NEWS ROUNDUP: Sped Up Stories On TV, Bryan Cranston, Liz & Dick, Can NASHVILLE Survive?

SPED UP STORIES: Is Speed the New Suspense on TV?
When Carrie confronted Brody for being a terrorist on HOMELAND; when Quinn Perkins' identity was revealed on SCANDAL; when Lori died on THE WALKING DEAD; when AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLYUM revealed who Bloody Face was: All of these things happened within the first five episodes of each of these series this season. Suffice it to say, the fall TV season has been full-steam ahead, with series diving straight into some of their biggest mysteries at such a breakneck speed, it has left fans wondering — and anticipating -- how the shows will top these events for the remainder of the season. Does this make speed the new suspense on television?

"Shows have sped up," says Edward Kitsis, co-showrunner of ONCE UPON A TIME, which has spent the better half of Season 2 not only introducing a cadre of new fairy tale characters, but also simultaneously providing actual answers — Dr. Whale is Frankenstein?! Neal Cassady is Henry's father?! "You go back and look at shows 10 years ago and it's almost like the pacing is different."

So, what changed, forcing showrunners of serialized shows to dole out a plethora of answers each week? In a post-Lost era, audiences have grown impatient, decidedly tuning out at the first sign of having to wait to find out — metaphorically, at least — what the island really is.

BREAKING BAD's Bryan Cranston started training for the New York Marathon after being fired from LOVING
In 1984, he was fired from LOVING, predictably (the show was nicknamed "Leaving"); a producer bade him goodbye in less than fifteen seconds. After sulking for two days, Cranston wandered into Central Park and happened on the finish line of the New York Marathon. Moved by the thousands of runners surging to the tape—“old people, children, people in bunny costumes, people who’d lost their legs, this amazing menagerie of humanity”—he began training to run it himself, the following year.

Where do TV names come from?
Character names, no matter how clever, have to be cleared by network execs before making it to air.

“The rule of thumb — especially if you identify the area where they are from — is that it has to be a name that nobody has or that everybody has,” says Jonathan Groff, executive producer of HAPPY ENDINGS.

LAST RESORT, 666 PARK AVENUE Tweaking Final Episodes to Give Fans Closure
“We have time to tweak,” confirms LAST RESORT creator Shawn Ryan, adding that Episode 13 will indeed function as a full-fledged series finale.

For 666 PARK AVENUE exec producers David Wilcox and Matt Miller, meanwhile, tease that their Sunday spookfest “is building to a powerful and surprising series finale, where all your questions will be answered. We hope fans of the show continue watching all the way to the end of Jane and Henry’s incredible journey to the dark side.”

Why is ABC's NASHVILLE Out of Tune?
The freshman drama's critical acclaim and decent bump with time-shifted viewing was good enough for ABC to reward it with a full-season pickup, but inside the network, executives are wondering: Why aren't viewers watching? And what can be done to save the show beyond this season?

On paper, NASHVILLE should be shooting up the Nielsen charts with a bullet, but there are a few key reasons it's not. From the beginning, ABC knew that the title was a problem. The word "Nashville" was destined to turn off a segment of viewers who wouldn't even sample the show, as thoughts of steel guitars, rhinestones and the Grand Ole Opry came to mind. "Country music is a little limiting," confirms one insider. But a rigorous internal attempt to find a new name was unsuccessful, with most contenders (like BREAKING IN) sounding even more generic.

ABC execs realize now that NASHVILLE posed a tougher sell than they expected and that their marketing campaign didn't explain the show to skeptical viewers. According to one rival network's data, on October 7 — right before the show's premiere — awareness of NASHVILLE among adults under 50 was a strong 38 percent. But "intent to view" among those viewers aware of the show was only 34 percent.

Going forward, ABC is thinking about moving the show to Sundays at 10 p.m. ET once 666 PARK AVENUE finishes its 13-episode run.

ABC might also leave the show where it is and back it with a new marketing campaign aimed at non—country fans. NASHVILLE attracts upscale viewers (it pulls in higher ratings in homes with annual incomes of more than $100,000), making it worth ABC's while to keep it on the air — for now. "When you have that kind of quality," says one exec, "you can't give it up right away."

BREAKING BAD Thanksgiving!


Black Friday Thanksgiving
Rebecca Tyler (Teri Hatcher) serves Thanksgiving dinner while she prepares her family for the earliest Black Friday in the history of anything ever.


Australia's HOME AND AWAY: Soap scrubs up just fine at 25
Channel Seven's week-night soap opera is about to conclude its 25th year on television screens with a 90-minute finale this week, and it continues to provide a popular anchor in the network's ratings, despite deficiencies with its lead-ins. Night after night, HOME AND AWAY draws about 1 million metropolitan viewers.

South Africa: Massive SABC schedule disruption in 2013
Massive SABC schedule disruption is coming to SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 in 2013 when GENERATIONS and THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL will suddenly move from SABC1 to SABC2, with Isidingo on SABC3 jumping to 21:30 at the end of January.

Shanelle Workman guardianship extended for her MODERN FAMILY sister
Ariel Winter has been under the care of her sister since early October. Judge Michael Levanas said that if the case remains in his courtroom, he will make sure the family works toward reconciliation.

Elmo Won't Be Yanked From Thanksgiving Parade
Despite the fact that Kevin Clash -- the man who provided Elmo's voice for decades -- has resigned ... a rep for Macy's tells TMZ "Elmo will be joining his Muppet friends on the Sesame Street float with an alternate puppeteer bringing him to life."


Former ANOTHER WORLD child actress Lindsay Lohan doesn't regret getting into show business at an early age
Lohan told Jay Leno that she, for one, "never" regrets getting into showbiz at the age of 3. "I think that there was a point in my life when—it was more recent than earlier on—but I'm kind of still a kid, like, in a way. I'm 26," she said when Leno asked if she ever had a time when she wished to take a break from acting.


Liz & Dick: The Lifetime movie starring Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor is half train wreck, half "SNL" skit.
Stunt casting rarely works. But in Liz & Dick it works by accident or for all the wrong reasons. Lohan as Taylor was a bad idea in the dramatic sense, but it’s pure genius both for marketing and for belly laughs and drinking games.

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