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TV News Tidbits – ABC Cancels Two Shows, NBC Looks to Bring a President to TV, and more

Cancellation News
ABC is not ordering more episodes for its freshman series Last Resort and 666 Park Ave. The word “cancelled” has not been used officially, which means that technically both shows are still in contention for renewal after their 13-episode run, but who are we kidding? Both had a lukewarm start and never improved, with Last Resort having the additional burden of not fitting very well in the very female-centric ABC line-up. In spite of its problems (what show doesn’t have some?) Last Resort was considered by us at Player Affinity TV as one of the best freshman series. The show’s creator Shawn Ryan took to Twitter to write, “For the record, ABC was always fantastic with us in every regard. Don’t get mad at them. If you’d like to curse out Nielsen viewers though…” Now, that’s someone who knows who to blame.

Development Projects News
In a year that has seen Abraham Lincoln featured as a vampire hunter as well as in a more “appropriate” biopic movie, NBC is developing a drama about one of the most elusive founding fathers, United States’ first President George Washington.  The series is co-created by Oscar-winning writer David Seidler (The King’s Speech) who speaking of the project said, “[…] there’s the George Washington who had an adulterous affair with his best friend’s wife, the George Washington obsessed with social status, finely-tailored clothes, his image. Not an icon, a very human human-being, who learned how to lead. That’s the man I want to understand.” This is another way of warning you not to expect a picture of Washington matching the proud portrait on the one-dollar bill: it will get messy…

Deadline Hollywood reports that MTV has bought Blackwood, a mystery drama co-produced by Kelsey Grammer and based on the young adult book by Gwenda Bond published in September. Blackwood revolves around 19-year-old Miranda Blackwood who teams up with her high-school sweetheart to investigate the disappearance of 114 people, including her father. She soon realizes that she is somehow connected not only to that event, but also to a much earlier American mystery; the disappearance of 114 people at what would be called The Lost Colony. Well, with such a premise on such a channel, unless Lionsgate TV and Grammer’s Grammnet Prods. do a really bad job, the project’s chances for pick up look very good.

Gwenda Bond, author of 'Blackwood'

Full-Season Orders and Renewals News
Showtime has renewed Lisa Kudrow’s comedy Web Therapy for a third season. The now television comedy, which started out as a web series, earned an Emmy nomination for its online first season. Kudrow stars as Fiona Wallice, “the self-professed and self-serving psychotherapist who treats patients for three minutes via webcam.” Deadline Hollywood reports that in keeping with the previous two, the upcoming season is likely to feature a few star-friends of the lead. Who said having celebrity-friends was just a matter of life-style?

CBS likes Elementary so much so that it turns out a full-season order is not enough. The Sherlock Holmes drama, which has won the coveted spot after the Super Bowl, has received an order for two additional episodes. Presumably, one of the two new episodes will account for the post-Bowl spot, but before you think you’ve understood the logic behind the move, you should know that Vegas, another freshman drama which also initially received a back-9 order, has had its total number of episodes reduced to 21 (which basically means the show now has a back-8 order). Whatever the underlying reasons, you and I should agree the folks at CBS  don’t get carried away by their numbers…

Business News
It never hurts to poke fun at a competitor, which is exactly what Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings did with Amazon. According to a report on AllThingsD, Hastings admitted that Amazon is the best competitor they’ve ever faced,  but he went on to say he estimates his retail rival is losing between $500 million and $1 billion a year on its streaming content. Amazon chose not to comment on the figures, but agreed that “Prime Instant Video is an amazing value for customers.” Which is why both companies seem bent on spending more on content (including original content) over the next year, all things that can only be good for the customers and TV in general.

It seems reports on how effective the Obama campaign won’t stop rolling in. It now appears the campaign used Hollywood techniques to help the President win re-election. Team Obama bought information on what you watch on TV from some of Hollywood’s leading data collectors. The Atlantic and the Washington Post report that the campaign used audience viewing habits collected from firms such as Rentrak and Navic Networks to target the niche audiences they were after, saving millions in the process.


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