Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 1507 - AVS Forum
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post #45181 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steverobertson View Post

They should cancel this game for lack of interest these teams suck

When certain people have $$ on the game there is never a lack of interest.

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post #45182 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 12:04 PM
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From the FCC home page:

STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER COPPS
ON THE COMCAST/GENERAL ELECTRIC ANNOUNCEMENT


“Some may have thought the era of media consolidation—fewer huge companies controlling more of the nation’s media assets—was behind us. This transaction proves those analysts wrong. The push to combine content and distribution continues and, as the economy recovers, we will see more proposed media industry combinations.

“While I look at each proposed transaction on its individual merits, my long-standing skepticism about the harms imposed by so few controlling so much persists. And this particular transaction raises a multitude of important questions: What is its impact on the prices consumers will pay? Would the combination mean more newsrooms (but perhaps fewer reporters) controlled by one entity? How would the transaction affect minorities and diversity on the airwaves? Would this merger lead to fewer voices on both traditional and new media? Does the nature of the transaction make even more urgent the need for FCC network neutrality rules? What about the future of competition in the several markets these companies serve? The list of questions and consequences goes on. Clearly this proposal requires close and comprehensive Commission review. The lodestar for this review must be the public interest.

“I look forward to broad stakeholder reaction to today’s announcement—and, indeed, every citizen has a stake here. I am anxious to hear more from the parties to the deal about how they believe the proposed transaction, as presently constructed, advances the public interest. It will come as no news to them that they face a very steep climb with me.”

Source: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...C-294980A1.pdf

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post #45183 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 12:08 PM
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Well, that's a battle cry if I've ever heard one, let the games begin.
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post #45184 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 12:18 PM
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Cedar Rapids newspaper says another Sinclair/Mediacom retrans dispute could be developing.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Mediacom has petitioned the FCC to temporarily prevent Sinclair Broadcast Group from blocking access to its programming while negotiations continue. It also seeks to prevent Sinclair from including stations it merely operates under local marketing agreements in its negotiations.

(It should be noted that the Gazette's owner also owns the local ABC affiliate, while Sinclair owns the CBS station and operates the Fox station in Cedar Rapids.)

Source: http://gazetteonline.com/local-news/...ission-dispute

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post #45185 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 01:00 PM
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[quote=dcowboy7;17642569]Yea the name change has really been brutal....

SYFY BREAKS VIEWERSHIP RECORDS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT RATINGS PERIOD
BEST NOVEMBER IN HISTORY AMONG ALL KEY DEMOS INCLUDING TOTAL VIEWERS, ADULTS 18-34, ADULTS 18-49 AND ADULTS 25-54

FUELED BY THE JULY 7 REBRAND, FROM JULY-NOVEMBER SYFY SCORES MOST-WATCHED FIVE MONTH STRETCH EVER IN TOTAL VIEWERS
In Fourth Quarter to Date, Ranks #4 in Adults 25-54 and #5 in Adults 18-49

Name change?

So all NBC Broadcast had to do to avoided being 4th out of 4 is come up with a more gimmicky name.
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post #45186 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

Guess I know what I'll be playing catchup with next summer.

Just watched the last episodes last night and I already miss it, great cliffhanger.

Cheers, Dave
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post #45187 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 01:37 PM
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That must be one of those imaginary games I keep hearing about on Thursday nights -- oh wait I have TWC. I am so pleased that they continue to protect me from the violence of the NFL.
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post #45188 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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In college football terms, the Bill-Jets game is comparable to a run-of-the-mill Mid America conference game. Maybe.

I can't imagine it will be anywhere near as entertaining as the Oregon-Oregon State Civil War game tonight. Except, a dcowboy7 notes, to those with money riding on its outcome.


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post #45189 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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(From Marc Berman’s December 3, 2009, Programming Insider newsletter and blog at Mediaweek.com)
http://pifeedback.com/eve/forums/a/t...3062#290103062
Wednesday’s Nielsen Broadcast Finals

(posted by Travis Yanan)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (R, 61 minutes) CBS
- 10.589 million viewers
- 5.6/9 HH
- 3.8/11 A18-49

Christmas in Rockefeller Center (97% coverage NBC normally 98%) NBC
- 8.686 million viewers
- 5.6/9 HH
- 1.8/5 A18-49

Law & Order: SVU (R, 61 minutes, 97% coverage) NBC
- 8.118 million viewers
- 5.4/9 HH
- 1.9/5 A18-49

Glee Fox
- 8.147 million viewers
- 4.8/8 HH
- 3.6/10 A18-49
- 4.3/12 A18-34
- 6.0/16 W18-34

Criminal Minds (R, 59 minutes) CBS
- 8.050 million viewers
- 5.3/9 HH
- 2.2/6 A18-49

Modern Family (R, 9pm) ABC
- 6.498 million viewers
- 3.9/6 HH
- 2.3/6 A18-49

Grammy Nomination Concert (96% coverage CBS normally 98%) CBS
- 6.279 million viewers
- 3.9/6 HH
- 2.3/6 A18-49

So You Think You Can Dance Fox
- 6.269 million viewers
- 3.9/6 HH
- 2.3/6 A18-49
- 2.2/7 A18-34
- 3.1/9 W18-34

The Middle ABC
- 6.193 million viewers
- 3.8/6 HH
- 2.0/6 A18-49

Modern Family (R, 8pm) ABC
- 5.646 million viewers
- 3.6/6 HH
- 1.7/5 A18-49

The Jay Leno Show (59 minutes) NBC
- 5.517 million viewers
- 3.7/6 HH
- 1.5/4 A18-49

Cougar Town (R, 31 minutes) ABC
- 5.141 million viewers
- 3.4/5 HH
- 1.8/5 A18-49

Eastwick (59 minutes) ABC
- 4.252 million viewers
- 2.8/5 HH
- 1.3/4 A18-49

The Vampire Diaries (R, 93% coverage) CW
- 1.036 million viewers
- 0.7/1 HH
- 0.4/1 A18-49
- 0.5/1 A18-34
- 0.7/2 W18-34

Gossip Girl (R, 93% coverage CW normally 94%) CW
- 0.993 million viewers
- 0.7/1 HH
- 0.4/1 A18-49
- 0.5/2 A18-34
- 0.7/2 W18-34

http://travisyanan.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/travisyanan

Note: Previous overnight ratings are available at Marc Berman’s Programmers Insider blog:

http://pifeedback.com/eve/forums/a/t...51/m/460103871


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post #45190 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Washington Notes
SHVRA Passes Convincingly In House
Satellite Compulsory License Reauthorization Bill Goes Through 394-11

By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable Washington Bureau Chief, December 3, 2009

The House version of the satellite reauthorization bill -- HR 3750, the Satellite Home Viewer Reauthorization Act -- passed convincingly Thursday (394 to 11).

The bill combines the House Commerce and Judiciary versions and reauthorizes the satellite compulsory license for carriage of distant network affiliate TV station signals for another five years, a license that expires at the end of the year unless a new bill, or a stopgap extension, is passed. It also deals with some cable carriage and various copyright issues, including an audit process for copyright owners so they can make sure they get the royalties they are entitled to, stiffer penalties for infringement and clarification that their royalties apply to digital multicast streams carried by satellite.

Highlights of the communications side of the bill -- Commerce and Judiciary split jurisdiction -- include fixing the "phantom signal" problem in which cable operators were paying for signals their customers didn't receive and allowing Dish network back into the distant-signal business in exchange for delivering local station signals (local-into-local) to the remaining 28 small markets that lack them.

Dish has been prevented by a court order from delivering distant signals after the court concluded it had problems determining who was eligible to receive them. The bill enhances penalties for any future problems and requires a GAO audit of Dish.

But it also has an amendment that would require Dish to deliver high-definition noncommercial station signals on an advanced timetable--by 2011 instead of the FCC's current 2013, a timetable Dish has said it can't meet.

The local-into-local provision in the bill is essentially a legislative stamp on a deal struck between broadcasters and satellite companies, and there is a provision in that deal that additional carriage burdens might invalidate.

Legislators suggested that the amendment would not be a poison pill to the local-into-local deal, suggesting Dish might be close to its own deal with noncommercial stations that would moot the amendment or that even if there was no deal, Dish would be able to provide both noncommercial HD signals and local stations on the government's timetable.

The bill must now either be reconciled with two different Senate versions, or the Senate could vote to approve the House version. Either way, something has to happen or the satellite license to carry distant TV network signals expires at year's end.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/...y_In_House.php


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post #45191 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes
ABC close to naming George Stephanopoulos to 'Good Morning America'

By Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, in the “Show Tracker” blog, December 3, 2009

ABC is moving closer to naming George Stephanopoulos the new co-anchor of “Good Morning America,” replacing Diane Sawyer on the morning news show.

Network executives are in talks with Stephanopoulos, who anchors the Sunday morning show “This Week” and serves as ABC’s chief Washington correspondent, about the terms, according to people familiar with the situation.

The discussions began this week after ABC News President David Westin met with Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, and told her that Stephanopoulos was his choice for the post.

People knowledgeable about the process cautioned that there is not yet a deal in place. “The conversations are all very complicated and there are things to be worked out,” said a person close to the situation.

Still on the table are the details of Stephanopoulos’ compensation, as well as his exact role on “GMA.” The former Clinton White House advisor may continue hosting “This Week” in the near future, but it appears unlikely that he would continue in both posts in the long term.

ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider would not comment on the discussions. “We’re working within a timetable we established three months ago,” he said. “We’re not at the end of that process. And when we are, we are going to make an announcement.”

Next week is expected to be Sawyer’s last hosting “GMA,” where she has been a fixture for a decade. On Dec. 21, she is going to inherit the “World News” anchor desk from Charles Gibson.

It’s unclear how “GMA” will fare without Sawyer, one of the few superstars remaining in television news. Absent her wattage, Westin is seeking to revamp the program’s sensibilities. In a recent presentation to Sweeney, news division officials laid out a plan to focus more on hard news in the first hour and on consumer stories about finance, health and education in the second hour.

Such an approach would also dovetail with Stephanopoulos’ interest in serious-minded journalism. Associates said the former political analyst has had questions about whether the format of “GMA,” which is laden with frothy features, could accommodate his desire to do hard news reporting.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/show...g-america.html


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post #45192 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 02:19 PM
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They should've talked him into replacing Gibson instead of Sawyer. But anyway....

"I knew you'd say that"...*BLAM!*
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post #45193 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rezzy View Post

They should've talked him into replacing Gibson instead of Sawyer. But anyway....

GS would have been my choice for replacing Gibson. I don't know why they didn't do it to start with. We don't know what sort of deal Diane Sawyer made with ABC news regarding her future or career development, etc... They might have promised it to her a long time ago after the gave it to Gibson.

I would have like to have seen DS stay on GMA and GS move to the national news.

As you say.... but anyway...

-- David
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post #45194 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes
DVR Alert: New Year’s Eve “Burn Notice” Marathon


USA Network will present 24 hours, and 20 different episodes, of “Burn Notice” starting at 6 a.m. (ET) on December 31st.

Here is the schedule of episodes:

6:00 AM ROUGH SEAS (Season 2, episode 7)
7:00 AM DOUBLE BOOKED (Season 2, episode 8)
8:00 AM GOOD SOLDIER (Season 2, episode 9)
9:00 AM HOT SPOT (Season 2, episode 10)
10:00 AM SEEK AND DESTROY (Season 2, episode 12)
11:00 AM BAD BREAKS (Season 2, episode 13)
12:00 PM TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION (Season 2, episode 14)
1:00 PM SINS OF OMISSION (Season 2, episode 15)
2:00 PM LESSER EVIL (Season 2, episode 16)
3:00 PM FRIENDS AND FAMILY (Season 3, episode 1)
4:00 PM QUESTION & ANSWER (Season 3, episode 2)
5:00 PM END RUN (Season 3, episode 3)
6:00 PM FEARLESS LEADER (Season 3, episode 4)
7:00 PM SIGNALS AND CODES (Season 3, episode 5)
8:00 PM THE HUNTER (Season 3, episode 6)
9:00 PM SHOT IN THE DARK (Season 3, episode 7)
10:00 PM FRIENDS LIKE THESE (Season 3, episode 8)
11:00 PM LONG WAY BACK (Season 3, episode 9)
12:00 AM ROUGH SEAS (Season 2, episode 7)
1:00 AM E DOUBLE BOOKED (Season 23, episode 8)
2:00 AM GOOD SOLDIER (Season 2, episode 9)
3:00 AM HOT SPOT (Season 2, episode 10)
4:00 AM SEEK AND DESTROY (Season 2, episode 11)
5:00 AM BAD BREAKS (Season 2, episode 12)

(Note: All times are Eastern)


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post #45195 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 02:46 PM
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HD fans should ove 30 ROCK tonight. They do a screen test of Liz and she looks cute and then say lets see what she looks like in HD and sh looks like an hag. Really funny.

Argee
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post #45196 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Business Notes
Comcast Explains NBCU Deal


Comcast has a 36-page primer which explains the NBCU purchase to investors.

You can read it here:

http://www.nbcutransaction.com/pdfs/...No%20Notes.pdf


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post #45197 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Washington Notes
SHVRA Passes Convincingly In House Cablevision, FCC Square Off in Court Over Program Access Rules
Satellite Compulsory License Reauthorization Bill Goes Through 394-11

By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable Washington Bureau Chief, December 3, 2009

I'm guessing a typo, as what does this have to do with CableVision, or is there a part of the article missing?
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post #45198 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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My editing error, Jim. Fixed now.


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post #45199 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

Just watched the last episodes last night and I already miss it, great cliffhanger.

I had the first 3 episodes of S of A season one recorded and then forgot to record the next couple so I just erased them. I didn't think it would be that good so I wasn't too bothered.

But apparently it turns out it is that good, so I missed out and now I'm way behind. Darn it.


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post #45200 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

I had the first 3 episodes of S of A season one recorded and then forgot to record the next couple so I just erased them. I didn't think it would be that good so I wasn't too bothered.

But apparently it turns out it is that good, so I missed out and now I'm way behind. Darn it.

I don't know anything about this website, just found it when I googled, but it might offer a way to catch up.
http://www.casttv.com/shows/sons-of-anarchy

Cheers, Dave
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post #45201 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 03:25 PM
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If anyone wanted to check out NFLNs version which is a different production than DirecTVs Sunday Ticket RedZone....

NFL Network Re-Airs "NFL REDZONE"
MONDAYS 4:00am-11:30am et

It’s being called “the coolest thing on TV right now” and “the greatest invention since pizza.” Fans are raving about NFL Network’s new NFL RedZone channel.
For those who don’t receive the channel, NFL Network now features a re-air of Sunday’s action on Monday mornings.

NFL RedZone is hosted by Scott Hanson and whips around every NFL game on Sunday afternoons delivering the touchdowns and most exciting moments as they happen and in high definition. When a team goes inside the 20-yard line, fans see the crucial plays live. The channel keeps fans up-to-date in real time, switching from game to game with live look-ins, highlights and a chance to see every important play.

http://www.fangsbites.com/2009/12/nf...nside-nfl.html

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post #45202 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argee View Post

HD fans should ove 30 ROCK tonight. They do a screen test of Liz and she looks cute and then say lets see what she looks like in HD and sh looks like an hag. Really funny.

It was very funny when "Seinfeld" did it in "The Strike" episode, in 1997 even though it was pre-HD.

People thought Gwen was two different people depending on what lighting they saw her in.
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post #45203 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Business Notes
Comcast Gets NBC From G.E. in Deal That Reshapes TV

By Tim Arango , The New York Times, December 4, 2009

After nearly nine months of negotiations, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, announced an agreement on Thursday to acquire NBC Universal from the General Electric Company.

The deal valued NBC Universal at about $30 billion.

The agreement will create a joint venture, with Comcast owning 51 percent and G.E. owning 49 percent. Comcast will contribute to the joint venture its stable of cable channels, which includes Versus, the Golf Channel and E Entertainment, worth about $7.25 billion, and will pay G.E. about $6.5 billion in cash, for a total of $13.75 billion. For now, the network will remain NBC Universal, but ultimately Comcast could decide to change the name.

Almost immediately, the transaction reshapes the nation’s entertainment industry, giving a cable provider a huge portfolio of new content, even as it raises the sector’s anxieties about the future.

In a joint statement announcing the agreement, Brian L. Roberts, the chief executive of Comcast, said the deal was “a perfect fit for Comcast and will allow us to become a leader in the development and distribution of multiplatform ‘anytime, anywhere’ media that American consumers are demanding.” The deal’s genesis lies in frequent flirtations over the last several years between Comcast and General Electric, although serious talks began in March. For Comcast, the purchase is the realization of its long-held ambition to be a major producer of television shows and movies.

News of the negotiations broke in late September, and in the ensuing weeks G.E. worked to resolve details with Comcast, while simultaneously negotiating to buy out a 20 percent stake in NBC Universal held by Vivendi, the French telecommunications conglomerate. It was this last part that proved difficult. G.E. and Comcast’s part of the transaction has essentially been complete for weeks, but the final step was held up by the negotiations between G.E. and Vivendi. Vivendi will receive about $5.8 billion for its stake.

Jeff Zucker, the current head of NBC Universal, will stay on as chief executive and report to the chief operating officer of Comcast, Steve Burke. In a statement released by the companies Thursday morning, Mr. Zucker called the deal the “start of a new era” for NBC.

The deal could take up to 18 months to pass regulatory muster. Although Comcast is based in Philadelphia, NBC’s headquarters will remain in New York, the joint release said.

Most of NBC’s value is in its lucrative cable channels — USA, Bravo, SyFy, CNBC and MSNBC. These networks, along with the channels that Comcast will contribute to the joint venture, will compose 82 percent of the company’s cash flow. The NBC network and Universal Studios will account for only a small portion of the joint venture’s cash flow.

In some respects, G.E.’s decision to sell reflects a desire to exit a business that never quite meshed with its industrial side. “It’s something I always thought about,” said Jeffrey R. Immelt, G.E.’s chief executive, in an interview. “In some ways my thinking gets shaped by the totality of G.E.”

He said that the economic recession also affected his thinking, adding, “you never have an epiphany.”

NBC has been mired in fourth place among the major broadcast networks, and the economics of the broadcast television business has deteriorated in recent years amid declining overall ratings and a decline in advertising. By contrast, cable channels have continued to thrive because they rely on a steady stream of subscriber fees from cable companies like Comcast.

Mr. Roberts, the Comcast chief executive, failed in 2004 with a hostile takeover bid for the Walt Disney Company. Since then, the company has taken a less ambitious approach to content, buying a stake in MGM and building up smaller cable channels and regional sports networks. On Thursday, Mr. Roberts said, “I believe our company is strategically complete.”

Shortly after news of the deal leaked in September, G.E. and Comcast signed a standstill agreement, which effectively blocked other bidders from entering the fray. Previously, G.E. had sought to entice Time Warner. More recently Rupert Murdoch, who controls the News Corporation, considered making an offer for NBC Universal.

On Capitol Hill, a number of lawmakers said they would hold hearings to examine the deal in detail. Herb Kohl, Democrat of Wisconsin and the chairman of the Senate Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee, said he would convene a hearing about the deal “so that consumers can get a better sense of how this deal could affect their access to diverse programming and information, especially as they more often look to the Internet for such services.”

Michael J. Copps, a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission who regularly opposes media consolidation, said in a statement that “every citizen has a stake here,” given the size of the combined entity. “The lodestar for this review must be the public interest,” he said.

Foreseeing a long regulatory fight, Comcast published a letter on Thursday that outlined commitments to enrich and extend programming for children and minority groups. It also said policies would remain in place to ensure independence for NBC’s news division.

Asked about the NBC broadcast network and its affiliate structure, Mr. Roberts said in an interview, “We’re committed to free, over-the-air broadcast television continuing.” But he and other Comcast executives acknowledged that broadcasters faced continuing threats to their business model.

Mr. Zucker reassured employees of NBC Universal that given the regulatory hurdles ahead, “for now, it remains business as usual.”

Mr. Immelt said G.E. may consult its future partners on occasion over certain deals. G.E. will still be managing the company when certain significant television rights deals come open for bid within the next year. Under G.E., NBC has become the exclusive rights holder to every summer Olympics since 1988 and every winter Olympics since 2002.

Referring to the coming games in Vancouver and London, which NBC already owns the rights to, Mr. Zucker said, “We’re excited for next year and 2012,” and stressed the company would remain in the bidding for the games in 2014 and 2016.

Mindful of past deals that failed on their promise of synergies, Comcast made sure to point out that the financial projections underlying the deal took no account of any potential cost savings from combining the various assets.

For the thousands of employees of both companies, that is good news. Comcast has about 100,000 employees, while NBC Universal employs about 30,000. Mr. Burke, the Comcast executive who will oversee the joint venture, said, “99.9 percent of those employees are in businesses that don’t overlap.”

Bill Carter and Brian Stelter contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/bu...c.html?_r=1&hp


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post #45204 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 05:52 PM
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My editing error, Jim. Fixed now.

Thanks, I figured as such but as Cablevision has petitioned the FCC to be allowed to encrypt Limited Basic cable TV signals, which is something I've been following, the Cablevision in the title triggered my query.
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post #45205 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes
Pioneering 'Monk' ends its run Friday
The series about a neurotic detective helped blur the line between cable and broadcast fare.

By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times staff writer, December 4, 2009

On tonight's series finale of USA's "Monk," the title detective played by Tony Shalhoub finally learns the truth about his wife's murder. After trying to overcome his obsessive-compulsive disorder and endless phobias through eight seasons and 125 episodes -- factoids Adrian Monk himself would likely cherish -- the final chapter means a resolution, if not a triumph, for the comically tormented hero.

As a show, however, "Monk" has already beaten the odds to become one of the most significant series in TV history. It's perhaps the prime example of the audience and industry dynamics that have reshaped scripted programming throughout this decade. When "Monk" premiered in 2002, basic cable was still largely a backwater for game shows and broadcast repeats. "Monk" helped usher in a programming renaissance that continues to this day.

TV historian Tim Brooks noted that "Monk," with its relatively high ratings and cultural buzz, started an "original series 'arms race' " with archrival TNT. That helped turned TNT's "The Closer," which premiered in 2005, into a massive hit, and led to a proliferation of original dramas on other networks, including FX and AMC, whose "Mad Men" has since become a cultural phenomenon.

"Now original scripted series (both dramas and comedies) are all over the cable dial," Brooks wrote in an e-mail. " 'Monk' had a lot to do, I think, with sparking that."

Envisioned by its creator as an unlikely mix of "Columbo" and "Seinfeld," "Monk" was the first basic cable series that saw its repeats air in prime time on not just one but two broadcast networks, ABC and NBC. That was a sharp reversal of the usual practice, where cable outlets build their schedules around old network episodes.

The message was that basic cable could produce programming that was up to broadcast standards. That may sound obvious today, but it was not necessarily an article of faith seven years ago when USA unfurled its quirky cop drama. "Monk" helped blur the line -- a line now all but invisible -- between broadcast and cable programming. And unlike pioneering premium cable shows such as "The Sopranos," "Monk" didn't require extensive re-editing for violence, language or nudity. It was far more family-friendly than even, say, CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

" 'Monk' is very old-school. It's a real throwback show," said Andy Breckman, a former gag writer for David Letterman who created the series. The mysteries at the heart of each episode were "very low-tech. . . . It wasn't about DNA or microscopes or labs or fibers. There were no computers, no sexual crimes."

The show very nearly didn't happen at all. Breckman and his creative partner David Hoberman originally developed the series for ABC, but had trouble casting the lead. It's not hard to understand why. Although a brilliant detective in San Francisco, Monk is a shambling, socially awkward catalog of neuroses. He suffers from several hundred phobias, as well as OCD so disruptive that sometimes he can't walk down the street without resisting the urge to touch every parking meter. He is haunted by his wife's death and his desire to be reinstated on the police force, which booted him after he suffered a nervous breakdown. The role was, to put it mildly, difficult for an actor to play convincingly.

Without a compelling lead, Breckman said, the project withered away. But when ABC executive Jackie de Crinis left for a new job at USA, she took "Monk" along with her. The producers then approached Shalhoub, best known up to that point for playing the idealistic taxi driver Antonio on the '90s sitcom "Wings." He had his doubts about taking on the part after reading the script.

"I had a little bit of a tricky time seeing my way into it because the character on the page seemed so impossible and annoying," Shalhoub said in an interview. "I wasn't sure how viewers would be able to get behind this character."

The actor was also concerned about the OCD angle. "I wanted to make sure we weren't going to exploit this disorder and make fun of it," he said. "At the same time, we wanted to make sure we weren't undercutting the inherent comedy of it. It was a tightrope walk."

The creative team's solution was to make the character's mental problems both a source of his unusual gifts as a detective and, often, a comic Achilles' heel. In one episode, for example, a suspect on a rooftop is allowed to escape due to Monk's fear of heights. As Breckman put it, "Monk is not only the smartest man in the room, he's also the most troubled man in the room." Also, the writers gave Monk a compassionate nurse (Bitty Schram, who left the show in Season 3 and was replaced by Traylor Howard), who served as the viewer's surrogate in understanding Monk's problems.

In the meantime, USA's decision to spend more than it usually would on a dramatic series gave "Monk" a broadcast-like feel that was often lacking in basic-cable shows up to that time. That helped make the show attractive to bosses at ABC, which ran repeats on its prime-time schedule in 2002 and 2004, as well as NBC, which did the same last year. ABC had retained the rights to rerun the show when De Crinis took the project to USA.

"Nobody thought they ever, ever would," Bonnie Hammer, president of NBC Universal Cable, said of the idea of ABC "repurposing" the series. "It was like, 'Right, broadcast is gonna run a cable show.' Traditionally, it was always broadcast first, cable having a second run after the original run."

Viewers and industry fans soon took to the show. Shalhoub was nominated for an acting Emmy for seven straight years, winning three times. For USA, "Monk" became the template for its "Characters Welcome" branding campaign, with later shows such as "Psych" and "In Plain Sight" revolving around what Hammer dubs "relatable, upbeat, slightly flawed" protagonists.

As Shalhoub sees it, "People could relate to this character because of all of these shortcomings and idiosyncrasies.

"Now you see all kinds of lead characters like in 'House,' where the guy is unlikable, but he's heroic and brilliant," Shalhoub said. "I think people are looking for that in a hero."

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...,5402816.story


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post #45206 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Sports
Going local: Dick Enberg to call Padres games

By Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY

This will take some getting used to: CBS' Dick Enberg no longer calling NFL games or NCAA March Madness.

And not, say both sides, because he's getting pushed out at CBS. "They didn't want anyone to feel they were unhappy with me," says Enberg, 74. "They were about to offer me a contract for two more years." Sean McManus, who heads CBS' news and sports divisions, confirms that's "fair to say. … There aren't many broadcasters still in the industry who have his stature, presence and history."

Enberg is leaving CBS to call the San Diego Padres on local TV. He'll get time off to keep calling ESPN's Wimbledon and hopes to work CBS' U.S. Open tennis and fill in on NFL games.

But now, he'll focus on the sport he played, briefly coached and sees as the best to broadcast. Growing up in Michigan he hoped to be a Detroit Tiger, but only made the college JV at Central Michigan. "Friends there say, 'You thought you'd be a great athlete, but we knew better. But you talked a good game."

On his first day at Indiana, where he got a PhD in education, he heard about a local radio audition. That led him to local radio calls of the first of his NCAA tournament assignment in 1961, when the Cincinnati-Ohio State title game appeared on TV only in the two schools' local markets. He would go on to do 17 for TV.

While teaching and coaching baseball at what is now Cal State-Fullerton, he landed local TV work for teams including the California Angels. "They knew this college professor would jump at $18,000 per year."

His first national TV game — UCLA-Houston in 1968 — was a TV watershed for college hoops. "My career has gone down ever since," he chuckles. He went on to TV sports' most-idiosyncratic on-air team in calling the sport on NBC with Billy Packer and Al McGuire in the 1970s. He called NBC baseball and hoped to become the network's lead voice until Vin Scully was hired. "I thought, 'Oh man, I thought that was the direction I was going."

But Enberg, who lives in the San Diego area, is back on track.

"My wife has said, 'Why are you in front of the TV watching the Padres when they're in last place?' But I'm overwhelmed by the Padres offer. It takes me back to the game I loved the most."

Cincinnati, Boise State, TCU not generating online buzz

Along with issues like letting power conferences keep more TV money and college bowls keep their little fiefdoms, college football's Bowl Championship Series assumes that rigging the system to put brand-name teams in its title game is what the public wants. The idea is that while lesser brands might go undefeated on-field — like TCU, Boise State and Cincinnati this year — the traditional big names will produce the big TV ratings.

That's elitist. But, based on measurements of what the masses are buzzing about online, it might also be correct.

Vitrue, an Atlanta research firm that monitors social media — such as Facebook, YouTube and blogs — ranked the top 25 teams in order of online mentions over the past nine days.

Not cracking that top 25: TCU.

And Cincinnati ranked 21st, while Boise State ranked just 24th.

Meanwhile, two household names nowhere near title contention —USC and Ohio State — topped the charts.

But Vitrue's findings also suggests living off past glory — as opposed to current wins — can't attract fan attention forever. Notre Dame, with a turbulent season that led to its coach being fired, doesn't even show up in the top 25. "The gold is off the dome," says Vitrue CEO Reggie Bradford. "They're just not relevant anymore on a national scale."

BCS title game berths, Heisman on the line

Think of Saturday's biggest college football games as comparable to political debates: How will TV exposure sway votes — for BCS title game berths, as well as the Heisman Trophy.

Past TV exposure has helped create the idea that the winner of the SEC Alabama-Florida title game (CBS, 4 p.m. ET) will face Texas, if it beats Nebraska in the Big 12 title game (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) in the BCS title game. That, says ESPN/ABC's Kirk Herbstreit, is "a no-brainer" but also "unfortunate."

Herbstreit suggests at least the BCS "has come miles" in recent years. Given that BCS bowl wins from outsiders such as Utah and Boise State demonstrated that the haves and have-nots are not all that far apart when it comes to playing football, he says, undefeated TCU is now "just one game away from a legitimate shot at the national championship."

That game: Nebraska upsetting Texas. Then, he says, "you'd have a big discussion. And it will depend on who you talk to. CBS (which airs the SEC) will say it should be a Florida-Alabama rematch."

Says Fox's Jimmy Johnson, who'll be on the network's BCS announcement show (Sunday, 8 p.m. ET): "TCU has a legitimate gripe. They have the quality to play with Alabama, Texas or Florida maybe one out of two times."

Even when he was coaching Miami to a national title in 1987, Johnson says he'd have preferred a college football playoff. Not that he's holding his breath: "The university presidents would make the decision, and they like the bowl system the way it is."

On the Heisman, Herbstreit says it's the first time he's seen the race "literally come down to the last weekend" — with contenders Alabama's Mark Ingram, Texas' Colt McCoy and Florida's Tim Tebow on display. Which might work against Stanford's Toby Gerhart. Herbstreit is an undecided voter who says Gerhart is at least among his top two choices. Fox's Johnson, not a voter, already knows he'd vote for Gerhart — "he's had a fabulous year."

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/colum...g-padres_N.htm


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post #45207 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 07:33 PM
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He couldn't have done it, however, if he weren't constantly being prodded by his personal assistant or, more accurately, assistants.

For most of the show's run that was Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard). Then Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram) took a turn, and finally Natalie returned.

So, did this guy watch the new episodes, then watch reruns, then return to the new episodes? Bitty Schram was the original assistant, then was replaced partway through season 3 by Traylor Howard. Do these guys even know about IMDB? Or the concept of fact checking?

And they wonder why newspapers are dying.
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SYFY BREAKS VIEWERSHIP RECORDS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT RATINGS PERIOD
BEST NOVEMBER IN HISTORY AMONG ALL KEY DEMOS INCLUDING TOTAL VIEWERS, ADULTS 18-34, ADULTS 18-49 AND ADULTS 25-54

FUELED BY THE JULY 7 REBRAND, FROM JULY-NOVEMBER SYFY SCORES MOST-WATCHED FIVE MONTH STRETCH EVER IN TOTAL VIEWERS
In Fourth Quarter to Date, Ranks #4 in Adults 25-54 and #5 in Adults 18-49

Name change?

So all NBC Broadcast had to do to avoided being 4th out of 4 is come up with a more gimmicky name.

They'll get HUGE ratings next year when they rebrand again to "USAY".

-John
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post #45209 of 96961 Old 12-03-2009, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Business Notes
Analysis: Only time can tell in NBC-Comcast deal
Problems with major media mergers were not obvious at first

By Frank Ahrens, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, December 4, 2009

The media landscape of the past decade is littered with mega-mergers that became mega-failures. Why should Thursday's proposed marriage of Comcast and NBC Universal be any different?

If the past is any guide, the answer is often hidden at first, which is why these mergers are such expensive gambles -- there's little way of knowing how they'll turn out.

"I think this is a different time and a different deal than any previous transaction," Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts told investors Thursday, when asked pointedly why this deal is different. "The timing is, I think, very fortuitous, because of where the economy hopefully is going. The size, the deal, really is quite appropriate. It is not really stressing."

The Comcast-NBCU tie-up won't be finalized until regulators have had their say. But it fits the mold of several former media mergers: combine content and distribution into one titanic package, designed to cow competitors and give customers a one-stop shop.

Where it differs from its predecessors is the cost. The $14 billion paid by Comcast to get 51 percent of NBCU is far less than some of the blockbuster transactions that preceded it.

The epic failure of media mergers was AOL-Time Warner, valued at $160 billion, thanks to dot-com stock price inflation. It was announced in 2000 and finally ended this month, with the spinoff of AOL.

The merger was supposed to combine old media content with a new media distribution system, marrying the Internet with Time Inc.'s 150 magazines, Time Warner's cable system, Warner Brothers' movie studios and television assets including CNN, HBO and the WB network.

But the cultures of the two companies never meshed, and, it turned out, not enough people had access to high-speed Internet at the time, making it difficult for consumers to watch video online. That was a hidden truth of this merger.

At the same time, a stodgy French water and sewage treatment company was trying to turn itself into a media giant, chasing the rapidly growing entertainment dollar. France's Vivendi bought Universal's entertainment assets in 2000 in a $30 billion deal, creating Vivendi Universal, putting Universal movie studios, theme parks, the world's largest music company, and lucrative cable channels, such as USA Network, under one roof.

But all the buying nearly bankrupt Vivendi Universal. The surprise in that merger was billions in debt. The company was forced to unload most of its Universal assets to NBC in 2004, owned by General Electric. GE now plans to send them to Comcast.

"I think what you're seeing is the pure-play companies winning out," said AOL veteran Ted Leonsis, an expert on mega-media mergers. "The days of the conglomerate having a little media here, a little bit of iron over there and some computer somewhere else, that strategy did not hold because you need pure focus and expertise" in your businesses, he said.

The big -- and nearly lone -- success story of mega-media mergers in recent history is Walt Disney's 1996 $19 billion purchase of Capital Cities/ABC, a merger that did not try to do too much and that now looks like a bargain. Disney already had theme parks and a movie studio. With ABC, Disney got a broadcast network and a chain of radio stations. It also got a come-along, which proved to be the surprise of the deal -- sports cable network ESPN.

In 1996, ESPN was firmly established but was nowhere near the revenue- and profit-generator it is now. In Disney's fiscal 2009, just ended, the cable networks (largely, ESPN) provided 30 percent of Disney's revenue and a whopping 64 percent of the company's operating income.

That's the kind of surprise that Comcast's Roberts -- and his shareholders -- are hoping to find in NBCU.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...304461_pf.html


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Business Notes
Comcast deal for NBC Universal faces hurdles

By David Lieberman, USA TODAY, December 3, 2009

NEW YORK — Comcast and General Electric unveiled one of the largest and most controversial media mergers in years on Thursday, one that would give the No. 1 cable and broadband provider a controlling stake in NBC Universal.

Executives say the deal, which values NBC Universal at $30 billion, will accelerate the growth of digital technologies that enable people to watch news and entertainment whenever and wherever they want.

"There's a transition happening from physical to electronic delivery in all media, and this will play a big role in helping to make that really good for consumers," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says.

He has long yearned to own more cable channels. They generate steady revenue from the monthly fees paid by cable and satellite companies. He says this deal provides them at a good price.

But consumer groups vow to vigorously oppose the deal. It would give Comcast (CMCSA) control over a new company that would be run as a joint venture with powerful assets in television and movie production, theme parks and the Internet. NBC Universal's channels include NBC, Telemundo, USA Network, Bravo, CNBC and Oxygen. Its franchises include The Tonight Show, Meet the Press and Saturday Night Live.

Comcast will contribute its channels including E! Entertainment Television, Versus, 10 regional sports networks and the Golf Channel.

"No one entity should have control over such a large audience," says Media Access Project CEO Andrew Jay Schwartzman.

It could take about a year for federal antitrust officials and the Federal Communications Commission to decide whether to approve the transaction.

Comcast would control 51% and three of five board seats after contributing its channels, valued at $7.25 billion and paying $6.5 billion to GE. NBC Universal's Jeff Zucker would run the operation, reporting to Comcast COO Stephen Burke.

Industrial giant GE also would collect $9.1 billion from NBC Universal, which will borrow the cash from third-party lenders. GE will pay $5.8 billion to Vivendi for its 20% stake in NBC Universal.

GE could sell half of its 49% share in the venture to Comcast after 3½ years and sell the remainder after seven years. "They're probably unhappy with the performance" of NBC, which is No. 4 in prime time, says former NBC Universal CEO Bob Wright. "But the rest of the business is very good."

Comcast shares jumped 6.5% to $15.91 on Thursday after the company said it will increase its dividend and complete a $3.6 billion share repurchase over the next three years. GE fell 7 cents to $16.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/20...niversal_N.htm


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