TV News Roundup: Johnny Galecki Gets Science Channel Series, ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Ratings

johnny galecki
Terence Patrick for Variety

In today’s TV news roundup, Johnny Galecki will executive produce and star in new Science Channel series titled “SciJinks,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has a more-than-solid premiere on its new network, and more.

GREENLIGHTS 

Science Channel has ordered eight 30-minute episodes of prank series “SciJinks” from “The Big Bang Theory” star Johnny Galecki. He will appear in and executive produce the series, which is scheduled to premiere in fourth quarter 2017. The series will use cutting-edge science as the foundation for outrageous stunts and practical jokes. Along with Galecki, each of the episodes will be guided by scientists, physicists, and STEM students. Galecki’s Alcide Bava Productions and A. Smith & Co. Productions will produce the series.

OWN has ordered two new docuseries that will join its Saturday night programming line-up later this year. “Released,” produced by Lucky 8, features intimate, first-person narratives of formerly incarcerated men and women as they walk out of the prison doors for the first time to restart their lives. “Checking Inn” (working title) from Trooper Entertainment in association with Lionsgate Television follows former Essence Magazine editor-in-chief Monique Greenwood as she pursues her lifelong dream of running her own bed and breakfast.

RATINGS

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” sashayed to a hot start on VH1 on Friday night. The Season 9 premiere garnered an average audience of 987,000 — more than double its previous performance on Logo — and a healthy 0.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

The midseason premiere of Fox’s “Empire” was up from its previous episode by 8% in Nielsen’s Live+3 ratings. It notched a 4.0 in the 18-49 demographic and an average audience of 10.7 million.

CASTING

John Leguizamo has joined the cast of “Waco,” a six-part event series based on the true story of the 51-day standoff that began with an ATF raid of a religious sect in Waco, Texas, and resulted in a deadly fire. Leguizamo will play the role of ATF agent Robert Rodriguez, who was sent into Koresh’s Mount Carmel to gather evidence and build a federal case against the Branch Davidians, but forged a bond with the people inside. The series is set to air on the Paramount Network in 2018.

DISTRIBUTION

IFC made the premiere of new series “Brockmire” available on a variety of platforms for commercial-free viewing ahead of its linear TV debut. Viewers can watch the premiere via VOD, TV Everywhere, social, and digital, including IFC.com and FunnyOrDie.com, 10 days in advance of its linear premiere. The eight-episode first season of the series, created with Funny or Die, will have its linear premiere on IFC on Wednesday, April 5 at 10/9c with two back-to-back episodes.

DEALS 

ION Television has inked a deal with global independent studio Entertainment One (eOne) for original series “Private Eyes,” starring Jason Priestley, making ION the exclusive U.S. television home for current and future seasons of the drama series. “Private Eyes” follows ex-pro hockey player Matt Shade (Priestley), who permanently changes his life when he decides to team up with cutthroat P.I. Angie Everett (Cindy Sampson) to form an unlikely investigative powerhouse.

AMC has partnered with Citizens Parking to bring the Los Pollos Hermanos pop-up restaurant to Los Angeles and New York City. Fans on both coasts will have the chance to enjoy Gus Fring’s famous curly fries in Los Angeles on March 29 and 30, and in New York City on April 9 and 10. Citizens Parking, one of the largest parking companies in the United States, will host the pop ups at popular outdoor parking lot locations in both cities. Season 3 of “Better Call Saul” premieres on AMC on Monday, April 10, at 1o/9c.

AWARDS 

Former co-hosts of ABC‘s “Good Morning AmericaDavid Hartman and Joan Lunden will be honored with the NAB Distinguished Service Award (DSA) during the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas. The two will accept their awards at the NAB Show Opening on Monday, April 24. The award is given annually to members of the broadcast community who have made significant and lasting contributions to the industry.

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