Welcome to the Morning Links. Each weekday, I’ll provide you with some interesting television-related news items culled from the various TV websites I frequent on a regular basis with a slight bit of commentary attached. Pretty straightforward – no fuss, no muss. Busy weekend of news to get you started on a Monday morning. Let’s get to it:
*From Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall, NBC has relegated its tepid adaptation of The Firm to Saturday nights (which is essentially cancellation) after it performed horribly in its Thursday at 10PM slot, ceding that real estate to one of Fall 2011’s most intriguing pilots, Awake. While Awake received the strongest critical buzz of any network pilot, most expressed concern over whether the show, which follows a detective who’s living in two realities – one where his wife died in a car crash and his son survived, and another where his son perished and his wife lived – can exist as a series. That it comes from Kyle Killen, whose Lone Star was essentially the 2010 version of Awake and lasted a scant two episodes on Fox that fall, isn’t helping fears about its long-term prospects. Still, I’m very excited to see how the pilot comes off even as I have no expectation that it’s going to do well in a tough timeslot. But, hey… no one saw Grimm becoming a modest hit for NBC on Friday nights. Maybe lightning can strike twice? Maybe? Awake premieres Thursday, March 1.
*30 Rock hit a ratings low on Thursday night, pulling in numbers that were much worse than what Community was doing in the same slot earlier this season. Hey NBC… maybe Community didn’t deserve to be unceremoniously yanked from your schedule after all. Just sayin’. In other ratings news, NBC opened February sweeps in a fourth-place tie with… wait for it… Univision. Really. (Via EW and The AV Club)
*Interesting factoid thrown out by the guys over at TV By The Numbers – a recent article in the LA Times states that more than 60% of the two-billion-plus hours of video streamed by Netflix subscribers in the fourth-quarter of 2011 was television content, not movies. This is a fascinating piece of data as it shows the shift in television-watching patterns over the last couple of years. Speaking as someone who has Netflix access via Xbox Live, frankly, it’s the tits. The ability to catch up on old shows whenever I want is incredible and with these numbers it’s obvious why Netflix is anxious to get into the original content game via the upcoming Kevin Spacey/David Fincher project House Of Cards as well as the Arrested Development revival in 2013.
*FX’s top hit, Sons Of Anarchy, has been renewed through a sixth season and series creator Kurt Sutter has extended his own deal with the network through a potential season seven which has been his ultimate plan for the series all along. While SOA experienced a bounce-back year in terms of quality in its fourth season in 2010, I fear that this extension means that nothing drastic is going to happen over the next two years making me wonder if it’s going to be worth sticking it out until the end. There was no good reason for Ron Perlman’s Clay to survive this past season other than Sutter drawing his storylines out to fit his seven-season plan so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m pessimistic about the series’ thrust going forward. (Via Hitfix)
*Even the day after a Super Bowl that saw one of the worst possible outcomes – a New York Giants win – the news coming out of Indianapolis that the NFL is adding five more games to its Thursday Night Football slate of games on NFL Network, bringing it to 13 weeks of coverage beginning in Week Two of the 2012 season, is great news. More football on my TV can never be a bad thing and the fact that we now live in a world where live football almost every single night of the week in the fall between the NFL, college football, and local high school football games is a glorious thing. (Via TV By The Numbers)
*Per EW’s James Hibberd, veteran actor Bobby Cannavale (Louie) nailed down (SPOILER ALERT) a role as the character replacement for Michael Pitt’s Jimmy Darmody (END SPOILER) on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Should be interesting to see how he interacts with Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson on the gangster epic.
*In other casting news, Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life On The Street) has booked the lead role in Shawn Ryan’s (The Shield) new ABC submarine drama, Sanaa Lathan (Nip/Tuck) will be joining the second season of Starz’ Kelsey Grammar-starring Boss, and – say it ain’t so – revered alt-comedian Patton Oswalt (Young Adult) is going to be guesting on <stifling vomit> Two And A Half Men as a foil for Ashton Kutcher’s character. I think I speak for comedy fans everywhere when I say, “What the hell, Patton?” (Via EW and TVLine)
*Finally, would that Ron Swanson’s Bacon ‘N Eggs were a real cereal. (Via Warming Glow)