News Briefs: The Walking Dead Beats Its Own Record Ratings

RATINGS FOR ZOMBIES, "MUSIC," AND AN ADORABLE BOY-GIRL

... The Walking Dead returned from its midseason break and promptly set new series records as it continues to be television's hottest property among cable, network TV, or otherwise. Last night's ho-hum episode drew 12.3 million viewers, and plenty of them were young enough to earn a 6.1 rating in the adult demo. Both numbers qualify as series bests for The Walking Dead, which becomes even more impressive when you consider that it was up against the well-rated Grammys. Heck, 4.1 million viewers even tuned into Talking Dead. This thing is unstoppable, and no showrunner will stand in its way. [AMC via press release]

... Speaking of those Grammys, 28.37 million viewers watched the awards show for what passes as "music" these days. The CBS broadcast brought in a 10.1 rating in the adult demo. Despite those impressive stats, the broadcast was actually down from last year, when the Grammys rode Whitney Houston's then-extremely-recent death to near-record ratings. As for the results, a bunch of awards went to people I've never heard of because all I listen to is '40s improvised jazz pop on my gramaphone. [CBS via press release]

... Justin Bieber hosted Saturday Night Live this week, and the episode did worse than the one hosted by Adam Levine. Awwwww, all the Beliebers tried desperately to stay awake and watch but couldn't make it past 8:30 pm. [Deadline Hollywood]


BUSINESS TIME

... The G4 makeover is official, and the network that once focused on video games will become (hold your vomit) The Esquire Network, as in Esquire Magazine. Network GM Adam Stotsky said it will be for "The modern man, what being a man today is all about." One of its first shows will be called Knife Fight, a cooking competition show featuring young chefs. On the plus side, it will air reruns of Parks and Recreation and Party Down. But an NBC executive called it "an upscale Bravo for men." Check please! [NY Times]

... HBO's Veep returns April 14, in case you enjoy good comedy and planning your life. [HBO via press release]

... Musician John Legend's production company sold a script to USA for The Edge. It's about a Harvard Business School grad who joins a financial firm and I'm already asleep. [THR]

... Syfy is developing a four-hour miniseries based on the Philp K. Dick novel The Man in the High Castle, with Ridley Scott on board to executive-produce. The alternate history tale considers what may have happened if Germany and Japan had won World War II and is set in 1962 America. [Syfy via press release]

... CBS's upcoming summer miniseries Under the Dome will be available to stream on Amazon via company's subscriber-only Amazon Prime Instant Video service four days after airing on network broadcast. The deal is unique because new episodes will be available for free on CBS.com for three days after they air on CBS, but will be taken down after that and found exclusively on Amazon's service. This seems more like a test run for both services than anything else. [CBS via press release]


CASTING NEWS

... Josh Holloway, who spent years making us swoon as Sawyer on Lost, is headlining CBS's pilot Intelligence. He'll play part of a special government agency that's centered around one very special man who can see the electromagnetic spectrum thanks to a special microchip embedded in his brain. Does this mean Holloway isn't playing Han Solo in the new Star Wars movies? Because if so, poo to that! [Deadline Hollywood]

... Psych's Maggie Lawson is joining the cast of ABC's comedy pilot from the Cullen Brothers, another sign that Psych will be ending its run after Season 8. Lawson will play a single mom who moves back in with her dad (James Caan) and ends up coaching her son's Little League team. [Deadline Hollywood]

... New Girl will welcome guest-stars Nick Kroll and Bill Burr for an episode next month. They'll play Nick's relatives, his brother and cousin, respectively, in an episode that already includes Margo Martindale as Nick's mother. [EW]

... Lisa Edelstein (House) will appear on an upcoming episode of Scandal as one of Olivia's fixer-uppers. Coincidentally, I just checked in on Scandal for the first time ever and it's the craziest show I've ever seen and I'll never be the same. Do not watch that show without a helmet and a seatbelt. [TV Line]

... Grey's Anatomy's Kim Raver will star in CBS's NCIS: Los Angeles spin-off, playing the female lead opposite John Corbett. Apparently the casting happened the day before the first day of filming, so I'm sure Raver spent all night catching up on NCIS: LA and listening to LL Cool J so she knows what's going on. [Deadline Hollywood]



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