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post #63871 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

More simulated sex. Simulated sex is not porn. Porn is quite explicit.

But all the "porn" on Showtime, HBO, and Cinemax is simulated/softcore (except on HBO's Real Sex). That was my point. Is Californication different from hardcore Internet pornography? Of course. Is it different from, say, Life on Top on Cinemax? Not particularly. Just has better acting and is slightly less gratuitous.

The article explains that the charge/criticism is that Californication is softcore pornography. They're not trying to compare it to the more extreme stuff on the internet. So his distinction is not just hollow; it's not a distinction at all.
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post #63872 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by StudioTech View Post

So where's the NAB in all of this? How come they're not out there shouting from the rooftops? Where are all the PSAs warning about the what may be in store for OTA in the future?

There are PSA out there. Many stations are running them (mine included). They tout what TV does. It never says the spectrum is under attack. IMHO, BIG MISTAKE on NAB's part.

All opinions expressed (unless otherwise noted) are the posters and NOT the posters employers. The poster in NO WAY is/will speak for his employers.
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post #63873 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 05:14 PM
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FRIDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings – along with Media Week Analyst Marc Berman’s view of what they mean -- have been posted on his blog: http://pifeedback.com/eve/forums/a/t...51/m/907100643
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post #63874 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 05:18 PM
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TCA Winter Tour Notes
FX's John Landgraf Not Discouraged By 'Lights Out', 'Terriers' Ratings Woes
By The Deadline.com Team - January 15th, 2011

From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood's TCA coverage:

In the final executive session of the TCA confab in Pasadena on Saturday morning, FX president and GM John Landgraf acknowledged that he's disappointed in the ratings for the premiere last week of the network's latest drama series -- the boxing-themed Lights Out -- and continued to do post-mortems on the demise of Terriers but he remains undaunted going forward, stressing, "We've had six critically acclaimed shows and four ratings successes, one failure and one unknown. You can't bat .1000 in this business. That's just the way it is."

Landgraf cautioned that it's far too early to dismiss Lights Out as a failure after just a single airing. "It was tremendously acclaimed. We're disappointed by the premiere ratings, but we'll be running it as planned. There's (rarely) been a scripted series on television about boxing, and this is a very good one...(But) no matter how good the show is, the question is, 'Are they somebody's first choice? Are they good enough to overcome massive competition in the marketplace?' I can't tell you what will happen over he next 12 weeks. Premieres are very important, but shows also find audiences over time. We'll just have to wait and see."

"Maybe we should have made a show about a zombie or a sexy vampire trying to regain the heavyweight title of the world," he quipped, referring to the runaway ratings success of two other cable series, AMC's Walking Dead and HBO's True Blood.

What went wrong? Landgraf pointed to the ever-increasing competition that makes it tougher and tougher for a new series to get sampled, much less bust out from the pack. "I looked at the tracking data. In January and February, there are 18 new original series premiering on cable. There are another 18 returning series launching on cable, and 16 new and returning series launching on broadcast networks. That's 52 original series premiering in January and February in all. It's an intensely crowded field. You have to think about that competitive environment...On the night Lights Out premiered, The Game on BET did an absolutely historic number...Getting traction with something new and something different has gotten devilishly hard."

In the case of Terriers, Landgraf said he's spent a lot of money doing elaborate studies of why the show didn't catch on. Some suspected it had something to do with a marketing and promo campaign that misidentified the show's tone, featuring a snarling dog. "Did we fail from a marketing standpoint? We just don't know. But it's become tougher and tougher to find a slot to wiggle through if you're trying to make something competitively excellent, and different, that isn't just designed to be noisy and shocking."

In other news, Landgraf noted that the new comedy Wilfred starring Elijah Wood will launch Thursdays this summer in the slot following the second season of the Louis C.K. comedy Louie, and that a drama based on the indie superhero comic Powers is still alive, with a third writer having been brought in to take a crack at the script. He also pointed out in his opening remarks that the sports comedy The League had shown "improved and excellent ratings" in its second season and that a third season will get picked up "if negotiations prove successful. And I'm confident they will."

Despite the ratings challenges for FX's last pair of original series, Landgraf isn't discouraged. "I'm actually excited," he said. "It's like, OK, it's a tougher environment, we've got to jump higher, jump farther, have more commercial noisy-ness. Let's go to it. I think with our next batch of projects we put on, we'll have some big successes. We're coming up now on 10 years (since FX premiered its first original drama The Shield). We can't win 'em all but we've got a pretty good batting average. We've learned to absorb the lessons of failure and continue to drive forward and grow...We have to try to continue to take big creative risks."

http://www.deadline.com/2011/01/tca-...-ratings-woes/
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post #63875 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 05:21 PM
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TCA Winter Tour Notes
Time Warner Cable, Sinclair Reach Retrans Agreement In Principle
By Mike Reynolds, Multichannel News - January 15th, 2011

Following a second extension of their retransmission-consent negotiations on Friday, Time Warner Cable reached an agreement in principle with Sinclair Broadcasting on Saturday afternoon for continued carriage of 28 stations within the operator's footprint.

The No. 2 cable operator said it expects to work toward a final agreement in the next seven days. Despite some rhetoric, there was never any service disruption.

Sinclair also reached a tenative pact with Bright House Networks on Jan. 14 covering five stations. Associated Press reports that the parties have an additional week to finalize the deal. Typically, Time Warner Cable handles programming negotiations for Bright House.

Sinclair declined any further comment.

The retransmission-consent contract between Sinclair and Time Warner originally was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, but the parties that evening extended the negotiating period through Jan. 14.

On Friday, the parties pushed that deadline back until Jan. 15 at 11:59 p.m., before announcing the agreement in principle today.

"We're pleased to reach an agreement with Sinclair Broadcasting without any interruption in service for our customers," said Rob Marcus, president and COO of Time Warner Cable in a statement. "We appreciate our customers' patience and support throughout this negotiation, and thank them for their patronage."

http://www.multichannel.com/article/..._Principle.php
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post #63876 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Business Notes
Time Warner Cable, Sinclair Extend Retrans Deadline
By Katy Bachman, MediaWeek.com - January 14th, 2011

Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcast Group added an extra day to negotiate a retransmission agreement for Sinclair's 33 TV stations affecting 4 million cable subscribers. The new deadline is now 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15.

Basic deal has been reached. They are going to hammer out the final details over the coming week.

And so ends another bout of PR posturing. Until next time! Next week or month probably.


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post #63877 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

Basic deal has been reached. They are going to hammer out the final details over the coming week.

And so ends another bout of PR posturing. Until next time! Next week or month probably.

Meanwhile, your cable TV rates go up...
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post #63878 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Meanwhile, your cable TV rates go up...

They already did, just this month in fact.

TWC have an entire year to think of more reasons to increase them for 2012. Maybe they have to charge everyone extra for reinforcing the network for Mayan Doomsday.


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post #63879 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by URFloorMatt View Post

The article explains that the charge/criticism is that Californication is softcore pornography.

I would argue that the term "softcore pornography" is a misnomer. Nudity with simulated sex is not pornography, hardcore or softcore. Edited versions of real sex (edited hardcore pornography) films are what softcore pornography is.
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post #63880 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 09:34 PM
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It is interesting to me that with all these media scholars on this thread, no one has stated the obvious.

Isn't it interesting that everything is going "pay" wireless as fast as they can and the original "free" wireless service is being "forced" to go wired where it will not be "free" anymore with the up and comers replacing them doing the same thing as the old service, but charging for it? The bottom line is COMPETITION. With broadcast TV out of the way, the pie (spectrum, as well as dollars) for the remaining players get larger. All you anti-big corporate believers who see this as a good thing, you have been sucked in by the very players you complain about. Congratulations. You have been had.

The wireless companies fought very hard for broadcast stations to NOT be able to datacast in the beginning. They lost. They are still afraid that TV datacasting of ANY form will cut down on their bottom line. That is who is really scared of all this, not Congress. Congress is scared of the blue hairs who will complain when their free TV goes away. CEA is full of crap. It doesn't matter to them which side wins. They get to make the gear, and the money, either way. So why are they even in this debate then? HHMM?

If the FCC goes through with its plan, and at this point, it is still an IF, you will see stations not broadcast HD OTA, not because it isn't feasible, but because viewers will have to get NEW TV's with MPEG4 receivers (CEA wins again!), the rules would also need to be changed to allow single stream of information other than MPEG2 which is the minimum requirement allowed at this time. And if that rule doesn't change, there WILL BE no HD OTA. Why? MPEG2 HD at the bitrates that would have to be used at the reduced bandwidth will make the stuff you guys complain about now seem pristine.

CEA has the most to gain if all this goes through. They get to make the gear and the money no matter which way it goes. Does any of this begin to seep in?

The CEA is nothing more than it's own profit center. Thank goodness someone gets it. And Mr. Shapiro, my Internet is already too expensive. At least give me one thing to watch free (I do not pay for satellite or cable),
that I don't have to pay oodles of dollars for.

BTW, the article on Comcast losing out to OTA viewers and AntennasDirect (and I'm guessing others) doing very well on antenna sales pretty much shoots down Mr. Shapiro's argument, doesn't it?

Gilbert
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post #63881 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 10:08 PM
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It looks like HBO was beat to the punch, if they had any "Hard Knocks" style plans for baseball.

I suppose HBO could still do one. I think one of their greatest advantages is the narration of Liev Schreiber.

Former USSB uplink operator.
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post #63882 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Point being?

Clearly you should pay more attention.
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post #63883 of 95509 Old 01-15-2011, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BIGA$$TV View Post

Do you mean I can have free cell phone service, free wifi service?

Or should you have to pay for your AM/FM radio service?
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post #63884 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 02:37 AM
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
Sunday Network Prime-Time Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are EDT)

ABC:
7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R - October 17, 2010)
8PM - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9PM - Desperate Housewives
10PM - Brothers & Sisters

CBS:
7PM - NFL Football: NY Jets at New England Patrios (LIVE)
8PM - 60 Minutes: Alleged Arizona gunman Jared Loughner; Yemen and the war on terror; professional gambler Bill Walters
9PM - Undercover Boss: Belfor CEO
10PM - CSI: Miami

NBC:
7PM - 2011 Golden Globe Arrivals Special (LIVE)
8PM - The 68th Gloden Globe Awards (Three Hours, LIVE)

FOX:
7PM - The Simpsons
(R - September 26, 2010)
7:30PM - American Dad
8PM - The Simpsons
8:30PM - Bob's Burgers
9PM - Family Guy
9:30PM - The Cleveland Show

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Nature: White Falcon, White Wolf (R - October 26, 2008)
9PM - Masterpiece Classic: Downtown Abbey (90 min.)
10:30PM - Ribbon of Sand
(R - February 25, 2008)

UNIVISION:
7PM - La Hora Pico
(R - October 13, 2002)[b]
8PM - El Gran Show (120 min.)[b] (R - December 05, 2010)
10PM - Sal y Pimienta
(R - September 19, 2010)
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post #63885 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 07:18 AM
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On Tonight: Globes and Some Future Winners


By Roger Catlin -- Hartford Courant’s “TV Eye” -- Jan 16

[All times are Eastern.]

Ricky Gervais returns to host the "2011 Golden Globe Awards" (NBC, 8 p.m.), the event that despite its spotty pedigree, kickstarts the awards season in earnest. Odd to think the event is still the biggest platform for the comedian, creator of "The Office" and occasional movie star.

Among TV shows up for the award are the usual suspects, with "Glee" topping all titles with five nominations; followed by three each for "Mad Men," "Dexter," "Modern Family" the newcomer "Boardwalk Empire" and "The Good Wife."

For some, its all about the arrivals, so there's the "Golden Globe Awards Red Carpet Special" (NBC, 7 p.m.) and the even longer "Live on the Red Carpet: Golden Globes" (E!, 6 p.m.) and

Instead of watching the stars of TV and movies get their awards, get a glimpse at shows that may be picking up trophies at next year's event.

The second episode of "Shameless" (Showtime, 9 p.m.) defines the show starring William H. Macy better than the first one did; and the second, feature-length chapter of the beautiful-looking "Downton Abbey" on "Masterpiece Classic" (CPTV, 9 p.m.) is more riveting than last week's premiere as well.

The show that makes fun of the process of remaking British series in to American shows, "Episodes" (Showtime, today, 9:30 p.m.) hits its stride with its second episode.

And the fifth season of "Big Love" (HBO, 9 p.m.) begins, with a focus and pace that final seasons can bring. It starts in the aftermath of last year's finale, with Bill winning a seat in the statehouse, but living with the aftermath of admitting his family's polygamous ways. It's tough on everyone in the house, and at the workplace. But Bill is determined to use his new role to bring the practices of the compound into the open (though they're not so happy about that either).

The first few episodes of the new season are so good, you may start to miss it prematurely.

Divisional games today include Jets at New England (CBS, 3:30 p.m.) in the AFC and Seattle at Chicago (Fox, noon) in the NFC.

Smithers remodels Moe's into a gay bar on a new episode of "The Simpsons" (Fox, 8 p.m.). "Glee" cast members and Wilmer Valderrama guest on "The Cleveland Show" (Fox, 9:30 p.m.).

Larry Hagman guest stars as a suitor of Lynette on "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 9 p.m.). Bahthazar Getty returns to "Brothers & Sister" (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.).

The animated "Bob's Burgers" (Fox, 8:30 p.m.) was the biggest premiere for a new show all year, Fox boasts

In the standup special "Denis Leary and Friends Present: Douchebags and Donuts" (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.) includes bits from Whitney Cummings and two "Rescue Me" costars Lenny Clarke and Adam Ferrara.

A double feature of southern justice features "In the Heat of the Night" (TCM, 8 p.m.) and "The Liberation of L.B. Jones" (TCM, 10 p.m.)

Sunday Talk
ABC: Town Hall on Tuscon shooting.
CBS: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Jeff Flake, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.
NBC: Sens. Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer and Tom Coburn.
CNN: Reps. Tim Murphy and Grace Napolitano.
Fox News: Fovs. Chris Christie and Tim Pawlenty.

http://blogs.courant.com/roger_catli...-fut.html#more

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post #63886 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 07:33 AM
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10 Things You Need to Know About the Golden Globe Awards


by Bill Higgins, Bryan Alexander - The Hollywood Reporter - Jan 15

Before you attend remember to eat well and head to the smoking area. With the red-carpet ready for Sunday's big show, some insider pointers:

1. The room is full of hungry stars. Waiters remove all the food before 5 pm regardless of whether the stars make it to their tables to eat. The production does not want the sound of knives and forks clacking in the background of the show or people with potatoes hanging out of their mouth on camera. Consequently stars in 'the pit' -- the front area most coveted and packed with A-listers -- is full of people trying to get small plates of foods from the back delivered to them discreetly during the show.

2. It's really, really loud inside the ballroom. That's the one thing everyone mentions when they leave -- how the crowd talks throughout the telecast – commercial breaks, during presentations and acceptances. The loudest is in the back of the room where guests get up, mingle and stand against the wall. Security guards are posted in the back to "shush" people but its a full time job and they aren't very successful. The sound engineer who manages to keep the extraneous noise out of the telecast deserves an Emmy.

3. The Golden Globes has an annual Hollywood debutante moment thanks to its Miss Golden Globe honoree -- usually the offspring of a famous celebrity. Their task is to assist onstage during the awards show. Many honorees have gone onto great things such as Linda Evans (1964), Anne Archer (1971), Melanie Griffith (1975), Laura Dern (1982). Rumer Willis was 2009. This year, it's Joe Mantegna's daughter Gia Mantegna.

4. There are very few agents in the ballroom. The Foreign Press cares only about having stars in the room. "Stars giving stars awards" is their bottom-line for the show – no technical awards, no singing, no dancing. Their attitude is, "If the stars want their agents to be there, they can give them one of their own tickets." You can imagine the joy this brings to the world of representation.

5. The ballroom has what every other award show desperately (for some) lacks: an easily accessible smoking area. It's out the multi-door fire exits in the back overlooking the pool. This is where they should have a camera. It's the loosest scene of the night. Anyone who's restless, bored, or just needs a breath of air, hangs out. It's also "the" place to network during the show.

6. Nobody says the Globes are more prestigious, or voted upon by a more qualified electorate, than the Oscars. But there's one area where the HFPA might outshine AMPAS: best foreign- language film. Chalk it up to their being foreigners themselves, but they make consistently intelligent choices in this category. There's no The Tourist in these nominees.

7. The awards is steeped in a rowdy tradition. The awards were handed out by journalists in the HFPA up until 1958, when Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. famously stormed the stage with whiskeys and cigarettes and took over the show, distributing the awards. Since then, stars have ruled the show.

8. The show patrons continue to enjoy their drink. It is the most spirited of the major award shows. Some 9000 glasses of Moet & Chandon champagne will be drunk Sunday. One thousand Moet minis will be served on the red carpet and leading into the ballroom. In the ballroom, all magnums are pre-prepped so that they are popped and chilled in ice buckets on the table.

9. The restrooms loom large at the Globes (see previous item). In 1998 Christine Lahti of Chicago Hope almost missed accepting her award because she was in the loo (see the clip here). The ladies room has a complete room with L'Oreal makeup artists to give everyone touch-ups and offer makeup samples -- even the A-list stars grab handfuls of lip gloss, etc. The men just have a bathroom attendant with cologne top-ups.

10. The show generally does not have a host, getting rid of the concept in the mid-90s because they felt it was already star-studded enough. Ricky Gervais was the first host since 1995 last year. And he will continue his duties once again this year. (NBC, 8/7c)

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...n-globes-72173

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post #63887 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 07:52 AM
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Piers Morgan confident he can lift CNN's flagging prime-time ratings


by Rodney Ho - Access Atlanta - Radio & TV Talk - Jan 15

Set to replace Larry King on CNN Monday at 9 p.m., Piers Morgan is in both a good and bad position. Good because expectations are modest. CNN's prime-time ratings are in the gutter. Morgan can't do much worse.

Bad because his lead-ins John King, USA and Parker/Spitzer are doing so poorly, he's going to have to draw new viewers in from the outside. That's a challenge during prime time competing against the likes of Grey's Anatomy, CSI and Fox News' Sean Hannity.

We need the ratings to go up, Morgan said in a phone interview from New York Thursday. It's as simple as that. It's at around 600,000 at the moment. I've got to produce compelling interviews and the ratings will come.

Indeed, he knew how important it was to nab a major A list celebrity for Monday. And he got it: Oprah Winfrey.

You have to send out a message that you mean business, he said. There's no question the first week of guests is spectacular. (The rest of the week will feature radio host Howard Stern, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, comedian Ricky Gervais and actor George Clooney.)

Morgan is taping most of his interviews ahead of time rather than running them live as King did. You can get a huge buzz before it airs, he said. You can have fun promoting them. That's a great advantage, especially if you have something juicy and tantalizing.

Indeed, Morgan has gotten oodles of advance press from his Winfrey interview when CNN released a teaser in which she said she was so depressed after her 1998 film Beloved flopped, she consumed 30 pounds of macaroni and cheese.

It's not even in the show, he mused. We actually thought that was one of the weaker lines in context of the material we had.

Morgan, a former newspaper editor who also has a chat-style show in the U.K., is best known stateside as a judge on NBC's America's Got Talent and winner of the first Celebrity Apprentice in 2008. While some critics wonder if being a reality show judge stunts his ability to be taken seriously as a journalist, Morgan scoffed.

Anyone who thinks that has a pea brain, said Morgan, whose British bluntness is part of his charm. America's Got Talent' is the most popular show in the summer. I have no worries that it would have any negative impact on my reputation or career.

He sure knows how to make headlines when need be. He told TV critics last week that he would not allow Madonna on his show unless she apologized for lying to him in the past and other sundry confrontations. It worked, didn't it? he said. And she made a fateful error by saying she never heard of me.

Actor Harrison Ford this week, promoting his latest movie in the U.K., threw out Morgan's name without Morgan's prompting, saying he would never go on the show because Morgan's goal is to dig deep and Ford has no intention of revealing anything deep about himself.

I'm not interested in the truth, Ford said. I'm interested in selling product. You want the truth? Go someplace else. Not my business. Morgan was actually bemused by this. I liked that, he said. He's being refreshingly honest!

Morgan knows replacing an icon like King is akin to taking over for Frank Sinatra at the Sands. I love challenges, he said. I always remember my mother giving me a postcard. It was a hippopotamus flying with a flock of seagulls with the words, Ambition has no bounds.' I think if you get offered these opportunities, you have to go for it.

Stern, after his interview with Morgan yesterday, told CNN in the green room he was impressed. Piers was very good. Piers understood the medium. He had the little blue cards. He asked questions. It was amazing.I didn't even know Piers knew how to talk. I only thought he knew how to press a buzzer and say you suck.

http://blogs.ajc.com/radio-tv-talk/2...-time-ratings/

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post #63888 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 08:12 AM
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Tonight's TV Hot List:
Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011


by TV Guide News

Big Love - 9/8c HBO
If you thought Bill Henrickson had problems before — before he pronounced his polygamy — wait until you see the trouble that awaits him in the premiere of the fifth and final season. He encounters open revolt at Home Plus, his family is ostracized, even attacked, in public, and his soon-to-be fellow state senators can't bear to be in the same room with him. Sure, he's faced uphill battles in the past, but the ones ahead will test his mettle, and threaten to pull his family apart at the seams. — Joe

NFL Playoff - 1/Noon c Fox
Day 2 of the divisional battles begins with the high-flying Seahawks visiting the Bears in Chicago. The Bears are certainly the favorites in this game, but the Seahawks, behind rejuvenated QB Matt Hasselbeck, stunned the Saints last weekend 41-36, and if they can beat the Saints...Later in the day on CBS, it's another AFC divisional rivalry, with the Jets visiting the Patriots. Each team has a win over the other this year; but in addition to the normal problems of dealing with Tom Brady, the Jets will need to mentally shake off a 45-3 drubbing the Pats handed them in early December in Foxboro, Mass. — Dave Roeder

Australian Open - 6:30/5:30c ESPN2
After dramatically volleying the men's world No. 1 ranking back and forth for a few years, Spain's Rafael Nadal has a firm hold on the honor over Swiss star Roger Federer. Winning the last three majors of 2010 will do that, though Nadal enters two weeks of heat in Melbourne feeling dual pressures from the talk of a "Rafa Slam" as well as a resurgent Federer, who has won 26 of his last 28 matches, including the season opener in Qatar. With Serena Williams injured, the women's bracket Down Under promises a new champion, with Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva among the hungriest as they try to add a major win to their lofty rankings. — Roger Leister

Hannah Montana Forever - 7/6c Disney
Despite the show's title, Hannah Montana isn't going on forever. In fact, tonight is the series last original episode. In it, Miley is faced with a tough decision. Should she go off to college with Lilly, as she originally planned, or accept a lucrative movie role she is dying to play? Of course, Lilly feels betrayed that Miley would even consider delaying college to be in a movie, but Miley is growing up and must make her own way. If only she could have the best of both worlds. — Tim Holland

Golden Globe Awards - 8/7c NBC
Dig that gold. A galaxy of stars will be mining for golden honors at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's 68th annual soiree, which recognizes achievement in 25 movie and TV categories. Ricky Gervais returns to host for the second time, and the colorful Brit funnyman will likely add his zesty brand of wit to the proceedings, which include a tribute to Robert De Niro, who receives the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Slated presenters include Kevin Bacon, Helen Mirren, Kevin Spacey, Sandra Bullock, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. and Bruce Willis. The ceremony is broadcast from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in the land of 90210. — Dean Maurer

The Simpsons - 8/7c Fox
Smithers spruces up Moe's tavern with a trendy makeover, and it instantly becomes a gay hangout. Elsewhere, Principal Skinner has a crush on the new music teacher (voice of Kristen Wiig), whose daughter (voice of Alyson Hannigan) has a thing for Bart, leading Skinner to enlist the rascally rapscallion as the unlikeliest of allies. Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall) has a voice cameo. — Fred Mitchell

Desperate Housewives - 9/8c ABC
Last week it was Susan who had to deal with her mother; now it's Lynette, whose mom (Polly Bergen) is about to marry a guy (Larry Hagman) who seems to have only one thing going for him: He's rich. At least Lynette's Renee problem was resolved last week, but now it seems that Bob and Lee have a Renee problem after they hire her to decorate their soon-to-be adopted daughter's bedroom. She can't stand kids. Meanwhile, Bree runs into Keith's ex-girlfriend (Rochelle Aytes), and that won't be good for Keith. And Paul Young's back on his feet, and that can't be good for anybody. — Paul Droesch

Ted Haggard: Scandalous - 10/9c TLC
As anyone who's seen Alexandra Pelosi's 2009 doc The Trials of Ted Haggard can attest, New Life Church founder and onetime National Association of Evangelicals president Ted Haggard, who fell from the graces of both due to a 2006 gay-sex-and-drugs scandal, is a fascinating and flawed fellow. Scandalous details his effort to rebuild his life, which includes founding a new church "for people like me, people who know that everyone needs a break at one time or another in their lives." — Jeff Gemmill

http://www.tvguide.com/News/Tonights...s=breakingnews

"Time's fun when you're having flies." ...Kermit the Frog
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Heh. A riveting defense from Mr. Kapinos, who has obviously never tuned into some of Showtime's late night programming.

true, but there's a difference since Californication actually has a good plot and script.
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SATURDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings - along with Media Week Analyst Marc Berman's view of what they mean -- have been posted on his blog: http://pifeedback.com/eve/forums/a/t...51/m/246106643
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true, but there's a difference since Californication actually has a good plot and script.

And better actors. Duchovny, that army of gorgeous women he gets laid with regularly are a far cry from the people you see in pornography... or so I'm told, ahem!
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TV Review
'Big Love' (HBO)
Last Chance at Love
By James Poniewozik, TIME's 'Tuned In' Blog

In its fourth season Big Love, HBO's drama about plural marriage, had problems with plural storylines. As befits a show about big families, Big Love was never afraid to be expansive, developing a large cast and piling on story developments, but the torrent of can-you-top-this plot developments became almost comical. To his big-box housewares store and Indian casino, patriarch Bill Henrickson added a run for Utah State Senate, while at home and at the fundamentalist compund he left as a boy, there were twists galore, including kidnapping, exotic bird smuggling and a plan by a fundamentalist interloper to seize power at the compound through a baroque plan involving bizarre fertility experiments.

It was all, even for a show about abundance, a little much.

Season 5 will be Big Love's last, and while I can't saybased on the first three episodesthat it's back in top form, it has taken some course-correction steps to end its run by focusing on its central story: the struggle of Bill and his three wives to create a life for themselves in their own faith, outside the abusive traditions of the compound and the support of the mainstream Mormon community. The story is still sprawling, but extraneous plots have been either dialed down or pared away, as the return episodes focus tightly on the central family.

At the end of season 4, Bill had won election and carried out his plan for the family to come out as polygamists. (Under state law, he cannot be impeached for being a polygamist, though it is technically illegal.) The idea is that, having won the confidence of voters and shown himself and his family to be regular people, they would come to be accepted by the communityand in so doing, show that there's a third way for people like them to pursue their faith in the open.

It doesn't quite work that way. Bill's colleagues and constituents take his deception as, well, a deception, and as the season opens, the family is beseiged and feeling the sting of ostracization. There are strains within the marriage too. Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin), who has lost her job, is at loose ends and desperate. Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn) is having second thoughts about her marriage, and feels that she is not truly an equal within it. And Nicki (Chloe Sevigny) has finally broken with her allegiance to the compound, only to now face the possibility of her long-estranged daughter repeating her past mistakes. Meanwhilethere are always a lot of meanwhiles on Big LoveJuniper Creek compound leader Alby (Matt Ross) is consolidating his power as Prophet and becoming increasingly isolated and cruel, while Bill immediately faces new enemies within his own party at the State House (including Gregory Itzin as the Senate majority leader).

The first two new episodes are better focused and often affecting but don't quite cohere, possibily in part because of the mop-up work left after the whirlwind of season four. The third episode sent to critics, however, is one of the strongest the show has done in a while, possibly since the excellent third season. It gives hope that this big-hearted, unruly but ambitious series can, as it wraps up for good, find a way home.

BIG LOVE
Sunday Night at 9PM on HBO


http://tunedin.blogs.time.com/2011/0...ve/#more-13749
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post #63893 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 10:19 AM
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Critic's Notes
Television's wider, sharper, distorted view
Giant screens are impressive, but they don't automatically improve the content. And it's not good when older or historical images are adapted to fit widescreens.
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times - January 16th, 2011



I watch TV on a 20-year-old, 21-inch Panasonic television set with a single RF input into which I run a DVD player, a VHS machine and a cable box chained in sequence. It is the only television in the house, though sometimes I do watch things online on an even smaller screen, a 15-inch cathode-ray computer monitor of no certain age (though it has survived more than one CPU). The Panasonic has never given me a lick of trouble, and although I am sure that the mere writing of those words guarantees its failure in the near future, I have no plans to upgrade until that happens. It would be wasteful and disloyal.

Televisions have changed since I bought this set, and television has changed along with it; it has shaped itself to the technology. And though I would say that this old Panasonic has a great picture, its age, almost by definition by high-definition argues otherwise. It is not the sort of TV that TV is being made for nowadays, with its widescreen, sharper image. At least some of the time, when the picture is not "letterboxed" - framed above and below with black bars that let a widescreen picture run whole on an old squarer screen - I am missing something.

When I see Giant TV at a friend's house or in some bar or lined up in banks at the gadget store, I am impressed, in a way, though not to the point of desire, as when as a tot I would have to be dragged away from any color television. Eventually, when the Panasonic goes to its reward, I will own a flatter, bigger TV a wider one, at least and it will fascinate me for a while, and then it will just be a television set.

I won't argue that there isn't something more "advanced" about the new models, but making TV prettier or more immersive does not make it smarter or bolder or funnier, any more than the super-widescreen stereo Technicolor films of the 1950s, made in response to television's infiltration of the living room, were necessarily any good though the viewer may be dazzled into a kind of confusion. By the same token, good stories or good jokes can play just as well compact, on a little screen on the back of an airplane seat, or even a smart phone; the smallest picture can draw you in when there's something worth looking at it. Sometimes bigger is just bigger; sometimes a clearer picture just lets the seams and the wrinkles show. But once the new paradigm is set, it's hard going back. We see things differently.

We are still in a transitional period between these modes of perception. Visiting friends whose new widescreen monitor is filled to the edges with the distended image of a show made in the old squarer "standard definition," I tell them, "That picture is all stretched out everybody's short and fat. Can't you see that?"

But they can't, or don't care. They could correct it with the push of a button, but prefer not to waste a square inch of the screen on the buffering black spaces - called "pillarboxing" when they appear at the sides -- that would put the picture in the proper proportion. If circles are squashed to ovals, so what? Similarly, many viewers with old sets like mine prefer to watch cropped "full screen" videos of widescreen theatrical features to the uncropped, letterboxed kind, which I think is foolish as well.

What you stretch in the privacy of your own home is one thing. What's distressing is the way that older images are now being pre-stretched for your convenience: It has become common practice in documentary filmmaking to elongate archival footage, shot in the 4:3 aspect ratio to fill a 16:9 widescreen frame. Even Ken Burns does it. And it's wrong.

Because whatever shape you want your TV picture to be, people are shaped as they are; stretching them like Silly Putty changes not only the way they look but the world that contains them; it warps the speed at which they move through space, and space itself. It is no different in kind than describing Abraham Lincoln as short and fat or Mt. Everest as a low-lying hill. It gets in the way of history and truth, distorting the record, literally, for the purpose of making us feel good about a big-ticket electronics purchase.

This is even worse than colorizing that now largely abandoned attempt to "improve" old movies for viewers disinclined to watch anything in black and white. (It was the visual equivalent of "electronically rechanneling" monaural recordings for stereo, which itself was a foretaste of what will happen when 3D TVs take over, and all the old 2D series are rejiggered to artificially recede and pop.) Any picture is already just an impression of reality, to get a little metaphysical, but the point has always been to capture the world or to render some imagined world as convincingly as possible, or to artfully reimagine the actual. To make the image less accurate just to fill space I can't understand why filmmakers want to do it, or agree to do it or are not marching in the streets shaking their Bolexes in protest.

Consumers demand choice, but demand also kills choice, as supply falls in line with what sells. New technologies turn tyrannical: You'll never hear analog again. The special beauties of black and white film and of the 4:3 frame the shape (more or less) of "Citizen Kane" and "Casablanca" and pretty much every television show made in the 20th century, including the first season of "The Sopranos" become not just outmoded but unacceptable. Already, on new shows, the action is migrating outward, to the edges of my humble antique TV screen, leaving the center empty.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...,6431858.story
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post #63894 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 10:30 AM
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HDTV Notes
Inviting your buddies over for the big game without high-def? Don’t expect a high turnout.
By Beth Teitell, Boston Globe - January 15th, 2011

When Brian Owens gets invited to a Super Bowl party, his first question is about the quality of the TV. Brazen? Yes. But, as Owens, 27, an IT recruiter from South Boston, explains, “If your TV is not up to par, you should warn people. It’s the equivalent of not serving food.’’

With the penetration of high-definition TVs in US households at 56 percent, according to Nielsen, and prices dropping to the point where many can afford them, a new faux pas has emerged: hosting — or trying to host — a playoff party or Super Bowl bash with a less than first-rate television.

As Daniel Cisneros, 35, an analyst with the Bank of America, put it: “Dude, if you don’t have the proper TV, why should I go to your place?’’

That’s what was running through his mind last year when a buddy with an old-fashioned projection TV — don’t get Cisneros started on the faded colors — invited him to a Super Bowl party. Cisneros, who has a high-definition set and surround sound, and is considering upgrading to 3-D, was polite about it, but he watched elsewhere.

Perhaps real-estate agent Jackson Hayes, 32, said it best, as he took in a few games in high-def at Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill last Sunday. “You can’t go back [to regular TV],’’ he said. “It’s like you’re watching through mud.’’

But the host hoping for a crowd to watch the Pats-Jets playoff game tomorrow needs to offer more than just high-definition. The TV needs to be so large that the players look almost life size. Like portion sizes (and Americans themselves), television screens have ballooned. And when it’s time for the big game, only the biggest TVs will do.

“If you’re going to have a Super Bowl party it has to be 50-inches plus,’’ said Nick Wasson, 26, an anesthesia resident at Beth Israel, as he hung out with a friend at Jerry Remy’s. “I hate to be like that, but I’ve got a 65-inch TV.’’

In 2004, the average television measured 27 inches and the vast majority were standard definition. Today’s average TV is 36 inches, according to Paul Gagnon, director of North American TV research at DisplaySearch, a California-based market-research firm. “Even people who bought a flat-panel set in 2006 or 2007 are starting to look at replacing it with a 40-inch or larger set.’’

With the Patriots in the playoffs, and the Super Bowl coming up Feb. 6, the pressure is on to have just the right set. Or else.

Dondrea May, a sales manager at Best Buy in Framingham, sees that strain firsthand, when customers reveal the pressure they’re under from friends or even their teenage kids. Those shopping for a new game day set are more anxious than customers looking for ovens before Thanksgiving, he said.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Hey, my oven’s down, can you cook this for me and bring it over?’ ’’ May said. “But you can’t invite your party over to someone else’s house, and nobody wants to watch the Super Bowl on a terrible, small TV.’’

Tweet 2 people Tweeted thisYahoo! Buzz ShareThis Some customers shopping for new sets suffer from full-blown TV shame, he added.

“A lot of times with men, the peer pressure gets to them. When you’re rocking a 27-inch tube TV, people will make fun of you.’’ Other times the shame is secondhand. The TV owner doesn’t care about his or her small, socially unacceptable set, but the kids do. “Some of them say I don’t want to replace it but my family is making me.’’

Why is the game-day viewing experience so important? Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, said football in general, and especially the Super Bowl, lets people of different economic, social, and racial groups bond and gives them a common sense of identity.

“It creates something that is ‘us’ rather than ‘we’ and ‘them,’ ’’ he said.

Even so, Rosanne J. Thomas, president of Protocol Advisors Inc., in Boston, says those turning down invitations based on TV pixel counts should ask themselves a question: “What’s more important to you, the game or the friendship?’’

“Super Bowl games come and go,’’ she said, “but relationships [should be lasting]. I think you’d be more concerned about that on Monday morning.’’

Well, maybe.

“You have to question your friendship [with someone without a high-definition TV],’’ said Hayes, the real estate agent watching sports at Jerry Remy’s. “We’re all sports people. We’re not 22 and just out of college. You should have a decent TV to watch sports on.’’

If there’s good news for those without high-def, it’s that prices are coming down. A 40-inch flat panel TV that cost about $3,200 in 2005, went for about $1,300 in 2007, and is less than $700 today, according to Gagnon. “You can get a 50-inch flat panel TV for roughly the same price as you paid for a 32-inch model in 2006.’’

How does it feel to be the guy with the bad TV? Terrible, said Bryan Douglass, associate editor in charge of sports for Gunaxin.com, an online magazine aimed at men.

“We talked about having parties all the time, but every time I’d look at the TV and say ‘I can’t do it, it’s too embarrassing.’ ’’

His wife got him a new TV for Christmas, he said, which means that now he can open his home — and show off his big screen.

Ridiculous, maybe, but who can blame him? Listen to Jon Moulton, 50, an attorney from North Reading, a seemingly nice guy and reasonable fellow who turned down an invitation a couple of years ago for definition-related reasons.

“You’d think the company should outweigh the quality of the TV,’’ Moulton said, “but it doesn’t. We’re guys.’’

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/arti...hout_high_def/
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post #63895 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 10:40 AM
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TV Notes
The Thing That Ate Saturday Night
By Brooks Barnes, The New York Times - January 16th, 2011

Los Angeles.- Take two former pop princesses Debbie Gibson and Tiffany and cast them in a television movie involving illegally imported snakes and alligators on steroids. Stir in gobs of gooey cheese a Dynasty-style cat fight here, a trio of fisherman eaten alive there. Most important, make liberal use of computer-generated creatures and effects. Pythons blown up with dynamite! Thousands of hatching reptile eggs! Alligators the size of skyscrapers!

Then send out a news release promising down and dirty action, focusing in particular on Ms. Gibson and Tiffany, who had dueling singing careers, and hairstyles, more than two decades ago. We settle our old '80s music rivalry by putting on short skirts and throwing snakes and 'gators at each other, Ms. Gibson said.

A rare, colossal alignment of camp and corn? Not really. For the channel known as Syfy, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid is just another Saturday night.

Getting noticed on television increasingly takes something over the top. Glee on Fox is a big gay comedy-drama-musical hybrid. Jersey Shore on MTV needed drunken girl brawls and wall-to-wall profanity to stand out in the reality show cesspool. Syfy has its messy B movies, guilty pleasure titles that chew into the absurd like tanker-sized sharks.

It's about letting escapist entertainment wash over you, said Dave Howe, the president of Syfy. These are fun and easy Saturday night, put-your-feet-up, don't-think-too-much movies.

Syfy started making these breezy films back in 2002, but the channel has stepped up its reliance on them as a loyal audience has developed. Last year it churned out 25, allowing Syfy to match the Hallmark Channel as the leading producer of original television movies. Budgets have stayed the same, about $2 million each, less than most hourlong dramas. But Syfy is devoting more marketing dollars to the franchise. For instance Mega Python vs. Gatoroid will receive a red-carpet premiere, the first in the network's history, on Jan. 24 at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York.

Routinely high ratings have helped make the movies an indispensable part of the Syfy schedule. An average of two million people watch, according to Nielsen, with some of the movies (Pterodactyl, Dragon Storm) attracting more than three million, on par with Syfy's biggest hit series, Warehouse 13 and Eureka. The Saturday night mayhem also fits snugly with the channel's effort to broaden beyond science fiction. In 2009 the channel re-branded itself Syfy (dropping the Sci Fi Channel name) in a bid to capture the full landscape of fantasy entertainment: the paranormal, the supernatural, action and adventure, superheroes. Recent movies have tackled unexplained phenomena (Stonehenge Apocalypse), furry beasts (Red: Werewolf Hunter) and horrific experiments with nature (Mega Piranha.)

Sharktopus, the blood-soaked tale of a hybrid shark-octopus developed as a secret military weapon, was one of Syfy's biggest hits last year. (The monster goes haywire and terrorizes bikini-clad women along Mexican Riviera beaches; 2.5 million people tuned in.) Roger Corman, known as the King of the B's for pumping out movies like The Wasp Woman and Humanoids From the Deep, said he reluctantly agreed to produce the film, which got its start when a Syfy marketing executive, brainstorming ideas for new creatures, came up with the aquatic crossbreed.

It's not easy to take a computer-generated shark that can walk on a beach with octopus legs and make it seem believable, Mr. Corman said. My theory is that you can go up to a certain level of insanity and still keep the audience intrigued. Go beyond the insanity barrier, and people turn against you. In my opinion Sharktopus' breaks that barrier. The results showed him that even at my age you can learn something.

Syfy's Saturday-night movies harken back to the so-called creature feature days of local television. Starting on a widespread basis in the 1960s and continuing through the 1980s stations programmed off-peak hours with old horror movies like Creature From the Black Lagoon.

The carnage ended as rights to those films became more expensive, and viewing habits, particularly among younger people, shifted away from Saturdays.

The popularity of Syfy's franchise in many ways is a simple case of supply and demand. While new B movies exist Piranha 3D sold almost $80 million at the global box office last year Hollywood has drastically reduced its reliance on the low-rent genre, choosing instead to build behemoth fantasies and superhero adventures. Those cherished bad movies full of jerry-built effects, abominable acting, ludicrous story lines have been driven to extinction, the critic A. O. Scott wrote in The New York Times in 2005.

Not only did the entertainment landscape lack B movies, but Saturday night had become a television wasteland, with ABC, CBS and NBC fleeing almost entirely to reruns.

The latest installment is the two-hour Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, which makes its debut on Jan. 29. Ms. Gibson, who rose to fame with ditties like Shake Your Love, plays a fanatical animal-rights advocate who spends her nights stealing exotic snakes from pet stores and setting them loose in the Everglades. Tiffany (I Think We're Alone Now) is a park ranger who looks out for alligators, which are being massacred by snakes that have grown to gigantic proportions.

To battle the slithering swarms Tiffany's park ranger, Terry, overdoses some alligators with steroids. Sample dialogue:

This is my perfect garden, my garden, Tiffany screams dramatically as the snakes start to take over. They ruined everything! They ruined the balance! And I'm going to take care of it; I'm going to take care of it tonight.

Park Ranger No. 2: What are you going to do?

Tiffany: We need a bigger gator.

By the end of the movie almost all of Florida is in ruins. Adding to the camp factor, Micky Dolenz, the drummer for the Monkees, plays himself. Kathryn Joosten, the Emmy-winning actress known recently for playing Karen McCluskey on Desperate Housewives, pops up to chew some scenery.

Mary Lambert, whose credits include the 1989 horror classic Pet Sematary and Madonna's Material Girl video, directed the movie. Tiffany even wrote and recorded a special song: Serpentine.

As with most of these movies, the creatures in Mega Python vs. Gatoroid look ridiculous. Computerized effects have come a long way, but when an alligator the size of the Goodyear blimp chases cars through the streets of Miami your reaction is more likely to involve laughter than terror. As for the digitally bred pythons, well ... they come cheap and look it.

Ms. Gibson who, for the record, has ended her unsuccessful effort to get people to call her Deborah and Tiffany, whose full name is Tiffany Renee Darwish, dove into their roles. To prepare, Ms. Gibson visited a nature preserve to learn how to look natural while handling pythons. Tiffany also worked with an animal trainer, although she passed on holding a baby alligator.

It started hissing, she said. I was like, I know I'm 'gator girl and everything, but that one's in a bad mood.'

Hiring actors who approach the silly characters with seriousness is essential to the success of the franchise, said Thomas Vitale, the executive vice president for programming and original movies at Syfy. If the actors don't take the story seriously, then viewers won't either, he said.

The people behind the camera know their movies aren't exactly high brow, but they similarly approach their work with gravity. Don't, unless you want a cranky filmmaker on your hands, call these movies campy. Mr. Corman, for one, prefers action science-fiction horror with a little bit of humor.

Jason Connery, who directed 51, a coming Syfy movie that revisits the Area 51 military base, said, I tried really hard to make the characters well rounded. Mr. Connery, who is the son of the actor Sean Connery, added, When you have a limited budget and time you have to play to the strengths of the genre, and character is one of them.

But art this isn't. Syfy's movies follow a fairly rigorous formula. About 40 percent of the time, by Mr. Vitale's estimation, a movie starts with a title. Think of Mansquito.

The topics generally fall into tightly defined categories. There are monster hybrids (Dinoshark), nonrealistic natural disasters (Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York) and giant creatures (Mongolian Death Worm).

Scripts need a quick start to the action, and plenty of room for Baywatch-style musical montages. Most important, plotlines must maintain (some) logic. How do you create an alligator the size of a skyscraper? Steroids, of course! People want to have some quasi-logical explanation for their suspension of disbelief, Mr. Corman said.

Finally, the movies are populated with actors who are familiar but not expensive: Bruce Boxleitner, Lou Diamond Phillips, David Hasselhoff. Syfy works with about 10 production companies to make the movies, which typically take 14 months from conception to completion, Mr. Vitale said.

Ms. Gibson, who became a Broadway actress in the 1990s, first popped up on Syfy in 2009 when her agent approached her about a role in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. She thought it sounded like a funny addition to her résumé.

I figured die-hard science fiction fans would see it, and that's it, she said. Fun, kitschy and under the radar.

Oops. When her agent called to tell her that millions of people had tuned in, he started the conversation with a plea: O.K., please don't fire me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/ar...ref=television
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post #63896 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 10:48 AM
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Or should you have to pay for your AM/FM radio service?

XM/Sirius thinks so.

Then again, so does PBS/NPR, so go figure...
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post #63897 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 11:07 AM
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I wonder how many nice pairs of "Golden Globes" we're going to see tonight?
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post #63898 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Television's wider, sharper, distorted view
Giant screens are impressive, but they don't automatically improve the content. And it's not good when older or historical images are adapted to fit widescreens.
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times - January 16th, 2011



I watch TV on a 20-year-old, 21-inch Panasonic television set with a single RF input into which I run a DVD player, a VHS machine and a cable box chained in sequence. It is the only television in the house, though sometimes I do watch things online on an even smaller screen, a 15-inch cathode-ray computer monitor of no certain age (though it has survived more than one CPU). The Panasonic has never given me a lick of trouble, and although I am sure that the mere writing of those words guarantees its failure in the near future, I have no plans to upgrade until that happens. It would be wasteful and disloyal.

And that is the LA Times television critic.


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post #63899 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

And that is the LA Times television critic.

That sums up my reaction...

Seriously, how do you review a show like, say, Mad Men, where the visuals and set dressings are as important as the actors, story and dialog when you can't truly experience it with your crappy TV setup?

That would be like being a food critic who puts every dish through a blender before eating it.
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post #63900 of 95509 Old 01-16-2011, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Television's wider, sharper, distorted view
Giant screens are impressive, but they don't automatically improve the content. And it's not good when older or historical images are adapted to fit widescreens.
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times - January 16th, 2011

I watch TV on a 20-year-old, 21-inch Panasonic television set with a single RF input into which I run a DVD player, a VHS machine and a cable box chained in sequence. It is the only television in the house, though sometimes I do watch things online on an even smaller screen, a 15-inch cathode-ray computer monitor of no certain age (though it has survived more than one CPU). The Panasonic has never given me a lick of trouble, and although I am sure that the mere writing of those words guarantees its failure in the near future, I have no plans to upgrade until that happens. It would be wasteful and disloyal. . . .

I won't argue that there isn't something more "advanced" about the new models, but making TV prettier or more immersive does not make it smarter or bolder or funnier, any more than the super-widescreen stereo Technicolor films of the 1950s, made in response to television's infiltration of the living room, were necessarily any good though the viewer may be dazzled into a kind of confusion. By the same token, good stories or good jokes can play just as well compact, on a little screen on the back of an airplane seat, or even a smart phone; the smallest picture can draw you in when there's something worth looking at it. Sometimes bigger is just bigger; sometimes a clearer picture just lets the seams and the wrinkles show. But once the new paradigm is set, it's hard going back. We see things differently. . . .

I find this mystifying. Although I can understand how one would focus on a story, it certainly seems that a TV critic watching a letterboxed HDTV show on a small (even by old SD standards) set is missing the visual impact of a show. Sure, you'll still get the gist of they story, the acting will come through, but there's no way that you're absorbing everything that the creators intended.

Just as one example: A couple of years ago, I had to watch an episode of Supernatural via an OTA SD station. The whole look of this show changed - the crisp but muted colors that defined the show turned to a murky mush. It was almost tedious to watch, even though the story was still well-told.

While HD will not save a bad show, it does have the ability to make a good show that much better. Anything designed with an emphasis on spectacle simply cannot be full appreciated on a small, analog set.

It's almost as absurd as having a music critic do their listening though a cheap tabletop CD player. Sure, you'll hear the basic music, but any subtlety will like go unnoticed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Visiting friends whose new widescreen monitor is filled to the edges with the distended image of a show made in the old squarer "standard definition," I tell them, "That picture is all stretched out everybody's short and fat. Can't you see that?"

What you stretch in the privacy of your own home is one thing. What's distressing is the way that older images are now being pre-stretched for your convenience: It has become common practice in documentary filmmaking to elongate archival footage, shot in the 4:3 aspect ratio to fill a 16:9 widescreen frame. Even Ken Burns does it. And it's wrong.

He's totally on-target with this part of the article.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Already, on new shows, the action is migrating outward, to the edges of my humble antique TV screen, leaving the center empty.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...,6431858.story

Yet, he has no desire to upgrade to an HDTV, even though he realizes that content is finally starting to take advantage of the widescreen format. If I were his editor, I think I'd take him aside and have a little discussion with him.

Scott

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