Quack attack! After three days' worth of DVR usage was included, the A&E hit's season premiere on Aug. 14 drew a whopping 16.3 million viewers. "This show reaches a big swath of America," says David McKillop, A&E's executive vice president of programming. "This is not a boutique or niche show."
There is a new king of late night, according to TV Guide Magazine's annual survey of star salaries. And he's a very rich king.
The Daily Show host Jon Stewart is now earning between $25-30 million a year, according to several sources (his network, Comedy Central, did not comment). That puts Stewart ahead of the past perennial late night salary leaders Jay Leno and David Letterman. Leno took a significant pay cut last year, as NBC wanted to reduce costs at Tonight. He now earns around $20 million a year after being up near $30 million. Letterman is also said to be in the $20 million range as the license fee CBS pays to his production company, Worldwide Pants, for Late Show has been reduced in recent years.
TV executives must have been happy to put a fork in the 2012-13 season. Ratings dropped across the board for broadcast networks due to fading reality franchises and the failure to launch any major new scripted hits. Cable also slumped, with audience levels flat compared with the previous season. And with the number of viewers who time-shift growing, the path to success is more treacherous than ever. Here are the shows that navigated the bumps — and the ones that became ratings road kill.
Let us now praise...
Here we go again. Jay Leno's contract with NBC's Tonight Show is up at the end of the 2013-14 season, leading to speculation that the network may put Late Night host Jimmy Fallon behind the desk at 11:35pm. Here are the hot topics bound to cause some network executives to lose sleep in the coming months...
With a new year comes a fresh set of challenges for some of TV's biggest names, shows and networks. Here are some developments we'll be watching closely.
The broadcast networks haven't been feeling the love from viewers this fall, and it won't be getting any easier. Here are some big challenges they face as they try to sway hearts, minds and remotes in the second half of the season.
Will high-flying NBC falter when Sunday Night Football ends and Revolution and The Voice take a break?
"It's going to be different," admits NBC's scheduling guru Jeff Bader. "But we have faith in The Biggest Loser on Monday." He also believes Deception, a serialized murder mystery that will replace Revolution starting Jan. 7 and follow Loser, will appeal to...
Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha
It's hard out there for a broadcast network. Basic cable shows like The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy are scoring big ratings, while Showtime's Homeland is the toast of the water-cooler crowd. "We seem to be coming to a point where there are enough series to watch without coming to broadcast television," says one network veteran. The networks are also competing with themselves, as viewers in nearly half the country now use DVRs — which has helped big hits such as Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory grow even bigger but made it tougher for new shows to get a foothold. As a result...
What if a new TV season launched and nobody came? Post-Olympics sneak peeks, video on demand and online previews have taken some of the excitement out of the traditional network premiere week, as none of the new shows has had breakout ratings (many CW series start this week). Also to blame: the fact that 45 percent of all TV households now have a DVR and that more viewers catch a show on their computer or iPad if they miss it on TV. "The immediacy and the excitement of seeing a show has gone away," confirms one network executive. But the season must go on. Here's what the numbers tell us.
Gordon Ramsay; Savannah Guthrie
It was a summer that won't be remembered fondly, at least by the broadcast networks. Despite a flurry of new shows, from CBS' Dogs in the City to ABC's Glass House, there wasn't much to crow about — at least until NBC's Summer Olympics ratings juggernaut came along. Cable fared better, launching new hits like A&E's Longmire and TNT's Perception and opening events like History's Hatfields & McCoys to big numbers. Here are some of this summer's highs and lows.
Mariah Carey; Matt Lauer
If Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard worked as a TV actress today, her famous line would be: "I am big. It's the paychecks that got small."
Networks and studios have continued to take a hard line on holding down salaries, based on TV Guide Magazine's annual survey drawn from conversations with agents, network executives and studio heads. Rare is the lead actor who can enter a new series earning more than $125,000 an episode. The exceptions are those with a ratings track record of having a major hit show (Matthew Perry) or a significant career in feature films (Kevin Bacon).
Premium cable networks such as...