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'Red Band Society' gets sickly ratings

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Fox’s earnest teen hospital drama got off to a weak start in the ratings Wednesday night, while NBC’s preview of Debra Messing’s cop dramedy delivered a healthy sampling.

The Steven Spielberg-produced Red Band Society had only 4 million viewers and an anemic 1.3 rating among adults 18-49 at 9 p.m., slipping a tad from its Hell’s Kitchen lead-in. Red Band Society follows a group of teens who cheerfully endure various medical hardships and live in a pediatric hospital ward run by tough-love nurse (Octavia Spencer). Industry insiders have been skeptical that the concept would be a reliable draw, despite the topicality of the similarly themed book and film The Fault in Our Stars. (“Nobody wants to watch sick kids in primetime,” one top studio chief told us.)

Over on NBC, the premiere of The Mysteries of Laura, about a detective (Messing) juggling busting criminals and raising a family, had a healthy 10.4 million viewers and a 2.1 rating. The delivery was doubtlessly helped by its big two-hour America’s Got Talent lead-in (12 million, 2.3), and the show is expected to face a tougher challenge when it shifts to its regular 8 p.m. time slot next week. Still, NBC has to be happy with this turnout. READ FULL STORY

Watch the 'Red Band Society' pilot online now

After fans of Fox’s upcoming series Red Band Society donated $100,000 to charity, the network has officially unlocked the show’s pilot, which means fans can watch the first episode starting now on Hulu.com, fox.com, Fox Now, and more. The episode is also available on Fox On Demand.

Red Band Society tells the story of the patients and doctors at Los Angeles’ Ocean Park Hospital, where a group of kids and teens come together to face their problems and live their lives to the fullest within the four walls of a hospital (with occasional roof access). Octavia Spencer stars in the new drama, which is set to premiere Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m. on Fox.

But if you don’t want to wait until September, you can check out the pilot below. Do it fast, though: The pilot is only available until Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 5 p.m.
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'Red Band Society': Watch first trailer for fall Fox drama -- VIDEO

Get ready to shed tears on Wednesdays in the fall: Fox unveiled the first trailer for Red Band Society on Friday, and the Steven Spielberg-exec-produced drama is sure to be a tearjerker.

The series takes place in a children’s hospital and follows a group of sick kids, but as EW TV critic Melissa Maerz wrote in her snap judgment of the new fall offerings on Fox, this isn’t your typical Sad Show. “Yes, it’s narrated by a boy in a coma, which might feel like a little much. But the pilot was written by Margaret Nagle (Boardwalk Empire), so there’s potential for real poignancy, especially at a time when The Fault in Our Stars is already resonating with so many young people. Consider those tears jerked.”

Check out the trailer — which also features adult stars Octavia Spencer and Dave Annable — below: READ FULL STORY

Fox's new fall shows: A snap judgment

When Ryan Seacrest kicks off the upfronts by welcoming Pitbull to the stage with his entourage of booty-dancers, you know that Fox isn’t catering to your mom. (Unless your mom is one of Pitbull’s booty-dancers, in which case, lucky you!) So it’s no surprise that Kevin Reilly, Fox’s chairman of entertainment, followed Pitbull’s performance with the announcement that Fox is branding itself as “America’s Next Generation Network,” focusing on a youthful audience. That might also explain why Andy Samberg was there, making some decent quips for the benefit of his fellow Next Generation Americans — and a few self-aware advertisers, too. (“Who’s ready to laugh? Who’s ready to pretend that we weren’t all forced here by the invisible hand of capitalism?”) When he wasn’t dreaming up joke shows that sounded real (X-Men Origins Days of Future Past Collectors Cups — the Show), he was doing a pretty good job introducing real shows with jokes. “Is this the best lineup of shows that Fox has ever assembled?” he asked. “I’m not gonna lie to you. Moving on!” And, yet, a few projects looked promising, even for very old viewers  — like, say, anyone over 22. READ FULL STORY

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