Scream Queens exclusive: Nick Jonas and Ariana Grande will be back!

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Everybody is a suspect’ on ‘Scream Queens’.

NBC and CBS both had something to be happy about on Monday night with strong premieres for both Blindspot and Live in Pieces, respectively, but the most-hyped debuts of the first Tuesday of the fall season were on ABC and Fox.(The Hollywood Reporter)Fox kicked off horror comedy anthology Scream Queens — created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan — on Tuesday with a bloody two-hour premiere.“Abigail, you’re slaying,” Emma Roberts says, complimenting costar Abigail Breslin on her comedic delivery, during a break in shooting on Scream Queens’ New Orleans stages.The Muppets had 8.9 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18–49 at 8 p.m., and the two-hour Scream Queens opener had only 4 million viewers and a 1.7 rating (rising from a 1.6 in the preliminary report).

The two actresses, along with co-stars Skyler Samuels, Keke Palmer, Lea Michele, Billie Lourd, and Niecy Nash, who plays inept security guard Denise Hemphill, are shooting a scene in which Chanel #5 begins to crack under the pressure of being stalked by a killer and flees the house. “This is insane! Another series premiere, CBS’ Limitless (9.8 million, 1.8), had a somewhat mixed start at 10 p.m. — high in viewers and built slightly from its lead-in, though still a lower demo rating than networks hope to see for a premiere.

Producer Ryan Murphy’s latest was tracking strong in the industry’s pre-premiere polling (which correctly predicted successful openings for The Muppets and NBC’s Blindspot). But when dean of students Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) cracks down on KKT, Chanel reluctantly has to admit less-than-desirable pledges into the sorority. Airing Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m., Queens is a biting satire of millennials, feminism, and the collegiate Greek system mixed with an elaborate, gruesome Agatha Christie-style whodunit. Yesterday Fox released that the show was generating extremely strong interest on social media in the days ahead of its premiere, racking up more than 300,000 social media actions.

That turns out to be the least of her problems when a prank takes a deadly turn and a crazed killer dressed as the school’s Red Devil mascot begins targeting KKT. Or to put it in the show’s parlance, it’s as if Glee and American Horror Story (co-created by Murphy and Falchuk) hooked up at a mixer and birthed a really bitchy daughter. “Scream Queens to me is kind of the dream of American Horror Story, but with the sprinkling of this amazing comedy aspect that Ryan, Ian, and Brad do so well,” says Emma Roberts. Here, Falchuk — who says Scream Queens stands out from the Scream franchise because its characters don’t realize they’re falling into common horror tropes — breaks down the premiere and previews what to expect from the season. (Click here to meet the cast of characters.) By the end of the premiere, there’s already a pretty high body count, and presumably that’s setting the path for the whole season.

As was the case on Monday, and every day so long as society doesn’t collectively cut the cord, these live-plus-same day ratings tell a fraction of the story. Chanel must also battle with Dean Munsch, who hates everything she stands for, and a group of undesirable new pledges (including Samuels, Michele, and Palmer) whom she’s forced to allow in. The silver lining for Scream Queens is the show’s ratings largely held steady over the course of its two hours, so almost all the viewers who started the show completed it — that kind of retention, especially over an unusually long premiere, is taken as a good sign (and that opener covered a lot of storytelling ground). It not only aims to pull in viewers with an all-star cast — which includes pop singers Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas in supporting roles — but also is being filmed as an anthology that will take the survivors to a new location next season.

The creators are also eager to push the boundaries of what can be said and done on network television. (For instance, necrophilia plays a fairly major role.) “I sorta feel like if you’re gonna do broadcast TV, you better go far, because people are not interested in it if you don’t,” says Murphy. When we were shooting the pilot — we shot the pilot and the second episode all around the same time — and when we got to know the actress who played Deaf Taylor Swift, she was so funny that we got together and said, “Is there a way we can not kill her and maybe kill someone else?” And it’s like no, we love everybody, and it also sort of fit with the story, so we had to go forward with it. It may not be the point of view for everybody, but this is one of the funniest, best projects I have been involved with.” It’s also somewhat of a career rebirth for Curtis, who, since starring in Freaky Friday in 2003, has mostly just done guest spots on shows like New Girl and in commercials for the probiotic yogurt Activia. “I don’t want to denigrate that job, because the truth of the matter is I was happy doing it,” Curtis says of shilling yogurt. “We [worked with] great people, it was a public service… But to say it was creatively satisfying would be a lie.

CBS had the premieres of NCIS (17.8 million, 2.4) and NCIS: New Orleans (12.5 million, 1.7), both down a bit from last year, with the flagship having its softest premiere ever. But that leads us to another bit of news (and this one is good): Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (6.2 million, 2.2) went up in the ratings for its second week — by 22 percent.

Granted, BTE’s lead in was upgraded from America’s Got Talent to The Voice, so the neo-variety show had more viewers going into 10 p.m., but nobody forces somebody to watch a series and winning an hour is winning an hour no matter what kind of help you get. When you’re going to put the horror in there, you really want to hit it hard, but you want to make sure there’s funny right afterward — if not during — because you want to keep people lifted up. The way you find the balance is understanding that, when you’re missing some ingredients, certain ingredients are super strong, and the flavor is so strong that if you use too much, it ruins the whole soup. We did Glee, and we were working with young actors and there were people talking to each other — texting, Snapchatting or playing games with each other — when they were sitting next to each other. We wanted to have an extreme example of that with this character only being able to communicate through text, even when she’s screaming and being stabbed.

She uses Twitter as her way of telling everybody that she’s being killed and who the killer is, but she runs out of characters eventually, and she can’t even say the answer because she decided to use Twitter as her way of communicating. When you have Ariana doing that scene, it also gives it a different little punch because if you have a star that big, you’re not going to kill her in the first episode — but that’s the fun of it. The ability to do it in an extreme way and have satire in there, horror goes hand-in-hand with that, because obviously the reality of a real serial killer and a horror movie serial killer are very different. But they have all these almost superpowers, so you’re really heightening everything, so I think that you can then tell stories that are a bit heightened in that way, and they sort of tonally go together really well.

We wanted it to go back to the ignorance of characters in terms of those horror movie tropes so they could experience them a little more innocently or naively. Instead, we decided to say you know what, everyone knows these tropes, but if we can entertain it enough and make it fun and interesting enough, then no one’s going to mind that we’re using them again.

There are moments when she says, “You know, maybe I shouldn’t be this awful.” But I think she’s more interesting because she doesn’t feel she needs to be redeemed. She’s looking to get what she wants, and in the process of doing that, she starts to think, “Maybe what I want right now is actually to be connected to this girl, to be nice to this girl.” So it’s not about what she should do but what she wants right now. In that process, we’ve had moments where we’re like, “What if instead of this person, it’s this person?” Then we talk it through, and we’ve always come back to our original plan. We don’t want to tell the actors, because it’s more fun if they don’t know, because then they all think that either they’re the killer or that they could be killed. Actually, when I was writing that scene, and we knew it was in that time, I literally just Googled “top songs of 1995.” And I was looking through the list and saw “Waterfalls” and thought it was funny.

I wouldn’t guess as a storyteller that I’d be drawn to those, because I’d think I’d be more drawn to the light, but I find it really fun to write, especially like this, especially when you can have the other stuff, too. It started as fun, and then once we had them and it looked great, it was like, “Oh, we’ve got to give a good reason for it.” So we put that in there.

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