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post #811 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is Ausiello's version from TVGuide.com:

TV Notebook
NCIS Boss Exits!
By Michael Ausiello TV Guide

The tense NCIS standoff between Mark Harmon and Don Bellisario that I first told you about two weeks ago has ended as dramatically as it began: Sources confirm that the veteran producer has agreed to step down as showrunner, effective immediately.

I hear he'll likely be replaced by co-executive producer (and longtime Bellisario collaborator) Chas. Floyd Johnson and headwiter Shane Brennan.

As NCIS' creator, Bellisario will still retain his executive producer title (much like AS-P did on Gilmore Girls), but he is no longer in charge of the show. He's not leaving CBS, however. (Lucky them!) He'll develop two new projects as part of his overall deal with the network.

As I reported, insiders say Harmon has been frustrated for some time with the long hours that resulted from Bellisario's "chaotic management style." And in mid-April, things came to a boil.

"Mark's been working every single day, 16 hours a day," the mole told me. "Don tries to micro-manage everything. Script pages get faxed to the set at the last minute, and Mark is tired of dealing with the huge impact that makes on his life."

Shortly after my original story ran, an NCIS insider sent me this cryptic message via e-mail: "The situation over at NCIS? It's much worse than you think."

That much is now obvious

http://community.tvguide.com/blog-en...Boss/800014331
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post #812 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Here is Ausiello's version from TVGuide.com:

TV Notebook
NCIS Boss Exits!
By Michael Ausiello TV Guide

The tense NCIS standoff between Mark Harmon and Don Bellisario that I first told you about two weeks ago has ended as dramatically as it began: Sources confirm that the veteran producer has agreed to step down as showrunner, effective immediately.

I hear he'll likely be replaced by co-executive producer (and longtime Bellisario collaborator) Chas. Floyd Johnson and headwiter Shane Brennan.

As NCIS' creator, Bellisario will still retain his executive producer title (much like AS-P did on Gilmore Girls), but he is no longer in charge of the show. He's not leaving CBS, however. (Lucky them!) He'll develop two new projects as part of his overall deal with the network.

As I reported, insiders say Harmon has been frustrated for some time with the long hours that resulted from Bellisario's "chaotic management style." And in mid-April, things came to a boil.

"Mark's been working every single day, 16 hours a day," the mole told me. "Don tries to micro-manage everything. Script pages get faxed to the set at the last minute, and Mark is tired of dealing with the huge impact that makes on his life."

Shortly after my original story ran, an NCIS insider sent me this cryptic message via e-mail: "The situation over at NCIS? It's much worse than you think."

That much is now obvious

http://community.tvguide.com/blog-en...Boss/800014331

When something like this happens, how many episodes will air before the change can be seen by the viewer? I guess another way to ask the question is, how many episodes have already been filmed that Bellisario was a part of? Maybe all of this season, with new runners in place for the beginning of next season?
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post #813 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
NCIS Boss Exits

As an added note about what the change at the top might mean, Donald Bellasario had a writing credit (full or partial on eight of 23 NCIS episodes in season One.

This season, the fourth, he has just a single writing credit: for the finale scheduled to air on May 22nd.
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post #814 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shuttermaker View Post

When something like this happens, how many episodes will air before the change can be seen by the viewer? I guess another way to ask the question is, how many episodes have already been filmed that Bellisario was a part of? Maybe all of this season, with new runners in place for the beginning of next season?


I am not positive that all shooting has been finished for this season, but I would think so.

So we shouldn't notice any changes until September.

And the new showrunner has been involved since Day One -- he co-wrote the very first episode with Bellasario, and has been deeply involved with every episode aired so far.

I would bet we won't see all that much change on screen at all.
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post #815 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

I am not positive that all shooting has been finished for this season, but I would think so.

So we shouldn't notice any changes until September.

And the new showrunner has been involved since Day One -- he co-wrote the very first episode with Bellasario, and has been deeply involved with every episode aired so far.

I would bet we won't see all that much change on screen at all.

That's my hope, sounds like the key writers and such are still in place, hopefully the machine will keep on grinding the good scripts out. Bellisario is 71 yrs old, sounds like he is causing a lot of uncalled for friction, of course that's only what we read. The best part of the show to me has always been the interaction/chemistry between all the characters.
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post #816 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 12:07 PM
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TV Notebook
Lifetime Buys More Blood Ties
By Anne Becker Broadcasting & Cable 5/4/2007

Lifetime has picked up nine more episodes of Blood Ties, the supernatural series it acquired from Canada. The network will hold one episode from the first group of 13, currently premiering Sundays at 10 p.m., and run the last nine over five back-to-back weeks in October.

. . . . .

Lifetime debuted the show, based on The Blood Book novels by Tanya Huff, on March 11 and the show has been a bright spot on the network's schedule since. After it premiered to 1.6 million total viewers, the show has averaged 1.4 million total viewers, 460,00 women 18-49 and 220,000 women 18-34 for original Sunday-night episodes, according to Nielsen Media Research. It has also proved popular on iTunes.

Just what I needed, another d@mn show to get hooked on I've watched several episodes now and of course I like it alot, glad to see it's been picked up for more episodes. Never dreamed I'd be watching a series on Lifetime.
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post #817 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

TV Notebook
Creator-producer Bellisario exits 'NCIS'
By Nellie Andreeva The Hollywood Reporter May 6, 2007

"NCIS" creator and executive producer Don Bellisario is leaving the show.

The move follows speculation about friction between Bellisario and the show's star, Mark Harmon, and other people associated with the series.

I CALLED IT! Not that I'm happy for "NCIS" that Don's leaving, but I knew that if it came for a network choosing between the star and the show's creator the star wins every time. Don't cry for Bellisario though, "NCIS" will be second only to "Magnum P.I." as the biggest syndication/DVD cash cow he's responsible for. Even when removed from running it Don gets a ton of $$$ from CBS/Paramount to go away and work on other projects (which ironically will benefit from him being relieved of "NCIS" showrunning duties).
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post #818 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Review
Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation
The '90s Look Better In Retrospect on NBC's Clip Show Special
By Tom Shales Washington Post Staff Writer

How refreshingly unpretentious it would be if each "Saturday Night Live" clip show were called simply "Another Saturday Night Live Clip Show." But the two-hour special airing at 9 PM ET/PT tonight on NBC carries a hefty moniker: "Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation."

How's that again? Never mind; it's time for another two hours of clips and reminiscences about the endearingly durable TV institution that, since 1975, has helped make NBC the leader in late-night programming.

The '90s seem more than a decade long as recounted here, partly because so much was happening at "SNL" -- mass firings ordered by myopic NBC management, for instance, and angry columns from some TV critics calling for the show to be canceled.

Lorne Michaels, the show's creator, executive producer and inextinguishable guiding light, talks about the strange demands for "SNL's" head on a platter. He says the baby boomers who had always considered the show "theirs" were upset to find their teenage kids watching it. Michaels, who has always believed that "SNL" should stay as young as possible, hired younger writers and performers, and they spoke a different comic language to new generations of viewers.

Don Ohlmeyer, the former NBC executive who demanded that Michaels fire Norm MacDonald as anchor of the "Weekend Update" segment, shows guts in agreeing to be interviewed and attempting again to defend his action. But one of the alleged reasons for Ohlmeyer's rancor isn't really discussed: that the executive, a close friend of O.J. "If I Did It" Simpson, didn't like MacDonald's devastating Simpson jokes.

One problem for "SNL" in the '90s was that NBC prospered mightily in prime time. That's traditionally when boneheads in executive suites get restless and are most likely to meddle. Today, with NBC earning the worst prime-time ratings in its history, Michaels and his cast are largely left alone. The cast is about half the size it was in the '90s, however, another victim of NBC budget-slashing.

Kenneth Bowser, producer and director of the special, does a fairly good job of mingling interview bits with excerpts from sketches, but it's still frustrating that no sketch is allowed to run its course, that virtually everything is truncated. Some excerpts make sense only if you remember the sketch from its original airing, like recurring shots of Alec Baldwin as a scoutmaster attempting to seduce scout Adam Sandler. (Baldwin always has had a way with kids.)

Baldwin is also among that select group who've hosted the show at least 10 times. He pops up in interview clips, as do Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey (now producing and starring in "30 Rock"), Cheri Oteri (also seen on tape doing her terrific Barbara Walters impression for a parody of "The View") and Will Ferrell, who's enjoying one of the most successful and, in its way, satisfying post-"SNL" film careers.

Sandler was among the cast members whom NBC executives wanted fired in the '90s; he, of course, has gone on to a fabulously lucrative movie career as well, proving again that network executives know nothing. Chris Farley and Phil Hartman, who both died tragically, are fondly remembered in anecdotes and clips -- Farley, naturally, doing his big-bellied motivational-speaker routine, complete with its dire warning about "living in a van down by the river," and his big-finish swan dive onto a coffee table.

Hartman's Bill Clinton is a joy to see again (even though master impressionist Darrell Hammond does a superior imitation); but his excessively mean-spirited Frank Sinatra is better forgotten. Worthily reprised is the kookily hilarious "Jeopardy!" spoof with MacDonald as Burt Reynolds and Hammond as a fiendishly irascible Sean Connery.

What's the most crucial difference between an "SNL" episode and one of these clippity specials? When you watch the regular show, the musical acts are on long enough for you to go to the bathroom. On the special, though, groups such as Pearl Jam, Green Day, the Foo Fighters and Nirvana fly by in snippets, mere iconic decoration and signs of the time.

However much one might complain about the show's writing or performances, television is always a happier and wickeder place when "Saturday Night Live" is in session.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...402330_pf.html
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post #819 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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It is still VERY early, but I have posted a preliminary 2007 NCAA College Football HD Schedule in the eighth post in this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&#post10367408

I'll keep it updated as the summer progresses -- and please remember that there are many questions still to be answered and schedules to be finalized. Some of those announcements will be made just six days before a scheduled game. And, obviously, a number of ABC regional games will be added as the season progresses.

If you can't wait for my updates, you can always check this link for the latest schedule news:

http://www.lsufootball.net/tvschedule.htm
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post #820 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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This is a bit OT - even for me - but I know a number of you are interested in the genre, so this might be of interest:
TV on DVD - (sort of)
MST3K': The Final Frontier
A new DVD release featuring TV's iconic count
By Andrew Adam Newman The New York Times

When Mystery Science Theater 3000 was canceled after 11 seasons in 1999, 146 distraught fans bought a full-page advertisement in Daily Variety urging another network to continue the show. But the series was not revived, and today devotees cannot even tune in to reruns because its premise a host and his two robot pals mock B movies required securing those movies' broadcast rights, which expired after the show's demise.

But those self-described Misties are welcoming a resurrection of sorts. Mike Nelson, the show's longtime host and head writer, has begun a new venture called RiffTrax, and he can now skewer virtually any movie without infringing on copyrights. Recordings of him talking back at movies can be downloaded (for fees ranging from 99 cents to $3.99) from rifftrax.com. Start playing the DVD or VHS version of the movie and Mr. Nelson's commentary simultaneously, and the effect is that of a director commenting on a DVD except that Mr. Nelson is inclined to say, as he does during a scene in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in which William Shatner climbs a mountain, He's actually trying to scale his own ego.

So far there are more than 30 RiffTrax episodes, including The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, with Mr. Nelson adding three or four more titles every month. He said in a phone interview from San Diego, where he lives, that hundreds of thousands of the files have been purchased for download so far. (A spokesman for Legend Films, which produces RiffTrax, declined to clarify or confirm Mr. Nelson's claim, saying the company considers sales figures proprietary.)

Mystery Science Theater 3000, which had its premiere in 1989, was the brainchild of its original host, Joel Hodgson, who left the show in 1993. Canceled by Comedy Central after seven seasons, the show was picked up by the Sci-Fi Channel for another four. MST3K, as it is commonly known, drew humor from both the upper and lower registers. The jokes could degenerate quickly from Schopenhauer to the scatological, said Christopher Cornell, a fan who runs the Web site mst3k.com with a fellow fan, Brian Henry.

While they gleefully lambasted B movies like Attack of the Giant Leeches and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, the show's writers were not predisposed to obscure films. Rather, they could afford broadcasting rights only for low-budget efforts, some of which were even in the public domain and free. But the prospect of Mr. Nelson and his colleagues training their sites on bigger game was tantalizing.

Unfortunately some of the ripest potential MST3K' targets have always been beyond the show's reach, Peter Keepnews wrote in The New York Times in 1999. The mind reels at the prospect of Mike and the robots sinking their teeth into Waterworld' or even Titanic.' And think what they could have done with Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace,' which beneath all the special effects is an old-fashioned B movie at heart.

What Mr. Nelson would have unleashed on Star Wars: Episode I is no longer a matter of conjecture: he and his fellow Mystery Science veteran Kevin Murphy (the voice of the robot Tom Servo) skewer the film in a RiffTrax commentary.

Mr. Nelson, who started on the show in his early 20s and is now 42, said that shortly after the series was canceled, he considered releasing new commentaries on CD, but figured the expense of duplication, packaging and distribution was prohibitive. Releasing MP3 files on the Internet sidesteps those costs.

The technology had to catch up, Mr. Nelson said. Once the ubiquity of iPods and every other way to play an MP3 file came to be, it was like, well, let's give it a try.

The RiffTrax Web site emphasizes that it is not MST3K 2.0. Mr. Nelson explained: I'm not trying to recreate the Mystery Science' experience. If you like commentary, that's what this is, but there's obviously not going to be characters, there's not going to be puppets and all that stuff. I just want people to know that upfront, because of that passion that they have for Mystery Science.'

Short skits with a jumpsuit-clad Mr. Nelson and the robots opened the show and preceded commercial breaks, but are not part of the new format, in which Mr. Nelson and occasional guest riffers who include the Mystery Science alums Mr. Murphy and Bill Corbett (the voice of the robot Crow) use their real names.

Misties always said the sketches weren't important and the premise wasn't important, said Mr. Cornell of the fan Web site, adding that the digs at movies were primary. While viewers continue to joust over whether Mr. Nelson or the show's founder, Mr. Hodgson, was the better host, Mr. Cornell said there was near unanimity that the new venture hits the mark.

RiffTrax doesn't have all the trappings of the show, but it doesn't need them, he said. It still really feels like a little taste of the old show.

Still, if RiffTrax does not appeal to some Mystery Science purists, they have something to look forward to. In June, Rhino Home Video will release the 11th volume of its Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, a four-DVD set of four episodes, each of which runs two hours. It is unlikely to be the last. In an e-mail message a Rhino spokesman, Mike Engstrom, wrote, Considering that 176 episodes were produced and we've released fewer than 60 on DVD to date, I'm hopeful we'll be in the MST3K business for years to come. (Rhino lawyers renegotiate licensing rights to the films.)

Is Rhino concerned that RiffTrax might cut into its DVD sales?

Not at all, Mr. Engstrom responded. The fans are multiplying, and I mean that literally. The college kid who loved the show in 1990 is watching the DVDs with his children.

Jim Mallon, who was the executive producer of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and holds the rights to the franchise, struck the deal with Rhino, and Mr. Nelson does not get a cut from DVD sales. (Mr. Mallon did not respond to phone and e-mail inquiries.) Asked about the chance that the cast might reunite, perhaps for all-new bonus content on a future DVD, Mr. Nelson said: I think it's pretty much out of the question the way the business was structured and the way everyone's in different places now. I would never say never, but it's highly doubtful.

What's also doubtful is whether RiffTrax will ever have downloadable tracks for the sort of movies Mystery Science lambasted. In a sense RiffTrax is the yin to the old show's yang. After all, while Mystery Science sought movies because they were obscure, RiffTrax requires that they be mainstream.

If it's not a big seller on DVD, then it's less likely that people will be able to rent it, Mr. Nelson said. I try to do the ones that people have a shot at renting the DVD.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/ar...gewanted=print
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post #821 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
Bellisario to leave 'NCIS'
Showrunner exits 'JAG' spinoff
By Josef Adalian Variety May 6, 2007

There's finally some buzz surrounding one of TV's least buzzed-about hits -- but it's not the kind CBS Par Network TV execs are looking for.

Studio confirmed over the weekend that "NCIS" showrunner Donald P. Bellisario is leaving the show he created. Move follows a report last month by TVGuide.com of tension between the producer and series star Mark Harmon.

Bellisario's showrunning duties will likely be taken over by Chas Floyd Johnson and head writer Shane Brennan.

"NCIS" is the sort of CBS warhorse that does yeoman's work for the Eye, generating solid tune-in in a tough Tuesday night timeslot opposite "American Idol." Skein was a spinoff of the equally unsexy "JAG."

CBS Par prexy David Stapf issued a statement praising the "creativity, vision and talents" of Bellisario.

"He not only built a top-rated show but a great producing team that provides terrific continuity for the years ahead," he said. "With 'JAG' and 'NCIS,' Don has a great tradition of success with the network and our studio. We look forward to developing his next generation of projects."

Beliisario is in the middle of a multiyear overall deal with CBS Par and is said to be working on a pair of possible projects for the studio.

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...&categoryid=14
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post #822 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 01:58 PM
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Nothing to do with NCIS, but whenever I read a Variety article is just disgusts me how badly they mutilate the English language. To shorten up CBS Paramount to CBS Par is just disrespectful and lazy. Maybe it's just me, but it's annoying...
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post #823 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

This is a bit OT - even for me - but I know a number of you are interested in the genre, so this might be of interest:
TV on DVD - (sort of)
MST3K': The Final Frontier
A new DVD release featuring TV's iconic count
By Andrew Adam Newman The New York Times

This is one of my favorite TV shows of all time (at least in the Top 5). Glad to see that the cult-like following of MiSTieS like yours truly has kept the concept of riffing bad movies going beyond the distribution, copyright and TV limitations that shut the show down back in 1999. Like networks putting their shows on broadband the "MST3K" folks are using the internet to expand their core audience, except they (unlike shows from network TV) are living off the internet audience rather than using that audience to boost the viewership of a non-existent show. Cool!
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post #824 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Nothing to do with NCIS, but whenever I read a Variety article is just disgusts me how badly they mutilate the English language. To shorten up CBS Paramount to CBS Par is just disrespectful and lazy. Maybe it's just me, but it's annoying...

I understand your point, Jim -- but Variety has been shortening words and names for a century. Originally, I assume it had to do with saving space -- and once upon a time maybe that made some sense.

Now it is just a convenient (and a little "precious" to my mind) way of showing how "in" the writers and readers are.

I wouldn't say it is either lazy or disrespectful -- except to those of us who are not industry insiders. Perhaps arrogant or elitist might be better words to describe the practice.
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post #825 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 03:01 PM
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Nothing to do with NCIS, but whenever I read a Variety article is just disgusts me how badly they mutilate the English language. To shorten up CBS Paramount to CBS Par is just disrespectful and lazy. Maybe it's just me, but it's annoying...

I think its just you

I shorten up my words alot.. mostly due to text messaging/and all the other things related to the new way of communicating. I think it has turned into a habit now. I thought my text messaging would be limited after graduating from college last year.. but I still do it now more than ever.

I assume the writer is trying to be "hip"!
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post #826 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

I understand your point, Jim -- but Variety has been shortening words and names for a century. Originally, I assume it had to do with saving space -- and once upon a time maybe that made some sense.

Now it is just a convenient (and a little "precious" to my mind) way of showing how "in" the writers and readers are.

I wouldn't say it is either lazy or disrespectful -- except to those of us who are not industry insiders. Perhaps arrogant or elitist might be better words to describe the practice.

Yes, you're right, arrogant/elitist would probably describe my feeling better.

On the other side of the coin, one of the funniest commercials I've seen lately is the cellphone one with the mother and daughter speaking to each other in a "text message" format where all their words have been reduced to a single letter.
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post #827 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kizzo View Post

I think its just you

I shorten up my words alot.. mostly due to text messaging/and all the other things related to the new way of communicating. I think it has turned into a habit now. I thought my text messaging would be limited after graduating from college last year.. but I still do it now more than ever.

I assume the writer is trying to be "hip"!

I realize it's becoming very common, but I enjoy words and reading as much as I enjoy watching TV, in fact, give me a good book or a TV show and I'll take the book everytime.
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post #828 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 05:26 PM
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Yes, you're right, arrogant/elitist would probably describe my feeling better.

On the other side of the coin, one of the funniest commercials I've seen lately is the cellphone one with the mother and daughter speaking to each other in a "text message" format where all their words have been reduced to a single letter.

OMG, WTF, Prexy, LOL U r 2 fun e, LUL (love u lots)!

"I'm going to call them scallywags" - Ollie

Xbox Live: Stunt1on1
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post #829 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 05:38 PM
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Prexy,

What's this one mean?
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post #830 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 05:42 PM
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You've been reading the Variety article. It's short for president. I have some more: WU (what's up), INBD (it's no big deal), BFF(best friend forever), TWU (that's what's up). I have unlimited text msging to Cingular users so I use it all the time.

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post #831 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Technology Notebook
3D HD, Suns are perfect together
By Dan Bickley The Arizona Republic

The Suns are a visual feast. They are the most entertaining basketball team of the 21st century.

Imagine watching them in high definition, 3D.

It could happen very soon.

"We are in discussions right now with the league regarding the possibility, should we be lucky enough to advance to the Western Conference finals, of exhibiting a game at US Airways Center done in 3D," Suns President Rick Welts said.

Gasp.

Consider this yet another reason why the Suns must beat the Spurs.

"I imagine you can get a true feeling of what it's like to get dunked on by Amaré Stoudemire," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Welcome to a new frontier in sports, and if you are thinking about cardboard glasses, bad horror flicks and fuzzy background images, you are in for a big surprise.

This is digital 3D technology, capturing a game that stars in air and space. The early returns from the NBA in "3D HD" are staggering, described as almost a mind-blowing experience.

"It's succeeded beyond anything I ever imagined," said Steve Hellmuth, senior vice president of operations and technology for NBA Entertainment.

If the Phoenix project goes forward - and a prohibitive cost of about $300,000 for the broadcast is just one of many hurdles - the Suns plan to stage a viewing party at their arena, seat people in front of a giant screen, equip them with special glasses and pipe in a playoff game . . . in real time.

"It's absolutely breathtaking," Welts said. "And you think about the implications. Someday, say when the Suns enjoy their 300th straight sellout, you could go to one of several theaters and watch the game in 3D."

The idea clearly is on the NBA fast track, and it all began when the league partnered with PACE before last year's playoffs. PACE is a Burbank, Calif., firm run by Vincent Pace (director of photography for film icon James Cameron) that specializes in digital 3D.

They decided to test the idea at a random game, and the best opportunity for PACE happened to be Game 4 of last year's Suns-Lakers series, that memorable overtime affair when Kobe Bryant stole the show and the game.

That production was shown at a technology summit at the All-Star Game, and Welts was one of the observers.

"We all went in with a lot of skepticism," Welts said. "But you're right in the middle of the game. You're literally guarding Kobe. People's jaws just dropped. But we still lost the game, which was amazing to me. I thought the ending would be right the second time around."

From that broadcast, the NBA ramped up its efforts. They went wild at this year's All-Star Game, placing numerous 3D cameras in strategic places: courtside, in the corners and under the basket. The signal was sent to a truck specializing in 3D HD and then piped directly to a viewing party at the Mandalay Bay hotel.

The broadcast was shown in surround sound, on a 40-foot by 60-foot screen, and at one point during the slam-dunk contest, viewers jumped out of their chairs and starting cheering as if they were at the game.

"First of all, you're seeing a spectacular picture, something you see in digital cinemas," Hellmuth said. "Then you get cameras that replicate a courtside seat. And if you've ever done it, sitting courtside at an NBA game is a transforming experience. There's no other sport where fans are allowed this type of seat. It really makes you appreciate the spatial relationship and the speed of the players."

The idea is not only appealing on many levels, but it seems like a perfect match for the NBA, given the league's inherent advantages: cozy arenas, the best athletes in the world flying through the air and screaming fans who are on top of the action. Although the long-term implications are as wide as your imagination (and your TV screen), the short-term impact likely will be contained to special events, such as staging All-Star Game viewing parties in other countries.

Or for an upcoming playoff game, which would be nearly irresistible, given the aesthetic property of the Suns and the stakes involved. But only if you could score an invite.

"I've never seen a 3D movie," the Suns' Shawn Marion said. "But I always knew I could fly."

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/colu...kley0504.html#
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post #832 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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The Business of Television
The New Middle Ages
TV's Silver Age
By Lorne Manly The New York Times May 6, 2007

TV Land, that cable network repository of pop-culture comfort food, knows how to put on a splashy marketing event. The current resting place for series like The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched and Little House on the Prairie, TV Land transformed a restaurant in Times Square into the Bat cave, complete with Adam West and Julie Newmar prowling the premises and the Batmobile parked outside, to celebrate its fifth anniversary in 2001. On a rainy afternoon in March, however, the network forsook its usual irreverent shout-outs to television's past glory. Instead, for its latest effort to woo advertisers and media buyers, TV Land hired Bill Clinton to speak soberly about the future of the planet.

Though not the most obvious connection to the network's soothing retro fare, renting Clinton for the afternoon did fit TV Land's new corporate strategy: rebranding the network as the baby-boomer channel. And no one epitomizes the 78-million-strong boomers like the first boomer president. Inside the Frederick P. Rose Hall concert space in the Time Warner Center in Manhattan, Clinton began his speech with a bit of light humor that was solidly on-message. So I came here mostly because I thought you should have some typical baby-boomer viewer of TV Land to appear before the advertisers to say that there are real-life, flesh-and-blood, gracefully aging people who like TV Land, he said to nearly 900 mostly young people in marketing and advertising.

Clinton's quip underscored a sobering reality for members of his generation: the advertising industry is just not that into them. As boomers enter their 50s and 60s, the allure they once held for marketers has faded. The advertisers who spend about $70 billion a year advertising on broadcast, cable and local channels would rather chase the young, and they pay handsomely for the privilege.

TV Land, whose offerings tend to attract this disfavored demographic, has had to struggle against that Madison Avenue mind-set. But by latching onto boomers (like Clinton), whose dynamism coexists with a hefty sense of self-involvement and entitlement, the network hopes to undo the conventional advertising wisdom about the over-50 crowd. If this generation has redefined everything from race relations to music, how hard could it be to change the ad-buying habits of the television industry?

The boomer strategy informs everything TV Land now does, whether the amped-up original programming it is creating, the movies it just started showing every Friday night or the new logo the network will soon roll out. There is even a new slogan, Here for the TV Generation. (Research shows that baby boomers hate being called baby boomers.) TV Land wants to be like Willy Wonka's Everlasting Gobstopper: familiar but always changing, with a flavor you can't get anywhere else. And just as the reference speaks to those boomers who grew up reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so, too, will TV Land speak to their generation's life experiences and milestone events. TV Land just hopes advertisers (and viewers) have a hankering for the new, improved taste.

Clutter and Kitsch are welcome in the corporate offices of TV Land, high above Times Square. Larry W. Jones, pop-culture savant and TV Land's president, uses a mouse pad embossed with characters from America's television pantheon: Mr. T and the rest of the A-Team squeeze in next to Charlie's Angels, Andy Griffith and the Honeymooners. A Dee doll from What's Happening!! perches on the credenza behind his desk. And Jones proudly displays not one but two of the bottles from which Barbara Eden miraculously materialized for five seasons on I Dream of Jeannie. (They are actually Jim Beam Christmas decanters from 1964, which the show's prop master painted to look as if they had washed ashore after 2,000 years.)

This passionate embrace of American television heritage with a dollop of ironic distance doesn't just permeate the 48th floor of the headquarters of Viacom, TV Land's parent company, where the Honeymooners set is encased in glass in the lobby. It also captures TV Land's entire sensibility. The network may be the cable outpost where I Love Lucy and The Brady Bunch live on seemingly forever, but the mocking tones of Harry Shearer, the voice of the channel's on-air promotions, subvert the no-place-like-home vibe.

TV Land made its debut in 1996, an offshoot of Nick at Nite, which takes over once the kid-focused Nickelodeon concludes its broadcast day. Nick at Nite was a ratings smash in the early- and mid-1990s, spurring the channel's executives to devise new ways to dish up more of America's television history. A 24-hour channel devoted to classic television would solve the problem.

Though both Nick at Nite and TV Land, siblings in Viacom's MTV Networks unit, revel in the televised past, they attract surprisingly different audiences. Nick at Nite, with shows of more recent vintage (like Full House and Fresh Prince of Bel Air), gets many of the young mothers whose children were watching Dora the Explorer on Nick hours earlier. And that younger audience with a median age of 23 is catnip to advertisers.

TV Land's viewers, by contrast, have a median age of 55. Even though the network has nearly a million of them during prime time fewer than Nick at Nite but more than MTV or CNN they are the group advertisers care least about reaching. So Larry Jones and his team are trying to change the way a generation is perceived. Their viewers, they argue, are not a sedentary group of skinflints stuck in their ways; they are profligate boomers, and marketers ignore them at their own peril. TV Land is trying to redefine itself not merely as a channel with old shows but as one that speaks to the lifestyle and life stages of its viewers.

TV Land proposes to accomplish this by bolstering and tweaking its lineup of original programming. At first, the network's few original shows, like The TV Land Awards, stayed close to the channel's raison d'ĂȘtre: television nostalgia. Even its first foray into reality programming two years ago, Chasing Farrah, was anchored around a 1970s television personality, Farrah Fawcett. The new batch of programming, though, refers not at all to jiggle shows or guilty-pleasure sitcoms from boomer youth but to the pop-culture talismans and life experiences this generation shares. One show already on the air, TV Land Myths & Legends, branches out to music (Whom did Carly Simon demonize in You're So Vain?) and film (Was Walt Disney cryogenically frozen?). George Foreman, the ferocious boxer of the '70s reborn as cuddly pitchman for grills and mufflers, will get to impart his life lessons to his 10 children (including five sons named George) in Family Foreman. And My Big 4-0, a midlife-crisis companion to the excess portrayed on MTV's My Super Sweet 16, will let people fete themselves in style as they enter their so-called power years.

Just because I'm 46 doesn't mean I'm on a nostalgia trip and I only want to look back, Jones told me. I want to be entertained.

Don't get me wrong; I love classic TV. It will always be a big part of our formula going forward. But we believe there is this huge market opportunity that Madison Avenue and a lot of marketers haven't really woken up to, haven't embraced in a big way and, quite frankly, the American culture hasn't embraced in a big way.

Every Wednesday morning, newspapers across the country run a chart of the previous week's highest-rated television shows. Most television executives basically ignore that list. They have eyes only for subsets of those overall figures, particularly one they call the demo. That's televisionspeak for viewers ranging in age from 18 to 49. The demo may seem nonsensical after all, what does a high-school graduate have in common with someone becoming a grandmother for the first time? but it drives the television business.

Television didn't always chase this group. In the early years, Nielsen, the ratings arbiter, measured viewership more broadly. But a desperate, last-place ABC, back in the time when television meant three networks and not hundreds of channels, changed all that. Through the '50s and into the '60s, ABC was always the runt of the litter, says Alan Wurtzel, president of research at NBC Universal and a former ABC executive. The network placed few shows in the Top 30. But it did attract plenty of youthful audiences. So in the '60s, ABC executives championed the 18-to-49 demographic. It still covered a large swath of the population, but it pushed the idea that this baby-boom generation the first one to grow up with television and of a size that dwarfed any cohort that came before would reshape American culture and its buying habits.

Advertisers bit, and the special reports Nielsen ran for ABC soon became the currency of the television-advertising marketplace. ABC's model of programming dramas with smoldering young leads (Ben Casey, The Mod Squad), cartoons (The Flintstones), kid-friendly sitcoms (The Donna Reed Show) was adapted by NBC and CBS, which had watched their higher-rated shows bring in proportionately less advertising revenue. Several endearing television characters at CBS suddenly vanished: Uncle Joe of Petticoat Junction, derailed; Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason and their respective shows, jettisoned. In their place came more modern comedies like All in the Family, M*A*S*H and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, sitcoms that were urban, sardonic, current. The arrival of Fox in the 1980s with brash shows like Married . . . With Children cemented the television industry's infatuation with youth. Today, the first order of business for many a new network executive is to drive down the age of the typical viewer.

Ultimately, the broadcast and cable networks are merely delivering what advertisers value. ABC's Lost doesn't attract many more viewers than CBS's Criminal Minds each Wednesday night. But a 30-second ad on Lost fetches $328,000, while a spot on Criminal Minds costs just $143,000, according to an Advertising Age survey published in September. The difference: Lost finishes regularly in the Top 10 among 18-to-49-year-olds. Criminal Minds comes nowhere close. David Poltrack, the research guru for CBS, says, When you see that kind of pricing, you see the kind of bias that's in the marketplace.

This state of affairs baffles many in the TV, marketing and consumer-research businesses. Why walk away from the group with the most money to spend and the biggest appetite to spend it? says Ken Dychtwald, host of the recent PBS documentary The Boomer Century and the chief executive of Age Wave, a consulting group. (TV Land hired Age Wave to help quantify boomers' value to marketers.) Dychtwald may well be biased his firm makes its living beating the drums for baby boomers' specialness but he's not wrong. Boomers' household income and discretionary income are about 50 percent higher than those of the most coveted slice of the adult audience, people between the ages of 18 and 34. Boomers spend more on clothes, groceries, cars, even movies.

These statistics must do battle with a marketing truism that stretches back decades. The argument is simple: If you grab them young, you get their business for life. You might as well stop wasting your money on the older crowd (except if you're promoting Viagra or other pharmaceuticals); their decisions about what cereal to buy and what car to tool around in have calcified into unshakable brand loyalty. Dychtwald, though, argues that the baby-boom generation is one that shows little compunction about changing careers, marriages, even religions. The idea that they're going to stick to the same toothpaste for decades is just ridiculous, he says. Numerous research studies in recent years have suggested that boomers exhibit no more loyalty to brands than those impressionable young adults do.

But another, mightier obstacle stands in the way of TV Land and like-minded boomer champions: the scarcity conundrum. Andrew Donchin, director of national broadcast at Carat USA, one of the country's largest media buyers, explains, That younger audience is more elusive to reach. And that makes them worth the premium if you can find them.

Indeed, baby boomers, like middle-aged viewers in generations past, plop themselves in front of their televisions much more often than young adults. Last year, adults age 45 to 64 (the Nielsen category closest to the baby-boom generation) watched 37 hours and 38 minutes of television each week. Adults between 18 and 34 tuned in for barely more than 27 hours. So it's not hard to attract an older audience: boomers will flock to shows with a younger sensibility. The reverse, however, does not hold. If you do something a little bit safer, a little more center cut, it's pretty hard to convince a younger audience to come, Kevin Reilly, president of NBC Entertainment, told me.

And in a time of bountiful entertainment choices, television executives have to compete more fiercely for the attention of viewers, to get their stars onto the fluffy Hollywood shows, in newspaper stories, on Web sites and airbrushed onto magazine covers. Who tends to end up on covers of magazines? Reilly asked. It tends to be the young, hot casts.

Scanning the magazines on his desk, he spied Evangeline Lilly of Lost sprawling seductively across the cover of TV Guide. On another cover were the ethnically diverse but homogeneously young and good-looking cast members of Heroes. But I don't see Mandy Patinkin on any cover, Reilly said of the star of Criminal Minds. And you know what? That's a good show.

We are a sex- and youth-obsessed culture, he added. I'm not saying it's right or wrong. It's just what it is.

For years CBS has battled a reputation as the Geritol network, with the oldest viewers of any of the major broadcasters. In the mid-'90s the company tried to make a virtue of its older audience, much as TV Land is doing now, but Madison Avenue was unmoved. Then CBS stumbled upon a new strategy, after the surprise success of Survivor and CSI.

This approach favored multigenerational casting and, in dramas, surrounding a middle-aged authority figure (often grizzled) with a group of young, attractive acolytes. It appealed to younger viewers without driving away older ones. Take a look at CBS's prime-time lineup, and you will find nine shows built on this boomer-and-the-cool-kids blueprint. CBS now not only wins the network ratings race most weeks in overall numbers; it regularly places shows like CSI and Without a Trace in the Top 20 among viewers ages 18 to 49. If an audience is big enough, the demos take care of themselves, says Kelly Kahl, a senior executive vice president at CBS.

As a narrowly focused cable channel, however, TV Land cannot copy CBS's big-tent strategy. Instead, it is doubling down on its boomer identity, infusing everything related to the network with a cheeky take including its own on-air promos. Until recently, these humorous spots might weave together clips from various shows (a shot of Richie Cunningham speaking on the phone would reveal Andy Griffith on the other end of the line) to demonstrate the breadth of the network's library. That approach has been consigned to the past. If we're going to be about the people who watch the network, then we better define who they are, Kim Rosenblum, TV Land's senior vice president and creative director, told me. The best way to illustrate who boomers are now, Rosenblum said, is to show who they are not, by contrasting them with other generations.

On a Friday in mid-March, Rosenblum convened her team to do just that. Joe Boyd, the writer of the promotions, sketched out the conceit for an ad in the new image campaign: Once again, there are three generations sitting on the couch grandpa, father (our hero) and the teenage son. But this 20-second spot, called Tattoos, was proving problematic. There was no debate over what tattoo to give the grandfather: a snake on the forearm from his days in the Navy. And the dad would announce that he had somehow managed to live a fairly happy, fulfilled life without one. But the first choice for the teenage son's ink didn't fly with the network's legal department. Not surprisingly, Winnie the Pooh giving the finger was not an option, Boyd told the room. After a spirited discussion about the best jarring, humorous tattoo to replace Winnie, Rosenblum eventually chose the Grim Reaper eating a kitten, rejecting such other antiboomer options as a smiley face with fangs, a mushroom cloud or a baby with a handgun. Where you are in chronological age literally changes your perspective, Rosenblum said.

TV Land is applying the same attitude to its original programming. High School Reunion, one of the reality shows it has in the works, actually ran several years ago on the WB, a broadcast network that catered to 18-to-34-year-olds before it was subsumed by the CW network. But while the WB revisited the graduates for their 10-year reunion, the TV Land version will take place 20 years after graduation. And the tropes of the typical reality show the conniving, the hookups, the blurred and bleeped-out features and words will be missing or minimized as TV Land hunts for a relatively wholesome escapism that will go down as easily as the old classics. The goal of this thing is not to get a bunch of people in the hot tub making out, Jones, the network president, said.

Yet TV Land's original programming project is pockmarked with contradictions. The youngest boomers are turning 43 this year and the oldest are reaching 61, but the stars of High School Reunion and My Big 4-0, two of the network's higher-profile entries, are, by definition, years or decades younger. As for 35 and Beyond Supermodel Search, plenty of the aspirants will surely come from Generation X as well. TV Land executives tie themselves up in rationalizations defending their approach. It is easier to get single people by holding the reunion after 20 years, they maintain, rather than 25. And 40 rather than 50, they argue, is truly the midlife point, when people get all existential and ask what they are going to do with the rest of their lives. As Jones put it, People freak out more at 40.

All the tortured explanations might just be Madison Avenue realpolitik, a recognition that the network needs to hedge its bets. The stars of TV Land's other shows including Family Foreman and a planned scripted series that will follow the stars of Laverne and Shirley, Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams fall squarely in the boomer age range. But creating shows is much more expensive than acquiring them, and TV Land has to be careful not to get too far out in front of advertisers and viewers.

In front of Jones's desk, a Happy Days rerun played on one of the three TV screens. The Fonz, wearing his omnipresent black leather jacket, water skis and an unfortunate pair of tight, baby blue shorts, prepared to jump his motorcycle over a shark. The phrase jumping the shark would later became seared in the national consciousness, representing the point where some pop-culture form made a drastic change and careered off the creative cliff. TV Land hopes to avoid that fate.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/ma...gewanted=print
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post #833 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notebook
Nets Use May to Debut Summer Fare
, Burn-Off Others
By A.J. Frutkin MediaWeek May 7, 2007

Each year, summers start earlier. This season, summer starts in spring. On May 18, ABC premieres its game show National Bingo Night. On May 22 and 24, auditions kick off On the Lot, Fox's filmmaking contest show from Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg. Burnett's other contest show, Pirate Master, debuts May 31 on CBS.

It may be no surprise that the networks are using May's high HUT levels to promoteif not launchtheir summer series. The only surprise may be that it's taken them this long to do so.
The practice began in earnest last season, when Fox premiered So You Think You Can Dance the night after American Idol's finale. The network is following a similar game plan this year.

Rather than give viewers a chance to rest up, the best thing to do is keep the momentum going, said Preston Beckman, executive vp of strategic program planning for Fox. The closer you are to the end of May, the higher the circulation. If you wait a few weeks, you get into some really low numbers. So you might as well take maximum advantage of May.

Jeff Bader, executive vp of ABC Entertainment, said his network also hopes to use its high-rated shows to promote Bingo. And while ABC officially launches its midseason holdover Traveler on May 30, it previews the drama May 10, following Grey's Anatomy. It's all about sampling, Bader said. Putting Traveler after Grey's gives it an audience of more than 20 million people. When will there be that big of an audience again?

Like ABC, The CW launches its midseason stand-by Hidden Palms on May 30. And Fox returns its underperforming action romance Standoff on June 8. Critics often deride such series scheduling as burn-offs. Networks argue they must try to recoup their initial investments in these projects. And in an increasingly fragmented marketplace, advertisers are siding with broadcasters.

It still is something new for many viewers, said Lisa Quan, vp, director of audience analysis at Magna Global USA. Maybe they didn't know a show was supposed to be on earlier in the season, or maybe they didn't watch it if it was on. So when they see something that looks new and original, they might stop and say, Hey, this is something I'd like to watch.'

As important as summer's start is, so is summer's end. The fall season officially begins Sept. 24, rather than Sept. 17. In response, NBC has pushed back its return of America's Got Talent to June 5 (from May 29), enabling a mid-summer run of The Biggest Loser to air through September. If you can keep up circulation right until fall premieres, that's the best, said Vince Manze, president, NBC program planning, scheduling and strategy.

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/rec..._id=1003581287
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So there may be some truth to what she's saying, though I don't believe it entirely.

Nope, can't do that, CP and Fred said so.

Cheers, Dave
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TV Notebook
'Lost' set for three more years
16 Episodes in Each of Next Three Seasons
By Josef Adalian Variety

In a potentially paradigm-shifting play, ABC has agreed to let the producers of "Lost" set an expiration date for the series -- three years in the future.

Skein will now wrap after the production of 48 additional episodes that will be divided into three, shortened 16-episode seasons. Final episode -- the show's 119th -- will air during the 2009-10 season.

In conjunction with the advance order, "Lost" showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have inked hefty new multi-year overall deals with ABC Television Studio to continue with the series until the end. Duo had made setting a wrap date for the show a condition for staying.

Lindelof and Cuse had wanted "Lost" to end after two more seasons. They're essentially still getting their wish: The 48 episodes they'll produce over the next three years is the same number the show produced during its first two seasons.

ABC execs, however, came up with a way to keep "Lost" on its sked for three more seasons. What's more, the 16-episode arcs will run without repeats (a la "24"), allowing the Alphabet to make the show more of an event.

"In considering the powerful storytelling of 'Lost,' we felt this was the only way to give it a proper creative conclusion," ABC Entertainment prexy Steve McPherson said.

"I always said that we would allow the series to grow and give viewers the most compelling hour possible," he added. "And, due to the unique nature of the series, we knew it would require an end date to keep the integrity and strength of the show consistent throughout, and to give the audience the payoff they deserve. "

McPherson also acknowledged that getting Lindelof and Cuse to reup "was critical to me and the network."

ABC Television Studio prexy Mark Pedowitz shared that sentiment.

"We wanted to make sure we had the team responsible for its success in place for not only the run of the show, but so that each of their future series creations have a home at the studio after 'Lost,' " Pedowitz said.

J.J. Abrams, who co-created "Lost" with Lindelof, defected to Warner Bros. TV last year and has been focusing on a new slate of TV and film projects, including the revival of the "Star Trek" franchise for Paramount Pictures. He told Daily Variety that he fully supported the advance wrap decision.

"It is the right choice for the series and its viewers," he said via an email message. "It takes real foresight and guts to make a call like this. I applaud ABC and Touchstone for making this happen."

Lindelof and Cuse, who are putting the finishing touches on the third-season finale, released a joint statement praising what they termed "a bold and unprecedented move for ABC" and thanking McPherson and Pedowitz for making it.

Cuse added that he hoped more shows will be able to follow the "Lost" lead and declare an end date.

"I think for story-based shows like 'Lost,' as opposed to franchise-based shows like 'ER' or 'CSI,' the audience wants to know when the story is going to be over," Cuse wrote. "When J.K. Rowling announced that there would be seven 'Harry Potter' books, it gave the readers a clear sense of exactly what their investment would be. We want our audience to do the same."

Cuse confirmed that devising an exit strategy for "Lost" was key to reupping with ABC Television Studio.

"In making this deal, Damon and I had two priorities: defining an end point for the show and keeping the quality bar high," Cuse said. "To do that we are both fully committed to the day-to-day running of the show right up until the very end. It's also why the 16 episodes per year was key for us. Because our show is so mythological, and because, unlike '24,' we can't reset each season, we need the extra time fewer episodes affords us to really plan out the specifics of our storytelling."

Lindelof and Cuse made public their desire for an end date during the TV Critics Assn. press tour last winter (Daily Variety, Jan. 15).

Cuse and Lindelof also wanted an end date in order to mollify critics of the show who worried producers were simply spinning their wheels as they worked through the show's layer upon layer of mystery.

ABC execs had already been talking to the producers about the idea, but they seemed taken aback when Lindelof and Cuse made the conversations public.

Indeed, it would be understandable if ABC execs had been initially cool to the concept of an early end date.

After all, with major hits a rarity in the network game, the rule is to keep hits on the air until every last ounce of success has been squeezed from them (e.g., "ER" or "The X-Files").

And despite relentless media snarking this season -- and the fact that "Lost" has lost a chunk of its fall 2005 audience -- the series is still a top-15 hit that dominates its 10 p.m. Wednesday timeslot in key demos.

In its third season, it's still drawing as many young viewers as NBC's newer, more buzzed-about "Heroes" -- and that's not counting the roughly 2.1 million viewers who watch the show after its live broadcast or via free streaming on ABC.com.

ABC could be establishing a new formula by which nets find success through serving up skeins with more and more audacious concepts but shorter lifespans than the traditional network hit.

Already, the traditional syndie business model -- the one that required studios to produce 100 episodes of a show in order to recoup their investment -- seems to be fading away in an age of instant downloads and universal streaming.

That may be one reason, according to Lindelof, that McPherson and Pedowitz "never argued that the show should keep going and going. The issue has always been when it would end and how far out in front of that ending should we herald it."

As for "Lost," show's end game is expected to kick into high gear later this month with the broadcast of the season finale. Details of the plot are under wraps, but a person who has read the script described it as a major shakeup to the plot.

"It changes everything," the person said.

Nothing's official yet, but ABC has all but said that the fourth season of "Lost" won't premiere until January or February of next year.

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?lay...&categoryid=14
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post #836 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2007-2008 Season
TV watchers buzzing as pilot season wraps
By Nellie Andreeva The Hollywood Reporter May 7, 2007

Mother's Day is just around the corner, and with it comes the end of another development season.

Just like the FDA extensively tests every new food before it hits the market, the broadcast networks for the past week have subjected their pilots to a series of rigorous screenings and testing by focus groups.

At their upfront presentations in New York on May 14-18 the nets will announce which projects have been approved to go on the primetime market. But for now, pilot information is guarded more closely than the Coca-Cola recipe, forcing anxious industry folk to feed on rumors.

Here is the latest round of pilot gossip:

ABC, which is rumored to pick up four to six one-hour pilots, is said to be proceeding with high-level staffing on two dramas, "Pushing Daisies" and the untitled Jon Feldman project -- a sign that the shows might be joining the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff on the schedule next season.

Also hot is drama "Marlowe," which recently received an order for two additional scripts and is now lining up series directors, as well as "Dirty Sexy Money." "Cashmere Mafia," "Eli Stone" and "Football Wives" also are believed to be in contention. "Sam I Am," "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office," "The Thick of It" and "The Middle" are getting buzz on the comedy side.

NBC brass is said to be very high on the dramedy "Lipstick Jungle." Also flying high after extensive retooling is the sci-fi saga "The Bionic Woman" as well as three male-centered one-hours: Josh Schwartz's "Chuck," "Journeyman" and "Life."

In fact, a scenario floating around has the network picking up all of its one-hour pilots except "Mayor of New York" with 12- or six-episode orders as strike contingency.

On the comedy side, "Lipshitz Saves the World," which was filmed months ago, is making a charge alongside "Business Class" and "The IT Crowd."

CBS, which might pick up only three to four new dramas, is said to be high on the untitled Cynthia Cidre project, "Babylon Fields" and "The Man," with "Protect & Serve," "Swingtown," "Skip Tracer" and "Viva Laughlin" also in contention. Greg Garcia's "Fugly" is making noise on the comedy side.

Fox, which might pick up four to five drama pilots, is said to be seriously considering sci-fi entries "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and "Them" and cop shows "The Apostles" and "K-Ville."

Also in the running are "Nurses," "Canterbury's Law" and "The Cure." In the comedy field, besides "Action News," which is considered on the air, the untitled Victor Fresco project and animated "The Life and Times of Tim" also getting notice.

CW, which is looking to add three to four new dramas, is said to be high on Schwartz's "Gossip Girl," "The Reaper" and the untitled South Africa project.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...4bc83029470d7b
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post #837 of 95508 Old 05-06-2007, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Nope, can't do that, CP and Fred said so.


Maybe because its late Dave and I am not thinking too clearly, but what did we say?
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post #838 of 95508 Old 05-07-2007, 06:34 AM
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The Business of Television
The New Middle Ages
TV's Silver Age
By Lorne Manly The New York Times May 6, 2007

Though both Nick at Nite and TV Land, siblings in Viacom's MTV Networks unit, revel in the televised past, they attract surprisingly different audiences. Nick at Nite, with shows of more recent vintage (like Full House and Fresh Prince of Bel Air), gets many of the young mothers whose children were watching Dora the Explorer on Nick hours earlier. And that younger audience with a median age of 23 is catnip to advertisers.

TV Land's viewers, by contrast, have a median age of 55. Even though the network has nearly a million of them during prime time fewer than Nick at Nite but more than MTV or CNN they are the group advertisers care least about reaching. So Larry Jones and his team are trying to change the way a generation is perceived. Their viewers, they argue, are not a sedentary group of skinflints stuck in their ways; they are profligate boomers, and marketers ignore them at their own peril. TV Land is trying to redefine itself not merely as a channel with old shows but as one that speaks to the lifestyle and life stages of its viewers.

Rich Cronin, who ran TV Land before 2003, is now running Game Show Network. After also trying to turn GSN into something that would attract 18-49 year-old viewers (buying repeats of "Amazing Race" and the Arsenio Hall-hosted "Star Search", filling primetime with gambling shows, etc.) the ratings were down so low that Cronin did what the article mentions: go back to what works even if it attacts an older, undesirable demographic. Now the network has a mix of old workhorse gameshows (which were almost an endangered species for a while back in '04), gambling shows and original gameshows (like "Lingo" and "Chain Reaction") that aren't blockbusters but (a) are cheap to produce/buy and (c) attract loyal viewers over and over to the network. When all else fails the networks with a glut of older-skewing program that want to reach to the 18-49 demographic have to learn to deal with the hand that was dealt to them. Older people love/watch TV as much as the youngsters (at least in this thread) and its about damn time people in the industry realize that a large potential audience is being almost completely ignored in this quest for sexy 18-49 viewers that may have something better to do than watch TV. Like, say, playing videogames or downloading porn off the internet.

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Ultimately, the broadcast and cable networks are merely delivering what advertisers value. ABC's Lost doesn't attract many more viewers than CBS's Criminal Minds each Wednesday night. But a 30-second ad on Lost fetches $328,000, while a spot on Criminal Minds costs just $143,000, according to an Advertising Age survey published in September. The difference: Lost finishes regularly in the Top 10 among 18-to-49-year-olds. Criminal Minds comes nowhere close. David Poltrack, the research guru for CBS, says, When you see that kind of pricing, you see the kind of bias that's in the marketplace.

Damn!
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post #839 of 95508 Old 05-07-2007, 06:37 AM
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TV Notebook
'Lost' set for three more years
16 Episodes in Each of Next Three Seasons
By Josef Adalian Variety

In a potentially paradigm-shifting play, ABC has agreed to let the producers of "Lost" set an expiration date for the series -- three years in the future.

Skein will now wrap after the production of 48 additional episodes that will be divided into three, shortened 16-episode seasons. Final episode -- the show's 119th -- will air during the 2009-10 season.

Could this be used as a promotional tool by ABC when pushing the show? Seriously, now that an ending is clearly set viewers could tune in (if they choose) knowing that this thing is going somewhere and not drifting. 16 episodes per season would mean an uninterrupted February to May (or November to February) run. Mmmphh...
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post #840 of 95508 Old 05-07-2007, 06:41 AM
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Maybe because its late Dave and I am not thinking too clearly, but what did we say?

Sorry, I was out of town over the weeknd. The subject was Shonda and when the "so-called" pilot show was written, etc.

Cheers, Dave
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