US TV Series Programming, Renewals And Cannings

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Cecil B DeMille Life Time Achievement
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:11 am
King of the Hill- whilst still presently airing new episodes in U.S- had stopped production about a year ago, but is now officially being revived by Fox.

Also, Futurama is looking like making a come-back, too, although nothing is official as yet.

[quote:10e2011fc5]Dick Cheney's quail hunting buddy isn't the only Texan who recently survived a bullet. Until a few weeks ago, Fox had all but killed off the Lone Star state's favorite animated son, Hank Hill. "KOTH" had been limping along in a tough Sunday timeslot and the network had decided to let the show quietly disappear.
With extra episodes still in the can, production shut down on "KOTH" more than a year ago, even though it continued to air. The show's writers, vocal talents and production crew had all moved on and "King's" Century City offices had even been abandoned.

What's more, co-creator/voice of "Hank" Mike Judge was busy working on new projects, and exec producers Dave Krinsky and John Altschuler were pounding out movie scripts.

"The network had made its peace with 'King' wrapping up," says 20th Century Fox TV prexyprexy Gary Newman.

Then the call came: Fox execs had gone through an 11th-hour change of heart and wanted "King" back after all.

Fox's decision to revive "King" and order more episodes comes on the heels of another show that the net left for dead, only to see rise again from the Nielsen ashes: "Family Guy."

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox TV is close to bringing back a third animated skeinskein that had been axed by Fox -- Matt Groening's "Futurama" -- in some limited form.

In the world of animation, characters never really die -- especially when there's still money to be made.

"When you're lucky enough to create a franchise that resonates with audiences, you have to do everything you can to preserve them -- and support their longevity," Newman says.

That's particularly true these days thanks to ancillary markets, which has made the afterlife of shows like "Family Guy" and "King of the Hill" even more profitable.

Where marketing and merchandising once made up the lion's share of secondary profits on an animated skein (in addition to the traditional network license fees and off-netoff-net syndiesyndie cash), the worlds of new media and technology have opened up several new revenue streams.

The success of "Family Guy" on DVD (as well as on Cartoon Network), after all, is what initially persuaded 20th Century Fox TV to bring that show back. (A skeptical Fox only signed on to the show later.)

A similar surge in interest on cable for "Futurama" -- which was hot enough on Cartoon Network that Comedy CentralComedy Central recently stole it away -- is what's fueling the return of that property as well. (20th Century Fox TV hasn't yet secured a home for new first-run "Futurama" segs, and is still mulling an original DVD release as well.)

It also doesn't hurt that studios are looking to find ways to make money from clips of animated skeins on mobile phones and via Internet downloads.

"These shows have deeply loyal fan bases," Newman says. "There's a great opportunity to exploit that and give the fans what they're looking for, which is more content. We're seeing how you can move these fans from one medium to another.

"They love these shows on the network, and follow them to syndication and cable, buy the DVDs, and looking to the future, there's an opportunity to lead them to cell phones and the Web," he says. "The point is, we're about building our brands, strengthening them .... Between syndication, licensing, DVDs, we try to look at this synergistically."

Newman says the studio is still figuring out how to make money on new platforms like cell phones.

"But even if you're not monetizing it, you're strengthening and deepening the roots of your brand -- and that has value in and of itself," he says.

The case of "King of the Hill" reps a more traditional case of a network not realizing what it had -- until it was almost too late.

Fox decided to give the show another shot after leftover episodes of the toontoon skein did surprisingly decently this year, despite frequent pre-emptions and little promotion.

The network's sibling studio, which continues to reap syndicated rewards off the show, was also pushing Fox to give it another shot.

Also, with "That '70s Show""That '70s Show" and "Arrested Development" ending their runs (at least, in the case of "Arrested," on Fox), and newcomers like "Stacked" and "Kitchen Confidential" not making the grade, the net could use another well-liked, established comedy.

Fox exec VP Craig Erwich says the continued success of the net's Sunday-night animated laffer block -- "The Simpsons," "Family Guy" and "American Dad" -- persuaded them that they may have been a little too hasty in dropping "King" from that roster.

"We realized that the show was still creatively vital," Erwich says. "And the show's creators and producers felt like there were still stories to tell."

Lucky for the net, bringing back an animated show is much easier than trying to reconstitute a live-action skein. For starters, the characters don't age.

Also, voicing an animated character doesn't require much time for thesps, who can enjoy the extra cash but still work on other projects.

The hardest part is bringing back the creative minds behind the show -- but in the case of "Family Guy," "King" and "Futurama," the exec producers were still set up at 20th Century Fox TV and were able to negotiate a return.

"We had some luck in availability," Newman says. "They also all feel a certain loyalty and obligation to fans of the show."

The biggest problem? Finding enough animation directors and artists to handle the studio's five animated brands.

"It's a bit of a high-class problem, causing the demand that's straining the talent pool," Newman admits. "But we're managing."[/quote:10e2011fc5]

[url]http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117939953?categoryid=14&cs=1&nid=2565[/url]


And this even less official news, but it's more exciting:

[quote:10e2011fc5]Our friend Billy West has once again spilled the beans. According to a post he made on his message board, Futurama is going to be renewed for television with 26 episodes. No word as to what station it will be on, who will rejoin the cast, or whether it'll be two seasons that would consist of 13 episodes each or one HUGE season of 26 episodes. Please keep in mind though, all this information is still very unofficial. Nothing is down on paper. No contracts signed. Nada. NOTHING. But, it's still pretty awesome[/quote:10e2011fc5]

[url]http://www.gotfuturama.com/Futurama/News/1142752670,92129,/[/url]

I got to hand it to Fox. Their animation record is outstanding.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:19 am
*heart-attack*
I had no idea KOTH was in threat! :o
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:21 am
It was already dead, Allie. They were just burning off the last episodes this year. Luckily, Fox realised their mistake, and there will be more Hank for us! :dance:
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:25 am
Awesome stuff. Looking forward to new Futurama.

STV Futurama releases were already mentioned a while back, but I hope there is something truth to the 26 episode thing! :dance:
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:27 am
Yay for KOTH! Personally the last set of episodes we saw seemed to lack its original charm... but :shrug: glad it's back!
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:36 am
I thought the last set was great! They had one with AD's Jason Bateman as a Vet- I thought that one was hilarious! :D

Can't wait. Now, if AD gets picked up by Showtime, I'll definately know there IS a God. Atheists be damned! :P
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:57 am
Sorry, I should have been more clear- when I said I didn't like the most recent eps, I meant the most recent ones shown on Aussie TV. Last year, 3pm weekdays during the holidays.
Every once in a while there is an episode I don't care for, but last time there were more of those than the good ones. :shrug: Shame.
Glad to hear it gets better.

Btw IMHO the best episode I've ever seen was the Halloween one where Luanne moved in with that psycho who tried to turn her into his meat model wife or something. :lol: It was great!
But sorry, not the thread for that kind of talk.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:11 am
[quote:c9b899ce1e]Sorry, I should have been more clear- when I said I didn't like the most recent eps, I meant the most recent ones shown on Aussie TV. Last year, 3pm weekdays during the holidays[/quote:c9b899ce1e]

That's what I was talking about. Didn't you see that episode with the vet? :eh: I thought they were mostly good.

[quote:c9b899ce1e]But sorry, not the thread for that kind of talk[/quote:c9b899ce1e].

Of course it is. If KOTH is in the title, you can talk about KOTH :wink: .

My favourite episodes revolve around Dale, Bobby and Peggy- ny three favourite characters. And the George Bush episode was funny as hell. :)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:42 am
There is already a KOTH thread, so we should save this thread for the article, or face getting locked by the mods! :(

I didn't know the Jason Bateman episode had aired... :shrug: News to me! I'd relish it now as I quite like Bateman. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:06 pm
US network NBC is the latest international programmer to pick up the rights to Working Dog's series Thank God You're Here.

[quote:4890ef0002="Thank God Going Global - news.com.au"]The network home of ER and America's Got Talent will film a pilot of Ten's improvisational variety show in November after coming to Melbourne to watch episodes prepared here.
FremantleMedia has already sold the format in 10 territories and versions of the program created by Rob Sitch, Santo Cilauro and Tom Gleisner are screening in Denmark and the Netherlands. Denmark's program debuted extremely well on Sunday and the Dutch version improved in its second week.

Working Dog's Michael Hirsh concedes it is early days for any potential US version.

"We're realistic that we know pilots are pilots and series are series," he said. "I know that, basically, NBC wants a hit show.

"We got on to their radar like the rest. When shows are successful somewhere, people are looking to see if they can make it work for their own territory."

FremantleMedia is selling and producing the format worldwide after signing with Working Dog in March. The simple format drops celebrities, actors or comedians into unfamiliar situations. A variation on Theatresports, it sees one person improvise in a real environment where everybody else is scripted. Shane Bourne hosts the local edition in which Shaun Micallef, Peter Rowsthorn and Tony Martin have all starred. Last week's episode attracted 1.7 million viewers.

Hirsh said Working Dog's previous successes, including films The Castle and The Dish, Ten series The Panel and the Jetlag Travel Guide books, count for little internationally.

"I think Fremantle have the weight, not us," he said. "They're one of the big production companies in the world so when they walk into a room it's about them. Our track record helped us in Australia with Ten and helped us get the appointment with Fremantle."

American networks are currently open to international formats, particularly British. English adaptation Dancing With the Stars is taking off again in the US and FremantleMedia has sold America's Got Talent and American Idol into the territory. It has already sold the Thank God format to networks in Russia, Sweden, Portugal, Romania, Belgium, Israel and Germany and expects to seal more deals at next week's Mipcom. Hirsh said the program's appeal is obvious. "This show is attracting an audience that's not normally watching television, the young."

That audience is also working online. Free clips from the series have already been downloaded more than 200,000 times from tgyh.com.au, and its podcasts were the top-rated download from Apple's local iTunes podcasting service last week, while Ten is adding clips to YouTube.

The program's success is yet another hit for some of the graduates of the D-Generation. Their current-affairs spoof series, Frontline, continues to resonate and the third book in their satirical travel-guide series, San Sombrero, has just been released. Hirsh says The Panel will return for its annual Christmas program on Ten but the group's 2007 time is likely be devoted to Thank God You're Here.[/quote:4890ef0002]

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,23663,20528076-10388,00.html
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