TV Shows Invade Week One of SXSW

IMG_9249

SXSW isn’t just for the tech, music and film industry anymore. The TV world is officially making its presence known with cool installations, photo opportunities, branded transportation and more. Networks and studios are coming up with new and interesting ways to grow their audience by expanding on their existing brand recognition and just stepping it up a notch.

Here’s what we saw in Austin this week:

HBO

HBO celebrated the upcoming season premiere of their hit series Game of Thrones by creating a #SXSWesteros interactive exhibit. Fans were able to sit on the Iron Throne,  participate in an interactive sword training game and even taste the new Game of Thrones-themed beer, a Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison Ale from the Ommegang brewery. HBO joined forces with a production company called Red Paper Heart, along with Civic Entertainment Group, to create an interactive sword-fighting experience whereby attendees would pose for a portrait, then step up onto a stage and hit a target using a replica of Arya’s wooden practice sword. The more accurate you were, the more your picture would project onscreen. Users were then able to email themselves their portrait at the end.

Photo Credit: HBO

Photo Credit: HBO

In celebration of the release of Catch the Thrones: The Mixtape, Vol. 2, HBO set up a social media vending machine that gave out prizes including a Catch the Throne iPhone case. Snoop Dogg and Talib Kweli are just a couple of artists that are featured on the mixtape that you can check out below.

FOX

FOX decided to get in on the food truck bandwagon in Austin by sending out a Simpsons-themed Kwik-E-Mart Truck of their own. The popup served over 3,400 squishees and claim to have given out the frozen sugar water at a rate of “2.6 Squishees per minute.”

IMG_9353

NatGeo

National Geographic Channel presented attendees with an opportunity to check out their “Escape the Cold” simulator in advance of the season 3 premiere of Life Below Zero on April 9. Fans entered the cold climate of Alaska and had to complete challenges in order to get back to the warmth of Austin, TX.

CAFuEYDUQAAWXgk (1)

USA Network

The cable networks upcoming hacker series Mr. Robot, starring Rami Malek and Christian Slater, definitely made their presence known by sending out a street team of guys wearing all black with Mr. Robot black hoodies and sunglasses on, walking around Austin in silence. Kind of like how the guards outside of Buckingham Palace don’t speak or move. It was sort of creepy, but it goes along with the vibe of the show which premieres in June 2015. The series will debut at SXSW on March 17 and was selected as one of five TV series to appear in the Episodic Screenings, a relatively new category for SXSW Film. Other shows included The CW’s iZombie, Lifetime’s UnReal, Rashida Jones’ Angie Tribeca and FX’s The Comedians. 

IMG_9587

FX Networks

FX did a little something different. They took over an already existing establishment, creating the “FX Fearless Factory” where they told SXSW-goers to be Be Fearless. The installation had something fun for everyone including:

  • Interactive FXNOW App Wall
  • The Strain Evolution Gallery
  • The FX FEARLESS Social Vending Machine
  • Free Craft Coffee From Austin’s Flat Track
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Custom Giveaways And More

Visitors were treated to donuts from Little Lucy’s of Austin and could even get their own custom rigged Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll T-shirt.

fxday2-327

Photo Credit: FX Networks

fxday2-2

Photo Credit: FX Networks

fxday2-6

Photo Credit: FX Networks

fxday2-31

Photo Credit: FX Networks

NBC

What better way to promote the second season of a show than by kicking off a comedy tour featuring the stars of the series. Chris D’Elia, Brent Morin, Ron Funches and Rick Glassman performed at Esther’s Follies on Saturday night and I’m not gonna lie, they were pretty freaking hilarious. Make sure to tune in to the season 2 premiere of Undateable on Tuesday, March 17 at 9/8c.

Photo Credit: Chris McLaughlin

Photo Credit: Chris McLaughlin

Saturday Night Live had a 40th Anniversary Virtual Reality Experience Presented by Samsung Gear VR on site. Cast member Vanessa Bayer, producer Erik Kenward, and filmmaker Chris Milk were on hand to guide attendees through the experience, which allowed users to sit in on pieces of the SNL 40th (specifically, Jerry Seinfeld’s audience Q&A) as if there were part of the audience.

IMG_9638

A&E

SXSW wouldn’t be complete without a replica of the Bates Motel to help promote the new season which premiered on March 9. In just three days, A&E had built The Bates Motel, a fully-immersive live activation based on the hit thriller by the same name. The motel will open its doors throughout the festival to let fans truly experience the world of Norman Bates, complete with authentic décor, show props designed with the series producers, a Bates-themed Tumblr GIF booth and eerie surprises around every (dimly-lit) corner.

Fans could even enter to win a night’s stay in one of the three fully-functional replica rooms which included:

·       “Special” brownies – often found in White Pine Bay – from local bakery Delish;
·       Maid and turndown service from leading-service booking platform Handy;
·       Bates Motel-themed welcome packages from Austin-based Tito’s Vodka; and
·       “Minibar room service” from liquor delivery service Drizly.

A&E's "Bates Motel" Open Its Doors at SXSW

Photo Credit: A&E

A&E's "Bates Motel" Open Its Doors at SXSW

Photo Credit: A&E

A&E's "Bates Motel" Open Its Doors at SXSW

Photo Credit: A&E

A&E's "Bates Motel" Open Its Doors at SXSW

Photo Credit: A&E

A&E's "Bates Motel" Open Its Doors at SXSW

Photo Credit: A&E

A&E's "Bates Motel" Open Its Doors at SXSW

Photo Credit: A&E

CBS

CBS provided free rides for attendees of SXSW courtesy of Battle Creek and CSI: Cyber.

IMG_9207

IMG_9375

CW – iZombie

Last but not least, was The CW / Buzzfeed party in celebration of the series premiere of iZombie on Tuesday, March 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The “Party Til You’re UNDEAD” party came with everything you hoped for in an undead party, including 3D printed candy brains and even zombie hosted bartenders serving “Brain Appétit”-themed drinks.

IMG_9398

IMG_9397

 

Cinemax Renews ‘The Knick’ Prior to its Debut Next Month

THE KNICK IMAGE

HBO Synopsis: Set in downtown New York in 1900, THE KNICK centers on Knickerbocker Hospital and the groundbreaking surgeons, nurses and staff, who push the bounds of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics. Steven Soderbergh directs Clive Owen in the entire ten-episode season of the Cinemax original series, which debuts August 8, 2014.

Cast: André Holland, Eve Hewson, Juliet Rylance, Jeremy​ Bobb, Michael Angarano, Chris Sullivan, Cara Seymour, Eric Johnson, David Fierro, Maya Kazan, Grainger Hines, Leon Addison Brown and Matt Frewer

Producers: Creators and writing team of Jack Amiel & Michael Begler also serve as executive producers, along with Gregory Jacobs, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Sugar and Clive Owen. Michael Polaire produces. Steven Katz serces as supervising producer.

The Knick premieres on August 8 at 10 p.m. on Cinemax

Real-Life Best Friends Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham are ‘Playing House’ at USA [VIDEO]

Playing House - Season:pilot

Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/USA Network

If you were a fan of NBC’s “Best Friends Forever,” then you’ll love “Playing House” on USA Network. These real-life best friends team up for another laugh-out-loud, half-hour show. Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham) and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair) have been besties forever and grew up together, supporting each other in every way possible. Maggie is pregnant with her first child and finds out, at her baby shower of all places, that her husband has been engaging in crazy online porn activities. Emma decides to drop everything, including her career, to move in and help Maggie raise the baby.

Lennon and Jessica are smart, funny and have an amazing chemistry that definitely shines in this adorable comedy. They came up through the ranks in the Upright Citizens Brigade and not only star in the series, but they’re the creators, writers and executive producers. While at NBC’s Summer Press Day, Jessica St. Clair said that they “modeled our writers room after ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ so from 9-5 so we could live our lives and have something to write about.” Lennon was 8 months pregnant while filming the pilot and jokingly said, “there was a real baby in there that is now living with me.”

Expect to see some pretty hilarious guest stars including Jane Kaczmarek, Zach Woods, Keegan Michael Key, Lindsay Sloane and Bobby Moynihan. “We were very conscious of writing guest star spots with our friends in mind,” said Jessica.

To get you pumped for this female-driven comedy, I’ve included a couple of clips from the show below. If “Steve Can Do It” doesn’t “do it” for you, then I don’t know what will.

2 Friends. 1 Baby. No Clue.

Playing House premieres Tuesday, April 29 at 10 p.m. on USA.

Playing House - Season 1

Photo by: Andrew Eccles/USA Network

USA Network Synopsis: Childhood best friends Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham, “Best Friends Forever”) and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair, “Best Friends Forever”) have shared countless adventures growing up together in the charming town of Pinebrook, Conn. Now, Maggie and Emma are in store for one of their biggest adventures — raising a baby. When Maggie discovers that her husband Bruce (Brad Morris, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”), is having an online affair with a muscular German woman, Emma gives up her burgeoning business career in China to stay in their hometown and help Maggie raise her baby. Now, as Maggie prepares for the birth of her first child and deals with the fallout of her marriage ending, Emma must confront the past that she abruptly left behind thirteen years ago: her first love and local cop, Mark (Keegan-Michael Key, “Key and Peele”), her prim-and-proper mother (Jane Kaczmarek, “Malcom in the Middle”) and a small town that she’s never felt comfortable in. Despite their differences – Emma is brash, bold, and assertive while Maggie is grounded, rational, and safe. The women complement each other the way only best friends can, by facing the challenges of their past, present and future–together.

In addition to St. Clair and Parham, “Playing House” is executive produced by Scot Armstrong (“Old School,” “Hangover 2”) of American Work, Judah Miller (“American Dad”) and Ravi Nandan (“Hesher”). The series is produced by Universal Cable Productions.

 

 

 

 

Fall TV Scorecard: What’s Been Renewed and Canceled So Far, Plus Our Predictions

Fall TV is my favorite time of year! There are so many new shows to watch and so many shows to, well, not. It’s a fun game we play of which shows will get renewed, which shows get canceled, and which shows we think will get canceled but get renewed. (Ahem *cough cough* The Neighbors.) Anyways, here is a list of my predictions of shows that are most likely going to be canceled, along with what’s already been canceled so you know what to stop recording. Let us know your thoughts on your favorite new shows and which ones you want to be picked up for another season!

What’s Been Picked Up

The Blacklist - Season 1
Photo Credit: Will Hart / NBC

  • The Blacklist: NBC’s hit drama starring James Spader was picked up for a full 22 episodes

  • Sleepy Hollow: FOX’s mystery has already been renewed for a second season

  • The Crazy Ones: CBS has picked up the comedy starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar for a full season

  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: ABC picked up the series for a full season

  • The Millers: CBS’ family sitcom starring Will Arnett was picked up for the whole season

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: FOX gave the Andy Samberg comedy a full season pickup*

  • Mom: CBS’ series starring funny girl Anna Faris earned a whole season*

  • Dads: FOX’s comedy has been picked up for a full season (only because they don’t have a lot of comedies left and have to ride it out)*

What’s Been Canceled

We Are Learning to SwimPhoto Credit: CBS

  • Ironside starring Blair Underwood has been canceled (NBC)

  • We Are Men: Canceled after two episodes (CBS)

  • Welcome to the Family starring Mike O’Malley has been canceled (NBC)

  • Lucky 7: ABC’s low-rated drama was canceled after two episodes

Soon to be Canceled Shows – Predictions

BAILEE MADISON, BRADLEY WHITFORD, MALIN AKERMAN, MARCIA GAY HARDEN, RYAN LEE
Photo credit: Peter “Hopper” Stone / ABC

NBC: 

Sean Saves the World – Unfortunately NBC has yet another comedy that isn’t doing well ratings-wise. Even Sean Hayes said that NBC “just doesn’t have the eyeballs” to make his show a hit, and it would’ve been better on CBS. That doesn’t bode well for the Peacock. 

Revolution started out as a promising show for the network but hasn’t really made a comeback from last season. The show about life in a post-blackout world has garnered a series low of 1.4 in adults 18-49 over the last two weeks, and yet the network is saying tonight’s episode “is the one everyone will be talking about tomorrow.” Unfortunately for them, it’s up against game six in the World Series, so we’ll see.

CW: 

Beauty and the Beast was definitely a talked-about show before the series began last year. Personally, I was excited for the show, as I loved the original and I’m a sucker for all things CW. However, that didn’t really work out. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still watching it for some weird reason, but let’s face it, it’s not the best show in the world. It’s one of their lowest rated shows andwas even at the bottom of Ad Age’s annual survey on what 30-second commercials cost on all the networks. Don’t expect this show to last. It’s definitely at the top of the list to be canceled.

The Carrie Diaries was one of my favorite pilots last season. I was so looking forward to this trip back in time for Carrie Bradshaw, and excited to see how she met the rest of the gang. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out. The show wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Sure, it had the music and the clothes, but the show itself wasn’t that great. I know you’re probably thinking, “but it was renewed last year with such low ratings?!” Yes, that’s true, but I don’t think the network would do it again.

ABC: 

Super Fun Night was bad to begin with. It all started with Rebel Wilson wanting to play an American, and let’s face it, she is trying so hard to keep the accent that her acting chops go downhill. Just like Jesse Spencer on Chicago Fire. He’s a great actor and was amazing on House, but is trying so hard to stay with his American accent that it makes him seem like a horrible actor. But that’s not the only problem, it’s just the main one. The show isn’t that well written, and frankly, it’s quite boring. It premiered with strong ratings but was given the boost brought on by ABC’s super hit Modern Family. Yes, I know they ordered additional scripts, but that doesn’t mean it will be a given a second season renewal. I could be wrong, but I definitely stopped recording it after the second episode.

Betrayal is one of those silly ABC shows, like Mistresses, that I thought would be fun and cheesy and would totally watch and enjoy. Now, I am recording and watching, but it’s basically background noise. There are some amazing actors in this show, including James Cromwell and Stuart Townsend, but that’s not enough to keep a show going. The writing is horrible and yet somehow, the show outperformed CBS’ The Good Wife/The Mentalist with women 18-34. It could definitely be like Mistresses and shock everyone with a second season renewal, but I won’t hold my breath.   

Trophy Wife was one of my favorite pilots this fall season. Hmmm, I’m sensing a theme here. Anyways, Malin Akerman is absolutely adorable in this family comedy that no one is watching. According to TVByTheNumbers, “it’s ABC’s lowest rated non-Friday sitcom by a fair margin,” and they’re guessing that ABC might bring in Suburgatory to take its place. The show garnered a 1.4, up 17% from last week’s series low of 1.2 adults 18-49, but it’s still on the train headed towards cancelation.

CBS: 

CBS showed a sneak peek of Hostages during the upfronts earlier this year, and everyone, I mean everyone, was on the edge of their seat. It was as if we had been watching all season, when in fact it had only been a 4 minute reel. Dylan McDermott, Toni Collette and Tate Donavan! I mean, what more could you ask for in a show? Well, I guess a better show. I totally forgot to watch it after that. It just wasn’t that exciting in the end. How long could it go on for? I mean, she should just call the police! Or talk to Secret Service about what’s happening instead of not doing anything. But then again, I stopped watching, so maybe she did.

Ohhhhh…Dads. Where do I start? This show was NOT funny and was totally racist. Sure sure, I get Seth MacFarlane’s humor. Believe me, I LOVE Family Guy, but this is not that. FOX isn’t having a great season and this show isn’t helping. The network recently ordered additional episodes, but remember, that doesn’t mean it’s getting picked up for a second season. They’re having the same issues with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Mindy Project isn’t doing that well either. The only reason they would keep Dads is because they have nothing else. Almost Human is premiering later next month (keeps getting pushed multiple times), and Enlisted isn’t going to do much as far as ratings go either. So if you’re attached to Dads, good luck sir, because I don’t think this one will last.  

*Being picked up for a full season doesn’t mean that show has been renewed for 2014