Tuning in to TV: Leaked voice mails reveal rift between Chase, ‘Community’

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Glitzy productions, highly paid judges and lots of public jabs at the competition has paid off for reality shows when it comes to making the all-important ad revenue. Fox’s “American Idol” topped Forbes’ list of TV’s biggest moneymakers, followed by the network’s freshman talent competition “The X Factor.”

Using ad estimates per half-hour tracked by data firm Kantar Media, Forbes ranked TV programs by how much ad revenue they generated.

While seeing a dip in its ratings this season and a 6 percent drop in revenue over last year, “American Idol” still holds the top spot with an estimated $6.64 million every half-hour.

“The X Factor’s” inaugural season raised an estimated $5.55 million in ad revenue per half-hour for Fox. But Forbes said those numbers were based on predictions before the show premiered — who can forget Simon Cowell’s 20 million viewers prediction? — and not with the average 12 million viewers per episode in mind.

The highest-ranked scripted series is CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” at No. 3. While ratings are lower in the show’s post-Charlie Sheen age, Forbes predicts that Ashton Kutcher should keep the rates high for another season.

An interesting inclusion in the list? CBS’ canceled Jason Biggs comedy “Mad Love” at No. 9 with an estimated $2.4 million in ad revenue. It apparently benefited from its spot between “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men.”

‘Game of Thrones’ renewed for third season on HBO

Fans of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” can expect “A Storm of Swords” in 2013. The network said Tuesday that it has renewed the fantasy hit for season three, meaning at least part of George R.R. Martin’s third book in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series will get a television adaptation.

The news comes after record-breaking ratings during last week’s season two premiere. A total of 3.9 million viewers watched the inaugural broadcast, with a combined 6.3 million tuning in to the network’s multiple broadcasts for the night. That marked 53 percent gains from its freshman season average and a 27 percent increase from the previous high reached by last season’s finale. The second episode dropped less than 3 percent, pulling 3.8 million viewers.

“Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss raised our expectations for the second season — and then surpassed them,” said HBO programming President Michael Lombardo. “We are thrilled by all the viewer and media support we’ve received for the series and can’t wait to see what Dan and David have in store for next season.”

Keeping with the first two seasons, the show’s third likely will consist of 10 episodes — but unlike the first two, it likely won’t follow one of Mr. Martin’s books from start to finish. Echoing past sentiments, co-creator Mr. Weiss recently acknowledged that “A Storm of Swords” couldn’t be told in just 10 episodes.

” ‘A Storm of Swords’ is too long to fit in a single season,” Mr. Weiss said. “And as readers know, ‘A Feast for Crows’ and ‘A Dance With Dragons’ take place during roughly the same time frame, so we’ll have to fold those together. The plan, if we’re lucky enough to be given the opportunity to see it through, is to use as many seasons as we need to tell the story as a whole, to do justice to George’s entire opus.”

Complied from wire service reports.

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