Deadline.Com seems to think that negotiations re a new deal between the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers are all but finished. Sure hope they’re right:
WGA & AMPTP “Very Close” To New Labor Deal
by Dominic Patten
Four days after returning to the negotiating table, the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers are near an agreement on a new three-year contract, I’ve learned. “We’re not there yet and there are still a few more I’s to dot and T’s to cross, but we’re very close,” one insider told me today. With many of the bulky points already coming together in the first two weeks of talks, the two sides spent some of their two-week temporary recess fine-tuning the agreement, sources on both sides say, before sitting down again at AMPTP’s Sherman Oaks HQ. An official announcement could come as early as the beginning of next week. If you take out the downtime, this year’s talks pretty much follow the timeline of the placid 2011 negotiations, which started on March 3 that year and were all done by March 20.
As widely expected, under pattern bargaining, the final deal this time round between the WGA and AMPTP will be similar to the agreement the DGA made with the studios and networks late last year with measured increases in minimums, residuals, pension and health contributions.
- David O. Russell (you know who he is) has left ABC’s THE CLUB, a series his presence helped sell, but co-writer Susannah Grant will remain. (You gotta ask yourself: If a guy like Russell can get dumped from a TV series, how rough must the politics of the medium really be? If yours truly had a mind, it’d be boggling!)
- Rick Eid (DARK BLUE) is showrunning the new Lifetime drama series, THE LOTTERY, about stuff that happens in, you know, a “dystopian future.” (Sorry, Lifetime, but there’s a show the muncher won’t be watching cuz let’s face it, those of us living in the dystopian present really could use a change.)
- Hallmark Channel has picked up THE GOOD WITCH, a series based on its TV movies of the same name. No writer or showrunner has been listed, so excuse me while yrs truly calls his agent. (Not that muncho expect her to answer, but that’s another (sad!)story.)
- Marco Pennette (KIRSTIE) is out as showrunner of TV Land’s comedy of that selfsame name and is working as a consulting producer on MOM instead. (Cuz the talented writer/creator/sonofabitch is so goddamn rich already why work full-time?)
Well, well, whaddaya know. Looks like the older generation has a shot at taking over TV viewing again. Are we really going to have to watch what our – choke - parents do?
by Meredith Blake
Prime-time TV is going gray.
After decades chasing young viewers, the broadcast networks are starting to shift tactics — peppering their lineups with shows and actors who appeal to the growing audience of aging baby boomers.
“The Millers” on CBS features 72-year-old Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale, 62. NBC has James Spader, 54, in “The Blacklist” and is considering a new family sitcom with Bill Cosby, 76. ABC, stuck in last place, is developing a show about basketball buddies in their 60s.
The trend is being driven by demographics. Members of the baby boom generation will all be 50 or older this year, and they watch a disproportionate amount of TV.
The median age of a broadcast television viewer is now the highest ever at 54. Twenty years ago, it was 41. The most-watched scripted series in the 1993-94 season was “Home Improvement,” with a median viewer age of 34. Today, it’s “NCIS,” with a median viewer who is 61.
Confronted with these realities, the networks are aggressively making the case to advertisers that older viewers are valuable — especially the affluent and influential 55-to-64-year-olds they’re calling”alpha boomers.” The 50-and-up crowd of today, they contend, is far different than the frugal and brand-loyal group that came of age during the Great Depression and World War II.
“These people are more active, healthier and much more likely to still be in the workforce,” said David Poltrack, chief research officer at CBS. “It’s certainly a much more vibrant and economically active audience than it used to be.”
Ironically, it was the baby boomers who first led TV networks to cater to younger viewers in the 1960s.
Until then, network ad rates were based simply on the number of households watching. But as the first wave of Americans born after World War II entered adulthood, third-place network ABC saw an opportunity to promote this audience as super consumers, and pushed for advertisers to focus on viewers younger than 50.
- Matt Hubbard (30 ROCK) has a new 2 year development deal at Universal Television. He’s also writing-producing Fox’s sitcom CABOT COLLEGE. (If those two victories aren’t reason enough to hate this far-too-talented guy, then what it? Congrat, Matty baby!)
- Aron Eli Coleite (HEROES) is writing the pilot for a Fox family drama not-so-cleverly titled HOME. (Cuz family “thrillers” are in now, and so is the irony of giving something a warm and fuzzy name and then using it to scare the hell out of us. Well, guess what, Fox Network? The munchy one doesn’t scare easy. Nosirree.)
- Justin Monjo (FARSCAPE) is writing the pilot for an HBO s-f series based on George C. CHesbro‘s series of novels about criminologist Mongo (not Monjo) the Magnificent. (And, cuz not only is he a fan fave, he’s a “little person” fan fave, Peter Dinklage is set to star. Political correctness, diversity, and eager, panting fans, all in one package. It’s positively munchifying, y’know?)
- Nicole Riegel (newbie) is writing a Fox pilot “set in a contemporary wartime context.” (Hmm, that’s pretty vague. Nobody munchie knows could have set up that kinda pitch. But then, nobody munchie knows would have Cary Joji Fukunaga, director-producer of TRUE DETECTIVE to pitch it for ‘em. Good work, Nicole!)
Damn the writing. Full speed ahead with a bit of casting news.
Karen Gillan to Star in ABC’s Emily Kapnek Comedy ‘Selfie’
by Lesley Goldberg
Doctor Who alum Karen Gillan is returning to TV.
The actress, who next appears in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Oculus, has been tapped to star in ABC’s Emily Kapnek comedy Selfie, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The modern take on My Fair Lady is inspired by the musical and tells the story of a self-obsessed 20-something woman named Eliza Dooley (Gillan) who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. After suffering a public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media “followers” than she ever imagined — but for all the wrong reasons. She then enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image.