TV NEWS ALERT! FOX: Bones Renewed For Seventh Season… Now What About House?

You didn't have to be this guy to figure out that FOX would renew Bones.

FOX Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox Television have come to terms on a new license fee agreement and the hit series Bones has been renewed for a seventh season.  We predicted this would happen as merely a defensive move if nothing else because if the uncertain fate of House.  Universal Media Studios and FOX did not reach an agreement despite a deadline of April 15th and two extensions beyond that deadline.

To make matters more precarious for FOX and the future of House on the network, NBCUniversal head, Steve Burke, has announced that parent company Comcast will be investing an additional $200 million into the struggling NBC.  This, of course, just reaffirms our suspicions that it is quite possible that UMS may just opt instead to sell the hit medical show to NBC.  The issue at play here is money.  UMS wants the same they had with FOX in season five and have FOX share in the cast salaries. FOX’s position is that though the show is still strong it’s not as strong as it was in season five when the initial deal was made.  So considering that the deadlines have passed and UMS wants more money than FOX is willing to give, who better to turn to than fellow NBCUniversal subsidiary, NBC who will apparently be rolling in cash.  Steve

NBCUniversal Head, Steve Burke

Burke had this to say about the cash infusion at NBC:

The real key to turning around NBC is not necessarily increased investment. The real key is making better shows.

So apparently Mr. Burke certainly gets it and that’s good sign for NBC’s future. Even though he is stating the obvious, it simply amazes us how his predecessors couldn’t grasp that very simple concept. So now it’s our turn to ask the obvious: what better way is there to make better shows than by purchasing already established hits in their prime?  We can’t think of many.  As we’ve noted, the addition of House to the Peacock network would be a game changer for them or at the very least a life-preserver.

Via Press Release:

FOX UNCOVERS ANOTHER SEASON OF “Bones”

Fan-Favorite Series Renewed for Seventh Season

All-New Episode Airs Thursday, May 5, on FOX

FOX has renewed the hit series Bones for a seventh season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“Bones is creatively fresh, it’s a rock-solid player every time it airs and this season it has helped us win on Thursday nights for the first time in our history,” said Reilly. “Hart Hanson and the fantastic cast and crew, as well as the millions of loyal Bones fans, make this show really special, and I’m excited to have it on our air for another stellar season.”

In the all-new “The Signs in the Silence” episode, airing Thursday, May 5 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), a 15-year-old Jane Doe, who is hearing impaired and unable to communicate, is found on the streets covered in blood and wielding a knife, leading the team to believe she is responsible for a recent murder. Meanwhile, Angela keeps Hodgins in the dark regarding the details of her pregnancy.

Bones is a darkly amusing procedural centered on a highly skilled forensic anthropologist who can read clues left behind in victims’ Bones and an FBI agent. These unlikely partners take on homicide cases involving human remains that most forensic specialists can’t handle. The series stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor and John Francis Daley.

Bones is from Far Field Productions and Josephson Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox Television. The series was created by Hart Hanson. Hanson, Stephen Nathan, Ian Toynton and Barry Josephson are executive producers. Become a fan of the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bones and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bonesonfox (@bonesonfox).

Summer Sci-Fi Alert! TNT’s Falling Skies Two Hour Premiere – Sunday, June 19th At 9:00 p.m.

FALLING SKIES opens in the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that has left most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, the few survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin the difficult task of fighting back. Each day is a test of survival as citizen soldiers work to protect the people in their care while also engaging in an insurgency campaign against the occupying alien force. 

At the center of the series is Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), a Boston history professor whose family has been torn apart. His wife was killed in the initial attack, and one of his three sons has been captured. Determined to get his son back and to ensure the safety of his other two sons, Tom must put his extensive knowledge of military history to the test as one of the leaders of the resistance movement known as the 2nd Mass, because of their location in Boston, Mass. They are constantly trying to gain intelligence about the aliens in order to one day outsmart and overtake them and hopefully rebuild their lives. 

Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) co-stars as Anne Glass, a pediatrician who works with the surviving children to help them cope with the traumatic upheaval in their lives. Will Patton (Armageddon, TNT’s Into the West) plays a fierce leader of the resistance, Weaver. The series also stars Drew Roy (Secretariat) as Hal, Tom’s oldest son and a growing fighter in the resistance movement; Maxim Knight (Brothers & Sisters) as Matt, Tom’s youngest son; Connor Jessup (The Saddle Club) as Ben, Tom’s son who was captured by aliens; and Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds) as Lourdes, an orphaned teenager who helps Anne in the group’s makeshift medical clinic. Colin Cunningham (Living in Your Car) is John Pope, the leader of an outlaw motorcycle gang and Sarah Carter (Shark) is Margaret, a wary survivor of Pope’s gang. 

FALLING SKIES focuses on the resilience of the survivors and their determination to maintain their humanity when all else has been destroyed. It is a tale of endurance, commitment and courage in which everyday people are called upon to become heroes. They may be outmatched, outnumbered and outgunned, but nothing can beat the human spirit. Most of all, the series is about the ties that bind people together in the most difficult of circumstances. 

The aliens in the series are mighty, mysterious and merciless. They are highly intelligent and use military-like tactics, which makes them an overwhelming force against the 2nd Mass. There are two types of aliens that the human survivors have named Skitters and Mechs. Combining live action and special visual effects, the Skitters have spider-like bodies and incredible strength and agility. The deadly, robotic Mechs stand upright and can shoot bullets from their arms. The aliens control captured children, like Tom’s son Ben, through bio-mechanical harnesses but have yet to reveal their ultimate plan for them. 

FALLING SKIES is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, along with DreamWorks Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, Graham Yost (Justified, The Pacific) and screenwriter Robert Rodat. Rodat, who earned an Oscar® nomination for his screenplay for Saving Private Ryan, wrote the pilot from an idea he co-conceived with Spielberg. Mark Verheiden (Heroes, Battlestar Galactica) and Greg Beeman (Heroes, Smallville) are co-executive producers. The pilot was directed by Carl Franklin (One False Move, Out of Time).  – TNT

Official Trailer:

Longer First Look Extended Trailer:


Steven Spielberg

So, here’s the question of the month:  How the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks did we miss this. Seriously, we’re genetically predisposed to have the first scoop on all new SciFi programming out there.  This is just embarrassing.  We only heard about Falling Skies yesterday when we saw the trailer on TNT and thought it was for a summer blockbuster that we didn’t know about.

That being said, this looks exceptionally well-done for basic cable with Dreamworks producing it and Steven Spielberg heavily involved with creating the aliens. Dare we say, it looks even better than Terra Nova and we think it has a better chance of staying on the air for a second season then TN as well because basically they’ve done everything right, so far, as far as production of Sci-Fi television is concerned.

  1. Yes... yes they do.

    It’s on Basic Cable and NOT on a Major Network. Better yet, it’s on TNT which overall in 2010 was the #4 cable Network on television and #2 for original non-niche scripted programming (for clarification, Disney and ESPN, #2 and #3, respectively, are niche networks) behind only USA.  The expectation for high audience numbers is dramatically lower on basic cable than it is on major network which is a luxury that TN doesn’t have on FOX and to make matters worse for TN, over the past decade, Sci-Fi is DEAD on Network television for this generation of audiences and has been an abysmal failure every time it’s been attempted and this dovetails into the next advantage for renewal FS has…

  2. $$$$ Because FS is on basic cable, the production costs will be dramatically lower than any show on a major network and considering that TN is the most expensive show in the history of television, we can only imagine that the production costs of FS is infinitesimal in comparison to TN.  Again, this goes back to the ratings expectations that TNT will have for  FS as opposed to what FOX will have for TN. One of the biggest factors a show has to overcome is production costs.  When  24 was canceled last year, even though the ratings were continuing to drop they weren’t particularly awful.  The problem was (besides the fact that the producers admitted that the well had run dry) that the show was just so damned expensive to produce that they couldn’t justify renewing it.  A show has to get high enough ratings in order to justify high ad rates in order to justify high production costs. It’s that simple.  Considering what we said about the recent history of Sci-Fi on network, the advantage again goes to FS.
  3. The real reason why so many Sci-Fi shows are produced in Canada

    “O, Canada, Our Home and Native Land!” As soon as we saw the trailers for FS, the first thing we thought was, “Oh, this has to be being produced in Canada,” and as we confirmed with iMDB, it sure as heck is (Hamilton, Ontario to be precise).   It’s well-known that the key to keeping production costs down dramatically with Sci-Fi television is to film in Canada. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this list of Sci-Fi shows filmed in Canada over the last two decades.  Where is TN being produced? In ridiculously cost-prohibitive Australia which is just adding to the enormous price-tag of that show. Advantage, FS.

  4. Shorter Schedule Beyond the obvious fact that producing more than twice as many episodes per season (22 for TN as opposed to 10 for FS) will cost twice as much for FOX, there’s also a much bigger issue and that is that a 22 episode season, by its nature, will air over the course of an entire television season, in this case (allegedly) 2011 – 2012.  This means long hiatuses and reruns for the show which has proven time and time again to be catastrophic for Sci-Fi and genre which is exactly why they eventually stopped doing it with 24, Lost, and Alias to name a few, instead, choosing to air their entire seasons as mid-season replacements without anything more than the random one week break between new episodes.  Today’s audiences have ZERO patience for serials to begin with, nevertheless Sci-Fi serials,  and they will not tolerate shows that leave them hanging for six weeks to several months at a time.  FS will air new episodes continuously for ten weeks and it’s airing in the middle of summer with no competition from the major networks which is a strategy that continues to be proven successful for basic cable networks.

Finally, 22 episodes of Sci-Fi is just too much for major network television (and no, even though The CW is a major network, they don’t count for the purpose of this discussion for obvious reasons.).  Today’s major network audiences just will not hang in there for 22 episodes of Sci-Fi any more.  Now, we love Fringe and we’re certainly thrilled it got picked up for a fourth season but that is an anomaly and the audience numbers haven’t been particularly great for it which is why it got moved from the middle of the week to Friday to begin with.  The standard 10 – 13 episode seasons for original programming on basic cable works just fine for Sci-Fi. Advantage, FS.

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

So why are we so excited about FS? Well, first, the trailers look fantastic and yes, we know it’s not a particularly original concept stealing aspects from The Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, V,  The Road, Independence Day and War of the Worlds, to name a few (not to mention that the whole “stealing children and technologically altering them” concept is eerily similar to the Borg in Star Trek) but heck, we like that kind of Sci-Fi because it invariably promises us great action and character development.  We also don’t think that it’s a coincidence that Noah Wyle looks like he was separated at birth from Terminator: Salvation star and leader of the resistance Christian Bale (John Connor).

Along with the great action, though, is that shows like this invariably raise thought-provoking philosophical questions about humanity, often without the audience realizing it until after it’s happened. This is one of the marks of great Sci-Fi storytelling which this particular brand of Sci-Fi excels at and we really expect nothing less considering the heavy hitters that are on board for this and their experience and success they bring to this in the writing and production department (see the last paragraph of the show description at the top).

Also, just to preempt the inevitable cries of “it’s not an original concept” from the peanut gallery (that have already begun), we’ve got news for you:  there are no original concepts in Sci-Fi anymore. Every concept you can think of has been thought up by someone else in this genre and been done already.  It’s the execution of concept that counts and that’s what will be the deciding factor in FS‘s success or failure.

Check out the official Falling Skies webpage, here.

See… We Told You So. J.J. Abrams: “I’ll Start Drinking More,” No Upside To Fringe On Fridays

Fringe Returns on Friday January 21, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. on FOX

We did a piece back in December regarding the Fringe move to Friday nights in which – and we see no reason to sugar-coat this – we spent the majority of the piece, bashing (albeit justifiably) FOX for its treatment of scripted programming in general, its propensity to panic and banish a show to Friday nights for the purpose of letting it die and to, by virtue of their irresponsible programming decisions, cause the premature cancellation of quality programming.

We also explained that while were inclined to accept the fact that Fringe would be moving to Friday nights and this most likely signaled the end to the series (FOX or any other network can do whatever they want), what we could not tolerate was the self-righteous spin coming from FOX (specifically in the promo trailer below) which attacked other blogs and commentators far more reputable than The ‘Tastic who are well aware as we are of FOX’s history regarding scripted programming and in particular, genre programming, who dared to suggest the same thing that we did.

What particularly bothered us was not the issue of FOX calling out highly reputable sources such as Collider, Ain’t It Cool News, and IGN…  that’s fine.  When a media outlet is wrong or publishes commentary that is scurrilous with nothing to back it up, it’s completely justified.  The issue we had was that of FOX trying to pretend that they have no history of doing exactly what these outlets suggested and mocking them for the suggestion and leaving the false impression on the fans that they should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain because they of course are going to fully support Fringe on Friday night… just like they do all of their scripted programming they put there!

We took A LOT of heat for that piece by FOX gushers suggesting everything from we didn’t know what we were talking about, to we’re just making things up and our favorite, at least FOX gives Sci Fi and genre a chance as none of the other networks do (which is absolute nonsense).

So, as the weeks have progressed, there has been more and more propaganda spewed by FOX and by their willing accomplices in the media about how much support they are giving to Fringe. Outlets such as the folks at TV Line seem all to happy to not only believe FOX, but to promote their spin as if it should be believed, in particular Matt Webb Mitovich and Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello.  From Mitovich’s January 11th piece:

Fringe‘s move to Fridays, which takes hold on January 21, is looking more and more like a really terrific thing.

Not only has Fox been promoting the heck out of the time-slot change, but Fringe‘s new “under the radar” home apparently has opened the door for even freakier storytelling.

Noting that Fox “has always been pretty cool” about letting Fringe push the envelope, series creator J.J. Abrams tells TVLine that said envelope’s seams have achieved outrageous new levels of elasticity.

From Ausiello’s piece from January 18th:

In a major blow to the argument that Fox is banishing Fringe to Fridays to die, a new piece of evidence has emerged that strongly suggests the network very much wants the show to succeed in its new, challenging time slot: A fancy outdoor advertising campaign touting the show’s new Friday perch!

The fancy investment of $5,000.00 on a billboard which obviously means that FOX is fully supporting Fringe.

Well, we guess that completely shoots holes in our perspective and that of the rest of the other skeptics, right?  Well, not really.

You see, in an interview with Collider’s Christina Radish on January 12th, J.J. Abrams himself had a bit of  different take on the Friday move for Fringe than the FOX talking heads and the propaganda pushers at TV Line.

J.J. Abrams... He'll be drinking more.

Radish: How do you feel about the move to Friday nights for Fringe?

ABRAMS: Oh, I’m horrified beyond belief, but as a fan of the genre and the show, I’m hoping that fans will tune in. I certainly can promise that it will be worth their while. The episodes that are coming up are spectacular. I guess you can just be hopeful and say that, if the work is good enough, it will find the audience. I think they’re doing better work now, even in the second half of Season 3, than they’ve ever done on the series. I’m just crossing my fingers that fans of the show, show up.

Radish: Do you see any upside to the change in nights?

ABRAMS: Just in that I’ll start drinking more. No, I don’t see an upside because the audience on Friday nights is harder to find. But, that’s not to say that they aren’t there and that we might not be able to make it there. Certainly, I would be lying to you if I said I’m thrilled about the move. But, what I am thrilled about is that the network has been incredibly supportive and, despite its move to Friday, they’ve been nothing but encouraging of the show. It’s still on the air in its third season, and it’s not easy to do that. It’s not easy to get to Season 3 of anything. They’ve allowed the show to become truly great, I think. The question is, will audiences find a great show on Friday nights? I pray that they do.

Well, surprise, surprise!  J.J. Abrams has the exact same opinion of the move to Friday for Fringe that we do.  The only difference is that he’s more polite when discussing the show’s relationship with FOX than we are, because after all, they’re still paying the bills.  Like  J.J.,  we are also horrified and we see no upside to this move but we do sincerely pray that it does find success… but we doubt that it will.  The reality of it is, as Abrams knows, that if FOX truly had faith in Fringe and wanted to support it, they never would have moved it to Friday night to begin with.