TV News Roundup: ‘Highwire Live in Times Square’ Tops Sunday Night Ratings

In today’s TV news roundup, ABC’s “Highwire Live in Times Square” tops Sunday night ratings, and “Total Bellas” has been renewed for a fifth season.


FX will air the special event “Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” on July 7. The program will showcase the issues honored at the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony hosted by Ronan Farrow. Hasan Minhaj will moderate a round table discussion on race, LGBTQ issues, the #MeToo movement and the state of journalism. Panelists will include Steven Canals, co-creator, executive producer and writer of FX’s “Pose”; Paula Lavigne, ESPN investigative reporter for “Spartan Silence: Crisis at Michigan State”; Terence Nance, filmmaker and creator of HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness”; and Tracy Heather Strain, director and writer of the PBS/WNET documentary “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart.”


Total Bellas,” the docuseries on the lives of WWE stars Nikki and Brie Bella has been greenlit for a fifth season on E!. “We’re at a really exciting point in our lives, and can’t wait to take the Bella Army on this journey as we continue to work hard and inspire them to live their dreams,” said Brie Bella. Added Nikki Bella: “We’re looking forward to sharing our triumphs and challenges with our fans this season, and hope they all have as much fun as we’re having along the way.”


The North Fork TV Festival has announced its seven independent TV pilot finalists, out of which four will be be screened at this year’s festival on Oct. 4-5 in Greenport, NY, Variety has learned exclusively. The finalists are: “Beyond the Badge” (Ryan Miningham and Samuel Bennetts), “Everyone is Doing Great” (James Lafferty),  “M” (Javier Devitt), “Otis (“Alexendar Etseyatse), “Rainbow Ruthie” (Ruth Marantz), “Shephard” (Andrew Bryan), and “Ups and Downs (Eoin Cleland). These pilots will be judged by showrunners Theresa Rebeck (“Smash”), Rockne S. O’Bannon (“Defiance”), David Feige (“Raising the Bar”), and David Greenwalt (“Grimm”), with winning selections announced July 10. 


The two-hour ABC special “Highwire Live in Times Square” led Sunday night with a 0.8 rating in adults 18-49 as well as 5.3 million viewers. However, the special did not reach the ratings heights of past highwire specials such as Discovery’s “Skywire Live” in 2013 (8.5 million viewers).