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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: Jeff Wachtel. USA Network's 'no show before its time' philosophy of strong character-driven programming is leading the way in a new golden age of scripted programs on cable. Since 2001, when Jeff Wachtel was executive VP of original programming and launched shows like Monk and Burn Notice, USA has been on a tear. Now, as president of original series at USA Network, he is the person most responsible for the station's 2nd quarter ratings victory over rival TNT. From Medialifemagazine:

"USA just keeps setting new standards on cable.

"The network delivered the best-ever second quarter for a basic cable network, outperforming the CW in primetime by large margins, according to ratings released yesterday by Nielsen.

"USA averaged a record 3.17 million total viewers in primetime, 77 percent better than the CW, and 1.37 million adults 18-49, 36 percent better than the CW.

"The network also finished first among adults 25-54 with 1.47 million. It has now finished first in those demos for 12 straight quarters.

"USA received a big boost from the new show 'Royal Pains,' the most-watched scripted series during second quarter with an average 2.78 million 18-49s, finishing second behind only ABC in the 10 p.m. Thursday timeslot."

USA beat TNT despite what MediaWeek describes as the "five week stretch in which TNT's coverage of the NBA Playoffs churned up record ratings for the Turner net."

(image via sagawards)

Out: Karl Malden. Back in the 1970s when low-hanging comedic fruit was a plenty, a obligatory joke about Karl Malden's nose was considered de rigeur. Unfortunately not much has changed. in their obit today the New York Times mentions Malden's nose before they mention his Oscar:

"In many ways, Mr. Malden was the ideal Everyman. He realized early on that he lacked the physical attributes of a leading man; he often joked about his blunt features, particularly his crooked, bulbous nose, which he had broken several times while playing basketball in school. But he was determined 'to be No. 1 in the No. 2 parts I was destined to get,' he once said.

"He wound up playing everything from a whiskey-swigging cowboy to a prison warden, from an Army drill sergeant to a combative priest.

"On Broadway, he appeared with Marlon Brando in a legendary production of Tennessee Williams’s 'Streetcar Named Desire,' then repeated the role in a film version that brought him an Oscar."

RIP, Karl Malden.

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