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dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

10 Million Page Views ! ! !

At about 10:30 p.m..m. ET on Thursday, May 31, 2012, Hot Off The Press (including both its first and second incarnations) hit 10,000,000 page views.

Special kudos go to long-time - and prolific -- posters Dad1153, dcowboy7, doubleDAZ, keenan, DrDon and foxeng. In particular,Dad's tireless efforts the past 19 months have kept the thread vibrant, relevant -- and continuing to grow in page views month after month.

Don't forget bgooch who really goes to town posting stuff about cable from time to time.

P.S.: Fred, when did you move to TX?
DoubleDAZ's Avatar DoubleDAZ
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

P.S.: Fred, when did you move to TX?

Good catch, I totally missed that.
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 - The Bachelorette (120 min.)
10PM - Castle
(R - Nov. 21)
* * * *
11:35PM - Nightline (LIVE)
Midnight - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Christina Ricci; chef Adam Perry Lang; Fun performs)

8PM - How I Met Your Mother
(R - Nov. 14)
8:30PM - 2 Broke Girls
(R - Mar. 19)
9PM - Two and a Half Men
(R - Apr. 9)
9:31PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Dec. 12)
10PM - Hawaii Five-0
(R - Nov. 21)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Joan Rivers; Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti; Silversun Pickups perform)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Comic Jim Gaffigan; chef Cat Cora)
(R - Apr. 30)

8PM - America's Got Talent
9PM - American Ninja Warrior
10PM - Grimm
(R - Mar. 9)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Martin Short; Aubrey Plaza; Def Leppard performs)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Jason Schwartzman; Angie Harmon; Regina Spektor performs)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Dr. Sanjay Gupta; musician Josh Baze; The Naked and Famous perform)
(R - Mar. 29)

8PM - Hell's Kitchen (Season Premiere)
9PM - Masterchef (Season Premiere)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Philadelphia, PA (R - Jan. 22, 2007)
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Raleigh, NC
(R - Jan. 11, 2010)
10PM - Great Old Amusement Parks
(R - Jul. 21, 2009)

8PM - Un Refugio para el Amor
9PM - Abismo de Pasión
10PM - La Que No PodÃ*a Amar

8PM - Breaking Pointe
(R - May 31)
9PM - The Catalina
(R - May 29)

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Authors Thomas Mann & Norman Ornstein)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Author John Lewis)

11PM - Conan (Guests TBA)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Singer Mary J. Blige; comic Ben Gleib; comic Margaret Cho; Ross Matthews)

dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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TV Notes
Monday's Highlights: 'The Real Housewives of New York City' on Bravo
By Los Angeles Times' 'Show Tracker' Blog - Jun. 3, 2012


NEWCOMERS ARE WELCOMED on the season premiere of The Real Housewives of New York City at 9 p.m. on Bravo. Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan.


Money With Melissa Francis:
The actress-turned-anchor premieres a new show (5 p.m. Fox Business Network).

GTTV Presents: E3 All Access Live: The Spike and Gametrailers crew highlight the video game industry's 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo show (7 p.m. Spike).

America's Got Talent: Auditions continue in Austin, Texas (8 p.m. NBC).

Hell's Kitchen: Chef Gordon Ramsay again puts aspiring restaurateurs through an intense culinary academy in a new season (8 p.m. Fox). Then Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot are back for a third season of MasterChef (9 p.m. Fox).

The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Anne shares news with her family in the season finale (8 p.m. ABC Family).

Wild Justice: This new episode chronicles Operation Fake Cop, a mission to track down a guy who's posing as a game warden (9 p.m. National Geographic).

Gene Simmons Family Jewels: Believing that Gene is having second thoughts about adoption, Shannon arranges for him to meet families with happy adoption stories in this new episode (9:30 p.m. A&E).


2012 French Open Tennis:
Round of 16 (6 a.m. ESPN2).

Baseball: The Dodgers visit the Philadelphia Phillies (4 p.m. KCAL and ESPN); the Seattle Mariners visit the Angels (7 p.m. FSN).

College Softball: NCAA World Series Game 1 (5 p.m. ESPN2).

Hockey: 2012 Stanley Cup Final: The New Jersey Devils visit the Kings (5 p.m. NBCSP).

Basketball: NBA Playoffs: The Oklahoma City Thunder visit the San Antonio Spurs (If necessary). (6 p.m. TNT).
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TV Sports
Tiger Woods' dramatic win gets ultra-hyped by CBS announcers
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Jun. 3, 2012

Golf broadcasters, before Sunday, seemed almost resigned recently: Even when Tiger Woods played well enough to show up on-air on Sundays, they'd seem kind of silly hyping him as if he were still a golfing god when he wasn't playing that well.

But Sunday, CBS genuflected when Woods made a 50-foot chip on the 16th hole at the Memorial that sent him to victory.

"That was incredible!" gasped reporter David Feherty. "Does that remind you of anyone?"

As Woods flashed the fist pump that used to define TV golf replays before it largely disappeared, analyst Nick Faldo noted: "We haven't seen that reaction for years."

Jack Nicklaus, dropping by the TV booth at a tournament he hosts, said: "That was one of the most incredible shots you'll ever see."

Tiger Is Back, suggested lead announcer Jim Nantz a minute later: "This is the one moment people have been waiting for for three years."

And it's not just that everybody was caught up in that moment. Woods' win had a lucky theatrical touch: Viewers saw him congratulated by Nicklaus for his 73rd win — tying Nicklaus' career total. Seemed almost scripted.

After time to cool off during a few commercials — including Woods in a TV commercial (for Nike) that represented another sort of Woods comeback — Faldo said Woods is "obviously now back on top of everything."

Nantz, after recalling Woods' pitch-in as "a shot absolutely beyond description" addressed the potential monumentalism: "Is Tiger back? He certainly looked like it big-time today."

Nobody could blame golf's TV outlets for writhing in ecstasy at the thought of resurrecting the 50%-plus ratings spikes that came when Woods bestrode the golf universe.

But, seriously, is that what we witnessed? "I think this is a turning point," Faldo said in a phone interview after the broadcast. Now, he says, Woods has "go-to" shots that he can count on when there's "a gun to you head" and one "you'd trust your life on. … He's tried some weird and wonderful moves in the past year that we've all cringed at. But this has been the best week Tiger has had in 2½ years."

And NBC's coverage of the upcoming U.S. Open got the best hype imaginable.

ESPN recruit: Once again, an NFL TV gig follows Dancing With the Stars success. ESPN, says spokesman Mike Soltys, will announce today that it's adding Jason Taylor as an NFL analyst. Taylor retired in December after 15 NFL seasons that included 139.5 sacks, six Pro Bowls— and a runner-up performance on ABC's Dancing in 2008 that included a spicy paso doble to the theme of Monday NightFootball.

Taylor will appear on various shows including NFL Live and Sunday and Monday pregame shows as he joins about 25 other former NFL players or coaches at ESPN.

Spice rack: Charissa Thompson today takes over for Michelle Beadle as a co-host on ESPN2's SportsNation (5 p.m. ET), a bouncy talk show Beadle leveraged into a move to NBC for sports and show biz shows.

A former sideline reporter, Thompson says "of course I joke with Beadle that there'll be bumper stickers, 'We hate you, We want Michelle back.' … But if I worried about what people thought of me, I might not still be in the business."…

TBS' MLB analyst DavidWells, noting players in "great physical shape" getting injured this season, said he played it safe when he pitched: "That's why I played big, you can't pull fat." …

The New Yorker magazine has long reprinted other publications' corrections — usually when mistakes were whoppers. But its June 4-11 edition corrects a whopper of its own: It reported that ESPN's Mel Kiper correctly predicted only 22% of the players picked in the first round of this year's NFL draft — Kiper picked 81%. If you've even heard of Kiper, you'd figure he'd predict more than 22% of the first-rounders.

TV school: The NFL, says spokesman Dan Masonson, will announce today a sort of grad school for its annual Broadcast Boot Camp. The seminar, meant to help current and former NFL players learn TV skills, will be hosted by CBS' James Brown from June 18 to 21 at NFL Films in Mount Laurel, N.J. But this year it will include three returnees — ex-NFL players Adam Archuleta, John Fina and Michael Young— who will participate in a new advanced program. They're likely to face grueling two-a-days during which they have to keep reading teleprompters no matter how much melting pancake makeup is dripping into their eyes. The NFL says that of the 105 boot campers since the seminars started in 2007, 44 went on to broadcasting jobs.

Running numbers: Even with small ratings, big markets don't always matter that much. NBC's coverage of the big-market Los Angeles-New Jersey NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 2 on Saturday drew a 2.2 overnight, which translates to 2.2% of households in the 56 urban markets measured for overnights. That's down 12% from Game 2 in last year's Boston-Vancouver Stanley Cup Final. This year's Game 1 was also down compared to last year's … TNT's small-market San Antonio-Oklahoma City NBA Western Conference Finals Game 4 Saturday drew a 4.1 overnight. That's down 33% from TNT's comparable coverage of a Chicago-Miami playoff game last year as TNT's Spurs-Thunder series overall trails Chicago-Miami last year by 33%. But TNT is still on track for its second-highest-rated NBA playoffs in 28 years, with this year's overall ratings trailing only last year's.

On tap: MLB Network's amateur draft coverage on Monday, starting at 6 p.m. ET, will include footage from 22 MLB team draft rooms. … Sirius XM Radio's Jim Duquette, a former New York Mets general manager, today will donate a kidney to his daughter Lindsey, 10. She has a rare kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGC).
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Critic's Notes
Our TV Overlords Command: Watch Our Commercials or Else!
By Art Brodsky, - Jun. 3, 2012

It's hard to believe these days, but there was once upon a time when TV executives didn't mind consumers taking control over TV sets. There were no lawsuits, like the ones recently filed by the TV networks against Dish for its new commercial-skipping DVR. (A court has ruled for Dish in a preliminary part of the case.)

This is what NBC said in its complaint against Dish in its May 24 lawsuit: "The U.S. broadcast networks cannot provide the news, sports and entertainment programming they have historically created and offered if the revenue-generating ads are systematically blotted out on an unauthorized basis by distributors like DISH." Keep those words in mind.

Once upon a time, there were no cases taken to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge the right of consumers to record shows, as in the 1984 Betamax case. These days, of course, are different. Our TV overlords continually demand our strict attention at the same time as they sue innovative companies out of existence.

Yes, there was such an innocent, pristine time when TV execs would let things go. It was 1955, a day gone by when people actually had to get up from their chairs or couches, cross a room and turn a dial to change the channel on the TV or to adjust the sound. That was before the late Eugene J. Polley invented the Flash-Matic, a light-sensor remote control device that allowed people to do those activities.

The device from Zenith was a wonder. It was, the ad said, "A flash of magic light from across the room (no wires, no cords) turns set on, off or changes channel... and you remain in your easy chair."

Of course, that wasn't all the handy gadget did. As highlighted in the ad, in capital letters, "You can also shut off long, annoying commercials while picture remains on screen." Take a look at the ad.

Did the industry complain? No, of course not. Why not? Because that was a very different place and time. There were only three networks (a fourth, DuMont, was on its way out). There were only 432 TV stations in the entire country in mid-1955 -- fewer than the choices on any cable system today. Washington, D.C., the nation's capital, had four stations, New York City had six and Los Angeles had nine. Many smaller cities had only one or two. There was no cable, no Netflix, although for a time there was Phonevision. That was another Zenith innovation, one that allowed customers to dial-up (literally, through their phones) movies to be shown on their TVs in the first pay-per-view model that broadcasters thought might save it from declining ad revenues. The Interwebs at that point weren't even a gleam in an engineer's eye.

It was the golden age of the Outer Limits philosophy of TV: "Sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear." And it has lasted for quite a while, long past the shelf life of the TV show, right up through today. Technology has overtaken it, but the entertainment moguls don't know or don't care. They were in control then and want to be in control now. Let's look at just a partial record, up to the minute.

While there had always been animosity between established entertainment businesses and new models (musicians vs radio, movies vs. TV for example), consumers were largely left out of it until the whole Betamax kerfuffle. It was, of course, the move industry and not TV behind the attempt to outlaw the VCR, but the sentiment was the same -- TV viewers should do what they are told and be grateful. The court upheld Betamax in 1984 on a 5-4 vote but it hasn't been smooth sailing since then despite the ruling.

Ever since then, through lawsuits and legislation, the industry has tried, King Canute-like, to stem the tide of technology and keep their customers at bay by claiming that without our slavish attention to the adverts, we would lose commercial-supported TV -- sort of ignoring the obvious fact that however you look at it, just because commercials are broadcast doesn't mean they are watched. They can be skipped. Channels can be changed. Bathrooms may be visited. Snacks may be prepared. No matter. Lawsuits must be filed, innovation must be quashed and consumers must be threatened. It has ever been thus since the 1980s.

ReplayTV was one notable victim. Introduced in 1999, as a recorder without tape, it featured the ability to skip commercials. As SONICblue, the manufacturer pitched it: "Topping the charts of user-friendly features, Commercial Advance(R) lets you choose to skip commercial breaks all-together when you playback recorded shows. No fast forward, no remote control interaction at all. Just a split-second "blip" and you're right back into the action."

On Oct. 31, 2001, 28 companies including the TV networks, studios and cable companies, filed suit against SONICblue, charging that the new device allowed consumers to make "unauthorized digital copies" of programming "for the purpose of -- at the touch of a button -- viewing the programming with all commercial advertising automatically deleted." This commercial skipping deprived the companies of payment and "diminishes the value" of copyrighted works, according to the suit, piling on that skipping commercials "attacks the fundamental economic underpinnings of free television." On March 23, 2003, SONICblue filed for bankruptcy, and the ReplayTV model died.

Between the time that ReplayTV was sued and the time it died came the clearest expression from the entertainment moguls of what consumers had the right, and didn't have the right to do. It came from Jamie Kellner, then chairman of Turner Broadcasting System, now the head of a small station group. In an interview with Staci Kramer, Kellner described commercial skipping as "theft." He said: "Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming."

Kellner conceded to a "certain amount of tolerance" for someone to go to the restroom during a commercial, adding: "But if you formalize it and you create a device that skips certain second increments, you've got that only for one reason, unless you go to the bathroom for 30 seconds. They've done that just to make it easy for someone to skip a commercial."

Never ones to leave well enough alone, the entertainment industry went to Congress and persuaded its friendly legislators in 2004 to draft a bill that, among other things, outlawed skipping of commercials in TV shows. This was too much for some legislators, and it was Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who held up the bill. In a floor statement on Oct. 11, 2004, McCain said: "Americans have been recording TV shows and fast-forwarding through commercials for more than 30 years. Do we really expect to throw people in jail in 2004 for behavior they've been engaged in for more than a quarter of a century?"

No, but if one buys the Romneyian equivalences, that corporations are people, then the answer is yes. The TV networks want to do the moral equivalent of throwing Dish in jail on the same trumped-up charges that were made against ReplayTV and on the same bases that Kellner outlined.

Look at the language of the recent suits filed in late May. We've seen what NBC said. Here's a selection from Fox: "By stealing Fox's programming to create a bootleg video on demand service for all network prime time programming, DISH is undermining legitimate consumer choice by undercutting authorized on-demand services and by offering a service that, if not enjoined, will ultimately destroy the advertising-supported ecosystem that provides consumers with the choice to enjoy free, over-the-air varied, high quality broadcast programming."

Does this sound familiar? Of course it does. It's the identical argument, even to the word, that the networks have been making for years. Watch what we want you to watch or we'll be destroyed. The networks are great at making threats. Viacom threatened in 2002 to withhold high-definition content without copy controls on broadcast signals. Never happened.

But who wants to take the chance that one day, disaster will strike. Perhaps the next generation of TVs will come equipped with motion and heat sensors to be activated during commercials. That way, our overlords will know who is supporting TV by sitting glued to their seats and who wants it destroyed by getting up or changing the channel.

If you think the media moguls should keep their hands off of your DVR, sign this letter.

Art Brodsky is the Communications Director of Public Knowledge.
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TV Notes
'Scream' TV Series in Development at MTV
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jun. 4, 2012

MTV is looking for a Sidney Prescott of its own.

The network is developing a TV series adaptation of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson's horror franchise, sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

As first reported by TV Line, former MTV executives Tony DiSanto (The Hills, Teen Wolf, Teen Mom) and Liz Gateley (The Hard Times of RJ Berger) are on board to executive produce the project, with a search currently under way to find a writer to pen the project.

What role Scream director Craven and screenwriter Williamson would have with the project has yet to be determined.

Since debuting in 1996, the franchise -- which stars Neve Campbell as Sidney along with Courteney Cox as investigative reporter Gale Weathers and David Arquette as loyal lawman Dewey -- has spawned three sequels. The franchise has grossed more than $330 million worldwide.

Williamson, meanwhile, already has two series set for the 2012-13 television season: the CW's Vampire Diaries and Fox's Kevin Bacon serial killer drama The Following, which was picked up to series in May.

The project comes as the young-skewing network has found success on the scripted side with another feature film-to-series TV adaptation in Teen Wolf, which was based on the 1980s movies that originally starred Michael J. Fox. The werewolf drama returned for a second season Sunday night.
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Critic's Notes
Book review: Warren Littlefield's 'Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV'
Former NBC president dishes entertainingly on the era of 'Seinfeld,' 'Friends,' 'ER' and more
By Alan Sepinwall,

Warren Littlefield was the first NBC president I knew as a TV critic, but not the first NBC president I knew as a TV viewer, and that unfortunately meant he was always playing catch-up in my eyes.

Littlefield had ascended to run the network after the departure of Brandon Tartikoff, who had run the entertainment division during the Peacock's mid-'80s ascension, and who had such a gift for self-promotion that even a kid like me who didn't read Daily Variety knew his name and face. (Among other tricks, he liked to play himself on his network's shows, whether hosting "SNL" or popping into one of my favorite episodes of "Night Court.") That some of the defining shows of the Tartikoff era were actually the work of other men (predecessor Fred Silverman greenlit and renewed "Hill Street Blues," while "St. Elsewhere" came from the production company of Tartikoff's boss Grant Tinker) wasn't information I was privy to, nor did I know about the diastrous 1983 season where every single new show Tartikoff put on the fall schedule including gems like "Manimal" and "Mr. Smith" (a sitcom about a talking orangutan) failed to be renewed. From my living room couch, he was the man responsible for everything I watched on my favorite network.

So when I first interviewed Littlefield as a rookie 22-year-old reporter in 1996, it was hard to feel impressed. Had this guy hung out with ALF? No. Had he come up with the idea for "Miami Vice" by writing "MTV cops" on a cocktail napkin? No.

Then again, the "MTV cops" may be a case of the legend becoming fact. In Littlefield's new book (written with T.R. Pearson) "Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV," he says that what actually happened was that Anthony Yerkovich and Michael Mann pitched Tartikoff on "Miami Vice," and Tartikoff replied, "I get it: MTV cops."

"Not quite the same thing," Littlefield writes, "but people don't always argue with network presidents."

Beyond the shadow cast by his famous predecessor, there was the confusing hierarchy of NBC in the mid-'90s, when the more boisterous Don Ohlmeyer was installed as Littlefield's boss and who, according to Littlefield's accounts, mostly stood in the way of that era's big hits (Ohlmeyer famously stormed out of a pilot screening of "ER," convinced it was going to get destroyed by CBS' "Chicago Hope") and also a sense of institutional complacency during that era.

This was the NBC of "Seinfeld" and "ER" and "Friends," but also the NBC of "Suddenly Susan," "Caroline in the City" and "Veronica's Closet." It was a period where NBC seemed awash in forgettable sitcoms that ran forever because they had at one point aired next to one of the shows people actually cared about(*), and Littlefield seemed baffled that anyone objected to "Union Square" or "The Single Guy" getting to air after "Friends."

(*) Paul Simms, whose "NewsRadio" spent its run seemingly bouncing around every night on NBC's schedule but the hallowed Thursday, once gave an infamous interview in which he described the "Must See TV" line-up as "a double-decker **** sandwich," and insulted network scheduling chief Preston Beckman. Simms later felt so bad about the thing that he sent a signed copy of the article to Beckman, which Beckman keeps framed in his office.

But the Littlefield era is a classic example of not knowing what you've got 'til it's gone. Since Littlefield was replaced by Scott Sassa who begat Garth Ancier, who begat Jeff Zucker, who begat Kevin Reilly, who begat Ben Silverman, who begat Jeff Gaspin, who begat Robert Greenblatt, who has to clean up the toxic landfill that most of the men in between Littlefield and himself turned NBC into it's become easier to recognize what an achievement his tenure was.

In hindsight, and as well-illustrated by the oral history approach of "Top of the Rock," while Littlefield greenlit a lot of junk and in many cases gave the junk the best possible timeslots(**) he consistently did the one thing that his successors all failed to do. He took the successful, sturdy foundation handed to him and built on it with new hits, rather than (as Jeff Zucker repeatedly did) trying to stretch out the pre-existing successes while failing to find their replacements.

(**) Littlefield doesn't get into it in the book, but some of the bad shows "Jesse" and "Veronica's Closet" in particular wound up on Thursdays because of deals the network cut with producers of hits like "Friends." They got to keep the big hit, but had to then pair it with lesser works from the same people.

Before we get to the Littlefield era, "Top of the Rock" first looks at the creation of "Cheers" and "The Cosby Show," two of the biggest hits of the Tartikoff era, which Littlefield worked on in his days in the network's comedy development division. Littlefield still has good relationships with a lot of the people he worked on, so the voices in each chapter are a diverse, impressive bunch: writers and directors, fellow NBC executives and a lot of the stars. When he gets to "Seinfeld," for instance, he doesn't get Larry David, but he does get Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander, and he has half of the "Friends" cast. George Clooney didn't talk in the "ER" chapter (though knowing Clooney, I'd guess that's more about scheduling than ego), but Anthony Edwards, Julianna Margulies, Noah Wyle and Eriq La Salle all did.

The "Cheers" chapter introduces legendary director James Burrows, who sets up something of a throughline for the book, as he was there for the start of "Cheers," "Friends" and "Will & Grace." The transition from one hit to the next wasn't always as orderly or easy as it seemed from the outside, but throughout the Tartikoff and Littlefield eras, NBC seemed to have a knack for always finding the right up-and-coming show to replace an outgoing one.

So when Littlefield took over the network, "The Cosby Show" was gone, but "Cheers" was still there to carry the flag, and when Ted Danson decided to walk away, "Seinfeld" had been put in position to succeed it. (***) "ER" came along just as "L.A. Law" was ending. There was a steady stream of success: not only the era-defining Thursday shows, but "Frasier" (which was quickly sent off to colonize a Tuesday sitcom bloc, much to the displeasure of Kelsey Grammer, who gladly recounts his feelings about that and many other things in the "Cheers" and "Frasier" chapters) and "Mad About You" (also banished quickly from Thursday, and to less good fortune than "Frasier" found on another night) "3rd Rock from the Sun," etc. And while the huge success of the Thursday shows makes them look like safe bets in hindsight, many of them seemed like potential catastrophes in development. Ohlmeyer wasn't the only person in the industry convinced "Chicago Hope" was going to vanquish "ER." Nobody knew what to make of "Seinfeld" or "Friends" in their early development. And "Will & Grace" was a show no one was sure America would want to watch after "Ellen" died so quickly after Ellen DeGeneres came out.

(***) Albeit after going through one of the stranger development processes of all time. Among other things: "Seinfeld" was developed as part of NBC's late-night division because executive Rick Ludwin was its only early champion. It aired a single episode in the summer of 1989, four more the following summer what Alexander refers to as "The whopping four, the confidence four" and only 13 the season after that before it finally became a fixture of the lineup.

There were also tweaks to existing shows. Littlefield would have canceled "Law & Order" after its third season if producer Dick Wolf hadn't consented to add some women to the all-male cast; Wolf agreed, and the show ran for 17 more seasons after they had that discussion, spinning off two other hits (and a couple of misses) along the way.

There are times where "Top of the Rock" becomes too defensive of Littlefield's success and the credit others received for it. He goes on at length about his many feuds with Ohlmeyer, and about Ohlmeyer's drinking problem; where the accounts of Grammer's problems with sobriety are germane to the "Frasier" history, a lot of the Ohlmeyer material reads like score-settling with a boss Littlefield never much liked.

But as Bill Parcells likes to say, you are what your record says you are, and Littlefield's record at NBC in the '90s was tremendous. And many of the stories he tells are versions of ones I've heard before from other sources. He may be the hero of his own book, as so many authors are, but NBC's success on his watch was no invention. It was very real, and very powerful, and so far removed from the shabby state of the network today that it's easy to imagine Bob Greenblatt begging for even a mid-sized success like "3rd Rock," just to stop the bleeding.

It's a very entertaining book, particularly in the small details, like La Salle revealing the origin of Peter Benton's famous karate punch, or the "Friends" creators discussing all the actors who almost got cast many of whom they were hoping would turn the job down so they could hire Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, etc. And it's a reminder of just how much NBC(****), and television, has changed from the Must See era.

(****) My biggest complaint about the book is that the title is misleading, in that the "fall" is really only covered in a short chapter at the end dealing with Littlefield being fired. I imagine he has a lot to say about the many failings of Zucker and company, and even if he had to ditch the oral history format for a chapter to do it, it would have been a very interesting read.

When I started covering television, a lot of my fellow critics complained that Littlefield and his fellow NBC executives were too cocky for their own good. But it's not cockiness if you can actually get the job done, and I'd be willing to put up with some aloofness from my TV suits if they could preside over a sustained run of success through quality the way that Littlefield did.
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Just caught some of Tombstone on HDNet Movies. Bill Paxton plays one of the Earp brothers. I wonder if the subject came up between Paxton and Kevin Costner during their filming of Hatfields and McCoys?
(Costner made the competing Wyatt Earp during the same period).
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TV Notes
From Behind the Music' to Push Girls,' Cherry Hill West grad's had an eclectic TV career
By Ellen Gray, Philadelphia Daily News - Jun. 4, 2012

Gay Rosenthal didn't set out to make TV shows about the people we don't usually see on television.

It just worked out that way.

The Cherry Hill West grad's recent projects have included TLC's long-running series "Little People, Big World," the Style Network's "Ruby" about a woman who once weighed 700 pounds and "Push Girls," a new Sundance Channel docu-series about four adventurous women who happen to be in wheelchairs.

Before any of those, though, she was known as one of the creators of VH1's "Behind the Music," "which was super-fun," said Rosenthal in a phone interview last week. "I also produced Star Search' and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.' I mean, I've had a very eclectic career."

And it all began with an internship with Herb Denenberg, the late consumer reporter at WCAU whom Rosenthal worked for one day a week while studying business and journalism at Rutgers.

"I was scared of him," she said, laughing.

She liked working in TV news, though, and went on to spend a few years in the business, eventually abandoning her plan to "to be Diane Sawyer" to focus on producing.

"I realized, you know what, I could probably do fine [in front of the cameras], but I thought that the thing that would probably get me the furthest was producing. I loved storytelling, I loved the excitement, I loved deadlines," Rosenthal said.

She may have transferred the skills she learned in news to Hollywood, but storytelling still excites her, whether the subject's the rocky lives of rock stars or the freewheeling ways of "Push Girls."

The series stars Angela Rockwood, Tiphany Adams, Mia Schaikewitz and Auti Angel, four women in Los Angeles whom Rosenthal said were friends long before TV came calling.

"I met Angela [through a mutual friend and colleague] and had lunch with her and just was so taken by her and her spirit and her energy and her outlook and perspective," said the producer of the former lingerie model, who's seen in the series trying to resume her modeling career, but as a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. "I was definitely interested in her story" and when Angela told her about her three best friends, "I said, I want to meet them.' So I did, like the following week It was amazing. It was one of those nights I'll never forget. It was intimate and real. It was fabulous conversation. And I was like, Oh, my God. This is the show. This is the story that I need to tell.'?"

It probably didn't hurt that all four women had made-for-TV looks and personalities. Auti was a professional dancer before a car crash put her in a wheelchair, and she still dances in the hip-hop troupe she founded. She's performed with Ludacris.

Mia, a competitive swimmer paralyzed at 15 by a rupture in her spinal cord (the only one of the four not to have lost the use of her legs in a car crash), works in graphic design, dances with Auti's troupe and is working her way back as a swimmer.

And then there's Angela's roommate, Tiphany, another modeling hopeful who flirts even while pumping her own gas and likes to talk about her attraction to both men and women. "Yes, I can have sex. Lots and lots of sex," she replies to the question she imagines people are asking.

"She wears her heart on her sleeve. She says exactly how she feels," said Rosenthal. "What's amazing about Tiphany and about all the girls is they weren't self-conscious at all about the cameras."

Still, the wheelchairs matter.

"I think it's shattering perceptions," Rosenthal said. "Like Mia says [in the show], you haven't seen sexy in a wheelchair."

Viewers should come away thinking, "?Wow, if they can go through this, then I can go through that,'?" she said.

"That's really what I did with Little People, Big World' and Ruby' and, you know, Behind the Music.' It doesn't have to be a disability. Everybody has their challenges."

10 p.m. Monday, Sundance Channel.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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Business Notes
DirecTV CEO Sees 'Logic' in a Merger with Dish Network
By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter

DirecTV CEO Mike White on Friday said that there was something to be said for another attempt at a merger with Dish Network.

"There is a strategic logic to having one satellite company servicing a country like the United States, and certainly if I look at where content costs are, there is probably more of a case for that," he said.

Speaking at the Sanford C. Bernstein 28th annual Strategic Decisions Conference in New York, White was asked about the possibility of a merger. The companies tried to combine in 2002, but the plan was rejected by the FCC as anti-competitive. Speaking Friday, White conditioned that he doesn't think it is useful to speculate nor had much interest in laying out his strategy, but nevertheless he threw some weight behind the idea.

"Charlie felt this 10 years ago," he said, referring to Dish chairman Charlie Ergen.

After saying there was "strategic logic" behind a DirecTV-Dish merger, White poured some cold water on the immediate possibility. "I think at least with the current (Obama) administration, (it) is probably a nonstarter," he said.

A Dish-DirecTV merger would certainly prompt scrutiny from regulators, particularly with a Democrat in the White House, but of course, there's an election in November, and a Mitt Romney victory could pave a path toward more merger-friendly FCC commissioners.

For its part, Dish also has recently played footsie with a merger. In an interview with Bloomberg News last year, Dish CEO Joe Clayton said he wouldn't discount the possibility. "It's probably easier from a regulatory environment today than it was five to 10 years ago, when it was originally proposed," he said. "We're looking at anything that will help enhance shareholder value."

At the conference Friday, White had kind words for his main competitor in the satellite TV space. "Charlie Ergen has been very successful as a businessman," he said. "They are a tough, aggressive competitor. They are investing in their business."

On the other hand, White says that when he looks at his own company's churn rate, he doesn't think DirecTV is losing any customers to Dish.

If the companies got together, it could be an attempt to gain leverage over broadcasters in negotiations over the cost of programming. White had tough words about escalating content costs for his business.

"Now I don't yell and scream in the media, OK, because I don't think it does you a lot of good," said White. "But it is clear when I started looking at DirecTV, there were some opportunities and some areas we were overpackaged and were paying higher rates than we should."

He continued: "I don't like it, but when necessary, we'll do whatever it takes. In the case of Fox. In the case of Sunbeam. In the case of Tribune. If we have to go dark, we'll go dark. We'll do the right thing for the long-term benefit of our consumers.

White also remarked that he's enthusiastic about his company's opportunities, particularly in Latin America. He opened his remarks with a joke: "Here's the good news -- we're not in Europe."
javry's Avatar javry
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Sports
Tiger Woods' dramatic win gets ultra-hyped by CBS announcers
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Jun. 3, 2012

well - I read that the shot at the `16th hole was really something to see. wish I could've seen it. Been waitin for this for awhile - like others.
bobby94928's Avatar bobby94928
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Am I missing something here? Fringe and The Mentalist never went off the air and have become hits. Dollhouse had its final episode in Jan, 1010. I see nothing that says it is coming back, anywhere.....
DrDon's Avatar DrDon
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Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post

Am I missing something here? Fringe and The Mentalist never went off the air and have become hits. Dollhouse had its final episode in Jan, 1010. I see nothing that says it is coming back, anywhere.....

You're not missing anything. That was a spammer. Every post of his had an embedded link to a commercial website.

Posts removed, account terminated. (and, Bobby, I had to removed the quoted section from your post)
dattier's Avatar dattier
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Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post

Dollhouse had its final episode in Jan, 1010.

No wonder most of us never saw it.
bobby94928's Avatar bobby94928
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Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

You're not missing anything. That was a spammer. Every post of his had an embedded link to a commercial website.

Posts removed, account terminated. (and, Bobby, I had to removed the quoted section from your post)

Thanks for the clarifier Doc!

Originally Posted by dattier View Post

No wonder most of us never saw it.

Very early TV, or maybe the Julian calendar went by the wayside for this series and they started it with the year 1000....
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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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.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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TV Notes
For Hell's Kitchen,' bit of summer sizzle
It's yet another veteran summer show expected to fare well
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jun. 4, 2012

In recent years the top summer shows on television have all been veterans, and there's no reason to think that will change this summer, with America's Got Talent (now in its seventh year) and So You Think You Can Dance (in its ninth) both off to good starts.

Tonight another program should join that list, Fox's Hell's Kitchen. The show, which debuts at 8 p.m. tonight, is now in its 10th season.

One thing that ties these veteran reality shows together is their lack of variables.

Viewers like to know what to expect in the summer months, when they steer away from scripted series and toward simpler concepts, and again Kitchen fits that bill.

A group of talented professional chefs compete for a chance to work for one of Ramsay's famed restaurants at the end of the season, but to make it they have to endure the famously profane celebrity chef's mouth, which tosses out colorful insults as effortlessly as his hands toss a salad.

The unpredictability is not in the show's format but in how the contestants react to the extreme situations. It's the same quality that provides the tension in Talent and Dance, two very straightforward talent competitions, and summer audiences love it.

Season nine of Kitchen premiered to a solid 2.5 adults 18-49 rating last July, according to Nielsen overnights.

Facing minimal broadcast competition tonight, most notably ABC's The Bachelorette, Kitchen should draw a similar rating.

Fox has a good chance of winning the night, in fact, with a second Ramsay show, the amateur chef competition Masterchef, also premiering tonight at 9 p.m.
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I can't believe this would be allowed no matter which party occupies the White House.

Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Business Notes
DirecTV CEO Sees 'Logic' in a Merger with Dish Network
By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter

DirecTV CEO Mike White on Friday said that there was something to be said for another attempt at a merger with Dish Network.

"There is a strategic logic to having one satellite company servicing a country like the United States, and certainly if I look at where content costs are, there is probably more of a case for that," he said.

HDTVChallenged's Avatar HDTVChallenged
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

business notes
directv ceo sees 'logic' in a merger with dish network
by eriq gardner, the hollywood reporter

directv ceo mike white on friday said that there was something to be said for another attempt at a merger with dish network.

noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!
rebkell's Avatar rebkell
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Originally Posted by HDTVChallenged View Post

noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!

Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Business Notes
DirecTV CEO Sees 'Logic' in a Merger with Dish Network
By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter

Can you imagine the implosion this would cause at dbstalk.
Keenan's Avatar Keenan
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Our TV Overlords Command: Watch Our Commercials or Else!
By Art Brodsky, - Jun. 3, 2012

So typical of the television industry, still trying to make it illegal to attack their business model.

The industry needs to move into the future and innovate, or face certain death. People do love their TV, but the lack of ad-supported TV will not bring on the collapse of modern civilization, as much as the industry would like you to believe it to be so.
domino92024's Avatar domino92024
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Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

You're not missing anything. That was a spammer. Every post of his had an embedded link to a commercial website.

Posts removed, account terminated. (and, Bobby, I had to removed the quoted section from your post)

Whew! Reading his post 4 hours after he posted it made no sense. I was about to ask him what the he** he was referring to. I'm not going bonkers, after all.
DrDon's Avatar DrDon
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Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Whew! Reading his post 4 hours after he posted it made no sense. I was about to ask him what the he** he was referring to. I'm not going bonkers, after all.

Getting a rash of those, today. So, you might find a number of threads with posters replying to nonexistent posts. Too sick and not enough time to fix all the collateral damage.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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TV Notes
'Spartacus' to end next season on Starz
By Yvonne Villareal, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Jun. 4, 2012

The flesh to loincloth ratio (not to mention the sex to violence ratio) is about to diminish significantly on Starz: The historical period drama "Spartacus" will come to an end next season.

The series that helped put the premium cable channel on people's radar will see the last of its fictional battles unfold in its third season, Spartacus: War of the Damned."

The fans have been tremendously supportive of our show, says creator and executive producer Steven S. DeKnight. We did not come to this decision lightly. It was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for my partners and I. Yet, in the end, the story was best served by rolling all of the remaining action and drama of Spartacus' journey into one stunningly epic season that will be extremely satisfying for everyone who's been along for the ride."

Its most recent season, "Spartacus Vengeance," averaged more than 6 million viewers each week, according to the network. The series, which airs in 150 countries in more than 15 languages, has had to face its own set of battles since its debut two years ago. Its star Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after the first season, putting a second season on pause. Instead, a prequel, "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," aired sans Whitfield. The role of the Roman gladiator eventually was turned over to Liam McIntyre for the show's second season, following Whitfield's death last year.

Spartacus: War of the Damned is currently in production in New Zealand. The 10-episode season is scheduled to air in January.
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Nielsen Notes
Hefty decline for Weight Loss' debut
ABC reality show falls 38 percent from last year
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jun. 4, 2012

Airing on a new night at a new time, ABC's second-year summer reality show Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition declined from last year's solid debut.

A two-hour Weight averaged a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating from 9 to 11 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, off 38 percent from last summer's bow, which averaged a 2.4.

The show did grow from a 1.3 in its first half hour to a 1.6 in its last.

It faced a few hurdles, too. Last year Weight aired at 10 p.m. on Mondays, not 9 p.m. on Sunday, where TV viewing tends to be lower during the summer.

Last year the show also had a much stronger lead-in with The Bachelorette.

And this year the show is two hours instead of one. Many shows' ratings sink when they expand to two hours because they have to hold viewers' interest for longer.

But even with all those mitigating factors, it was a ho-hum return for one of last summer's bright spots.

In fact, ABC had an almost entirely new lineup last night, with Secret Millionaire also joining the Sunday schedule at 8 p.m. It averaged a 1.5 as well, less than half what the show drew in its premiere during a brief run in March of last year but still ABC's best summer rating in the timeslot with regular programming since 2009.

NBC won the night with Miss USA, which tied Fox's Family Guy for No. 1 on the night with a 1.8 rating, though the pageant was down 18 percent from a 2.2 last year.

NBC finished the night with a 1.5 average overnight rating and a 4 share. ABC was second at 1.4/4, Fox third at 1.3/4, Univision fourth at 1.2/4, CBS fifth at 0.8/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.3/1.

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-four percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

CBS started the night in the lead with a 1.4 at 7 p.m. for 60 Minutes, followed by ABC with a 1.2 for a repeat of America's Funniest Home Videos. Univision was third with a 1.0 for Familia P. Luche. NBC and Fox tied for fourth at 0.9, NBC for Dateline and Fox for repeats of American Dad and The Cleveland Show, and Telemundo was sixth with a 0.2 for Pa'lante con Cristina.

NBC moved to first at 8 p.m. with a 1.7 for the special Adele Live in London, while ABC was second with a 1.5 for Millionaire. Univision was third with a 1.3 for Pequeños Gigantes, Fox fourth with a 1.2 for repeats of The Simpsons and Bob's Burgers, CBS fifth with a 0.6 for a repeat of Dogs in the City and Telemundo sixth with a 0.3 for the movie The Mummy Returns.

At 9 p.m. NBC and Fox tied for first at 1.7, NBC for Miss USA and Fox for repeats of Family and American Dad. Univision was third with a 1.5 for more Gigantes, ABC fourth with a 1.4 for Weight, CBS fifth with a 0.6 for a repeat of The Good Wife and Telemundo sixth with a 0.3 for its movie.

NBC led at 10 p.m. with a 1.9 for more Miss USA, followed by ABC with a 1.6 for more Weight. Univision was third with a 1.2 for the end of Gigantes and Un Refugio para el Amor, CBS fourth with a 0.8 for a CSI: Miami rerun and Telemundo fifth with a 0.4 for the end of its movie.

CBS was first for the night among households with a 4.0 average overnight rating and a 7 share. NBC was second at 3.7/6, ABC was third at 3.1/5, Fox and Univision tied for fourth at 1.6/3 and Telemundo was sixth at 0.4/1.
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Business Notes
Dish Network Kicks AMC Networks Channels To Nosebleed Section Of The Dial
By David Lieberman, - Jun. 4, 2012

It would be funny if it didn't inconvenience so many of the satellite company's subscribers. Last night, Dish sent AMC Networks' viewers scrambling to find AMC, WEtv, and IFC as tensions between the companies intensified. The No. 2 satellite company moved AMC from channel 130 to 9609 (for standard definition) and 9610 (for HD), WeTV from 128 to 9608, and IFC from 393 to 9607.

Dish said it did so in response to an AMC ad on Mad Men urging the satellite company's customers to tell Dish they can't drop AMC something Dish says it will do at the end of this month when the current carriage contract expires. AMC also promoted a website,, to rally its fans. Dish says that the new positions better reflect the channels' ratings. HDNet now occupies the channel position that AMC had. WeTV has been replaced by Style. And people tuning in to IFC's old channel will find Indieplex, a movie channel. Dish dropped Sundance Channel entirely on May 20.

We regret AMC has chosen to involve our viewers, Dish says. We continue to negotiate and hope we can reach a resolution. Dish says that AMC's channels don't attract enough viewers to justify the cost, especially since many shows including old episodes of Mad Men are available on Netflix.

But AMC says that's a canard: Dish is really trying to pressure the company to drop a $2.8B breach of contract suit involving the VOOM HD channels. To retaliate, Dish is punishing its customers by making it hard to find and watch some of the most popular and acclaimed shows on television.

The case is scheduled to go to trial September 18.
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TV Notes
NBC's Hannibal Casts Danish Actor Mads Mikkelsen in Title Role
By Michael Ausiello, - Jun. 4, 2012

Warning to census takers with attitude problems: NBC has cast its Hannibal Lecter.

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) has landed the title role in Hannibal, the Peacock’s contemporary series take on the characters from Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon novel.

The project, written and exec-produced by Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller and slated to debut at midseason, centers on the budding relationship between FBI agent Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter – who are re-introduced at the beginning of their budding relationship.

Mikkelsen just picked up the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt. He was recently cast as the lead villain in Marvel’s upcoming Thor sequel.
Ken H's Avatar Ken H
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From Business


Don't Mean To Be Alarmist, But The TV Business May Be Starting To Collapse

By Henry Blodget

In the first decade of the commercial Internet--the 1990s and early 2000s--there were frequent murmurings that newspapers were screwed.

The digital audience didn't read newspapers, people pointed out. They visited web sites. They read articles here and there. But they didn't put the stack of articles, photos, and ads known as a "newspaper" on their breakfast table and flip through the whole thing.

What's more, the digital audience stopped using newspapers as a reference and source for commerce. They browsed on eBay and Craigslist instead of reading classifieds. They got their movie news from movie sites. They got real-estate listings from real-estate sites. They learned about "sales" and other events from email and coupon sites. And so on.

In other words, the user behavior that had supported newspaper companies for a century began to change.

But for almost a whole decade, the newspaper industry barely noticed.

Subscriptions kept going up.

Ads kept going up.

Stocks kept going up.

Those who said that newspapers were screwed were dismissed as clueless doom-mongers, at least by newspaper executives.

Then this happened:

And lots of newspaper companies went broke or almost went broke. And the stock of The New York Times Company, the country's premiere newspaper, fell from $50 to $6. (See: "The Incredible Shrinking New York Times")

In other words, newspapers were screwed. It just took a while for changing user behavior to really hammer the business.

The same is almost certainly true for television.

In our household, as in many households, television consumption has changed massively over the past decade, especially over the past 5 years.

We almost never watch television shows when they are broadcast anymore (with the very notable exception of live sports)
We rarely watch shows with ads, even on a DVR
We watch a lot of TV and movie content, but always on demand and almost never with ads (We're now so used to watching shows via Netflix or iTunes or HBO that ads now seem like bizarre intrusions)
We get our news from the Internet, article by article, clip by clip. The only time we watch TV news live is when there's a crisis or huge event happening somewhere. (You still can't beat TV for that, but soon, news networks will also be streamed).
We watch TV and movie content on 4 different screens, depending on which is convenient (TV, laptops, phones, iPad)

If not for live sports, which are consumed by exactly one member of our household (me), there is no way we would be paying for cable TV or any other kind of traditional pay TV anymore. And even as a sports fan, I'm starting to find the fragmented multi-channel coverage of the few sports I watch--like tennis (Grand Slams), baseball (Yankees), and football (Jets/Giants)--so annoying that I may soon investigate just getting those via direct subscriptions.

In other words, in our household, and in many other households like ours, the same thing has happened to the TV business that has happened to the newspaper business:

The user behavior that supported the traditional all-in-one TV "packages"--networks and cable/satellite distributors--has changed.

We still consume some TV content, but we consume it when and where we want it, and we consume it deliberately: In other words, we don't settle down in front of the TV and watch "what's on." And, again with the exception of live sports, we've gotten so used to watching shows and series without ads that ads now seem extraordinarily intrusive and annoying. Our kids see TV ads so rarely that they're actually curious about and confused by them: "What is that? A commercial?"

For now, our type of household may still be in the minority, but we won't be for long. And our type of household is the type of household that many advertisers and TV networks want to reach. We're still in "the demo" (24-55), and we're still buying a lot of stuff.

So, what are the key points of this shift in user behavior for the traditional TV business?

"Networks" are completely meaningless. We don't know or care which network owns the rights to a show or where it was broadcast. The only question that's relevant is whether it's available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or iTunes. This means that one of the key traditional "businesses" of TV--the network--is obsolete.
The majority of what we pay our cable company is wasted. We get broadband Internet from our cable company, and we use that constantly. But we also get 500 channels that we almost never watch, along with a couple (HBO, Tennis Channel) that we pay extra for and do watch occasionally.
We rarely watch TV ads, and when we do, we're usually doing something else at the same time--like typing. Also, the ads seem startlingly intrusive, because we're not used to them.

More directly, what this means is this:

The vast majority of money TV advertisers spend to reach our household (~$750 a year, ~$60/month) is wasted, because we rarely watch TV content with ads, and, when we do, we rarely watch the ads.
The vast majority of money we pay our cable company for live TV (~$1,200 a year / ~$100/month) is wasted, because we almost never watch live TV and we can get most of what we want to watch from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.

This user behavior has been changing for a while, and, so far, it has had almost no impact on the TV business. On the contrary, the networks and cable companies are still fat and happy, and they're coining more and more money every year.

But remember what happened in the newspaper business.

When the Internet arrived, user behavior started to change. It took a decade for this change in behavior to hit the business. But when it hit the business, it hit it hard--and it destroyed it shockingly quickly.

And the same thing seems likely to happen to the TV business. The only questions are:

When will it happen?
What will it do?

Let's take the second first.

What is the shift in user behavior likely to do to the TV business?

The traditional "network" model is likely to break down and be replaced with far larger "libraries" of content and far more efficient content production, acquisition, and distribution. Some of the content produced by networks will still be consumed (and, therefore, produced), but the idea of getting "affiliate fees" and selling advertising for each of dozens of branded networks seems absurd. This change is already occurring, of course: Traditional networks are being replaced by Netflix, iTunes, and uber-networks like "NBC Universal" and "Time Warner." There is so much money in the network business right now that, initially, this shift won't mean much. Over time, however, it will. Unprofitable networks will be merged with profitable ones. Unprofitable shows and overpaid talent will be cut. Overpaid managers will get fired. Production costs, on aggregate, will drop. Sets, crews, newsgathering, etc. will be consolidated. The fat will get squeezed out of the system.
The cost of traditional pay TV will have to drop--users will have to get more for less, or they'll stop paying for much at all. I might value the TV content we get through our cable company at $20 a month--about 1/5th of what we pay for it. Eventually, as soon as I can figure out ways to get the few sports I watch another way, we'll stop paying the $100.
Ultimately, the distinction between "TV" and other forms of video content will disappear. We'll pay some distributors for bundles of that content, we'll buy some of it directly, and we'll get some of it for free. But a lot of the money that is currently being wasted by us and to reach us will be spent much more efficiently.

Bottom line, as it has in newspapers, the TV business is going to have to get radically more efficient. It won't disappear--newspapers haven't disappeared--but the fat and happy days will have to end.

As for the other question, "when," the answer may be "now."

Cable TV ratings over the past year have dropped sharply, as this chart from Citi shows.

A recent survey from Nielsen, meanwhile, included some startling statistics, including the following:

The percent of people worldwide who watch TV at least once a month dropped from 90% to 83% over the past year.
The percentage of people who watch video on a computer once a month--84%--is now higher than the percentage who watch TV.

Needless to say, a decade ago, newspaper industry forecasters were not expecting newspaper advertising to do this:

Similarly, TV forecasters are not expecting TV advertising or subscriptions to do that over the next 10 years. On the contrary, they're expecting TV advertising to just keep going up.

But user behavior is changing fast.

And at some point, that's going to hammer the business.


Several readers asked me to respond to one of the main arguments against the idea that the TV business will collapse, which is this: Cable operators will just start charging more for broadband access to make up for whatever money they lose from traditional pay TV.

It's certainly possible that cable operators will try to charge more for broadband access, but this won't save the TV business.

Why not?

A couple of reasons.

First, there's likely to be some solid competition for broadband access, especially once wireless improves. This should keep the monthly fees that cable operators can charge in check.

Secondly, ads are important to the TV business. And as TV viewership declines (assuming the decline continues), ad rates will eventually drop.

Remember that people are still reading newspapers, or at least newspaper articles. But the newspaper companies can't collect as much in ad revenue as they did when they were the main point of information access and therefore controlled classifieds, commerce, movie ads, and many other sources of ad revenue. As immersion in the newspapers dropped, the total ad dollars newspapers could generate from each reader dropped. It will likely be the same for TV.

And there's no way that cable companies will keep paying affiliate fees to networks that no one watches. At that point, those networks will just become money pits. And the owner of those networks, whether cable company or network company, won't keep shoveling money into the pits.

TV is not going to disappear, just the way newspapers haven't disappeared. But it just defies common sense to think that the huge change in user behavior over the past decade won't ultimately hurt the TV business.

Also See: UH OH: New Nielsen Data Suggest People Aren't Watching TV Anymore
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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TV Notes
Jerry O'Connell to Play Herman Munster in NBC's 'Munsters' Reboot
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jun. 4, 2012

Jerry O'Connell has a new address: 1313 Mockingbird Lane.

The former Defenders star has been cast as Herman Munster in NBC's Munsters reboot, Mockingbird Lane, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The actor will play the patriarch of the family, who in the 1960s CBS comedy was played by Fred Gwynne.

In the reboot, Herman -- like in the original series -- has a permanent home under Grandpa Munster's thumb. O'Connell joins the previously cast Eddie Izzard, who will play the powerful and quick-witted vampire in a role that was originated by Al Lewis.

Mason Cook will play Herman and Lily's werewolf son, Eddie. Bryan Singer will executive produce and direct the pilot.

NBC initially eyed the reboot, from Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller, for this development season but pushed the project to summer.

Fuller and NBC first made an attempt to revive the sitcom last year, with the network ultimately passing. His newer version is said to be an edgier and slightly darker take exploring origins of Herman and Lily Munster (originally played by Gwynne and Yvonne De Carlo) and how they arrived at the famed 1313 Mockingbird Lane address.

The original series, produced by Universal Studios, aired 70 episodes from 1964-66.

O'Connell, repped by UTA and 3 Arts, most recently starred on CBS' legal drama The Defenders, which was canceled after one season.

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