This week in TV news, Channing Dungey is tapped to head ABC Entertainment, Weird Al sings for SundanceTV, The Walking Dead is still alive, and more!


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that a unanimous decision to research the state of diversity in television programming will be moving forward. FCC leaders are very aware that this inquiry comes at a time when questions of diversity and opportunities for female directors surround this year’s Oscar nominations.  It isn’t clear at this time what actions the FCC might take once the results of the study are complete.


Josh Hutcherson II
Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson is set to play the lead role in Hulu’s new pilot Future Man from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.  Hutcherson plays Josh Futterman – a socially awkward janitor by day and a gaming genius by night. Josh “Future Man” Futterman soon discovers he must use his videogamer super powers to defeat mysterious visitors set to destroy the human race! Eek! Hutcherson will produce through his Turkeyfoot Productions. Rogen and Goldberg will executive produce, as well as direct the pilot.


SundanceTV announced a new television advertising campaign starring “Weird Al” Yankovic that will launch today, February 18. The network commissioned Weird Al to develop an original jingle and star in a custom video featuring local, operator-specific channel numbers. The song, written and performed by Yankovic, helps viewers find the channel and never ever forget its location, including the suggestion that viewers carve their specific SundanceTV channel number on their foreheads (which the network does not actually advocate). You can check out a sample spot here. The spot launches in advance of the network’s newest original series, Hap and Leonard, which is set to premiere Wednesday, March 2nd.


ABC Entertainment Chief Paul Lee has stepped down after six years in charge of programming, with ABC naming VP of Drama Development Channing Dungey his successor. Dungey will be the first African-American to lead the entertainment division of a major broadcast network. In her tenure with ABC, she developed such hits as Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Once Upon a Time, and Quantico. In a statement Dungey said, “I’m thrilled and humbled that [Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman] Ben [Sherwood] has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity, and I am truly grateful to Paul for being a valued mentor and friend.” ABC is currently in last place in ratings among the top four networks, so this change up may be just what the doctor ordered.


Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
The Walking Dead returned last Sunday night for the second half of season six to slightly less viewers than its mid-season finale in November. On Wednesday, Nielsen released its “live plus same-day” estimates, which show an average rating of 6.8 million in the adults 18 to 49 demographic and 13.7 million overall. Those numbers are down 15 percent in the demo (and 12 percent total) from the mid-season finale ratings, but it still ruled the day, which may have suffered from being Valentine’s Day and in the middle of a holiday weekend. The episode, “No Way Out,” was a critical success. earning a Fresh score of 96 percent here at Rotten Tomatoes.

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