All Articles Tagged "tv programming"
(Black Enterprise) — When it came to choosing someone who could bring VH1 new original content, all fingers pointed towards Stacy Littlejohn. The veteran TV writer/producer beat out a slew of other scribes to pen one of the summer’s most talked about shows, Single Ladies. “We were all kind of in competition of who can bring back the most interesting content to [VH1],” says Littlejohn, who has written for hit shows such as All of Us, Moesha, and One on One. “I guess I won!” She did more than that as a reported 1.8 million viewers tuned in to the entertainment news based cable network last week to watch the series premiere. With social media circles abuzz about the show, BlackEnterprise.com spoke with Littlejohn to get her personal tips on getting a show idea from pitch to the airwaves.
(Variety) — We’ve all seen it: the billboard touting a new TV show with a diverse cast of characters — Latino, African-American, Asian, white and so on. But this all-inclusive rainbow casting doesn’t always translate into storylines that reflect the lives of those who have been traditionally underrepresented on television. ”When you hear the dialogue or see the stories, the Asian guy could have been the white guy, the African-American guy the Latino guy. They’re the same characters. They’re just putting a different face on them,” says Christopher Lloyd, co-creator of ABC comedy “Modern Family,” whose characters include a gay couple with an adopted Asian daughter, a Latina mother and son, and an updated “Father Knows Best” white couple with three kids. ”I have been in those meetings where the network executives would say, ‘Look, I’ve got to check a box,’?” Lloyd says. “The public kind of is aware that they’re being manipulated.” No one, including Lloyd, whose show was originally titled “American Family,” doubts that TV should look more like the USA. Sometimes it just struggles to do it in a genuine way.
(Variety) — “The Game” exec producers Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil are deepening their ties to BET, inking a mega-production deal with the cabler. Three-year overall pact encompasses a series commitment and multiple pilot commitments for the hyphenates, who are married. The deal with Akil Prods. is highly unusual for BET. It’s another sign that the Viacom-owned net is serious about expanding its scripted programming slate. ”This is a very important deal for us. It reflects our belief in (the Akils) as storytellers and creators and our commitment to the world of scripted TV in general,” said Loretha Jones, prexy of original programming for BET Networks. “Mara and Salim are going to play a very important role in our strategic planning for this channel going forward.” ”Game” has led the charge into scripted comedy for BET this year. The sitcom delivered a boffo opening of 9 million viewers for BET in its January bow, which came more than a year after the show was canceled by the CW. “Game” was renewed for another 22 episodes that will roll out early next year.
(Wall Street Journal) — To a television network executive, the pitch sounds irresistible. “Dark but fantastical cop drama about a world in which characters inspired by Grimm’s Fairy Tales exist.” This idea for a TV show has the ingredients the industry is seeking this year: a comfortable set-up (the cop show) with a slight twist (fairy tales). It beat out about 500 other pitches. Then it survived months of second guessing, rewriting, and testing with focus groups. “Grimm” is one NBC is considering adding to its fall prime-time lineup. Network executives are currently meeting to decide which new shows to pick up and will announce their choices next week. After a year of perfecting each show, almost all of them will fail. In the running for this fall, ABC has a remake of “Charlie’s Angels,” this time set in Miami. Don Johnson stars in the NBC pilot “A Mann’s World” about a male salon owner. CBS will bring “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar back to the small screen with “Ringer,” a thriller about a woman on the run from the mob. On Tuesday, Fox picked up “Alcatraz” about a present-day team of investigators looking into the mysterious reappearance of the prison’s 1960s inhabitants. ”People ask me why we don’t take more risks. There’s inherent risk in everything we do,” says CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler.
(New York Times) — China Anne McClain, 12, was taping a scene for her new Disney Channel comedy here recently, when fiction and fact collided. As the cameras rolled, her character — heading off to start big, bad high school — got some parental advice. “Just be prepared, Sweetie,” her television mom warned. “There’s going to be a lot of temptations here.” The same counsel applies to Ms. McClain in real life, as she prepares to make a full-tilt, Disney-backed charge for the title of Next Tween Queen. Pretty and talented yet nonthreatening, Ms. McClain, as an actress and singer, clearly has the potential to commandeer prepubescent culture. “A.N.T. Farm,” the series Disney tailor-made for her, will have a preview on May 22; the premiere is in June. She also has a record deal.
Children’s television is at a transitional moment when it comes to female stars. At Disney, the Big Three — Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato — have all moved on. Miranda Cosgrove, the star of “iCarly” on Nickelodeon, turns 18 this month. Both companies are feverishly trying to mint new headliners capable of drawing the attention of tweens, roughly defined as viewers 9 to 14. But the manufacture of child stars is not as easy as it used to be. There was a time when all it took was a perky personality, a little talent and a slot on the Mickey Mouse Club. Now child stars have to anchor TV series and movie spinoffs, churn out hit songs, write books and headline global concert tours — when they’re not introducing their signature line of clothing at Wal-Mart.
(Black Enterprise) — Its name may also begin with a “B”– like “black”–but Bounce TV executive Will Packer warns viewers not to mistake his new network for BET. Bounce, he says, will be different. Sure, its target audience is also African American, but Bounce distinguishes itself from Black Entertainment Television, Centric and TV One by its potential reach alone. When it debuts this fall, the Atlanta-based channel, which estimates it will reach 50% of US households at launch (and will grow as it establishes distribution deals like the recent one inked with Raycom Media), will be the first free broadcast network of its kind–a relief for those who can’t afford cable. “We are working to make Bounce available to everyone,” says Packer, the network’s chief strategy and marketing officer, of the plans to broadcast programming on the digital signals of local television stations nationwide, which allows viewers free access to the content.
(New York Times) — Stacy Littlejohn worked her way up in network television like so many other writers and producers — she was a writers’ assistant on a Fox show, a joke writer on a CW show, a writer-producer on a half-hour ABC show. Now, for the first time, she is in charge of a one-hour drama, but it is not for any network she envisioned earlier in her career. It is for VH1, the older-skewing version of MTV. Niche cable channels like VH1 that have depended solely on unscripted programs or repeats of others’ scripted programs are now trotting out their own comedies and dramas. Their aim is diversification. When Ms. Littlejohn’s drama, “Single Ladies,” has its premiere late this month, “it’ll distinguish VH1 amid their steady diet of reality shows,” she said. Top-tier cable channels like USA and TBS have been creating dramas and sitcoms for more than a decade, but now relative small fry are doing the same. The shows are a way to stay competitive. “I think the bar has been raised in scripted,” said Jennifer Caserta, the general manager of IFC, the Independent Film Channel, which may be better known now for the sitcoms “Portlandia” and “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.”
(The Loop 21) — But just in case you haven’t noticed, our beloved BET is doing better as of late. This past year they finally invested some real time, effort and money into scripted programming, a void that always kept the network from reaching its full potential, even after 30 years of existence. They ressurrected the highly popular, but very cancelled sitcom drama The Game and made ratings history in the process drawing in seven million viewers in its first week back. They followed that up with a new show of their own, Let’s Stay Together which was also met with enough positive feedback to warrant a second season. Riding this wave of success, BET is now announcing that they will be debuting more scripted programming next season with a new show, Reed Between The Lines starring Traci Ellis-Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. “This is the year that our audience, advertisers and partners have been waiting for,” said Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO, BET Networks in a statement. “The incredible success of 2010 and [first quarter 2011] have truly put BET Networks in a brand new game and affirms our strategy to continue offering compelling content on air.”
(Media News International) — TBS has ordered 10 episodes of the new series Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse from Tyler Perry Studios. The dramedy, based on Perry’s hit Why Did I Get Married? films, marks the third Tyler Perry series to come to TBS, which is also home to Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Meet the Browns. As with House of Payne and Meet the Browns, syndication will be sold by Debmar Mercury.Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse follows the ups-and-downs of married life for Marcus and Angela, two characters who originated in the feature films Why Did I Get Married and Why Did I Get Married Too? Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight) and Tasha Smith (Couples Retreat) are set to reprise the roles of television anchor Marcus and salon owner Angela. Additional cast members to be announced.
(Wall Street Journal) — The Obama administration on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to fine broadcasters for airing indecent words or images, setting up a potential First Amendment showdown at the high court. The Justice Department wants the high court to review lower-court decisions that have challenged the FCC’s ability to police airwaves. If accepted for review, the case could be a significant test of the government’s ability to police what is said on radio and television broadcasts. Last July, a three-judge panel of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the FCC’s indecency policies were “unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here,” and violated the First Amendment.