The CW at TCA: Episode Counts, the End of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and More

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There’s been some re-jigging at The CW. While a few shows changed nights on their fall schedule, the network also said today that some shows will be getting fewer episodes this coming season.

According to CW President Mark Pedowitz’s TCA presentation, SUPERNATURAL, THE FLASH and ARROW will all have 22 episodes, down from the 23 episodes in past years. SUPERGIRL will also have 22 episodes. REIGN is also getting cut a bit and will have up to 16 episodes, although the decision on the exact number is still pending.

CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND will only have 13 episodes this coming season, as opposed to the 18 episodes of season 1. LEGENDS OF TOMORROW also has 13 episodes, with Pedowitz admitting the show didn’t perform as well as hoped in season 1 (but they’re retooling a bit for season 2).  LEGENDS OF TOMORROW’s count might grow as they have an option for a back order, but that’s where it stands for now. iZOMBIE and THE 100 will both have 13 episodes as well.

While THE ORIGINALS got its episode total cut to 13 for season 4, Pedowitz is hopeful we’ll see a fifth  year for the show. The network is also hopful that Nina Dobrev will return at some point for THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’ final season (which will consist of 16 episodes), although that deal hasn’t been finalized.  Even if she doesn’t, Pedowitz said that Julie Plec has a finale planned out that he thinks will satisfy the fans.

As for the longevity of SUPERNATURAL, Pedowitz said what he always says: that he’s happy to have the show continue as long as stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are up for it and the ratings continue to hold.

In addition, MY LAST DAYS has been renewed for a second season on CW Seed. FREEDOM FIGHTERS: THE RAY (an animated series) is also coming to CW Seed. This DC character will be the first gay superhero to lead a show.

More Details Emerge About CBS’s THE CASE OF: JONBENÉT RAMSEY Mini-Series

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CBS is revisiting the case of JonBenét Ramsey in a new docuseries that’s set to air in mid-September.

Today the network announced that the six-hour mini-series will re-examine the case 20 years later with the original investigators.  The original investigators include former New York City prosecutor, retired FBI supervisory special agent and profiler Jim Clemente; world-renowned forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee; former chief investigator for the District Attorney in Boulder, Colo., James Kolar; leading forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz; and retired FBI supervisory special agent and forensic linguistic profiler James Fitzgerald.  New experts reviewing the case include former New Scotland Yard criminal behavioral analyst Laura Richards and retired FBI supervisory special agent and statement analyst Stan Burke.

The scope of the team’s investigation includes re-examining crucial evidence using advanced technology and forensics, meticulously recreating the crime scene by rebuilding full-scale replicas of key rooms from the Ramsey house, conducting extensive interviews and introducing new theories.

Following its premiere on Sunday, September 18 at 8:30-10:30 p.m., ET/8:00-10:00 p.m. PT), THE CASE OF: JONBENÉT RAMSEY continues on Monday, September 19 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) and concludes Sunday, September 25 (8:30-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), on CBS.

CBS Renews ZOO for Third Season and BIG BROTHER for Two More Seasons

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CBS is dishing out renewals during its TCA appearance. In addition to releasing teasers for the fall season, the network has also announced that summer series ZOO is renewed for a third season. Season 3 of ZOO will air in the summer of 2017. The two-hour second season finale of ZOO airs Tuesday, September 6 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT).

In addition, CBS has renewed summer reality series BIG BROTHER for its 19th and milestone 20th seasons for broadcast in summer 2017 and 2018. The current season of BIG BROTHER airs Sundays and Wednesdays (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) and Thursdays (9:00-10:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT).

Fox Releases New Trailers for LETHAL WEAPON, PITCH and ROCKY HORROR

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Fox’s appearance at the TCA press tour brought several announcements (including the appearance of Mariah Carey in EMPIRE) as well as new trailers for several freshmen shows.

Fox had a hit on its hands with GREASE LIVE! but this time the network is going with a pre-recorded version of the cult classic THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. The two-hour event is a reimagining of the original film, this time starring Laverne Cox in the role originally played by Tim Curry (who will be making an appearance). Ryan Mccarran, Victoria Justice, Staz Nair, Christina Milian and Adam Lambert will also appear. The special will air on October 20 on Fox.

In PITCH, Ginny Baker is the first woman to play for Major League Baseball. When she’s called up by the San Diego Padres, Ginny must prove herself to her teammates, including the team’s star catcher Mike Lawson. PITCH premieres on Thursday, September 22 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

LETHAL WEAPON is also a remake of an older film — or, rather, a series of films. Damon Wayans stars as Detective Roger Murtaugh, while Clayne Crawford stars as Detective Martin Riggs. This unlikely pair clash after their captain puts them together. But can Murtaugh (just recovering from a near-fatal heart attack) help show Riggs (suffering the loss of his wife and unborn child) the value of living? LETHAL WEAPON premieres on Wednesday, September 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Fox at TCA: Mariah Carey on EMPIRE, a One-Hour SIMPSONS and a Comedy Crossover

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There were several big announcements coming out of Fox’s TCA presentation today.

First was the (almost inevitable) guest star appearance of Mariah Carey on season 3 of EMPIRE. Carey will play Kitty, “a mega-superstar who comes to Empire to collaborate with Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) on an explosive new song. When the duet encounters obstacles, Kitty helps Jamal dig deep to overcome personal difficulties and reach a musical breakthrough”. Carey’s appearance airs Wednesday, October 5. Season 3 of the show premieres Wednesday, September 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. Additional guest stars this season include Taye Diggs, Sierra McClain, rapper French Montana and music mogul Birdman, who plays himself.

Fox also announced that THE SIMPSONS will be airing its first ever one-hour episode in January 2017. In the one-hour ‘The Great Phatsby,’ featuring Emmy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson (EMPIRE) as a guest voice, “Mr. Burns (Harry Shearer) tries to relive his glory days, and crosses paths with a mysterious music mogul. After being conned by him and reduced to bankruptcy, Mr. Burns seeks revenge on the music producer with the help of Homer, Bart, rapper Jazzy James (guest voice Keegan-Michael Key) and the mogul’s ex-wife, Praline (guest voice Henson). Also in the episode, Lisa (Yeardley Smith) is courted by the richest kid in town, Smithers (Shearer) begins a perilous journey and Marge (Julie Kavner) opens an obscure boutique store.”

THE SIMPSONS returns for its 28th season on Sunday, September 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. In the episode, titled “Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus,” Springfield is burned to the ground and the Simpsons beg Mr. Burns (Shearer) to fund its rebuilding. Burns agrees – with one condition: he gets to put on a variety show at the Springfield Bowl.

Fox has also decided to do a special preview of the new comedy SON OF ZORN on Sunday, September 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT following the season’s first NFL doubleheader. The series will then premiere in its regular time period with an all-new episode Sunday, September 25 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Finally, the network also announced that there will be a crossover between BROOKLYN NINE-NINE and NEW GIRL this coming season. Characters from both shows will meet in back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, October 11 beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. Additional details about the crossover will be announced.

Season 4 of BROOKLYN NINE-NINE and Season 6 of NEW GIRL premiere on Tuesday, September 20 beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. In the season premiere of BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, Jake (Andy Samberg) and Holt (Emmy Award nominee Andre Braugher) remain in Florida under the Witness Protection Program, with only one human link to their regular lives – U.S. Marshall Karen Haas (guest star Maya Rudolph). Then, on NEW GIRL. Jess (Zooey Deschanel) faces Nick (Jake Johnson) for the first time after realizing she has feelings for him, while Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Cece (Hannah Simone) begin a frustrating hunt for their first house.

Starz at TCA: GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE Renewal, Return Date Premieres and New Series Pickups

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Starz made several announces during its TCA presentation today.

First was the renewal of THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE for a second season. Steven Soderbergh returns as executive producer, along with Philip Fleishman, Lodge Kerrigan, Amy Seimetz, and Jeff Cuban. However, the second season will focus on an entirely new characters and plotlines. In addition, season 2 will consist of 14 episodes total.

The cable channel also announced that Sunday, October 2 would be the season 2 premiere dates for ASH VS EVIL DEAD (at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT) and BLUNT TALK (at 8:35 p.m. ET/PT).

Starz has also expanded their programming deal with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. In addition to Jackson acting as an executive producer for the series POWER, Starz has announced that they are developing the new series TOMORROW, TODAY based on a screenplay penned by Jackson. TOMORROW, TODAY is “a superhero-themed series about a veteran from the south side of Chicago who, after being falsely imprisoned, becomes the personal experiment of a mad prison doctor trying to create the perfect man – and an unstoppable killing machine. Set free, but on the run, the veteran must reconcile with the world that has turned against him, and use his newfound abilities for good.”

In addition, Starz is developing two more new drama series. The first, THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB, is based on the Alisa Valdes with. THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUBis a dynamic and sexy half-hour series about “six diverse professional women living in New York City who have known each other since college. Ten years later, and through professional and personal successes, failures and heartaches, the one thing they can always count on is each other. The series will explore womanhood in all its glory, with both humor and drama, and always with heart.” The second series, PUSSY VALLEY, is from playwright Katori Hall. The scripted, one-hour drama takes “an unflinching and unapologetic look at the lives of pole dancers working down in the Dirty Delta.”

Finally, Starz is also developing a telenovela called TERESA. Writer/producer Carlos Portugal (EAST LOS HIGH, POP STAR) will create the series and serve as showrunner. The show, based on the highly-rated, award-winning Mexican telenovela “Teresa,” focuses on an undocumented young Latina clawing her way into the exclusive world of Los Angeles wealth. The series will “chronicle her ruthless pursuit of money and power and her willingness to do anything to get them.”

PERSON OF INTEREST Scoop: Stars Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, Kevin Chapman, Sarah Shahi, Amy Acker and EP Greg Plageman Previews the Battle of The Machine Vs. Samaritan in Season 4

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As fans acutely recall, in the Season 3 finale of PERSON OF INTEREST, all our heroes were scattered to the four winds after it became necessary to adopt new identities in order to evade the all knowing eye of Samaritan, whose first task was to locate each of them — presumably, so that they could each be quickly and quietly dispatched.

So during this summer’s CBS Television Critics Association summer party, in an exclusive interview, executive producer Greg Plageman provided a few hints about what Finch, Reese, Shaw, Root and Fusco will be faced with in Season 4 of PERSON OF INTEREST. [Read more…]

TCA 2014: Quick Takes From FX’s TCA Presentations for TYRANT, THE BRIDGE, THE STRAIN, SONS OF ANARCHY and FARGO

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On Day 13 of the 16-day biannual Television Critic’s Association Summer 2014 Press Tour, FX introduced its new programming, and the following is a snapshot-look at a few of its new and returning series.

TYRANT
“Tyrant” is FX’s new summer series that debuted June 24th, about a fictional Middle East country Abbudin run by a family dictatorship. Then, on the day of his grandson’s wedding, the reigning dictator Al Fayeed dies, leaving his eldest son Jamal (Ashraf Barhom) to take over. Unfortunately, the younger son, who had fled to the U.S. twenty years earlier changing his name from Bassam to Barry (Adam Rayner), had chosen this pivotal time to return for his nephew’s wedding, and once the father dies, Barry feels compelled to stay to help ease boiling tensions in the country by standing by his older brother Jamal’s ascension to power. The Al Fayeed family has been such an oppressive ruling dictatorship that now that the ruthless father has died, the entire country is unwilling to be subjugated to another. With Jamal’s taking over his father’s role and showing signs of being even more ruthless than his father, the country is on the verge of upheaval with violent protests erupting all over. So Barry is uncertain if he should flee with his family before things get any worse, back to their safe and comfortable lives in the U.S., or if he can really make a difference by staying and supporting his brother’s regime. “Tyrant” is show is a bleak look at tyranny and the tensions of a family that is uncertain how to maintain their position of power or even if they should continue to wield such unchecked power over an entire nation. The theme of the show is “the price of power” and it is explored in a thought-provoking fashion. First point of interest: As intellectually stimulating as it is to watch, “Tyrant” has graphic violence, some of which is sexual violence that can be stomach-turning. Point of interest: Due to a recent military conflict, “Tyrant” relocated the location for filming from Israel to Turkey. (“Tyrant” is a 10-episode series, with four episodes having already aired. New episodes air on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on FX.) [Read more…]

TCA 2014: Quick Takes From The CW and Showtime’s TCA Panels for JANE THE VIRGIN, THE FLASH, RAY DONOVAN, THE AFFAIR

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On Day 11 of the 16-day biannual Television Critic’s Association Summer 2014 Press Tour, the CW and Showtime introduced their new programming and revisited one of their returning shows. The following is a snapshot-look at their presentations.

THE FLASH
“The Flash” is one of the most wildly anticipated shows of the Fall 2014 season and it has every reason to be — the pilot lives up to the hype. “Arrow” fans who watched the 2-episodes in which the character Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) guest-starred in Season 2 will be better prepared for the introduction of Barry in his own world and will appreciate the fun cameo by Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) in the first episode of “The Flash.” But new fans can also jump right into “The Flash” as it does a fine job reintroducing Barry and the world his lives in back in Central City. Barry is struck by lightning and when he awakes from a coma, he discovers he has the supernatural ability of super-speed. Guided by his own strong sense of morality and inspired by Oliver Queen’s heroic actions, Barry whole-heartedly embraces his new destiny to help people in jeopardy and help fight crime in his own unique way. The show radiates good-humor with heart-felt characters and a hero whose passion to help people encourages everyone to live better lives. One of the notable differences between “Arrow” and “The Flash” is that Barry Allen is not instilled with the darkness and pain that Oliver Queen brought back from his experiences on the Island. So “The Flash” feels light a more light-hearted show due to Barry’s own joy and effervescence for life. This will be a show you are adding to your “must watch” list for Fall and it deserves to be. First point of interest: John Wesley Shipp, who starred in an earlier version of “The Flash” back in the 1990’s, co-stars in this series as Barry Allen’s father. Second point of interest: Robbie Amell (“The Tomorrow People”) guest-stars in episode 3 as Firestorm. Third point of interest: “The Flash” pilot/first episode was directed by David Nutter, who has directed some of the CW’s best pilots for such shows like “Roswell,” “Smallville,” “Supernatural,” “Arrow.” (Premieres Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm on the CW.) [Read more…]

TCA 2014: Quick Takes From Fox’s TCA Presentation With GOTHAM, RED BAND SOCIETY, GRACEPOINT and SLEEPY HOLLOW

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On Day 12 of the 16-day biannual Television Critic’s Association Summer 2014 Press Tour, Fox introduced its new programming, and the following is a snapshot-look at a few of its new series.

GOTHAM
“Gotham” remains one of my favorite new TV series coming this Fall. Its rich visual style and texture creates a stylized look that sets the tone of the show perfectly — a bit of a dark noir mystery. In addition, casting for “Gotham” is incredibly strong with Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue portraying James Gordon and his partner Harvey Bullock. Then add in David Mazouz, as the young Bruce Wayne, and the show really starts off with compelling, intriguing characters that are easy to invest in and root for. As if that were not enough riches, the show weaves in its colorful villains: Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Oswald Cobblepot aka Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Ivy Peppery aka Poison Ivy (Clare Foley), Edward Nygma aka the Riddler (Corey Michael Smith), Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), to flesh out the world that swirls around the destined fates of Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Also noteworthy on the heroes’ side are Alfred Pennyworth aka Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Barbara Kean aka Future Mrs. Gordon (Erin Richards). What makes it even more fun are that all the characters are introduced in interesting and memorable ways. Point of interest: “Elementary” fans may remember Sean Pertwee, who portrayed Lestrade this past season. (Premieres on Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. on Fox.) [Read more…]