TV Zone

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'The Killing,' 'True Blood' have return dates

Actors Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos in a

(Credit: Handout)

"The Killing," which was very nearly offed after its second season (and was, but that's another story), has a date with the audience: June 2 for a two hour launch. AMC just announced, and here are some details (please head to the jump for date and time of "Blood").

The new season, which stars Mireille Enos (Sarah Linden) and Joel Kinnaman (Stephen Holder), along with new...

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'Good Day New York' beats 'Today' in ratings for second straight month

NBC "Today" show star Matt Lauer sat down

(Credit: Getty Images)

For the second month in a row, WNYW/5 has beaten "The Today Show" in New York -- highly unusual in the nation's largest city and symptomatic of "Today's" ongoing struggles. Per Ch. 5's figures, "Today"  is down  27 percent year to year (or March to March) in the critical midrange adult demographic (25-54). "Good Day" bested "Today" by nine percent in this category.

Normally we don't tarry with numbers in this space -- though I have covered "Today's," while pointing out that the decline long predated Ann Curry's ouster last June --  but if "Today" can't pull out a victory on its home turf, then problems are serious.

Meanwhile, I wrote a TV Zone post about Matt Lauer's recent efforts to spin his travails at "Today" the other day, and mentioned that Howard Kurtz's recent scoop for the Daily Beast had come from an "impromptu" call from Lauer to Howard.


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Wrong! I now hear Kurtz had made the pitch months earlier and that NBC management did in fact know about it. Why is timing relevant? Because there's been some speculation that New York mag's subsequent piece on Lauer was even tougher because Kurtz's piece beat them to the punch.

This may be inside baseball to you, but it's important to NBC and Lauer as they struggle to contain the damage that continues to envelop the most important anchor at NBC.

'Game of Thrones' producer talks season 3

A scene from the HBO series "Game of

(Credit: HBO)

David Benioff -- part of the two-headed dragon that produces HBO's hit "Game of Thrones" (Dan Weiss, the other head) -- spoke with CNN's Jake Tapper Thursday about Sunday's show. (Good piece -- but worth noting that CNN is owned by Time Warner, which owns HBO; redundant information? Possibly... ) My review of season three? Well, isn't that nice of you to ask! Here it is...  And check it out Jake's chat ...

Bob Teague, NBC News and WNBC/4 reporter, dead at 84

Bob Teague, one of the first African American reporters on New York televison and a stalwart of the New York airwaves beginning back in the early '60s, has died. WNBC/4 - where he worked for many years - will air an obit tonight at 6. Meanwhile, I have some statements:

“Bob was a brilliant writer and reporter. He had a gift for broadcast news,” said Gabe Pressman, Ch. 4's political anchor emeritus and long the dean of New York's TV political reporters who worked with Teague. And this from Chuck Scarborough: “Bob Teague was a superb reporter, dedicated to his profession, driven to excel and tireless in his pursuit of the truth. He was also a valuable mentor to those of us who followed in his footsteps. Bob’s achievements and integrity stand as an example for . 

And a Ch. 4 statement: “Bob Teague was a broadcast pioneer with a passion for news and for serving his New York viewers. We were saddened to hear of his passing and send our most sincere condolences to his wife and the entire Teague family.”

Teague retired in '91 and lived in New Jersey (Monmouth Junction), had been suffering from cancer. He was 84.  

Barbara Walters to retire in May 2014

Barbara Walters presents an award at the 39th

(Credit: AP)

Ending years of rumors, speculation, and even jokes - usually told at her own expense - Barbara Walters finally has the answer to the most pressing question of her remarkable career: When will it end?

She will announce later this spring that the final date will be in May, 2014. That will mark exactly 50 years on television, beginning in 1964 when she became a co-host alongside Hugh Downs at "Today."

Walters, 83, could not be reached earlier today, and Cindi Berger, her longtime spokeswoman, did not respond to a call or email. But an industry executive familiar with Walters' exit strategy said she will announce her departure on "The View" "in the coming months."

A long farewell was always to be expected although in the case of "The View" - which she and her longtime production partner Bill Geddie launched in 1997 - it may be a necessity. Joy Behar is leaving this summer, and persistent reports point to a late summer departure for Elisabeth Hasselbeck too. Even given a year's lead time, that represents an enormous rebuilding project for the talk show. It's expected to use those months to air a long valedictory to its legendary founder, but also develop new hosts.

Clearly Walters was caught unawares by the news of her retirement, first reported on industry website Deadline, even though she and ABC have been planning this for months.

In recent years, she has gradually stepped away from other commitments - notably "20/20" in 2009 - but when she ended her popular Oscar special -, a pre-awards fixture for nearly 30 years - in 2011, speculation about her tenure on "The View" ramped up. After an interview with President Obama later that year, she leaned over to him saying, "I need one more interview with you, because I'm retiring next year." The comment was caught on an open mic, and Walters later laughed it off as a joke.

Last year, in Washington to attend the president's inauguration, she fell and suffered a concussion, and doctors later found that she had adult on-set chicken pox. There were no indications today her retirement is related any health issue.

FX spins off comedy network; 25 shows ordered

Janine Brito, W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu

(Credit: FX)

FX will launch a new comedy network early September that will strip away some of the network's best-loved (and yes, most raunchy) shows as a foundation to attract the most fickle audience (read: attention deficit) of them all — young dudes.

The new network will be called FXX and arrive Sept. 2; FX had earlier said this was gonna happen, but this morning at the network's "upfront" meet, a welter of details arrived. Shows like  "Archer," "The League" and "It's Always Sunny . . ." will split off from the mother network and will then be joined by a bunch of new guy comedies, including one from "Sunny's"  Charlie Kaufman. Of course this means FX will also have to ramp up drama production. It will be an insanely busy summer for FX . . . The net will have a total of 25 original series on the air later this year and into next . . .

"Louie?" Good question: It stays on the mother channel, FX, which indicates that a.) FX doesn't consider it a comedy; b.) it skews a lot older than drunken college dorm staple, "Archer." Show's back May, 2014.

Meanwhile, the new late night show, "Totally Biased with Kamau Bell" will move to FXX as a five-night-a-week late nighter . . .

Here's what John Landgraf, FX chief, told advertisers, via a news release:

“We are embarking on an incredibly ambitious ramp-up of program development and production required to sustain these networks. I’m very confident that the pilots, projects and talent we have deals with will allow us to double our already best-in-class roster of scripted original series over the next several years. Our three-network platform will enable us to achieve even greater goals and solidify our position as a leader in quality scripted original programming . . ." (The third? FXM, the movie channel . . .)

The other stuff, straight from the FX release:

— FX Networks renewal of season 5 of Justified for FX; season 10 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia; seasons 5 and 6 of The League; season 2 of Legit; and the move of Sunny, The League and Legit to FXX

— Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell to FXX expands to a 5-night-per-week strip

— FX's order of the 10-episode limited series Fargo FX Networks comedy pilot order of How and Why from Charlie Kaufman, and Chozen from Grant Dekernion, Danny McBride and the team behind Eastbound & Down

What's next for Jay Leno? Weighing the options

President Barack Obama chats with host Jay Leno

(Credit: Getty Images)

Jay Leno isn't really going anywhere despite what you may have read. He will leave "The Tonight Show" by next fall, but -- just to bowdlerize the old saying -- when the TV gods close a window, a door opens someplace else.

What's the door for Jay?

There's been all sorts of speculation -- everywhere -- all of it intriguing and certainly feasible. The bottom line: Jay will be...

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NBC approached Anderson Cooper about 'Today' role

Matt Lauer attends Time magazine's Person of the

(Credit: Getty Images)

In the quickly unravelling world at "Today," now this: A prominent report says that NBC management made a call to CNN's Anderson Cooper about joining "Today" before year's end, which ostensibly would put him at the head of the line to replace Matt Lauer, whose deal at the show is up in just under two years.

True or not true? 

I am told: True, although NBC has...

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Is Brian Williams going to 'Jeopardy?'

NBC News anchor Brian Williams on the set

(Credit: AP)

David Letterman had questions for Brian Williams last night: There are so many after all. But Letterman did ask about "Jeopardy" rumors. Brian admitted that in fact he did get a call -- or a "feeler" -- and that it's now "become a family joke." 

Dorothy Hamill withdraws from 'Dancing With the Stars'

Dorothy Hamill has starred in "Romeo and Juliet

(Credit: Getty Images)

Dorothy Hamill, who looked like an early favorite to go far in the 16th season of "Dancing with the Stars," withdrew Tuesday -- and in the process explained her more or less poor showing to date.

Not only had she been bedevilled by a bad ankle, but a bad back, as she said last night. Withdrawals are not unheard of here, of course. Misty May-Treanor withdrew back in '08, for example...

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