May 7, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15: News From FOX, NBC, TNT, TBS


Nothing so far today matches yesterday afternoon’s high-profile pick-ups by NBC and FOX, but there’s nevertheless some news as we approach next week’s Upfronts:


Amid speculation that the network will cut back on its comedy commitment next season, FOX cleared its shelves of bubble sitcoms, officially canceling DADS, ENLISTED and SURVIVING JACK.  Jack was DOA, and despite some bleating from the critical community, there was little rationale for keeping the extremely low-rated Enlisted around.  The axing of Dads, though is a bit of a surprise, because despite general (and deserved) critical loathing, its ratings weren’t lower than the renewed New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Mindy Project, and it came out of the producing barn of FOX royalty Seth MacFarlane.  In addition, FOX passed on some comedy pilots that had been considered in contention, Dead Boss, Fatrick and No Place Like Home.  Two sitcoms are considered still in contention for slots:  Sober Companion, with Justin Long and Nick Frost, and Cabot College, produced by Tina Fey.  (RAKE is also officially canceled… but you knew that.)


The Peacock made the deal with Dick Wolf that it needed in order to renew LAW & ORDER: SVU for a 16th season.  SVU is past its glory days, but its 2-ish ratings are sturdy enough for network TV these days, and of course it’s extremely compatible with the Chicago Dick Wolf franchise 2.0 shows.

In other NBC news, its parent Comcast closed a $7.75B deal to extend its existing Olympics deal from 2020 all the way through 2032.  That covers all US transmission of the games, whether on conventional television, online or mobile.  The deal is a healthy increase from this year’s $775M license fee for the Sochi Winter Olympics, averaging out at almost $1.3B for each of the 6 additional Games.


The Turner networks, TNT (drama) and TBS (comedy) are, with USA, the closest cable networks to a full-service broadcast service, and they take part in the Upfronts as well.  Both announced their 10-episode pick-ups for next season today.  On the TNT side:

PROOF:  A supernatural medical thriller starring Jennifer Beals, Matthew Modine and Joe Morton and produced by TNT icon Kyra Sedgwick.  The series creator is Rob Bragin, and it’s about a surgeon (Beals) who investigates paranormal events, looking for proof that they’re real.

PUBLIC MORALS:  A 1960s-set cop show headlined by Ed Burns, who isn’t just the series creator and pilot director, but also the star (a triple-threat assignment he’s done many times in his indie film career).  It’s about vice cops, and one of the producers is Steven Spielberg.  (It also has a vaguely meta feel, considering that Johnny Drama once starred in a fictional Ed Burns TV series on Entourage.)


ANGIE TRIBECA:  On the comedy end, TBS’s highest-profile new series is this single-camera cop show starring Rashida Jones and produced by, among others, Steve Carell, which sounds not unlike Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

BUZZY’S:  Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, creators of Will & Grace, make their cable debut with a multi-camera sitcom about life in a Massachusetts barbershop.  It’s produced by Warner Horizon.

YOUR FAMILY OR MINE:  Greg Malins, a veteran sitcom writer whose credits include Friends (and who’s also behind TBS’s Ground Floor), created this multi-camera comedy (based on an Israeli format) that stars Richard Dreyfuss and Jobeth Williams as members of a family mismatched by marriage who have to all get along–the gimmick is that the episodes alternate from week to week in focusing on the husband’s side of the family or the wife’s.  It’s from Sony TV.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."