'Empire' Ratings Rise Earns Fox A Demo Win, 'Criminal Minds' Matches Low – Deadline

While no longer the blockbuster it was,Empire (1.8/7) proved the doubters wrong last night in its penultimate episode of 2017. With a strong hour full of prison flashbacks, suburban revelations, boozy sibling bonding and a delusional death, what may be making Fox even happier is that the ratings for the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong created drama climbed 13% in the fast affiliates key demo from last week’s series low.

Last night’s Empire result, which could see an adjustment like last week did, plus a steady Star (1.2/4) delivered a Wednesday primetime 18-49 win for the still Murdoch owned net. CBS was tops in viewership with 7.01 million watching Survivor (1.8/7), SEAL Team (1.1/4) and Criminal Minds (0.9/4), but Fox easily won the demo category with a 1.5/6 rating.

Both the vet reality show and the Navy warriors series were even with their November 29 airings while 10 PM’s Criminal Minds slipped a tenth from its last original to match a series low among adults 18-49. Tied with Empire for the highest rated show of the night, Survivor was the most watched show on Wednesday with an audience of 8.93 million.

On the whole, even was kind of the word on Wednesday as Speechless (1.1/4), Designated Survivor (0.7/3), Riverdale (0.5/2), and Dynasty (0.2/1) also matched their results of last week.

Then again, ABC saw Modern Family and The Goldbergs up a tenth from their November 29 shows while American Housewife rose 20%. Starting out with a repeat of it’s a Very Pentatonix Christmas (0.8/3) special, NBC had Law & Order: SVU (1.3/5) and Chicago PD (1.2/5) on. The former was down 13% in the demo and the latter dipped 8% from last week.

And for a bit more math – are you counting the remaining shopping days to Christmas yet?

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[WATCH] 'Criminal Minds' Sneak Peek: Why Is the Team Delivering the Profile Early to Conspiracy Theorists? – BuddyTV (blog)

The agents aren’t going to have it easy when it comes to the case and the people who can help them in this episode of Criminal Minds. Two members of a conspiracy group in Roswell, New Mexico die in quick succession, and the group isn’t exactly going to be eager to help the FBI.

Will Reid’s Mom Return in Criminal Minds Season 13?>>>

Watch the promo for “False Flag”:

[embedded content]

Check out a sneak peek of the profile:

[embedded content]

The UnSub is a male, most likely in his 20s based on the two victims so far, though age is the most difficult variable to predict. The profile is a guide only, Prentiss stresses, and one of the deductions they have made is that the UnSub knew his victims personally. That’s why the team is delivering the profile to a group of conspiracy theorists: they also knew the victims.

However, these people aren’t exactly jumping to help stop a killer hiding amongst them. Instead, one of them is more interested in asking Rossi about his last book. JJ does try to steer the conversation back to the matter at hand, even making sure not to call them conspiracy theorists because they don’t like that term, but all she ends up doing is, in one of their minds’, confirm one of their theories.

Criminal Minds season 13 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.

(Image/videos courtesy of CBS)

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TV Ratings Wednesday: 'Empire,' 'Modern Family' rise, 'Criminal Minds' ties series low – TVbytheNumbers

Masked Scheduler’s Ratings Smackdown

To the Masked Mailbox! NW wants to know:
“Most of your columns are on your involvement in pilot screening and initial scheduling, but what of your role in the evolution of a show? You were obviously in the loop on the initial rounds of the dreaded ‘notes from the network suits,’ but shows evolve after the premiere, too. Show elements are a product of negotiations between the creatives and the suits that never ends until the show does. Where would you have been in such mid-game drama behind the scenes? Do you have any stories of watching such drastic changes unfold in a show you initially bought and the headaches/relief it brought the network? I’d love for you to write about those.”
The scheduler usually becomes the consiglieri to the head of entertainment and thus has the ability to whisper in his or her boss’ ear. I did a lot of that, not that I was listened to all the time. What I had going for me was a 10-plus year background in television research, so when I went to my boss, or a current executive, I would generally come armed with some data to support my suggestion. Otherwise I was just offering another opinion.
For several years at NBC, I ran the current meeting, where we would go over all the shows on the network. I don’t know if that was appreciated by the current executives — probably not — and I made sure the marketing people were well represented and offered their suggestions.
As far as influencing the direction of a show, three come to mind. I may have talked about them here or in posts on my blog, Revenge of the Masked Scheduler.
During the third season of “24,” the ratings were beginning to decline. We did some research and it was clear to me that the viewers were frustrated with spreading the series out over the full television season, especially given the concept driving the show. With my colleague MJ LaVacarre, we worked out a plan to delay “24” until midseason and run it without any weekly interruptions. I first pitched this concept to Joel Surnow, the showrunner, and once he bought in, I sold it to my bosses. I think that strategy added a few additional years to the show and millions to the 20th coffers.
Early in the history of “Law & Order,” we did an episode featuring the female psychiatrist who had a recurring role on the show. I noticed that the ratings among women popped for the episode, and I went to my boss Warren Littlefield with the data. “L&O” was on the fence at the time, and the four leads were all men. Warren called Dick Wolf and told Dick we would cancel the show unless Dick added more women to the cast. Dick immediately did, and the rest is history.
We did an episode of “Blossom” that featured Joey Lawrence having a fantasy sequence with Susan Anton. The next morning, I saw a large increase in young male ratings and went to the current exec, Ken Mok, and suggested that we do more Joey episodes featuring him with hot women. I’m not saying I’m proud of that one, but it worked as far as adding another segment to the “Blossom” audience.
There are other examples like these, but the point is, for me it was less about my opinion and more about using research to improve a show’s ratings.
Email me questions at masked.scheduler@gmail.com and follow on Twitter @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017

The numbers for Wednesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Survivor (CBS) 1.8/7 8.93
Empire (FOX) 1.8/7 5.70
The Goldbergs (ABC) 1.5/6 5.40
A Very Pentatonix Christmas (NBC) – R 0.8/3 4.85
Riverdale (The CW) 0.5/2 1.46
8:30 p.m. Speechless (ABC) 1.1/4 4.25
9 p.m. Modern Family (ABC) 1.7/7 5.78
Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 1.3/5 6.19
Star (FOX) 1.2/4 4.01
SEAL Team (CBS) 1.1/4 6.82
Dynasty (The CW) 0.2/1 0.69
9:30 p.m. American Housewife (ABC) 1.2/5 4.56
10 p.m. Chicago PD (NBC) 1.2/5 6.47
Criminal Minds (CBS) 0.9/4 5.28
Designated Survivor (ABC) 0.7/3 3.91

Wednesday was an up night for several shows, but a long-running series tied its all-time low in the ratings.

First, the good: “Empire” (1.8 rating among adults 18-49), “Modern Family” (1.7), “The Goldbergs” (1.5) and “American Housewife” (1.2) all improved their numbers week to week. The first three were up a tenth of a point, and “American Housewife” rose two tenths.

On the downside, “Criminal Minds” was off a tenth vs. its last episode tied its series low with a 0.9. “Law & Order: SVU” (1.3, -0.2) and “Chicago PD” (1.2, -0.1) declined as well but were in line with their season averages.

“Survivor” tied “Empire” as the night’s top show in adults 18-49 and was even with last week in the demo. It had its largest total audience of the season. “Riverdale,” “Dynasty,” “Speechless,” “Star,” “SEAL Team” and “Designated Survivor” were all steady too.

Network averages:

FOX CBS ABC NBC CW
Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.5/6 1.3/5 1.2/5 1.1/4 0.4/2
Total Viewers (millions) 4.85 7.01 4.63 5.84 1.07

Late-night metered market ratings (adults 18-49, households):

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.6/4, 2.1/6

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.6/7

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.6/4

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/3, 1.3/5

“Nightline”: 0.4/3, 1.1/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 1.1/4

Definitions:

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.
Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings are available at approximately 11 a.m. ET the day after telecast. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. 
Share (of Audience): 
The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. 
Time Shifted Viewing:
 Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live +Same-Day and Live +7 Day. Time-shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+SD includes viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3 a.m. local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live +7 ratings include  viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

Source: The Nielsen Company.

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TV Ratings: 'Empire' Rises, 'Criminal Minds' Matches Low | Deadline – Deadline

While no longer the blockbuster it was,Empire (1.8/7) proved the doubters wrong last night in its penultimate episode of 2017. With a strong hour full of prison flashbacks, suburban revelations, boozy sibling bonding and a delusional death, what may be making Fox even happier is that the ratings for the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong created drama climbed 13% in the fast affiliates key demo from last week’s series low.

Last night’s Empire result, which could see an adjustment like last week did, plus a steady Star (1.2/4) delivered a Wednesday primetime 18-49 win for the still Murdoch owned net. CBS was tops in viewership with 7.01 million watching Survivor (1.8/7), SEAL Team (1.1/4) and Criminal Minds (0.9/4), but Fox easily won the demo category with a 1.5/6 rating.

Both the vet reality show and the Navy warriors series were even with their November 29 airings while 10 PM’s Criminal Minds slipped a tenth from its last original to match a series low among adults 18-49. Tied with Empire for the highest rated show of the night, Survivor was the most watched show on Wednesday with an audience of 8.93 million.

On the whole, even was kind of the word on Wednesday as Speechless (1.1/4), Designated Survivor (0.7/3), Riverdale (0.5/2), and Dynasty (0.2/1) also matched their results of last week.

Then again, ABC saw Modern Family and The Goldbergs up a tenth from their November 29 shows while American Housewife rose 20%. Starting out with a repeat of it’s a Very Pentatonix Christmas (0.8/3) special, NBC had Law & Order: SVU (1.3/5) and Chicago PD (1.2/5) on. The former was down 13% in the demo and the latter dipped 8% from last week.

And for a bit more math – are you counting the remaining shopping days to Christmas yet?

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Criminal Minds Is Heading To A New Cable Channel, And There Will Be Marathons – Cinema Blend

The December 16 block of episodes won’t be the only Criminal Minds mega marathon on WE tv, however. The network will continue to air “all-day binge-a-thons” on Saturdays, although not for quite as long as the first. On Saturdays following December 16, Criminal Minds will air from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. ET. You can catch plenty of Criminal Minds on Mondays as well, as episodes will air through primetime to kick off the week. The Monday marathons will run from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Basically, there is going to be a lot of Criminal Minds action on cable in the not-too-distant future.

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Criminal Minds Exclusive: Garcia Has a Baby Girl Tattoo! – TV Guide

We’ve known Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) on Criminal Minds for over 12 seasons now, but did you know she has a tattoo?

Our tech goddess reveals that she’s got some very special ink in an undefined location in this week’s exclusive clip from Wednesday’s episode. It turns out that “Baby girl” isn’t just special to fans, it’s so special to Garcia that she got her iconic nickname from Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) tattooed on her body. The baby girl love never stops!

The quick info drop comes as Garcia is helping Reed (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Simmons (Daniel Henney) track down a tattoo artist who specializes in tongue splitting. Yeah, this week is going to be heavy on the reptile worship so be careful of that.

Hey Baby Girls: Shemar Moore Answers Your Burning Questions

Important question though: Do you think Morgan has seen this mysterious tattoo? We can only hope!

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS)

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Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 7 Review: Dust and Bones – TV Fanatic

It’s a motive that stretches all the way back to Cain and Abel.

Sibling rivalry was at the heart of Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 7. But of course, it had its own, freaky little twist.

Or rather, its own slither.

In the words of Indiana Jones, “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”

The BAU was drawn to Austin in part because of snakes on the plains (of Texas).

Yeah, we got a decently bizarre unsub in Desi Gutierrez. She was the child through which her mother, Laura, learned (a bit too late) what not to do as a parent.

And with her goth look, snake contacts, and scarification, she was a spooky figure.

Abandonment as a child left Desi, not surprisingly, screwed up.

Desi’s best friends were her extremely large collection of snakes. That kind of explained why she was so cold-blooded carving up women just to make a heinous point about them.

The BAU’s theory was that unsub Desi saw these women as deceptive serpents. I could see why she would feel that way about the mother who largely abandoned her. She abducted her sister to draw out their mother.

But I never understood why she kidnapped and disfigured the first three women since their sins weren’t revealed. I’m guessing it was just for practice and to put authorities off her true motivation.

I also wasn’t aware of why the BAU shifted from a male to a female unsub. Was ruining a woman’s appearance more of a female thing? 

Once again, it was Garcia who did the heavy lifting. She received clues such as scarification and tongue splitting, and she rambled through a stream-of-consciousness history of tattooing.

(Coming from her goth background, Garcia has at least one tattoo. She’s just too much of a lady to advertise it.)

 So Garcia produced the name of Ryan, the one artist who fit all the agents’ criteria. It led, in too short of an order, to Ryan selecting Desi from a two-photo array to the agents racing to exactly the right property managed by Laura just in time to stop Desi from hurting her family.

In other words, a case built on the shaky foundation of coincidence.

While it’s impossible to condone Desi’s actions, it’s simple enough see how she got where she ended up. She blamed Laura for her treatment growing up and was jealous of the relationship between Laura and Tina. Mom liked you best.

Somehow, the disfiguring of other women was supposed to carry some kind of message from Desi to Laura. Something such as “See how I can put this community on edge, all by myself.” Yeah, that’ll show her!

In the end, her plot for revenge against her mother was foiled, and Desi got her back-up wish, suicide by cop, thanks to Matt. I suppose shooting the knife out of her hand was asking too much.

Did Laura make an effort, however feeble, to save Desi from herself? Yes, maybe, but that ship had pretty much sailed already.

So, in the end, Desi made a satisfactory, one-time unsub. Viewers could understand how she got how she was and perhaps feel a little sympathy for her.

When a dead unsub is among the high points of an episode, that’s not particularly good. So who stands out among the BAU?

Not Tara, because she wasn’t there. And the episode was no worst off for it. I like Aisha Tyler, and it would have been nice if she had been given a three-dimensional character to play.

I’m not sure if Rossi ever left the plane, or if he sat there drinking scotch the whole time. The same could be said for Prentiss. After she barked out some initial orders, I barely remember her.

Sadly, I recall Reid a bit more but not much. He did his Data-with-a-better-haircut routine and made the locals feel stupid, but not much else. 

So JJ, Matt, and Alves enjoyed most of the action, with a tipping of the hat to Matt. That’s what the young guy on the team is for, to do all the running.

I enjoyed meeting Alves’ former partner, Phil, although I have no idea if anything further will be done with him. Garcia taking in the new puppy to give Phil an added incentive to push himself was a highlight.

Garcia continues her warming process with Alves. It seems inevitable they’re going to end up the best of friends if Criminal Minds lasts long enough, don’t you think?

SPOILER ALERT: On Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 8, the BAU gets called to Miami when the unsub feeds exclusive footage to the media. Hey, how about the local media doesn’t encourage the unsub, but rather turns over the tape to the police?

To catch up before the holiday break, watch Criminal Minds online.

Did you enjoy Desi’s story? How about the Alves/Phil relationship? Who would you most like to see take out of an episode?

Comment below.

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Criminal Minds: Season 12 (DVD Review) – The Digital Bits

  • Reviewed by: Jim Hemphill
  • Review Date: Nov 15, 2017
  • Format: DVD
  • Bookmark and Share
Criminal Minds: Season 12 (DVD Review)

Director

Various

Release Date(s)

2016-2017 (September 5, 2017)

Studio(s)

Mark Gordon/Touchstone/CBS Television (Paramount)

  • Film/Program Grade: A
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: A

Criminal Minds: Season 12 (DVD)

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Review

One of the best and most enduring series in the history of television delivers its finest season to date on the highly recommended Criminal Minds: Season 12 DVD boxed set, which contains 22 riveting episodes and several hours of illuminating bonus features. Simultaneously more breezily entertaining and more profoundly personal and psychological than previous seasons, season 12 is a master class in sustaining an audience’s interest in a long-running series; it contains all the pleasures viewers have come to associate with the show over the years while constantly pushing the writing, acting, and visual style into new, highly rewarding and productive directions. Some series can lay claim to being one of the smartest shows on TV, or one or the most moving, or best acted, or most frightening, or most expertly constructed; Criminal Minds is singular in that it is all of these at once – and considerably more.

The core of the show, which revolves around an FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit led by David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) that profiles the most violent and disturbed criminals imaginable, has remained essentially intact for years, yet there’s not a stale or overly familiar moment in the 15½ hours of material here. That’s due to a number of factors, the first of which is the exceptionally precise plotting and dialogue. Under the guidance of showrunner Erica Messer, Criminal Minds boasts the most rigorous and inventive writing staff on network TV; each individual case that the BAU tackles seems to be the result of a perfectly calibrated intersection between meticulous research and vivid imagination, as the writers provide layer upon layer of realistic detail but then spice up the authenticity with diabolically creative fictional twists. 12 years in, the writers are capable of such concision and clarity that they’re able to pack each 42-minute episode with enough texture and detail to sustain a feature film – a really good feature film.

Indeed, an episode like True North, in which the BAU investigates the appearance of several murdered bodies tied to stakes in the Arizona desert, delivers the satisfactions of a great feature-length horror movie – under star Joe Mantegna’s harrowingly atmospheric direction, the script by Bruce Zimmerman is genuinely unsettling, absorbing, and suspenseful. But where Criminal Minds’ greatness lies is in its refusal to settle for what would be more than enough on 99% of other TV series – its writers and directors skillfully and consistently integrate humor (often in the form of delightful banter between the characters played by Kirsten Vangsness and new addition Adam Rodriguez, both masters of comic timing) and poignancy with the requisite chills. One of the best episodes in this regard is Sick Day, which plays with the show’s format to tell a story in flashback as JJ (A.J. Cook) shares the particulars of a distressing case with her husband (Josh Stewart). Writer Virgil Williams uses this structural conceit to subtly craft one of the most distinctive portraits of a marriage I’ve ever seen on television, delineating the complex relationship between JJ’s job and her home life with devastating emotional impact. Under Larry Teng’s delicate direction, Cook and Stewart dig into the challenges and rewards of a marriage between two people under pressure with a sense of depth and revelation more typical of the films of John Cassavetes or Ingmar Bergman than a network procedural. It’s a stunning piece of work.

Yet it’s just one of many such episodes in Criminal Minds’ extraordinary twelfth season, which manages to deliver a full slate of serial killers, kidnappers, and hackers while still devoting considerable time to the exploration of its series regulars. In Mirror Image, for example, writer Breen Frazier comes up with a brilliantly twisty plot that serves as a fascinating brain teaser for the audience while also yielding shattering personal struggles for Tara (Aisha Tyler, who rises to the dramatic challenge with total command of her craft). And the second half of the season contains a wrenching ongoing storyline in which team member Spencer (Matthew Gray Gubler, who like Mantegna is also one of the show’s most reliably stylish and tasteful directors) is framed for a series of crimes and imprisoned. The episode that kicks this arc off, appropriately entitled Spencer, is its own self-contained masterpiece of visual storytelling in harmony with a great script (by Messer and Vangsness) and probing performances. Glenn Kershaw, who has long been one of Criminal Minds’ most expressive and innovative directors, is unerring in his manipulation of space, via both blocking and lens choice, to convey the anguished inner states of Spencer and the members of his team who are helplessly trying to come to his aid. The episode beautifully sets the tone for the rest of the season to follow, which ratchets up the stakes with each episode until building to a season finale (also dazzlingly directed by Kershaw) that synthesizes all the elements of the series in one immaculately executed episode with a killer final moment.

Kershaw is just one of many terrific directors whose work is showcased on the season 12 boxed set; Alec Smight, Tawnia McKiernan, and others take full advantage of the latitude the show offers to craft top-notch action filmmaking. One wouldn’t think a show as long-lasting and successful as Criminal Minds would give its directors much room to breathe, but the opposite turns out to be true – the helmers on Criminal Minds are allowed a considerable amount of freedom in the individual criminal cases that anchor each episode, and use that freedom to construct not only fully realized guest characters but richly elaborate environments for them to inhabit. I feel like if Blumhouse put out a horror movie exhibiting the kind of terrifying originality on display in McKiernan’s The Anti-Terror Squad episode, it would be hailed as a new genre classic – on Criminal Minds, it’s just business as usual. McKiernan and other artists on the show – not just directors but actors, writers, and producers – are interviewed in an hour of supplements on the DVD’s final disc, and the boxed set also includes commentary tracks and deleted scenes on key episodes. The transfer is superb, impeccably preserving the extremely subtle contrast and tonal range of Greg St. Johns’ exquisite cinematography while also providing a robust surround mix that immerses the viewer in the world of the BAU. In short, it’s the indispensable package that this indispensable series deserves.

– Jim Hemphill

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To Combat New Media Players, TV Studios Sign Key Producers to … – Variety

When Shonda Rhimes signed an overall deal with Netflix in August, the blast radius was wide. The “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” creator was a brand-defining producer — so much so that when “Scandal” was delayed last year by star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy, ABC suspended its “TGIT” marketing campaign until midseason, when Thursday nights would again boast back-to-back-to-back Rhimes-produced dramas.

The reasons for the producer to leave her longtime home at ABC Studios were obvious. At Netflix, she will enjoy enormous creative freedom at a deep-pocketed company that cancels shows less often than Rhimes kills characters. But linear TV is not going down without a fight. In the wake of her Netflix move and another big deal signed by “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman this summer with Amazon, traditional TV studios have moved aggressively to lock up key producing talent in lucrative overall deals.

Rhimes told ABC months before the Netflix news broke that she intended to walk away from her deal. ABC agreed to cut Rhimes loose a year before her contract expired, then moved to sign “Criminal Minds” showrunner Erica Messer and “The Strain” and “Colony” showrunner Carlton Cuse. Also this summer, 20th Century Fox TV signed “The Carmichael Show” co-creator and star Jerrod Carmichael, then put two comedies from him in development. Warner Bros. Television renewed its pact with “The Vampire Diaries” showrunner Julie Plec, giving her a significant pay raise. And with Amazon stalking writers in the “Walking Dead” universe, Sony brought “Fear the Walking Dead” creator Dave Erickson back into the fold.

“There is clearly a need for experienced showrunners because there are so many buyers now,” says Pearlena Igbokwe, president of Universal Television. “In terms of the studios, we’re all trying to make deals with terrific writers.”

The incursion of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon into the original programming arena in recent years created demand that benefited the studios. The marketplace shifted to favor sellers as demand grew faster than supply.

But after establishing themselves as programmers, Netflix and Amazon have become producers, looking to own their content and keep the worldwide rights that many studios are hungry to retain and exploit for themselves. Now they’re in competition for talent with the same studios that fed them their earliest hits.

“There is clearly a need for experienced showrunners because there are so many buyers now.”
Pearlena Igbokwe

A typical overall deal that binds a writer-producer exclusively to a studio is not inexpensive, usually worth around $750,000 to $3 million per year for two to three years. Such agreements fell out of fashion after the writers’ strike and financial crisis of the past decade but have made a comeback in the Peak TV era. While studios have pushed in recent years to include clauses in such deals that allow them to assign writers who don’t have a pilot or series on air or in active development to staff on an existing show, agents have countered by pushing for development-only deals that prevent such assignments.

But veteran showrunners bring high value — not just as writers but as producers able to shepherd projects by younger, less experienced creators.

Messer argues that setting up shop with established producers is good business for the studios. “What they’re getting is not just an amazing producer that can bring talent in and team up writers and stars and go make magic,” she says. “You’re bringing in a producer who has the skill set to write, rewrite, run a show, put a crew together.”

That skill set has never been more in demand — particularly when being exercised by people who have proved able to create the broad hits that the streaming services, for all their critical and awards success, often find elusive. The Kirkman deal, for instance, followed an edict by Jeff Bezos for Amazon to move away from niche shows such as “Transparent” and toward genre programming like “The Walking Dead.”

“I think they’re looking for the best storytellers that are out there,” Katz Media Group’s Stacey Lynn Schulman says of the streaming services. But those storytellers will first need to be pried from traditional TV’s stronghold.

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