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post #14041 of 25503 Old 07-30-2006, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Sorry I couldn't come up with anything more definitive for you, HDTVC.

Ok ... this morning I managed to find the info again (after three tries )

Here's the link to the appropriate document at the FCC: Link

It's a bit annoying that the major trade magazines can't be bothered to print the entire breakdown listed in the above document. I guess if you're not in the "top ten" markets, you're off the radar screen.

Further investigation at comcast.com revealed that many systems will not see very many changes until mid-2007 ...
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post #14042 of 25503 Old 07-30-2006, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Critics Summer Press Tour
All Football All The Time
By Mark McGuire Albany Times Union staff writer

PASADENA, Calif. -- America, or at least my wife, better be seriously ready for some football this fall.

College football. Pro football. High school football. Fake football.

Primetime television will regularly feature football, college or pro, at least four nights a week (Saturdays through Mondays, and Thursdays). Over the course of the season there will be a college or pro game all seven days of the week.

And if you aren't in the mood for a game, you can catch a pair of scripted shows centered around the gridiron: the drama "Friday Night Lights" (8 p.m. Tuesdays, NBC), which focuses on the culture of Texas high school football, and The CW comedy "The Game" (8:30 p.m. Sundays), which highlight the off-the-field lives of players and their significant others.

"Hardcore fans are going to want to see all sides of it," said Coby Bell ("Third Watch"), who co-stars in "The Game."

But maybe instead they will be watching, I don't know, football.

"But there is no football on Sunday nights, right?" Bell asked.

Um, Coby, check the schedule.

There is football on. There is always football on.

NBC is jumping back into football with its Sunday night package. With the former "Monday Night Football" tandem of Al Michaels and John Madden sliding over to NBC -- the Monday night game has moved after 36 years from ABC to ESPN -- and a 7 p.m. studio show, "Football Night in America," helmed by Bob Costas, Sunday nights could provide the marquee matchup of the week.

Unless it's still the Monday game. Or the Thursday game. (NBC kicks off the season on Thursday, Sept. 7, with the Miami Dolphins at the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.) Or the Sunday day slate that bleeds into primetime at night.

Of course there's college football, including the Saturday night primetime game that will air on ABC, the 200-plus college games on all the permutations of ESPN, and on CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox Sports, CSTV and other regional outlets. There's even high school and college football on Time Warner Cable. Am I leaving anybody out? Probably.

In addition to NBC, another new player is the NFL Network, which will air Thursday night games starting on Thanksgiving -- part of a triple-header binge-fest that is sure to cause holiday angst around several homes. (Note to Time Warner Cable: Your deadline to get the NFL Network on the Albany system is drawing close. More and more I see a dish in my future.)

The improbable question arises: Could there be a glut of football? Could fans actually get sick of the game?

"There is always that potential," Costas said in a recent interview. "But there is no indication we've come close to it. It seems to be the one sport, especially the NFL, that is more or less immune to all the changes in television."

Nah, for us sports geeks, the glut question is ridiculous. Fresno State vs. Wyoming is better than yet another installment of "Law & Order."

"Football is the single best, not just sports property, but entertainment property in America," CBS Sports President Sean McManus said. "Nothing consistently gets the ratings that it does year in and year out."

And that should concern the networks, or at least its dramas, comedies and pre-fab reality shows. Not to mention my wife.

If we're watching football, we're not watching the scripted and reality shows incessantly promoted during -- wait for it -- football games. Shows about almost anything, even football, are not the same as football. Some across the weekly schedule could take a hit.

"We are going to find out," NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol said. "The strength of the NFL brand is as strong as anything there is on television."

Now consider that NBC will be able to pick the games it shows toward the end of the season -- something ABC pined for when it would get stuck with dog games in December -- and interest only grows. I'll get around to watching "Desperate Housewives" tomorrow. Or next week. Or in the spring. Even with TiVo and DVRs, there is only so much time in the week, and it's only minutes until the next kickoff.

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/sto...StoryID=502426
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post #14043 of 25503 Old 07-30-2006, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
Original programming emerging in basic cable networks
By David Kronke Los Angeles Daily News Television Writer

Go to the supermarket and throw a can of Campbell's tomato soup or a Sara Lee pound cake into your basket, and you pretty much know what you're getting.

Basic cable networks like USA, with its "Characters Welcome" slogan, or TNT, where "We Know Drama" is the mantra are hoping for the same familiarity and loyalty from viewers.

Once cable channels were a hodgepodge of programming (some still are), but now a number of the major basic cable networks are increasing the amount of their original scripted shows and focusing on developing a tonal consistency that helps brand them.

So, even though series come from different creators and have widely disparate themes, they almost look as though they could have been crafted in a cloning laboratory, meaning viewers have a better chance of enjoying all of their offerings.

"I'm big on brands," says Bonnie Hammer, president of both USA Network and the Sci Fi Channel. "It's very important for anyone to differentiate themselves and come up with a brand that's organic to what they do. Especially now, with all this cross-platform product that has to be developed (online), if in fact there is no brand, there's no way to carry it over."

Steve Koonin, executive vice president of TNT, adds, "With most cable networks, it's the pursuit of the hit rather than the pursuit of the network; we're just trying to build the network stronger and stronger. To have a brand, you have to have that thread of consistency. We're very conscious of that."

Few networks manage to maintain a consistent sensibility in their scripted programming: In the beginning, before it imploded, The WB managed it with slick shows aimed at young audiences. Cable has learned from that model.

TNT's focus is apparent in its motto: "We Know Drama." Its series "The Closer," starring Emmy nominee Kyra Sedgwick, is the highest-rated original program on basic cable. Its miniseries productions, such as the current "Nightmares & Dreamscapes," are touted as summer events. "Into the West," its previous miniseries, recently led all programs with 16 Emmy nominations.

USA, on the other hand, lures viewers with its tag line, "Characters Welcome." Its Friday lineup of the quirky crime dramedies "Monk" (which has won star Tony Shalhoub two Emmys) and "Psych" is a huge draw, and on Sundays it presents the distinctive paranormal dramas "The 4400" and "The Dead Zone." The Sci Fi Channel's focus is fairly self-explanatory.

ABC Family is aimed at teens and their parents: "Kyle XY," about a curious teenager of mysterious origins, this summer won the network its best ratings. Next week, it will introduce a lighthearted drama, "Three Moons Over Milford," about a small town coping with the potential end of the world.

By contrast, FX targets mature viewers with such stylishly gritty series as the corrupt-cop action show "The Shield" (star Michael Chiklis has won an Emmy), the corrosively sardonic firefighter series "Rescue Me" (Denis Leary, its star and co-creator, recently received his second Emmy nomination) and "Nip/Tuck," a show about Miami plastic surgeons offering mediations on self-images and what constitutes beauty.

"One of the things I'm proud of is that ëNip/Tuck' and ëShield' are about as different from one another as possible, and yet they share a similar sensibility," says Jon Landgraf, president of FX entertainment. "That sensibility is a trueness to the vision of the creators.

"We live in a culture that is about manufactured product, of product that is focus-grouped and designed to be user-

friendly, whether it's a hamburger or a car," Landgraf continues. "But the stuff that tends to mean the most to people are things that are made by hand, that are made by someone with a point of view and a distinctive sensibility, and then they happen to resonate with a lot of people." We want to make shows that are as popular as possible, but for me, when you try to reverse-engineer, which is mostly what TV and movies do anymore, you end up with middling work."

By contrast, TNT ensures that its original productions are tooled specifically for its audiences.

Michael Wright, senior vice president of original programming for TNT, says, "Our approach is very specific. We meet with writers and show-creators and spend the bulk of our time explaining to them what the network is, who's watching and why we think they're watching. So they're crafting a show to a very specific audience. ... If you give talented people that very specific sense of who's watching you, they're expert at hitting the target.

"It's a very populist network," he continues. "These are shows that are very relatable, very accessible. They're very commercial shows, but they're also smart. We're not trying to be elitist, but by no means is the network trying to aim at the lowest common denominator."

ABC Family's mission is inherent in its name, says network president Paul Lee. "We can do family drama, but in a relevant way," he says. "We can deal with real issues. So, as you see us rolling out a number of shows, you see a tremendous amount of faith for us in family drama. What you see us doing is saying, ëLook, let's take something else. Let's take a cop show. Let's take a sci-fi show. Maybe, let's take a mythology show and we'll meld that together with family drama.' " We think that's the right thing to do for our audience."

While Hammer oversees two very different networks, what unites USA and Sci Fi is their branding approach, which she concedes is a tricky thing to pull off.

"Even Sci Fi is complicated," she says. "If you create a brand that's just the old definition of pure science fiction of space operas it's very narrow. You'll have a very loyal fan base, but it's very difficult to grow. So you have to figure out a way to broaden it enough in terms of speculative fiction, so that you can grow your audience."

Figuring out USA's character-based identity, Hammer says, "was trickier. We had to do a lot of soul-

searching in terms of what can we do that will differentiate ourselves from any other general entertainment channel. We realized that everything we do is based in character development.

"So we had to figure out what does USA mean? To some, it can mean a place. But the way we went was, USA is about the people who live in America."

That revelation opened the door to USA's current success.

"We're so clear about what our brand is now," Hammer says. "A few years ago, it was a little harder: What do you mean, characters? We do have to have strong, definable, differentiated characters. We absolutely have to see them as opposed to massive ensembles, where you can't define each character. Our protagonists are all slightly flawed in some way, but not negatively, not dysfunctionally."

Cable networks are also challenged by their more limited budgets when it comes to developing scripted series. Many cable networks must air one scripted series for every two pilots it develops. By contrast, broadcast networks may have a development batting average of one in five, or even worse.

"We have to be incredibly keen in terms of what we develop," Hammer admits. "So we're very careful as to what we greenlight, and of those scripts, how they're cast, how we execute. Cablers have become very smart as to how they make their decisions, knowing they have to be the right decisions."

But given the successes of these cable networks many of them are winning higher ratings this summer than their broadcast counterparts the industry might learn a thing or two from cable's lean, mean development system.

"All the broadcast networks have to take a look at the cable industry," Hammer says. "It's all changing. We all have to take a new look as to how we do business and at what works in our varying playing fields."

http://www.dailynews.com/portlet/art...rticle=4112164
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post #14044 of 25503 Old 07-30-2006, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTVChallenged View Post

Ok ... this morning I managed to find the info again (after three tries )

Here's the link to the appropriate document at the FCC: Link

It's a bit annoying that the major trade magazines can't be bothered to print the entire breakdown listed in the above document. I guess if you're not in the "top ten" markets, you're off the radar screen.

Further investigation at comcast.com revealed that many systems will not see very many changes until mid-2007 ...


I am glad you could understand that FCC document, HDTVC!
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post #14045 of 25503 Old 07-30-2006, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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So you thought you had read the last dispatch from the TCA Summer Tour? Oh ye of little faith!

TV Critics Summer Press Tour
Poor PBS can't even get a break from power grid
By Peter Ames Carlin The (Portland) Oregonian Sunday, July 30, 2006

PASADENA, Calif. T he Ritz-Carlton's Internet system crashed late Wednesday night, and that was basically it for the summer Television Critics Association press tour. Halfway through PBS' two days of presentations, all research, writing and (oh, my goodness) filing stories came to a standstill.

Web browsers remained dark Thursday morning. And even as I write this (midday Thursday) the world beyond these walls remains maddeningly out of reach.

It was just the latest sign of the onset of press tour entropy. Earlier, a Wednesday night event in the hotel's Viennese Room featured a performance by 28-year-old opera singer Vittorio Grigolo, coming soon to "Great Performances." But he didn't come with any living musicians, and the taped music was so rich with strings, piano glissandos and swooping harps that just a few moments could give you a stomachache.

But for us, at least, escape was easy. The PBS folks had to stick it out all night, smiling wanly and shaking hands and not even dreaming that within a few hours the journalists they were attempting to entertain would be cut off from their publications, thereby reducing coverage of the event to a tiny trickle.

It was just the latest stomachache for the nation's public television network. After years of growing competition from cable and diminishing support from the government and private sources, PBS now must also contend with a Federal Communications Commission that has grown so censorious that even a single swear word -- including the cries of alarm heard in news coverage of the collapsing World Trade Center on 9/11 -- could spur fines steep enough to bankrupt stations from coast to coast.

Or would they?

"It's hard to figure out how to navigate through these decisions because there's no clear guidance," PBS chief executive Paula Kerger told critics Wednesday. Kerger, only a few months into the job, is a plainspoken woman who made clear that she has no intention of surrendering the system's creative freedom. Particularly when it comes to high-impact projects such as Ken Burns' new World War II documentary, "The War." The film won't air for another year, but Kerger -- who has seen enough to know that some of the veterans use profanity when describing particularly heinous events -- has no intention of censoring their recollections.

"I hope we, as an industry, will stand up and be bold and sort of bring it on," she said.

Kerger's spunky attitude is certainly welcome at PBS, given the usual array of hurdles that stand between the network -- actually a loosely affiliated group of independent local stations -- and long-term financial security.

Shockingly, "Masterpiece Theater" has yet to nail down a primary funder for its new season.

"We do have a team in place looking for a funder," executive producer Rebecca Eaton noted, sounding a little more sad than she had intended.

Still, "Masterpiece" has some compelling shows coming up this year -- including a seventh and final installment of Helen Mirren's "Prime Suspect" series, in which Jane Tennison confronts the end of her career. And "American Masters" will present documentaries on the lives of Andy Warhol and photographer Annie Liebovitz (the latter directed by the subject's sister, Barbara Liebovitz).

Meanwhile, PBS' kids gang has a new series of "Curious George" cartoons, with celebrated indie actor William H. Macy. Grown-up people can look forward to documentaries about the redevelopment of New York City's ground zero, the role money plays in American politics, the plight of the working class, and the presentation of the Mark Twain Prize for American humor to playwright Neil Simon.

You can always depend on PBS for solid, highbrow entertainment. Trouble is, some factions in America, now including a significant percentage of our elected officials, don't necessarily see that sort of programming as being something the government should support. Particularly when it veers toward more challenging, less family-friendly terrain.

That the action in the most popular shows on TV (from "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" to "Grey's Anatomy" to "Desperate Housewives") stem entirely from acts of sex and violence doesn't seem to matter. As of now the government is intent on stamping out "indecency" wherever it, or at least one disgruntled viewer, seems to see it. Whether it will come in a naughty word uttered by a man recalling the hideous violence of wartime, or in Georgia O'Keeffe's wildly sensuous paintings of flowers is anyone's guess.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle facing PBS is this nation's longstanding suspicion/resentment of intellectualism.

The factions in the government that ridicule public broadcasting for being elitist either don't understand or care that the system is supposed to focus on elite culture. As once-artsy cable channels such as A&E Network and Bravo turn their attention to reality shows and other mainstream fare, PBS' mission grows more important: If they don't make opera, theater, serious music and documentaries available to the general public, who will? The fact that the local PBS station is, in many communities, the last locally owned TV or radio outlet in town only raises the stakes.

Say what you will about the endless pledge breaks, the prevalence of British costume dramas and the quasi-educational reality shows that contain all of the indulgences of network reality shows with only a fraction of the entertainment value, PBS is still an important cultural asset in this country. The FCC's crusade to censor its programs -- an extension of a longstanding campaign to cripple public broadcasting in this country -- is foolish and wrong.

And you don't need an Internet connection to figure that out.

http://www.oregonlive.com/printer/pr...810.xml&coll=7
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post #14046 of 25503 Old 07-30-2006, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

I am glad you could understand that FCC document, HDTVC!

LOL ... It *does* seem to be much more difficult to find (and parse) this information than it needs to be. ... Not to mention that one would think that Comcast and TWC would have a breakdown on their websites. Perhaps they are waiting until the ink is dry before they publicize the info.
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post #14047 of 25503 Old 07-30-2006, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
Does a DVR Boost Viewing Hours or Not?

By Alex Mindlin The New York Times July 31, 2006

It seems that adults in households that have digital video recorders watch less TV than adults in the general population, according to a recent analysis by Mediamark Research, an audience-measurement firm.

That finding, which comes from in-home interviews conducted by Mediamark with 26,000 adults between March 2005 and May 2006, seems to conflict with the contentions of the major broadcast networks.

Researchers for the networks told advertisers in November that people in households with a DVR watched 12 percent more hours of TV a day than those without. Those researchers had argued that that tendency counterbalanced the possibility that DVR users would skip past ads.

David F. Poltrack, chief research officer for CBS, said the Mediamark numbers were unreliable, because they were derived from people's often-low reports of their own TV watching. The figures suggesting that adults who use a DVR watch more television come from Arbitron's 2,000-person machine-recorded survey in the spring of 2005, but it covered only the Houston market.

Mr. Poltrack added that, according to CBS's proprietary research, people with DVR's, whatever their level of TV viewing, tended to watch more television after getting the devices than they did before.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/te...gewanted=print
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post #14048 of 25503 Old 07-30-2006, 11:18 PM
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Adelphia Deal May Cut Time Warner's Programming Costs, but Not Customers' Bills
July 31, 2006
By KEN BELSON, The New York Times

In the four years since Comcast bought AT&T Broadband to become the nation's largest cable provider by a factor of two, company executives have liked to boast about how their extra heft has helped them negotiate more favorable rates from ESPN, TBS and other programmers.

Time Warner Cable, which is about half of Comcast's size, may be able to make similar claims soon.

As early as tomorrow, the companies' pending purchase of Adelphia Communications worth about $17 billion could be completed, giving Time Warner Cable 3.5 million new cable customers and Comcast an extra 1.7 million subscribers. As part of the deal, the cable giants will also swap customers in Florida, Texas and elsewhere.

With 21.7 million basic cable customers already, Comcast is unlikely to gain much more leverage over programmers since the extra subscribers will boost its total number by only 8 percent.

But for Time Warner Cable, the extra customers represent a 29 percent increase and give it 14.5 million cable subscribers. The company, which already has a big position in New York, will also become the dominant cable provider in Los Angeles. Since key decision makers in the advertising and media worlds are concentrated in these cities, Time Warner Cable will become even more of a destination for programmers.

You will reach the mind-share folks if your network is carried on Time Warner Cable, said Lowell Singer, an analyst at Cowen & Company. If you're a programmer, you have to be on there.

Precisely how much of an advantage Time Warner Cable can gain in negotiations is unclear since contract details are rarely disclosed and each programming contract is different. But Comcast, which operates in 22 of the 25 largest television markets, has used its size to slow the growth rate in programming costs from the low teens a few years ago to the mid-single digits now.

Time Warner expects programming costs to rise by around 12 percent for the remainder of the year. Longer term, it may not receive the same windfall as Comcast has seen since it will get moderately larger, whereas Comcast's purchase of AT&T Broadband more than doubled the company. And since programming deals are often multiyear affairs, Time Warner will have to wait years for its existing contracts to expire before renegotiating them.

Still, when Adelphia is sold, its programming contracts will lapse and Time Warner's agreements will be applied, to the dismay of many programmers who stand to earn less money, network executives say. Time Warner's rates are roughly 10 percent lower than Adelphia's, said Derek Baine, senior analyst at Kagan Research.

Time Warner may win larger discounts from networks that were only on Adelphia's systems, since Time Warner would be under no obligation to carry them and could therefore drive a better bargain.

Not all networks are created equal, though. Companies like Disney and Viacom that control many leading networks can better resist pressure from cable providers. By contrast, smaller networks may feel the need to make concessions because they do not want to risk losing access to Time Warner or Comcast's customers.

Let's face it, Comcast can make or break a cable network, said Robert Routh, an analyst at Jefferies & Company. They can drop a cable network and if it's not one of the bigger ones, they can put them out of the business.

Whatever Time Warner saves on programming is unlikely to make its way into the pockets of consumers, at least not directly. The company is likely to use the money to offer new services that produce revenue, like digital phones and video-on-demand. Consumers get discounts for buying bundles of services, but they also spend more money.

Consumers will look at it and say, Gee, you save money on programming, why don't I get it?,' said Glenn A. Britt, the chief executive of Time Warner Cable. But he said the company is going to use the savings to upgrade networks and introduce new products.

Down the road, prices for cable television are bound to rise if cable companies continue to pass along some of the increases in programming costs.

Since 2000, spending on cable television has risen 43 percent, according to TNS Telecoms. The popularity of more expensive digital cable services is behind part of that increase. But programming costs have risen nearly twice as fast. In 2006 alone, sports channels are expected to win 18 percent increases in affiliate fees, according to Kagan Research.

Though cable companies are not passing along all of the higher programming fees, the steady rise in cable television prices has led advocates to question executives who claim that their mergers save money for consumers.

What mergers demonstrate is that there is not competitive pressure to pass along savings to customers even with the Bells getting into the television market, said Gene Kimmelman, director of the Consumers Union. If people think the transaction will lead to lower prices, there's no data to support it.

Still, trying to reduce programming costs is only one of several justifications Time Warner Cable and Comcast have given for buying Adelphia. They also expect to use their larger sizes to win bigger discounts from equipment vendors and introduce new products more quickly.

And with denser concentrations of customers in places like Ohio, South Florida and New England, the companies hope to lower their marketing costs.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/te...gewanted=print
LL
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post #14049 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

It seems that adults in households that have digital video recorders watch less TV than adults in the general population, according to a recent analysis by Mediamark Research, an audience-measurement firm.

Mr. Poltrack added that, according to CBS's proprietary research, people with DVR's, whatever their level of TV viewing, tended to watch more television after getting the devices than they did before.

Well, that's just clear as mud. This might provide an explanation:

In my HD-DVR equipped household, we watch more "appointment" TV, i.e. we watch more TV shows on a regular basis and no longer have to worry about missing eps. That means, for us, more serialized shows since that's what we like. But because of the ever-increasing glut of interesting programming, we're getting more picky about which shows "make the cut" to compete for our limited TV time. There's simply not enough time for anything less than "outstanding!" anymore.

But, the TV is probably on less than it was before the DVR arrived and we hardly ever just sit there and let whatever's on wash over us anymore, clicker at the ready. And we have no interest in the programming blocks and tricks (like starting and ending shows a minute or two off the hour mark) that the networks so carefully prepare to keep viewers locked in all night.

So, in essence, we see less TV than before but we watch more. And commericals only get watched on "live" sports telecasts as a general rule, although we occasionally stop FF and watch if they look interesting. And we're not alone, I'm sure. This trend is what will make sports event ads worth more and more relative to other programming as DVR penetration increases.
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post #14050 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 05:20 AM
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I have to agree with archiguy.

We have two D* TiVo's with 2 tuner each. That allow us to record up to 4 programs at a time. It is very, very rare that we watch any TV that is live with the exception of sports. (We have learn to start watching college basketball, that we are recording, at the beginning of the second half so that we can skip through the commercials and finish the games right on time).

We too have become more and more "selective" on what we watch because of the limited time factor. Going by what I read in this forum, we are surely missing some very good programing. We just don't have time to watch them all. The time factor has even cut into our DVD viewing time.

A lot of good programs out there, just impossible to watch them all.

Always learning.....no one really knows it all.
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post #14051 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 07:04 AM
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Sky HD orders break the 90,000 barrier

High-definition popularity surpasses expectations

Jane Hoskyn, vnunet.com 31 Jul 2006

Sky claims to have taken 90,000 orders for its high-definition Sky HD TV service.

Some 38,00 UK homes had been kitted out with Sky HD by the end of June, and the company hopes to install all 90,000 orders by September.

Sales of HD-ready televisions are also buoyant. According to market research firm GFK, 2.7 million HD-ready sets are expected to be sold by the end of 2006, up from an initial forecast of 1.4 million.

Sky HD began its first installations in the UK and Ireland on 22 May. Viewers benefit from a cinema-like experience, with four times the picture detail of standard definition.

The digital satellite broadcaster now offers 10 dedicated high-definition channels in the UK, including Sky One HD, Sky Sports HD, and two Sky Movies HD channels. The BBC also runs a free-to-air channel, BBC HD, on Sky channel 145.

"We are really pleased with the take up of Sky HD which has exceeded expectations," said Hilary Perchard, head of product marketing at Sky HD.

"We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead with lots of great HD content in the pipeline including the exclusive Robbie Williams concert, a Star Wars HD marathon and Sky Sports HD's amazing summer of sports."

Sky recently announced its first high-definition live music broadcast in the UK, with Sky One and Sky One HD set to air a Robbie Williams concert on 9 September.

Sky Sports HD plans to screen live coverage of events including the 2006 Ryder Cup, Guinness Premiership Rugby and Barclays Premiership football.

http://www.pcw.co.uk/vnunet/news/216...eak-90-barrier

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post #14052 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Critics Summer Press Tour
TV's press tour de force
By Aaron Barnhart Kansas City Star in his blog TV Barn

The air conditioning broke in the middle of a heat wave. The Internet went down on the last day of tour. And yet, it seemed nothing could stop the relentlessly upbeat vibe as the nation's TV critics wrapped up their 18-day network previews.

And why was that? Because we know we've got plenty to write about between now and Christmas.

In years when the crop of new shows is mediocre, critics tend to drift out of press conferences and spend too many column inches writing about the quality of network parties and hotel food. But the ballrooms of the Pasadena Ritz-Carlton were packed all month long. Journalists busily blogged from their tables and trudged through parties filling their voice recorders with quotes from the stars and creators of the shows that produced, many critics agreed, the best development season TV has had in 12 years.

If anyone had a right to complain, about the lack of substance on TV, it's it was the scribe who gained perspective when his market was wiped off the map. But even Dave Walker, critic of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, agreed that there's a lot of worthwhile TV coming our way this fall. And, as he noted, "Better shows make for better parties at press tour."

So a word to the wise: If you have been putting off that special purchase, whether a high-def television temple for the living room or a video recorder to capture two shows at the same time, this would be the time to take the plunge.

Development -- the process of approving ideas for new shows and then shepherding them through the writing and filming of first episodes, or pilots -- is a notoriously chancy thing. But with each passing year, it seems, intense competition has improved what comes out the pipeline.

Consider Monday night at 9 CT, when "CSI: Miami" on CBS will go up against the brightest new drama of the fall season, NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," an exhilarating romp through the backstage of big-time network TV from "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin.

Or how about 8 p.m. CT Tuesday nights. This typically brutal time slot will be simply unmanageable without a TiVo, as the two best new comedies of the season, both on ABC -- robbery-high-jinks hijinks caper "The Knights of Prosperity" and self-help spoof "Help Me Help You" -- charge into the teeth of CBS's "The Unit," NBC's time-shifted "Criminal Intent" and Fox's oddly romantic hostage drama, "Standoff." (Heaven help CW's beloved "Veronica Mars": She's also on Tuesdays at 8 CT.)

Of course, being able to save these shows on a machine doesn't mean you'll be able to save these shows from the axe. But take heart: Even if your love for, say, the sweetly sophisticated comedy "Ugly Betty" is unrequited (it's up against "Ghost Whisperer" and "Crossing Jordan" Fridays at 7 CT), chances are good you'll get to see at least the first 13 episodes, if not on ABC, then on ABC Family, ABC.com or on DVD.

NBC, in particular, is serving up a host of terrific new programs, well-written and engagingly made. I could see myself getting hooked by two NBC shows that are clearly aimed at people half my age: "Heroes," about young people just discovering their superpowers; and "Friday Night Lights," where small-town dramas are amplified by big-time high-school football.

Even prime-time football is going to be better this season. NBC will not only get to pick the contests that will air at the end of the season - in previous years ABC's games were scheduled well in advance, and often wound up pitting two teams with losing records -- but the telecast is moving to Sunday nights, where, as NBC's Dick Ebersol noted the other day, games can start earlier.

Speaking of early starts, Fox will kick off the season Aug. 20, about three weeks from now, with "Justice," a dazzling new crime show that challenges the fundamental tenet of "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf, who has assured TV critics on numerous occasions that most if not all defendants are guilty. Victor Garber (late of "Alias") and his all-star defense team will see about that.

Cable channels, meanwhile, began unspooling some of their most promising shows as soon as they left Pasadena: BBC America is airing "Life on Mars" (9 p.m. CT Mondays), a detective period piece set in 1973. TLC's "The Messengers" (9 p.m. CT Sundays), a search for the best new inspirational speaker, is getting amens. Bravo's "Tabloid Wars" (8 p.m. CT Mondays) features hard-working, dedicated newspaper folk. What's not to like there?

Coming very soon, the much-anticipated meditation from director Spike Lee on Hurricane Katrina, "When the Levees Broke," Aug. 21-22 on HBO.

The critics' tour ended late last week on an unusually positive note from television's most beleaguered channel, PBS. Despite renewed government pressure - a dithering FCC that can't decide what is indecent and an administration that wants to choke off its cash supply - PBS is forging ahead under new president Paula Kerger, a plainspoken veteran of public TV. The PBS schedule won't look much different this fall, but Kerger outlined ambitious plans to make pledge drives less painful, reverse the decline in revenue, keep "Masterpiece Theatre" going and get a new generation interested in its most essential programs.

Already, she noted, the "NewsHour" ranks among the top 100 downloads on Apple's iTunes service.

"Jim Lehrer, iPod superstar: Who would have guessed it?" Kerger said.

http://blogs.kansascity.com/tvbarn/2...our_.html#more
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Originally Posted by Marcus Carr View Post

Sky HD orders break the 90,000 barrier

may not sound a lot to you lot, but think of the size and population of our country, it's not too bad, especially since there's been virtually no advertising lately because of the shortage of boxes
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post #14054 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Critics Summer Press Tour
Death March With Cocktails
So, what was the buzz?
By Tim Goodman San Francisco Chronicle in his TV blog The Bastard Machine

With the Television Critics Association summer press tour in the books, it's stange to think that the one thing almost always mentioned each July - buzz - was missing.

Clearly the big issue was serial dramas - open-ended series that will tax viewers' time and patience come September by their sheer volume and demanding nature.

But the fall season seems buzzless - for all the wrong reasons. It's not that there isn't a great show among the nearly 40 you'll see. There might end up being four or five of them. Continuing on a nearly five year trend, televised dramas are as good as they've ever been. More than once we heard the term "golden age of dramas." I know I've used that term several times in the last few seasons. Once again, there is a fine crop on network television. But a lone buzz show? Nope. Collectively, this is a batch of shows with enormous potential. But right now only two could even be considered as buzz shows, since other critics and an array of industry insiders are all split on what they like (or, conversely, believe will be successful). Opinions fluctuate wildly. Even among supposedly bad shows. I was all but certain one series was despised by the majority (since every critic I hang around with never missed a chance to dump on it), only to find in the last week of the tour that another critic said everyone HE talked with really liked the show. More than one, I asked, stunned. Seven or eight at least, he said.

He (and they) are wrong, of course, and it proves once again that not only is there no accounting for taste, but there's no such thing as critical "group think." Not once did I find a critic who's Top 5 perfectly aligned with mine. Not once.

There were, however, those two shows. They surfaced the most in coversations about what's the best, what's the buzz and what might work (not always related). ABC's "The Nine," about a group of people held hostage in a bank for 52 hours and what that does to them is getting talked about quite a bit. So is Aaron Sorkin's insider look a the TV industry in general and a "Saturday Night Live"-like sketch show in particular - "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

I like both of them. I'll be carving out a TiVo slot for each. And yet, the deciding factor that separates mere potential from actual greatness is time. Unlike cable channels, the broadcast networks generally send out only one episode for review. A fantastic pilot is more likely to turn into a fantastic series than not, but there have been more than a few instances when one superb hour was not reflective of the dreck to come in the other 21.

And because of this fall's over-reliance on serials, who knows how many of these new shows will pan out? If a story can't be sustained - with the drama, the writing, the characters - then all the magic of the first 60 minutes is lost. Conversely, a more complicated and perhaps plodding pilot may blossom in subsequent episodes and become more than anyone expected. We'll have to see. As it stands now, this looks to be one of the better fall seasons in some time.

I might not believe that sentence at the end of October, however.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/...&entry_id=7558
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post #14055 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
How to Fix Emmy Voting
Three little changes could made a huge, happy difference next year
By Tom O'Neil Los Angeles Times Staff Writer In The Envelope Award blog

Oh, just ignore the nasty uproar surrounding the new voting system used to determine Emmy nominees. Fixing what's wrong is really as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Below are several simple ways to add luster to TV's Golden Girl again. As the author of the definitive book on TV's top kudos -- "The Emmys" (Penguin Putnam) -- please permit me to volunteer my advice.

Specifically, these three changes to be made next year:

1.) Emmy chiefs should have run-offs again after conducting a popular vote, but the finalist lists should be extended to 20 programs and actors, not 10 and 15. Everybody in the galaxy knows that "Battlestar Gallactica" did not make the top 10 list of dramas and it deserves its day in Emmy court.

2.) Have finalists submit more than just one sample episode from the past TV season. Two, even three, would be better -- thereby providing voters with a better sampling of the contenders' body of work. If finalists like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" screw up again like they did this year by submitting poor samples of their best work, they'll have a fallback submission -- or two or more.

In addition, rotate the episodes randomly among voters, having them score each using grades of A, B, C, D and F. Plus and minus marks can be added to the letter scorekeeping, of course. Just don't use a numerical scoring of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 because there will be inevitable confusion over whether 1 or 10 is the highest or lowest score in the ranking. And voters will wonder if they're supposed to rank the episodes against each other using numbers. No. Just have them grade the episodes like school tests. No confusion.

Expanding the number of episodes is important for another reason. The voting can too easily be manipulated by a contender having just one strong episode. That's how Helen Hunt kept winning every year -- she always seemed to have a big, one-hour "Mad About You" special to submit.

One of America's most famous TV critics told me the other day, "I wouldn't be upset about Christopher Meloni's nomination if he had to submit three episodes to Emmy judges. If that was the rule, he never would've gotten nominated over Hugh Laurie and James Gandolfini. But he had one biggie. I'm not saying that Meloni isn't a fine actor. He's very good. But on a consistent basis, show to show, Hugh Laurie gives a better performance and everybody knows it. Submitting just one episode isn't fair."

Allison Janney only had one big episode of "West Wing" this TV season. It's questionable if she would've been nominated if she had to give Emmy judges three.

3.) Only use at-home voting. Ditch the judging panels.

It pains me deeply to suggest this. I love those judging panels because I think they give underdogs the best chance, but they're biased in favor of sentimental programs over the kind of cynical, gritty stuff that Hollywooders prefer as Emmy champs.

Two examples: "NYPD Blue" and "The Sopranos" were the hottest things on TV when they entered the Emmy races in 1994 and 1999. Those were the last, waning days of the judging panels, which ended up snubbing those shows in favor of programs by David E. Kelley, a master of heart-tugging story-telling. Of course, Kelley's "Picket Fences" and "The Practice" were brilliant TV series that now reign admirably in Emmy's pantheon of winners, looking back, but their victories confused and infuriated Emmywatchers who denounced TV academy members as idiots for failing to acknowledge the TV zeitgeist.

"Picket Fences" and "The Practice" won because they featured sympathetic characters in marvelously sentimental plots penned by a TV master. Those profanity-spewing alcoholic cops and Prozac-gulping mobsters who competed against them in bloody tragedies without heroes didn't have an Emmy prayer. Although "NYPD Blue" ended up prevailing at last in 1995, "The Sopranos" and its star James Gandolfini didn't win Emmys until after at-home voting replaced judging panels in 2000. I monitored the changeover closely and observed that, for the most part, the strongest episode entries still won, which meant that voters really watched the videos unsupervised. For example, in the race for best drama actress that year, Sela Ward ("Once and Again") won with the best submission even though she wasn't the "coolest" or most popular nominee.

What at-home viewing does well is create important time for reflection and musing in between voters viewing the episodes and marking their ballots. Voters don't have to make decisions immediately, so there's time for them to take outside factors into account like, for example, the industry megabuzz surrounding "Lost." Serialized, plot-fragmented series like "Lost" are disadvantaged in a voting system requiring close examination of a piecemeal sample or two. But "Lost" still won best drama series last year when at-home voting was used. It got snubbed completely when seen by judging panels determining this year's nominees. Part of the reason for the recent slight was probably that producers chose a poor episode sample, but I suspect that "Lost" would've been nominated anyway if that same episode had been submitted to jurors making decisions at home.

If the TV academy institutes these changes, they'll still get what they seek -- a voting system that requires close scrutiny to determine nominees -- while delivering a result more acceptable to TV critics, industry honchos and regular Emmywatchers.

Meantime, let's all wish Emmy chiefs luck and let's praise them for their guts and brio so far. Although the results of this year's experiment sparked frustration and worse, the change was admirable and a giant step in the right direction.

Now if that little Golden Girl Emmy just takes several more baby steps in the right direction next year, she'll be home free, and happily so, methinks.

http://theenvelope.latimes.com/award...home-headlines
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post #14056 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
An evening with the actor Hugh Laurie
The star of 'House' talks with James Lipton Monday night

By Diego Vasquez MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer July 31, 2006

For the second year in a row, Hugh Laurie will not win an Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama. This year the suspense was over early for him. The star of Fox's hit House wasn't even nominated.

That was a huge disappointment to media people, who tabbed his failure to win last year among the biggest blunders of the Emmy process in a poll conducted by Media Life last month. But tonight there's a chance to learn far more about Laurie than a two-minute acceptance speech could ever deliver, as he makes his first appearance on Bravo's Inside the Actor's Studio.

He chats with host James Lipton tonight at (Bravo, 8 PM ET), where the program moved earlier this month after years on Sunday night.

The British actor, who won a Television Critics Association award for outstanding achievement in drama last week, was best known to American audiences prior to House as the father in the Stuart Little films.

But he got his start 31 years ago in comedy, in the film Who Sold You This, Then, which was written by Monty Python's John Cleese. He also played a mourning father in the 1992 Kenneth Branaugh film Peter's Friends. He showed the roots of his later House character in a brief guest spot on Friends, when he played Rachel's irritable seatmate when she flew to London to stop Ross's wedding.

What he's perhaps best known for in Britain is his long partnership with fellow comedian Stephen Fry. The two Cambridge schoolmates collaborated on the TV series A Bit of Fry & Laurie and appeared on more than a dozen other shows together. No doubt part of tonight's conversation will focus on Fry.

Studio averaged a 0.3 household rating last week in the new timeslot, up 30 percent over last season's 0.23 average, though that included reruns.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/art...ticle_6307.asp
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post #14057 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

By Diego Vasquez MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer July 31, 2006

For the second year in a row, Hugh Laurie will not win an Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama. This year the suspense was over early for him. The star of Fox's hit House wasn't even nominated.

And next year will make it three in a row, although he should get a nomination. Ian McShane will win for Deadwood (it wasn't eligible this year). Anyone who watches that show knows this if they know nothing else. The following year, however, should be open for Mr. Laurie to compete for the best dramatic actor Emmy.
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post #14058 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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The Saturday and Sunday prime-time ratings - and Media Week Analyst Marc Berman's view of what they mean -- have been posted at the top of Ratings News the first post in this thread.
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post #14059 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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(From Marc Berman's Monday, July 31, 2006, Programming Insider column at Mediaweek.com )
The Freshman Class of Fall 2006: Odds of Survival

Now that the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour is a wrap, here is a recap of the odds of survival courtesy of The Programming Insider for all new fall network series ranging from even odds (1-1, a sure thing) to a long-shot of 10-1. Odds, which are presented from best to worst, are determined by the competition, the lead-in (when applicable), the current viewing climate and, of course, the show itself.

Although I initially gave 9-1 odds to new NBC drama Heroes, I would like to rethink that and change it to a more optimistic 6-1. Out of Deal or No Deal, and against CBS' Two and a Half Men (which is no Everybody Loves Raymond), ABC's fading The Bachelor: Rome, and unproven dramas Vanished (Fox) and Runaway (CW), the early buzz could potentially pay off. I am also changing the odds of Fox sitcom Til Death from 2-1 to 3-1 due to the heavy competition (CBS' Survivor: Cook Islands and NBC's My Name Is Earl), but I am still convinced that the Brad Garrett sitcom will find an audience.

Here are the odds:

Shark (CBS) - Thurs. 10 p.m.: 1-1
The Class (CBS) - Mon. 8 p.m.: 2-1
Til Death (Fox) - Thurs. 8 p.m.: 3-1
Brothers & Sisters (ABC) - Sun. 10 p.m.: 4-1
The Nine (ABC) - Wed. 10 p.m.: 4-1
Vanished (Fox) - Mon. 9 p.m.: 4-1
Day Break (ABC) - Wed. 10 p.m. (filling in for Lost beginning on Nov. 15):
5-1
Six Degrees (ABC) - Thurs. 10 p.m.: 5-1
Smith (CBS) - Wed. 10 p.m.: 5-1
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC) - Mon. 10 p.m.: 5-1
Heroes (NBC) - Mon. 9 p.m.: 6-1
The Game (CW) - Sun. 8:30 p.m.: 7-1
The Knights of Prosperity (ABC) - Tues. 9 p.m.: 7-1
30 Rock (NBC) - Wed. 8:30 p.m.: 7-1
Stand-off (Fox) - Tues. 8 p.m.: 7-1
Twenty Good Years (NBC) - Wed. 8 p.m.: 7-1
Friday Night Lights (NBC) - Tues. 8 p.m.: 8-1
Happy Hour (Fox) - Thurs. 8:30 p.m.: 8-1
Help Me Help You (ABC) - Tues. 9:30 p.m.: 8-1
Justice (Fox) - Wed. 9 p.m.: 8-1
Kidnapped (NBC) - Wed. 10 p.m.: 8-1
Runaway (CW) - Mon. 9 p.m.: 8-1
Men In Trees (ABC) - Fri. 9 p.m.: 9-1
Ugly Betty (ABC) - Fri. 8 p.m.: 9-1
Big Day (ABC) - Thurs. 8 p.m.: 10-1
Jericho (CBS) - Wed. 8 p.m.: 10-1
Notes From the Underbelly (ABC) - Thurs. 8 p.m.: 10-1

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/newslett...ider/index.jsp
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post #14060 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Overnights in the 18-49 Demo
Sweet summer note: 'Grey's Anatomy'
ABC medical rerun up 39 percent from last year
By Toni Fitzgerald MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer July 31, 2006

Grey's Anatomy was one of TV's hottest shows when the season ended last spring on ABC, prompting the network to move the Sunday staple to Thursdays this fall to face CBS juggernaut CSI.

While we're still weeks away from finding out who wins that matchup, Grey's has continued to provide some positive news for ABC this summer. It seems new fans are continuing to find the show.

On an extremely slow Sunday, Grey's was the top-rated drama last night, averaging a 2.5 overnight rating among adults 18-49 in the 10 p.m. timeslot. That was up 39 percent over a 1.8 the show averaged on the same night last summer.

It was one of the only shows to demonstrate an increase over last year, with, for example, repeats of Fox's The Simpsons and NBC's Crossing Jordan and Law & Order: Criminal Intent way down.

ABC saw a similar pattern with Lost last summer, which picked up some new fans after its much-buzzed-about first season reran during the slow summer months. Yet it's also silly to put too much emphasis on the performance of summer repeats.

Grey's 2.5 average was barely a quarter of what the show averaged over the second half of the season, and it does not necessarily mean that the show will knock off CSI come fall. It simply confirms that it will be a formidable competitor, perhaps the most formidable CSI has seen.

Meanwhile, for the evening, Fox took the lead with a 2.0 rating and 6 share among 18-49s, followed by ABC and CBS each at 1.9/6, NBC at 1.7/5, Univision at 1.1/3 and WB at 0.7/2.

At 7 p.m., ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" rerun and NBC's "Dateline" shared the No. 1 spot at 1.6 each, followed by CBS's "60 Minutes" at 1.4,

Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle" and "King of the Hill" repeats at 1.2, Univision's "Hora Pico" at 0.9 and WB's pair of "Reba" repeats at 0.8.

At 8 p.m., CBS's "Big Brother 7: All-Stars" and Fox's reruns of "The Simpsons" and "American Dad" shared the lead at 2.3, followed by ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" repeat at 2.1, NBC's 1.9 for the second hour of "Dateline," Univision's 1.0 for the first hour of "Cantando por un Sueño" and WB's 0.7 for a "Charmed" rerun.

At 9 p.m., Fox took No. 1 at 2.4 for reruns of "Family Guy" and "War at Home," ahead of CBS's "Cold Case" repeat at 2.0 and a 1.6 each for ABC's "Desperate Housewives" rerun and NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." Univision's "Cantando" averaged a 1.3, ahead of WB's "Charmed" rerun at 0.6.

At 10 p.m., ABC's "Grey's" rerun was No. 1 at 2.5, ahead of CBS's 1.8 for a "Without a Trace" repeat, NBC's 1.5 for a "Crossing Jordan" repeat and Univision's final hour of "Cantando" at 1.3.

Among households, CBS led for the night at a 5.0 rating and 9 share, followed by NBC at 4.6/8, ABC at 3.8/7, Fox at 2.5/5, Univision at 1.4/3 and WB at 1.2/2.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/art...ticle_6334.asp
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post #14061 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
Morning Snooze
By J. Max Robins Broadcasting & Cable 7/31/2006

Never before has there been such upheaval in morning television. With two of the three players in the throes of major change, the high-stakes game of network morning shows is as close to a free-for-all as it has ever been. Why, then, are ABC and CBS sleeping through this long-awaited opportunity to unseat morning leader NBC?

At stake is well north of $1 billion in advertising revenue. According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, NBC's Today booked half of that, some $554 million, last year. But suddenly, that morning cash is up for grabs. The Katie Couric era on Today is over, and Meredith Vieira has yet to arrive.

At second-place ABC, Charles Gibson has departed Good Morning America to anchor the evening newscast. Meanwhile, at CBS' Early Show, longtime veteran of the genre Steve Friedman returned last March in hopes of jolting the perennial also-ran out of last place.

With so much in flux, you would think that everyone would be jockeying furiously for position. But the competition looks surprisingly flat-footed and ill-prepared for the promotional onslaught that NBC is planning for its morning money machine come fall.

Most alarming has been ABC's seemingly lackadaisical approach to GMA. A scant year ago, the show was fast on the heels of Today. After years of chipping away at NBC's lead, it looked primed to slip into the No. 1 slot. But then the place seemed to run out of steam. Executive producer Ben Sherwood announced his departure only two months ago, but insiders say he had mentally left the building long before that.

It wasn't until last week that ABC got around to putting its new management teamsenior executive producer Jim Murphy and his No. 2 Tom Cibrowskiinto place. Good choices but ones that should have been made weeks ago, giving them a chance to settle in and prepare for game time in September.

Even worse, no one has been selected to replace Gibson, who has already given a boost to the ratings at World News since he was named anchor in May. World News' gain is definitely GMA's loss. Gibson is to GMA what the late Jerry Orbach was to NBC's Law & Order: His work is so understated and adroit that you don't realize how crucial he is to a franchise's success until he's gone.

True, GMA co-host Diane Sawyer is undeniably a news superstar, but she and co-host Robin Roberts are sure to be eclipsed by the easy compatibility of Vieira and Matt Lauer unless they get someone else in there to complete the picture. And quite frankly, none of the candidates GMA has been trying out - Chris Cuomo, Bill Ritter and Bill Weirseem like much of a wake-up draw.

The hapless Early Showsaddled with a cumbersome four-host format and outmoded relationships with affiliates that allow too much of the broadcast to be dumped for local newsis in even more dire straits.

Unfortunately for Friedman and his able No. 2, Michael Bass, CBS News has the resources to relaunch only one show this fall, CBS Evening With Katie Couric. Word in the industry is that CBS Corp. is spending $13 million above and beyond its network's own broadcast venues and billboard properties to promote the Couric newscast.

With rivals like these, NBC just might end up with an even more gargantuan piece of the billion-dollar morning pie than it already enjoys.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/ind...leID=CA6357528
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post #14062 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
FCC Ready To Refer MASN Complaint
By John Eggerton Broadcasting & Cable 7/31/2006

The FCC commissioners have approved an order, circulated by Chairman Kevin Martin, that will send a program access complaint by Mid Atlantic Sports Network parent TCR Sports Broadcasting Holding, L.L.P to one of its administrative law judges (ALJ) for resolution and recommendation if MASN says the word.

The FCC has been under pressure from congress to get the hometown Washington Nationals games
wider distribution among hometown cable fans, including a number of the congressmen and their constituents..

The order found that TCR "provided sufficient evidence to make a prima facie showing that Comcast indirectly and improperly demanded a financial interest in MASN in exchange for carriage," in violation of FCC rules.

Comcast stuck with a statement that it released last week, when Martin circulated the order for vote: "Our decision with respect to carriage of MASN - a part time, overpriced network - is based on the best interest of our customers and not on the ownership interest of MASN. The truth is that the vast majority of our programming, including the vast majority of our sports programming is unaffiliated, so the MASN complaint is demonstrably false. We believe that any program carriage proceeding on this matter - no matter who is reviewing the facts -- will conclude that the MASN complaint is wholly without merit."

"Part time" and "overpriced" are key words in that statment, since Comcasts legal argument is that the reason it hasn't done a deal to carry MASN is not because it can't get a piece of the regional sports network, but becuase the price is too high.

MASN spokesman Todd Webster said: "For 16 months, Comcast has broken the hearts of sports fans by blacking out the nationals games. Today, the FCC ruled that MASN has made the case that Comcast has broken the law."

In its finding of "sufficient evidence," the FCC cited in part TCR's claim that a representative of investment banker Allen & Co. who pushed for a financial interest in Comcast as part of a deal for Nationals carriage was not representing Major League Baseball, as advertised, but Comcast. However, Allen & Company vouched in a letter to the FCC that that was not the case.

The FCC order paves the way for a more expeditious resolution of a long-standing impasse, but it is stayed for 10 days while TCR decides whether it wants to go the FCC judge route, or instead submit the complaint to arbitration under a condition imposed on the purchase of Adelphia by Comcast and Time Warner.

The order also appears to preserve some arbitration rights for Comcast, though it is not clear how they would be exercised.

"We're reviewing the options," said Webster, "and will determine how to best get the games to the fans as quickly as possible."

If MASN decides to go the ALJ route, the judge has 45 days to rule on the dispute, and then the FCC has another 60 days to act. The arbitration route would take about the same time.

MASN has the rights to the Nationals, but Comcast does not carry the games on its D.C. area cable systems serving hundreds of thousands of households. The two have been in a protected dispute, including lpast legal action, over Baltimore Orioles games that Comcast has carried but Orioles owner Peter Angelos wants to put on MASN at the end of a 10-year deal with Comcast. Comcast has argued it had a right of first refusal on a new deal for the games, while TCR says it has not put the games on a new entity, but is instead keeping the rights inhouse.

Angelos has rights to the Nationals as part of the deal that allowed the Washington team to move into the market that had been the Orioles' alone.

New FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell criticized FCC inaction on the MASN complaint in no uncertain terms during the public meeting approving the Adelphia deal earlier this month, asking the FCC to speed the process.

He said of the Monday vote: "Today's order will provide the parties in this case with an expeditious path here at the Commission for resolution of their differences...One way or the other, a decision will be made."

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/ind...leID=CA6358004
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post #14063 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
The dregs of summer TV sigh
By Diane Holloway Austin American-Statesman in her TV blog Monday, July 31, 2006

I may have confessed previously that I've been surprised by how many of the new fall shows I actually liked this year as I waded through two dozen previews.

Now I'm wondering if the pilots really were that good or if I'm just appalled by what passes for prime-time entertainment on the networks this summer. I've found plenty to like on cable and PBS (tonight's new Mystery is Inspector Lewis, which sounds like a winner). But the networks just keep heaping really bad reality shows onto their schedule.

Take tonight, for example. If you aren't a fan of TNT's The Closer and Saved, here's what you have to look forward to: back-to-back episodes of Hell's Kitchen on Fox; an ABC lineup that includes Wife Swap, Supernanny and the debut of One Ocean View; Treasure Hunters and the new Star Tomorrow on NBC; and a load of regular series reruns on CBS.

Just so you know the depths to which we have sunk, let me describe the two new reality shows for you.

One Ocean View (9 tonight on ABC) plucks 11 attractive young folks from New York City deposits them in a handsome summer house on Fire Island. Add a few tropical drinks and some tanned flesh and this is what ABC calls summer entertainment.

Housemate Miki explains in the opener that these young professionals are searching for fun, romance, maybe even falling in love. There's an exotic dancer, business owners, a Wall Street lawyer and a couple that has recently broken up.

The result is supposed to be a sexy, real-life melodrama, but these folks are just shallow and exceedingly dull.

NBC's new StarTomorrow (7 p.m.), dubbed an interactive music competition in publicity, is the umpteenth singer/band search competition. You'd think, given the clunker ABC entered in this genre (The One, which distinguished itself by coming in eighth in its time period on opening night, behind all mini-networks and several cable networks), the genre would get a rest. You'd be wrong.

At least NBC's newcomer will take place mostly online.

Even sports options are pretty limited in this pre-football, post-basketball season. There's baseball, more baseball and a bit of tennis and golf. But when ESPN tries to pass off darts and poker as sports, well, you know it's time to shut down the set and read a book.

http://www.austin360.com/blogs/conte...austin/tvblog/
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post #14064 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
Study: TV still tops for those seeking news

By Paul J. Gough The Hollywood Reporter

NEW YORK -- A new study of Americans' media consumption found that nearly half spend at least 30 minutes a day getting their news from TV.

That's some of the good news for the so-called mainstream media in a biennial study released Monday by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

Meanwhile, only 9% of the 3,204 adults surveyed in April spent at least 30 minutes getting their news on the Web. The study said that one-third of U.S. residents get their news online, while only 1 in 50 did a decade ago.
But the audience has grown more slowly since 2000 and is skewing older. The study said that youths are less likely than fortysomethings to turn to online news sources.

"Online news has evolved as a supplemental source that is used along with traditional news media outlets," the Pew study said. "It is valued more for headlines and convenience, not detailed, in-depth reporting."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr..._id=1002915418
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post #14065 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Some more details:

TV Notebook
Regular News Audiences: TV

Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

The number of Americans who say they regularly watch nightly network news, cable TV news, and local news has fallen over the past two years. Currently 28% say they regularly watch the nightly network news on CBS, ABC or NBC, compared with 34% in 2004. In 1993, fully 60% said they regularly watched one of these broadcasts.

The regular cable news audience also has declined, from 38% to 34%, since 2004. And local TV news also has lost ground ¬ from 59% to 54%. However, as is the case with nightly network news, the audience for local TV news is about the same size as it was in 2000 (56%).

As in past news consumption surveys, there is a sizable generation gap in TV news viewership, with the biggest divide in nightly network news. Notably, both young people (those under age 30) as well as those ages 65 and older are tuning into network news in smaller numbers than in the past.

Only about one-in-ten Americans (9%) under age 30 say they regularly tune into the nightly network news on CBS, ABC, or NBC; that is about half the number saying that in 2004 and 2002. Yet network news also is losing older viewers, who have long been the mainstay of its audience.

Roughly four-in-ten of those ages 65 and older say they regularly watch one of the nightly network broadcasts (43%). In 2004 and 2002 (and in previous Pew surveys dating to 1993), solid majorities of seniors tuned into an evening news program. A decade ago, fully 64% of respondents ages 65 and older said they watched one of these programs.

The age differences in viewership of local news and cable news are smaller than for network news. And for cable news, in particular, the gap has narrowed. Roughly four-in-ten seniors (38%) say they regularly watch cable news channels like Fox, CNN or MSNBC; that is down a bit from 2004 but the same percentage as in 2002. That compares with 30% of people ages 30 and younger. The percentage of young people tuning into the cable news outlets has increased since 2002 (from 23%).

Specific TV News Outlets



There has been little change in the regular audiences for most individual TV news outlets over the past two years. This includes Fox News Channel, whose regular audience increased impressively

¬ from 17% to 25% of the general public ¬ between 2000 and 2004. This year, 23% say they regularly watch Fox News, virtually no change from two years ago.

Currently, 22% say they regularly tune into CNN, which is unchanged since 2004 but roughly a third below CNN's audience in the early 1990s (35% in 1993). About one-in-ten Americans continue to say they regularly watch MSNBC (11%) and CNBC (11%).

Nearly identical percentages of Americans say they watch the nightly network news on NBC (15%), ABC (14%) and CBS (13%); those numbers are down slightly from 2004. And 5% say they regularly watch the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, largely unchanged from recent news consumption surveys.

http://people-press.org/reports/disp...p3?PageID=1065
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post #14066 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
My Favorite 'Housewife'

By Roger Catlin Hartford Courant TV Critic in his TV Eye blog

Among the items I forgot to mention earlier was a short interview that emerged at the ABC party, where, as the darkness began to settle in the search became more frantic for Eva Longoria, the Desperate Housewife of choice that night.

But I was happy to talk to my favorite member of the cast - who is also the one hardly ever seen.

Since the show's inception, Brenda Strong has played Mary Alice Young, the woman whose death was the central story of the show, at least for the first season.

The storyline was pretty much solved in season one, yet she returned to narrate season two as well.

But whether there is a future for Mary Alice, Strong says more importantly, is there a past?

Flashback was the method to get Mary Alice in the picture for last season's finale, which gave glimpses of every housewife's original entry to Wisteria Lane.

Only a flashback will allow her to return, though Strong says the story could twist and turn.

She already survived a second season whereas it may have seemed logical to many to stop narrating once the first season mystery was solved.

There was a turning point where Marc Cherry contemplated using someone else, she says. The suggested new narrator for season two: Steven Culp who played Rex Van De Kamp, a murder victim in his own right.

But there was an outpouring for Strong in the role. SO many people come up and say they're glad I'm there; that I'm a safe and I feel like home when I hear your voice.'

Some people say I'm a moral connective tissue, she says.

http://blogs.courant.com/roger_catli..._hou.html#more
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post #14067 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
CBS Set for Sept. 11 Anniversary Coverage
By Allison Romano Broadcasting & Cable 7/31/2006

Katie Couric will anchor her first primetime special on CBS Sept. 6 as part of the network's coverage of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Couric, the new anchor of The CBS Evening News, will host Five Years Later: How Safe Are We? at 10 p.m. on Sept. 6. It will feature reports from CBS News correspondents Lara Logan, Byron Pitts, David Martin and Jim Stewart.

On the same day, the CBS Early Show and Evening News will begin 9/11-related coverage. On Sept. 11, Couric will anchor Evening News from the World Trade Center site in New York City and feature stories by investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian, Pitts and Logan, who will be stationed in Afghanistan. In addition, The Early Show's Harry Smith will anchor that day from Ground Zero and reporter Tracy Smith will interview reporters and update rebuilding efforts. The newscast will include memorial ceremonies.

On its Website, CBSNews.com, the network will stream all of its Sept. 11 coverage and provide a special section.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...=Breaking+News
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post #14068 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Sports On TV
Madden on Hall of Fame Induction:
"It means everything to me; it is the ultimate."

MADDEN INDUCTED INTO HALL OF FAME SATURDAY;
"NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" DEBUTS SUNDAY

NBC News Release July 31, 2006

NEW YORK - July 31, 2006 - NBC Sports today conducted a media conference call to preview Sunday's debut of "NBC Sunday Night Football" and John Madden's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Participating on the call were Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and executive producer, "NBC Sunday Night Football"; Madden, the most honored sports analyst in history with 15 Emmy Awards; and Al Michaels, the commentator called "TV's best play-by-play announcer" by the Associated Press, who will call play-by-play alongside Madden. For a replay of today's call, dial 719-457-0820 and enter passcode 3399949.

Madden will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this Saturday along with Troy Aikman, Harry Carson, Warren Moon, Reggie White and Rayfield Wright. The Oakland Raiders will meet the Philadelphia Eagles in the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio, Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Below are highlights of today's call:

MADDEN ON HIS INDUCTION:

"It was one of those things that you cannot control so you try not to worry about it, but to say you don't think about it would be a bunch of baloney. Twenty-seven years ago I was a finalist and one of the reasons they said I didn't make it was because they said they were afraid that I was going to go back into coaching and not stay retired, so they wanted to make sure. It took 27 years for the next opportunity to be a finalist and eventually get it. It means everything to me and obviously it is the ultimate. It lasts forever and is something that humbles you and at the same time excites you more than you have ever been excited.

"It means everything to me that I am being honored as a coach. I was a finalist 27 years ago and then somehow something got lost in translation because at some point you have to say 'well he's not going back to coaching.' But a lot of good things have happened in the past 27 years and there is nothing that I am bitter about. I really think that because sometimes you have to wait, you appreciate it more. I have heard it said before that the longer you wait the more you appreciate it and believe me it's true. Because I have had to wait so long, this thing could not be appreciated anymore than I appreciate it."

EBERSOL ON MADDEN:

"One of the great personalities in my mind, certainly in sports television, but more importantly a great guy, a football legend, an American icon."

MICHAELS ON MADDEN'S INDUCTION:

"He is as important a figure as anyone in the recent history of the NFL and I am thrilled for John to be finally getting into the Hall of Fame. He had a phenomenal 10-year run. I've likened John's coaching career to Sandy Koufax's pitching career. It may not have been that long but it was phenomenal. That is how I look at John, and combined with what he has done for the last 25 years as a broadcaster, I think he has made the game more interesting to millions more than anyone in the NFL. As great as the game is, John Madden has made it ever greater."

MICHAELS ON MADDEN AND "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL":

"I know we are on the brink of something very special because we've put together an eclectic group with experience and talent both in front of the camera and behind it. I think that we all felt that we were a part of something that is going to be extraordinary. It just feels right, and to get the weekend started in Canton with John getting inducted into the Hall of the Fame, is the absolutely perfect scenario. When you look at the early season schedule, flex scheduling in the second half of the season, the people in the studio for "Football Night in America," the experience and the talent of the production crew and Dick Ebersol's vision, it's a can't miss, can't wait."

MADDEN ON EBERSOL:

"I think that Dick [Ebersol] is one of those guys that is first of all very bright and he is one of those guys that is in the trenches with you. There are not a lot of levels at NBC Sports. There is one level and that is Dick Ebersol. I know that when I coached I thought that that was the best job you can have. There is one guy and that guy was Al Davis. There was no one in between. There weren't levels of this guy and that guy and this committee and that committee, and to me that's big. I think NBC Sports is Dick Ebersol and if you want something, want to know something, or need something there is one call that you need to make, and as busy as he is, he is always available."

MICHAELS ON JOINING NBC:

"I think one of the differences too might be the Sunday Night game. With all the games being played before ours, this will be the first time that we are in a situation where we can fold in a lot of what has happened during the day. Obviously with the group we've put together in the studio, we have the best of the best. Being able to take not only our game but the others and weave them together, will be something special and different for all of us."

EBERSOL ON MADDEN AND MICHAELS:

"When you have John and Al, you have the absolute best and I think that people respond to that. Every network has a terrific lead team but these two guys define what the best is. Nobody has ever had the run that John Madden has had over these last three decades. It has been unbelievable. And I don't know of any play-by-play announcer on any sport that covers it with the precision and excitement that Al does for football."

MORE MICHAELS ON MADDEN:

"Working with John couldn't be any more perfect for me. We started together in 2002 at the Hall of Fame game in Canton and we got to about the second commercial break and I sat back and thought, I feel like I've been working with John for 20 years not 20 minutes. It was that simple and that easy. It's about respecting the game, each other, and what we do for a living. I think that we both feel that we are lucky to be a part of something like this. We have the greatest jobs in the world and it just flows. If I thought too deeply about how it works, I'd get confused, but it just is one of those things where you get together with someone and you know it's there and it's been there from the first moment. It's been there for four years now and it will continue for a number more."

MADDEN ON PREPARING FOR THE GAME AND INDUCTION:

"I am going to have plenty of time before the telecast to prepare. I went to the Raiders training camp last week to watch them practice. I'm going to talk to the Eagles later this week and get ready for the game as much as I can with what I am going through before the game. But that is where you have to have a great partner and we all know I have a great partner in Al Michaels. He has always been a clean-up guy and I will probably need a clean-up Sunday more than I ever have."

MICHAELS ON HALL OF FAME GAME:

"John is going to be running on a lot of adrenalin on Sunday and even if he did zero preparation, he could still go into the booth and be the best analyst that ever lived. With his wealth of knowledge, it is going to be a phenomenal weekend. It is great to be a part of it and I think that to have John in that situation is going to be great. There is going to be a glow that surrounds this whole weekend; it's our opening game telecast, and all the NFL is going to be at the Hall of Fame. This is going to be a preseason game that is going to be different from all the other games."

EBERSOL ON "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL":

"For starters we went out and hired the very best. Will we have a few tricks up our sleeve? Yes we will. We have put together a team we hope people can recognize immediately at the game site with John and Al and also with Andrea Kremer, who I think is one of the two best reporters in all of football, reporting and doing the sideline work. I think the greatest advantage we have is that we have a team with this level of excellence. Behind the camera we have Fred Gaudelli and Drew Esocoff, who are the top producer and director team in the business, so quality is where we hope to start with no rookie errors.

"I think people look at football on two levels as a television event. First of all you have to have really good games; we have a terrific schedule and flex scheduling and then you add to it the quality of this team we put together. It doesn't take any getting used to these guys, they were simply the best and will continue to be the best. This becomes the centerpiece of Sunday Night television in the United States from September through the end of December."

MADDEN COMPARING HIS RAIDERS TEAMS TO CURRENT TEAMS:

"With the Hall of Fame induction, I have been looking at highlight films of the 1976-1977 season and I have been caught up in that thing where the players today are bigger, stronger, and faster. When I watch those games we played in the 1970's, I think they're not [better]. We were better then. And I don't like that old fogie thing that 'we were better in the old days.' I'm not saying that. That was a great era, teams were great, and players could stay together."

MADDEN ON THE VIDEO GAME:

"None of it was planned. I went from a player to a coach to a broadcaster and along the way the video game thing happened. We started the video game thing before they even had video games. It was going to be a computer game and more like a teaching tool but then all the hardware for video games broke out and we already had the software. The people that were around when I was coaching have known me as a coach. I'm known as a broadcaster from people who have been watching television, and I'm known as 'Madden' [to the gamers]. That's how I am always able to know the difference. Some call me 'coach,' and there is a group that says, 'Hey Madden.' When I get the 'Hey Madden,' it's the group that plays the video games."

EBERSOL ON WHAT MAKES A GOOD BROADCASTER:

"I think good broadcasting starts with how quickly, if ever, they realize that their first allegiance is to the viewer where it once was to their teams and teammates. It is absolutely crucial to make it as a broadcaster that your first allegiance is to that audience at home so they feel you are speaking a truth to them. All the great ones whether it be John or Johnny Miller, Joe Morgan, John McEnroe, they all seem to have the initials J.M., but all of these guys you can tell right away, are doing their thing for the guy at home and not for their old friends or teammates. You don't need to be a killer to do it. I don't know of anyone who has judged John as being unmerciful on anybody. You just knew he was telling the truth and the biggest common mistake that young people or sometimes not so young people make, is to come into this gig the first time around as an analyst of any major sport and worry about what their old buddies are going to say."
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post #14069 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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MTV Notebook
VH1 helps, if you want your 25-year-old MTV
By Richard Huff New York Daily News TV Editor

Wanna catch a glimpse of Pat Benatar or Rod Stewart from the first day of MTV, 25 years ago?

Well, you better have digital cable if you want to be part of the party. As previously noted, MTV isn't reminding its viewers that the network launched 25 years ago on Aug. 1, but cable network VH1 Classic will.

That's right, the channel for really old folks (you know, those over 19) will air the entire first day of MTV programming starting at midnight Aug.1 (9 PM PT, July 31) , and again at 9 AM ET on Aug. 5, for old folks who can't stay up late.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...p-370154c.html
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post #14070 of 25503 Old 07-31-2006, 09:00 PM
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Fred,

Pertaining to "Scrubs" on NBC this fall, I do not see it listed in the fall schedule or the "Dearly Departed" list.

On hiatus??

Thanks

100% Digital household since 2001
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