Mike Darnell, Fox's President of Alternative Programming, Who Has Guided One of the Biggest Hits Ever on TV -- 'American Idol' -- for Its Entire Run, Is Leaving the Network
Mike Darnell, Fox's president of alternative programming (officially Fox calls it alternative "entertainment"), whose contract is up at the end of June, is leaving the network when his contract expires.
In a statement Darnell said, "I'm extremely grateful that Fox has offered me a new long-term contract (and anyone who knows me won't believe I'm saying this), but I've decided it's time for a change. With my current deal ending in June, and having been here for 18 years (kind of a record in Hollywood), I had to make a decision: either stay (and basically admit to myself I was going to retire at Fox...not a terrible choice) or leave and try something new. I've been in 'reality' since before it was even called that, and it has truly been an amazing ride. However, the world has changed drastically over the last few years and now with hundreds of channels and limitless ways to watch television, I've decided this was the perfect time to take advantage of the rapidly changing marketplace."
Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of Fox parent News Corp. also said in a statement, "Mike took risks at a critical time and was a pioneering force in shaping the reality programming genre that exists today. He's a smart and fearless executive who will be missed."
Writes our friend Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com, "Shortly after we broke the news of Fox president of Alternative Programming Mike Darnell’s decision to depart the network after 18 years, I got to speak to Darnell about the bombshell news. 'I remember considering leaving the last time,' he said. 'This happens every time my contract is up. It’s always an excruciating decision.' This time he couldn’t resist the temptation of other opportunities. 'I love it here, but there are all these other things out there.' What things is he most attracted to? 'I will take a little time to feel my way through, but it will be something that is creative and exciting that has a sense of entrepreneurship,' Darnell said, indicating that a career as a producer may be in the cards.
Andreeva's interview adds, " 'The last couple of years have been very intense, with me taking on duties of a current executive and line producer' Darnell admitted. As for his legacy, 'I’ve done good things, I’ve done bad things, I’ve done funny things and I’ve done evil things,' said Darnell, whose stature in the business is far greater than his 5’2″ height. Fox’s search for Darnell’s successor won’t be easy. 'They’ve got some some really small shoes to fill,' he quipped."
Fox' reality show guru Mike Darnell is leaving the networkmore »
Thursday Nights Sure Aren't What They Used to Be: New Shows Premiere to Feeble Numbers ... and a 1.7 Rating Wins the Night
On a night when shows on three different broadcast networks premiered to weak viewer numbers -- two series debuts and a season premiere -- a network that averaged a lowly 1.7 rating in the key 18-49 demo won the night, based on Nielsen overnights.
TVbytheNumbers.com reports that Fox easily won Thursday night in the demo with its 1.7 average for prime time, beating out CBS (1.4 average), Univision (1.3), ABC (1.2) and NBC (0.8). CBS, meanwhile, aired mostly repeat programming and still won total viewers, averaging 6.6 million to top ABC (5.3 million), Fox (4.3 million), Univision (3.4 million) and NBC (2.6 million).
The top show of the night was the only fresh program aired by CBS, “The Big Bang Theory,” which delivered a 2.2 average in viewers 18-49 at 8 p.m.
Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” was close behind with a 2.1 in the 18-49 demo, rising 17% from the show’s previous original. But Fox’s series premiere of “Someone’s Got to Go” was part of a bad night for premieres, managing only a 1.3.
Also making its series premiere was NBC’s “Save Me,” which racked up a dismal 0.7 in 18-49. A second episode followed, delivering another 0.7. NBC’s only other original was “Hannibal,” which equaled its series low with a 1.0, slipping 9% from a week ago.
ABC’s season premiere of “Rookie Blue” notched a 1.2 in adults 18-49, its lowest-ever season premiere and down 14% from its third-season premiere a year ago -- but it did manage to win the 10 p.m. hour against “Hannibal” and CBS’s rerun of “Elementary” (0.9).
Elsewhere on ABC, both “Wipeout” and “Motive” matched “Rookie Blue’s” 1.2 average in 18-49. “Wipeout” was up 20% from last week’s all-time low, while “Motive” slipped 8% from its airing Monday.more »
One of the biggest stars of the original “Star Trek” television series has thrown his clout behind a new crowdsourced project, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock on the 1960s installment of "Star Trek," is endorsing a project from the show's original writers, David Gerrold and DC (Dorothy) Fontana, along with producer David C. Fein, the story reports.
The three are using Kickstarter to raise money to shoot and create a new science-fiction series called "The Star Wolf." So far, they've raised about $52,000 of the $650,000 they need to create the series.
Original "Star Trek" cast member Nichelle Nichols has agreed to play the recurring role of Admiral O'Hara.
In an endorsement posted on Kickstarter, Nimoy wrote, "The folks behind this project are people I've known for over 40 years. David Gerrold and Dorothy Fontana gave us some of the best writing we ever had on the original ‘Star Trek’ series. I, for one, will be eagerly looking forward to see what their creativity will offer us on 'The Star Wolf.'"
The project has also received an endorsement from Bill Prady, executive producer on 'The Big Bang Theory."
The project is based on Gerrold's book series, which tracks a crew caught up in an interplanetary war between humans and a race called the Morthans.more »
ABC's 'Good Morning America' vs. NBC's 'Today': A 19-Year Milestone Is Chalked Up in Morning Ratings Wars
The ABC morning show "Good Morning America" is celebrating a ratings achievement that set a 19-year mark -- and it’s all about beating its NBC rival, the "Today" show.
“GMA” beat “Today” by 1.6 million viewers Wednesday morning, giving "GMA" its largest single-day margin over its rival in total viewership since May 18, 1994, reports Deadline.com.
"GMA" was helped by featuring the winners of "Dancing with the Stars" that morning, although, ironically, the prime-time dancing show had its lowest-rated finale ever on the previous night.
ABC's morning show drew 6.1 million total viewers, while "Today" was watched by 4.5 million. Until Wednesday, the biggest spread between the two shows in recent times was on Nov. 28, 2012, when "Good Morning America" drew 1.3 million more viewers than its NBC rival.more »
Kmart's newest ad campaign has produced two ads in two months that have gone viral. Both rely on naughty sounding word puns.
The first one, below, called "Ship My Pants," has received more than 17 million views since it was posted online on April 10, 2013.
The one beneath it, "Big Gas Savings," has had close to 1.5 million views in the two and a half days since it was posted online on May 22, 2013.more »
A reality show about helping out struggling churches has been ordered by National Geographic Channel for a summer debut, reports Deadline.com.
Called "Divine Intervention," the six-episode unscripted series will feature a group of "Church Hoppers" who try to turn around struggling congregations by using tough love. The show is from T Group Productions, which is behind shows such as "Storage Hunters" and "Mystery Diners."
The program is described as “’Kitchen Nightmares’ for churches,” the piece notes.
A former Nickelodeon star was arrested Thursday night at her apartment in New York City. TMZ.com reports that Amanda Bynes was arrested for allegedly possessing marijuana and tossing evidence out the window.
A building official called police after reportedly seeing Bynes with a joint in the lobby, talking to herself and acting oddly, the story says. She allowed police to enter her apartment, but when they saw her bong, she tossed the pot-smoking device out the window, according to the report.
When police arrested her, Bynes reportedly went wild and yelled, "Don't you know who I am?" She was wearing a platinum blonde wig at the time, the piece adds.
Bynes was arrested for alleged criminal possession of marijuana, as well as reckless endangerment and felony tampering with evidence. She was reportedly taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation before going to the station.
Bynes starred in Nickelodeon shows in the 1990s and 2000s, including "The Amanda Show" and "All That," and has appeared in films such as "What a Girl Wants" and "She's the Man."
Amanda Bynesmore »
Oscar and Grammy Winner in Talks to Become a Judge on 'Idol'; Former 'Idol' Champ Says She's Out of the Running
Two big names surfaced in connection with the “American Idol” judges’ jobs, with one former “Idol” winner saying she’s out of the running while another singer is reportedly in talks for a spot on the show.
TheWrap.com reports that Jennifer Hudson is in talks to join the Fox singing competition as a judge for its 13th season, which would mark her return to the show where she was finalist in season three. Her run on “Idol” helped launch her Oscar-winning film career and Grammy-winning recording career.
Hudson, who won an Oscar for “Dreamgirls,” is said to be interested in joining the show. Meanwhile, a representative for former "Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson told The Hollywood Reporter that the singer won't be judging the competition, after rumors emerged that she was in talks to join.
Fox declined to comment on Hudson's negotiations.
The show's producers are concerned they've lost their core audience, and want to bring back some former contestants to help win them back, TheWrap notes.more »
A renowned feature film director may come out of retirement to take on "The Knick," a period series from Cinemax set in 1900 New York, reports Mike Fleming Jr. on Deadline.com.
Steven Soderbergh had announced he would retire after his final film, "Behind the Candelabra," which airs Sunday on HBO. But now he's talking about joining "The Knick," with Soderbergh potentially directing all the episodes as well as executive producing with Clive Owen, who is starring in the project.
"While this might make some ... look cynically on Soderbergh’s 'retirement,' he told me the other day in an interview for the Michael Douglas-Matt Damon Liberace movie that for the moment, he has shut the door on feature films," Fleming writes.
Fleming adds: "I can see that he likes the energy present in pay and basic cable TV, and it would be like him to try helping rebrand Cinemax by giving that network an event series, rather than setting it at HBO, which has a wealth of great series already."more »