March 25, 2012 by staff · Comments Off
Long Island Medium Theresa, ‘Long Island Medium’ Theresa Caputo, right, gives a client a private reading in her Hicksville, N.Y., home. When Magilla Entertainment partners Brian Flanagan, Matthew Ostrom & Laura Palumbo Johnson were pitched a show about a woman who talks to dead people, it’s fair to say they had some reservations. “I was (thinking) ‘What do you do with the paranormal?” Ostrum says.
But the appeal of Theresa Caputo, now the star of TLC’s “Long Island Medium,” is far more than just supernatural. It’s a key reason Magilla chose to focus the show on her down-to-earth, comic personality as much as her readings.
And in an era of hit reality shows about families and denizens of New Jersey, the series’ equally big selling point is the dynamic with her husband and two wisecracking teenagers, making it play like a combination of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and “Bewitched” — particularly when their frustrations surface over her random communications with what she calls “Spirit.”
“Long Island Medium” drew an average of 1.3 million viewers over its eight half-hour episodes last fall, peaking at about 1.5 million viewers in late October. Airing Sundays at 10 p.m. after the net’s hit “Sister Wives,” “Medium” retained enough of its lead-in to consistently rank among the top 15 cable shows for the night in key female demos. It improved TLC’s 10 p.m. Sunday ratings over the prior six-week time period by as much as 67% among women 18-49, and brought double-digit jumps among all key demos, inspiring TLC to order 14 new episodes and give it the key 9 p.m. Sunday slot for its second season, which debuted March 25.
The show’s potential wasn’t initially apparent to Magilla’s principals, who reluctantly agreed to meet Caputo in late 2010 based on a short video reel and requests from Magilla’s Jonathan Partridge. The producer discovered Caputo on a tip from his former colleague at MTV’s “Total Request Live,” Courtney Mullin.