Second Course of "Food Stars" Coming
Production Moves to UK
From the Futon Critic
FOX has renewed culinary titan Gordon Ramsay's hit series, Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars for a second season, it was announced today by Allison Wallach, President, Unscripted Programming, FOX Entertainment.
On Season Two of Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars, Ramsay will take the show global, recruiting a new group of food and beverage industry professionals and put them through a multitude of challenges designed to showcase their skills, as he searches for the next great culinary entrepreneur.
"I'm super happy that Food Stars is returning on FOX for Season Two," said Ramsay. "America is full of incredible food and drink entrepreneurs and I can't wait to see the talent and ingenuity that we discover."
"Simply put, Gordon Ramsay has the golden touch in connecting with viewers and contestants across his impressive slate of shows," said Wallach. "Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars was one of television's strongest unscripted series last year, and we're happy, and honored, to bring it back - with this season featuring a tantalizing twist -- as our special partnership with Gordon continues to thrive."
Ramsay's series make up the biggest competitive unscripted franchise on network television, reaching 5.6 billion Total Viewers and counting on FOX. Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars' first season averaged 3.3 million multiplatform viewers and was last Summer's #1 new show among Adults 18-49.
Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars is produced by Studio Ramsay Global. Ramsay serves as an executive producer. Deborah Sargeant serves as showrunner and executive producer on the series.
THURSDAY: The Good Network
CBS Wins with "Elsbeth"
From the Futon Critic
1CBS' Elsbeth cracked her first case on Thursday night in front of 4.5 million total viewers, delivering nearly 100% retention of lead-in So Help Me Todd's audience. In the demo, it scored a 0.3 rating.
The Carrie Preston-led Good Wife offshoot also improved on what CSI: Vegas did in the time slot a year ago by 45%, and outdrew its NBC (Law & Order: Organized Crime) and ABC (a Will Trent rerun) competition combined.
The catch? Due to the State of the Union Address airing next week… presumably a decision to dodge the return of ABC's Thursday slate on March 14… and then CBS' March Madness coverage, Elsbeth Episode 2 won't arrive until April 4. In five weeks. Which is its own kind of madness.
Opening CBS' night, Young Sheldon (with 7 million total viewers and a 0.5 rating) was up a tick in audience week-to-week, as were Ghosts (6.1 mil/0.5) and So Help Me Todd (4.53 million/0.3).
Over on NBC, Law & Order (4.7 mil/0.4) and SVU (4.7 mil/0.5) dipped in both measures, while Organized Crime (4.3 mil/0.4) was only down in viewers.
Fox's Next Level Chef (2 mil/0.3) was steady, while Farmer Wants a Wife (1.9 mil/0.2) rose to its second-best audience of the season.
The CW rounded out the night with new episodes of Son of a Critch (243k/0.05) and Children Ruin Everything (210k/0.04)
Cable numbers (totals/A18-49)...
- Beat Bobby Flay (SP/Food): 643k/0.10
- Wheel of Fortune - 9p (R/GSN): 333k/0.05
- Wheel of Fortune - 9:30p (R/GSN): 332k/0.05
- Blank Slate (GSN): 226k/0.01
ITV Thinks Outside the BritBox
The BBC Buys Out Streamer
From the Futon Critic
BBC Studios has paid £255M ($322M) to acquire ITV's shareholding in their joint venture streamer, BritBox International — the biggest ever single transaction for the BBC's commercial wing.
In a regulatory note confirming the sale this morning, ITV confirmed it had sold its 50%, with the proceeds set to return to shareholders through a share buyback scheme that will launch after full-year results are posted on March 7. The BBC subsequently confirmed the deal in a separate statement.
Episodes of several game shows including Pointless, 8 Out of 10 Cats, and the spin-off 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, stream on the service.
As a result, BritBox International CEO Reemah Sakaan will exit the business, which will join the BBC Studios Global Media & Streaming division alongside the likes of BBC.com, BBC Select and BBC Podcast Premium. The BBC said new leaderships plans are "in place to ensure a smooth transition" and will be announced "imminently," with Sakaan understood to be remaining with BritBox during the transition period.
Have We Got News for Sports Fans
BBC Planning to Replace "Question of Sport" with "HIGNFY" Spin-Off
The BBC is working on a spin-off from Have I Got News For You – all about sports.
The news comes after the broadcaster cancelled A Question Of Sport after 53 years amid its plummeting rating.
Trade website Broadcast reports that the new program – inevitably using the title Have I Got Sport For You – is in development with 'high profile comedic and sporting talent attached'.
It is being made by Hat Trick Productions, which also produces the long-running news quiz.
Broadcast says Have I Got Sport For You is expected to launch at the end of this year but the BBC declined to comment.
When Question of Sport was axed, the BBC blamed 'inflation and funding challenges'. Audience numbers for the show dropped below one million with Paddy McGuinness in the chair having regularly five million under previous host Sue Barker.
Hat Trick previously made an episode of Have I Got Sport For You for Radio 4, which aired in 2012 to coincide with the London Olympics. It was hosted by Nick Hancock – who previously chaired the TV sports comedy quiz They Think It's All Over from 1995 to 2004 – with panellists Paul Merton, Andy Hamilton, Mark Steel and badminton player Gail Emms.
"Cash Cab Music" Heads to Global
AXS TV Series to Air in Global
If you've ever dreamed of being picked up by the "Cash Cab," buckle up and delete that Uber app. Your second chance is here.
Nine years after Cash Cab Canada ended, the beloved game show is being revived in a new form, as Cash Cab Music. The original host, Adam Growe, is back behind the steering wheel of a newly-renovated disco taxi, testing commuters in downtown Toronto on musical trivia. Offer three incorrect answers and you're out in the cold before you reach your destination.
WEDNESDAY: Survivors Ready... GO!
NBC, CBS Split Midweek
From TV Line
The kinder, gentler new era of Survivor that began with season 41 has, for the most part, featured casts of players who now seem more inclined as a jury to build people up at final Tribal Council rather than tear them down. But the post-Covid stretch of seasons has also featured a more genial host. And that move was very much intentional.
"When the new era started, I was definitely full of positivity, and I wanted to be a show that parents felt good about watching with their kids," Jeff Probst tells EW. "There was so much going on in the world. I wanted to say, 'Hey man, this is a safe show. We're still going to talk about uncomfortable things. You'll still root for and against people and all that stuff. But there's going to be an air of: Come on man, let's just do this. Let's figure this out. Let's bring a bunch of people together from different walks of life. Let's just have some fun and play a game. Somebody wins, a lot of people lose.'"
But that era of complete positivity and good vibes may be starting to shift just a bit. Not only did several players in the Survivor 46 cast predict "explosions and arguments" this season after spending a few days together on location before the game began, but they may no longer be getting a free pass from the master of ceremonies at Tribal Council.
"I did find a different part of my personality coming out at Tribal," Probst says about the upcoming Survivor 46 (which premieres Feb 28 on CBS). "And I think you're going to see it and feel it."
In the latest TV ratings, NBC's Chicago Fire was Wednesday's most-watched show, while the return of CBS' Survivor dominated the night in the demo.
Survivor opened Season 45 with 4.9 million total viewers and a 0.8 rating (per Nielsen finals), up from its previous opener (4.8 mil/0.66).
Chicago Med (6.4 mil/0.5) and Chicago P.D. (5.2 mil/0.5) were both steady, whereas Chicago Fire (6.6 mil/0.6) ticked up in both measures with its lovely wedding/sad Kara Killmer sendoff.
ABC's The Conners (3.4 mil/0.4) was steady, Not Dead Yet (2.3 mil/0.3) ticked up, and Abbott Elementary (2.3 mil/0.3) dipped in the demo. Judge Steve Harvey (1.6 mil/0.1) added some eyeballs.
Fox's We Are Family (averaging 1.4 mil and a 0.2) hit an audience low with its two-hour finale.
The CW's Wild Cards (471K) gained viewers, while Family Law (331K) lost some.
Cable numbers (totals/A18-49)...
- Celebrity Squares (BET): 501k/0.09
- Guy's Grocery Games (Food): 419k/0.09
- Wheel of Fortune - 9:30p (R/GSN): 348k/0.03
- The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion Reunion (S/MTV): 341k/0.17
- Wheel of Fortune - 9p (R/GSN): 341k/0.03
- Celebrity Squares (BET Her): 103k/0.03
MONDAY: "Deal or No Deal Island" Stranded
Premiere Squanders "Voice" Lead-In, While CBS, ABC Split
From the Futon Critic
Imagine "Deal or No Deal" set on an exotic island, with its 13 participants facing extreme challenges, testing their limits and literally crawling through mud. Except you don't have to – it's already here.
"What if the Banker had a private island and decided to put his contestants through an extreme game to find one winner? The craziness of the idea is, I think, what we and NBC rallied around," says Sharon Levy, CEO at Endemol Shine North America.
Levy also executive produces "Deal or No Deal Island" alongside Matt Kunitz, Matt Apps, Sarah Happel Jackson, Howie Mandel, DJ Nurre and Sean Loughlin.
"You say the title and people are like: 'Is that for real?' Our favorite comments on social media have been about whether this is a '30 Rock' pitch. I take that as the highest, and best, compliment," she adds, referencing the sitcom created by Tina Fey.
"I am a firm believer that not everything deserves a reboot, but I like taking classic IP and reimagining it for today's audiences. NBC got the idea immediately – they truly got behind the audacity of the concept."
NBC's The Voice opened its new season with 6.2 million total viewers and a 0.5 demo rating, down from both its fall (6.3 mil/0.6) and year-ago (6.4 mil/0.7) premieres. Deal or No Deal Island debuted to 3 mil and a 0.3.
The Neighborhood (5.1 mil/0.4) and NCIS: Hawaii (5.2 mil/0.4) were both steady, whle Bob Hearts Abishola (4.6 mil/0.3) and NCIS proper (6.8 mil/0.4) dipped.
The Bachelor (3.4 mil/0.6) was steady. FOX | America's Most Wanted (1.6 mil/0.2) hit and tied lows with its revival finale; TMZ Investigates (1 mil/0.1) hit lows across the board.
24 Hours, 24 Chefs, ONE Winner
Food Network Greenlights "24 in 24: Last Chef Standing"
From the Futon Critic
Michael Symon and Esther Choi host the new series 24 In 24: Last Chef Standing, premiering on Sunday, April 14th at 8pm ET/PT, Food Network's most ambitious and grueling culinary competition to date. Featuring 24 talented and fearless chefs who take on 24 food challenges in 24 consecutive, non-stop hours, the 24-hour competition takes the chefs to the extreme, demanding they display the skills, creativity and stamina needed to be an elite chef. At the end of the 24 hours, there can be only one true master left standing - and it's one selected by expert judges Eric Adjepong, Maneet Chauhan, Scott Conant, Stephanie Izard, Jet Tila, Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, and Brooke Williamson. The chef who cooked the best, for the longest and outlasted the competition will take home $50,000 and win a trip of a lifetime.
"This competition is as extreme as it sounds," said Symon. "Chefs often talk about the 24/7 nature of our industry, but this is the first competition to truly capture that intensity."
Added Choi, "It's a culinary battle like no other with surprising twists and curveballs along the way. It's a test of endurance, creativity, and collaboration that push these chefs to their limits."
The 24 competing chefs are comprised of culinary icons, rising stars, and competition rookies, including: Carlos Anthony, Gabriella Baldwin, Emilie Rose Bishop, Josephine Clemens, Chris Dodson, Kess Eshun, Elizabeth Falkner, Declan Horgan, Christopher Ingram, Airis Johnson, Matt Jordan, Camille La Caer, Danielle Lee, Mika Leon, Chris Oh, Viet Pham, Marc Quinones, Nadine Charlie Ray, Chad Rosenthal, Vijay Sadhu, Aarthi Sampath, Martel Stone, Michael Toscano, and Marcel Vigneron.
"We are always looking to innovate and bring our audience fresh and compelling content and we are redefining cooking competitions with 24 in 24: Last Chef Standing, as it's a combination of a culinary marathon and a social experiment," Betsy Ayala, Head of Content, Food, Warner Bros. Discovery. "No competition has ever captured intensity like this, breaking the fourth wall to keep viewers at the edge of their seats."
The 50th Den
Bangladesh Buys "Shark Tank" Format
It's 50 and counting for Dragon's Den. The Sony Pictures Television and Nippon TV entrepreneurial business format, known in the U.S. as Shark Tank, has scored a remake in Bangladesh, marking its fiftieth version around the world.
The Bangladeshi version, Shark Tank Bangladesh, will launch on Bongo and Deepto TV this spring, having first launched as Money Tigers in 2001. The UK remake launched in 2005 on the BBC, where it remains on air, and ABC's version launched four years later. It hit 40 remakes in 2020 when it debuted in France.
In South Asia, SonyLIV and Sony Entertainment Television's series launched in 2021 and has garnered upward of 75 million viewers on linear. Pakistan and Nepal productions are also planned, with Bangladesh the next up.
Ahad Bhai, CEO and co-founder of Bongo and producer of Shark Tank Bangladesh, said: "Being the 50th edition of Shark Tank is very special. We are doing our best to make Shark Tank Bangladesh on par with the global standard as an entertainment platform, and also to help change lives, one business at a time."
"Bangladesh is a land of dynamic entrepreneurs full of grit and determination, but lacks the infrastructure and platforms to support young individuals and businesses as they grow," said Bhai. "It is such an honor to have the opportunity to bring a global platform like Shark Tank to our country. Shark Tank has been my favorite show for many years, and to be a part of this global movement, to help contribute to improving lives and empower entrepreneurs, truly is a dream come true."
"Embarking on a global journey that began with the ferocious success of Tiger in Japan, from the mystical Dragon in some regions to the powerful Shark and even the majestic Lion in others, our entrepreneurial spirit has evolved into a truly global phenomenon across more than 50 territories worldwide," said Tom Miyauchi, Head of Formats, Nippon TV. "We are rewriting the story of innovation, resilience, and the undeniable power of the entrepreneurship through prime-time entertainment and partnerships with Sony Pictures Television, all licensees and networks involved across the globe."
Laura St. Clair, VP International Formats, Sony Pictures Television, added that it was "a testament to the true universality of the format that each of these 50 versions have been uniquely tailored to and reflective of their territory, but are instantly recognisable the world over.
"Following the incredibly strong recent launches in countries including India, we are very excited to bring Shark Tank to Bangladesh this year, and look forward to working with partners in Pakistan, and many further territories, with some new and very exciting plans for the format to be announced soon".
TUESDAY: A Narrow Victory
CBS' FBI Franchise Gets the W
From TV Line
In the latest TV ratings, CBS' FBI was Tuesday's most-program and it also landed in a five-way tie for the nightly demo win.
FBI (with 6.3 million total viewers and a 0.4 demo rating) and FBI: Most Wanted (4.5 mil/0.3) were down in both measures, whereas FBI: International (5.1 mil/0.4) only dipped a bit in audience.
NBC's The Voice (6.2 mil/0.4) was down just a tick from Monday's season premiere.
ABC's Will Trent (4.2 mil/0.4) ticked up in the demo but slipped 12% from last week's audience high. The Rookie's 100th episode (3.2 mil/0.3) and The Good Doctor (2.5 mil/0.2) were both down, with the latter hitting new series lows.
Fox's The Floor (averaging 2.2 mil/0.4) was steady with its two-hour season finale.
Crime Nation (337k/0.06) rounded out the night on the CW.
You can call him Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson... jabroni. (Deadline)
Indiewire RICHARD LEWIS: 1947-2024
Actor/Comedian Was on "Hollywood Squares"
Richard Lewis, one of America's most beloved and revered stand-up comics who also played a fictionalized version of himself on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, died Tuesday night at his home in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack. He was 76.
His death was confirmed by his publicist Jeff Abraham. Lewis had been living with Parkinson's disease, a diagnosis he revealed in April 2023.
"His wife, Joyce Lapinsky, thanks everyone for all the love, friendship and support and asks for privacy at this time," Abraham said.
Complete information on survivors was not immediately available.
Born Richard Philip Lewis on June 29, 1947, in Brooklyn and raised in Englewood, NJ, Lewis — after a childhood he would describe as difficult — graduated from Ohio State University before landing in the New York and Los Angeles comedy scenes of the 1970s. There, he took his place along such soon-to-be-stars as Andy Kaufman, Richard Belzer and Elayne Boosler, and quickly became a favorite of late-night shows including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
He soon developed a singular stage persona nearly as dark as the all-black clothes he favored. His stand-up performances could best be described as straddling comedy and therapy. Lewis' website prominently features a quote from comedy great Mel Brooks: "Richard Lewis may just be the Franz Kafka of modern-day comedy."
Self-deprecating, razor-sharp and brutally honest about his addictions and neuroses, Lewis was the rare comic who could rival the curmudgeonly but highly relatable outlook on life honed by his longtime pal and Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Larry David.
Making his acting debut in the 1979 NBC special Diary of a Young Comic, a 90-minute film that aired in the Saturday Night Live slot, Lewis' national profile grew significantly during the next two decades as his edgy observations were welcomed and celebrated by talk hosts David Letterman, Jay Leno and, on radio, Howard Stern. TV comedy specials followed, his first Showtime special, pointedly titled I'm In Pain, aired in 1985. He became one of the premier presences on HBO with comedy specials in 1988, 1990 and 1997. Although his humor was hardly an easy fit for sitcoms of the era, he co-starred for several seasons in the late '80s/early '90s with Jamie Lee Curtis on Anything but Love and with Don Rickles on 1993's Daddy Dearest. In 1998 he co-starred with Kevin Nealon in the sitcom Hiller and Diller.
Film credits included 1993's Robin Hood: Men in Tights, in which he played Prince John, and 1995's Drunks.
He also appeared that year in Leaving Las Vegas. Lewis began what arguably would be his signature role — based, fittingly enough, on himself — in 2000 when he was cast by his childhood friend Larry David on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. The two New Yorkers had met at summer camp when they were 12 and re-established their friendship on the New York comedy circuit a decade later.
In a statement Wednesday, HBO said: "We are heartbroken to learn that Richard Lewis has passed away. His comedic brilliance, wit and talent were unmatched. Richard will always be a cherished member of the HBO and Curb Your Enthusiasm families, our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and all the fans who could count on Richard to brighten their days with laughter." Although he largely retired from performing following his Parkinson's diagnosis, he returned to Curb periodically, most recently during the show's current (and final) season.
In game shows, Lewis was on episodes of "Hollywood Squares" with John Davidson & Tom Bergeron.
Sony Sells "So You Think You Can Dance" Nordics/Benelux Rights to WB
First Deal Since Nonfiction Unit Formation
In what marks Sony Pictures Television's (SPT) first international format deal for its non-fiction unit since its distribution takeover in 2022, SPT has sold the Nordics and Benelux region format rights of "So You Think You Can Dance" to Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP). The deal comes just as the dance competition series returns to Fox in the U.S. for a milestone 18th season on March 4.
WBITVP has optioned the title for six of their European production companies and extends to the Netherlands, Belgium (Flemish), and across the Nordics in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Attendees at SPT's London Screenings Showcase on Thursday Feb. 29 will get a sneak peek preview of the new U.S. Season.
Since its U.S. debut in 2005, the reality show has become a global phenomenon, adapted in 32 territories worldwide and spawning a Next Generation Junior version in the Netherlands and most recently in Poland.
Laura St Clair, VP international formats, Sony Pictures Television, said: "'So You Think You Can Dance' is one of the entertainment titans of the 21st century. This deal is a testament to the universality and evergreen potential of the format, and we can't wait to see WBITVP's companies developing it for the Nordics and Benelux audience."
Andrew Zein, SVP, creative, format development and sales, concurred: "We are delighted to be trusted by Sony Pictures Television to bring their iconic dance format, SYTYCD to Nordics and Benelux broadcasters and audiences. Roll on the auditions…."
Season 18 of "So You Think You Can Dance" on Fox aims to revitalize the beloved series with a fresh format that mirrors the real journey behind the efforts to forge a prosperous dance career, much like many of its alumni have done. Contestants will engage in rigorous dance challenges weekly, immersing themselves in the realities of the profession. They'll be made to experience everything from starring in a music video or performing during a football halftime show to sharing the stage with Broadway luminaries.
Moreover, the upcoming season will introduce storytelling elements that portray the highs and lows inherent in the lives of professional dancers. Breaking new ground, alongside the show's signature dazzling dance numbers, viewers will gain unprecedented access to the personal and competitive odysseys of the contestants through a documentary-style lens.
"So You Think You Can Dance" is produced by 19 Entertainment, a part of Sony Pictures Television, and Dick Clark Productions.
The Starting Line for AR36 Revealed
"The Amazing Race" Begins March 13
From Entertainment Weeklyh
The 13 teams racing across the globe in the hopes of winning $1 million on season 36 of The Amazing Race have been revealed and include twins, a pair of Air Force pilots, a duo of firefighter moms, and a former first-round NFL draft pick racing with his wife.
This season (which premieres March 13 on CBS and once again features no non-elimination legs) begins in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as teams will have to participate in a Mexican rodeo and must "lasso their way to the finish line without coming in last." Other tasks this season include paragliding in Colombia and rally car racing in Argentina. The course will also wind its way through two new countries for the show as players will swim through waterfalls in the Dominican Republic while also visiting Rihanna's childhood home in Barbados. Yes, that Rihanna.
It has been a long wait for the season 36 cast, who originally filmed this installment back in the fall of 2022 as what was then supposed to be the 35th season of the reality franchise. With the writers and actors strikes of 2023, however, CBS decided to specifically film a season that could run as 90-minute episodes, so flipped seasons 35 and 36. Once the strikes were over, the network then decided to keep the show at 90 minutes, so the new season 36 will be running at the longer airtime anyway.
That means we'll get to see even more of contestants like Rod Gardner, who played six seasons in the NFL after being selected 15th overall in the 2001 draft by Washington. He will be joined by wife Leticia in his quest for more competition glory. But they will have to battle 12 other teams to take home the loot. Get your official first look at those teams below.
- Derek (57, retired chief of police) and Shelisa Williams (55, retired sheriff's lieutenant) Married Alta Loma, Calif.
Danny (27, university resident director) and Angie Butler (55, seventh grade teacher) Mother and son San Diego, Calif., and Walla Walla, Wash.
Rod (46, former NFL player/owner of Gshred Supplements) and Leticia Gardner (38, fitness business owner) Married Lawrenceville, Ga.
Michelle (39) and Sean Clark (46), owners of Double Dutch Aerobics Married East Point, Ga.
Yvonne Chavez (40, global strategy and operations lead) and Melissa Main (38, investigator for U.S. Navy special operations) Dating San Diego, Calif.
Sunny Pulver (41) and Bizzy Smith (37), firefighters Best friends Edgerton, Wis., and New Berlin, Wis.
Amber Craven (30) and Vinny Cagungun (37), nurse anesthetists Dating Englewood, Colo.
Ricky Rotandi (34, preschool teacher) and Cesar Aldrete (34, food stylist) Dating New York, N.Y.
Juan Villa (29) and Shane Bilek (29), Air Force pilots Best friends Spokane, Wash., and Marine City, Mich.
Anthony (26) and Bailey Smith (26), recruiters Twin brothers Clearwater, Fla.
Kishori Turner (26, senior marketing strategist) and Karishma Cordero (22, student) Cousins Gaithersburg, Md., and Austin, Texas
Maya (20, student) and Rohan Mody (23, master's student) Siblings Monmouth Junction, N.J.
Chris Foster (60, receptionist) and Mary Cardona-Foster (27, marketing manager) Father and daughter Waltham, Mass.
Jinkx Monsoon will play Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors" off-Broadway (TheaterMania)
#ICYMI: Someone cracks the "Oeuf d'Or" for "le gros lot" in Quebec (Le Sac de Chips)
Tyler Cameron shares "final texts" with his mom before her death (Reality Titbit)
A FEW GOOD MINUTES with Maks Chmerkovskiy (Variety)
Sony Pictures TV/CBS Media Ventures
Welcome to The Show
Jeopardy!'s TOC Begins February 23
From TV Insider
The 2024 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, technically the 2023 TOC that was delayed due to the WGA strikes, finally arrives this week, and fans are amped up to see the best-of-the-best battle it out. There are 27 contestants taking part in the TOC, making it the largest playing field ever.
The quarterfinals kick off on Friday, February 23, and will run until late March. The TOC was pushed back due to last summer's WGA strike, which massively affected Jeopardy's filming schedule. Despite the show continuing to air with former contestants and recycled clues, many TOC qualifiers refused to participate until the strikes were resolved.
Instead of recording the TOC or episodes with new contestants, Jeopardy! chose to air Second Chance and Champions Wildcard tournaments with former contestants from Seasons 37, 38, and 39.
This year's line-up consists of Season 39 super-champs, including fan favorites Cris Pannullo, Hannah Wilson, and Ben Chan. In addition, all three-day champions from Season 39 were invited back, along with Celebrity Jeopardy! winner Ike Barinholtz and 2023 High School Reunion Tournament winner Justin Bolsen.
Rounding out the field are the post-season comeback tournament winners. This includes Wildcard 1 winners Emily Sands, Nick Cascone, Josh Saak, and Yungsheng Wang, and Wildcard 2 winners Juveria Zaheer (who also won Second Chance) and the yet-to-be-determined winner of the still-airing episodes.
2024 Tournament of Champions Match-Ups
The tournament kicks off on Friday, February 23, with Wildcard winner Emily Sands taking on Suresh Krishnan (6 wins) and Matthew Marcus (4 wins).
Front-runner Cris Pannullo (21 wins) returns to the Alex Trebek stage on Monday, February 26, where he will face off against Ben Goldstein (5 wins) and Jared Watson (3 wins).
Fan-favorite Hannah Wilson (8 wins) is back on Tuesday, February 27, where she will battle David Sibley (4 wins) and Wildcard winner Yungsheng Wang.
The Wednesday, February 28, game will see Wildcard winner Nick Cascone take on Jake DeArruda (3 wins) and the controversial Yogesh Raut (3 wins).
Comeback queen Juveria Zaheer returns on Thursday, February 29, where she will face off with Luigi de Guzman (5 wins) and Kevin Belle (3 wins).
-Super-champ Stephen Webb (8 wins) is back on Friday, March 1, where he will battle it out with Brian Henegar (3 wins) and Wildcard winner Josh Saak.
The popular Ray LaLonde (13 wins) returns on Monday, March 4, where he will fight it out with Melissa Klapper (3 wins) and Celebrity Jeopardy! winner Ike Barinholtz.
Tuesday, March 5, will see fan-fave Ben Chan (9 wins) take on Emmett Stanton (3 wins) and High School Reunion Tournament winner Justin Bolsen. J
The final quarterfinal game takes place on Wednesday, March 6, and sees Troy Meyer (6 wins) battle with Sean McShane (3 wins) and the upcoming Wildcard 2 winner.
After the champion has been crowned, there will be an all-new Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament, airing from March 31 until April 8, featuring "the best players from all time."
Jeopardy! announced the new tournament on Monday, which will air following the ongoing Tournament of Champions.
Unlike other events this season, JIT will open the floodgates to iconic older champions returning after "decades" away from the buzzer.
Producer Sarah Foss shared on the podcast Inside Jeopardy!: "Right now we are taping the Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament, the last tournament of Season 40.
"Right after this, we're getting into regular shows," she assured..
DISCLAIMER: Brian Henegar, scheduled to play March 1, is a friend of the site.
The Challenge: All-Stars to Return April
From the Futon Critic
Paramount+ today announced that the fourth season of the hit reality competition series THE CHALLENGE: ALL STARS will premiere exclusively on the service on Wednesday, April 10 with back-to-back episodes in the U.S. and Canada, and on April 11 in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Latin America, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Following the premiere, new episodes will drop weekly on Wednesdays.
Additionally, a stacked lineup of cast was revealed, along with an official trailer and key art. On the fourth season of THE CHALLENGE: ALL STARS, old-school legends, modern power players, redemption-seekers and ex-lovers reunite in Cape Town, South Africa to compete for $300,000. In this game, anyone can win, relationships matter, and only one All Star will claim the title champion.
Returning alongside THE CHALLENGE: ALL STARS, a new season of MTV's Official Challenge Podcast will premiere on April 11 with episodes dropping every Thursday. Hosted by veteran competitors Aneesa Ferreira and Tori Deal, the season will feature in-depth recaps with first-hand anecdotes from the most recent episodes. Fans can follow MTV's Official Challenge Podcast to catch up on past seasons and receive new episodes in their feeds HERE. The podcast is produced by Paramount Audio and MTV Entertainment in collaboration with iHeartRadio and is available across all major podcast platforms.
"Deal or No Deal" Cruises to Holland America Line
Cruise Ships to Host Games
From PR Newswire
Holland America Line has expanded its entertainment offering to launch the popular TV game show brand Deal or No Deal on nine of its cruise ships.
Powered by TimePlay, a leader in interactive technology, this show format has a proven track record due to its highly adaptable design and strong brand identity and is now on over 85 ships worldwide.
This high-energy live hosted experience invites contestants on stage to deal for cash, and what makes this game unique is that everyone in the audience also gets to play along for a chance to win big, including a free cruise. The program will run once or twice per voyage, hosted on the World Stage or Rolling Stone Lounge, depending on the Holland America Line ship.
"With the growing demand for entertainment options, Deal or No Deal is a perfect addition to Holland America's offerings." Aaron Silverberg, SVP of Entertainment, TimePlay.
"We're excited to add this brand to add this program to our lineup and we look forward to guests enjoying this interactive game," said Daniel Materassi, senior vice president of guest commerce for Holland America Line.
"Horizon Island" Game Coming to Meta VR
From Entertainment Weekly
Want to play Survivor? Pretty soon, you'll be able to. And all you need is a headset.
EW can exclusively report that the long-running CBS reality franchise is launching a virtual reality version of the popular TV show titled Survivor: Horizon Island. CBS has partnered with Meta on the game, which was developed by Albyon, VR in Review, and Well Played Studios, and can be played on Meta Horizon Worlds beginning on March 8.
The custom world of Survivor: Horizon Island will allow players to take part in all the classic elements from the show, including forming alliances, competing in challenges, and searching for hidden immunity idols. They can also deal with everyday Survivor tasks like tending to the fire, fishing for food, and of course, trying not to get eliminated. And presiding over it all is the Hostmaster General himself, Jeff Probst, whose voice will no doubt at some point implore you to "Dig deep!"
Not only can we report about this new VR extension into the Survivor universe, but we can show you some of it as well. Check out the video above to see footage of the game as well as some of the challenges that await.
CBS Wins the Totals, Splits Demo with ABC
From TV Line
In the latest TV ratings, CBS' Tracker this week was Sunday's most-watched program, while also tying ABC's American Idol for the nightly demo win.
Leading out of 60 Minutes (which was down a tick with 6.6 million total viewers and a 0.4 demo rating), The Equalizer (6.1 mil/0.4) also dipped just a bit in both measures. Tracker (6.9 mil/0.5) and CSI: Vegas (4 mil/0.3) were both up a smidgen in audience vs. last week's prelims and held steady in the demo.
America's Funniest Home Videos (4.4 mil/0.4) and American Idol (4.6 mil/0.5) both dipped in the demo week-to-week, but What Would You Do? (2.7 mil/0.3) was steady.
Animation Domination on Fox: The Simpsons (880K/0.2) and Krapopolis (570K/0.1) added viewers, whereas The Great North (440K/0.1) and Grimbsurg (450K/0.1) both lost some.
Cable numbers (totals/A18-49)...
- Tournament of Champions (Food): 1.152m/0.20
THURSDAY: Vaya con Dios, Sam Waterston
CBS, NBC Split Night
From TV Line
In the latest TV ratings, NBC's SVU was Thursday's top-rated program and CBS' Young Sheldon drew the largest crowd.
With all the Laws and every Order fresh over on NBC, Young Sheldon (with 7 million viewers and a 0.5 demo rating), Ghosts (5.9 mil/0.4) and So Help Me Todd (4.1 mil/0.3) all were down versus their strong season openers.
Law & Order (4.8 mil/0.5) and SVU (4.9 mil/0.6) each rose in both measures, while Organized Crime (3.5 mil/0.4) returned steady.
Fox's Next Level Chef (1.9 mil/0.3) dipped, Farmer Wants a Wife (1.6 mil/0.2) was relatively steady.
HoFr's Jared Haibon, "Bachelor in Paradise's" Ashley Iaconetti reveal the gender of their second (Reality TV World)
Matt James teasing marriage proposal... three years after getting back with Rachael Kirkconnell (People)
ICYMI: Randy Travis makes an appearance in "The Price Is Right" audience (Remind)
A FEW GOOD MINUTES with "Smart TV's" Rob Beckett (WhatToWatch)
FRIDAY: Smack Game
Fox Wins Demo, CBS Wins Totals
From TV Line
0 In the latest TV ratings, CBS' Blue Bloods was Friday's most-watched program this week, while Fox's SmackDown easily led the night in the demo.
S.W.A.T. (with 4.9 million total viewers and a 0.4 demo rating), Fire Country (5.1 mil/0.3) and Blue Bloods (5.3 mil/0.3) all dipped from their season premieres, yet still delivered the night's three biggest audiences.
Friday Night SmackDown (2.2 mil/0.6) was down just a tick from last week's prelims.
ABC's Shark Tank (3.4 mil/0.3) added some eyeballs while steady in the demo; 20/20 (2.9 mil/0.3) drew one of its larger audiences of the season.
NBC's Dateline (2.2 mil/0.3) drew its smallest audience since Jan. 5, but was steady in the demo.
Cable numbers (totals/A18-49)...
- RuPaul's Drag Race (MTV): 569k/0.21
- RuPaul's Drag Race Untucked (MTV): 318k/0.13
- Wheel of Fortune - 9:30p (R/GSN): 304k/0.02
- Wheel of Fortune - 9p (R/GSN): 277k/0.02
- Nick Cannon Presents Wild'n Out - 9:30p (R/BET): 170k/0.05
- Nick Cannon Presents Wild'n Out - mid (R/BET): 126k/0.03
YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS BLEEP UP: A "1% Club" question just broke a record (LADBible)
S&P Global Hits Paramount with Rating Downgrade
From the Hollywood Reporter
Paramount Global is on a watch by S&P Global for a possible credit rating downgrade over weaker cash flow concerns as the major studio pivots from linear TV to the streaming space.
"The margin and cash flows generated by DTC [direct to consumer] streaming businesses, which are replacing the linear TV segment, will be lower in comparison due to greater required content spending, higher technology investments, and higher marketing and subscriber acquisition costs," S&P ratings director Jawad Hussain said in a statement Friday.
Stock in Paramount Global, which is led by CEO Bob Bakish, slid by 53 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $11.18 on Friday during late-morning trading, with shares in the Hollywood studio last week taking another hit when Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported a one-third stake cut in the media conglomerate.
Last year, the studio's credit rating was lowered from BBB to BBB-, and its debt is now under renewed scrutiny, "with negative implications," including for another possible downgrade as S&P starts to weigh cash flow along with leverage metrics when measuring Paramount's debt worthiness.
"We believe FOCF [free operating cash flow] will be weaker than historical levels because the significant cash flows from the linear TV businesses will degrade rapidly as pay TV subscribers continue to decline and advertisers migrate spending to streaming platforms," S&P warned in its report.
Lightning Strikes Down Under
Brandon Blackwell Joins "The Chase Australia"
The Chase Australia will welcome its newest Chaser to the afternoon quiz show from Monday, February 26, at 5.00pm on Channel 7 and 7plus.
Brandon Blackwell, aka The Lightning Bolt, is regular in high-level quiz competitions around the world. He is a World Speed Quizzing Champion and is one of the highest-scoring players of all time on the prestigious British quiz show University Challenge. He also secured second place in the under-30 World Quizzing Championship in 2020.
Blackwell, a familiar face on The Chase America, joins a formidable line-up of Chasers: The Shark (Brydon Coverdale), Goliath (Matt Parkinson), The Supernerd (Issa Schultz), The Governess (Anne Hegerty), The Tiger Mum (Cheryl Toh) and The Beast (Mark Labbett).
"I'll beat you before you even turn up," Blackwell said.
The Chase Australia is an ITV Studios Australia production for the Seven Network based on the original ITV quiz show.
TUESDAY: Will vs. the FBI
CBS, ABC Run to Dead Heat
From TV Line
In the latest TV ratings, CBS' FBI was Tuesday's most-watched program and led the night in the demo.
FBI (with 7 million total viewers and a 0.5 demo rating) dipped in both measures week-to-week, facing stiffer procedural competition. FBI: International (5.3 mil/0.4) and FBI: Most Wanted (4.8 mil/0.4) each lost viewers but held steady in the demo.
Christening its earlier time slot, the Will Trent Season 2 opener (4.6 mil/0.3) soared to an easy series high in audience on ABC while matching its freshman average in the demo. The Rookie (3.6 mil/0.3) returned down from its previous averages (3.9 mil/0.4). The Good Doctor (2.8 mil/0.2) opened its farewell run with series lows.
NBC's Night Court (2.5 mil/0.3) and Extended Family (1.9 mil/0.2) were down in audience but steady in the demo. The yet-to-be-renewed Quantum Leap's double episode finale (1.4 mil/0.2, 1.34 mil/0.2) was on par with last week.
Fox's season finale of Name That Tune (1.5 mil/0.2) dipped, but The Floor (2.4 mil/0.4) was steady.
CW rounded out the night with the premiere of Crime Nation (466k/0.1).
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Love Is Blind's season 6 reunion is planned for March 13 (TV Line)
Wendy Williams Diagnosed with Aphasia, Frontotemporal Dementia
"Love Triangle" Host Still Able to Do Many Things Herself, Says Medical Team
Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), her medical care team announced.
According to a press release, the former "Love Triangle" host, 59, received her diagnosis last year and her medical team said the conditions "have already presented significant hurdles in Wendy's life."
"Wendy is still able to do many things for herself," the team said in a statement. "Most importantly she maintains her trademark sense of humor and is receiving the care she requires to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed. She is appreciative of the many kind thoughts and good wishes being sent her way."
According to Mayo Clinic, aphasia "robs you of the ability to communicate" and "can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written." The group adds that the condition "typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage (degenerative)."
Buzzfeed Sells Complex
eCommerce Firm Ntwrk Buys Network for $108.6 million
BuzzFeed has sold Complex — the youth-culture media company it bought three years ago — and will pink-slip another 16% of BuzzFeed's remaining staffers in a restructuring designed to get back on financial track.
BuzzFeed announced Wednesday that it closed the sale of Complex to ecommerce platform Ntwrk in a $108.6 million all-cash deal. L.A.-based Ntwrk said that together with Complex, it will build a "next-generation content and shopping experience" that it described as a "new destination for 'superfan' culture that will define the future of commerce, digital media and music." Investors in the newly merged company include Universal Music Group, Jimmy Iovine, Main Street Advisors and Goldman Sachs.
In addition to the $108.6 million purchase price, BuzzFeed received approximately $5.7 million related to Complex's use of the company's New York offices and "severance- and other employment-related costs." BuzzFeed acquired Complex Networks in December 2021 for approximately $198 million in cash and $96 million in equity — for a total price tag of $294 million. However, that included Complex's First We Feast brand, producer of the popular "Hot Ones" series, which was not sold to Ntwrk and remains with BuzzFeed.
Along with the Complex sale, BuzzFeed announced a new round of layoffs to cut expenses, implementing a 16% reduction in its remaining workforce of a bit under 1,000 across the company (excluding Complex employees who are joining Ntwrk). The BuzzFeed job cuts are expected to yield approximately $23 million in annualized compensation cost savings, the company said. The layoffs come after BuzzFeed in April 2023 announced it was shuttering its unprofitable BuzzFeed News division and laying off about 180 people across the organization.
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