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NBC orders gay-themed pilot from Ellen DeGeneres

NBC hasn’t given up developing something in the vein of The New Normal. Now the net has ordered a pilot called One Big Happy, a comedy that involves a Will & Grace component.

Here’s the official logline from the comedy that’s being developed by Warner Bros. TV and Ellen DeGeneres: “When gay and straight best friends decide to have a baby together, things get complicated when one of them finds the love of their life.”

The script is from Liz Feldman, a scribe who’s written for DeGeneres in the past as well as CBS’ current comedy 2 Broke Girls.

Despite earning kudos from critics, NBC yanked The New Normal – which was about a gay couple who recruit a surrogate mom so they can start a family — last May.

Brit comedian Steve Delaney talks about his new Hulu sitcom 'Count Arthur Strong'

Never heard of veteran vaudeville star Count Arthur Strong? Don’t feel bad. He was never exactly a household name in his native U.K. Also? He doesn’t exist.

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'Arrow': Stephen Amell teases 'biggest shot' yet on show -- LISTEN!

Those who visit Stephen Amell’s Facebook page know that the Arrow star has already said “The Promise,” airing March 5, is the “grandest, most challenging and most difficult episode” he’s filmed. We got another tease about the island-centric hour when he popped by Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXm 105) this week. Listen to him describe an epic shot — and what made him nervous about it — below.

Catch the full interview Monday, Jan. 27 at 12:45 p.m. ET on The TV Editors Hour. Spoiler alert: Stephen, father of three-month old Mavi (short for Maverick), also reveals whether his cousin Robbie Amell (The Tomorrow People) has changed a diaper.  READ FULL STORY

NBC Olympics boss confident in security in Sochi and that primetime ratings won't be hurt by live coverage

With exactly two weeks until NBC begins its primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi — competition begins Feb. 6, the day before the Opening Ceremony — more than 900 employees are already in Russia, with another 1,400 on the way. They’ve seen an unprecedented amount of security, NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel told reporters on a conference call Jan. 23.

“You don’t get into the Olympic Park and you don’t get into an Olympic venue without what’s called a spectator pass, which is the equivalent of a credential, which means everybody who’s been issued one has been background checked,” he said.

The volume of surveillance, he added, seems larger than any prior Olympics, winter or summer, including the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, which took place five months after 9/11: “Unlike most Olympics, the footprint of this Olympics is essentially two locations — the coastal cluster, where all the indoor venues are, and the mountain cluster, where all the outdoor venues are. They’re very confined and very compact. So there really is a perimeter that the Russians, as everybody has now seen, have overlaid just a tremendous security force.”

As for coverage, NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell is planning 1,539 hours of programming – which is more than the total for the Vancouver and Torino Winter Olympics combined. (It helps that there are 12 new events.) All events will be live-streamed on NBCOlympics.com, with those feeds starting again at 3 p.m. daily, which means you have two opportunities to watch before prime time. According to research from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, people who were live-streaming during the day were actually more likely to watch more Olympics television at night. “The lesson from London, anyway, was simply that more meant more,” Bell said. “Not only did it not cannibalize, it also helped us grow audience on television. This will be the first time we’re doing it at a Winter Games, and we’re hopeful for a similar result.”
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HBO cancels 'Hello Ladies' and 'Family Tree'

HBO has decided not to move ahead with new seasons of Hello Ladies and Family Tree, two comedies that launched last year to favorable reviews but failed to capture the zeitgeist like Girls.

Hello Ladies was adapted by Stephen Merchant’s stand-up show of the same name. It starred the comedian as an Englishman looking for love in L.A. The series will end with a special.

Family Tree is a documentary-style comedy from Christopher Guest and Jim Piddock. It bowed in May and starred Chris O’Dowd as a young man investigating his lineage.

Bill O'Reilly to interview President Obama before Super Bowl

President Barack Obama will sit for a live interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl.

The interview at the White House will air as part of Fox’s pregame show Feb. 2.

It’s become an annual tradition for the president to talk to the network televising the game on Super Bowl Sunday. O’Reilly also interviewed Obama before the Super Bowl three years ago, the last time Fox had the NFL championship.

Fox said Thursday that an additional recorded portion of the interview will be aired on The O’Reilly Factor on Feb. 3.

Judge Judy creates new syndicated show

Judge Judy Sheindlin’s holiday brainstorm turned into a new court show that’s already been sold in 75% of the country. While vacationing in Ireland and observing the country’s three-judge panels, Sheindlin came up with Hot Bench — a new daily show from CBS TV Prods. that’ll pretty much to the same thing but on TV with judge Patricia DiMango and attorneys Tanya Acker and Larry Bakman.

“When my husband Jerry and I were in Ireland recently, we visited the courts and watched a three judge bench, which I found both fascinating and compelling,” Sheindlin said in a statement. “I immediately thought what a terrific and unique idea for a television program that brings the court genre to the next level. We have assembled three individuals with extremely varied backgrounds to serve as the judges. They are smart and talented, with terrific instincts and great chemistry, and are sure to create a ‘hot bench.’”

Hot Bench will launch in the fall on station groups like Tribune Broadcasting Company, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Cox Media Group, among. It’ll air mostly in afternoon time periods.

'American Idol' leads, ABC comedies keep up laughs

Though initially dogged by Ratings are Down! headlines, American Idol kept up the good fight Wednesday and still did what it does best — beat the competition. The third night of the talent show earned a 4.0 rating in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen.

The show also ruled in viewers (13.2 million) and the obvious demos like teens (2.5), despite enduring a 13% drop from last week’s premiere in 18-49. For what it’s worth, Fox expects its 18-49 performance to jump at least 20% to a 5.0, once folks start playing back those DVRs. (Make sure to fast-forward to the chick who started her audition with an accent, then lost it, then STILL got to go to Hollywood. An outrage!)

ABC came in second with a nifty 2.0 rating, with all of its comedies showing gains from last week. The Middle was up 22% to 2.2; Suburgatory, up 13% to a 1.8;

  • Modern Family up 9% to a 3.5;

Super Fun Night, up 13% to a 1.7; and Nashville, up 8% to a 1.4.

 

NBC came in third with a 1.7, and also boasted gains across the board. Revolution was up 15% to a 1.5; Law & Order: SVU, up 29% to a 1.8; and Chicago P.D., up 7% to a 1.6. CBS finished fourth with a pair of repeat comedies, followed by Criminal Minds (2.2) and CSI (1.6).

 

'Klondike': Richard Madden on that ending

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched the final installment of Discovery’s three-part gold-rush miniseries Klondike, stop reading  now. Star Richard Madden chatted about the ending — from its surprising potty humor to the nightmares it gave him. READ FULL STORY

Winter Olympics: Watch Shaun White practice the Triple Cork 1440 in his road-to-Sochi special -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

If you want to know how two-time Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder Shaun White practices seemingly impossible tricks like the Triple Cork 1440, you’ll want to check out his special Shaun White: Russia Calling, airing Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The exclusive clip below gives you a feel for the size of the halfpipe and the heights White soars to better than competition coverage you’ve seen on TV. The danger he faces also becomes clearer as his team watches him land the Triple Cork in an airbag: “He’s basically landing it, the thing is that there’s no good scenario if he doesn’t land it — he’s carted off by ski patrol if he doesn’t land it. So it’s so deep in his head that we just watch him land it over and over and over again to the bag, but to him, that’s his season, that’s his Olympics, if he doesn’t put it to snow right.”
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Great night for 'Supernatural, not so for 'Killer Women'

Was it the crappy weather back east? Ratings hovered around a 1 on Tuesday night for most broadcast shows. The saddest performance came from Killer Women, ABC’s new drama that only cracked a .7 in 18-49, according to Nielsen. That’s actually flat from last week but a pink slip is sure to come soon, right?

Let’s start with the night’s winner. NBC squeaked to the top with a 1.9, thanks to decent shows by The Biggest Loser (1.9 from 8-10) — up 12% from last week – and the hunks on Chicago Fire (1.8 at 10). The women of our great nation thank you, NBC, for giving me a reason to post the above photo.

Fox was second in the demo with a 1.7, with a decent show by comedies Dad (1.5), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (1.9), New Girl (1.8) and The Mindy Project (1.5/4).

CBS and repeats of the NCIS shows came in third with a 1.5. ABC trailed with a rerun of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (.9), which ended up sucking for The Goldbergs (1.5, down 17% from last week) and Trophy Wife (1.0, a series low).

But lookee here at Supernatural! Last night’s episode was the series’ most watched (2.7) in more than three years. The boys were also up 22% in viewers from last week, as well as up 10% in women 18-34 (1.1/3) and adults 18-49 (1.1/3). It even out-rated the originals on ABC in the 9 p.m. hour.

'Justified' postmortem: EP Graham Yost on 'Good Intentions,' Raylan's new lady, and Boyd's alliance

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of Justified, “Good Intentions” written by Benjamin Cavell and directed by Dean Parisot, stop reading now. As he’ll do throughout the season, showrunner Graham Yost takes us inside the writers room. READ FULL STORY

NBC kills 'Murder, She Wrote' reboot

It was a good idea while it lasted — not!

It appears that NBC’s plan to reboot the long-running CBS drama Murder, She Wrote with Octavia Spencer (The Help) has been tabled indefinitely. Deadline reports that Peacock execs would rather find a different way to spin the tale about the amateur sleuth (assuming it goes the distance at all). More importantly, someone inside probably realized that it’s not so easy to revisit popular franchises. NBC did an impressive job of bringing back Prime Suspect with Maria Bello but the drama didn’t last a season.

When first announced as a pilot by NBC, the project was described as a “light, contemporary procedural in the vein of Bones or Fargo, it follows a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth (Spencer) who self-publishes her first mystery novel … [and her] avid fascination with true crime leads her to become an active participant in the investigations.”

Talk of the reboot eventually prompted original series star Angela Lansbury to speak out against the idea — or at least the use of the classic moniker. “I think it’s a mistake to call it Murder, She Wrote, because Murder, She Wrote will always be about a Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person.”

The original drama aired from 1984 to 1996 on CBS and earned Lansbury 12 consecutive Emmy nominations.

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