their special Hannah Anderson: Anatomy of a Kidnapping. The documentary explores what happened to Hannah Anderson, the San Diego teenager who was kidnapped and then found in the Idaho wilderness after being held hostage. The showachieved a 1.0 in Adults 18-49, much higher than Crossbones (0.5) that aired in the same timeslot the week prior.

On Monday 4th August at 8pm, ABC premiered their new reality spin-off series, Bachelor in Paradise. The show has past “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” contestants come together to give them another chance at finding love as they date one another and vote to keep those that they want to stay in paradise. Each week, new men and women arrive on the show, providing plenty of new drama. The show had a decent premiere with 5m viewers tuning in and a 1.3 in A18-49, but it was down 13% from the most recent season premiere of Bachelor Pad, and didn’t coming close to The Bachelorette numbers.

On Monday 4th August, Bravo launched their new reality show, Jersey Belle, at 10pm. The series follows entertainment publicist Jaime Primak Sullivan, a New Jersey native as she adjusts to living life in the South with her husband and three children.

Also that night at 9pm, FX had the premiere of their latest comedy Partners, airing two back-to-back episodes. The series has Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence as odd-couple lawyers who are ordered to partner up. FX then also aired two new double episodes of Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management at 10pm. Both comedies are produced by Lionsgate.

Also on 4th August, Investigation Discovery began their new series, Bloodlands, at 9pm. The show reveals dark tales tied to particular locations, telling the story of one murder-mystery per episode. Following that, they also had the premiere of their other chilling new series, Nowhere to Hide. The show follows New York City private investigator extraordinaire, Steven Rambam, as he recounts the most dramatic stories from his extensive casebook, involving criminals who think they have escaped the long arm of the law when the PI finds and brings them to justice.

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 Some new reality series in development…

Amazon have a new docu-dramedy in development, The Kicks. The show is based on the Full Fathom Five middle school book series “The Kicks”, by Olympic gold Medalist Alex Morgan, and follows a perennial last place girls’ soccer team.

ABC Family are developing Freaked Out. Produced by 495 Productions, the series features an unsuspecting person whose worst fears come true when they are pranked by their friends, with the help of elaborate special effects, intricate makeup and twisted actors.

Spike TV has Ink Shrinks, featuring a group of forward-thinking artists, psychologists and other professionals who prescribe “blind” tattoos as a means of healing. After discussing their clients’ issues, the team design a unique tattoo to help jump start the mending process and their clients put their faith in the “ink shrinks” as they won’t know what their tattoo looks like until the session is complete.

Tuesday 5th August 2014


Kay Mellor’s new drama for BBC1, In the Club, had its slot-winning launch on BBC1 at 9pm.  The show features quite a starry cast that includes Hermione Norris, Katherine Parkinson (better known for her comedy appearances), Jill Halfpenny and Will Mellor (no relation to Kay), and delves into the lives of a group of expectant mothers who attend parenting classes, in preparation for their new arrivals.

The audience of 3.98m (19.1%) perhaps unsurprisingly featured a slightly higher proportion of 25-34, and 35-44-year-olds than the slot benchmark profile, together with a much higher proportion of female viewers:  66.3% of the audience were female, compared with a benchmark profile figure of 57.6%.

Monday 4th August 2014

ITV launched a new gameshow yesterday, hosted by former Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones.  Eleven contestants compete in a test of general knowledge and skill, aiming to get into the “power spot” in time for the 21st question.  Whoever is in that spot at the right time has the chance to answer the final question and take home all of the money amassed during the course of the game.

The first episode, at 5pm on ITV, made a solid start with 1.9m viewers (18.6%), and the audience profile skewed towards the older age groups, with over 65% of the audience over the age of 55.

Friday 1st August 2014


Channel 4 launched their new singing talent competition on Friday at 9pm.  The Singer Takes It All  is a four-part series, hosted by Alan Carr, that boasts “live” results from viewer votes via an app.  Contestants appear along a giant conveyor belt, and continue, or get thrown out, depending on live viewer votes.

Unfortunately, the first episode was beset by technical problems, which meant that viewers were not able to vote throughout the entire duration of the programme.  This drew a lot of negative comment on Twitter as viewers expressed their displeasure. 

The show averaged an audience of 1.2m (5.7%) on C4 (Total) from 9pm, and had a peak 5-minute audience of 1.4m (6.8%).  More than 22% of its audience was in the 25-34 age range, well above the slot benchmark age profile figure of 18.4%, and the programme attracted a 13.2% Share of this demographic.  However, overall the programme was below the slot benchmark Share figure.  Will those who watched give it another try, in the hope that the app has been sorted out for Week 2?

US SCREENWATCH 24th - 30th July 2014

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Food Fighters (NBC) Up three tenths in A18-49

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

Celebrity Wife Swap (ABC) Up to a 1.0 in A18-49

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Rising Star (ABC) A series low of 0.9

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

Wipeout (ABC) A series low of 0.8 in A18-49

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WGN had the premiere of their second new original series, Manhattan, on Sunday at 9pm. Produced by Lionsgate Television, the period drama is set in the 1940s and centers around men and women involved in the top-secret Manhattan Project. The debut got off to an encouraging start and positive reviews for the small cable channel, with 1.8m viewers tuning in and 233,000 in the A18-49 demographic, and it is expecting to get a big uplift with Live+3. The show also outperformed WGN’s previous drama premiere, Salem, back in April, which received 1.5m viewers, but skewed younger with 326,000 in A18-49.

On Tuesday 29th July, History premiered their new reality series, Dark Horse Nation. The 12-episode series follows the day-to-day adventures of a group of lifelong friends who work at the Dark Horse Brewing Company. The show is led by rebel entrepreneur Aaron Morse and the Dark Horse crew, who are determined to turn their business into a household name, and even have their own die-hard fan base, nicknamed Dark Horse Nation.

At 10pm that night, Lifestyle launched their new docu-series Raising Asia. The show follows the 8-year-old Youtube star who has sung and danced all around the world, and also features her family. It takes a look at her journey to achieving her dream of becoming a world famous star, with the help of her model mother, bodybuilder father and younger sister.

On Wednesday 30th July at 8pm, The CW premiered their new show Penn & Teller: Fool us. The show has aspiring magicians perform their best trick to try and fool the world-famous duo. Penn & Teller only get to see the trick once, and have to immediately try to work out how it was done.

The network will also premiere Masters of Illusion, another magic show, which originally ran for three seasons and most recently aired on MyNetworkTV. The CW gave it a 13-episode order, to be produced by Associated Television International. The show features comedic magic, daring escapes and grand illusions.

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Some comedies in development at the broadcast networks…

ABC has a Sony Pictures Entertainment production, Texas Hold ‘Em. This focuses on instilling a sense of pride about where you’re from, and the problems of staying connected to family in other parts of the country.

ABC also has a second title in development, A State of Mind. The show revolves around a father with early onset Alzheimer’s, trying to reconnect with his family. The new show is produced by Kapital Entertainment.

NBC has Married not Dead. The show explores marriage and parenthood through the lives of three different couples who all face the same challenges of modern family life ­- potty training, school, staying organized and maintaining their sex lives. The show is produced by Acme Productions.

CBS is developing Taxi-22, a comedy about a politically incorrect taxi driver produced by Attaboy Films.