UPDATE: I’ve just learned that NBC did pickup Medium last Friday, but only for 13 episodes. But Endeavor Talent Agency which packages the show wanted 16 episodes (and Patricia Arquette’s contract called for 22 episodes). A difficult negotiation ensued, and now CBS has brought over Medium, which is produced by CBS Television Studios (formerly CBS Paramount TV), to air it with Ghost Whisperer. NBC is now spinning that Medium rated lower than 2 shows CBS cancelled –- Eleventh Hour and Without A Trace.
WRITETHRU: NBC confirmed this morning that Medium and My Name Is Earl are cancelled there. “A couple of shows that were aging, and that were going down as we were trying to move up, didn’t make the schedule.” (But don’t be surprised if Earl shows up on Fox since it’s a Twentieth Century Fox TV production as it was developed under NBC’s Kevin Reilly before he moved to FBS. Or Medium moves to CBS because it’s a CBS Paramount TV production, and NBC wanted to order only 13 episodes but CBS-Par wanted 22 episodes.)
NBC said it didn’t cancel Chuck “because of the demand for Chuck that came out of the online community, the critical community, and the advertising base made us have to pick up that show. The other shows had none of that attention or energy.” Said one of the top execs: “I was sent more Nerds than anyone could consume in a lifetime… And Subway and Subway consumers drove so much energy our way.” NBC also promised to keep Chuck alive during the fall when it’s off the air through an original content online platform.
Because of the Olympics, NBC has ordered more episodes of all its scripted shows: “you’ll be seeing deeper and richer ordering patterns throughout these years to stay in originals… What we’ve seen is repeats don’t work anymore”. NBC points out that Jay Leno has “delivered his most robust ratings” in recent weeks. NBC said “we’ve never spent as much money this year” in development, and that’s because, since The Jay Leno Show will be 52-weeks a year, the network will need more original programming so it’s moving towards a year-round schedule. This is one reason why NBC will be scheduling Friday Night Lights for Summer 2010 after its DirecTV run.
On this morning’s conference call, I asked NBC what it plans to do this fall regarding what the networks are complaining privately are too many White House requests to break into primetime programming for announcements, speeches, press conferences, etc. NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios co-chairman Ben Silverman joked that the network “has shared the fall schedule” with President Obama “and he’s really excited about the Winter Olympics”. But behind-the-scenes the networks are annoyed by all the primetime disruptions, especially after Fox decided not to carry a recent Obama event in order to run its regularly scheduled programming. Today NBC said it has “a duty to support our President without fail” and would “evaluate on a case by case basis” which White House events to carry in primetime “but as we demonstrated this year we support our President unequivaocally, and we look forward to Barack Obama, our President, being back on Jay Leno.”