Oprah Packs Them in at TCA


Friday, January 7, 2011




On the Winter Press Tour Menu:

Day Two of Cable


Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:

Clean Sweep for CBS, but ABC Could Have Traction among Adults 18-49


Ratings Box:

What’s Hot/What’s Not


On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options 


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


TV Trivia Time:

The Waltons Opening


On the Winter Press Tour Menu:

Day Two of Cable


Turner Broadcasting kicked-off day two at TCA with sessions on comedy Children’s Hospital on Cartoon Network, upcoming TNT legal drama Franklin & Bash (which premieres this June), sophomore drama Men of a Certain Age on TNT (with Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and executive producer Mike Royce), new Steven Spielberg series Falling Skies, and Dr. Drew Pinsky, whose new nightly prime-time show will premiere on HLN on March 28. 


Said Dr. Drew about his upcoming hour:


“This show is not going to be just medical. It’s not going to be purely about addiction, although certainly that’s where my training is. I want to apply my head to that material, but I would like to really approach it in a different way and get to the bottom line of what is really going on here. Now, if I can’t interview Lindsay Lohan, which I would like to do, I certainly would interview people like Lindsay. When I dealt with this story before, what I brought in was Tom Sizemore, who is a male version of Lindsay, and he talked about what he thought she needed.”


Ray Romano, meanwhile, described moving from Everybody Loves Raymond to Men of a Certain Age as follows:


“I’m never going to feel comfortable, you know. I mean, I kind of feel like I guess I can do this, but I always have a little bit of doubt. I think every actor kind of has that. They think they’re great, but they also think they’re kind of an imposter underneath it all. So I’ve got those two things going at once, and I’d like to hold onto that. So I do like reading when people are complimenting my work, but I never truly believe it.”


But the real spice of the morning came from Piers Morgan, whose nightly CNN interview show begins on Monday, March 17 at 9 p.m. ET with guest Oprah Winfrey. 


Unlike Larry King, who Morgan is replacing, expect fireworks aplenty from the America’s Got Talent judge, who was not shy voicing his opinions about Madonna and his Celebrity Apprentice nemesis, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, who he said: I would like to have her lowered in a boiling
vat of sulfuric acid, where her remains are eaten by a large group of hungry tarantulas.”


Enough said.




Discovery Channel has announced a Chicago based spin-off of game show Cash Cab, with Second City alum and comedian Beth Melewski as host. It premieres this summer. As we anxiously waited for Oprah Winfrey to come out an talk about recently launched OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Animal Planet opened the afternoon festivities with a session on six-part docudrama Taking on Tyson, with boxing legend Mike Tyson and his passion for pigeon racing, Taking on Tyson debuts on Sunday, March 6 at 10 p.m. ET.


Science Channel has ordered an eight-episode series from director Ridley Scott called Prophets of Science Fiction, which will profile the great minds of science fiction. It premieres in the second half of 2011. And the cable network is debuting An Idiot Abroad, an eight-episode satirical series from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 10 p.m. ET. 


Highly anticipated OWN opened its block of TCA time with the 10 finalists from Mark Burnett produced Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star, followed by sessions with upcoming talk show host The Gayle King Show and Lisa Ling, who is headlining Our America with Lisa Ling, which will featured the former View co-host traveling around the country immersing herself into the lives of the people she meets.


The big gun, Oprah Winfrey, capped off the day, with a very long discussion (and I mean very long) of OWN, her career and what lies ahead. When Oprah wants to talk, she has no intention of quickly exiting the stage. Here is a sample of what she had to say:


“You probably have heard me say I was afraid at first. I had much trepidation about doing this cable network , and then I read the Nancy Griffin article in July’s Vanity Fair about Michael Jackson, and there was just one line where she said, “Michael Jackson’s friends always said that his biggest mistake was he never understood that ‘Thriller’ was a phenomenon, and he spent his whole life chasing that phenomenon.” I read that and just, like, whoosh. It was more than an aha moment. All of my fear, my anxiety, my sort of trepidation about what is this going to be and waking up in the middle of the night and did I make the right decision, all of that left in that moment. That was a gift to me. I don’t know Nancy Griffin, but that was a gift to me because I realize, oh, that’s what I’m doing. I’m clutching and trying to hold on to 25 years of success. I’ve become one of those people who has been lulled by the success. I pride myself on being centered enough to not be affected by what the outside world thinks but just to stay focused on yourself. I go, “Oh, no, no. You’ve now bought into it. You bought into the Oprah is so successful, everything she touches.” That’s a falsehood.”


Time will tell if everything Oprah touches turns to success or not.


Prime-Time Metered Market Thursday Ratings:

Clean Sweep for CBS, but ABC Could Have Traction among Adults 18-49


Thursday 1/06/11
Note: The overnight data now includes DVR playback until 3 a.m. local time. One year earlier it was based on Live data only.



CBS   9.0/14
ABC 7.1/11
Fox     2.9/ 4
NBC   2.1/ 3
CW     1.0/ 2

-Note: The year-to-year overnight comparisons are not available today.


-Yesterday’s Winners:

The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Wipeout (ABC), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), CSI (CBS), The Mentalist (CBS) 


-Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):

Million Dollar Money Drop Off (Fox)


-Note: 46 percent of the line-up last night was in repeats despite this being the first Thursday in January.


-Ratings Breakdown:

CBS led the Thursday overnights, as usual, with a first-place finish in every half-hour care of its combination of The Big Bang Theory (9.5 rating/15 share), People’s Choice Award winner $#*! My Dad Says (7.0/11), CSI (9.2/14) and The Mentalist (9.6/16). As a reminder, Rules of Engagement replaces $#*! My Dad Says effective on February 24, which dropped by a hefty 26 percent from The Big Bang Theory last night.


ABC opened the evening on a positive note, with the winter season-premiere of summer favorite Wipeout second at 8 p.m. with a 6.5/10 in the overnights. As a benchmark, short-lived fall occupant My Generation debuted with a 3.9/ 6 in the time period on Sept. 23, 2010. Next on ABC was Grey’s Anatomy (#2: 8.8/13 at 9 p.m.), which is poised for time period victory among adults 18-49, and spin-off Private Practice (#2: 6.1/10 at 10 p.m.), which did not benefit from its above-average lead-in.


Fox had an abysmal showing care of game show Million Dollar Drop Off (#3: 3.4/ 6) and a repeat of Bones (#4: 2.5/ 4). And NBC aired a night of all sitcom repeats — Community (#4: 2.2/ 3), 30 Rock (#4: 2.5/ 4), The Office (#3: 2.7/ 4), Outsourced (#4: 2.2/ 3) and two more repeats of The Office from 10-11 p.m. (#3: avg. 1.7/ 3). As a reminder, relocated American Idol steps into the Thursday 8 p.m. hour on January 20 (into Bones). 


Last were encore telecasts of The Vampire Diaries (#5: 1.1/ 2) and Nikita (#5: 1.0/ 1) on The CW. 


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)


Ratings Box:

What’s Hot/What’s Not


-More Viewers Discover The Vampire Diaries:

The CW’s recent five-night, 10-episode encore The Vampire Diaries marathon, which ran the week of December 13, attracted in the vicinity of 3.9 million new viewers.  That said, you can expect another marathon of the network’s top-rated series around the holidays again next season. 


-Top 20 Ranked Programs in Syndication:

What follows are the top 20 rated programs in syndication (first-run and off-network) based on the holiday week of Dec. 22. Keep in mind, of course, that many of the programs may have been in repeats due to the time of year. 


Wheel of Fortune (CBS Television Distribution): 6.7 rating, Jeopardy (CBS): 5.5, Two and a Half Men (Warner Bros.): 5.3, Judge Judy (CBS): 4.1, Family Guy (Twentieth Television): 3.9, Oprah (CBS): 3.5, Entertainment Tonight (CBS) and Two and a Half Men – Weekend B (Warner Bros.): 3.4 each, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS) and Criminal Minds (CBS): 3.1 each, My Wife and Kids (Disney-ABC): 3.0, Live with Regis & Kelly (Disney-ABC): and Law & Order: Criminal Intent – Weekend (NBC Universal): 2.8 each, George Lopez (Warner Bros.): 2.7, Inside Edition (CBS), Seinfeld (Sony Pictures Television) and Seinfeld – Weekend (SPT): 2.6 each, How I Met Your Mother (Twentieth) and Everybody Loves Raymond – Weekend (CBS): 2.5 each


Source: Nielsen Media Research data (R = repeat)


On the Air This Weekend:
Prime-Time Programming Options


Friday 1/07/11

 9:00 p.m. Primetime: What Would You Do?

10:00 p.m. 20/20

 8:00 p.m. Medium
 9:00 p.m. CSI: NY

10:00 p.m. The Mentalist (R)

 8:00 p.m. Minute to Win It
 9:00 p.m.  Dateline (two hours)
 8:00 p.m. Cotton Bowl
 8:00 p.m. Smallville (R)

 9:00 p.m. Supernatural (R)


Saturday 1/08/11

 8:00 p.m. Wipeout (R)
 9:00 p.m. The Bachelor (R, two hours)
 8:00 p.m. Blue Bloods (R)
 9:00 p.m. CSI (R)

10:00 p.m. The Mentalist (R)


 8:00 p.m. NFL Wildcard: New York Jets at Indianapolis

 8:00 p.m. Movie – Change of Plans

Sunday 1/09/11

 7:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos
 8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
 9:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives

10:00 p.m. Brothers & Sisters

 7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes
 8:00 p.m. CSI: Miami
 9:00 p.m. Undercover Boss

10:00 p.m. Criminal Minds (R)

 7:00 p.m. Dateline (two hours)

 9:00 p.m. The Cape (series premiere/preview, two episodes)

 7:00 p.m. NFL Playoff
 8:00 p.m. The Simpsons
 8:30 p.m. Bob’s Burgers (series premiere)
 9:00 p.m. Family Guy
 9:30 p.m. The Cleveland Show (new time)

New Program Descriptions


Bob’s Burgers (Fox)

A third generation restaurateur running a hamburger joint, his nervous wife and their three underachieving children is the focus of this new animated sitcom.

The Cape (NBC)

After an innocent cop (David Lyons) is framed for a crime he did not commit is left for dead, the circus ringleader who saves him gives him special abilities to defend himself. Trying to clear his name, he takes on the guise of his son’s favorite comic book hero, The Cape. After Sunday’s preview, The Cape moves into its regularly scheduled Monday 9 p.m. hour (out of Chuck) effective on January 17.


TV Tidbits:

Notes of Interest


-HBO Announces Start Date for Game of Thrones:

Upcoming drama Game of Thrones, which is based on the bestselling books by George R.R. Martin and follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they view for power, will debut on HBO on Sunday, April 17. Ten episodes have been ordered.


-Mr. TV Dishes on Oprah:

Click here for the scoop.

TV Trivia Time:

The Waltons Opening


What was father John bringing home in the season one opening credits on family drama The Waltons?

a)      Cow
b)      Radio
c)      Record player
d)      Refrigerator
e)      Telephone

The answer to yesterday’s question…


What state did Dwayne Schneider move to in the final episode of One Day at a Time?

a)      Arizona
b)      California
c)      Florida
d)      Georgia
e)      Texas

Is: c) Florida. Schneider (Pat Harrington, Jr.) found himself in Florida taking care of his niece and nephew after his brother passed away. This was actually a pilot for a spin-off series, but CBS passed on it. All together now…


This is it. This is it.
This is life, the one you get
So go and have a ball.

This is it. This is it
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can’t be sure at all.

So while you’re here enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
So hold on tight we’ll muddle through
One day at a time, One day at a time.

So up on your feet. Up on your feet
Somewhere there’s music playing.
Don’t you worry none
We’ll just take it like it comes.

One day at a time, one day at a time.
One day at a time, one day at a time.
One day at a time, one day at a time.
One day at a time, one day at a time

-Current kudos goes to:
Gerry Bixenspan, Larry Collins, Tom Condosta, Audrey Davis, John Ferlazzo, Ed Griffis, Melissa Hodgdon, Bob Ingersoll, Ken Jobe, Steven Kurtzer, Rick Locke, Patty Lynch, Jim Moore, Michael Murphy, Gordon Purcell, Anthony Salerno, Michelle Stanton, Ronnie Tallant