T Dog’s Grab Bag: A Boatload of Renewals

– Good Friday was a month ago, but it was really a Good Friday for several bubble shows on network schedules as eight shows were officially picked up for next season: NBC’s Parenthood, Chicago Fire, Revolution, Grimm, and Law & Order: SVU; CW’s Hart Of Dixie and Beauty And The Beast; and CBS’ Two And A Half Men, though without Angus T. Jones, who is unlikely to return.

The network upfronts are about two weeks away, and includes the five major broadcast networks, Turner, and USA.

– How bad is American Idol’s ratings these days? Not only the long-running Fox hit is now regularly losing to archrival The Voice in adults 18-49, its also now losing to repeat telecasts of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. Now we add another show to the list, at least in Chicago – on April 17, WLS-TV’s Wheel Of Fortune – a game show that made its debut on NBC in 1975 and in first-run syndication in 1983, was the most watched show in the market that day – including all network prime-time shows – including American Idol, whose ratings – even after area native Lee DeWyze’s win in 2010 – never really has resonated in the Windy City, especially after Jennifer Hudson’s controversial elimination from the show in 2004. The Wheel triumph came as on a day when WLS dominated the ratings thanks to flood coverage.

Idol’s decline may have come from a number of factors – the addition of Nicki Manaj and Mariah Carey to the judges panel, the quick elimination of male contestants, and of course, the age of the show (hasn’t stopped Wheel, obviously.) There is no doubt changes will be coming next season.

– It may not be Stage 29 at Paramount Studios where Arsenio Hall once did his show before (where Dr. Phil resides now) – his new show has found a new home: Sunset Bronson Studios, which is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Sunset (then known as Warner Bros. Studio) was home to the first ever talkie The Jazz Singer back in 1927. In the late ’80’s, and early ’90’s, the studio was home to several sitcoms produced by Columbia TV (now Sony) and The Golden Girls. A few years ago, the facility was renamed Tribune Studios and became home to syndicated programs such as Divorce Court, Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown (which recently ended production), and Family Feud (which has since moved production to Atlanta). After Tribune sold the studios in 2008, the named was changed again to Sunset Bronson.

Arsenio Hall’s new show debuts on September 9 at 10 p.m. on WGN-TV.

– It seems like a plot from a… um… soap opera: imagine someone being left for dead… only to turn up alive quite sometime later. Well, if your a fan of daytime serials One Life To Live and All My Children, then you know what I’m talking about. After beating long odds, both canceled ABC sudsers entered a new era on Monday, appearing online thanks to Prospect Park and The Online Network, who inked deals with the SAG-AFTRA and DGA unions to continue the series. There are many differences from their network counterparts; both series are only a half-hour at length; both are now filmed in Stamford, Conn. instead of New York and Los Angeles (well, it beats Vancouver or Montreal – no offence), and most of the cast from both shows, though not all (notably Susan Lucci, who is scheduled to appear at least one episode of AMC) – have returned.

All My Children and One Life To Live are available from The Online Network through Hulu, Hulu Plus, and iTunes.

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