TV Talk

13.7 Million Viewers Tune In For Letterman's Final Show

Plus, Don Draper Did Write That Coca-Cola Commercial

by | May 21, 2015 | Comments

This week in TV news, David Letterman said farewell to CBS’s Late Show while AMC’s Mad Men reached the end of an era. Plus, Epix announced two new scripted shows (including one with Nick Notle) and Woody Allen expressed regret about his new Amazon series. Finally, it’s back to school with a new college course based on FX’s The Strain!

13.7 Million People Tuned in to Watch Letterman’s Last Show

Wednesday night’s swansong for David Letterman’s Late Show was its highest-rated broadcast since 1994, when it followed CBS’s primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics. The latest stats show that 13.7 million viewers tuned in to see Dave say goodbye after 33 years of hosting late-night television, or — as Letterman himself revealed during his rundown of thank-yous — 6,000 shows. The 80-minute broadcast was chock-a-block with personalities, including previously filmed lines from George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and President Obama; and his final Top 10 list was outsourced to celebrities like Bill Murray, Peyton Manning, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld. The final musical act, The Foo Fighters, launched into “Everlong,” a song near and dear to Letterman, while the show closed out with a montage of the last 33 years. The monumental broadcast also bolstered ratings for the Late Late Show with James Corden, which clocked 4.01 million viewers in the franchise’s biggest show to date (with any host). Stephen Colbert, who will take over for Letterman, begins The Late Show on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain Will Be an Online College Course

This week, FX announced that its Certified Fresh vampire show, The Strain, will be the inspiration for an online college course tiled, “Fight or Die: the Science Behind FX’s ‘The Strain.” In a partnership with the University of California, Irvine and an edtech company called Instructure, the course will be available to “anyone in the world interested in learning real-world, collegiate-level lessons from vampire parasites and fictitious cyber attacks.” The course, taught online by multidisciplinary university professors, will tackle themes of the show, such as parasitic vampirism and cyber catastrophe, to teach about biological parasites, disease spread dynamics, and large-scale cyber attacks. The free online course will begin Jun. 22, ahead of the season two premiere of The Strain on Jul. 12. Instructure did a similar partnership with UC Irvine and AMC to create a Walking Dead-themed course in 2013. For more info, visit

Woody Allen ‘Regrets’ Making An Amazon Show

One of the biggest stories to come out of the Cannes Film Festival this week was not about movies, but about an upcoming TV show. In an interview with Deadline, Woody Allen, who has been tapped to create an original series for Amazon, said, “I have regretted every second since I said okay. It’s been so hard for me. I had the cocky confidence,
‘Well, I’ll do it like I do a movie…it’ll be a movie in six parts.’ Turns out, it’s not.” Allen was given until the end of 2016 to create pretty much anything he wants within six half hours, but he finds himself to be too much of a fish out of water. “It’s not a piece of cake,” Allen said. “It’s a tough thing and I’m earning every penny that they’re giving me and I just hope that they don’t feel, ‘My God, we gave him a very substantial amount of money and freedom and this is what he gives us?'” Amazon reportedly wooed Allen, who says he doesn’t even watch TV, to take on the project for a year-and-a-half before he accepted.

Epix Is Getting Into the Scripted Series Game With Nick Nolte

Epix unveiled plans Thursday to produce two scripted series, which will both begin production this fall. Graves, a half-hour single-camera comedy, will star Nick Nolte as a former President of the United States who goes on a Don Quixote-esque mission to right his political wrongs 20 years after serving in office. Creator Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) will write, direct, and executive produce the series. Epix’s other original series, Berlin Station will be a 10-part drama of hour-long episodes about a newly anointed case officer who arrives at the CIA foreign station in Berlin on a clandestine mission. American spy novelist Olen Steinhauer (The Cairo Affair, All The Old Knives) will write and executive produce the series. Epix is planning to premiere both shows in fall 2016.

Matthew Weiner Discusses the Ending of Mad Men

Warning: Contains Mad Men spoilers. In an interview with novelist A.M. Homes at the New York Public Library Wednesday morning, Mad Men creator and showrunner Matthew Weiner spoke about the ambiguous final scene of this week’s finale — yes, Don Draper wrote that ad. “I have never been clear, and I have always been able to live with ambiguities,” Weiner said. “In the abstract, I did think, ‘Why not end this show with the greatest commercial ever made?’ In terms of what it means to people and everything, I am not ambiguity for ambiguity’s sake. But it was nice to have your cake and eat it too, in terms of what is advertising, who is Don and what is that thing?” Weiner also went on to say that the commercial was not meant to be read cynically. “I did hear rumblings of people talking about the ad being corny. It’s a little bit disturbing to me, that cynicism. I’m not saying advertising’s not corny, but I’m saying that the people who find that ad corny, they’re probably experiencing a lot of life that way, and they’re missing out on something.” Read the full story on