NBC

‘Rosemary’s Baby’ Miniseries is in the Works at NBC

A 4-hour miniseries based on Ira Levin’s 1967 suspense novel, “Rosemary’s Baby,” is to begin shooting in Paris next month, NBC announced.

The project will be produced by Lionsgate Television, with Joshua Maurer, Alix Witlin and David Stern serving as executive producers.

Scott Abbott and James Wong are writing the screenplay and Agnieszka Holland will direct the miniseries.

Casting is to begin immediately, NBC said.

“Ira Levin’s mesmerizing book was a groundbreaking reflection on how effective and influential a psychological thriller could be,” Quinn Taylor, executive vice president of movies, miniseries and international co-productions for NBC Entertainment, said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re looking forward to adapting his incredible work and bringing those indelible characters to a new generation of viewers.”

“As we move into the event movie and miniseries space, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ represents the kind of attention-getting, surprising project that will make noise for us,” said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment. “The story has been updated and moved to Paris, but it’s faithful to the spirit of Ira Levin’s classic novel. This is a compelling tale wonderfully told.”

The book was previously adapted in 1968 as a film, starring Mia Farrow and set in New York.

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Man Stabs Himself Outside NBC’s ‘Today’ Show Studio

Police said an emotionally disturbed man is in custody on Thursday after he tried to slit his wrists outside of NBC’s “Today” show studio in New York City.

Police said the man, who appeared to be in his 50s, was standing in the crowd outside the broadcast center at Rockefeller Center when he suddenly pulled a knife and began to cut himself.

“Today” show host Matt Lauer tweeted: “Sorry, a man attempted to harm himself with a knife.” He also explained the situation to viewers on television.

The man was taken into custody. Officials said his injuries were not life-threatening.

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Despite Plans For His Replacement, Leno Still Leads Ratings

Jay Leno and the “Tonight” show is one of the few remaining successful programs that NBC has on its network. So why would its executives think about getting rid of him?

NBC has confirmed that it is building a new studio for Jimmy Fallon at its New York headquarters but refuses to comment on reports that Fallon is due to replace Leno on a New York-based “Tonight” show as early as next year.

With Leno already taking potshots at network executives regularly in his monologue, the network risks repeating the nightmare of 2010, when Conan O’Brien failed at “Tonight” and NBC brought Leno back.

“They seem to be making the same mistakes over and over again with a new regime,” said Christine Becker, an associate professor at Notre Dame University and author of the News For TV Majors blog. “You kind of wonder what’s in the water at NBC that is making them make that decision.”

On its face, such a move would seem like a proactive strategy from NBC’s new corporate owners at Comcast Corp., known for its decisive decision-making.

Leno, 62, and his longtime rival David Letterman, 65, are approaching the end of their long late-night reigns. Fallon, 38 and with his own late-night show getting critical acclaim, represents the next generation. So does Jimmy Kimmel, 45, at ABC, and that network made the strategic chess move in January to give him the same time slot as Leno and Letterman.

Leno’s contract expires next year and so does Letterman’s, so some corporate fear might be involved: Does NBC risk losing Fallon to another network that can offer an earlier time slot than the 12:35 a.m. one he currently occupies? There’s also some concern that Kimmel will establish himself as the 11:35 p.m. favorite of a younger audience before Fallon can establish himself.

While all the corporate thinking is going on, Leno has continued to stay in the ratings lead.

That’s no small feat at NBC, which has seen its prime-time lineup collapse to historic ratings lows this winter. Leno, “Saturday Night Live,” and Brian Williams’ “Nightly News” are the only reliable ratings leaders left at the network.

Leno has held strong against the ratings challenge posed by Kimmel. So far this year, the “Tonight” show is averaging 3.42 million viewers, Letterman has 3.03 million and Kimmel has 2.57 million, according to the Nielsen Co. Leno is also leading among the 18-to-49-year-old age group that NBC considers most important. Leno’s and Letterman’s viewership has gone down from last year; Kimmel’s numbers aren’t comparable because he now has an earlier time slot.

If NBC is looking for an immediate infusion of youthful energy from Fallon’s audience, that may be optimistic.

While the average age of Leno’s audience is 58.1, the oldest in late-night, Fallon’s audience is less than five years younger at 53.3. Fallon also hasn’t been gaining in popularity; his average audience has slipped from 1.7 million last year to 1.6 million the year before, according to Nielsen.

Younger audiences seem to be elsewhere at that hour, either online or watching cable. The median age of O’Brien’s audience is 39.5 and Chelsea Handler’s is 35.6. Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have audiences with median ages of 42.

When O’Brien replaced Leno at “Tonight,” the audience didn’t follow. The “Tonight” show ratings dipped alarmingly, and NBC had to bring back Leno to stave off a revolt from its affiliates. There’s no guarantee that Fallon will succeed where O’Brien failed.

There’s also the specter of Ann Curry, which should be fresh in the minds of NBC’s new corporate ownership.

When NBC News replaced Curry as co-host of the “Today” show last summer, viewers reacted angrily — fixing much of their anger at Matt Lauer. “Today” was running neck-and-neck with ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the ratings at the time; now it regularly finishes second.

How Leno’s fans would react to the idea of him leaving the “Tonight” show before he wants is anybody’s guess. Leno, with a relentless run of jokes targeting the futility of NBC executives in recent weeks, doesn’t seem particularly happy.

Madonna Not Happy About MIA Super Bowl Controversy

Madonna is reportedly not happy M.I.A. ruined her Super Bowl halftime performance. M.I.A. came under fire for flashing her middle finger to the cameras while performing “Give Me All Your Luvin’” with Madonna. NBC’s delay system failed to catch the gesture in enough time to blur it. Madonna is said to be furious M.I.A.’s slip up is stealing spotlight from her elaborate performance.

“Madonna wasn’t impressed. She prides herself on professionalism. M.I.A. did nothing similar in rehearsals. Nobody knew she was going to pull this stunt,” an insider tells The Sun.

“Madonna wanted to put on a world-beating performance,” the source adds. “But everyone ended up talking about this girl’s middle finger.”

The NFL placed all the blame on NBC and the network’s delay system. “There was a failure in NBC’s delay system. The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans,” the league said in a statement.

NBC also apologized. “We apologize for the inappropriate gesture that aired during halftime. It was a spontaneous gesture that our delay system caught late,” the network said.