Broadcast TV Buzz: ‘Community’ & ‘Almost Human’ Set For Renewal, ‘The Mentalist’ Facing Cancellation & More

By Patrick Munn - April 24th, 2014 @ 11:25 pm UTC

With the Upfronts only a few weeks away, a number of bubble shows on all five of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC) are waiting to hear if they’ll be back. In the week since our last column, the fates of a number of these bubble shows, including Community, Almost Human and Surviving Jack, have firmed up. And as such, TVWise presents the penultimate edition of this year’s Broadcast TV Buzz column, which lists, by network, the latest industry intel (buzz if you will) on which shows will be back next year and which shows are set to get cancelled.

ABC

There has not been much movement at ABC. The network has yet to renewal a single show, but have already pulled the plug on Back In The Game, Minds Games, Lucky 7, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland and The Assets. Once Upon A Time, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Castle, Resurrection and Modern Family are all still considered locks for renewal; while Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Goldbergs, The Middle, Nashville, Revenge and Last Man Standing are looking good for renewal. According to my sources the only series whose fate has shifted over the past few days is Suburgatory. The comedy from Warner Bros. Television was considered a toss up just a week ago, but is now expected to swing a renewal. Meanwhile, ABC is expected to officially cancel Trophy Wife, Killer Women, The Neighbors, Betrayal, Super Fun Night and Mixology.

CBS

CBS has already handed pick ups to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Person of Interest, Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Criminal Minds, Elementary, 2 Broke Girls, The Millers, Mike & Molly, Mom, Two And A Half Men and The Big Bang Theory; whilst also cancelling the Tony Shalhoub fronted comedy We Are Men. With most of their line up decided on, and Les Mooves stating that CBS expected to pick up only 4 new series, there is not much left in play. Dramas Hostages and Intelligence, while big DVR gainers, didn’t make much of a dent in the ratings in live+same day and will not be returning. On the comedy side, CBS has yet to decide on which series to pick up. The Crazy Ones has the best shot at this stage, despite Friends With Better Lives holding steady in week three. Things will become clearer in the coming days, once Bad Teacher has premiered. Finally, word has been circulating for the past few days that CBS, happy with their drama development, have all but decided to cancel The Mentalist. Given that, it is no surprise that reports began circulating today that Warner Bros. Television were shopping the series to other networks in the hopes of securing a seventh season.

The CW

Over at The CW, there has been some (minimal) movement. With the network having already renewed Arrow, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Reign and The Originals, it is only Beauty & The Beast, The 100, Star-Crossed, Hart of Dixie and The Carrie Diaries that are left on the bubble. Things are looking up for Beauty & The Beast. Only weeks ago the CBS Television Studios produced drama was considered a long shot for renewal, but in the past few days sources have been maintaining that the drama is “guaranteed” a slot on next season’s schedule. It’s unclear, however, if it will be a short order of 13 episodes of a full 22 episode pick up. The 100 has been a strong player for The CW and is a lock for renewal. The only other series still in contention is Hart of Dixie. It will depend on drama development but with buzz dying down on the Supernatural spin-off, it has a shot. Meanwhile, The Carrie Diaries, The Tomorrow People and Star-Crossed are set to be cancelled.

Fox

Just like CBS, Fox has already handed pick up to most of their current shows. The network has renewed The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Sleepy Hollow, The Following and Glee. They have also cancelled Us & Them, Rake and Raising Hope. TVWise reported last week that Almost Human was looking good for a second season renewal. I’m now hearing that a second season pick up is a sure thing – something Fox recently hinted at by scheduling an encore of the Almost Human season finale for May 17th, just days after their upfront presentation. On the comedy side, despite strong support amongst network execs, Enlisted is now considered a goner and wont feature on Fox’s 2014-2015 schedule. That leaves only Dads and Surviving Jack on the bubble. Word is that only one will be renewed and that as things currently stand Fox is leaning towards picking up a second season of Dads, which is produced by sister studio 20th Century Fox Television.

NBC

The peacock has already renewed The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Parks and Recreation and Grimm; and cancelled Sean Saves The World, Welcome To The Family, Ironside and The Michael J. Fox Show. That leaves a lot of shows still in play, but there has not been much movement from what we reported in last week’s column. About A Boy, Growing Up Fisher and Parenthood are still set for renewal. As for Community: sources at the network are calling the fifth season “creatively very strong” and given the comparable ratings to the already renewed Parks and Recreation and SPT’s desire to keep the show going, a sixth season order is more or less considered a lock. Despite an uptick in ratings this past week, Believe is still facing cancellation. Fellow Sunday series Crisis on the other hand suffered further ratings declines and is a goner. Things have been quiet with Law & Order: SVU, but the sole remaining entry in the once vast Law & Order franchise is expected to return. Friday night series Hannibal is hard to get a clear read on but from what I’ve been hearing it’ll be back for season three. Warner Bros. has been pushing for a renewal for Revolution, but NBC is still expected to cancel the JJ Abrams drama. Finally, Dracula is looking like it might not make its onto next season’s schedule.

‘The Mentalist’ To Move To New Network For Season 7?

By Patrick Munn - April 24th, 2014 @ 09:32 pm UTC

The Mentalist could possibly move to a new network next season.

Deadline is reporting that series producer Warner Bros. Television is shopping the Simon Baker fronted procedural to broadcast and cable networks should, as seems likely at this point, CBS opts not to renew The Mentalist for a seventh season. TNT is considered the most likely home for The Mentalist. The network is already home to syndicated episodes of the drama and they have experience in working with corporate sibling WBTV to bring a broadcast series to cable, just as they did with Southland.

The Mentalist was created by Bruno Heller – who would segue to Fox series Gotham if the series is renewed – and initially followed Patrick Jane as he advised the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on high profile cases, all while hunting for Red John – the serial killer who killed his wife and child. In anticipation of a seventh season pick up, the series underwent a re-tooling this year which saw the Red John story wrapped up, with Jane now advising on cases for the FBI. The cast includes Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Tim Kang, Rockmond Dunbar and Emily Swallow.

Once a ratings hit for CBS, The Mentalist has been struggling in the ratings since the network moved the series to Sunday nights alongside The Good Wife. With its most recent episode, The Mentalist managed 8.7 million viewers and a 1.4 A18-49 rating. Despite frequently outrating The Good Wife, which has already been renewed, word has been circulating for months that CBS was considering letting the series go. That is down to the fact that CBS owns The Good Wife but don’t own The Mentalist, which as noted above is owned by Warner Bros. Given that it earns WB a lot of money both in syndication and international sales, expect the studio to fight hard to get a seventh season, be that on CBS or some other network.

Netflix Sets Summer Premiere Date For ‘The Killing’

By Patrick Munn - April 24th, 2014 @ 08:48 pm UTC

The final season of The Killing will be hitting Netflix this Summer.

In a short 11 second promo (see below), the streaming service announced that the six episode fourth and final season of the former AMC series will unspool on Friday August 1st. The show’s final season is expected to premiere in all territories where Netflix has a presence, including the UK & Ireland, on that same date.

It’s been a rocky road for The Killing. The series, based on the Danish drama Forbrydelsen, began its life on cable network AMC but following viewer backlash to the events of the season one finale, which in turn resulted in diminished ratings for season two, the network cancelled The Killing in July 2012. Series producer Fox Television Studios then struck a deal with Netflix and AMC which saw the series return for a third season, with Netflix taking exclusive rights to said season in several territories including the UK. Despite that, AMC once again cancelled the series at the end of the third season, only for Netflix to ride to the rescue in November 2013 by ordering this fourth and final season.

The final season of The Killing, which consist of six episodes, is expected to address the events in the season two finale and will see Detectives Linden (Mireille Enos) and Holder (Joel Kinnaman) investigating a murder at an all-boys military academy just outside of Seattle. In addition to Enos and Kinnaman, regulars for season four include Joan Allen, Tyler Ross and Sterling Beaumon.

TV Trailer: Quest’s ‘Cars That Rock With Brian Johnson’

By Patrick Munn - April 24th, 2014 @ 03:41 pm UTC

Quest has released the first trailer for their upcoming series Cars That Rock With Brian Johnson, which is set to premiere on Thursday May 8th at 9pm.

The six episode series features AC/DC front man Brian Johnson indulging his passion for fast cars. Cars That Rock will see the legendary musician getting behind the wheel of some of the fastest cars, such as the Bugatti, the Lamborghini and the iconic Ferrari, and testing them out on world’s best speedways and race tracks.

Quest’s Trailer For Cars That Rock With Brian Johnson Follows Below:

A&E Sets Premiere Date For ‘Longmire’ Season 3

By Patrick Munn - April 24th, 2014 @ 03:28 pm UTC

The third season of A&E’s Longmire will premiere on Monday June 2nd at 10/9c, the network announced today.

Based on the series of novels written by Craig Johnson and developed for television by John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin, Longmire follows Walt Longmire, the Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Longmire is a widower who, following his wife’s death, lost interest in his job as Sheriff. But with the help of one of his deputies he re-commits to his job and decides to run for re-election, only to find that one of his own men is running against him. The drama series is produced by Warner Horizon Television and stars Robert Taylor (The Matrix), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate: Universe), Bailey Chase (Damages), Cassidy Freeman (Smallville) and newcomer Adam Bartley.

In the show’s third season, Walt finds himself reeling from a series of devastating traumas. His best friend, Henry Standing Bear, is going to prison on murder charges. Deputy Branch Connally has been shot by a mysterious “white warrior,” and Vic Moretti is unsure if she has shaken a stalker from her past. Walt is forced to shoulder all of these burdens and try to find a way to set the world right again, but one person knows he can’t do this alone – his daughter, Cady. She will fight in court to try and clear Henry’s name while Walt continues to unravel the dark, mysterious secrets of Absaroka County.  The deeper Walt digs into all these mysteries, the closer he’ll get to uncovering the real bloody hand behind his wife’s murder.

BBC One Orders Literary Adaptations From Jed Mercurio, Adrian Hodges & More

By Patrick Munn - April 24th, 2014 @ 12:20 pm UTC

BBC One has given the green-light to four literary adaptations, which will form part of the channel’s Classic 20th Century Literature Season.

The four literary works being adapted are JB Priestley’s classic play An Inspector Calls, DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie and LP Hartley’s The Go-Between. All four will be adapted into 90 minute one-offs by some of the industry’s top talent including Line of Duty & Critical creator Jed Mercurio and The Musketeers creator Adrian Hodges.

“These four classic novels each represent a real moment in our recent history when Britain was on the cusp of great social and cultural change”, said BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore. “This season of films aims to explore and contextualise the enormous changes in the way men and women lived and behaved in the 20th century. They all tell uniquely intense and personal stories about people living in Britain 100 years ago.”

“Whilst each film will stand as a wonderful treat in its own right, themes about the role of women, class, sexuality and impact of the First World War will ebb and flow across them”, added the BBC’s Controller of Drama Commissioning Ben Stephenson, who commissioned the dramas alongside Charlotte Moore. “I hope that, viewed together, these four masterpieces will present an intelligent and involving picture of what it was like to live in Britain 100 years ago.”

An Inspector Calls is being produced by Drama Republic – the production company behind the upcoming BBC dramas The Honourable Woman and Doctor Foster - and has A Poet In New York helmer Aisling Walsh. Drama Republic’s Greg Brenman will executive produce and called the source material “a timeless masterpiece”, adding that it was “an honour for us to be making this with the BBC.”

Line of Duty‘s Jed Mercurio has adapted Lawrence’s  Lady Chatterley’s Lover. He will also direct the 90 minute film which is a co-production between Sherlock producer Hartswood Films and Serena Cullen Productions. Serena Cullen is producing and Hartswood’s Beryl Vertue will executive produce.

Ben Vanstone has penned the 90 minute adaptation of Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie. Origin Pictures is producing the drama which reunites the indie with Jamaica Inn helmer Philipa Lowthorpe “We are so thrilled to be making a new version of Laurie Lee’s timeless classic that has been adapted so masterfully by Ben Vanstone and will be brought to life by the brilliant Philippa Lowthorpe”, said Origin Pictures’ David Thompson and Ed Rubin.

The Musketeers creator Adrian Hodges has adapted LP Hartley’s The Go-Between, which is being produced in-house by BBC Drama Production. Claire Bennett will serve as the producer, while Hodges and Sue Hogg will executive produce. “Adapting The Go-Between has been a real labour of love. It’s a book I’ve admired ever since I read it many years ago, and its subtle power and devastating emotional impact remains undiminished”, Hodges said.

ITV’s ‘Scott & Bailey’ Adds Danny Webb For Season 4

By Patrick Munn - April 24th, 2014 @ 11:03 am UTC

ITV is adding to the cast of Scott & Bailey for its upcoming fourth season.

Danny Webb has boarded the drama for season four and will play Detective Contsable Chris Crowley, who has been assigned to Syndicate 9. Webb, repped by Troika Talent, has previously appeared in ITV dramas Lightfields and Poirot. He joins a cast which includes returning stars Suranne Jones, Leslie Sharp, Amelia Bullmore, Danny Miller and Sally Lindsay.

Scott & Bailey follows the exploits of the Major Incident Team (known as Syndicate 9) of the Manchester Metropolitan Police Force. The show’s fourth season, which just entered production in Manchester, will see additional strain placed on DC Rachel Bailey and DC Janet Scott’s relationship as both vie for a promotion to the rank of Detective sergeant.

The drama series was based on an original idea by Suranne Jones & Sally Lindsay and created by Sally Wainwright Diane Taylor. Red Production Company produces Scott & Bailey, with Wainwright, Nicola Shindler and Tom Sherry serving as executive producers. Juliet Charlesworth is on-board to produce & Simon Delaney and Noreen Kershaw are attached to direct. Writers for season four include Lee Warburton, Emily Ballou and series star Amelia Bullmore, who will pen four scripts.

UKTV Scores Record Ratings Over Easter Weekend

By Patrick Munn - April 24th, 2014 @ 09:33 am UTC

UKTV’s growth story continues.

The commercial network, which is a joint venture between Scripps Networks Interactive and BBC Worldwide, shattered previous ratings records across its 10 channels to post its highest ever audience share on Easter Sunday.

Per BARB, UKTV managed a 7.13% audience share on Easter Sunday, whilst also posting an audience share of 6.45% over the Easter weekend – up some 21% from last year’s 5.32%. That follows on from what was UKTV’s most successful week in the ratings in their 21 year history, with the network of channels managing an audience share of 6.05% in week 16.

Of UKTV’s 10 channel’s, Really saw the biggest ratings growth compared to last year (up 21%). That was followed by crime channel Alibi (up 13%) and flagship entertainment channel Watch (up 8%). Meanwhile top performing shows included Storage Hunters (554K viewers), Murdoch Mysteries (184K viewers) and Only Fools and Horses (182K viewers).

“Our growth strategy is paying dividends with UKTV celebrating its best week and best day ever”, said Darren Childs, CEO of UKTV. “In 2014, UKTV will invest more in content than ever before, giving viewers even more great reasons to spend time with us.”

UKTV has been on a growth trajectory for the past couple of years. Even before these results, 2013 was a record year for the broadcaster with their comedy channel Dave securing its position as the UK’s number one non-PSB channel. The growth has been driven by a large investment in content across all of their channels.

That investment in content, which as Childs notes will see UKTV spend £110 million in 2014, has seen the commercial network snap up a number of acquisitions both scripted and unscripted and in addition to raising their audience share has cemented UKTV’s position as a key buyer for both the big Hollywood studios and independent distributors on both sides of the Atlantic. Original commissions have also been key – especially with UKTV’s recent move into scripted. Such scripted commissions have included Red Dwarf X, You, Me & Them and the upcoming Legion, which is the company’s first original drama.

Bravo Developing Dramedy ‘All The Pretty Faces’ From Jennifer Garner

By Patrick Munn - April 23rd, 2014 @ 09:28 pm UTC

Bravo is continuing its push into scripted programming with an original series from Alias star Jennifer Garner.

The NBCU owned and operated cable network – who recently picked up Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce as their first scripted series – is developing All The Pretty Faces, a new dramedy series from J. Mills Goodloe, Jennifer Garner’s Vandalia Films and Warner Horizon Television.

Written by Goodloe, All The Pretty Faces is set in the bucolic beach town of Half Moon Bay, California, and is described as a dramedy-mystery centered on two warring families engaged in an epic, decades-long feud. The death of one of their own brings both families together in search of the secret to the affliction that has plagued them for generations…immortality. Jennifer Garner executive producers alongside writer J. Mills Goodloe.

“‘All The Pretty Faces’ tracks with Bravo’s tradition of presenting strong, relatable characters and tackling provocative subjects in an entertaining way,” said Andrew Wang, Vice-President of Scripted Development & Production for Bravo Media. “By teaming up with the incredibly talented Jennifer Garner, we can bring fans a compelling family drama with a fun, mystical twist.”

HBO Boards BBC One’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’ As Co-Producer

By Patrick Munn - April 23rd, 2014 @ 06:31 pm UTC

HBO has boarded BBC One’s upcoming drama The Casual Vacancy, which is based on the JK Rowling novel of the same name, as a co-producer and will air the drama in the US.

The Casual Vacancy was Rowling’s first novel post Harry Potter and was published in 2012. The book is set in Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems.

The series was put into development at BBC One back in December 2012, when the BBC’s flagship channel committed to the production of The Casual Vacancy with no screenwriter attached nor an agreed upon episode order. With HBO having now come on-board, its has been confirmed that The Casual Vacancy will consist of three one-hour episodes, written by Sarah Phelps.

J.K. Rowling’s indie Bronte Film and Television is producing with Rowling, her agent Neil Blair, Rick Senat and Paul Trijbits serving as executive producers. The Hour’s Ruth Kenley-Letts is on-board to serve as series producer, while In The Flesh helmer Jonny Campbell is attached to direct. Production begin this Summer in the South West of England. As part of a wider ranging agreement between Rowling and Warner Bros. that was signed in September 2013, Warner Bros. International Television Distribution will handle global sales.