Night four of The Voice's season 17 Blind Auditions picked up where night three left off: with the cliffhanger of Cali Wilson's decision. Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and John Legend were all on the table, Kelly Clarkson being the only coach to not turn for the young singer. She decided to join Team Blake.
The most impressive artists of the night were twins Dane and Stephanie, who auditioned as a duo with “Angela” by the Lumineers. Their tight harmonies and range got turns from Shelton and Legend, who has never previously had a duo on his team. They ended up going with Team John.
But Preston C. Howell also took the spotlight in this episode by getting a four-chair turn with his performance of "Dream A Little Dream Of Me." His classic voice made him an ideal candidate for Team John, which is where he landed. Stefani might have the most artists so far, but Legend's team is shaping up to be a strong force, especially on the technical front.
Another standout performance of the night came from James Violet, who sang “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles. He got a three-chair turn from everyone except Legend. Ultimately, he went with Stefani, who has been the most successful coach at pitching herself this season, often besting the other coaches.
Professional stage performer Injoy Fountain got turns from Clarkson and Stefani for her performance of “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande. She joined Team Kelly, explaining that she was a fan. One artist named Jordan McCullough did not turn any chairs.
Married couple Stefani and Shelton have been going head-to-head all season despite having very different styles as coaches, and they did it once again for Jordan Chase, who sang “Makin' Me Look Good Again” by Drake White. Shelton won this round, and Chase chose Team Blake.
HBO Max is continuing to build out its television slate and has tapped Ava DuVernay to direct a pilot based on the “DMZ” comic series.
The original “DMZ” comic, which ran from 2005 to 2012, is set in a near-future Manhattan that has become a dangerous demilitarized zone during a second American civil war. The series touches on a handful of timely themes, including government corruption, foreign interventionism, and political divisiveness.
The Warner Bros. Television pilot will begin filming in early 2020. Robert Patino “Sons of Anarchy,” “Westworld,” who has an overall deal with Warner Bros. TV, will serve as showrunner and executive producer. DuVernay signed a multi-year deal with the production company last year.
DuVernay is one of several renowned Hollywood creatives who is working on projects for HBO Max. Other television powerhouses, including Kaley Cuoco “The Big Bang Theory”, Greg Berlanti “Riverdale”, and Melissa Rosenberg “Jessica Jones” recently signed overall deals with Warner, and their future projects are expected to help HBO Max stand out in the increasingly crowded streaming market. As for DuVernay, her limited series, Netflix's “When They See Us,” was one of the year's breakout shows and earned two Emmys.
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Though the “DMZ” comic was published by DC Comics, it is unrelated to the superhero genre that the publisher is known for and tells a comparably grounded story. That said, DuVernay's superhero fans will get their cosmic fill elsewhere, as the Oscar-nominated filmmaker is also leading the DC superhero film “New Gods.”
HBO Max has been revving its project announcements in the last few months in anticipation of its Spring 2020 launch, and is expected to share a variety of details about HBO Max and the service's content slate at an event on the Warner Bros. Burbank lot October 29. Will we finally get a price tag and a release date? Stay tuned.
HBO Max wasn't the only streaming service with news to share Tuesday: Apple announced that Winston Duke “Black Panther,” “Us” will star in “Swagger,” a basketball-themed drama that will air on Apple TV+. The series comes from NBA star Kevin Durant and Imagine's Brian Grazer “Empire” and will explore the world of youth basketball from the perspective of players, their families, and coaches.
Winston Duke in “Black Panther”
Duke will portray Ike, a youth basketball coach and former star player. The series' executive producers include Grazer, Francie Calfo, Durant, Rich Kleiman, and Reggie Rock Bythewood. Bythewood will also write, direct, and serve as showrunner.
It's surprising that Apple shared so much about the series, given that production is only beginning this month. Apple has been tight-lipped about sharing details about most of its upcoming projects, even the most anticipated. If “Swagger” starts a trend of Apple being slightly more open with its long-term television plans, that will likely sit well with investors and analysts, who have struggled to work with the limited information about Apple TV+.
Outside series announcements, Tuesday's television news included the announcement that Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider, and Jane Featherstone would team to launch Sister, a global production and development company that will create television shows, films, and other entertainment.
Murdoch and Snider had long been rumored to team up on a new company, though Featherstone's involvement was unexpected; her Sister Pictures created HBO's “Chernobyl,” the winner of 10 Emmys in September, including Outstanding Limited Series. Snider previously served as chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox before it was acquired by the Walt Disney Company.
All three women have equity stakes in the company and do not plan on taking outside financing. The lead investor is Murdoch, who made her career and fortune through working in her father's various media companies. She told Variety that she used some of the of the money she earned from her family's decision to sell most of its media empire to support Sister.
Sister did not announce any projects, but its leaders told Variety they expect to create 25 hours of television by the year's end and another 32 hours of content in 2020. Release dates and distribution are another story. Regardless, Featherstone said that a benefit of independent ownership means that the company will not rush to fill a specific content quota.
Sister is expected to be platform agnostic, and will not ink any first-look deals, which is unusual in a time when exclusive deals are increasingly standard for the television industry. Though those deals are often quite lucrative, free agency could translate to distributors paying top dollar for rights — if Sister's upcoming projects generate enough hype.
The Voice creator John De Mol is exiting ITV, four years after the British broadcaster and producer acquired his company Talpa Media. This comes asITV Studios has reorganized its international sales and formats business in a move that will see the closure of his Talpa Media brand.
Big Brother creator De Mol has chosen not to exercise his option to extend the earn-out period for a further three years. He will instead focus on the further development of his company Talpa Network, which owns a raft of broadcast networks in Holland, as of 2020, although he will continue to provide management services to Talpa Media until the end of April next year.
The company said that it wished De Mol well and will continue to work with him via a first-look deal in relation to future formats.
ITV Studios, which sells shows including Love Island, has unveiled a new three-tier structure, designed to get the most out of its catalogue. From January 2020, the company is bringing its international business under three umbrellas; Creative Network, Global Entertainment and Global Distribution.
This also coincides with the ITV Studios President of International Maria Kyriacou, who is joined Viacom, as reported earlier today.
Remko De Waal/EPA/Shutterstock
Talpa Media as a brand will cease to exist with the company coming under Global Entertainment and lead by Maarten Meijs out of the Netherlands. It will represent the catalogues of Talpa Media, Armoza Formats, Twofour, which previously handled their own format sales, and the existing ITV Studios unscripted format catalogue and will include titles including The Voice, Love Island and Hell's Kitchen.
Talpa's production companies including Talpa Netherlands, Mas Media and Vorst Media will integrate into ITV Studios Netherlands, lead by Karin de Groot as CEO and Edwin van der Veen as COO, while Talpa Middle East and Talpa Germany will also be integrate into ITV Studios.
The Creative Network, which will be overseen by Mike Beale, will be tasked with boosting creativity across unscripted format labels in ITV Studios to increase the potential of developing global hit shows, Global Entertainment,which brings together international unscripted format sales and exploitation across the group under one roof andGlobal Distribution, whichwill focus on the international distribution of drama and the finished tape versions of all other ITV Studios programmes.
Armoza Formats, the Israeli based format creator that ITV recently bought will be part of the Creative Network, which will include the 36 non-scripted format labels in the group.
Global Distribution will be lead by Ruth Berry and will focus on the international distribution of drama and the finished tape versions ofall other ITV Studios shows including dramas such as World on Fire, Noughts & Crossesand Romulusand docs including Magical Land of Oz and Wild Tokyo.
Julian Bellamy, Managing Director of ITV Studios said, “In line with ITV's More Than TV strategy, this reorganisation allows us to capitalise on the opportunity of a growing content marketplace, and to drive more value from our award-winning content. The centres of excellence strengthens ITV Studios potential to provide channel and platform partners with talked-about hit returning programmes as well as building brands and franchises, in an increasingly competitive global market.”
NBC and Wolf Entertainment have partnered for an after-show podcast that takes fans of Law & Order: SVU behind the scenes of TV’s longest-running primetime drama.
“Squadroom,” the weekly aftershow hosted by Anthony Roman, will feature exclusive interviews with cast, producers, and writers, delving into the inspiration and making-of the hit series. The first episode features interviews with Mariska Hargitay, showrunner Warren Leight, and Peter Scanavino discussing the cultural impact the series has had over the years and what viewers can expect as it enters the new season
The first episode of “Squadroom” will be available today at 11 p.m. ET. New episodes will be rolled out on a weekly basis at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT following the East Coast airing of the show. The podcast requires a subscription and is available from Apple’s podcast store. The price was not provided.
NBC and Wolf Entertainment plan on publishing additional podcast content, such as “radio show”-style classic episodes of the TV series delivered in an audio-only format, panels, and more.
“We are always looking at new and exciting ways to collaborate with the Wolf team and an official podcast felt like the perfect format for a popular and long-running brand like 'SVU,'” said Rob Hayes, Executive Vice President, Digital, NBC Entertainment. “We are excited to deliver new experiences and expand the discussion for audiences on a platform that allows them to dive in anytime, anywhere.”
Elliot Wolf, SVP of digital for Wolf Entertainment, said, “We’ve seen on social media that 'SVU' has a huge fan base, and the fans that engage are smart, curious and crave behind-the-scenes insights. We thought to give these fans more we could produce a podcast that continues the conversation. They can learn more about the creative process, the actors’ work and what makes the show tick. We presented the idea to NBC and they embraced it immediately.”
“SVU” was the most-watched series on television in the 2018-19 season across NBC, USA and ION.
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a Wolf Entertainment production in association with Universal Television. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer. Warren Leight, Julie Martin, Mariska Hargitay, Norberto Barba, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.
In addition to “The Law & Order: SVU Podcast,” NBC Entertainment Podcast Network produces “The Good Place: The Podcast,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast” and “American Ninja Warrior Podcast.”
On night two of the Blind Auditions, The Voice's 17th season ramped up the competition with a slate of impressive new artists. Coaches John Legend, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton continued to shape their teams during this early stage of the competition.
The night started off with a four chair turn. Shane Q sang "Tennessee Whiskey" by Chris Stapleton. He made the song his own and had impressive runs and range. Clarkson predicted that he'll make it to the finale, and he went with her as his coach, which was a solid win for Team Kelly.
Shane Q provided the only four chair turn of the night, but other standout auditions included reggae artist Royce Lovett whose performance earned turns from Shelton and Stefani. He was a better fit for Team Gwen though, and that's where he landed.
The last artist of the night, Cory Jackson, also delivered one of the top auditions of night two. He sang “Galveston” by Glen Campbell. Stefani, Clarkson and Shelton all turned for him. Stefani and Clarkson were gunning for a country artist, and they gave a hard sell, but it's rare for a country singer to ever pick someone other than Shelton. Indeed, Jackson joined Team Blake.
There were no major surprises of the evening, but other performances included a rendition of "Wayfaring Stranger" by Johnny Cash from Max Boyle, a singer-songwriter from Ohio. Legend and Clarkson both turned, but Legend blocked Clarkson, so Boyle landed on Team Legend by default.
A duo called Hello Sunday performing "This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman joined Team Kelly, and a young singer named Emily Vass failed to turn any chairs but was encouraged to come back. Elise Azkoul's audition got one turn from Stefani, adding another powerhouse pop singer to Team Gwen.
Snapshot: New series premieres: Prodigal Son Fox, 1.0 rating in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers, Bluff City Law NBC, 0.8, 4.8 Bob Hearts Abishola CBS, 0.8 rating in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers, All Rise CBS, 0.7, 6 million; Returning series: 9-1-1 holds steady amid a sea of declines.
As the industry is fixated on the launch this fall of Disney+ in November, followed by the debuts of HBO+ and Peacock early next spring, the oldest TV platforms, the broadcast networks, opened their new seasons Monday night in subdued fashion. Live+Same Day ratings are no longer a currency the networks use, though they are still an indicator of which shows are breaking through.
Fewer and fewer people watch television live — look no further for fresh evidence than the overnight Monday ratings. The start of a new broadcast season used to be an event, with viewers, who had been waiting for months to get fresh episodes of their favorite series, flocking to TV. Now there is fresh scripted content on multiple platforms year round, and the urgency to watch live is gone because all programs are available on demand.
As a result, we have the lowest Live+Same Day ratings for a Premiere Monday ever. Not a single show crossed the 2.0 adults 18-49 demographic rating mark or came close to it.
NBC's The Voice 1.7 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers L+SD led the night in the demo with another season premiere low, once again down double digits from last fall's opener.
With a hyped season premiere that resolved a tsunami cliffhanger, Fox's 9-1-1 bucked the downward year-to-year trend as the bright spot in the Live+Same Day ratings chart this morning. After upward adjustment to the fast nationals, the Season 2 opener's L+SD tally is 1.6 in 18-49, even with last fall's premiere, and 7.1 million viewers. 9-1-1 was the highest-rated scripted series on the night and drew its largest Live+Same Day audience for a regularly scheduled episode.
9-1-1 also provided a strong launch pad for new Fox thriller drama series Prodigal Son, which posted the highest L+SD rating for a new series premiere last night, 1.0. It was a good start for Fox's first full season as an independent network, scoring its highest-rated Premiere Monday 18-49 L+SD in 10 years.
It was rougher sledding for the other newcomers. As recently as a couple of years ago, opening to a 0.7 Live+SD demo rating was a death sentence for a show. Last night, CBS' new legal drama All Rise debuted at that benchmark, while the network's new Chuck Lorre comedy Bob Hearts Abishola and NBC's new Jimmy Smits legal drama Bluff City Law launched just a tad higher, at 0.8 in the demo.
NBC already gave Bluff City Law a vote of confidence last month with a backup script order. NBCUniversal, which is entering the streaming wars with Peacock, has increasingly been focused on series' digital performance, touting the enormous online success of modest linear TV performers like The Good Place, so we will have to wait and see how the family/legal series' multi-platform play performs, but its Voice lead-in retention was significantly below that of recent predecessors including Manifest, whose premiere built onto The Voice's L+SD demo lead-in last fall.
The absence of The Big Bang Theory is acutely felt by the CBS Monday lineup. The hit comedy used to jump-start the night before moving to Thursday later in the fall, most recently scoring 2.9 in 18-49 L+SD last Premiere Monday. The Neighborhood instead served as an 8 PM anchor, delivering the highest 18-49 L+SD demo rating on CBS last night, 0.9. The 18-49 deliveries slipped throughout the night, though the network kept adding a few eyeballs with each next show.
At 8:30 AM, Bob Hearts Abishola did not pop, which CBS would've liked to see for a Lorre series. Comedies often take longer to develop following, but between that and the slow L+SD start of All Rise, there is a reason for concern.
At 10 PM, both incumbents, ABC's The Good Doctor 1.0 and CBS' Bull 0.7, were off from last fall's openers, with the the latter topping the hour but expected to be adjusted down a notch in the finals because of NFL preemptions.
Here is a chart of the broadcast Monday fast national ratings.