With Ben Grossman, John Eggerton and Alex Weprin
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'Knight Rider' Puts EP in NBC's Fast Lane
Gary Scott Thompson can expect to see a lot of love from NBC now that he is showrunner of one of the network's pet projects, the remake of 1980s hit Knight Rider.
Of course, Thompson says, any attention would be more than what he got for his last show, the now-cancelled Las Vegas.
"I wasn't bitching. I was begging!" he laughs. "Bitching went away in season one! We got so little promotion, I still get e-mails today asking when the show is coming back this spring."
But he won't have to beg now. NBC co-chief Ben Silverman greenlighted Knight Rider after a Feb. 18 two-hour movie/backdoor pilot drew nearly 13 million viewers and a 5.0 rating in the 18-49 demo. And the network has promised strong promotion during major events such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl.
"I don't think there's such a thing as oversaturation," Thompson jokes. "But then again, I am a bit jaded."
Having penned the hit car movie The Fast and the Furious, Thompson isn't new to the automotive genre. But he'll have to get used to having the pole position in the network's promo push.
"I know what it's like not to get a lot of promo help, so it will be interesting to see what this is like," he says. "Then I suppose it's up to me to live up to it."
Showtime has apparently reconsidered its ripped-from-the-headlines approach to a recent online promo for the second season of The Tudors.
To tease the March 30 premiere of its steamy series about the young King Henry VIII, the pay cabler sent out e-mails hyping a news story about a "Mystery Millionaire." Recipients who clicked on the attached link were led to a Website for "WKTS-TV" with an array of news headlines.
If the Tudors banner ad wasn't a giveaway, the pop-up promo that appeared when you clicked the headlines made clear it was a fake news site.
Some of the headlines, however—"Latest Violence Kills 12 in Baghdad" and "Vet hospital faulted in 23 deaths"—were perhaps a tad too realistic.
Showtime's VP of corporate relations, Stuart Zakim, explained that the network simply "wanted to make it look like an authentic news site for a TV station." But he conceded that using faux headlines about all-too-real casualties of war to promote a TV drama might be construed as insensitive.
Others agreed, it seems; Showtime has since replaced the headlines with more innocuous ones.
Blog on Ice
Anthony Bourdain has served up generous helpings of salty wit and searing critiques as a guest judge on Bravo's Top Chef. But the voluble chef, author and TV host appears to be at a loss for words when it comes to his heavily promoted Top Chef blog.
For last season, Bourdain blogged with gusto on Bravo's site, chronicling his guest stint—and, on at least one occasion, mocking one of his fellow judges. Recounting a run-in with Chef Rocco DiSpirito, he wrote: "I was also waiting to see which Rocco DiSpirito showed up. The breathtakingly gifted, French-trained chef of three-star Union Pacific fame? Or the 'thatsa speecy, spicy meatball!' shill-for-hire and ex-reality show personality? I think we all now know the answer to that question."
For the new season, Bravo announced that Bourdain's blog would be back and that brewer Michelob had signed on as exclusive sponsor.
But four weeks into the season, no Bourdain.
A Bravo spokesperson said Bourdain's travel schedule—presumably as host of Travel Channel's No Reservations—has prevented him from sending the network any of his posts. (He did, however, find time to submit a March 24 post to his friend Michael Ruhlman's culinary blog.)
Bourdain will return, the spokesperson assured us. Just when, she couldn't say.