This was supposed to be the year that popular stars Michael J. Fox, Sean Hayes and Robin Williams triumphantly returned to television and saved the sitcom. But of these three, only Williams is still on the air — and his new show, CBS' The Crazy Ones, is more "solid" than "smash."
"It's hard to launch comedy even in the best of circumstances," says NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. And network TV circa 2014 is not experiencing the best of circumstances. NBC pulled The Michael J. Fox Show and Sean Saves the World off the network's Thursday night lineup this winter after both shows attracted just around 3 million viewers a week. (Michael J. Fox's remaining episodes may still air.
Jay Leno isn't going away — but despite all the speculation about where he might land after The Tonight Show with Jay Leno ends on Feb. 6, the host is still keeping us guessing.
"You can't really do something like this again," says Leno, who spent most of his 21 years on The Tonight Show as TV's most-watched late-night star. "Because if you're not No. 1, you'll get 'Oh, Jay sucks, he's not No. 1.' And once you do this, you don't really want to do The Tonight Show Lite."
With two weeks left before his final show, Leno sat down with TV Guide Magazine for an exit interview of sorts. Of course, he made a similar round of chats in 2009, when he left the show the first time. ("I'll see you when I get fired from my next job," he quips.)
NBC has learned its lesson.
Last season, after a strong fall powered by The Voice and Revolution, NBC not only kept the shows off the air until March 2013, but chose not to launch any midseason series in January, cuing up a huge collapse.
"Essentially the momentum from last fall fell away. This year things are different," NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said Sunday at the network's Television Critics Association winter previews. "Of course, we've got the Olympics for 18 nights, but I also think we've also gotten smarter about how we've scheduled January and February. We didn't take The Blacklist off the air in January. ... Last Monday's episode ... saw a 60 percent jump in the demo."
Billy Crystal, Jimmy Fallon among Jay Leno's final Tonight Show guests
The Blacklist, Greenblatt noted, is the No. 1 drama and No. 1 new series in the 18-49 adult demo and No. 2 scripted series ...
NBC headed into midseason last year with plenty of momentum — only to see its fortunes collapse as The Voice took a winter nap and new hit Revolution went on hiatus.
Lesson learned. Not taking this fall's solid ratings for granted, NBC will bring its new smash, The Blacklist, back in January before taking a break for the Olympics. And the Winter Games will provide a ratings boost as well as a broad platform on which to market the network's upcoming series.
Jessica Fletcher is back on the case!
NBC is developing a Murder, She Wrote reboot starring Octavia Spencer as an amateur detective who publishes a mystery novel, Deadline reports. Spencer will take over the role originated by Angela Lansbury in the series, which ran for 12 seasons beginning in 1984.