Basically Nobody Watches NBC Anymore

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The Call Sheet sifts through the day's glut of Hollywood news to find the stories even non-industry types can care about. Today: NBC is in deep trouble, but maybe Hannibal Lecter can save them; Justin Bieber wins Christmas; and Leo DiCaprio gets his revenge.

Bill Carter and Brian Stelter break down today just what a ratings pickle NBC is in, noting the startling statistic that without their football coverage, NBC would be "struggling to stay out of fifth place." Yes, fifth place. As in, beaten by The CW. The CW! Home of sexy vampire witches and, uh, 90210. That's a mighty bad place for NBC to be, considering how dominantly it used to rule the airwaves. But alas the go-go '90s are long gone, and even a recent change in management -- Steve Burke is the new CEO and Bob Greenblatt, who previously worked wonders at Fox and Showtime, is the new chairman -- hasn't been able to reverse the Peacock's downward trend. Recent high-profile failures like Free Agents and The Playboy Club, both already canceled, certainly haven't helped matters, nor have the limping-along numbers for Prime Suspect, a big-ticket series with a strong lead actress that, for whatever mysterious reason, has failed to entice viewers.  It's a shame, because the show is actually pretty good. [NYT]

Maybe this will save NBC. The net has bought a show called Hannibal from Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies), about famous people-eater Hannibal Lecter. Fictionally famous, that is. There isn't really a Hannibal Lecter in real life. Sadly none of our cannibals are nearly as witty or erudite. Nope, mostly we've just got a bunch of beer-drinkin', Hannity-watchin', Barca Lounger cannibals in this country. There are probably some classy cannibals in France or whatever, but who wants to bother to find out? But yes, in the world of fiction there is the fabulous Hannibal Lecter and now he will have his very own network television show. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that. [Deadline]

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Rufus Sewell is the latest lost soul to be lured into the big Paradise Lost movie that's being misguidedly made. There's no word on who exactly he'll be playing, but our guess is that it's a bad guy. Bradley Cooper is playing Lucifer (because sure), so maybe Sewell is... one of his henchmen? Does the Devil have henchmen? Other than Katy Perry, we mean? Maybe Rufus Sewell is playing Katy Perry. That sounds likely. You heard it hear first, folks: Celebrated English theater actor Rufus Sewell will be playing Katy Perry in an action movie. Someone alert the Academy! [THR]

Here is a photo of some of the Gleemurs performing in a fake production of West Side Story in an upcoming episode. From the looks of it, we're gonna guess that Ben Brantley will call it "flat and uninspired" but praise "Mr. Shum's assured performance as Riff." Meanwhile Hilton Als will muse about the nature of the production's racial makeup while John Lahr sleeps in a corner. Theater critic jokes! Everyone loves 'em, right? [EW]

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the verryyy serious fellow behind lugubrious pictures like 21 Grams and Babel, has landed funding for his next movie, the screwball sex farce period revenge drama The Revenant. Innaritu is hoping to get Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead, who gets mauled by a bear and then left for dead in the story.  Sean Penn is the top choice for one of the revengees, which is exciting. If those actors don't work out, we'd imagine Innaritu will go with his second choices for the roles, Emily VanCamp and Madeleine Stowe. Here's hoping for second choices! [Deadline]

AMC's ludicrously titled Western Hell on Wheels had the second-highest series premiere in the network's history last night, luring in some 4.4 million pairs of seein' balls. So America can love a Confederate soldier after all! [The Wrap]

Solo girl act "Justin Bieber" is dropping a Christmas album tomorrow, and it is tracking to be the number one album of the week. Under the Mistletoe is likely to sell some 200,000 or so copies by Sunday, which basically means that Justin Bieber now owns Christmas. Everyone pay your Christmas taxes to Justin Bieber, because he's taken it over. Horrifyingly, one of the songs on the album is a cover of Mariah Carey's greatest-modern-Christmas-song "All I Want for Christmas." C'mon, Justin. Some things are sacred. And that song is one of them. Stick to your Jason Mrazy Xmas smooth jams and leave Mariah alone. [THR]

Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher biopic Margaret! The Iron Lady finally has a release date. Streep will debut her latest accent on December 30th, getting in just under the Oscar cutoff wire. Will this be Meryl's year? Will the Academy finally bravely stand up, a lone kind voice in a sea of hisses, and say that they like Meryl Streep and that they think she is good at acting? Just once it would be nice if someone said that. We will stand behind you, Academy! [Deadline]

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