Stephen Battaglio


The Biz: Forecasting Fall's New Hits

Gotham

Fox paid big money for its Batman-prequel series Gotham and touted its September 22 premiere all summer via billboards, transit posters, and on-air promotional spots. According to research that measures viewer interest in the new fall shows, the effort is going to pay off. Research firm Ipsos MediaCT surveys viewers each week throughout the summer and asks if they are familiar with the name of a new show and whether they plan to watch it. The results of the company's TV Dailies Study from the period of Sept. 1—7 were provided to TV Guide Magazine and show Gotham with the highest awareness score of any new show and the second highest score in the intent to view category.

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The Biz: Chuck Todd is Ready to Make News on Meet the Press

Chuck Todd

On Sunday, NBC News political director Chuck Todd takes over as moderator of television's longest running franchise, Meet the Press. His arrival — which will feature an interview with President Obama — comes after a year of turmoil on Sunday roundtable program. read more

The Biz: Meredith Vieira Returns to Daytime

Meredith Vieira

It's hard to say no to Meredith Vieira. While putting together her new daytime show, NBCUniversal executives let the host pick her executive producer, sidekick, band — even the furniture on her set (a tatty, pet-ravaged couch from her Westchester, New York, home). Perhaps the "suits" — as Vieira calls them — are aware that she is one of the rare TV talents who is not afraid to walk away from it all.

After becoming, at age 35 in 1989, the youngest correspondent ever hired by 60 Minutes, she left the prestigious CBS newsmagazine two years later to have her second child when then-executive producer Don Hewitt refused her request to work part-time. Her very public decision sparked a national conversation on the challenges for women who balance motherhood and career. After an Emmy award-winning stint on the ABC newsmagazine Turning Point, she changed course, becoming a founding panelist on the daytime coffee klatch The View in 1997.

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David Muir Is Ready to Take Over ABC World News

David Muir

Five years ago, David Muir arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, where a crew from TMZ greeted him. "How does it feel to be the Brad Pitt of network news?" someone asked off camera. Muir wisely smiled, said, "Nice to see you," and moved on. "My apologies to Brad Pitt," the new anchor of ABC World News now says when asked about the encounter.

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The Biz: The Research Memo That Almost Killed Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander

Twenty-five years ago, two dozen NBC executives gathered in a screening room in Burbank to watch a new sitcom pilot starring Jerry Seinfeld. Then called The Seinfeld Chronicles, it was a 23-minute mix of the comic's stand-up routines and idiosyncratic, conversational scenes dealing with such mundane topics as doing laundry, securing the top button of one's shirt, and deciphering the intent of a woman who was spending the night in Jerry's apartment.... read more

The Biz: Inside the ABC News Shakeup

Diane Sawyer

Transitions are always tricky in TV news. Executives want to find a way to reach younger audiences. But it's hard to replicate the audience loyalty built up by older, established anchors who became famous during an earlier era of television. So ABC News deserves credit for the crafty transition plan announced Wednesday for ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer. Here's what it means for... read more

The Biz: Inside the New Season of NY Med

Dr. Mehmet Oz

If you're in an emergency room and think you're about to die, maybe your last wish should be that Dr. Mehmet Oz passes through. It happens to a young man — writhing in agony after his aorta tears — on Thursday's season premiere of NY Med (June 26, 10/9c, ABC). Oz is back in action in the eight-part summer series from ABC News that takes viewers on an emotionally intense journey through New York-Presbyterian and other Manhattan-based hospitals. The show will also cross the Hudson River for a look inside University Hospital, which serves the rough streets of Newark, N.J. NY Med executive producer Terence Wrong offers some insights on what's coming up.

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The Biz: Analyzing Matt Lauer's Today Show Contract Renewal

Matt Lauer

NBC decided it's better for the Today show to be in second place with Matt Lauer than without him.

After surviving an ugly media pile on over the messy departure of Ann Curry from Today and the program's fall from first place, he's signed on to remain co-anchor for a few more years. The extension, which comes months before... read more

The Biz: Bill and Willie Geist Talk Family and Parenting in New Book

Bill Geist and Willie Geist

A household that included CBS Sunday Morning humorist Bill Geist and his son Willie, whose dry wit livens up MSNBC's Morning Joe and NBC's Today, had to be entertaining, right? "It was fun," Willie says. "But we didn't... read more

The Biz: Inside the U.K. Crime Wave

David Tennant and Olivia Colman

The British are coming and they're bringing the cops along.

The finale of the BBC's Happy Valley — a dark and at times brutally violent, six episode series that followed a single kidnapping case — scored 8 million viewers in the United Kingdom, a number U.S. network executives would envy. According to Soumya Sriraman, the BBC's executive vice president of home entertainment and licensing, talks are happening with several outlets about carrying the show in the U.S.

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