How Fox Can Wrestle WWE ‘Raw’ Rights From USA Network

Eric Shanks looks to pin down a heavyweight Tony Maglio, provided by Published 4:52 pm, Friday, March 2, 2018 Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 How Fox Can Wrestle WWE ‘Raw’ Rights From USA Network 1 / 1 Back to Gallery A Fox bid for WWE television rights could be the biggest TV sports agreement since the network poached the rights to “Thursday Night Football.” OK, so that was only a few weeks ago, but Fox Sports is now poised to steal away TV ratings giants “Raw” and “SmackDown Live” from their longtime home at the the USA Network — and that’s a big deal. While any pitch is still in the early stages, an agreement would likely result in WWE flagship show “Raw” airing Mondays on Fox’s broadcast network and its Tuesday sister series “SmackDown Live” staying on cable with a move to FS1, a person with knowledge of the preliminary conversations tells TheWrap. Why put them on different channels? Well, the relatively young FS1 found out pretty early on that you can beef up studio shows all you want, but nothing beats live sports for bringing eyeballs and awareness to a growing brand. (Sorry, Skip Bayless.) Also Read: WWE's Kane, The Undertaker Reunite at 'Glenn Jacobs for Mayor' Campaign Stop (Photos) Recommended Video: Now Playing: Professional Wrestling start Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, who got his start on "The Real World," joined Cheddar to talk about hosting the new MTV show "The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars." He also discusses the network's revival of longtime fan favorite "TRL" and other professional wrestling favorites. Media: Cheddar TV Whichever Fox channel they’d call home, the shows would be a great get for what’s left of 21st Century if, as expected, Disney buys the company. (You know, unless Comcast swoops in to snag Fox first.) With Fox Sports likely losing its extremely pricey UFC rights next Continue Reading

Green Bay, Packers fans get their own episode of USA Network’s ‘NFL Football Fanatic’ on Monday

Darren McMullen was born in Scotland, immigrated to Australia with his family at age 12 and moved to Los Angeles in 2009, so it’s not hard to see how his first visit to Green Bay came as something of a culture shock.The 35-year-old TV host whose past credits include “The Voice Australia” and “Love in the Wild” immersed himself in all things Green Bay Packers last fall for an episode of “NFL Football Fanatic,” the new USA Network series that has McMullen traveling to different NFL cities in search of a team to call his own.His Green Bay adventure — a crash course in Lambeau Leap 101, game-day breakfast at The Pancake Place and a dip into the world of cheese curds — airs at 10:05 p.m. Monday.McMullen had no idea what was, or wasn't, awaiting him when he and his crew rolled into town in September for the Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. “I was completely blown away. I mean, it’s farmland,” he said. “I just had no concept of this huge juggernaut of a team, this massive franchise with the most NFL championships of any team in the league actually is in a town of only 100,000 people. That’s something you don’t even really think about when you watch them on the TV. You’re in kind of that NFL world. The stadium looks big and packed and modern, and then you get there and it’s like, ‘Where’s the city? Well, you’re in the city.’ Oh, wow, this is incredible.“What an amazing feat it is that the people of Green Bay and Wisconsin have managed to hold on to that team, and that in a lot of ways is to do with the people there who ended up puffing up and paying the money for the shares to divvy up the cash for the team to remain there and not to be sucked away by the closest metropolis,” McMullen said. “You can really see why they have such a sense of loyalty up there for that Green Bay team. It’s such Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Record number of TV series filmed in New York City

Binge watching has helped propel binge filming in New York City. The city has again broken a record for the number of scripted TV shows being filmed in the five boroughs — and officials are crediting some of the surge to the popularity of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. Fifty-two scripted shows were filmed in the Big Apple full time in the 2015-16 season, up from 46 shows in 2014-15, the previous record, according to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. The year before that, 29 shows were filmed in New York. Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin said part of the uptick can be credited to the larger number of networks now showing scripted content. “Traditionally, there were only three networks, and now we have over 20 different networks filming . . . here,” said Menin. In recent years, in addition to the relatively new phenomenon of streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon, cable stations like USA Network, TV Land and Showtime have upped their number of scripted shows. “It’s the changing nature of the TV business in general that’s helping,” said Menin. She said the city also makes it convenient to film here, including a streamlined licensing process for shoots that’s done through her agency. “Unlike other cities, it’s a one-stop permitting process,” she said. New York State also gives generous tax breaks to production companies, and the city is popular because of its iconic locations, large and diverse talent pool, and transportation infrastructure. New York is so in demand at the moment that current shows such as Showtime’s “Homeland” and ABC’s “Quantico” recently announced they were shifting production to the city. The growing number of New York-based TV shows is worth more than just bragging rights over Hollywood, which is traditionally where Continue Reading

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show starts Monday on CNBC, and wraps Tuesday on USA Network

IT’S ONE of those years when the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show couldn’t get to your TV set fast enough. Happily, it starts Monday night, 8-11 on CNBC, then wraps up Tuesday night, 8-11, on USA. After a winter that has felt like 24 months of snow, ice, slush and bitter cold, there’s something about seeing pristine dogs trot around Madison Square Garden that feels like a few hours of relief. Even New Yorkers who have their own dogs, says Westminster’s TV co-host and spokesman David Frei, will cast envious eyes on the Garden’s green carpet. “When I’ve walked my dogs this winter,” says Frei, a city resident who owns two Brittany Spaniels, “there’s been so much salt on the streets and sidewalks it turns their feet black.” The weather outside has never daunted Westminster. “We’re the second longest consecutive running sporting event in the country, behind the Kentucky Derby,” Frei notes. “In 138 years we’ve been through blizzards and world wars. We keep going.” Still, that doesn’t mean Westminster never changes. This year, for starters, viewers will notice a new face next to Frei. Mary Carillo, his partner the last couple of years, will be in Sochi for the Winter Olympics, so he will team up instead with NBC “Weekend Today” co-host Erica Hill. E! news correspondent Alicia Quarles will be the floor reporter. “Erica’s excited about this,” says Frei. “She loves dogs and she understands her job here, which is to ask the questions the viewer is thinking.” One of the biggest changes this year at Westminster was the addition of Agility Trials, which were telecast Saturday on Fox Sports. They also are open to all dogs, including non-purebreds. That makes them a nod, intended or not, to groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Continue Reading

Why lawyers love USA Network’s legal drama ‘Suits’

Lawyers love USA’s “Suits,” says co-star Patrick J. Adams, for reasons that have nothing to do with how it portrays the law. Adams had that realization, he says, after he was asked to introduce “Bourne Identity” director Doug Liman at a Legal Action Center dinner in New York. Liman’s father, Arthur, founded the group, which provides legal services to people who couldn’t otherwise afford them. On “Suits,” which returns Thursday at 9 p.m. to finish its season, Adams plays Mike Ross. Mostly partnered with Gabriel Macht’s suave Harvey Specter, Ross is a brilliant kid who maneuvered himself into practicing law without a license. “It was a room filled with the most powerful lawyers in America,” says Adams of the real-life dinner. “I had no idea what I was doing there. I was scared, shaking with this piece of paper. I don’t even play a lawyer on TV. I play a fake lawyer.” But when he talked to attendees afterwards, he said, none of that mattered. “Every one of them loved the show,” he said. “And not because it’s a keen representation of the law. It’s not ‘Law & Order.’ We are not doing it to show perfectly how these cases would play out.” What it does try to do, he said, is humanize its characters, who make mistakes and have complicated personal relationships. “They love the fact that it shows (lawyers)are not automatons or people just trying to figure out how to screw each other over,” says Adams. “They enjoy the fact that we’ve created a legal drama that isn’t focusing just on the law — which, to them, is the dry part. “To actually make a show about law would be to make a show about paperwork. Nobody wants to watch that.” Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘Royal Pains’ Mark Feuerstein will endure some pain in the USA Network show’s fifth season

One thing USA’s “Royal Pains” has aimed to do from the start, says Mark Feuerstein, is remind viewers that even in the Hamptons, there is diversity. And that what looks to be perfect sometimes is not. Feuerstein’s Dr. Hank Lawson anchors “Royal Pains,” which launches its fifth season Wednesday night at 9. Hank was wrongly exiled from a New York hospital and landed in the Hamptons, where he and his brother Evan (Paolo Costanza) founded HankMed, a nimble medical practice that harks back to the days when the family doctor could answer all the questions and made house calls. Much of the intrigue revolves around HankMed’s superwealthy anchor clients, but Feuerstein says it is not the medical wing of ABC’s soapy Hamptons drama “Revenge.” “We never wanted Hank just to care for rich people,” says Feuerstein. “He also takes care of the less fortunate. He’s been called the Robin Hood of medicine.” Until now, then, Hank has often shone as brightly as the breezy, opulent Hamptons world in which he moves. This year, however, a few clouds are in the forecast. “Any notion Hank is too perfect will be dispersed this season,” says Feuerstein. “He’s going to get some dirt under his fingernails.” He’s coming off neurosurgery and six months in rehab, which has left HankMed in other hands and knocked Hank off his game. “Like me, and a lot of other people, Hank was always this hard-charging Type A,” says Feuerstein. “This throws him. He’s not sure how to react.” Feuerstein, 42, who came to acting from New York, the Dalton School, a state wrestling championship, Princeton and a Fulbright scholarship, says he understands the frustration. “In my sophomore year of high school, I broke my arm playing football,” he recalls. Then in wrestling season he broke it again. “It was against Continue Reading

NFL Super Bowl star Kurt Warner gets his ‘Moment’ on new USA Network reality series

NFL great Kurt Warner proved he can throw a football in the Super Bowl, but can he draw a TV audience? The USA Network is banking on it, and has drafted Warner to host “The Moment,” a new, nine-episode reality series in which participants get a second chance to go back and take a different direction in life. “Everyone has a ‘what-if’ moment in their life — a decision or path they could have taken — but rarely do they get a second chance to explore what they could have been,” the show’s executive producers, Charlie Ebersol and Justin Hochberg, said in a statement. “We created a format that taps into this emotion, and proved so powerful that it attracted Kurt Warner — the guy who got his own second chance — to his first reality hosting gig.” Warner does have a pretty convincing feel-good story. He went from an out-of-work player bagging groceries to quarterback of the St. Louis Rams and MVP of Super Bowl XXXIV within a stretch of 18 months. In “The Moment, ” on each episode someone who was nominated by a loved one is surprised by Warner and given a chance to start a new career, whatever it may be. In the end, the participant has to decide whether to keep the new job or return to what they were doing before Warner came along. “The Moment” is expected to start during the third quarter of 2012. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

USA Network’s ‘White Collar’ returns with kidnap drama, new bonds and more, says Tim DeKay

USA’s “White Collar” returns Tuesday, 10 p.m., and not a moment too soon. Elizabeth Burke (Tiffani Thiessen) has been kidnapped, boys, and we have to get her back. So as we roll through the rest of Season Three, that will be the mission of her husband, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay); their friend Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), and Neal's friend Mozzie (Willie Garson). To be brutally frank, says DeKay, this bad moment for Elizabeth is the best thing that could have happened to the show — because nothing less than a calamity of this magnitude could have brought the boys back together. “Here’s something so terrible - taking a person they all love - that now suddenly they're all on the same side,” says DeKay. That hasn’t been the case for the earlier part of this season. The premise of the show from the beginning is that Neal, a charming high-end white-collar con man, has been working with Peter as part of his sentence for getting caught. Neal has also remained close to Mozzie, his associate in the con game, and he’s never kept that relationship a secret. Peter and Mozzie have gotten to know each other and heck, DeKay says, “Peter probably even kinda likes Mozzie.” And everybody likes Elizabeth. She and Mozzie go out to dinner and talk art. There’s a dark spot in this warm and fuzzy picture, though: Neal and Mozzie are closing in on the big score, a billion-dollar deal to broker a priceless cache of stolen art recovered from a Nazi submarine. Peter suspects this, but can’t prove it. Also, he doesn’t know that Mozzie and Neal have been talking about bolting — taking the art and using the money to go somewhere they can live like billionaires and never be touched. Trouble is, some very bad guys know about the art, too. So they kidnapped Elizabeth to force Neal to deal with them. “But what it really does,” says DeKay, “is force Neal and Continue Reading

USA Network’s new slick-man dramedy ‘Suits’ reads similar to fellow network hit ‘White Collar’

In just the last few years, the USA network has established one of the smartest and most successful brands on television by rolling out scripted dramas that are pure old-school: light, breezy and fun. Since TV is a team medium, there's plenty of credit to go around here. Including, it turns out, Charlton Heston. One of USA's new hits this season is Thursday night's "Suits," in which Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams play Harvey Specter and Mike Ross, an unlikely mentor-and-smart-rookie team at a high-end law firm. Like Tim DeKay's Peter Burke and Matt Bomer's Neal Caffrey on another USA hit, "White Collar," Harvey and Mike have a not-quite-buddy relationship. They share their brilliance, they need each other, they even like each other, and yet speed bumps remain between them. Each of those shows' central relationships also includes one guy with the ability to own a room. Harvey, like Neal, walks through the door and it's instantly clear he is the best-looking and smartest person there. What may be even more remarkable is that we, the viewers, do not instantly resent and distrust either Neal or Harvey for this trait. Neither comes across as simply arrogant and insufferable. Ask Bomer how he does it and he says it's not easy. "It doesn't come out of my life," he says. "It's a skin you have to put on." Macht finds the question slightly amusing. "My father [Stephen] was an actor," he says. "He was in a film called 'The Mountain Men' where he played a Native American chief opposite Charlton Heston. "He was having some trouble feeling that kind of authority, so he asked Charlton Heston how he did it. And Chuck looked at him and said, 'Stand up straight and say the f-ing lines.'" And that, says Macht, is what he does. "The character of Harvey is so well-written I just have to say the lines," he says. "I'm not the guy who is as whip-smart as he is." A big part of the "Suits" intrigue is watching Harvey groom Mike, whom he found through an Continue Reading

US Open’s cable TV deal leaves USA Network for ESPN

The U.S. Open tennis tournament's cable TV coverage is leaving USA Network after 25 years and moving to ESPN and Tennis Channel starting in 2009.The six-year deal through 2014 was announced by the U.S. Tennis Association on Monday. ESPN now owns TV rights to parts of all four tennis Grand Slam tournaments.USA began broadcasting the U.S. Open in 1984 and will carry it for the last time in 2008. Starting the following year, ESPN2 will be the lead cable carrier for the U.S. Open and the U.S. Open Series, the circuit of hard-court tournaments leading to the major.The broadcast network rights are still held by CBS, which has a contract with the USTA through 2011. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading