Diving is not just for the Summer Olympics anymore. The sport is about to make waves in prime time, with two competing star-driven reality series coming to TV in 2013. ABC recently announced the series Celebrity Splash, based on a hit show from the Netherlands, while Fox countered with the two-hour special Stars In Danger: High Diving, based on an annual German TV event.
Diving legend Greg Louganis, who signed on to serve as a judge on Celebrity Splash, believes the shows will give diving some needed exposure outside of the Games.
Mrs. Yolanda Goins and Brigade Commander, Col. Morris Goins
Six years ago when producer Stephanie Drachkovitch began pitching the idea for a show that followed the lives of real-life soldiers' wives, the U.S. Army was understandably wary. "The feeling was the families have enough stress," says Lt. Col. Steven Cole, an Army public affairs liaison based in Los Angeles. "There was a general reluctance to have our Army families be the object of entertainment."
But Drachkovitch didn't give up, and last spring, the Army decided the timing was right. "It struck me that the stories of the families were just so invisible during this war," she says. "And yet there are thousands of them who are basically heroes on the other side of the battlefield. We've been at war 10 years as of last spring, and while the war in Iraq [has wound] down, we're still in Afghanistan. The Army felt it was important, now more than ever, to keep the stories of its families and soldiers in front of the American public."
The result is Married to the Army: Alaska, which debuted November 18 on OWN. Drachkovitch and her team at 44 Blue Productions were given unprecedented access to the highs and lows experienced by families stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. "The way all the services look at it, they are the people's military," Drachkovitch says. "So their job is to get those stories out there and to tell us, the citizens, what our Army is doing."
Hot in Cleveland
TV Land better invest in a really good bleep button: The saucy women of Hot in Cleveland will go live in an episode set for next summer. The "super-sized" live episode will launch Hot in Cleveland's summer season on...
Susanne Daniels, MTV's just-hired president of programming, joins a channel that has seen its primetime ratings slide 31 percent this season. New series like Teen Wolf and Awkward have high viewership and buzz, but MTV is about to lose its signature hit, Jersey Shore. Daniels, who developed faves like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Felicity at The WB and later helped reinvent Lifetime, will now lead the charge to develop MTV's next generation of shows.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
One of this fall's big programming events wasn't actually broadcast on TV. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, a live-action series geared toward the launch of the new Xbox 360 video game, has become a hit for YouTube, where it runs on the young male-oriented Machinima Prime channel.
YouTube is taking on the traditional TV model in a big way, with the help of major stars, original programs like Halo 4 and big events like Felix Baumgartner's space jump, which broke YouTube user records on Oct. 14. A year after YouTube parent Google unleashed an aggressive $100 million initiative to launch around 100 original programming channels (and committed $200 million to market the channels), viewership on the platform was up 11 percent year-to-year in September.
It's a slow build, and so far YouTube's original programming initiative hasn't produced a hit that was big enough to enter the public consciousness. But according to newly released comScore data, YouTube users spent an average of 419.1 minutes watching video in September, compared to 378 minutes in Sept. 2011.
Countless movies and TV shows have revolved around firefighters, and now NBC's Chicago Fire (Wednesdays, 10/9c) gives an authentic look at the brave men and women tasked with putting out blazes and saving lives. Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney star in the drama, which is produced by Law & Order maestro Dick Wolf and was just picked up for a full season. Creators Derek Haas and Michael Brandt (who wrote the movie 3:10 to Yuma) took our showrunner survey to explain why we should be hot on Chicago Fire...
Will Arnett, Christina Applegate
NBC may be on the rise this season, but comedy — traditionally one of the network's strong suits — hasn't played much of a role in its recovery. Freshman half-hour Go On is showing promise, but NBC's Thursday night block, once the home to "Must See TV," now limps along.
That's why execs are taking a long, hard look at its comedy brand to decide in what direction to steer the laughs next year. NBC introduced the new slogan "We Peacock Comedy" this fall, but what kind of comedy does NBC actually "Peacock"?<
TLC's Extreme Couponing returns tonight with a fourth season premiere that's one for the photo album. Meet Georgia-based couponer Rudy, who is so obsessed with the fruits of her couponing labor that she takes artful photos of her hauls.
The episode follows Rudy and her husband, Chase, as they renew...