20TH UPDATE, 2:50 PM: Refresh for latest… About 1.9 million homes and businesses remained without power today, down from 8.5 million across the East immediately after the storm. More than half of those still without power are in New Jersey. About 84% of New York City’s subway system should be restored by Monday morning. Electricity is back on for most if not all of Manhattan, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, and power has been restored to much of the rest of New York City. Resumption of electric service means that most movie theaters have reopened up and down the East Coast and studios tell Deadline that business is booming.
Meanwhile, as temperatures fall toward freezing NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that 30,000 to 40,000 people in the city alone would need housing. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said federal agencies are looking for apartments and hotel rooms for people displaced by Sandy. Some people have been reluctant to leave their homes because of scattered looting. “People are in homes that are uninhabitable,” Cuomo said today. “People don’t like to leave their home, but the reality is going to be in the temperature.” About 5.8 million homes in the East rely on heating oil, and distribution has nearly collapsed in some of the hardest hit areas. New York area distributors have already been forced to ration supplies. Officials also fretted that displaced residents would not be able to vote in Tuesday’s Presidential election. Scores of voting centers were rendered useless by the record surge of seawater in New York and New Jersey.
On Friday night, NBC’s commercial-free live one-hour benefit telethon Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together included Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Christina Aguilera and Mary J. Blige in a blend of music, storm footage and calls for donations from Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny DeVito and others. (You can watch it here) Matt Lauer hosted the show that was carried across several NBC networks including USA, MSNBC, E! and by HBO, Discovery’s Fit & Health and Velocity networks and The Weather Channel as well. Jimmy Fallon gamely led an all-star performance of the Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk” that featured Joel, Springsteen and Steven Tyler who also delivered an emotional “Dream On”. Sting performed an equally passionate acoustic version of The Police hit “Message In a Bottle” and its promise to “send an SOS to the world.” Springsteen and the E Street Band closed the show with “Land Of Hope and Dreams”. Ironically, millions of people for whom the benefit was organized couldn’t watch because they still had no electricity. Separately, ABC has planned Monday, November 5 as Day of Giving across its network and syndicated programming to encourage viewers to help those impacted by the storm.
As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie imposed gasoline rationing, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said 8 million gallons had been unloaded from commercial tankers and another 28 million gallons would go into distribution terminals over the weekend. He also said the Defense Department was sending 12 million gallons of fuel to be pumped from five mobile stations. The gas initially was to be free and limited to 10 gallons per recipient. But after citizens swarmed the mobile units, the gas was cut off and reserved mainly for emergency workers. Officials pointed out that the extra 28 million gallons en route to New York should ease any continuing shortages.
Frustration and anger are mounting as clean-up and recovery efforts continue. Tempers rose Friday amid widespread fuel shortages as desperate motorists eager to fill up formed long lines at gas stations in the metropolitan New York City area. Bloomberg canceled today’s New York City Marathon after anger over the decision to move forward with the event reached a boiling point. Many complained that it was diverting badly needed resources from recovery efforts, including power generators that would be used for the media tent at the marathon’s finish line. The move also has forced ESPN2 to adjust its programming. It would have been the first NYC marathon to have aired on national television in nearly 20 years. Bloomberg initially defended the decision to hold the marathon, saying it would give people something to cheer about after a dismal week and provided a tremendous boon to the city’s economy.
Media companies headquartered in New York City donated millions to relief efforts for the storm that has claimed 111 lives in North America and incurred damages upwards of $50 billion. Disney pledged $2 million and Viacom said it was giving $1 million, joining News Corp, which previously pitched in $1 million. Time Warner Inc. said it would donate a minimum of $1 million for recovery efforts, and the NFL and the NFL Players Association have pledged to donate $1 million to the American Red Cross. The NFL and its TV partners will run messages and screen crawls to promote donations. Time Warner Cable also pledged $600,000 and began dispatching a fleet of free mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and charging stations to affected areas.
There is some good news regarding Gotham film production. The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting says, beginning Monday, it will issue permits for exterior locations on a case-by-case basis. Areas where exterior filming won’t be permitted for now: south of 42nd St in Manhattan, Staten Island, Coney Island, Red Hook, the Rockaways, Breezy Point and other affected areas.
In New Jersey, the site of MTV’s hit reality show Jersey Shore was decimated. “I have never seen devastation like this in my life. Not here in New Jersey”, Gov. Chris Christie told CNN (photo at left). “You know, you see sights like the Seaside Heights boardwalk, where the program the Jersey Shore is filmed, the boardwalk is gone. It is gone. Amusement rides, a roller coaster, a log flume, in the ocean. It‘s incredible. Homes destroyed. It’s an awful thing.” Jersey Shore, in its final season, wasn’t in production this week, but the cast — themselves mostly without power — has been active on Twitter talking about the storm and its impact on the oceanfront communities. Deadline has learned that MTV is tentatively exploring a storm-relief Jersey Shore special that would feature the cast. President Obama toured New Jersey Wednesday with Christie, a Republican governor who crossed party lines to praise the president’s response to the storm. The White House announced that a power restoration working group has been established to cut red tape and increase coordination among federal and local governments and the private sector to restore power to people as quickly as possible. U.S. Air Force cargo planes were flying electrical company bucket trucks and crews from Southern California to New York to speed hurricane relief efforts, defense officials told the Wall Street Journal.
All Broadway shows are up and running, but Off-Broadway theater hasn’t been as lucky. Several shows including the popular Blue Man Group remain dark. Previews for the Public Theater’s Giant and Sorry have been delayed and the Vineyard Theater hasn’t scheduled a new opening date for Douglas McGrath’s Checkers and Classic Stage Company’s Ivanov with Ethan Hawke is also on hold.
TV broadcast schedules have begun to return to normal. Comedy Central said The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report have returned with live episodes. Tuesday night NBC pre-empted new episodes of Go On and The New Normal, which were to air from 10-11 PM, following The Voice, for an NBC News special on the storm. Monday’s editions of The Voice, impacted by storm-related evacuations and power outages, was repeated last night 8-10 PM (The Voice). The Voice will pre-empt NBC’s comedy block, which will return next week. On ABC, a news special pre-empted Private Practice, which will return in two weeks, following the Presidential elections next Tuesday.
ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, which completed a weeklong stint at Brooklyn’s Harvey Theatre, cancelled its show Monday but broadcast an original Tuesday night, with Howard Stern, Tracy Morgan and musical guest Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Kimmel’s show Wednesday night with special guest David Letterman delivered the ABC late-nighter’s biggest Wednesday audience since its 2003 debut. NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, which taped without an audience Monday, also taped a regular broadcast with an audience, while Late Show With David Letterman taped again audience-free on Tuesday. The CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley expanded to one hour (6:30-7:30), with Pelley anchoring from Lower Manhattan; otherwise, the network stuck to its regular schedule. So did Fox. NBC News aired a Sandy’s Fury special from 10-11 PM, replacing Go On and The New Normal. ABC aired a The Perfect Storm edition of 20/20 Wednesday night at 10 PM, with a scheduled episode of Private Practice moving to November 13.
TV shows whose production schedules have been affected include Warner Bros. TV‘s 666 Park Avenue, The Carrie Diaries, The Following, Golden Boy, Gossip Girl and Person of Interest plus the pilot The Secret Lives of Husbands And Wives; CBS TV Studios‘ The Good Wife, Blue Bloods and Elementary and NBCUniversal’s 30 Rock, Law & Order: SVU, Smash, Infamous, Do No Harm, and syndicated shows Maury and Steve Wilkos. Showtime also shut down Nurse Jackie and The Big C due to the storm.