QUICK HITS: UPFRONTS & PROGRAMMING3/26/2012 12:01 AM Eastern
GSN’s New Slate Branches Into ‘Real-Life’ Formats
NEW YORK — GSN, in a first slate from new programming executive vice
president Amy Introcaso-Davis, is expanding into “real-life” shows while still
developing new “shiny-floor” studio games and “reinventing” iconic game
shows such as The $100,000 Pyramid.
In-development shows about a broker who buys
gold from individuals (Pure Gold), a business that
buys second-hand engagement rings (I Do, Now
I Don’t) and contestants in real-life oddball pageants
(Crowning Glory) fit well with game shows
because they are “all about risk-reward, choice,
decision-making,” Introcaso-Davis said. They
also will skew more female than similarly themed
shows on other networks, she said.
Non-studio shows such as the green-lighted Beat
the Chefs, which pits everyday people against top
chefs for prize money, also present opportunities
for “endemic and organic brand placements,” advertising
sales EVP John Zaccario said.
At an upfront presentation on March 21, executives
stressed that the channel formerly called
Game Show Network is still committed to games.
Among other things, they said GSN online game
platforms get more than 2 million visitors a day,
and Games by GSN is the largest game portal on
“I’m really excited about doing Pyramid, it is a fantastic format,” Introcaso-
Davis, formerly of Bravo and Oxygen, said. “We’re going to go back to the classic
format; we’re very close to the celebrities.
“That’s very important to our core,” she said. “They love those games, I
love those games, and it’s very important to people to have those games still
on the air, and we will have them on for a very long time.”
GSN also picked up 65 new episodes of The Newlywed Game, hosted by
Sherri Shepherd, returning for a sixth season.
In-development shows also include The American Bible Challenge, a studiobased
quiz show hosted by Jeff Foxworthy; The Family Trade, about a car dealership
in Vermont that operates on barter; and War of the Rose Sisters, about
two sisters who are both hard-driving auctioneers.
— Kent Gibbons
IFC Rides ‘Portlandia’ Wave With Renewal, Specials
NEW YORK — Riding its Portlandia wave as far as possible, IFC had its first full
upfront event for advertisers and media last week, at which it announced a
third season of the hit sketch comedy series and said two specials will air before
the new season starts next January.
Network president Evan Shapiro, speaking on the same stage where the
off-Broadway musical Avenue Q usually holds court, touted 51% year-over-year
gains in the 18-49 demographic in the
first quarter. This was IFC’s first year
as an ad-supported network.
Portlandia’s recently-concluded second
season claimed 13.5 million total
viewers, up 150% over the freshman
campaign, he said, adding, “That’s a
lot of pickling,” using a catch phrase
from the show.
Hour-long Portlandia: The Brunch
Special will air this summer, and another
30-minute special will air around
the holiday season, general manager
Jennifer Caserta said. (She said her
suggestion was to focus on Portland,
Ore.’s, peculiar Thanksgiving rituals,
but whatever direction it takes, “it’ll
defi nitely be special.”)
IFC’s January 2013 schedule also
will include Out There, a new animated
series from the animation director of
South Park about the adventures of
a trio of boys coming of age in smalltown
America. Slated for the third
quarter of 2013 is Maron (working
title), a scripted version of comedian
Marc Maron’s life, best known through
his WTF With Marc Maron podcast. IFC ordered 10 episodes.
IFC also announced the premiere dates for the previously-announced new
talk show Comedy Bang! Bang! hosted by Scott Aukerman and new comedy
game show Bunk (pictured). Both will
bow Friday, June 8.
Returning for a second season in
the fourth quarter of 2012 is Whisker
Wars, the Thom Beers-produced reality
series about the world of competitive
beard growing, and a new installment
of R. Kelly’s hip hop operetta
Trapped in the Closet.
The upfront also featured on-stage
appearances by Bang! Bang!’s Aukerman
and rap comedian Reggie Watts,
a mock-round of Bunk and a musical
performance by Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.
— Kent Gibbons and Andrea Morabito (Broadcasting & Cable)
Current TV Installs Radio Shows as Morning Block
NEW YORK — Current TV president David Bohrman is hoping to reproduce the
early success of Don Imus’ radio-TV simulcast show by installing a new morning
news block simulcasting Full Court Press: The Bill Press Show from 6 a.m.
to 9 a.m. ET and Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show from 9 a.m. to
noon starting today (March 26).
Bohrman came from CNN last August to Current, a network remaking itself
into a liberal-leaning news and commentary channel around Countdown With
Keith Olbermann, The Young
Turks With Cenk Uygur and The
War Room With Jennifer Granholm.
Earlier in his career, at NBC,
Borhman said, it was his suggestion
that led to Imus in the
Morning running on MSNBC in
“For quite a while it was the
best morning show on television,
and it was highest rated for two
or three years as well,” he said.
“The last thing television needs
is another pale imitation of the Today show, which is everywhere else,” he
Bohrman said he thinks the shows will work best as a “voyeuristic” view at
the radio show rather than an “overproduced” TV product. He said the Imus
show worked better the first two or three years when it had fewer TV trappings.
Current said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Nia-Malika Henderson of The
Washington Post are scheduled to appear this week on Full Court Press. The
first week of Talking Liberally will include former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.Dak.)
and comedienne Kathleen Madigan.
— Kent Gibbons
Fuse Developing a Music-Centric Show Slate
NEW YORK — Fuse has outlined a development slate including comedy, documentary,
animated and scripted series, all rooted in music.
The Madison Square Garden Co.-owned network said it was committed to
adding original programming to bolster an existing music-focused lineup.
In development (with working titles) are:
Ambassadors of Rock, a reality show about music fans who invite touring
bands they don’t know to crash in their homes, sleep in their beds, drink their
beer and eat all of their food;
Blaze Studios, a half-hour scripted musical comedy starring Marcus Paulk
(Red Tails) and Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side) about the wild antics at a highend
Bounce, a documentary about the high-energy hip hop sub-genre from
Untitled Eric Balfour Project, a mockumentary series about a young band
in Los Angeles that struggles for success; Major, a scripted musical comedy from creator and writer Erik Weiner
(Robot Chicken) about a musical duo that, after hitting it big with a viral video,
tries to capitalize on its success;
And Off Beat, a clip show hosted by comedian Mike E. Winfield (The