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post #33211 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

TV Notes
TNT Cancels Trust Me'
By Stuart Elliott, The New York Times

Trust Me, a comedy-drama about a make-believe advertising agency in Chicago, was canceled by TNT on Friday after a single season.

It achieved creative success, said Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TNT, TBS and TCM in Atlanta. It just didn't find an audience.


http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/20...cels-trust-me/

At least they didn't meander around about the cancellation, it was swift and decisive and totally expected. RIP
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post #33212 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

This generation's Woodward and Bernstein are Wikipedia and Google.

You're on a roll with these clever analogies lately.

I like that-- Woodward and Wiki. They have about the same batting average (for accuracy).

Larry

I thought we were cool de la?
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post #33213 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by dfergie View Post

Primeval PQ reminded me of the Fox attempt at passing 480i widescreen off as an alternative to HD a few years back...

It's a heck of a lot better than it looked on BBC America SD. Cheesy CGI, but sort of a fun show.

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
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post #33214 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Friday’s fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings (which include the total viewers and 18-49 demographic estimates) – along with Media Week Analyst Marc Berman’s view of what they mean -- have been posted near the top of Ratings News -- the second post in this thread.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&#post10367387
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post #33215 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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This Week’s Prime-Time Premiere/Returns
(New shows in RED

ABC
According To Jim, Tuesday, April 14, 8

Fox
Prison Break,
Friday, April 17, 8
Sit Down, Shut Up, Sunday, April 19, 8:30

You can always find a complete list of upcoming prime time network premiers and returns in the third post of the thread here:


http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=10367389#post10367389
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post #33216 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Friday’s fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings (which include the total viewers and 18-49 demographic estimates) – along with Media Week Analyst Marc Berman’s view of what they mean -- have been posted near the top of Ratings News -- the second post in this thread.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&#post10367387

if Terminator:TSCC wouldve just gotten another 103,000,000 viewers it wouldve beaten MASH for a series finale.

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post #33217 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Hard to believe it didn't, with about that many MORE viewers available than back in the day when M*A*S*H left the air.
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post #33218 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

If it is the same Primeval series they had a few months back, I think you need to check your settings.

What settings are you referring to, that would make something look better than its source?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

It looked like a mediocre upconvert.

Not here. Here it looked like an excellent upconvert -- better than some HD programs I've seen. Perhaps you need to check your settings?

As I wrote before, it does not look as good as CBS dramas, but looks very attractive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverside_Guy View Post

Ah, the "aficionado's personal standards" is interesting.

And so critical a distinction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverside_Guy View Post

One point I've always tried to make is that ESPECIALLY for film, PQ very much is in the hands of the producers... look at PQ on BSG vs. ST:Enterprise. Vastly different looks. STE is bright and sharp, BSG dark and grainy. One could sit for 15 minutes watching BSG before one is convinced it's in HD.

Indeed, and since those folks artistically operate within "a wide range of definition" (for lack of a better term), it really underscores the extent to which the visual perception of definition is so heavily dependent on subjective factors rather than the hardcore data. This also helps explain how so many viewers can perceive PQ in such variance to the personal (and often more objective-measure consistent) standards of enthusiasts -- no so much a matter of whether something is "better" or "worse" (that's probably pretty consistent) but rather with regard to the extent of "better" or "worse".
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post #33219 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

Here it looked like an excellent upconvert -- better than some HD programs I've seen. Perhaps you need to check your settings?

An upconvert is not HD. If you feel it looked like an upconvert, and also felt that it looked as good as HD - then it isn't your settings, it is your eyesight, or possibly you don't have the HD hardware necessary or an HD source at your house.

Many see SD stretched to fill their widescreen and assume it is HD, so you wouldn't be alone in making those assumptions. There are even some who can't tell a difference between HD and SD.
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post #33220 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

An upconvert is not HD. If you feel it looked like an upconvert, and also felt that it looked as good as HD - then it isn't your settings, it is your eyesight, or possibly you don't have the HD hardware necessary or an HD source at your house.

Many see SD stretched to fill their widescreen and assume it is HD, so you wouldn't be alone in making those assumptions.

I'm almost certain the first season of Primeval was originally broadcast in SD 16x9, it was aired by ITV and IIRC not a lot of their stuff was in HD back in 2007.
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post #33221 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I'm almost certain the first season of Primeval was originally broadcast in SD 16x9, it was aired by ITV and IIRC not a lot of their stuff was in HD back in 2007.

I'm pretty sure it was upconverted, it just lacked any of the real details I associate with HD, even the grainy and soft looking HD has a certain distinctive look.

I'm still glad they showed it full screen instead of that postage stamp letterbox with the side bars. It's a fun show, I've seen a few episodes on BBCA(which looked terrible in my opinion) and it looks like a fun show.
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post #33222 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

An upconvert is not HD. If you feel it looked like an upconvert, and also felt that it looked as good as HD

I never said that. Why did you think I did? It seems like you're trying to find something to argue about... no need. As I said before, it does not look as good as CBS dramas, but looks very attractive.
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post #33223 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebkell View Post

I'm pretty sure it was upconverted, it just lacked any of the real details I associate with HD, even the grainy and soft looking HD has a certain distinctive look.

I'm still glad they showed it full screen instead of that postage stamp letterbox with the side bars. It's a fun show, I've seen a few episodes on BBCA(which looked terrible in my opinion) and it looks like a fun show.

Yes, it's a fun show, light on real drama, a pretty good fit for SciFi actually.
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post #33224 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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I was really disappointed when it was first broadcast on BBCA... at that time, there were a lot of problems with TiVo and CableCARDs and the first episode got completely trashed. I'm glad to have a second chance to see it.
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post #33225 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I'm almost certain the first season of Primeval was originally broadcast in SD 16x9, it was aired by ITV and IIRC not a lot of their stuff was in HD back in 2007.

Yes it was... because it was an SD channel, it was letterboxed and side pillared. The version running on SciFi now may not look like the world's best HD, but from what I remember, the SciFi version's PQ is definitely "better."

And you guys are gonna love Hannah Spearritt, she tends to scurry around in her lingerie a LOT and is one very fine looking woman (for those who may be into that sort for stuff).

Time Warner NYC (Man North Head End) - 8742HD DVR ODN 5.2.0_9

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post #33226 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Critic’s Notes
How 'How I Met Your Mother' dealt with 2 pregnant stars,
and what's coming next on the comedy
By Maureen Ryan, Chicago Tribune TV critic, in her blog “The Watcher”

This season, “How I Met Your Mother” (7:30 p.m. Central, Monday, CBS) could have been called “How We Tried to Hide Two Pregnancies.”

Last year, after production had begun on the fourth season of the CBS comedy, Alyson Hannigan, who plays Lily, announced she was pregnant. Weeks later, Cobie Smulders, who plays Robin, shared the same news. Hannigan gave birth to a daughter in March, and Smulders is due soon.

“We were expecting it with Alyson at some point. With Cobie, it was much more unexpected, but it was delightful,” said Craig Thomas, executive producer and co-creator of the show, which also stars Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel and Josh Radnor. “After the shock wore off, we found a way to write around it or have fun with it.”

The actresses have been carrying large handbags, wearing loose clothing and using all the usual midriff-hiding tricks, given that their characters are not pregnant on the show. But, as Thomas says, “HIMYM” has also been “winking at the audience” by “hiding” Hannigan’s pregnancy in ways that actually drew attention to it, for those in the know.

In recent scenes, the shape of Hannigan’s mid-section was intentionally echoed by a globe or by the rack of basketballs she stood behind. And at one point, after winning an eating contest, Lily showed off her bulging tummy (which many viewers knew had a baby inside it, not an excess of food).

The writers’ attitude was “why be subtle about it—let’s make an extra joke out of it,” Thomas said.

And despite a few challenges presented by the real-life pregnancies, "HIMYM" has been on a roll lately. The much-improved "Big Bang Theory" and "HIMYM" make for a dependably pleasing comedy block on Mondays.

Still, Thomas said it has been the “weirdest” season of “HIMYM.” Episodes were shot out of order and Hannigan only appears in three of the five “HIMYM” episodes that close out the show’s season—her scenes in Monday’s outing, in the May 11 episode and in the May 18 season finale were shot months ago.

“Quite honestly, this show is about these five people,” said Pamela Fryman, who has directed almost every episode of “HIMYM.” “Those five people needed to be there.”

Other adjustments had to be made as well. Some ideas for "Lily stories" were put on the back burner, and the writers came up with the story line for an episode with a complicated timeline -- the kind of episode that has become a hallmark of "HIMYM." But that story ended up being too too ambitious to shoot this season, and it too went into a file of ideas for Season 5 (though no official announcement has been made yet, CBS is expected to renew the show, thank goodness).

Fryman said she tried to shoot the women from the front whenever possible, but certain scenes had to be re-arranged to hide the pregnancies. For example, in the May 4 episode, Robin talks to another character through the pass-through window in the kitchen of Ted's apartment, which wasn't the original plan for that scene.

"Tuesday at the run-though it was fine, but then on Wednesday, Cobie was, like, astronomically more pregnant," Thomas said. "I don't think we've ever done a scene through the pass-through before, but even that wasn't enough. We had to put a bowl of fruit" in front of her.

But the desire to hide those expanding midsections also led to some inspired moments. "The Front Porch," an episode in which the gang wore pajamas and bathrobes as they attempted to stay awake to watch Robin's morning show on TV, featured Marshall's amusing defense of the wearing of old-fashioned nightshirts and the debut of Barney's pajama "suit."

Still, that episode also ended up presenting challenges of its own, especially in a scene in which Lily and Ted (Radnor) have a big argument and ignore the chaos that is erupting on the TV behind them.


Smulders had a quite a few physical scenes in "The Front Porch" -- "She was almost at the point where she could not do those bits anymore," Thomas said -- and shooting Hannigan in front of the television proved to be a complicated affair.

"It was a long, technical shot and she was getting sick that week," Thomas said. "She was a amazing and she went as long as she could. But there were moments when she was like, 'I must sit down now.'"

Given that there are often dozens of scenes in one episode of "HIMYM," "this is just not an easy job all the time," Fryman said. "They were incredibly good sports."

And it was fun to come up with comedic ways to “hide” the pregnancy, Fryman said.

“Why not,” she said with a laugh. “We are a comedy. We’re not doing a documentary or a one-hour drama.”

"A lot of that was not written or planned," Thomas said. "They were Pam's ideas."

Still, “HIMYM” did try to keep the pregnancies from being too obvious. “For Alyson, it was a lot of winter coats. Cobie’s getting stuck with the warmer months, so she gets the dry cleaning, She takes everyone’s clothes to the cleaners,” said Fryman. “And we have the biggest purses of any show on the air.”

Though Thomas said it was crucial to have Hannigan in the finale, he added that the absence of Lily for a couple of upcoming episodes allowed the writers to explore Marshall and Barney’s friendship. And Barney’s secret love for Robin, which viewers learned about late in Season 3, will get more screen time in coming weeks.

And as Season 4 comes to a close, the show will revisit the idea of the unplanned "pivot points" in life that bring people to their destinies. That theme will play out with most prominently with Ted, who will be more idealistic and "sweet" in those final episodes. "HIMYM" has had great fun mocking Ted's pompous tendencies this season, but Thomas said that side of Ted would be dialed back, especially in the last three episodes of the season.

"We do get concerned about that," Thomas said. "Sometimes it's fun to write fussy, pretentious Ted. But that kind of joke can stack up and can maybe go too far. What rescues it is that we'll see a different side of Ted" -- the romantic, optimistic Ted of the first season.

And what about Ted's love life? The title of the show does mention of it, after all.

"Something happens that places him closer to the mother than he has ever been," Thomas said.

Below are fun extra facts about "HIMYM." The first section does not contain plot information about upcoming episodes. The second part does have some plot info. Enjoy!

FUN EXTRA FACTS (NO PLOT INFO)


·Here's the rundown of episodes for the final stretch of the season: Monday -- a new episode (with Hannigan); April 20 -- no new episode; April 27 -- a new episode (without Hannigan); May 4 -- a new episode (without Hannigan); May 11 -- a new episode (with Hannigan); May 18 -- season finale (with Hannigan).
·The episode that revolves around the gang having to guess which Canadian celebrity propositioned Robin with a bizarre sex act was actually based on a real incident that happened to a friend of the show's writers. Having been told the story -- about a real (American) celebrity with a strange collection and also a strange sex proposition -- the writers spent days using a white board trying to figure out who it was, what the person collected and what the sex act was. "After not getting work done for all this time, it was like, 'Wait, why don't we do this?'" as an episode of the show, Thomas said.
·The reason that Lily and Marshall had a "psychic conversation" in the episode "Murtaugh" was because Hannigan had laryngitis and couldn't talk.
·The story of Marshall's devotion to nightshirts came from staff writer Chuck Tatham, who casually mentioned that he liked to wear them sometimes. "He had no shame about it. He was zero percent embarrassed," Thomas said. "We made him show us the Web site where he orders them. It was just dudes in nightshirts. It was such a funny visual. And he was like, 'Look how many testimonials there are!' But none of them came from people under 65. We were like, 'You're not helping your case here.'"
·Thomas on finding the balance between sweet Ted and slightly d-baggy Ted: "We find college Ted so funny and even at 31, he is already kind of a dad. He's telling cheesy dad jokes and it's like he's almost skipped ahead in life. But life tells you you don't get to skip ahead. I think in the next few episodes, you see more of the optimist side of Ted. He's a dreamer, like Lloyd Dobler [from 'Say Anything'] or Jimmy Stewart. He dreams big and has big aspirations. He's more the guy we met in the pilot -- likable and sweet."


FUN EXTRA FACTS (WITH SOME FAIRLY VAGUE PLOT INFORMATION)


·The April 13 episode delves further into Ted's career crisis and his attempt to establish his own company (perhaps he and Michael Scott should join forces?).
·We'll see more on the Robin and Barney front soon. "Lily was the only one who really knew about Barney's feelings for Robin. Ted maybe had a hint of it in 'Benefits' but not much [actual information. Soon] we'll see Barney's feelings for Robin come out in an interesting way, to someone other than Lily," Thomas said.
·In an upcoming episode, Barney is about to hit his 200th conquest, a "huge milestone" in his life. But "that's actually kind of unimpressive given how many swings that guy takes. He's kind of like a crappy relief pitcher, in terms of his batting average," Thomas said.
·In that episode, Marshall, who has become obsessed with charts, has Goliath National Bank's graphics department come up with visual proof of Barney's weak overall performance with women. One of "HIMYM's" writers, Chris Harris, also used to work on David Letterman's show with Thomas and co-creator Carter Bays, and in the "HIMYM" episode, Harris got to use a bit written for Letterman's "Charts and Graphs" segment that was never used on that show.
·There's a debate in an upcoming episode over the "don't call a woman until three days later" rule, which Barney contends has a Biblical basis.
·The final episodes of the season will take the show "back to this idea of destiny -- all the little random things that weren't in your plan but looking back," you realize they brought your life to a certain crucial point. There's a "pivot point" late in the season that leads Ted to the place he needs to go in order to meet mother of the show's title, Thomas said.
·The episode that had to be shelved until Season 5 revolves around Ted, who recalls during a "tense" date, that he dated the same woman once seven years ago and neither one of them remembers it. "It's very HIMYM-y' and plays with time and you see them in 2002 and in 2009. But you'll have to wait until Season 5 to see it," Thomas said.

http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/
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post #33227 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Critic’s Notes
Just like 'State of the Union,'
Ullman's ready, raring to go
By Kelley L. Carter, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — It doesn't take long for Tracey Ullman to name the thing she loves most about this country.

"America," says the British actress, pausing to let one of her two rescue dogs jump into her lap, "has this ability to reinvent itself. It's amazing."

The same can be said about Ullman, whose second season of State of the Union premieres Sunday on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/PT).

The show was hatched after Ullman, who has been married to producer Allan McKeown for 25 years, became an American citizen in December 2006. Now, she says, the gloves are off.

"After all these years of living here, it's like a psychological barrier went away in my brain. I feel like I can say anything now; I feel so much a part of this place now," says Ullman, 49. "I feel like I can say more than I ever said now without fear of losing my green card or ending up in Guantanamo Bay."

In the 1980s, Ullman showcased her natural ability to create relatable, hilarious characters via The Tracey Ullman Show and The Simpsons. In the '90s, she ventured to cable TV with Tracey Ullman: A Class Act, Tracey Ullman Takes On New York and Tracey Takes On ..., all award-winning sketch shows for HBO that allowed Ullman to let loose with her impersonations.

In State of the Union, she parodies American life with sketches no longer than a minute and a half each. She jumps around from location to location, Google map-style, delivering her take on American life.

"I like just doing character observations. It can be just a moment in time. It's not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny all the time. I've never done stand-up. I'm not a comedienne. I just love acting and submerging myself in characters."

The show, which she writes with satirist Bruce Wagner, lampoons politics, pop culture and everyday life. In three weeks of shooting, she became 52 characters. Among them: Dancing With the Stars' Len Goodman and actors Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill.

"That was hard for me. I was asking my teenage son how I should be, and he's thinking, 'Oh, God, my mom wants to be Jonah Hill. Why?' " she says, sliding in and out of character with each celebrity she ticks off. "I was a polygamist wife and had hair up to here. It was very interesting being a polygamist wife. I was very quiet and subservient. All the men on the crew quite liked me like that."

What excites Ullman the most isn't really that she's back on television. It's that other women are making their mark in television. She lights up talking about Tina Fey (who paid homage to Ullman in her acceptance speech at this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards) and Fey's success ("She knows my name!").

"Suddenly, you're the elder in the group," she says, laughing. "I have been doing this a long time, 25 years now. It's nice to feel that you're still relevant. People like Carol Burnett, Gilda Radner and Lily Tomlin were my role models.

"America always had really good, strong women in comedy. I love that."

http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/...nterview_N.htm
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post #33228 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

I never said that. Why did you think I did? It seems like you're trying to find something to argue about... no need. As I said before, it does not look as good as CBS dramas, but looks very attractive.

I agree. It may not be perfect, but it's certainly not bad [IMG]http://www.entertainment-place.info/smile/img/2464/*************************[/IMG]
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post #33229 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 05:07 PM
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This generation's Woodward and Bernstein are Wikipedia and Google.

That one made me laugh out loud, thanks.

Cheers, Dave
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post #33230 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes
Fox Draws Criticism Over Reality Show on Firings
By Brian Stelter, The New York Times , April 11, 2009

The Fox network appeared this week to be caught off guard by anger over “Someone’s Gotta Go,” its forthcoming reality show about the employees of small offices who are told to choose a colleague to fire.

Production is said to be under way on the program, which was devised by Endemol, a production company known for “Big Brother,” “Deal or No Deal” and other reality shows. Negative reaction to the premise included op-ed columns in newspapers and a segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“There’s nothing entertaining about watching people lose their jobs — especially with the country mired in a recession and national employment at 8.5 percent, a 25-year high,” Jere Hester, the director of a news service at the City University of New York’s graduate journalism school, wrote in an essay for the WNBC Web site, nbcnewyork.com.

The trade publication Broadcasting & Cable reported that virtually none of the hundreds of Internet comments posted on half a dozen sites seemed to support the show.

Fox, the former home of “Temptation Island” and “Joe Millionaire,” has had a knack for shocking viewers, and gaining media attention, with its reality shows. “They’ve always pushed the envelope,” said Brad Adgate, the senior vice president for research at Horizon Media. In 2006 Fox canceled a planned TV special featuring O. J. Simpson based on the book “If I Did It,” a reference to the murders of his ex-wife and her friend, in response to public outcries.

Mike Darnell, the head of alternative programming for Fox, granted interviews about the premise of “Someone’s Gotta Go” earlier in the week, but he declined to comment on the reaction on Friday. The network would not say whether “Someone’s Gotta Go” had received a full series order, which suggests that it is being treated as a pilot that may never be broadcast. Mr. Adgate said it was possible the show would not go on the air “if there’s a real push-back.”

News of the series first leaked to the press on Tuesday. Mr. Darnell described its premise as a combination of “Survivor” (about castaways who vote people off the show) and “The Office” (about long-suffering employees at a small paper supply company). As Mr. Darnell told The Washington Post, “I’m sure you’ve been through a situation where someone at your company gets fired and you think, ‘Why did that guy get fired and that idiot is still here?’ ”

In “Someone’s Gotta Go,” the firing decisions will be made by the employees, who will have access to each person’s job reviews and salary figures. According to Variety, the series will be set in small offices of 15 to 20 people, and the laid-off workers may “receive a small severance.”

The recession and its effects on the work force have been dramatized in plotlines in some prime-time programs this season, including “The Simpsons” and “Desperate Housewives.” Mary Beth Haralovich, a television historian and a professor at the University of Arizona, said that an array of other reality programs showcase workplaces. “But that is far different from lining up small companies to watch someone be fired,” she said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/11/ar...gewanted=print
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post #33231 of 97641 Old 04-11-2009, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes
Networks look for low budgets
Frugal mentality pervades industry
By Cynthia Littleton, Variety Deputy Editor

As the economy forces the broadcast nets to economize in every way possible, the deal that saved NBC's "Friday Night Lights" from cancellation last month may be a portent of things to come for primetime skeins.

At first blush, many in the biz saw the two-season licensing agreement between NBC and DirecTV for "Friday Night Lights" as an anomaly -- a Hail Mary pass for a critically beloved ensembler deemed too good to be killed off by low ratings.

But the business plan behind "Lights" could well be a model for future primetime series, as nets deal with the one-two punch of ever-rising production costs and dwindling auds, plus the left hook landed this year by the steep advertising slump.

"FNL" has essentially adapted the cable series production model to primetime -- lower budgets, tighter shooting schedules, fewer episodes and a general cost-conscious mentality that fosters cheaper solutions to crane shots, crowd scenes and other expensive frills.

The show costs about $2 million and change per episode, compared to $3 million-plus for many network skeins (or just under $3 million on the low end), and there are 13 episodes per season, the norm for cable shows, rather than the network tradition of 22-24.

The "FNL" model and production mentality are looking more and more appealing to net execs as the Big Four brace for an upfront advertising sales market this summer that could be down as much as 20%-25%, by some dire forecasts. With the nets certain to take a cash flow hit, it's very likely they'll order fewer scripted series overall, and fewer episodes of new and returning shows.

The economic meltdown has provided the urgency, but in truth network and studio execs have been scratching their heads at how shows like AMC's "Mad Men" and FX's "Damages" put so much on the screen for about two-thirds the cost of a broadcast skein.

So how do they do it? A lot of it comes down to intense pre-production planning and tighter shooting skeds. With a 13-episode order, pre-production work and the writing process can run 12 weeks prior to the start of lensing, compared to about eight weeks on a network show that's aiming to deliver 22 hours over the course of a September-May season.

The single-biggest weapon in managing costs is getting scripts in good shape well in advance of production. That allows all of the craft and tech folks -- set designers, set builders, location scouts, fx mavens -- to get a headstart on their tasks for each seg.

All the advance work is essential to facilitating a seven-day shooting sked, which is the norm for cable drama series compared to eight days for a network skein. That one day can add up to $2 million-$3 million in savings across a 13-episode production cycle. It also forces producers to be vigilant about getting what they need in the can each day, especially on location.

AMC's "Mad Men," for example, kept to a rigorous sked in its second season, shooting four days on its soundstages in downtown L.A. and three days on location for each of its episodes. But those locations tended to be close to the show's home base at Los Angeles Center Studios, which cut down on travel time for cast and crew.

Given the scope of the period drama, production execs say they're amazed "Mad Men's" second season came in at about $2.5 million an episode. That was up by a few hundred grand from the first, and a princely sum by the standards of AMC and "Mad Men" producer Lionsgate TV.

On a broadcast net, the buzz generated by "Mad Men" in its first season would likely have spurred a much bigger budget for season two.

"It used to be that if a show stayed on the air, the upside was so great that it was worth the risks you took," says Lionsgate TV chief operating officer Sandra Stern. "Today, the economics have changed. I look at some of these shows on the air and think, 'How is anybody ever going to make money?' "

For "FNL," the license fee that DirecTV pays to producer Universal Media Studios for the first window on episodes before they air on NBC covers about half of the show's production budget, which makes "FNL" financially feasible for the Peacock even as it generates cable-level ratings. The fact that the show had to adopt a low-budget production model to survive even its first season positioned it well for the kind of creative dealmaking that NBC pursued with DirecTV.

Jason Katims, "FNL" exec producer and showrunner, cites script readiness and the show's unusual shooting style -- on high-def vid, with multiple cameras shooting 360 so there's rarely a need for second takes or coverage -- as keys to doing a champagne show on a beer budget.

For example, they're able to double- and triple-up on all of their football game shoots -- generating material for multiple episodes off of one game setup. Because the scripts are done so far in advance, producers are able to do the same with most of their location shoots.

"It saves a lot of money that all adds up," Katims says.

And that's the name of the game these days.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR111...goryid=14&cs=1
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I'm surprised to see how many postings there've been on here about "Primeval." I didn't think it would generate that much interest in a thread this diverse.

I DVRd it last night and was pleasantly surprised -- especially with how much ground the pilot episode covered. I think that's one mistake a lot of pilots make: they don't get the viewers involved enough -- they "hint" at too many things, but don't come right out and show them. That can work very well when it's done the way it was with a show like "Lost," but can be something of a death knell the way it's worked out for "Dollhouse."

This show was gangbusters straight out of the gate. In one episode, you not only see three different species and types of dinosaurs, but you also learn where they've come from, two cast members visit there and come back, encounter evidence others have been there, people are chased and almost eaten by one of the carnivores, the government gets involved and the stuffy, know-it-all "hatchet-man" gets his come-uppance, early, and the star gets a hint his wife may be "around."

As for the resolution, it was a bit hard to tell if it was true HD or upconverted for me, but I suspect it was upconverted. Sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference -- especially if a show or movie has been shot to have a grainy look, like with BSG, as was mentioned in an earlier post... Other times, there's no question and the HD blows the SD away.
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Originally Posted by JeffAHayes View Post

I'm surprised to see how many postings there've been on here about "Primeval." I didn't think it would generate that much interest in a thread this diverse.

I agree; I cannot even speculate why there has been so much discussion about it in this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffAHayes View Post

I DVRd it last night and was pleasantly surprised -- especially with how much ground the pilot episode covered. I think that's one mistake a lot of pilots make: they don't get the viewers involved enough -- they "hint" at too many things, but don't come right out and show them. That can work very well when it's done the way it was with a show like "Lost," but can be something of a death knell the way it's worked out for "Dollhouse."

And given how packed the episode was with such hint-droppings, I have to wonder which were omitted to have the episode fit within the amount of time allotted to an hour-long drama in the United States.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffAHayes View Post

This show was gangbusters straight out of the gate. In one episode, you not only see three different species and types of dinosaurs, but you also learn where they've come from, two cast members visit there and come back, encounter evidence others have been there, people are chased and almost eaten by one of the carnivores, the government gets involved and the stuffy, know-it-all "hatchet-man" gets his come-uppance, early, and the star gets a hint his wife may be "around."

One quibble I had was that the device they're using seems a bit too much like a Stargate. I wish they had come up with a different mechanism, one that didn't rely on "walk through and vanish"... perhaps a cave that bridges the gap without any visible barrier...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffAHayes View Post

As for the resolution, it was a bit hard to tell if it was true HD or upconverted for me, but I suspect it was upconverted.

That, in itself, is really what I was commenting on. Anytime you have trouble telling then the PQ is pretty good.
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FCC steps into Comcast-NFL Network fight

By Bob Fernandez
Inquirer Staff Writer





The FCC will referee this one.

Comcast Corp. and the NFL Network are taking their program-carriage beef to Washington, where they will butt heads in a courtroom at the Federal Communications Commission.

The outcome of the case, which begins Tuesday, could determine whether Comcast has to carry the NFL Network on its cable system, so millions of Comcast customers would see it without an extra $7 monthly charge.

Comcast's contract with the NFL Network expires April 30. Comcast has said it would continue to carry NFL Network on its sports tier until the FCC case is resolved. But the NFL Network has not agreed, and both sides say the NFL Network could temporarily disappear from Comcast in May.

Even for non-sports fans, though, this is a significant case, experts say. It is the first big test at the FCC of a 1992 federal law that prohibits cable companies, such as Comcast, from favoring their own entertainment content over that of independents, such as the NFL Network.

The NFL Network, the programming offshoot of the National Football League, says Comcast gives preferential treatment to Versus and Golf, which it owns.

If FCC chief administrative law judge Richard L. Sippel finds that Comcast violated the law by exiling the NFL Network to the sports package, and the five-member FCC commission agrees, the ruling could make it easier for independent programmers to gain access to cable systems, experts say.

"We are on the side of the NFL on this," said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the left-leaning Media Access Project. "The cable industry has used its bottleneck control over access to customers."

But free-market advocates take Comcast's side, saying that the FCC should stay out of this scrimmage and that Comcast and the NFL Network should privately negotiate a carriage deal.

"Why should the government get into this?" asked Adam Thierer, senior fellow at the market-oriented Progress and Freedom Foundation. "Sports is a heated topic of debate even among people in the same household."

The Comcast-NFL Network case is one of three similar complaints that Sippel will hear over the next two months. In the second, WealthTV claims it was denied a cable channel when the cable companies launched a copycat channel, Mojo. Mojo, according to an FCC filing, was owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Cable and Bright House Networks.

WealthTV is something of an updated Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and was founded earlier this decade by Robert Herring, of San Diego, a former electronics manufacturer.

Herring claims that the cable companies launched Mojo as he tried to persuade them to carry WealthTV and after briefing the companies, including Time Warner, on its programming. Mojo was canceled last year, apparently because of poor ratings.

"I thought that if you had something really good, and people liked it, the cable companies would put it on," Herring said in a phone interview. "Our goal was not to get into a fight with anyone."

The third dispute involves the MidAtlantic Sports Network Inc., which seeks to have Comcast carry Orioles and Nationals baseball games in Harrisburg and Roanoke, Va. Comcast says it does not have to.

Former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Bush appointee and cable critic, began the process for the three carriage-dispute proceedings. The new Obama administration will handle them.

The most controversial is between Comcast and the NFL, two of the biggest players in sports.

"We are just being asked to be treated fairly - the same way they treat their own networks," Steve Bornstein, president and chief executive officer of the NFL Network, said Wednesday. "The price is irrelevant. It's about distribution."

The NFL Network says Comcast, the nation's No. 1 pay-TV company, discriminated against it by putting the channel on the extra-cost sports package, which costs $7 a month on top of fees for basic service. By comparison, the NFL says, the Comcast-owned Versus and Golf Channel, along with the Comcast regional sports networks, are carried on general-audience tiers on the Comcast system without extra charges.

The economics are simple: Channels on Comcast's general-audience channel tiers, without the extra charges, have more viewers. Those channels are more valuable because of subscription fees and a bigger audience for advertisers.

The core of the NFL Network's programming is eight live NFL games. The network also broadcasts "classic" football games and covers events such as the NFL draft.

The NFL has complained publicly about Comcast and sued the company in state court in New York. "I can't think of a programmer who is successful without a deal with Comcast," Bornstein said.

NFL officials seem particularly bothered, it seems, that Comcast has been rapidly increasing its extra-cost sports tier with the NFL Network's popular content.

Comcast, said David Cohen, executive vice president, believes that the NFL Network is overpriced, has too few live games, and is too narrowly focused for a general audience. The company does not consider Versus and the Golf Channel appropriate comparisons.

Comcast also claims a First Amendment right to select entertainment, news and other content for its cable system without interference by the government.

Comcast is protecting customers from higher cable bills by keeping NFL Network on the sports tier, Cohen said. That way, the monthly subscription fees are focused on sports fans, not everyone.

"This is not a case of some fledgling network that Comcast is pushing around," Cohen said.

Comcast has not said how much more it would cost an average subscriber if it had to put the NFL Network on a general tier. But, Cohen said, if Comcast relents the company's customers will be "stuck with a very large bill, which will allow the NFL owners to create an asset worth billions of dollars."


http://www.printthis.clickability.co...rtnerID=165801



MLB, the Balto O's and Wash Nats claim the Harrisburg and Roanoke, Va tv markets. How can the cable company refused to carry MASN and the games ?

Comcast lost very quickly in court when it refused to carry MASN at it's launch in the Balto market.
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post #33235 of 97641 Old 04-12-2009, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes
The sitcom strikes back
Chuck Lorre keeps TV viewers laughing
Who says the sitcom is dead? With concurrent comedies 'Two and a Half Men' and 'The Big Bang Theory,' the sitcom veteran proves there's life in the old genre yet.
By Maria Elena Fernandez, The Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2009

Many observers declared the sitcom dead when "Everybody Loves Raymond" signed off the air in 2005 and creator Phil Rosenthal joked, in turn, that it was the end of laughter everywhere.

But somebody forgot to tell Chuck Lorre, whose "Two and a Half Men" eased into "Raymond's" spot as the No. 1 comedy and has remained there since. By then, Lorre had earned his place as the most successful sitcom producer of his time, but that wasn't enough.

With the future of the genre in question -- even powerhouses Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton couldn't sustain a show on Fox -- Lorre set out to create another sitcom that would not only survive but thrive. "I never bought into that," Lorre said. " 'Men' was very much alive when those declarations were made. It can't be dead here and alive there. There's no reason to think the genre doesn't work."
Last month, CBS and Warner Bros. signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Lorre to produce three more seasons of "Men" and two more of " The Big Bang Theory," a solid hit in its sophomore season. While CBS is currently the only network airing sitcoms, its rivals, citing Lorre's shows as motivation, are giving the format another shot with 19 sitcoms in the works potentially for fall.

"I think Chuck has a great mind for stories and characters and a great sense of humor," said actor Johnny Galecki of "Big Bang." "It's got to be true to the characters and it's got to be very, very funny. And those sound like two simple rules but they're really not."

It's an achievement that TV critics, or the Emmys, for that matter, haven't always recognized, and Lorre hasn't been shy about complaining. Although "Men" is also the No. 1 show in syndication, it has never become a pop-culture darling. "Big Bang," however, with its cast of fresh faces and unusual subject matter, is increasingly being spotlighted and Lorre, finally, seems to be relaxing.

Not everything in Lorre Land has been jokes and laugh tracks. His career, like his life, has met with many challenges and disappointments, which he admits he didn't handle well at times, turning to alcohol and becoming depressed. His reputation as an angry man still dogs him, even though these days he seems softer and more satisfied.

"We all have our demons and Chuck is not immune to them, but I look at Chuck and I see the perfect and real deal," said Peter Roth, president of Warner Bros. Television. "He's a wonderful writer. He's a great leader. He has vision and ear for comedy the likes of which I have never seen. Don't let his success fool you. He struggles. He's remarkably hard-working."

Lorre, 56, grew up in Plainville, N.Y., and his first love was music. He was moved to write by Bob Dylan's "magical musical journeys" and the "little worlds with characters and viewpoints" created by Randy Newman.

"I also saw Jimi Hendrix light a guitar on fire when I was 17 and that kind of explosive power -- what rock and roll can do -- it made a big impact," he said. "Music was everything back then. TV was nothing. TV was 'Bewitched' and 'My Mother the Car.' When you had the Stones, the Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Airplane, the Doors and the Who -- television? Come on!"

He pursued songwriting and spent a decade touring the country as a guitarist for hire until he had children and needed a stable income and health insurance. Intuitively, he believed he could make it as a comedy writer, so he wrote scripts and begged for pitch meetings.

That Lorre began his TV career in 1987, when he was 35, speaks volumes about his work ethic. His list of credits is long and storied, having written, produced and/or created eight sitcoms in 22 years. Only one was a failure and five were considered hits, including "Roseanne," on which he got his big break in 1990.

Lorre's track record earned him a kind of prestige last month not usually bestowed upon television writer-producers: a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame near Dick Van Dyke's.

"It's staggering," Lorre said a few days before the ceremony, adding that he hadn't processed precisely what the honor meant to him. By the time his star was unveiled across the street from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, he had figured it out.

"Chuck talked about how all of his success is ultimately the result of his promise when he was a starving musician that he would find some way to feed his two children," said Bill Prady, co-creator of "Big Bang." "It was very clear that the star was a reward for taking care of his family rather than his achievements in show business."

The product of a "childhood bereft of love," Lorre -- whose birth name was Chuck Levine -- has been divorced twice and doesn't like talking about those times publicly anymore, unless he's writing about them in his popular vanity cards. It's a tradition he began on "Dharma & Greg," using the few seconds of air time that other producers use to display company titles as a journal. They're also available on his website, ChuckLorre.com.

"With his vanity cards, I think Chuck has exposed his psyche pretty clearly," Prady said. "I would say that Chuck is a sweet curmudgeon. He has mellowed. Sometimes I'll go into Chuck's office, especially on show night when there's a little odd break after dinner and he'll be playing some blues riff on his guitar. And there's a genuine sweetness to Chuck, which I think, at times, he works to conceal."

Then again, Prady, who was a writer-producer on "Dharma," has only been around for the professional good times. That comedy marked a sea change for Lorre, who had spent eight years working on emotionally explosive sets with Roseanne Barr, Cybill Shepherd and Brett Butler.

"I used to liken it to trying to produce a sitcom in Hitler's bunker in 1945," said Lee Aronsohn, who co-created "Men" and worked with Lorre on "Cybill" and "Grace Under Fire."

But Lorre, who was fired from "Roseanne" and "Cybill" and quit "Grace" over creative differences with Butler, doesn't cast all of the blame on the actresses. "If you're in a really difficult environment over a sustained period of time, you become part of the problem," Lorre said. "You become an emotional wreck and you're hard to work with and you're anxious and you're angry. Insanity is contagious. But so is sanity."

That epiphany came during the second season of "Dharma" when, during a rehearsal, he realized there was no need to be afraid of visiting the stage.

"It just hit me: We're just going to show up and work?" Lorre said. "What a concept. Nobody's going to throw anything at you and there's not going to be any screaming and crying. Wow. The worst that you do is try to anticipate problems and defend against somebody's ego-driven outburst of fear and anxiety. That's not writing. That's defending, and so your scripts get claustrophobic and you don't take chances. It's a recipe for disaster."

Fortunately for Lorre, "Dharma" wasn't an anomaly. He has enjoyed professional and courteous relationships with the cast of "Men" since the beginning, and the same holds for "Big Bang." "I am immensely grateful for how it is on these shows because I know how unhappy people can be in success," he said. "It's nice to be around people that are successful and grateful."

Especially when you're a college dropout, another sign that Lorre's life has taken a turn. On May 17, his alma mater, the State University of New York at Potsdam, is giving him an honorary doctorate of human letters and has invited him to give the commencement address. If it's anything like what Lorre posted on a vanity card recently about the professor who tried to dash his dreams, watch out, graduates.

"Well, I think I'll point out that when I was there I was told I'd never make it as a writer," Lorre said. "That might be the kickoff point of the speech."

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...,5294642.story
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post #33236 of 97641 Old 04-12-2009, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
Sunday Network Prime-Time Programming Options

(Reminder: If you are recording these programs, check your network listings for precise start/end times. For PBS, please double check your local listings.)

ABC:
7 America’s Funniest Home Videos (R)
8 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (two hours)
10 Desperate Housewives (R) HD

CBS:
7 60 Minutes HD
8 The Amazing Race
9 Cold Case HD
10 The Unit HD

Fox:
7 American Dad (R)
7:30 King Of The Hill (R) HD
8 The Simpsons (R) HD
8:30 King Of The Hill (R) HD
9 Family Guy (R)
9:30 American Dad (R)

NBC:
7 Dateline NBC (two hours)
9 The Celebrity Apprentice (two hours)

PBS:
7 Nature, Andes: The Dragon’s Back HD
8 Sherlock Holmes (R)
9 Masterpiece Classic: Little Dorrit (90 minutes) HD

CW:
7 Jericho (R) HD
8 Movie: Cutthroat Island (R, 1995) HD
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And given how packed the episode was with such hint-droppings, I have to wonder which were omitted to have the episode fit within the amount of time allotted to an hour-long drama in the United States.

The original broadcast was 46:38, including credits. I didn't even bother with the Skiffy presentation but cutting shouldn't have been too destructive.

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One quibble I had was that the device they're using seems a bit too much like a Stargate. I wish they had come up with a different mechanism, one that didn't rely on "walk through and vanish"... perhaps a cave that bridges the gap without any visible barrier..

Not really a "device" as far as I can tell. In the series 3 opener they are just starting to discover some of the physical properties of the anomaly. The short (7 episode) seasons make it difficult to include a lot of exposition in addition to an action story each week. Part of the mystery is that they don't know what's on the other side until they walk through (or a "monster" comes through), so a see-through portal would not work for the story requirements.

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post #33238 of 97641 Old 04-12-2009, 07:49 AM
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FCC steps into Comcast-NFL Network fight

By Bob Fernandez
Inquirer Staff Writer

The FCC will referee this one.

Comcast Corp. and the NFL Network are taking their program-carriage beef to Washington, where they will butt heads in a courtroom at the Federal Communications Commission.

.............

"We are on the side of the NFL on this," said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the left-leaning Media Access Project. "The cable industry has used its bottleneck control over access to customers."

But free-market advocates take Comcast's side, saying that the FCC should stay out of this scrimmage and that Comcast and the NFL Network should privately negotiate a carriage deal.

"Why should the government get into this?" asked Adam Thierer, senior fellow at the market-oriented Progress and Freedom Foundation. "Sports is a heated topic of debate even among people in the same household."

................

Comcast also claims a First Amendment right to select entertainment, news and other content for its cable system without interference by the government.

Comcast is protecting customers from higher cable bills by keeping NFL Network on the sports tier, Cohen said. That way, the monthly subscription fees are focused on sports fans, not everyone.

"This is not a case of some fledgling network that Comcast is pushing around," Cohen said.

Comcast has not said how much more it would cost an average subscriber if it had to put the NFL Network on a general tier. But, Cohen said, if Comcast relents the company's customers will be "stuck with a very large bill, which will allow the NFL owners to create an asset worth billions of dollars."

I wonder how quickly Comcast would protest if the FCC got involved on their behalf for one of their networks being denied carriage they wanted?

I'm not saying the NFL Network deserves one darned thing, but this "crusader stance" they're pulling is a little transparent, epsecially when they bring the customer into the equation. Really, when was the last time the bill didn't go up despite refusing to pay the freight on a new channel?
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Let's keep the in-depth discussion of specific shows in their individual threads.
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Does Comcast protect its customers from higher cable bills by putting the ESPN networks on its sports tier?

Or the RSNs it owns?
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