It's all just a joke for NBC. The network has added a sixth new comedy to its slate for next season with a 13-episode order for "Guys With Kids."
The multicamera comedy centers on a group of thirtysomething dads who don't feel mature enough to be parents. The laffer, whose cast includes Anthony Anderson ("Law & Order," " 'Til Death) and Jesse Bradford ("Bring It On," "The West Wing"), comes from Universal Television and Jimmy Fallon's Holiday Road. Fallon will also serve as one of the executive producers.
The news came hours after the network announced its pickup of Dick Wolf's "Chicago Fire," about a team of firefighters.
Were the ratings good for Tuesday's finale of "The Voice," won by Jermaine Paul? That depends on how you look at the numbers.
On the bright side, the two-hour extravaganza scored 11.6 million viewers, up 5% from last season's closer for NBC's singing contest, according to Nielsen. Among adults 18 to 49, the show rose an impressive 16%.
But here's the problem: Last season's finale came in late June, when TV viewing, thanks to summer vacations and longer days, is as much as one-third lower than it is in early May. That means "The Voice" actually underperformed when the so-called "homes using television" factor -- "HUTs" in industry-speak -- is thrown in.
Given that NBC is hoping "The Voice" can ring loudly for years to come, the latest results have to be giving certain TV executives a case of the shakes.
Howard Stern isn’t worried about a learning curve when it comes to being a judge on NBC’s hit show “America’s Got Talent.”
“Naked women, singers, jugglers, it’s all the same,” Stern cracked, referring to his time assessing a carnival of guests on his long-running morning radio show.
On the surface, the hiring of radio’s bad boy to replace Piers Morgan as a judge alongside Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel on NBC’s modern-day vaudeville show sounds like a typical television stunt aimed at boosting a sagging show.
But “America’s Got Talent,” which launches its seventh season Monday, is hardly sagging. It is one of the few bright spots on struggling NBC’s prime-time schedule, averaging almost 14 million viewers last summer, according to Nielsen. Furthermore, Stern appears serious about the new post.
“This really fit what I built a career on,” Stern said. “We’ve had people come on the radio show for years that are talented or really odd. We’ve taken weirdos and made them stars.”
Indeed, Stern has always had a fondness for finding people with unusual skills and giving them a platform to either shine or humiliate themselves. However, sometimes it seemed he was more interested in amusing himself and his audience than in nurturing talent.
Now he has to be nice, or at least nicer — the sensibilities of a broadcast television audience are far more delicate than for satellite radio. He insists that won’t be a problem.
“I think to come in and say now I’ll be the harsh judge to fit the stereotype is ridiculous,” he said. “Anyone who listens to the radio show knows that there are times you're harsh and there are times you're overly compassionate. It's called being a full human being.”
His fellow judges have already seen Stern’s kinder, gentler side.
“He gets passionate and emotional about something you never would think Howard Stern would be passionate and emotional about,” Mandel said. “He cries at children and puppies,” Osbourne added.
That might be a slight exaggeration, but Stern did show a soft touch during one recent audition after he eliminated a child who had more spirit than skills. The boy was on the verge of bursting into tears after the buzzer went off and the lanky Stern rushed to the stage to comfort him.
For some, the takeaway from "The Voice" finale was an image of Christina Aguilera strutting around in a bedazzled diaper. For the few who managed to see beyond the odd fashion choice, a winner -- Jermaine Paul -- was named.
Minutes after the confetti dropped and Paul struggled to sing R Kelly's "I Can Fly" as his comrades and family attacked him with hugs, the former backup singer and Team Blake contestant proclaimed "I Won!" as he entered the red carpet area Tuesday night to talk to reporters.
Paul, who was an underdog in the contest, said that earlier in the day he had accepted the idea of losing.
"It was probably the first time I said, 'I'm good -- wherever it falls, America has done it. It's not producers. It's not coaches," he said. "I left my heart on the stage yesterday."
Juliet Simms, the 26-year-old indie rocker, came in second. Often a hit with the judges with her gritty voice and dramatic performances, Simms is already in talks to collaborate with judge Cee Lo Green on a song he's had stashed away. And though she may not have been crowned "The Voice," she says it was all meant to be.
Hey, network programmers: If your own sense of decency doesn’t dictate that you pick family-friendly shows for prime-time TV, then maybe a financial incentive will do the trick?
The Assn. of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Family Entertainment, made up of deep-pocketed marketers like Procter & Gamble, State Farm, AT&T and Microsoft, has launched a national ad campaign to encourage network executives to schedule more all-family shows for the 2012-2013 season.
And rather than appealing to anyone’s nobler instincts — or jabbing the broadcasters for risqué situations, pixilated naughty parts and vagina jokes currently dominating prime time — the savvy sponsors point out that they, collectively, control one out of every three ad dollars spent on network TV.
Signed by more than 20 blue-chip advertisers, the ad is framed as an open letter to “our partners in television,” aiming to shine a light on the current boundary-pushing environment. It says, essentially, that marketers will vote with their checkbooks when they feel they’re getting quality entertainment that works for kids and their Gen X parents but won’t embarrass the heck out of Grandma.
“Families make for great television,” the ad says, because they’re “dramatic, comedic, uplifting, infuriating, struggling, flourishing, traditional, unconventional, dysfunctional and functional.”
The advertisers, longtime advocates and backers of G-rated fare, unveiled the full-page print ads on the eve of television’s upfronts, when network executives choose their programming slates for next season and sell the bulk of their ad time.
This week, executives are still finalizing those decisions, so, technically, there’s still time for them to swap out a few sitcoms littered with the b-word for a couple of squeaky-clean family shows.
NBC has renewed its long-running drama "Law & Order: SVU" and is getting even cozier with Dick Wolf, picking up his pilot "Chicago Fire" for the 2012-13 season.
Despite some setbacks -- a dip in viewership, the exit of costar Christopher Meloni and a change in leadership with Warren Leight ("Law & Order: Criminal Intent, "In Treatment") -- the Wednesday night crime procedural continues to be an important asset for the network. The renewal takes the series into its 14th season.
And NBC's addition of "Chicago Fire" expands its already established relationship with Wolf. The show, which like "Law & Order: SVU" is from Wolf Films and Universal Television, centers on the men and women of the Chicago Fire Department -- think "ER" with hoses and flames. The series, which stars Taylor Kinney ("The Vampire Diaries") and Jesse Spencer ("House"), is the second drama the network has picked up for the 2012-2013 season, joining previously announced J.J. Abrams-produced "Revolution."
Photo: Teri Reeves, left, as Hallie, David Eigenberg as Christopher Hermann, Charlie Barnett as Peter Mills, Lauren German as Leslie Shay, Monica Raymund as Gabriella Dawson, Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey, Eamonn Walker as Battalion Chief Walter Boden, Merle Dandridge as Kay Fitori in "Chicago Fire." Credit: NBC
On Tuesday, the people of North Carolina voted by a wide margin to outlaw same-sex marriages and civil unions in their state. Although this outcome was predicted by pollsters, it was still a stunning setback for gay-rights advocates, especially given their recent victories in New York and New Hampshire.
This gaping ideological divide was evident on Tuesday's late-night talk shows. On "The Tonight Show," Jay Leno grilled former presidential candidate Rick Santorum about his views on various social issues, including contraception, abortion and, of course, gay marriage.
Wearing his trademark sweater vest, Santorum defended traditional marriage on the grounds that "children need moms and dads" and that "men and women ... bring different attributes” to a relationship. (Tellingly, he didn't acknowledge the possibility that a couple, gay or otherwise, might want to get married but not have children.)
Leno is not known for being a relentless interrogator, but when Santorum expressed his opposition to gay adoption, he pushed back. "I have friends, gay parents, some women, some men, that are wonderful parents and they adopt children, and these children seem very happy," Leno said.
He also asked why, in the face of widespread economic woes, Santorum put such emphasis on social issues. "It’s the culture, not the economy," he replied, a quote that, were he still running for president, would no doubt come back to haunt him.
Over on "The Daily Show," it was a different story. Vice President Joe Biden recently made the frank -- and quite possibly accidental -- admission that he is "absolutely comfortable" with gay marriage. Stewart was less surprised by Biden's "straightforward sentiment" than by the three days of White House spin and media speculation that ensued.
Stewart instead directed particular scorn at White House press secretary Jay Carney, who attempted to downplay the apparent difference of opinion between Biden and President Obama on the subject of gay marriage.
Likening Carney's evasive statements to a "zen koan," Stewart paraphrased him this way: "The vice president’s new position is consistent with the president’s position, which has not changed, and is also changing."
Jermaine Paul won! The former backup singer for Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige stepped definitively out of the background and into the winner's circle in the Season 2 finale of "The Voice" Tuesday night.
"Winning would mean just, uh … it would mean the world to me," Paul had said, choking up, moments before Carson Daly revealed the results of the audience vote that would determine the winner.
It had taken Paul years of hard work, touring and toiling, to get there, clustered with fellow contestants Chris Mann, Juliet Simms and Tony Lucca, on the "Voice" stage, waiting to hear whether he'd captured this season's crown, as well as the recording contract and $100,000 that come with it. (Each of the four finalists had already won a new car, we learned during the finale, and Paul had seemed particularly tickled about his new wheels.)
Viewers may have felt they had spent years getting to the moment of truth as well. Tuesday's two-hour finale included performances by the four finalists, who brought back previously dispatched Season 2 "Voice" contestants to sing with them. But that wasn't even the half of it. There were highlight reels of the judges' bloopers, a tribute to CeeLo Green's cat, a look at Blake Shelton and Adam Levine's "bromance." Flo Rida dueted with Simms. Daryl Hall and John Oates sang "Rich Girl," backed by Paul, Mann and Lucca. Lady Antebellum performed. And Justin Bieber kept that promise he made his fans and the show earlier this season and returned to sing his new single "Boyfriend." (What, you didn't belieb him?)
At the outset of the show, Paul's coach, Shelton, uttered words that would prove prescient: "Jermaine Paul dug down deep" with his stirring, stylish rendition of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" Monday night, giving "the performance of his lifetime," Shelton said. "He won."
And win he did.
Daly revealed the results from the bottom up, revealing first the contestant finishing fourth, Team Christina's Mann, who was separated from the third-place finisher, Team Adam's Lucca, by only a quarter of one percentage point. (Talk about a squeaker.)
That left Paul and Team CeeLo's Simms clinging to each other, awaiting their fate.
Only four percentage points separated them, Daly said, then asked, "Are you ready to find out the winner?"
In the seconds before she learned she'd finished second, tears gushed down Simms' face. But her emotional display was no match for Paul's once he learned he'd triumphed. He thanked the voters, his wife, his children, his parents, even his mother-in-law. (What a guy.) And then he gave a special shout-out: "Nobody but Jesus, man, nobody."
Then he had so many people to hug and kiss, he could barely get through the beginning of "I Believe I Can Fly," which he was to reprise, singing a large part of it holding his wife, who was sobbing in his arms.
But finally, Paul broke away from the pack and let his voice soar, which it did, as impressively as ever.
Paul's career, too, is set to take wing. I believe he can fly. And though I wouldn't have minded seeing Simms go home a victor (I'll forever admire her "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World"), I have to admit, the win couldn't have happened to a nicer-seeming guy.
Each week our experts and readers rank the best of the best between the two blockbuster singing competitions. Last week, readers put "American Idol's" Jessica Sanchez just slightly ahead of "The Voice's" Juliet Simms on top. Who will be the favorite this week? Vote below and check out last week's performances and see what our judges had to say at latimes.com/idol-voice.
Photo: "The Voice" winner Jermaine Paul with coach Blake Shelton. Credit: Justin Lubin / NBC
The Season 2 winner of "The Voice" has been crowned: Jermaine Paul, of Team Blake, snatched the win away from Team CeeLo's Juliet Simms, Team Adam's Tony Lucca and Team Christina's Chris Mann in the "Voice" live finale Tuesday. It was an emotional victory that left him, and probably more than a few viewers at home, in tears.
Going into Tuesday's finale, there had been no clear favorite, though Paul's performance of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" on Monday's final performance show had offered up raw emotion, vocal power and an elegant stage presence and style.
It obviously did the trick with voters, who were the sole determining factor in choosing, from among the four finalists, this season's winner, who will receive a recording contract, $100,000 and, of course, bragging rights.
To be sure, the results did not come quickly. NBC stretched out the suspense for two hours, as Flo Rida, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Lady Antebellum, and a bevy of returning "Voice" contestants all took the stage, as did Justin Bieber, with his new single "Boyfriend."
But finally, after the Beliebers' screams had died down, Carson Daly revealed the results: Classically trained opera singer Mann finished in fourth place, just edged out by former Mouseketeer Lucca, who came in third.
That left Paul, a former backup singer for Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige, and Simms, an aspiring rock star and the only woman in the final four.
With only four percentage points separating them, Simms claimed second place and Paul emerged the winner, bringing him out of the background, into the spotlight, and ready to fly.
Each week our experts and readers rank the best of the best between the two blockbuster singing competitions. As of Monday, readers put "The Voice's" Juliet Simms on top. Who will be the favorite this week? Votes were tallied below. And check out last week's performances and see what our judges had to say at latimes.com/idol-voice.
There was one thing that “Smash” got right in its bizarre turn toward religious fervor Monday night: the equation of watching the show with an act of faith. I have so much hope for the show every week -- one might say blind devotion based on nothing more than a hunch and a prayer -- and that’s what keeps me coming back.
I have faith. Perhaps this is because I came into the show already kneeling down at the church of Broadway, one of razzle-dazzle’s loyal subjects, and I was prepared to let the holy water of song and dance wash over me and renew my spirit. Ever since I heard the first bars of “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina,” as a little girl, I was a convert. But faith can only get you so far. I have prayed to the gods of “Smash” to ask them to deliver me from poorly plotted television, and they have not answered me. Repent!
To be fair, there was a lot to like about this episode. I enjoyed the eponymous “Smash” ditty that Tom crashed in at the last minute to give his precious tomatoes something to do other than sulk about sitting on the sidelines while Rebecca Duvall commits career suicide in the Marilyn role. Ivy’s swishing about in that vavoom green dress was a better argument for her ability to step into the starring role than I’ve seen in weeks. Kat McPhee looked a little awkward with her hip thrusts, but the vocals were on point, and I found myself thinking that if I was a member of the Boston audience during that performance I would have been smiling like an idiot throughout that whole number. The guy they cast as Zanuck, who somehow magically appeared just in this episode to fulfill his musical obligations and has drama with absolutely no one (the nerve!) was perfect at it; his final cigar chomp almost made me applaud.
And let’s not skip over the blessed event of Anjelica Huston finally flexing her pipes and performing a torch song in a swanky Boston cocktail lounge (it’s no Bushwacks, but it’ll do). I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting for Angie to sing since the dawn of time. When she started, I was worried that her talking version of “September Song” might be more Ke$ha than Eartha Kitt, but once Lady Huston started singing in earnest, I was charmed. So was Nick, apparently. Even the mafiosos who broke his wrist back in New York couldn’t get him down after watching that.
Because they've met every celebrity and politician under the sun, late-night comedians usually know how to keep their cool. But on Monday night, Jimmy Fallon, already late night's most boyishly enthusiastic host, was clearly ecstatic to welcome the Beach Boys to his show.
The recently reunited band stopped by "Late Night" to plug their 50th anniversary tour and upcoming album, "That's Why God Made the Radio." Band leaders Brian Wilson and Mike Love chatted with Fallon about recording together for the first time in decades. "When you hear the music coming back in the studio, it’s like sonic déjà vu," Love explained. They also taught Fallon how to harmonize to "Barbara Ann," and he proved a quick study. (Move over, John Stamos!)
But the real highlight, of course, was the band's performance of three songs, including the classic "Wouldn't It Be Nice," posted above. Enjoy.