Ellen DeGeneres might have just made Michael Carter-Williams' day.
“For me, it's all about Ellen," he wrote. "I just think she's awesome. So every weekday at 4 p.m., my stepfather and I pause the basketball talk, grab some snacks and watch The Ellen Degeneres Show. It might sound funny, but this is one of the ways I'm able to get away from the frustration of losing.”
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - CBS has pulled the plug on Will Arnett's "The Millers" a few episodes into its sophomore season, Variety has confirmed.
The comedy will air a new episode on Nov. 17, but no scheduling decisions have been made beyond that point. After a move to Mondays behind "Two Broke Girls," the multicam laffer has slipped to series lows in the ratings (its latest airing notched a paltry 1.5 in the adults 18-49 demo) and provides no boost to freshman drama "Scorpion," which airs at 9 p.m.
Though the show is produced by CBS Television Studios, it seems CBS lost patience with "The Millers" as its flagging ratings proved a detriment to "Scorpion," which CBS sees has a promising contender to have longevity. The Eye has a new season of "Mike and Molly" on the bench as a potential replacement, along with midseason comedy "The Odd Couple," or ever-reliable reruns of "The Big Bang Theory."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Because CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" has been on the air since 1993, it's easy for one to think there's nothing new to be learned about the program. You might be surprised by the wealth of detail that can be gleaned from people who work behind the scenes.
The writing staff of the long-running program took to the stage at the New York outpost of The Paley Center for Media Friday evening, part of the New York Comedy Festival. Keith Olbermann moderated a talk with 14 different scribes for the Letterman show, including head writer Matt Roberts and longtime hand Bill Scheft, who has been with Letterman's staff since 1991.
The crew sounded an early note of melancholy, as the show's staff is likely to find itself in need of new employment next year. David Letterman has already announced he will step down in 2015, after which CBS will replace him with Stephen Colbert. Scheft said the end seems both far and near simultaneously: "It seems like a long way off. It seems like tomorrow." Only after the annual holiday episode of "The Late Show," when Darlene Love usually comes in to sing holiday tunes, will the inevitable seem close at hand, he said. "That's a real iconic moment," he said, and staffers realize this one will be the last that will take place during Letterman's tenure.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - It's an end of an era for "Friday Night SmackDown."
Syfy, which has aired the weekly series for the past four years, will move the two-hour broadcast to Thursday starting Jan. 15, 2015, the company will announce withWWE today. "SmackDown" will continue to air in the 8 p.m. timeslot.
The new night is expected to help attract a younger audience to Syfy, as well as more premium advertising dollars from marketers, who tend to spend more to promote their products, especially film releases, on the night as consumers head into the weekend.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Uma Thurman will replace Mary-Louise Parker in the NBC miniseries "The Slap," a remake of an Australian hit.
Thurman was recruited at the last minute because Parker is recovering from pneumonia, according to a report on TV Line.
NBC has ordered eight episodes of the family drama about the fallout when a man slaps another couple's misbehaving child. Melissa George, Thandie Newton, Peter Sarsgaard and Zachary Quinto also star. Lisa Cholodenko is directing from a script by playwright Jon Robin Baitz. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are also exec producing.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Terence Winter has professed his love for "The Sopranos" finale, but the "Boardwalk Empire" creator certainly didn't choose to emulate his former show's cryptic conclusion in crafting a fifth season that steadfastly built toward its final, revelatory sequences. And that's to his and the program's credit, as the HBO drama methodically detailed the history of its central character, Nucky Thompson, while tying up loose ends (or most of them, anyway) with a ruthless efficiency that would have made Michael Corleone proud.
Sunday's closing hour (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven't watched) saw Nucky become the embodiment of fellow mobster Johnny Torrio's rueful admonition that there's little point to being the richest man in the graveyard. In that, he joined a rather lengthy roster of key players who had bitten the dust in this fast-moving final flight of episodes, to the point where in hindsight the truncated eight-episode season felt a trifle rushed.
With Michael Kenneth Williams' Chalky White and Michael Shannon's Nelson Van Alden having already met violent ends (hell, the gambler Arnold Rothstein, played byMichael Stuhlbarg, checked out in the prolonged lapse between seasons), the question lingered as to whether Nucky (Steve Buscemi) - having shrewdly cashed out, under pressure from the rising tandem of Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza) and Meyer Lansky (Anatol Yusef) - could somehow cheat the fates and get out alive.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Saturday Night Live" has found a new cast member in its writing staff.
Leslie Jones, who has been a writer for the show since early this year, is joining the cast, a rep for the show confirmed on Monday. She'll begin in this role starting with this week's Jim Carrey-hosted episode.
The comedian was a contender in the search for a new cast member last fall. The spot went to Sasheer Zamata, but producers decided to bring Jones on as a writer.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Bethenny Frankel, the Bravo reality star-turned-media powerhouse, is returning to the show that catapulted her career, as the cabler has confirmed that she will be back on "The Real Housewives of New York City" for season seven.
The new season will follow Frankel and returning cast Carole Radziwill, Heather Thomson, Kristen Taekman, LuAnn de Lesseps, Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan.
"Bethenny is one of the most popular Housewives in the history of the franchise, and I couldn't be more excited she is coming home to Bravo!," said Andy Cohen, host and executive producer of "Watch What Happens Live" and executive producer of the "Real Housewives" franchise.