Today in show business news: Killing Lincoln was a big success, pilot season has some hot actors, and The X Factor loses another employee.
Bill O'Reilly, the shouter from Chaminade, is already the king of cable news talky/yelly, but last night he had another major television success: in scripted fare. The National Geographic channel adaptation of his book Killing Lincoln, a scripted movie, premiered to some 3.4 million viewers, a ratings record for the network. NatGeo recently had a hit with SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden, but that was a documentary. This Lincoln thing was fictionalized with actors and everything. Sure the actors were Billy Campbell as Lincoln and Don Johnson's son as John Wilkes Boot, but still. It counts. It was narrated by Tom Hanks for heaven's sake! That means something. NatGeo is already looking to work with O'Reilly again on Killing Kennedy, which should be another boon for the network. And then... I don't know. Killing McKinley? Killing Garfield? Wounding Reagan? How soon until O'Reilly is developing his own original stories? Like the story of a hardworking Catholic school boy who just gets it, just gets it, and then stands up to all the people who don't get it. That could be great. Can't wait to see what exciting projects this TV phenom comes up with. I mean, he really does just get it. [Entertainment Weekly]
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Rainn Wilson and John Stamos are lookin' hot this pilot season. I mean, hot in terms of people wanting them to be on their shows. Wilson, whose Dwight Schrute spinoff never went anywhere I guess, might be signing on to NBC's terribly named Donor Party, about a guy who donated sperm and then realizes he has lots of kids all over the place. NBC wants Wilson to sign on so badly that they've apparently guaranteed the show six episodes, a pretty rare move these days. Stamos is said to be mulling four projects, but seems most bullish on the NBC drama I Am Victor, which has been described as "House as a divorce attorney." So... that could be a good role for Stamos, or it could be yet another blah blah lawyer show. Also on this list of pilot season hotties is genuine hottie Corey Stoll. He's not attached to anything in particular, but people want him, he's sought after. Which is good! He's a great actor who's just coming off good things on House of Cards and he should get work. Though, hopefully not in anything about a hotshot lawyer. We've had enough of those. Sorry, Stamos. But we have. [Deadline]
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A sad day for the fan of The X Factor. The one person who regularly watches and enjoys that show, I think her name is Debbie and she lives in Kansas City somewhere, will be sad to hear that Khloe Kardashian will not be returning as host. So that means Britney Spears and L.A. Reid are out as judges, and now they're short a host. Everything must go over there, huh? Total clearance. Remember when Simon Cowell was all nattering on about how X Factor was going to be bigger than American Idol? Guess he was wrong. In some ways, maybe he should never have left Idol. Not that he was really contributing much to their ratings by the end, but it's still watched more than raggedy X Factor. Anyway, now who's going to co-host? "Ladies and gentlemen, meaning just Debbie in Overland Park, please welcome your hosts, Mario Lopez and a paper plate with a face drawn on it taped to an old mop handle!" It's getting pretty ugly over there. Poor Debbie. [Vulture]
Very funny funnyman Thomas Lennon will be playing Sean Hayes's difficult boss in Hayes's new sitcom pilot. The show, untitled at the moment, is about Hayes trying to raise his 14-year-old daughter, who's just moved in with him, and dealing with the annoyances of work, including the aforementioned boss. It's a multicamera show, for NBC. Which... Thomas. Really? I know money is nice and all, but you wrote Night at the Museum. Aren't you rich? And, sure, Sean Hayes can be very good, but this show does not sound like a good vehicle for him. It sounds like every third show smooshed into every fourth. Wacky family problems meet wacky work problems! In multicamera! On NBC! Maybe Lennon knows something we don't know, in which case good luck to him, but right now this is a less than thrilling prospect. But, of course, you never know. It may seem shocking, but we've been wrong about TV pilots before. [Deadline]
Here is a first promo for Hannibal, NBC's version of the Thomas Harris serial killer story. This is a prequel to everything we've seen so far that has Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) enlisting Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) to help him solve crimes, not knowing that he's a cannibal serial killer himself. So it's a procedural, involving Hannibal Lecter. Make of that what you will. Nothing wrong with Hugh Dancy, we know that at least.