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post #631 of 96948 Old 05-02-2007, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

As for DBS customers staying because it is easier or there are penalties, I am sure there is some truth to that. But then J.D. Powers annually ranks customer satisfaction (and has no axe to grind) and annually finds both Dish and DirecTV finishing substantially higher than cable -- although the margins have begun to slowly shrink in the past few years.

I honestly don't know what the numbers are based on, simple yes/no to a general question or 1-10 ratings of several questions. Either way though, I wouldn't expect it to be any other way because IMHO most DBS subs are former cable subs who were disatisfied for one reason or another. The fact that the disparity is shrinking speaks volumes if you agree with the previous statement.

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(And in the midwest, where the relatively small cable system WOW! operates it almost always seems to finish ahead of DBS.)

No surprise to me. Cable America here got good reviews too. It's a lot easier being a small company keeping a relatively low number of subs happy. At some point though, the ratio of subs to techs widens and CS suffers. Of course, that doesn't mean that some cableco's, including smaller ones, don't simply stink. One wonders what TWCs Navigator is doing to it's CS numbers.

Cheers, Dave
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post #632 of 96948 Old 05-02-2007, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
The Office ready to face big boys
Move to 9 on Thursdays would be bold
By Rick Kissell Variety

Between "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI," the Thursday 9 o'clock hour is already one that's responsible for a lot of TiVo use.

But what if another popular DVR draw, "The Office," joins the party too?

It could happen next fall if NBC makes an aggressive move that would put its hottest comedy -- currently airing at 8:30 p.m. -- in the timeslot that once inhabited "Seinfeld," "Cheers" and "Frasier."

Both tonight and next Thursday, "The Office" will extend well into the 9 o'clock half-hour with "super-sized" episodes, giving Peacock programmers a chance to see how the single-camera workplace comedy fares in tougher waters prior to announcing the net's fall sked May 14.

As it is right now, NBC is competitive in the opening hour of Thursday with "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" but then drops off sharply at 9 with "30 Rock" and "Scrubs."

One schedule scenario that would strengthen the comedy block as a whole would be for the net to place its best new comedy prospect in the 8:30 slot behind "Earl," and then shift "The Office" to 9. "30 Rock" or a new show could go at 9:30.

It's a roll of the dice, but the timing is right.

In its third season, "The Office" is averaging a 4.1 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 (roughly 5.4 million viewers in this age bracket), putting it on par with Fox's "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy" and, among all comedies, behind only CBS' "Two and a Half Men."

"Earl" and "The Office" aired in the 9 o'clock Thursday hour a year ago at this time, but that was before ABC made its own bold move months later by sending "Grey's Anatomy" there.

This season, the medical drama has become TV's No. 1 scripted series and regularly beats "CSI," but both shows are in the top 10.

The addition of "The Office" to the mix would make it a tough three-way choice for a lot of viewers, but each series is distinct. And we've seen examples in recent years of multiple shows working in the same timeslot (i.e., "Survivor" and "Friends" for a few years earlier this decade).

It would be an especially tough choice for adults 18-34, as the shows each rank among the season's top dozen in this age group: "Grey's" at No. 3, "CSI" at No. 10 and "The Office" at No. 12.

NBC could always shift "The Office" back to 8:30 if it takes too much of a ratings hit at 9, but it's worth the risk.

If it is to reclaim its four-laffer "Must-See" status on Thursday, the first step is having "The Office" clock in at a new time.

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...&categoryid=14


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post #633 of 96948 Old 05-02-2007, 09:37 PM
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"cable still hasn't turned around the perception that its service is lousy"

Generally true and certainly the case in Los Angeles and Dallas in particular. However there are exceptions. In San Diego there is little churn with Cox cable subscribers. TWC San Diego's service area prior to the acquisition of the Adelphia systems in North County were holding on to subscribers too.

I hope the buildout of IPTV comes to fruition. It will force the incumbent multi-channel players to kick it up a notch. Perhaps even do something like offer programming Ã* la carte
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post #634 of 96948 Old 05-02-2007, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Cable Nielsen Notebook
April Prime Time Cable Ratings

If you are interested in a chart showing April's prime time cable ratings, click on the pdf.

 

apr07cable.pdf 10.9208984375k . file
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File Type: pdf apr07cable.pdf (10.9 KB, 5 views)


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post #635 of 96948 Old 05-02-2007, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
For Woods, 'Shark' doesn't always go swimmingly
By Bill Keveney USA TODAY

James Woods argues both sides of his CBS legal drama, Shark.

He embraces his role as defense lawyer-turned-prosecutor Sebastian Stark and praises his fellow cast members and crew. "I love this show with all my heart," Woods says. "What's great is the quality. We kill ourselves to make it as great as it can be."

And therein lies his major objection. "I cannot work an 80-hour week for 10 straight months," he says. He adds that because of the workload and other grievances, "if they don't give me what I want, I'm not coming back."

But Woods is under contract, and Shark seems a shoo-in for renewal. In its freshman season it has averaged 13.6 million viewers, enough to beat its time-slot competitor, NBC's veteran ER. And it ranks No. 2 among new series behind NBC's Heroes, which unlike Shark doesn't run lower-rated repeats that pull the average down.

The series wraps up its inaugural season tonight (10 ET/PT) with Stark confronting serial killer Wayne Callison (Billy Campbell), who had earlier beaten him in court. Stark's reckless tactics show he has hardly abandoned his ethically challenged past.

Campbell, who could return as a nemesis, enjoyed his matchup with the energetic Woods. "He's a madman," he says. "We love him. I would compare him to ball lightning, hopping from scene to scene."

Woods says he loves the writing and the acting. "The show is so well written and (creator Ian Biederman) so completely and utterly gets my voice."

Biederman says he didn't write Stark with Woods in mind, but he believes the charismatic role fits him "like a glove."

Woods enjoys the professional and sexual tension between Stark and ex-D.A. Jessica Devlin (Jeri Ryan), and he praises Danielle Panabaker's portrayal of Stark's teenage daughter, Julie, whose relationship with Stark is Shark's emotional center.

He loves the character relationships and legal situations, but not the legal and plot exposition that slows dialogue. "We call that bamboo. You have to chop through it with a machete."

He blames the studio that makes the show, 20th Century Fox Television, for underestimating the audience. "Unfortunately, in the first year (of a show), you have geniuses who majored in women's studies at Bard or at Sarah Lawrence who work at the studio telling you, 'We think this has to be clarified,' " he says. "One day, for literally half a page, we go on explaining extortion. And I said to the writers, 'Excuse me. Why are three lawyers explaining extortion to each other?' I just cut the lines out."

On the personal side, Woods says it was therapeutic to continue with the show last summer soon after his brother, Michael, died from a heart attack at the age of 49. "The people on my cast and crew were so unbelievably kind," he says. "Without the show, I don't think I would have lifted my head off the pillow."

But Woods is aware of his own mortality. The 60-year-old actor, who himself has had a cardiac stent implanted, says he has offered ways to make shooting days shorter, but that the studio won't listen. "Honestly, I think they couldn't care less if I lived or died as long as the show were a success," Woods says.

Woods also is upset about other matters, including an incident he says took place after he was late to the set because of a publicity event. He says he's never late and had left a message, but says a studio production executive told his agent he was considering sending a legal letter about the tardiness. Woods got an apology but was not assuaged.

"That's the other reason they're going to be paying double next year. That is the single major reason why I'm not going to trust them to pay me in the future, because their behavior at Fox is so hideous," he says.

The studio, which wouldn't address specific complaints, wants Woods to be happy, president Dana Walden says.

"We all have the deepest respect and highest regard for Jimmy Woods. He's an incredible performer and we are all sorry that we don't have a better and stronger relationship with him, which is certainly what we strive for," she says. "Hopefully, in the coming months and years that this show is on the air with any luck, our relationship will move to a better place."

http://www.usatoday.com/life/televis...02-shark_N.htm


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post #636 of 96948 Old 05-02-2007, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
Gilmore Season 8 Talks at a "Standstill"
By Michael Ausiello TV Guide

Looks like we've got ourselves a nail-biter, folks.

Although all indications were that Warner Bros. and the CW were nearing a deal to bring Gilmore Girls back for a shortened eighth season, sources close to the negotiations now tell me that talks are at a complete [Gulp] standstill.

"It's anybody's guess what's going to happen," reports my Gilmore mole. "There's no deal in place at this point, and there may never be. This is probably going to come down to the wire."

The holdup can be summed up in five words: Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. According to the insider, "very good" offers were made to both actresses, but it apparently wasn't enough to coax signatures out of them. "Now it's a game of chess," whispers the spy. "It could go either way."

Further complicating matters is the fact that the CW's upfront presentation the unoffical deadline for a deal to be brokered is scheduled for May 17. What's so complicated about that, you ask? Well, that's two days after the show's potential swan song airs. In other words, if negotiations literally go down to the wire, we won't know if we're watching the season or series finale.

http://community.tvguide.com/blog-en...alks/800014083


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post #637 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

The 2007-2008 Season
The Office ready to face big boys
Move to 9 on Thursdays would be bold
By Rick Kissell Variety


http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...&categoryid=14

I guess I'm going to need that HR20 to go along with my HR10 if this happens Fred. I think it would certainly take a ratings hit. It's not like they have super strong ratings anyways; especially Earl. Also, does this mean they are thinking of renegging on the decision to renew 30 Rock? The article mentioned inserting their best new comedy next year in the slot between Earl and Office. Hmmmm....
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post #638 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
Birthing: Test run for Private Practice
Dr. Montgomery meets up with some old pal eries
By Diego Vasquez MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer May 3, 2007

ABC hasn't launched a huge hit drama since Grey's Anatomy premiered two years ago, but tonight it may have found its next.

A pilot for a potential spinoff for Dr. Addison Montgomery airs tonight at 9 p.m. as part of a two-part Grey's episode, and the new show is expected to be picked up when ABC holds its upfront presentation in two weeks.

Addison was supposed to be a temporary addition to the show. She joined at the end season one as the estranged wife of Dr. McDreamy and romantic foil to his girlfriend, titular intern Meredith Grey. But Kate Walsh, who plays Addison, quickly became one of the show's more popular actresses and so she stuck around.

Since then, Addison and McDreamy have broken up, and last week she was jilted by both of her potential love interests, leading her to road trip down to California.

On tonight's episode she reunites with some med school pals running a fertility clinic, including characters played by Taye Diggs and Tim Daly, both of whom already appeared on failed ABC dramas this season.

ABC hasn't confirmed much, but the rumored title for the spinoff is Private Practice, and it may find Addison herself trying to get pregnant.

Though Grey's ratings have cooled a bit since its February three-parter in which Meredith died and came back to life, the show still ranks No. 3 on broadcast with a 7.8 adults 18-49 rating. It's by far Thursday's top show, and even if a spinoff pulls two-thirds that rating, that would still be a big improvement over many of ABC's current dramas.

Certainly the spinoff could be paired with Grey's on Thursday, further solidifying ABC's lead on the night, but most likely it will move to Tuesday or Wednesday, where weak sitcoms like According to Jim and George Lopez are not expected to return.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/art...nter_11839.asp


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post #639 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
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The Business of Television
Cablevision Deal Remains Very Much Up in the Air
By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED and ANDREW ROSS SORKIN The New York Times May 3, 2007

At the Cablevision Systems annual board meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., in March, the company's founding Dolan family held a private meeting with the board's special committee the two men who had rejected previous buyout offers from the family.

The Dolans wanted to make a fourth bid for the company, which they had founded in 1973. But before they pressed ahead, they wanted several assurances from the special committee, which at times has had an antagonistic relationship with the family.

Unlike previous offers, which were made public, the Dolans wanted to reach a deal privately with the board to avoid the embarrassment of another public rejection. And the family wanted to know what price it would finally take to win them over.

The two board members, Thomas V. Reifenheiser and John R. Ryan, turned to Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, the board's longtime advisers, which had urged the committee members to reject the Dolans' previous offers.

What emerged was this week's $10.6 billion offer, and this time Cablevision accepted. But the deal is far from assured.

In what is known as a majority of the minority requirement, the deal is subject to approval of more than half of shareholders, excluding the Dolans and the company's directors and officers.

And analysts and investors are still concerned that the Dolans may be offering too little for Cablevision. Should the transaction be approved, the family could then sell the company the most likely potential buyer is Time Warner Cable and pocket billions of dollars.

Four months ago, the Dolans said their offer was best and final, Richard Greenfield, an analyst with Pali Research, said. Less than four months later they're miraculously able to come up with a more than 20 percent increase in their bid.

The Dolans' effort to take Cablevision private has been among the most scrutinized deal-making efforts, as investors have increasingly complained that management-led buyouts are winning companies on the cheap.

So far, it seems that the Dolans have resolved their impasse with the Cablevision board. Under the terms of yesterday's deal, the Dolans would pay $36.26 a share for the company, an 11 percent premium to its closing price of $32.67 on Tuesday and 21 percent higher than the $30-a-share offer the family proposed in January.

The Dolans would contribute their own shares, valued at $2.1 billion, to a newly private Cablevision, and the company would take on $15.5 billion in debt to finance the deal. Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Bank of America would provide the financing.

The company, based in Bethpage, N.Y., has been under the effective control of the Dolans for years. Though the family holds only a 20 percent equity stake, it has 70.4 percent of the company's voting power.

But if the deal goes through, the Dolans, led by the company founder, Charles F. Dolan, and a son, James L. Dolan, may finally win complete control of one of the cable industry's cash cows, which serves 3.1 million subscribers in the New York metropolitan area. Through its MSG Networks unit, Cablevision also owns Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, as well as the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers.

Cablevision's geographical footprint is far smaller than those of rivals like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Yet its subscribers are among the wealthiest in the industry, with many living in affluent suburbs on Long Island and New York's Westchester and Rockland Counties.

What has long frustrated shareholders is the large amount of capital that companies like Cablevision and Time Warner Cable have spent fending off rivals in the telephone industry, like Verizon and AT&T. Cablevision has spent heavily to build out its so-called triple-play offerings, which include cable programming, telephone services and high-speed Internet access.

The company has been seen as especially vulnerable, because its geographical footprint lies entirely within that of Verizon, which is building a fiber-optic network to compete with cable.

Craig Moffett, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, said that Verizon had extended that service through about 18 percent of Cablevision's service area.

But many analysts say that Cablevision started early in promoting its additional services, and has already started turning its capital spending into profits.

Their free cash flow growth rates are eye-popping, Mr. Moffett said.

That promise of profitability, however, has made Cablevision a highly visible takeover target. Chief among potential suitors is Time Warner, which has been interested in the company since the 1980s. Time Warner Cable is dominant in the New York City cable market, which would neatly mesh with Cablevision's markets.

When asked in a conference call yesterday about the possibility of buying Cablevision, Time Warner's chief executive, Richard D. Parsons, said: You know, our position going a whole way back for years on Cablevision is, if the Dolans ever were to decide to part with that asset we would certainly want to be on their list of people to talk to.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/03/bu...gewanted=print


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post #640 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Critic's Notebook
Is 'Sopranos' on last-season losing streak?
By David Bianculli New York Daily News TV Critic May 3, 2007

Sunday's episode of "The Sopranos" betrayed the characters, and everything the HBO series usually works so hard to present. On a show whose greatest strength is its subtlety, and what its characters take great pains not to reveal, this latest episode spelled things out like a grammar school primer.

So let me spell something out, just as obviously.
Only five episodes remain until "The Sopranos" is as dead as Vito, Adriana and Big Pussy. Fans of the show have waited years, literally, for series creator David Chase to dole out an ending to the story of New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano.

And when you can count on one hand the hours that are left, you ought to be able to count on them being great. Or, at the very least, good. Sunday's episode was not. Not even close. It didn't propel the story forward, unless you count a bit more jockeying between Tony and newly crowned New York boss Phil Leotardo, or the sudden unhappiness of Tony's son, A.J. -- stories that may somehow intersect, if either Tony or Phil decide for some reason to target the other.

What it did do was give Tony a suddenly out-of-control gambling problem, something never established in all these years on "The Sopranos." His sudden large losses led, in turn, to Tony's confrontation with Carmela and his nasty alienation of Hesh. Anger seemed to come from nowhere.

Even less justified was Dr. Melfi's scolding of Tony, out of the blue, and the story involving Vito's son, whose public defecation scene had much more shock value than redeeming value. Nothing was so shocking, though, as the weary, distrustful way Tony described some of his loyal lieutenants to Hesh, just before turning on Hesh too.

"I look at my key guys," Tony confided, speaking of Paulie, Christopher and Bobby, and overlooking Silvio entirely. "What's No.1 on their agenda, you know? They're all ... murderers, for God's sake."

Well, Tony knew that. Tony's a murderer himself, an obvious irony. Too obvious, in fact. Tony's strength is that he thinks a lot more than he says.

What made the previous week's boat trip between Paulie and Tony so powerful was that we knew what each man was thinking, but nothing was stated.

At this point in the journey, we neither need nor want signposts. We want to get somewhere, and fast.

If we see Vito's kid one more time, that'll be a clear sign of danger ahead.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entert...ck=2&cset=true


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post #641 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:00 AM
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I guess I'm going to need that HR20 to go along with my HR10 if this happens Fred. I think it would certainly take a ratings hit. It's not like they have super strong ratings anyways; especially Earl. Also, does this mean they are thinking of renegging on the decision to renew 30 Rock? The article mentioned inserting their best new comedy next year in the slot between Earl and Office. Hmmmm....

And tonight is a perfect example of why NBC loses me as a viewer. I've put up with ER's screwed up start times for years and even skipped Shark on occassion to avoid recording conflicts. But tonight's schedule is so convoluted that I won't watch NBC tonight just out of spite. Earl runs from 7:00-7:36, Office from 7:36-8:19, Scrubs from 8:19-8:53, and then ER from 8:53-10:00. There is absolutely no reason for such scheduling gimmicks, especially for a network already having troubles. But, I guess it's hard for them to figure out how to go from 4th to 4th, so they give it the old college try, sheesh!

Cheers, Dave
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post #642 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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And on top of all that, Dave, anyone who might be watching "CSI" -- and might want to switch over to "ER" -- will have missed the first seven minutes.

Does NBC believe that "Scrubs" is that good a lead-in? The execs know better. Heck, they are apparently about to cancel "Scrubs".

This sweeps stunt move is one of the most incomprehensible I can remember.


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post #643 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:17 AM
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Very true Fred. I have an out in that I can simply hit the bed early and catch ER in analog, but IMHO NBC is just putting another nail in their coffin. Surely these guys are smart enough to know that these gimmicks don't work in the long run and really just p*ss people off in the short term. Can you imagine how many folks are going to be upset when they tune in as usual at 9:00/10:00 and see they have no idea what's going on because they missed those 7 minutes? Of course, if this is ER's last season, maybe they just don't care. Stable times build loyal viewers, not gimmicks.

Cheers, Dave
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post #644 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Wednesday's metered market over-night prime-time ratings - and Media Week Analyst Marc Berman's view of what they mean -- have been posted at the top of Ratings News the second post in this thread.


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post #645 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:26 AM
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Fredfa, didn't CBS say something along the lines that after last nights episode they would be announcing if Jericho is renewed or not? I thought I read they were suppose to announce that today. Can you confirm?

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post #646 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:28 AM
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Surely these guys are smart enough to know that these gimmicks don't work in the long run and really just p*ss people off in the short term.

.

Wishful thinking. I really wonder what it takes to be a network exec, cause it sure ain't book smarts or common sense.

All I want for Christmas is my two front seats
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post #647 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:37 AM
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Fredfa, didn't CBS say something along the lines that after last nights episode they would be announcing if Jericho is renewed or not? I thought I read they were suppose to announce that today. Can you confirm?


Last nights episode of Jericho was one of the best to date. A little more of what we had last night will go a long way in getting that show some security.

Mike
XBOX 360 Gamertag : SCJagfan

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post #648 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamR View Post

Fredfa, didn't CBS say something along the lines that after last nights episode they would be announcing if Jericho is renewed or not? I thought I read they were suppose to announce that today. Can you confirm?

I don't remember hearing that, William.

It would surprise me that CBS would box itself in to making that announcement before its May 16 Upfront presentation, but stranger things have happened.

Based strictly on the metered market ratings, "Jericho" was by far the weakest link in last night's CBS schedule. But it does somewhat better in the 18-49 demo, so we'll have more complete numbers available in 90 minutes or so.


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post #649 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Critic's Notebook
The new ways we watch skew viewership numbers
By Charlie McCollum San Jose Mercury News May 4, 2007

Much has been written in recent weeks about a drop-off in viewership for some of TV's top shows. "The Sopranos"? Down since its return, we are told. "Heroes"? Down. "Lost"? Way down.

In fact, some series reportedly have hit record-low numbers for new episodes, while others - including the seemingly invincible "American Idol" - have drawn some of their smallest audiences in more than two years.

At least part of such a decline could be chalked up to the early switch to daylight-saving time (people tend to stay outdoors later these days). And a bit could be attributed to such serialized dramas as "Heroes" and "Jericho" having taken lengthy breaks until now (people got out of the habit of watching).

But it appears that much of the reported falloff in traditional TV ratings is, in large measure, a product of new technology. And when you drill down into the numbers provided by Nielsen Media Research, the company that monitors television viewership, there really hasn't been much audience shrinkage at all.

Here's the deal: The percentage of households in the Nielsen audience sample now is starting to reflect the increased usage by Americans of TiVo and DVR. Last year at this time, just 5 percent of Nielsen homes had digital recording capability. Now, almost 16 percent do.

Put in the simplest terms, more and more viewers are "time-shifting," choosing to watch episodes when they want to. But such delayed viewership isn't part of the official Nielsen ratings. If a viewer records "Lost" on Wednesday and watches it the following Saturday, it doesn't count.

In a study recently released by Nielsen, the reported audiences for a number of top shows jump significantly if the later viewership is included. For example, "Lost" gains 2.47 million viewers on top of the 11 million watching in real time. With that viewership added in, the show goes from big loser to one that has retained its audience year to year.

In the same study, "House" added 2.74 million and "Idol" jumped 2.45 million. "The Office" gained 1.82 million, increasing its reported viewership by a whopping 31 percent. Although it was not part of the Nielsen study, which focused on network shows, "The Sopranos" goes from 7 million viewers to 11 million when you add in not just time-shifters but also people who watch repeat showings during the week.

The problem for the networks is that advertisers, who pay the bills, don't care about these numbers.

Advertisers, you see, are extraordinarily leery of the non-live viewership, because the common wisdom is that the folks at home will fast-forward through commercials when given the opportunity. While some preliminary studies indicate that isn't necessarily true, none of the ad folks is willing to wager the millions they spend to buy TV time on the possibility that viewers aren't keeping one finger on the fast-forward button.

Clearly, the ground is starting to shift in terms of TV viewership. The ratings-economic model the television industry has used for decades may no longer be adequate for the new technological reality.

Now, it's a question of how fast the players in this game will make adjustments. And since much of this uncounted audience seems to be watching some of the smartest and best shows on TV, that makes this issue important to viewers who care about high-quality TV.

Remote controls

Just a reminder that tonight's two-hour "Grey's Anatomy" (9 PM ET/PT, ABC) is the "pilot" for a spinoff tentatively titled "Private Practice." In addition to such big-name co-stars as Tim Daly and Amy Brenneman, the possible series - which would follow Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) after she leaves Seattle Grace - has such familiar faces as Merrin Dungey ("Alias"), Paul Adelstein ("Prison Break") and Chris Lowell ("Veronica Mars") on board.

"Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation" (9 PM ET/PT Sunday, NBC) is the third in a series of smart and funny oral histories done on the seminal late-night series by documentary filmmaker Kenneth Bowser ("Easy Riders, Raging Bulls"). As the title notes, this film focuses on "SNL" in the 1990s, a somewhat tumultuous time for the show but a period when it offered some of its greatest moments. Mike Myers, Will Farrell, Molly Shannon, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Cheri Oteri and Dana Carvey are among those who sat down to talk - in surprisingly honest terms - about the era. In fact, the only big name who doesn't put in an appearance is Adam Sandler although, given his often testy relationship with "SNL," that's almost understandable.

http://www.mercurynews.com/portlet/a...079&siteId=568


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post #650 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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TV on DVD Notebook
The Best of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
By Len Barcousky Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff writer Thursday, May 03, 2007

When I first watched "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," I identified with David Nelson, the quiet, sensible son. Watching Shout! Factory's "Best of ..." compilation of 24 episodes ($34.98), I saw myself more as the well-meaning, if slightly addled Ozzie.

"I'm supposed to be the guy who gets things mixed up," he says in "Ricky the Drummer." In this 1957 program, "the irrepressible Ricky" thinks he's been hired to play drums with the Tommy Jackson big band. The band manager, however, just wants someone to help set up music stands and deliver Cokes to the musicians. Not to worry. It turns out that Ozzie, when he had his own band, had given Tommy his first break, and now the trumpet player was glad to return the favor.

By the end of the program, Ricky -- later Rick -- gets a chance to drum, sing and dance, launching a musical career that lasted until his death in 1985.

The DVD extras are fun and informative. They include a brief biography of Ozzie and Harriet, before their TV show, and a 1937 Nelson home movie called "Doing Right by David." Another feature is a 1949 radio broadcast where David and Ricky played themselves for the first time on the show that preceded the TV series.

"Not much happens," my wife, Barbara, said, after an episode that revolved around Ozzie sending away for a toy submarine he saw on the "Captain Salty" kids show. The same could be said for a lot of the programs. The humor is gentle; the plots are simple and slow-paced. Nevertheless, "The Adventures" kept millions of Americans, including my family, tuning in to ABC for 14 seasons. Watching the shows was like visiting with old friends.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07123/782924-237.stm


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post #651 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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TV on DVD Notebook
Ozzie and Harriet, bland? Look deeper
A new DVD release featuring TV's iconic Nelson clan reminds us that it's the little, everyday adventures in life that count .
By Robert Lloyd Los AngelesTimes Staff Writer

Tuesday marked the release of the first authorized DVD of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." Until now, only random episodes had been available, in low-budget, poor-quality "public domain" versions, and none bore the imprimatur of the Nelson family, which still owns rights to the original film elements and, just as important, to the creator's inalienable right to say, "We made this."

In the case of "Ozzie and Harriet," that's no small boast. Though its name has become synonymous with all that was supposedly bland about the 1950s and early 1960s, this apparently modest series about the perfectly ordinary days and nights of a midcentury nuclear family in a nameless (but to my eye, clearly Southern Californian) suburb or small town is a masterwork of television art. While broadly popular though it never ranked in the Nielsen Top 10, it ran from 1952 to 1966, the longest-lived sitcom on television until "The Simpsons" it was also subtler and stranger than its latter-day reputation would suggest. (Like the 1950s themselves, one might say.)

The DVD is a best-of affair that offers only a fraction of the series' 435 episodes, but it shows off its qualities well. I don't know if Ozzie Nelson was as formally ambitious as I think he was, but the thoroughness of his involvement creator, head writer, producer, nearly the sole director (son David would step in occasionally in later years), star argue that he was TV's greatest auteur. From 1944 on, when "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" began life as a CBS radio show child actors portrayed David and Ricky until 1949, when, ages 13 and 9, the boys stepped in to play themselves the semifictional representation of his family was for all intents and purposes Ozzie's only job. Indeed, it's the answer to the series' famous unspoken question, "Why does Ozzie never go to work?" Because you're already seeing him at work. To make him a salesman or a detective or a barber would have been an insult to the show's delicate but dogged self-reflexive reality.

The title says everything: "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." Merriam-Webster defines "adventure" as "an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks" or "an exciting or remarkable experience." This juxtaposition of the extraordinary and the ordinary is not meant ironically or to mock suburban or small-town life. It's rather that, when you pay attention to little things, take small challenges seriously and are open to the everyday delights of the world Ozzie, as we know him from the screen, is a man who, if nothing else, is never bored the life you're already living becomes quietly exciting.

"Realness" in television has come to mean something akin to grit: violence of action and language, bad habits, the more obvious social ills, dysfunctional families. But much that is held up as real "The Sopranos," say, to take another well-known television brood is in fact intensely stylized and only marginally representative of the lives most people live. While it's true that the Nelsons inhabit a world scrubbed of serious social or interpersonal conflict and, as with nearly every other television show of its generation, of people who are not white it is at the same time profoundly naturalistic. From the domestic detail of the perfectly persuasive house they live in including the double bed that Ozzie and Harriet shared years before any other TV couple were allowed similar liberty to the easy way the Nelsons have with one another, we are in a place we can regard as actual, wherever we come from.

Just so, while the Nelsons are not the most proficient actors, their scenes rarely feel scripted there is never the sense that the players know how things will turn out but rather that they are discovering life as it goes along. Ozzie who will regularly start to laugh at himself halfway through, saying something he discovers to be absurd as it leaves his mouth is especially gifted in this regard, but none of the family members ever seems to be pretending, even in the most artificial situations. As unlikely as the show around them might get, they are always who they are.

The Nelsons are in no hurry; there is time to talk, time to let things play out, for Rick to sing a song, for David to show off his trapeze skills, for Ozzie to shoot some pool. "Ozzie and Harriet" comes from a time before every episode was freighted with an A story and a B story, so there is more room to tell a story in a detailed way. If Ozzie gets a craving for tutti-frutti ice cream, that's where the focus stays. A sampling of first-season titles shows just how little the series needed to go on: "Halloween Party," "Ricky Goes to a Dance," "The Day After Thanksgiving," "Harriet's Hairdo," "Late Christmas Gift," "Stop Worrying," "The Bowling Alley," "The Pancake Mix."

Because they tend to split up the family, the later seasons (David a lawyer, Rick in college, both married, with real-life wives June Blair and Kristin Harmon playing onscreen wives June and Kris) are not quite as special as the early ones: The show is always better with all Nelsons accounted for, and never better than when Ozzie and Harriet are around. It's their story in the end.

As David says one not-unusual morning at the kitchen table, "You know, one of these days I'm going to write a book. And you know what I'm going to call it? 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.' "

http://www.calendarlive.com/tv/cl-et...cl-tv-features


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post #652 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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I thought I had posted this yesterday - but I did not.
The Business of Television
Cable vs. DBS on HD: It's Comcast's Turn
Cable Operator Launches National Ads Claiming Its HD Image Tops DirecTV's, EchoStar's
By Linda Haugsted Multichannel News

Comcast launched a broadside in the HD superiority wars against direct-broadcast satellite.

In a new series of national print and radio ads, Comcast cited the results of a side-to-side comparison from a polling the company commissioned by Frank N. Magid Associates indicating that Comcast delivers a better HD image than DirecTV or EchoStar Communications' Dish Network. The polling was conducted in March, including 309 people in the survey, according to Comcast.

Participants were asked if they saw a difference in quality between HD pictures on unlabled sets carrying images from Comcast, DirecTV and Dish. According to the survey, among those who expressed a preference, 65.6% picked Comcast over DirecTV and 69.92% picked Comcast over Dish.

The ads will also counter DirecTV's claims it has more HD channels available. One ad stated that on April 24 at 9:17 p.m., Philadelphia viewers could select from among 16 HD channels on DirecTV but had 200 choices on Comcast, including PBS and MyNetwork TV affiliates unavailable from the competition. The Comcast count included 180 on-demand selections.

This is just the latest salvo by an operator against claims by DBS companies that they will offer more channels and offer better signal quality than cable TV.

A federal false-advertising suit is pending in U.S. District Court in New York brought by Time Warner Cable against DirecTV. That operator was granted an injunction that bars DirecTV from airing a TV ad claiming that its HD quality is better than cable until the false-advertising claim can be adjudicated.

Time Warner was refused a second injunction request against an ad, featuring actor Christopher Lloyd in his character from the Back to the Future films, claiming that DirecTV will soon have more HD channels than cable. Judge Laura Taylor Swain said the ad as a whole wasn't false because the firm used the term "soon."

http://www.multichannel.com/index.as...leID=CA6438545


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post #653 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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The Business of Television
The campaign to save Veronica Mars
By Diego Vasquez MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer May 3, 2007

Over the past two years media people were among those cheering loudest when Veronica Mars, the CW's smart, sassy but low-rated show about a teenage girl detective was unexpectedly renewed.

They like Mars' strong acting, intelligent plotlines and especially its hard-to-reach but desirable audience of women ages 12-34.

In a Media Life poll taken last year shortly before the CW's first upfront, more than a quarter of respondents said Mars being canceled was their biggest concern for the new network. But one year later, Mars faces the same concern once again.

While its average among total viewers is up slightly from last year, as is its 18-49 average, it still loses a huge chunk of its Gilmore Girls lead-in. During Mars' recent hiatus, the low-brow reality show Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll performed much better, averaging nearly half a million more total viewers than Mars.

That has increased speculation that Mars, which returned from a two-month break Tuesday, will be canceled. And that has spurred Cloud Watchers, a group of Mars fans, into action.

Last year the group dispatched a plane towing a banner reading Renew Veronica Mars' to fly over the CW offices. Last weekend the group hired professional street teams in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago to distribute 30,000 fliers advertising the series' return, and Cloud Watchers in other towns took to the streets themselves to hand out flyers.

The CW has not made an announcement either way on Mars, but current speculation is that it will be canceled. Cloud Watchers Gaby Allen of Allentown, Pa., Sarah Johnson of Chicago, Anita Nallathamby of Denver, Anna Smith of Atlanta, Kelley Spada of Los Angeles and April Zeisler from Portland, Ore/, spoke with Media Life about the Mars campaign and its chance at renewal.

What do you think Veronica's chances for renewal currently are?

It totally depends on what the network is looking for. On a strict Nielsen basis? Chances are pretty low. We know that.

People assume that campaigners like us can't read the numbers every week. Of course we can, and we certainly understand how the ratings and demos factor into ad sales and profitability. For us, however, we see the CW as a network that is trying to make its mark and establish a brand.

Veronica Mars may not have the highest ratings, but it provides credibility in terms of quality. And from a long-term perspective, shouldn't a new network want to send the message that quality shows that tackle difficult subjects are rewarded, not punished?

We're less confident than we were last year at this time, but we are still hoping for a good outcome. If we can help increase the number of viewers in the next few episodes before the upfronts on the 17th, we think there will be a really good chance. And recent news from insider sources suggests the CW is high on the final five episodes, so that is always good to hear.

How did you come up with this idea?

Sarah came up with the flier campaign. Like so many Veronica fans, she was disappointed when she heard that the show might be taken off the air because even after three years of critical and media buzz, so many people still hadn't heard of it.

So she tried to think of different, inexpensive ways to help get the word out. She posted her original ideafliering mall and college campus parking lotson Television Without Pity, and soon everyone was chiming in with their suggestions for how to make it a more effective publicity campaign.

We all worked together to craft the text, and a professional graphic designer, who is also a fan, created the flier.

Many fan efforts to save TV shows rely on a grand effort such as the "Everwood" fans' Ferris wheel or your plane stunt last year. Why did you decide to go lower-key this year?

Last year was all about appealing to the executives in a new and different way. Since executives get swamped with postcards or gifts or flowers, any attempts to get their attention by similar means would go unnoticed, so we felt we had to do something large enough that they couldn't ignore it.

Appealing to individual viewers requires an almost completely opposite approach. If you shove a plane or Ferris wheel in front of their faces, they could get turned off or feel like they are already not a part of whatever big thing is going on, and they will walk away. We wanted to go totally grassroots.

Most people who watch Grey's Anatomy and Lost have probably never heard of Veronica Mars. Our flier not only tells them what the show is and when it is on, but it also lets them know that the creators of their favorite shows are already watching.

That little piece of information is usually enough to make most people tune in at least once. [Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator] Joss Whedon called it the Best. Show. Ever.' I have to check this out!

So this campaign wasn't lower-key so much as wider-spread. Last year we were targeting a very small group of decision makers in Los Angeles. This year the idea was to get the ratings up for the season's final five episodes.

How much of this is an appeal to the CW, to show what a loyal fan base the show has, and how much is simply to get people to watch the show?

This campaign is totally about getting people to watch. The truth is, unless you are a superfan of a show like Veronica or Supernatural or One Tree Hill, you probably have no idea what is on the CW each night.

Most people have never heard of Veronica Mars and if they have heard of it, they have no clue what it is about. We thought it was about time that changed.

Is it good if the CW executives notice? Of course.

We hope they realize that the loyal viewers of the programs they currently have are the people who are also getting the network's name out to the masses.

But we also know that Veronica Mars has lasted three years on the faith of the network, and what she needs now, more than anything else, is higher ratings.

How helpful do you think such campaigns are in getting shows renewed?

Well, if this campaign is successful and it gets Veronica additional viewers? Very!

We know that is what the network is looking for at this point. Clearly 7th Heaven got a reprieve last year when it hit an 11th-hour ratings spike.

We know the network wants Veronica to succeed. If she gets a ratings increase from this campaign, and we prove that it is possible for the show to attract new viewers, even three seasons in, then we believe the network will take notice.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/art...nter_11806.asp


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post #654 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Wednesday's fast national over night prime-time ratings - and Media Week Analyst Marc Berman's view of what they mean -- have been posted at the top of Ratings News the second post in this thread.


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post #655 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Overnights in the 18-49 Demo
Idol reprieve:Ratings see a rebound
Fox's hit reality show returns to one hour
By Toni Fitzgerald MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer May 3, 2007

What a difference a week without a two-hour American Idol makes. After a number of shows fell to season lows last week opposite the expanded two-hour charity edition of the hit Fox reality show, they rebounded last night with the singing show shrinking back to 60 minutes at 9 p.m.

ABC's Notes From the Underbelly, NBC's Thank God You're Here and the CW's America's Next Top Model all jumped at least 21 percent over last week's adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, without having to compete with Idol, which averaged an 8.6 in the slot last week.

By comparison, this week's timeslot winner, Fox's Bones, averaged a 3.0 last night.

Here had the biggest bump, rising from a 1.5 last week to a 2.4 last night, a rise of 60 percent. Model, which as usual won the timeslot last night among adults 18-34, also saw a hefty rise, up 28 percent to a 2.3 from last week's 1.8.

And Underbelly, which aired just its third episode in the timeslot, rebounded from last week's series-low 1.9 to a 2.3, a 21 percent improvement. It also grew slightly out of its According to Jim lead-in for a third straight week, continuing to give it some hope for returning next year.

For the night, Fox's competitors were up across the board by between 11 and 26 percent compared with last week among 18-49s.

Of course, Idol still carried Fox to an easy first-place finish for the night in the demo as the network averaged a 6.9 rating and posted a 19 share. CBS was second at 3.2/9, ABC third at 3.0/8, NBC fourth at 2.2/6, CW fifth at 1.9/5 and Univision sixth at 1.7/5.

Fox was first during a generally weak 8 p.m. hour, posting a 3.0 for Bones. NBC was second with a 2.4 for Here, while CW and ABC tied for third at 2.3, CW for Model and ABC for Jim (2.2) and Underbelly (2.3). CBS was fifth that hour with a 2.2 for Jericho and Univision sixth with a 1.8 for La Fea Mas Bella.

At 9 p.m. Fox led easily with a 10.8 for Idol, followed by CBS with a 3.5 for Criminal Minds. Univision jumped to third that hour with a 2.0 for Destilando Amor, with NBC fourth with a 1.6 for Crossing Jordan, CW fifth with a 1.5 for One Tree Hill and ABC sixth with a 1.4 for a repeat of Lost.

ABC took the lead at 10 p.m. with a 5.2 for an original Lost, rebounding from last week's series-low 4.9 overnight. CBS took second with a 3.9 for CSI: NY, also rebounding from a series-low 3.2 last week. NBC was third with a 2.7 for Medium, also up slightly from last week, and Univision fourth with a 1.4 for Don Francisco Presenta.

Fox was first for the night among households as well, finishing with an 11.6 average rating and a 19 share. CBS was second at 7.4/12, ABC third at 4.8/8, NBC fourth at 4.5/7, CW fifth at 2.8/5 and Univision sixth at 2.2/4.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/art...icle_11865.asp


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post #656 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 10:26 AM
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I thought I had posted this yesterday - but I did not.
The Business of Television
Cable vs. DBS on HD: It's Comcast's Turn
Cable Operator Launches National Ads Claiming Its HD Image Tops DirecTV's, EchoStar's
By Linda Haugsted Multichannel News

Comcast launched a broadside in the HD superiority wars against direct-broadcast satellite.

In a new series of national print and radio ads, Comcast cited the results of a side-to-side comparison from a polling the company commissioned by Frank N. Magid Associates indicating that Comcast delivers a better HD image than DirecTV or EchoStar Communications' Dish Network. The polling was conducted in March, including 309 people in the survey, according to Comcast.

Participants were asked if they saw a difference in quality between HD pictures on unlabled sets carrying images from Comcast, DirecTV and Dish. According to the survey, among those who expressed a preference, 65.6% picked Comcast over DirecTV and 69.92% picked Comcast over Dish.

The ads will also counter DirecTV's claims it has more HD channels available. One ad stated that on April 24 at 9:17 p.m., Philadelphia viewers could select from among 16 HD channels on DirecTV but had 200 choices on Comcast, including PBS and MyNetwork TV affiliates unavailable from the competition. The Comcast count included 180 on-demand selections.

This is just the latest salvo by an operator against claims by DBS companies that they will offer more channels and offer better signal quality than cable TV.

A federal false-advertising suit is pending in U.S. District Court in New York brought by Time Warner Cable against DirecTV. That operator was granted an injunction that bars DirecTV from airing a TV ad claiming that its HD quality is better than cable until the false-advertising claim can be adjudicated.

Time Warner was refused a second injunction request against an ad, featuring actor Christopher Lloyd in his character from the Back to the Future films, claiming that DirecTV will soon have more HD channels than cable. Judge Laura Taylor Swain said the ad as a whole wasn't false because the firm used the term "soon."

http://www.multichannel.com/index.as...leID=CA6438545

I wonder if these ads will have any more impact than those Cingular "fewest dropped calls" ads? I'm guessing no.


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Analog TV Warnings To Take Effect This Month

Today, the FCC published its unanimously-approved order requiring retailers to put warning labels on TV sets containing only analog tuners.

It became illegal to import or manufacture analog-only TVs and VCRs of any screen size on March 1 of this year, but retailers are still allowed to sell off their existing inventories. And the FCC, citing recent surveys by the GAO and Association of Public Television Stations, says that consumers are still largely unaware that these sets won't receive over-the-air television signals after February 17, 2009.

The Consumer Electronics Retailing Council "expressed concern that labels describing what equipment does not do will be harmful and interfere with merchandising efforts," the FCC noted. But the FCC stood firm.

"We remain concerned that the continued sale of analog-only television equipment without appropriate disclosure is likely to mislead consumers who are unaware of the upcoming transition," the commission wrote. "Such consumer confusion is inconsistent with a smooth transition to digital broadcasting. Further, we do not believe we can rely solely on consumer assistance voluntarily given at the retail outlet to address such confusion. There have been reports that retail sales clerks are often confused or unaware of the limitations of analog-only televisions."

In what may be called a dissenting opinion, Commissioner Michael Copps agreed that labelling analog sets is a good idea, but "it would have been an even better idea had we adopted it fourteen months ago when Congress passed the February 2009 deadline."

"Even with the tuner mandate now fully effective, 2.5 million more analog sets will be sold this year," Copps wrote. "Each of these sets is a ticking time bomb for 2009, requiring consumers to go to significant trouble and expense if they want to continue receiving over-the-air television."

But the commissioners generally agreed that the new labels are needed.

The labelling rule takes effect on May 25, 2007, and the warning label will read as follows:

CONSUMER ALERT

This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation's transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission's digital television website at: www.dtv.gov.

Source: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...CC-07-69A1.pdf

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"ItÂs looking more like Y2K than the Bay of Pigs." - FCC Commissioner Adelstein, 6-13-09, on the DTV switch
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post #658 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

I thought I had posted this yesterday - but I did not.
The Business of Television
Cable vs. DBS on HD: It's Comcast's Turn
Cable Operator Launches National Ads Claiming Its HD Image Tops DirecTV's, EchoStar's
By Linda Haugsted Multichannel News

Comcast launched a broadside in the HD superiority wars against direct-broadcast satellite.

In a new series of national print and radio ads, Comcast cited the results of a side-to-side comparison from a polling the company commissioned by Frank N. Magid Associates indicating that Comcast delivers a better HD image than DirecTV or EchoStar Communications' Dish Network. The polling was conducted in March, including 309 people in the survey, according to Comcast.

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

Funny thing is that cable should have been doing this for the past 3 years.

Even better is claiming 180 VOD channels as part of their HD channel count. I don't want to hear anything anymore about D* counting Sunday Ticket as part of their channel count.

Scott
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post #659 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 11:52 AM
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You're right. Comcast should have been pushing HD PQ for years when D* had no capacity to respond. But......better late than never. Next step will be somebody using resolution numbers to give some objective weight to the claims to back up the subjective ones.

This is the only chance of increased HD PQ - it has to offer the provider some marketing value.
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post #660 of 96948 Old 05-03-2007, 12:14 PM
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Gilmore Girls has officially been NOT renewed for next season. The series finale will air Tuesday, May 15th.

http://cwtv.com/thecw/gilmore-girls-050307

Currently testing 3D with Sammy DLP, shutter glasses, and HTPC
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