UP IS DOWN AND DOWN IS UP NEWS
... NBC is looking at a first-place finish in the ratings for the 2013–2014 of primetime television. Yep, check the calendar, it's not April 1. On the strengths of The Voice, The Blacklist, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and of course the Winter Olympics, the network might finally end its drought in the all-important advertiser-friendly 18- to 49-year-old demographic, Peacock bosses said in an earnings report today. NBCU chief executive Steve Burke thinks NBC will finish 12-percent higher than the second-place finisher, which I'm assuming would be CBS. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to jump off a building because I'm sure I can fly now. [LA Times]
... Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz has landed a development deal with Netflix, meaning the writer-producer (and sometimes actor) will create a show exclusively for the streaming-video giant. And so the Internet TV takeover begins in earnest! Goodbye, regular old television! [Deadline]
... Ellen Degeneres is expanding her empire with Ellen's Design Challenge, a reality competition show that will air on HGTV. Contestants will be tasked with building pieces of furniture in 24 hours, and the network has ordered six episodes for a 2015 premiere. [THR]
... Today it was Travel Channel's turn to grace the big Upfront stage, and the network didn't have any ready-to-go new series to announce, but it does have eight pilots in development. They are:
– Adventure Capitalists, which is like a cross between Shark Tank and a travel show, with investors traveling to exotic locales to be pitched by local tourist businesses.
– Breaking Borders, in which two hosts head to conflict zones to collect first-person takes on what's going on from both sides.
– Find My Past, where travelers visit their ancestors' lands to learn about their great great great great great great great great great granddaddies.
– Guiding Alaska, which follows the eccentric crew of an Alaskan wilderness resort.
– Metropolis, a travel series that showcases familiar cities in ways you've never seen before.
– Nigel's Last Resort, which is hosted by luxury resort developer Nigel Franklyn and takes viewers inside the most outlandish hot spots across the globe.
– Only In..., a local's look at some of the most unique and off-the-beaten-path spots in the world.
– Watt's World, which follows journalist Nick Watt as he digs deep into the subcultures of the world. [Travel Channel via press release]
... The Food Network also got busy today, unveiling 35 new series between itself and sister network Cooking Channel. Among the highlights are The Valerie Bertinelli Project, which sees the Hot in Cleveland star cook dinner for friends and family; Game of Cones, an ice-cream flavor competition; and The Big Tip, in which Rachael Ray travels around the country leaving some serious cheddar behind for hardworking servers. Then I assume Guy Fieri follows along behind her and grabs the cash to stuff in his goatee. For the full list of shows, which are mostly variations on cooking competitions or Bobby Flay grilling something, hit the link. [Deadline]
... In nerdy sports business news, ESPN has landed one of the NFL's Wild Card playoff games at the cost of about $100 million. NBC, which used to carry two Wild Card games, will now get a divisional playoff game. That game will alternate yearly between the NFC and the AFC, meaning CBS and Fox will alternate between losing a play-off game each season. Look, if you understand football, then you understand this, right? [Sports Business Daily]
INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT SCHEDULING AND NUDITY AND RECTIFY NEWS
... The series finale of the super-duper-funny The IT Crowd is now available on Hulu. The episode aired overseas late last year, but this is the first time it's been legally watchable in America. It's free, too! A must for fans of Community and other awesome things. I could watch The IT Crowd for days, and I have. [Hulu]
... Kristen Bell got SFW-naked for Allure and—hey, you've already clicked the link haven't you? [Allure]
... Entertainment Weekly wants to show you the first two pictures from the second season of SundanceTV's fantastic Rectify. Season 2 begins June 19. [EW]
... Lost's Nestor Carbonell (the immortal Richard Alpert) will drop by The Good Wife early next month. He'll play a charming entrepreneur who puts some romance in the pants of Alicia when they meet during jury duty. That means Carbonell will be two-timing a couple of CBS actresses, having recently caught the eye of Shaw on Person of Interest. Look for Carbonell in The Good Wife's May 4 episode. [TV Guide]
... History plans to keep pumping out original programming via the miniseries format, and is throwing some cash around to get recognizable names, too. The upcoming Texas Rising—which recreates the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of Walker's pals, the Texas Rangers—has wrangled a couple familiar TV faces in Robert Knepper (Prison Break, Heroes) and Jeremy Davies (Lost, Justified). Knepper will play a slobbish lawman, and Davies will play a shifty fella who joins the Rangers to avoid execution. A premiere date hasn't yet been announced. [Deadline]
... Reign will entertain a visit from Battlestar Galactica's Tahmoh Penikett later this season. In the May 1 episode, Penikett, who also appeared on Dollhouse, will guest-star as a nobleman who's also a mercenary for hire. There's no word on whether he'll stick around for multiple episodes; Hunky Nostradamus knows, but he's not telling. [E! Online]
... NBC has added the dynamic duo of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir to its Kentucky Derby coverage, where they'll commentate on fashion at the pony race. The former Olympic figure skaters were rad in their first pairing as commentators for NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics, so this is a deserved gig. Now give them a sitcom, NBC! [NBC via press release]