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TV Is a Manns’ World — at Least on Tuesday Nights

Plus: Charter looks for more HQ space; 'The Simpsons' showrunner Al Jean on keeping it fresh 4/03/2017 8:00 AM Eastern
The Manns: One family, two networks, same night
TakeAway

Through the Wire, from the April 3 issue of "Multichannel News"

On Tuesday nights at 9 o’clock on Bounce TV, Tamela and David Mann play a fictional married couple in the original sitcom Mann & Wife, recently back for a third season.

Starting this Tuesday (April 4), the Manns are also starring in a new unscripted series about their real lives, The Manns, at 8 p.m. on basic-cable network TV One.

The gospel-singing duo — stars of the play, movie and TBS TV-series versions of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, though as father and daughter, not husband and wife — told The Wire that in a perfect world, the shows would be scheduled on different nights. They’re confident, though, that viewers looking for good, family-themed television will find and watch both series.

David Mann even coined the tagline of “The Manns’ Takeover on Tuesday Nights” for the two-hour block of Mann family programming on two different African-American focused networks.

Tamela Mann said she likes the authenticity of doing the reality series because it allows her to be in a more relaxed, family element, whereas David Mann said both the scripted show and the docuseries offer viewers family-friendly content that counters some of the more salacious programming from cable networks.

TV producers “offered ratchet, so viewers now expect to see ratchet,” David Mann said, using a term website Urban Dictionary defines as, in part, diva behavior. “But there’s an audience for family programming.”

The March 28 return of Mann & Wife — in which the two play a newly married couple with a blended family of children from different marriages — drew nearly 450,000 viewers to become the most-watched original sitcom telecast in Bounce TV’s short history, the multicast network said, citing Nielsen.

TV One, in announcing The Manns series in February, called the Manns “a great modern-day example of a family that works together, plays together and prays together.” (A previous reality series about the family, It’s a Mann’s World, aired on BET in 2015 and 2016.)

Tamela and David said that, despite their busy TV schedules, their marriage and family remain their top priority. “We put God first, then our marriage and family — everything else follows that,” said Tamela, who will appear on TV One on Sunday, April 9, as part of the network’s taped coverage of the gospel music-themed Stellar Awards ceremony, where she took home six awards.
— R. Thomas Umstead

For Charter, Job Creation Starts At the Home Office
Charter Communications’s plans to keep adding thousands of employees, following last year’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, earned chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge a March 24 visit with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Many of those thousands of jobs are to be at call centers. But the second-biggest U.S. cable operator also has been adding corporate-office jobs across the country, including its headquarters in downtown Stamford, Conn.

Sources tell The Wire Charter is starting to look for additional office space in Stamford to expand into — preferably in a building Charter could actually put its name on.

Rutledge moved Charter’s HQ to Stamford from St. Louis in late 2012, after receiving incentives from the state of Connecticut pegged to creating jobs there. Charter shares the 15-floor building at 400 Atlantic St. with other tenants, and continues to move into additional space there, but doesn’t own the building and can’t stick its brand on it prominently.

Charter wouldn’t comment, and sources said nothing was happening imminently along the lines of expanding the company’s footprint in its new hometown.
— Kent Gibbons

‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Tries Some New Tricks to Keep a Classic Current
More than 600 episodes into its run, Fox’s The Simpsons remains keen to try some new things to keep the show current, showrunner Al Jean says. It was a year ago that The Simpsons featured Homer live at the end of an episode, with viewers tweeting questions and comments his way. The show will give the next live honors to Bart at Comic-Con, Jean reports.

“We’ll have Bart animated live on the screen as he answers questions from people who are there,” Jean told The Wire and other outlets during a Fox call.

The show remains “adaptable” to new technological developments, the showrunner said, and “people want to work with us because of who we are.”

The Sunday, April 2, episode touched on current events just a bit, as Mr. Burns, disappointed with how Yale operates, decides to open a for-profit university. His professors have more star power than anything one might have found at Trump University. Jason Alexander was tasked with assembling teachers, and came up with Jeopardy! star Ken Jennings, financial wiz Suze Orman, scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson and screenwriting teacher Robert McKee.

“The topic is a really good one and Mr. Burns is the perfect guy to run [a for-profit university],” said Jean, who adds that the idea was mostly in motion before President Donald Trump was called on to defend his own for-profit university.

Asked if the president might tweet about the episode, Jean seemed to think it unlikely, but said he’d be “honored” if it happened.

The Simpsons crew will note a special anniversary on April 16, marking 30 years since The Simpsons shorts first appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show.

As season 28 winds down, Jean said The Simpsons is going strong. “I know we’ll go through 30 seasons, but I wouldn’t say that’s the end,” he said. “As long as the cast is willing and the economics work, it’ll go on.”
— Michael Malone

This article was updated on April 3 to correct the time that The Manns airs on TV One. It airs at 8 p.m., not 10 p.m.

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