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HDTV Programming

dattier's Avatar dattier
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

I get nothing but static in my attic when I try to tune it in now.

Originally Posted by dotheDVDeed View Post

Ah, a B-52s reference...

How young are you?  The lyrics of Terry Noland's "There's a Fungus among Us" mentioned "static in the attic" back in 1958.
foxeng's Avatar foxeng
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Originally Posted by dotheDVDeed View Post

Ah, a B-52s reference...

"Tin roof. Rustin'"
bobby94928's Avatar bobby94928
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Originally Posted by dattier View Post

How young are you?* The lyrics of Terry Noland's "There's a Fungus among Us" mentioned "static in the attic" back in 1958.

I'm not so young, was in high school in 1958. Terry Noland? Really! A very low key rockabilly artist who never had a Top 100 hit. Yes, he wrote There Was A Fungus Among Us, but few ever hear it.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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TV Review
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding' on TLC
If Carmen Had Made It to the Altar
By Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times - Apr. 29, 2012

So much bling, so little substance.

My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, which makes its debut on Sunday on TLC, seems intent on showing that American Gypsies have nothing on their minds but lavish weddings and parties and laughably excessive dresses to wear to them. That's presumably a stereotype, but TLC remember when that stood for The Learning Channel? is hardly a place to turn to for serious enlightenment. It's a place to turn to for sideshows, and this new reality series is certainly that.

The show, patterned after a popular British series of the same title but without the American, does for American Gypsies what Jerseylicious and its ilk do for New Jerseyans: namely, suggest that they're all proudly shallow and retrograde.

Gypsy girls are so demanding, Sondra Celli, a dressmaker, says in Episode 1, as she makes a preposterous wedding dress for a 17-year-old named Shyanne. They want the biggest, the biggest, the biggest dress they can get, with the most bling, bling, bling. I don't know how we're going to get her down the aisle.

Much is made of mating rituals, in which teenage virgin brides (The first kiss should be in front of the altar, Shyanne's mother says) are married off to men they barely know. The guys, for their part, tend to talk about women as if they were cars. I want something new; I don't want something used, Shyanne's fiancé, an 18-year-old named Michael, says in reference to his future bride's inexperience with men.

The young lovelies put more thought into their dresses than they put into their prospective mates or impending marriages. Their tastes, though, tend to run to the gaudy and vulgar, something that, incongruously, is encouraged by their virginity-guarding parents.

Take Pat, for instance, who in Episode 2 is planning a lavish Halloween party where his 14-year-old, Priscilla, will be dangled in front of possible husbands like meat. She is having two outfits made, one a fluffy gown, the other to be worn later, for dancing quite a bit skimpier.

You look like a star, Darling, he tells the child when she tries Outfit 2 on. What she actually looks like is something you'd see in a strip club.

From the early episodes, it appears that no effort is going to be made to address the disturbing questions you may have after watching this stuff. (Do these child marriages last? Is domestic violence a problem in this culture?) This isn't a sociological study; there's nothing respectful about the way the people here are portrayed.

Yet it's not fun to watch, either: it's too late in the life cycle of these shows to draw amusement from gawking for gawking's sake. So My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding ends up as just more wearying proof that there is apparently no ethnic group, religion, closed community or other subculture that isn't willing to make a spectacle of itself on reality television.

TLC, Sunday nights at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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SATURDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman’s Media INsight's Blog
domino92024's Avatar domino92024
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Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post

On-TV was not a cable channel at all, it was a pay over-the -air channel. I subbed to it in LA back in 1977 until I left the area in 1981. Cable TV was not available to me at the time and it was the only way to get movies and big time sports....

Yup. Channel 52 in Southern California. A buddy of mine and I sold and installed many antennas in San Diego County cut specifically for channel 52's frequency, and had a friend who sold magic boxes. Also got involved with SelecTV on channel 22, and Z-Channel (around 2GHz.) The old "coffee can" type antenna worked well with their channel. Ah...those were the days.
Ken H's Avatar Ken H
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Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post

On-TV was not a cable channel at all, it was a pay over-the -air channel. I subbed to it in LA back in 1977 until I left the area in 1981. Cable TV was not available to me at the time and it was the only way to get movies and big time sports....

Same in the Detroit area.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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TV Notes
Monday's Highlights: 'Hawaii Five-0' on CBS
By Los Angeles Times' 'Show Tracker' Blog - Apr. 29, 2012


A HOT PURSUIT brings agents Hanna and Callen (Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J) of NCIS: Los Angeles to the islands to work with Danny (Scott Caan) on Hawaii Five-0, at 10 p.m. on CBS.


How I Met Your Mother:
A baby shower for Lily and Marshall (Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel) sends the dad-to-be in a panic as he realizes his child's arrival isn't far off (8 p.m. CBS).

The Voice: Eight vocalists compete in this new episode (8 p.m. NBC).

Gossip Girl: Suspecting that Jack and Diana (Desmond Harrington, Elizabeth Hurley) share a huge secret, Chuck, Nate, Blair, Serena and Lola (Ed Westwick, Chace Crawford, Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Ella Rae Peck) join forces to find out what it is (8 p.m. KTLA).

Bones: Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is apprehensive when her father (Ryan O'Neal) offers to baby-sit her baby in this new episode (8 p.m. Fox).

2 Broke Girls: Peach's (Brooke Lyons) socialite friend hires Max and Caroline (Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs) to supply the cupcakes for her daughter's first birthday party in this new episode (8:30 p.m. CBS).

Two and a Half Men: In an odd but enjoyable bit of casting, Oscar winner Kathy Bates guest stars in this new episode as the ghost of the late Charlie Harper, who visits Alan (Jon Cryer) in the hospital (9 p.m. CBS).

Hart of Dixie: When Wade (Wilson Bethel) can't find anyone to be his partner in a race, he swallows his pride and asks Zoe (Rachel Bilson) in this new episode (9 p.m. KTLA).

The Pitch: After a sneak preview earlier this month, this unscripted series about the staffs at four real advertising firms premieres (9 p.m. AMC).

Castle: Castle and Beckett (Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic) investigate the murder of a man who was found with human bite marks on his body, and a witness swears it was the work of a zombie. Jon Huertas and Penny Johnson Jerald also star in this new episode (10 p.m. ABC).


The Texas Rangers visit the Toronto Blue Jays (4 p.m. ESPN); the Dodgers visit the Colorado Rockies (5:30 p.m. KCAL); the Minnesota Twins visit the Angels (7 p.m. FSN).

Hockey: NHL Playoffs (4 and 6:30 p.m. NBCSP).

Basketball: NBA Playoffs (4 and 6:30 p.m. TNT)
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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Nielsen Notes/TV Sports
Knicks, in Rout, Beat Rangers for TV Viewers
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Apr. 30, 2012

New York sports viewers made a clear decision Saturday afternoon between playoff series that began at almost the same time. Game 1 of the first-round series between the Knicks and the Miami Heat and Game 1 of the Washington Capitals-Rangers Eastern Conference semifinals started a half-hour apart, and the N.B.A. game was the overwhelming favorite.

Although the Heat blew out the Knicks, 100-67, the local overnight rating for the game was a 7.2, or 531,921 households, in the New York market. The Rangers' 3-1 victory generated a 3.5 New York market rating, the equivalent of 258,573 households.

But the local rating for the Rangers' game on NBC grew sharply from a low of a 2.7 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to a 4.9 in the final 15 minutes between 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.

The Knicks-Heat game hit its peak of a 7.6 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on ABC, then dipped at the end to a 7.3 for the final hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Nationally, the Heat's win over the Knicks generated a 3.8 overnight rating; the Rangers' victory over the Capitals a 1.5.

The two series will be up against each other Monday night, with the Knicks-Heat game tipping off at 7 p.m. Eastern on TNT and the Capitals-Rangers game beginning at 7:30 on the NBC Sports Network.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - Dancing with the Stars (120 min.)
10:01PM - Castle
* * * *
11:35PM - Nightline (LIVE)
Midnight - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Vanessa Williams; Jonny Lee Miller; Andrew Bird performs)

8PM - How I Met Your Mother
8:30PM - Two Broke Girls
9PM - Two and a Half Men
9:31PM - Mike & Molly
10PM - Hawaii Five-0
* * * *
12:05AM - Late Show with David Letterman (Don Rickles; Carrie Underwood perform)
1:07AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Jim Gaffigan; chef Cat Cora)

8PM - The Voice (120 min., LIVE)
10PM - Smash
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Steve Martin; Rashida Jones; Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers perform)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Chris Evans; Allison Williams; Tom Morello and Ben Harper perform; P.J. Morton performs with the Roots)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (David Giuntoli; singer Meg Myers; Bomba Estéreo performs)

8PM - Bones
9PM - House

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Atlanta
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Providence, RI
(R - May. 22, 2006)
10PM - America Revealed: Electric Nation
(R - Apr. 25)

8PM - Una Familia Con Suerte
9PM - Abismo de Pasión
10PM - La Que No PodÃ*a Amar

8PM - Gossip Girl
9PM - Hart of Dixie

8PM - Una Maid en Manhattan
9PM - Corazón Valiente
10PM - Relaciones Peligrosas

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author Zach Wahls)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Diane Keaton)

11PM - Conan (Alec Baldwin; Damon Wayans Jr.; YelaWolf performs)
(R - Dec. 5)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Mary McCormack; comic Sarah Colonna; comic Dan Maurio; comic Ryan Stou)

dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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Technology/TV Notes
'Amazing Race's' Phil Keoghan is a gearhead
By Jefferson Graham, USA Today - Apr. 30, 2012

Photo: Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY

Phil Keoghan, host of TV's The Amazing Race, travels the world to tape his pieces for CBS' hit reality show, which has its season finale Sunday.

The New Zealand native is a gearhead who hauls his considerable tech collection with him on shoots — to record, select and then transfer his work back home to Los Angeles and the producers.

We met with Keoghan at his home in Los Angeles, in his spacious living room, which was decked out with gear from one end to the other.

Why such a gearhead?

"I always had this fear that if I didn't embrace technology … really cool things would pass me by. I feel technology enhances our lives."

What he totes on the road

An Apple MacBook Pro laptop, Sony PDWF800 camera, recordable Blu-ray discs, the new Sony 3-D binoculars ("not sure what I'm going to do with these, but I'm sure I'll find a cool use"), an audio recorder, noise-canceling headphones, iPad, Nikon D700 camera, 85mm 1.4 lens ("magic for portraits"), Sennheiser microphones, a sound mixer and a teleprompter (which connects to a small Sony video camera) and his iPhone.

The most important tool

A $225 Temptu airbrush makeup kit, which he uses to apply his makeup on the road. "With the advent of HD, it's kind of unfair. When I started in television 26 years ago, I was younger … I had a lot less lines. The irony is, TV had a lot less lines." He travels without a makeup artist, so he pulls out the airbrush sprayer, douses his face, "and it maybe reduces 1,000 lines."

Culling his best video takes

From his hotel room, he transfers the Race video footage to the MacBook Pro and Final Cut Pro 7 video-editing software (he prefers the older version to the new, more consumer-friendly Final Cut Pro X) and selects the best takes of the day. He then ships his selections to the producers via the hotel Internet connection. For this process, "We used to take paper notes … there were lots of opportunities for error." Making the visual selection himself has "allowed a more effective, precise way of working."

Other favorite: His Ford Focus

He owns a souped-up Focus, which was featured on Race showing off its parking assist and in-dash navigation. The car is decorated with blurbs for a local cycling team that he sponsors. "How could you ever get lost? Everything is voice-activated."

dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
CNBC freaking out' over decline in ratings for Andrew Ross Sorkin and Maria Bartiromo
By New York Daily News Staff - Apr. 29, 2012

Andrew Ross Sorkin is apparently not too big to tank.

The same goes for Money Honey Maria Bartiromo.

CNBC insiders tell us executives at the cable business channel are freaking out because viewership levels are down essentially across-the-board, particularly with its marquee shows, Squawk Box and Closing Bell."

Their biggest attractions have become their biggest losers, says one TV industry insider familar with the cable channel's numbers.

According to Nielsen ratings obtained by Gatecrasher, from April 2011 to April 2012, Squawk Box is down 16 percent in total viewers and 29 percent in the important 25-54 demographic bracket that advertisers buy.

On Tuesday, the show drew its lowest numbers of the year in total viewers 99,000.

The source noted that the business-for-breakfast show is in its third straight quarter of ratings decline, and added the drop coincides with the addition of vaunted New York Times Dealbook editor and Too Big to Fail author Sorkin, 35, who started with Squawk Box on July 18.

Although one source familiar with the situation tells us Sorkin is working his tail off at the show, another insider says, There's a lot of talk that Andrew is not bringing them what they thought he was going to bring them: ratings and buzz. He's not bringing them scoops.

The source adds that CNBC is up in the air about what to do with Sorkin, but notes, They're coming to the conclusion that he makes a better guest than host.

The network has already moved to revive "Closing Bell." On Friday, CNBC announced it had poaching "Cavuto" exec producer Gary Schreier to take the helm of Bartiromo's show.

According to the Nielsens, "Closing Bell" is also seeing its third straight quarter of decline.

From April 2011 to April 2012, the show is down 16 percent in total viewers and 11 percent in the 25-54 demographic.

Maria gets good interviews, but she's also not creating enough buzz, says the insider.

Our source who's familiar with CNBC's Nielsens notes the network's core business programming, which airs from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., is down 10 percent in total viewers and 6 percent in adults 25-54, from April to April.

Among the competition making a dent in CNBC's numbers are fledgling shows on the 41/2-year-old Fox Business Network, including Lou Dobbs Tonight, which airs at 7 p.m. against CNBC's Kudlow Report. The show scored its first straight ratings win in total viewers and the 25-54 demographic .

A CNBC spokesman responds: "The Nielsen measurement is focused on the distant periphery of CNBC's core audience. They don't measure the wealthiest American homes or people who watch CNBC out of home on trading floors or in executive offices, country clubs" or "five star hotels."
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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Business Notes
Home Video Spending Up 2.5% In Q1 To $4.45B; Subscription Streaming Soars
By David Lieberman, - Apr. 30, 2012

The data out today from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group may suggest that the period of steep declines in home video spending largely driven by the collapse of the DVD market is over. But it also may just reflect the fact that the quarter had more popular movies: Films available on home video in the quarter did 12.5% better at the box office than did comparable releases last year.

Whatever the reason, total sales of DVD and Blu-ray discs fell just 0.6% in Q1 to $2.06B; DEG says that Blu-ray now accounts for about a quarter of all disc sales. Throw in the $165M spent to buy digital files of movies and TV shows, and the sell-through market was up 0.5%. Digital vendors really showed their muscle in rentals. Spending on subscription streaming services such as Netflix was up 545.4% to $548.6M while digital VOD from providers including Apple's iTunes was up 6.8% to $505.3M.

Meanwhile, the rash of store closings at Blockbuster contributed to a 29.4% decline in rentals at bricks-and-mortar stores to $305M. And Netflix's struggles with its DVD business helped to drive a 48.1% slide in subscription disc rentals to $348M. Bricks-and-mortar and subscription DVD rental services now individually do less business than pay TV's VOD which was up 6.8% to $505.3M. Another winner: kiosk services led by Redbox. Their rocketed 30.1% to $523M.

DEG says that consumers opened 2M UltraViolet accounts, enabling them to use mobile devices to stream the home videos they buy.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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The Shark Jumper
Navigating Garry Marshall's Long, Mostly Successful Hollywood Career
By Andrew Goldman, The New York Times' Sunday Magazine - Apr. 29, 2012

What struck me most about your new memoir, My Happy Days in Hollywood, in which you recount creating shows like The Odd Couple and Happy Days, is that you still talk to your sister Penny. It sounds as if she made your life hell during Laverne and Shirley.
Yeah, that was my worst show experience. The '70s were druggy years on a lot of shows. It was just a mess, but of course I still talk to her. I don't think you can tell your family that you can't come in the house. I've always tried to make people happy the only one I totally didn't was my sister. That's one of the reasons I did Beaches. Women say things to each other, and the next day they go shopping. Men say things to each other, and they don't talk for 30 years.

So you've done Beaches and lots of romantic comedies besides and are known as a particularly good director of women. How do you treat female actors differently?
You've got to remember first it's a girl. A lot of people forget that. There's a difference. Even God realized that. I think more with a girl you have to say, I love your work, I love you, you're going to be good, it's fine, you're going to be all right. Afterward, I hug everybody. I like hugging because in the moments they're working, they're very vulnerable.

It never ceases to amaze me that Hollywood made Pretty Woman, a love story between a hooker and her john.
I felt it was a love story, but in Jonathan Lawton's original script, he had a different story. The prostitute he had was in her later 30s and had carried on and rolled around with hundreds. I knew if we lowered the age and made her a new girl in the business, then people would say, Oh, please don't do that, honey.

So Julia Roberts was a virgin prostitute, and her first trick was going to be Richard Gere?
In the minds of some Disney people it was. It wasn't in the minds of the audience or me.

On Georgia Rule, a set that became famous for Lindsay Lohan's bad behavior, you asked if you could go out with her at night and see what she was up to. So?
She didn't think I was dressed properly so she got me a shirt and a hat. I thought I was so hip, at a smart place with all the young and famous. I asked Lindsay, Am I happening? And she said: Not with those shoes. I forgot to fix your shoes. They were Velcro, and she made me keep them under the table the whole time. I just wanted to see what was going on. Nothing was going on. Everybody was trying so hard to be happy.

Your latest movie, New Year's Eve, got skewered pretty hard by critics.
I got killed on the last one, but it made $146 million worldwide.

Critics seemed to react badly to the fact that the movie featured a bunch of stars, from Robert De Niro to Jessica Biel. Is there something appealing to actors about these kind of ensemble pictures?
No matter how big a star, there's no star who is totally secure, and one of the things that causes such tremendous anxiety is that you have to carry the picture. One headline will say that Hunger Games made $80 million; the other headline says John Carter lost $200 million. The movie industry isn't an exact science. So with an ensemble, you get a good salary, and when it gets terrible reviews, you can say, I only had one scene, it wasn't me.

Fred Fox Jr., who was the writer credited with the famous episode where Fonzie jumped the shark on Happy Days, said that the idea came from you.
Yes, it was my idea.

Considering the phrase's fame, any regrets?
Well, it wasn't good. I think New Year's Eve is a good picture, but I don't think that episode was very good. We were stuck in Malibu making believe we were in Hawaii, and we had to do something a little special for Fonzie. So I said: Jumping's worked well for us. Let's jump something maybe on water skis. At the time we put it on, viewers didn't throw rocks at it or send letters, but later some very clever guys said that's when the show turned. So if it's used about a show going down, fine. I got a word into the American vernacular.

rebkell's Avatar rebkell
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Nielsen Notes (Cable)
CNBC freaking out' over decline in ratings for Andrew Ross Sorkin and Maria Bartiromo
By New York Daily News Staff - Apr. 29, 2012

Andrew Ross Sorkin is apparently not too big to tank.

The same goes for Money Honey Maria Bartiromo.

Personally I enjoy ARS on Squawk Box, but there is way too much politics involved, and it gets old fast. There are three co-hosts and it seems that so much of the time one host in particular tries to ridicule Sorkin and the business end of the show gets less and less attention and that has nothing to do with Sorkin.

As far as Bartiromo goes, who knows when she is going to be there in the afternoon, it literally seems like she's not there over 50% of the time.

I haven't seen Lou Dobbs in ages(the CNN days), but Kudlow is almost pure politics(right wing) and has little if anything to do with business, they argue about policies, instead of reporting. The same can be said about Squawk in the morning, more time is spent complaining about the policies coming out of Washington than reporting on the business end and how the policies might be affecting things bull or bear.
foxeng's Avatar foxeng
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

A CNBC spokesman responds: "The Nielsen measurement is focused on the distant periphery of CNBC's core audience. They don't measure the wealthiest American homes or people who watch CNBC out of home on trading floors or in executive offices, country clubs" or "five star hotels."

Translated: "We are scared sh*tless and don't know how to fix it."

Sounds pretty much like the rest of NBC at this point.

Arrogance will get you every time. The comments CNBC made about FBN when it launched are things you don't say with your outside voice, even if you believe it with all your heart. My experience has been, every dog has his day no matter what you do. No one stays on top forever. Just ask CNN. FNC will fall one day too. It isn't an if. It is a when. They know it too. That is why they fight so hard. Circle of life Simba. CNBC and MSNBC, not so much. This CNBC spokesman's statement confirms that. It is easier to blame the TV less floor traders. If that is their audience, then they won't have any ratings. They don't have that many TV's on the trading floor. Duh!
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TV Notes
On 'Two and a Half Men,' it's, yes, Charlie
Not Charlie Sheen but the character he played, Charlie Harper
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Apr. 30, 2012

You know it's sweeps when the ghost of Charlie Sheen makes a return visit to "Two and a Half Men."

Sheen himself won't be appearing on the episode, which airs tonight at 9 p.m. on CBS.

Instead, in a weird bit of stunt casting, "Harry's Law" star Kathy Bates will play the ghost of Charlie Harper, the character Sheen played.

Charlie's brother, Alan, has just suffered a minor heart attack, and Charlie's ghost, smoking a cigar and wisecracking about sex, shows up to give his brother a hard time.

Sheen, of course, was famously fired from "Men" in 2011 after his second stint in rehab in less than a year and some increasingly odd behavior that landed him on morning shows and tabloids across the country.

"Men" creator Chuck Lorre, the target of many of Sheen's bizarre diatribes, killed the Charlie Harper character off last September, boosting the show to a series-high 10.7 adults 18-49 rating for its ninth-season premiere.

But since then the hype over Sheen and his replacement, Ashton Kutcher, died down. "Men" became one of the rare long-running shows to hit both a series high and a series low in the same season, dipping to a series-low 3.5 earlier this month.

Bates' gimmicky performance should boost ratings a bit for "Men." Producers say they were so happy with her work that Charlie's ghost could be back in season 10, if the show is renewed.

Kutcher has yet to sign on for another season, and the show's return will depend on whether he can be re-signed or, if that proves impossible, replaced.
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TV Sports
Shaq, Barkley, Magic: Derrick Rose knee injury ruins Bu
By Michael McCarthy, USA Today - Apr. 30, 2012

The torn knee ligament that ended Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose's season Saturday dominated the airwaves over the weekend, with most TV analysts saying his absence dooms his team's hopes of an Eastern Conference playoff rematch with the Miami Heat— much less a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals.

Before TNT's Sunday night pregame show, Shaquille O'Neal said by phone that the road to the Finals just got a lot easier for the Heat and the Boston Celtics, now that the team with the league's best regular-season record has lost the reigning NBA MVP.

"Miami's going to be licking their chops. Boston's going to be licking their chops," O'Neal said. "Boston felt they had two roadblocks in the way. Now, with Derrick Rose gone, I don't think they really consider the Bulls a roadblock anymore."

During the show, Charles Barkley said, "This kills their championship aspirations. I don't think (the Bulls) can beat the Celtics, Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers without Derrick Rose."

Kenny Smith didn't blame Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau for leaving Rose in at the end of the Bulls' Game 1 playoff win against the Philadelphia 76ers. "(Rose has) had a plethora of injuries," Smith said. "I really believe this would've happened regardless."

ESPN's Magic Johnson said Rose's injury "sucked the air" out of the team — and the city of Chicago. "It's over for the Bulls," Johnson said. "No Derrick Rose? Maybe they get by Philly. And they definitely will lose the next round. Definitely."

Van Pelt watch continues: Add Fox Sports to the list of possible new employers for Scott Van Pelt, whose contract is up at ESPN. Versatile Van Pelt anchors SportsCenter, hosts a radio show and works on ESPN's golf coverage, including the Masters.

"We think Scott is a very talented broadcaster who would be a great asset to any broadcast or cable sports network," Fox spokesman Dan Bell said Sunday.

ESPN wants to keep Van Pelt, who is represented by IMG's Sandy Montag. "We are in the midst of discussions and hope Scott remains at ESPN," spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.

NFL draft ratings up: ESPN's three days of live coverage of the NFL draft averaged a 2.0 rating and 2.9 million viewers, both up slightly from last year, according to fast nationals ESPN received from Nielsen.

ESPN's Chris Berman-led prime-time coverage of Thursday's first round drew a 5.1 fast national rating and averaged 6.6 million viewers. That's the network's second-highest rating for first-round coverage since it began showing the event in 1980 (its best rating for the first round came in 2010).

NFL Network, in far fewer homes than ESPN, averaged a 0.49 rating for its three days of coverage, led by Rich Eisen. That's up 32% from last year and a record for its draft coverage, which began in 2006.

Top quotes: Fox and MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds on Bryce Harper's Major League debut with the Washington Nationals: "I played with Ken Griffey Jr. at 19, and he didn't have this kind of popularity."

Around the dial: NBC could be poised for nice ratings for the New York Rangers-Washington Capitals NHL playoff series. Saturday's Game 1 drew a 1.5 overnight rating, about equal to last year's Boston Bruins-Philadelphia Flyers playoff telecast, despite going head-to-head with coverage of the New York Knicks-Heat playoff game. NBC's game telecast drew a 3.5 rating in the New York market, up 17%.
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TV Notes
The Baby Bump
By Jacob Bernstein, The New York Times - Apr. 29, 2012

Jessica Simpson, the onetime pop star, had her first and last Top 10 hit more than a decade ago, with I Wanna Love You Forever. But that didn't stop Elle magazine from putting her on its April cover (naked and pregnant, in an echo of the often-imitated 1991 Vanity Fair cover photo of Demi Moore) nor People magazine from splashing pictures of her baby shower over several pages in its April 2 issue.

Tori Spelling, Donna from Beverly Hills, 90210, (the original one, as well as its successor), had a short career in made-for-TV movies and an even shorter one in feature films, before finding a home on reality TV, with shows that featured her marriage and quickly growing brood: Tori & Dean: Inn Love, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood and soon Craft Wars.

Bethenny Frankel was a former contestant on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, and a polarizing character on The Real Housewives of New York City, before getting two subsequent Bravo shows of her own (Bethenny Getting Married? and Bethenny Ever After) and becoming one of the biggest stars on that cable network.

What do they all have in common? They have found, to be blunt, that motherhood pays. In the last few years, salaries for movie stars have plummeted, record sales have tanked and roles in scripted dramas are going the way of the I.B.M. computer. Yet for a growing number of underemployed actresses, singers and would-be entrepreneurs, parenthood has become a viable Plan B.

Being a celebrity mom has more business opportunities than ever before, said Peter Grossman, the photo editor of Us Weekly, where he has negotiated six-figure cover deals with many celebrities and their cuddly offspring. Now, it's not just about selling your baby pics. It's starting a clothing line or endorsing a stroller. The value of a celebrity mom has never been higher.

Nor does having a tabloid reputation preclude getting in on the action. Four years ago, Kendra Wilkinson was a star on The Girls Next Door, an E! reality series about Hugh Hefner's harem. Then she became engaged to a pro-football player, announced her pregnancy and got a spinoff series in which her impending motherhood was a central story line. Its ratings were among E!'s highest.

A book contract with an imprint of Simon & Schuster followed, as did a reported mid-six-figure deal to sell her baby pictures and her weight-loss plan to OK! magazine. She endorsed a line of supplements (Ab Cuts, designed to shed the baby weight), and the book spent over two months on the New York Times best-seller list. She also has a new show on WE later this year.

If I would have stayed that party girl, I don't think I would have had the success I had, said Ms. Wilkinson, one of the few celebrities who seemed willing to discuss this new career path. (Representatives for Ms. Frankel, Ms. Spelling and Ms. Simpson all declined several interview requests or failed to respond.) I think it all had to do with me taking the craziest turn any party girl could have taken. And that's having a family. It was much more valuable than being at the Playboy Mansion. Like 100 times more valuable.

Nicole Richie's transformation was similar. She went from being Paris Hilton's quirky sidekick, once arrested after driving the wrong way on a freeway in Burbank, Calif., to an earth mother, jewelry designer and author. She designed a maternity-wear collection for the popular brand Pea in the Pod. And she is a judge on a new NBC reality show, Fashion Star, along with Ms. Simpson. Jo Piazza, the author of the recent book Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money, said, That would not have happened had she not had babies.

Even Nicole Polizzi, better known to TV viewers as Snooki of Jersey Shore, is leveraging her pregnancy with a spinoff series on MTV, Snooki and Jwoww vs. the World, and a line of children's shoes. I definitely want to do like diaper bags and stuff like that, Ms. Polizzi said in a telephone interview last week, adding that she wanted to design products for her child and then sell it for everybody else.

I would not suggest her to a Fortune 100 company that's going after families, said Ryan Schinman, the chief executive of Platinum Rye Entertainment, which, according to Forbes, is the world's largest broker of celebrity talent for ad campaigns and publicity events. But if you're a new or unknown brand looking to make a splash or you're of the ilk that all press is good press, why not?

Enter Pat Yates, the owner of, which handled the deal with Ms. Polizzi. Mr. Yates said he can understand why people are skeptical about Ms. Polizzi's future as a mompreneur, but thinks she is going to do just fine. It's going to broaden what she's able to go out and pitch, he said. It makes her more versatile.

Indeed, Ms. Polizzi said that she is ready to show people a different side of herself, one that is seemingly at odds with her Jersey Shore persona as the hard-drinking, club-going wild child. I know I am going to be a good mom, she said. Everyone thinks I'm a party girl just because they've seen me on Jersey Shore' for one month enjoying my life. Like, that's not me 24-7.

WHEN did the spawn of Hollywood become a cultural obsession? After all, for a very long time, pregnancy was considered a private matter, and as recently as 2000, a magazine's decision to run a paparazzi shot of someone like Madonna in the late stages of pregnancy was considered bad form.

That changed in 2002, when Bonnie Fuller took over at Us Weekly, an event that is to celebrity babies what the big bang was to the rest of humanity. Within weeks, Ms. Fuller redesigned the magazine from top to bottom, centering it around candid shots of newly engaged stars with circles around their baby bumps underneath the heading of Stars, They're Just Like Us.

The stratospheric prices paid to secure candid shots of big-name celebrities made it clear this wasn't quite true, but readers didn't seem to mind. At the top of the tabloid food chain were Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. For the first shot of them together, back when Mr. Pitt had just split from Jennifer Aniston, Us Weekly paid the photo agency selling the picture $500,000, according to the company's former general manager, Kent Brownridge. It was one of their best-selling issues ever.

When Mr. Pitt and Ms. Jolie had their first child, editors at various weeklies were called into the Getty offices in downtown Manhattan, where they signed confidentiality agreements and walked into a room where images of the happy couple and their daughter, Shiloh, were projected on a movie screen, as if in a premiere. The only thing missing was popcorn, one of the players recalled.

Bidding took an entire weekend, with at least one offer exceeding $2 million, according to two people involved, who asked not to be identified because of those confidentiality agreements. People magazine eventually won, at a price that was never disclosed, and which the couple reportedly donated to charity. (Calls to People's managing editor, Larry Hackett, were not returned.)

This payday was not lost on a growing list of reality stars and B-list celebrities, who realized that while they might not be able to garner numbers like that, they could at least get something. It became a trend, said Richard Spencer, the founding editor of In Touch Weekly, and now the editor in chief of OK! magazine. People knew that having kids landed them on celebrity titles. They found ways to court the press and get as much out of it as they could.

Even fathers got into the act. Matthew McConaughey received what two sources then working at OK! (who also asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to disclose confidential information) said was from $500,000 to $1 million to pose with his baby, only to have things go awry when he refused to go shirtless, and without the child's mother, Camila Alves. I wanted it to be like an Athena poster, Sarah Ivens Moffett, the founding editor of the magazine, said in a telephone interview. He didn't. (The couple eventually appeared on the magazine's cover, along with their 2-week-old son, Levi, with Mr. McConaughey fully clothed.)

Over the last two years, the prices paid for exclusive baby pictures dropped considerably, a result of declining newsstand sales among all the celebrity titles and what may have been a certain amount of baby fatigue. But even so, B- and C-list players found all sorts of ways to get into the game.

It's popular reality stars who benefit the most now, because they are putting parenthood front and center, said Ms. Fuller, who today is the editor in chief of, a gossip Web site that also has a separate landing page devoted to celebrity baby news. They're not saying this is private. They're sharing it all, and that pays off for them.

At Bravo, for example, The Rachel Zoe Project, a show about the Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe, received its highest ratings last season for the episode in which Ms. Zoe gave birth, according to Shari Levine, senior vice president of production for Bravo. The station is working on a new show with Kim Zolciak, a Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member, who recently married and is pregnant for the second time with her new husband. And it is bringing back for a second season a show with Rosie Pope, a high-end maternity designer who is due to have another child later this year.

Pregnant women are physically in a slightly awkward physical state and they are emotionally very charged, Ms. Levine said. It's always very funny. We've been there, or we have friends and family that have been there. It makes us smile.

For the demi-celebrities in front of the camera, the shows also are global billboards that lead to paid gigs, like lucrative appearances at introductions for baby products and for tweeting on behalf of companies that are focusing on women with children, sometimes for $5,000 or more a tweet for the bigger reality stars.

Deals to tweet and show up at product introductions are orchestrated by agencies like Flying Television, which is headed by Lori Levine, a former talent booker for Conan O'Brien (and no relation to Ms. Levine at Bravo); and Cogent Media. Ms. Levine and Courtney Routt, of Cogent, are cagey about who gets paid to do what, but tweets that look suspiciously like advertisements are ubiquitous.

Take, for example, Kourtney Kardashian, who regularly tweets about her son, Mason, and the brands he's decked out in. Running around New York City! she tweeted on April 24. Captain Mason is ready for the rain. Embedded there was a link to a photo beneath which all his fashion credits were listed. Tom and Drew Shirt, Tom and Drew hat, Levi Jeans, Gap belt and Freshly Picked moccasins. And another, courtesy of Ms. Frankel: My new adorable diaper bag. I don't believe in the expensive brand name ones. You? she said, referring to a bag from Kipling, which promptly tweeted back at her: Couldn't agree more! We adore @Bethenny. The bag is named New Baby.' A link directed followers to the Kipling Web site, where they could buy the bag.

Look, Ms. Levine said, the bottom line is that if it's a reality star pushing a product, chances are they're making money from it.
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Nielsen Notes/TV Sports
NBA ratings rise in shortened season
By Stuart Levine, Variety - Apr. 29, 2012

The shortened NBA regular season was good for the league's television partners.

ABC delivered its highest-rated and most viewed regular season ever with a 5.4 million average over 15 broadcasts, up 6% from last season.

TNT's basketball ratings were up 4% from the year before in a regular season that was the most viewed on the network in 28 years. An average of 2.5 million viewers watched the game telecasts on the cabler, which saw its fifth straight year of ratings growth for the broadcasts.

Top game of the season on TNT was the lockout-delayed opener on Christmas Day when the Boston Celtics traveled to face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Contest drew 5.8 million viewers.

ESPN didn't set any records (a 1.5 cable rating) but matched its numbers from a year ago. Because of the quickly put-together schedule, the cabler didn't have as many high-profile games on its Wednesday and Friday telecasts as in previous seasons.

On the league-owned NBA TV, total viewership was up 33% from the previous season. Most-watched game was the Jan. 14 content between Los Angeles rivals the Clippers and Lakers, which drew 756,000 to become the most-watched show in NBA TV history.
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TV Notes
E! Picks Up Nigel Lythgoe Music Reality Series, Whitney Cummings Talk Show
By Nellie Andreeva, - Apr. 30, 2012

E!, which is holding its upfront presentation today, has picked up Opening Act, a new talent competition headlined by American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, R&B singer Mary J. Blige and producer Antonina Armato from Rock Mafia. Additionally, the cable network has given the long-gestating Whitney Cummings talk show a pickup as a weekly half-hour series titled Love You, Mean It With Whitney Cummings.

In Opening Act, Lythgoe, Blige and Armato will comb the Internet to find talented amateurs and give them a chance to open for an A-list music star. Music acts on board to take in aspiring musicians to open for one show on their current tours are Nicki Minaj, Rod Stewart, LMFAO, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Jason Mraz and Gym Class Heroes. The unsuspecting band or solo acts will get the news of their big break in person by TV personality Olivia Lee (The Tonight Show With Jay Leno). They will immediately be brought to Hollywood for an extreme performance boot camp', intense mentoring sessions with top industry heavyweights, leading to their one-night-only performance opening a major concert. Produced by Nigel Lythgoe Prods., Opening Act premieres July 9. Nigel Lythgoe, Steve Schnur, Simon Lythgoe, and Kary McHoul are executive producing.

Cummings' talk show, which had been in development at E! for almost two years, will air Wednesdays at 10:30 PM, paired with the network's staple The Soup. Love You will take on pop culture, celebrity news and topical stories. On the show, Cummings, who got her break on E!'s late-night talk show Chelsea Lately, will be joined by a sidekick, Julian McCullough. Love You is produced by Handler and Tom Brunelle's Borderline Amazing Prods., with Handler, Cummings and Brunelle exec producing. The pickup of Cummings' E! talk show comes as she is awaiting word on the future of her NBC freshman comedy series Whitney, which is on the bubble. CBS' freshman 2 Broke Girls, which she co-created, has been renewed for next season.
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Business Notes
TV in real dime
Hulu, networks to change model of free streaming
By Claire Atkinson, New York Post - Apr. 30, 2012

Viewers who stream network TV shows may soon discover the free ride is not so free.

Hulu, which attracted 31 million unique users in March under a free-for-all model, is taking its first steps to change to a model where viewers will have to prove they are a pay-TV customer to watch their favorite shows, sources tell The Post.

In fact, the move by Hulu toward the new model called authentication because viewers would have to log in with their cable or satellite TV account number was behind the move last week by Providence Equity Partners to cash out of Hulu after five years, these sources said.

And it's not just Hulu making it tougher for cable-cutters to stream shows and other content.

Fox, owned by News Corp., which also owns The Post, is expected to begin talks soon with Comcast on a TV Everywhere deal that will require authentication. Plus, Philadelphia-based Comcast is expected to switch to an authentication model for this summer's Olympic Games (see story at right).
The move toward authentication is fueled by cable companies and networks looking to protect and profit from their content.

The effort comes as entertainment companies continue to face drastic shifts in home viewing habits. Overall spending on home entertainment edged up 2.5 percent to $4.45 billion in the first quarter as a surge in digital streaming which rose more than fivefold to $549 million offset a continuing collapse in video rentals, according to Digital Entertainment Group.

Hulu, owned by News Corp., Disney, Comcast and Providence, could see its March audience, as measured by ComScore, shrink after authentication. Hulu racked up some $420 million in ad revenue last year and is expected to do well in this year's ad negotiations.

But the move toward authentication, which could take years to complete, will make cable companies happy because it could slow cord-cutting by making cable subscribing more attractive.

At the same time, networks are asking cable companies for retransmission money, a process that could be more appetizing for Comcast and its rivals if their subscriber base stopped shrinking.

To be sure, Hulu's slow move toward authentication comes amid a jumble of cable and network game plans for streaming which remain a strategic nightmare thanks to the complicated nature of the TV Everywhere initiative, which is aimed at keeping top shelf digital video exclusive to pay-TV subscribers.

Comcast's own NBCUniversal, for example, has a patchwork approach to authentication.
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Shout out to One World Trade Center which today passes Empire State Buliding to become the tallest in NYC & going on to when completed being the tallest in the USA at 1,776 feet.

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SUNDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media INsight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Time' boosts ABC to No. 1 on Sunday
Averages a 2.2 in 18-49s, 16 percent ahead of No. 2 Fox
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Apr. 30, 2012

With the night's No. 1 show, ABC finished first on another low-rated Sunday night.

It was the only network to earn above a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, averaging a 2.2 rating and 6 share in primetime, according to Nielsen overnights, 16 percent ahead of No. 2 Fox at 1.9/5.

ABC's first-year fairytale drama "Once Upon A Time" was the evening's No. 1 show, averaging a 2.9 at 8 p.m. That was slightly ahead of Fox's "Family Guy," the night's No. 2 show with a 2.8 at 9 p.m. "Guy" was up 12 percent over its last original episode four weeks ago.

CBS's lineup was all down from the previous week, with the season finale of "The Good Wife" at 9 p.m. dipping to a series-low 1.7.

Lead-out "NYC 22" also slid to a new low in its third outing, averaging just a 1.2 at 10 p.m.

And NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" slid 10 percent from the previous week, to a 1.9 from 9 to 11 p.m.

With ABC in first and Fox second for the night, CBS placed third at 1.6/4, NBC fourth at 1.4/4, Univision fifth at 0.9/3 and Telemundo sixth at 0.4/1.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback, which includes shows replayed before 3 a.m. the night before. Seven-day DVR data won't be available for several weeks. Forty-three percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

At 7 p.m. ABC was first with a 1.4 for "America's Funnies Home Videos," followed by Fox with a 1.3 for a repeat of "The Simpsons" (1.1) and a new "The Cleveland Show" (1.5). CBS was third with a 1.2 for "60 Minutes," NBC fourth with a 0.8 for "Dateline," Univision fifth with a 0.5 for "Rosa de Guadalupe" and Telemundo sixth with a 0.3 for "Pa'lante con Cristina."

ABC was first again at 8 p.m. with a 2.9 for "Time," while CBS moved to second with a 2.2 for "The Amazing Race." Fox was third with a 2.1 for "The Simpsons" (2.3) and "Bob's Burgers" (1.9). NBC and Univision tied for fourth at 0.9, NBC for "Harry's Law" and Univision for "Nuestra Belleza Latina," and Telemundo was sixth with a 0.3 for the movie "Spider-Man 3."

At 9 p.m. ABC led with a 2.5 for "Desperate Housewives," with Fox second with a 2.4 for "Guy" (2.8) and "The Cleveland Show" (1.9). CBS and NBC tied for third at 1.7, CBS for "Wife" and NBC for "Apprentice," with Univision fifth with a 1.4 for more "Latina" and Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for its movie.

NBC took the lead at 10 p.m. with a 2.2 for another hour of "Apprentice," while ABC slipped to second with a 1.9 for "GCB." CBS was third with a 1.2 for "NYC 22," Univision fourth with a 1.0 for "Sal y Pimienta" and Telemundo fifth with a 0.4 for the final hour of its movie.

Among households, CBS was first for the night with a 5.8 average overnight rating and a 9 share. ABC was second at 4.6/8, NBC third at 3.8/6, Fox fourth at 2.4/4, Univision fifth at 1.4/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.5/1.
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But TWC Chief Doesn't Expect Much to Be Available
By Mike Farrell -- Multichannel News, April 26, 2012

With the launch of its two regional sports networks in Los Angeles anticipated in the fourth quarter, Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt told analysts the cable giant would look at acquiring additional team rights as they become available - including those of the Los Angeles Dodgers - but added he did not expect much to step to the plate.

Time Warner Cable reached a 20-year deal for rights to the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Lakers in February 2011, which will anchor two regional sports networks for the cable operator (one a dedicated Spanish language channel). The RSNs, slated to launch in the fourth quarter, have also acquired additional sports rights from Major League Soccer's LA Galaxy and the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks.

Speculation was high that the cable giant may try to acquire rights - or even buy an equity stake - in Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers, after the team was sold for a record $2.15 billion to a group led by hedge fund Guggenheim Partners and including basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

On a conference call with analysts to discuss first quarter results, Britt said that the cable giant was open to acquiring additional rights, but that he suspected most teams are locked into agreements with other parties for the foreseeable future.

Britt stressed that the objective of launching the networks is to stabilize costs and make them more consistent over a long period of time. "Where rights come available, as they did with the Lakers, if we think we can buy them for a price that makes sense for us over the long run, we'll do that," Britt said. "I don't anticipate there's going to be tons of those. Most of the sports rights are tied up for many, many years to come. But we'll look at other things that come up. Obviously there has been a lot of press around the sale of the Dodgers. Who knows what might happen with their media rights? If those become available and are offered to us, we'll take a look at them."

Currently the Dodger rights are held by Fox Sports' Prime Ticket RSN through 2013, but Fox has an exclusive 45-day negotiating window with the team through Nov. 30. After that, rights to Dodger games are up for grabs, and the team's options include extending their deal with Fox, selling them to another third party or launching their own RSN, akin to the YES Network owned in part by the New York Yankees. Some sports observers expect the team to take the latter option.

Having baseball would be an advantage for the Time Warner Cable RSNs, giving it a full year of sports programming, but the price may be too high. When the Dodger sale was announced, some analysts estimated that media rights for the team could be worth as much as $4 billion over 20 years.
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6:30 PM - April 30, 2012 - By Kevin Parrish - Source : The New York Post

Hulu may eventually require cable subscription info to stream TV shows via the free service.

While Hulu offers a "Plus" subscription service granting users access to its entire list of TV and movie programming for desktop and mobile devices, it also provides a free-but-limited streaming service to the desktop only. Now there's a rumor that Hulu may alter the latter free service so that users must prove they're currently subscribers to a local cable TV plan provided by Comcast, Time Warner and others in order to stream TV content.

According to the New York Post, the 31 million users of the free Hulu service may eventually be required to log in with their cable or satellite TV account number. Inside sources claim this is a result of Providence Equity Partners' move last week to cash out of Hulu after five years. They also indicated that it's nothing personal -- Comcast is even reportedly moving to an authentication structure with TV Everywhere and this summer's Olympic Games.

Hulu, which is owned by Comcast, Disney, News Corp and Providence, is expected to see a drop in traffic if the authentication model is set in place. But it could be years before such a measure is implemented. Of course, Hulu's fate will be determined on how the streaming wars will be carried out as cable operators move online and dish up their own streaming services -- Hulu may not even be around in a few years if competition gets too intense.

The big fear for cable companies is that users are trying to "cut the cord," watching their favorite content online instead of using a cable box. On the contrary, consumers merely want multiple platforms, to not be tied down in front of the living room TV. As Hulu and Netflix have demonstrated, viewers enjoy movies and TV shows on their desktops and mobile devices no matter where they are. Instead of handcuffing customers, these companies should embrace the change.

But what's at fault here is Hollywood and its dictating ways. Piracy would likely be at a bare minimum if content could be displayed when and where the consumer desires. But instead, content owners enforce restrictions, thus cable operators must do the same. People seemingly are willing to pay for streaming to their tablet or smartphone while also watching the same content on their big living room HDTV. Amazon, Apple and now Walmart are even proof that consumers are willing to invest in content that's stored in the cloud.

According to the Digital Entertainment Group, overall spending on home entertainment jumped 2.5-percent to $4.45 billion in the first quarter as streaming helped offset the continuing collapse in video rentals. Hulu itself took in around $420 million in ad revenue in 2011, and expects to do extremely well this year.
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By Stacey Higginbotham Apr. 30, 2012, 2:27pm PT 9 Comments

The rumors that Hulu may soon require subscribers to have a cable TV subscription is the perfect cautionary tale for why the companies that make and distribute content shouldn't own the pipes that deliver that content. And if the rumors are true, it's not just a cautionary tale, it's the new playbook by which pay TV providers will force consumers to buy a special pipe for the Internet and a second pipe for TV, despite the fact that technically they are becoming the same thing.

There is no denying that as the future of television unfolds it's disrupting the traditional broadcast, cable TV and content creation models. And while the Senate held a hearing last week to discuss this shift, it felt like they were arriving late to the party, unaware of just how much things were changing as broadband and television converged. Instead of understanding what that convergence meant for the economics of old and new industries and what regulations might be needed to avoid protectionist behavior by pay TV providers and broadcasters, the hearing dealt more with discussions around reworking the Telecommunications Act of 1996 for the current era.

That's not going to happen anytime soon, but I did wonder at the lack of Hulu in the conversation occurring last week at the Capitol. Netflix was brought up several times as was Aereo, both companies which are challenging the current status quo far more than Hulu has been able to. Not that Hulu didn't have promise. When it launched in 2007 it defied expectations and was a wonderful viewing experience, especially for those of us who wanted just to get our content when we wanted it without having to plan ahead to record it or worry that we missed some window online.

But even a year ago we were saying that as a business Hulu wasn't delivering the revenue its backers may have hoped for, and that a cable authentication model might end up making the most sense. Already Fox windows its content on Hulu, showing episodes 7 days later for customers who aren't already DirectTV Dish subscribers. So if it went further and mandated that subscribers could only access the content if they were already a pay TV subscriber somewhere, it would really be a win for everyone except the consumer.

The pay TV provider wins because cord cutters like myself now have one less source of entertainment, broadcasters who back Hulu win because customers are essentially paying Hulu for the right to watch certain shows, while they are also hunting for retransmission fees for their broadcast channels on cable. They are getting paid by consumers, by Pay TV providers and they are also getting their spectrum for free even as they sue to stop companies such as Aero from making it easier for consumers to get those signals over the air. It's also training consumers that they will have to pay extra for access to a bunch of content on their own terms.

And is all this happening because it's more difficult or expensive to deliver TV to consumers? No. It's actually cheaper and easier once TV moves to an IP system to deliver what people want, when they want it on demand. But once this happens, if there are no artificially created barriers in place thanks to licensing deals, deals to let content sneak around a data cap or outright packet blocking, then consumers might go over the top and along the way distort the power structure and economics of the TV industry. And no one in the industry wants that.
Keenan's Avatar Keenan
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They just never seem to learn. Meanwhile, piracy continues pretty much unabated...
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Originally Posted by keenan View Post

They just never seem to learn. Meanwhile, piracy continues pretty much unabated...

Well, the Copyright Alert System is about to be rolled out. Hooray? =\\

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