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HDTV Programming > Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 07:28 PM 05-07-2007

Wait a minute, does that mean tonight at 10PM there's a new "Criminal Intent" episode that will be repeated tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9PM? This is too freaking sudden!

No, the schedule change starts next week.

dad1153's Avatar dad1153 07:28 PM 05-07-2007
Originally Posted by chrisirmo View Post

No 'Studio 60' Reprieve
by Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Although the network won't officially cancel the series until May 14 when it announces its new fall schedule, the sets are being dismantled on the show's Warner Bros. soundstage as you read this. Shows don't come back from that.

Maybe Warner just needs the studio space for a new movie or TV pilot? Studio space is valuable you know... Please don't ask me what my favorite river in Egypt is.

Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

TV Notebook
An Omen for Law & Order: Criminal Intent?

NBC very, very quietly topday pulled The Real Wedding Crashers from its Monday 10 PM ET/PT slot and replaced it with Law & Order: CI. The L&O:CI episodes will be first-run, then bereopeated in its regular Tuesday 9 PM ET/PT time slot.

Wedding Crashers will be rescheduled some time. At least that is NBC's story and apparently it is sticking to it.

Wait a minute, does that mean tonight at 10PM there's a new "Criminal Intent" episode that will be repeated tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9PM? This is too freaking sudden!
DoubleDAZ's Avatar DoubleDAZ 08:13 PM 05-07-2007
Whoa! Do you see that Fred's response if posted before Dad's post? Yikes!!!!
DeathRay's Avatar DeathRay 08:47 PM 05-07-2007
That was Future Fred who responded.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:15 PM 05-07-2007
A little magic never hurt -- I have to be quick to stay with all of you/

But in truth dad posted, then deleted, then reposted.....(I hate magicians who shows you how they do their tricks.)
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:16 PM 05-07-2007
A question: I know this thread draws overwhelmingly male readers.

But are there ANY women who read it?
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:24 PM 05-07-2007
The Business of Television
Cable Chiefs: We're Hurting Telcos More Than They're Hurting Us
Operators Say Its Easier for Cable to Recruit Phone Customers
By Mike Farrell Multichannel News 5/7/2007

Las Vegas - A trio of top cable executives kicked off the National Show general session here Monday, assuring the audience gathered at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center that cable companies will continue to fight off competitive threats with new and better products.

Already cable operators have been ahead of the competitive curve with high-speed Internet and video on demand services and voice services from cable operators are growing at a quickening pace. At the general session, moderator and Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing CEO Char Beales mentioned a startling statistic -- at Cox Communications, for every video customer the Atlanta-based cable operator loses to a phone company, Cox gains 50 voice customers from the incumbent phone carrier.

Comcast chief operating officer Steve Burke said that the ratio isn't quite as high at his company, but he envisions Comcast will continue to outpace the competition for a long time to come.

I think their ability to get our video subscribers will be more limited than our ability to get their phone subscribers, Burke said. It's going to stay that way for a long time.

Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said that one of the ways cable has managed to stay ahead of the competitive curve is by continuously introducing new products. He mentioned Time Warner's much ballyhooed Start Over program replay service, which allows customers to view programs from the beginning if the service is activated within its original airing time and its various iterations - Look Back, which will allow customers to replay programs that are at least 48-hours old and Catch Up, which would let customers view a few past episodes of a series to catch up with the storyline.

I think we've just begun to scratch the surface, Britt said.

Burke said that day and date trials -- where a VOD movie is available on cable simultaneously with DVD rental releases -- conducted by the company have been encouraging. And it has inspired him to think about taking the technology a step further.

Spiderman (3) came out this weekend and you could imagine a situation where we put Spiderman on in a pay per view fashion, concomitant with the opening weekend and charge $30 or $50 or some price that is high enough that it obviously is going to have some effect on theatrical distribution, Burke said. I'm sure movie theaters may not like that kind of competition but at the end of the day, consumers want what they want when they want it and it's our job to be creative with breaking down those windows.

Later, Burke said that Comcast has had some early talks with studios about such a service.

Cablevision Systems chief operating officer Tom Rutledge, which has pioneered cable voice and has industry leading penetration rates in video, voice and high-speed data, said another area of growth potential lies in commercial telecommunications service. And residential service has helped lay the foundation for success with small and medium sized businesses.

Part of the process is having the credibility to sell to the small business marketplace, Rutledge said. Where do those small businesses people live? They live in residential dwellings that you serve with your residential product. You have to have a successful residential business and a successful credibility that your products work.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 11:35 PM 05-07-2007
The Business of Television
'Simple economics':
More reality TV
By Gary Levin USA TODAY

If you thought reality programming already had taken over TV, there's even more in store.

A combination of earlier success, cost pressures and the threat of strikes by Hollywood writers and actors has sparked the biggest appetite yet among networks for new "unscripted" series.

But will viewers remain hungry?

ABC has nine reality shows due this summer, starting with Bingo Night in America May 18. CBS is filming five game-show pilots this month, part of its busiest reality push yet, and Pirate Master from Survivor producer Mark Burnett is due May 31.

CW's limited success rests largely with series such as America's Next Top Model, so look for Crowned, a mother-daughter beauty pageant. NBC plans series about former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and another in which teenage couples care for borrowed babies.

Grey's Anatomy notwithstanding, recent history shows reality series have better odds than sitcoms or dramas of becoming breakout hits, and they appeal to families and young adults, who command higher ad rates. "Some of the biggest game-changers tend to be on the alternative side," says Ghen Maynard, reality chief at CBS and CW.

"Reality programming is doing so well at the networks," says Carolyn Finger, vice president at TV Tracker, which monitors trends. "The No. 1 and No. 2 shows this season are American Idol and Dancing With the Stars," while struggling NBC's top show is Deal or No Deal. "It's just simple economics."

TV Tracker says 56 network reality series will air this season, up from 51 last year, and pilot orders are up 50%. Entire cable networks, including MTV and Bravo, build their original lineups exclusively with the genre. "We're looking for shows that can be expanded that night if need be or the next day with a results show," NBC's Craig Plestis says.

Games are the flavor of the moment, thanks to the success of Deal and the low upfront cost. Though they tend to burn out more quickly, even with lower ratings they remain enormously profitable. "Other than clip shows, it's pretty much the least expensive thing you can do," Fox reality chief Mike Darnell says.

But overall, networks seem more willing to make reality a permanent fixture. "In the past, a lot of reality shows have been fillers or replacements" for failed series or summer months, Darnell says. "Now they're such a staple, networks are saying, 'This is part of our schedule now, so we might as well plan three or four each season because we're going to have them, anyway.'
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 12:23 AM 05-08-2007
Lois Gibson, 77
Writer, Story editor wrote for 'Fugitive,' 'Invaders'

Writer and story editor Lois Gibson died Sunday in Malibu after a long illness. She was 77.

A native New Yorker, she attended Hofstra University and did postgraduate studies at the Sorbonne. In the late 1940s, she worked for pioneering publisher Ian Ballantine as a translator and editor in the exploding paperback industry.

She moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s and joined the story department at CBS Television, where she discovered and helped develop "The Untouchables." She served as one of the producers of "Shirley Temple Storybook," a series of sixteen ABC specials and worked as a story editor and consultant for TV producers Desi Arnaz, William Asher, Quinn Martin and Rod Amateau.

During the '60s, she created and developed storylines for shows such as "The Fugitive" and "The Invaders." She did the same in the '80s for medical series, "Quincy, M.E." and "Kay O'Brien." During the 1970s, she wrote TV reviews for the L.A. Free Press, and in the mid-1980s, she wrote the Hidden Treasures column of the in the L.A. Times Magazine.

Gibson also wrote the story for the 1974 feature film "Crypt of the Living Dead." A member of the Actors Studio Playwrights group and the Dramatists Guild of America, she wrote the book for the musical "Nobody's Heart," based on the life and lyrics of Lorenz Hart.

She is survived by her husband, actor Henry Gibson; three sons, Jonathan, business affairs exec at NBC/Universal; Charles, two-time visual effects Oscar winner; James, a screenwriter and two grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Boston Terrier Rescue Fund.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 06:36 AM 05-08-2007 (they've been busy) are reporting that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host/team leader Ty Pennington was busted for DWI last Saturday in Los Angeles: T-minus time Ty announces he's entering rehab in three... two... one...
archiguy's Avatar archiguy 06:56 AM 05-08-2007
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post (they've been busy) are reporting that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host/team leader Ty Pennington was busted for DWI last Saturday in Los Angeles: T-minus time Ty announces he's entering rehab in three... two... one...

Yep. His management is already on it. He's already made the official "apology" to his family, fans, network, etc., so the official rehab announcement is next up. These things tend to unfold like clockwork nowadays.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 07:10 AM 05-08-2007
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

Yep. His management is already on it. He's already made the official "apology" to his family, fans, network, etc., so the official rehab announcement is next up. These things tend to unfold like clockwork nowadays.

You mean this: "I made an error in judgment. We all make mistakes, however this is about accountability. Under no circumstances should anyone consume alcohol while driving. I could have jeopardized the lives of others and I am grateful there was no accident or harm done to anyone. This was my wake-up call. I also want to apologize to my fans, ABC Television and my design team for my lapse in judgment and the embarrassment I have caused."

Translation: please don't kick me off my highly-rated network show, I need the gig as a springboard to bigger/better things when "EM:HE" is over. Stuff like my own syndicated daytime talk show and sponsors.

That statament is convoluted enough to give me a headache. Anybody has a Bayer aspirine they can spare?

The sad thing is that "EM:HE" was poised to go into syndication (they have close to 100 episodes already and have been renewed for next season) and become the only reality show that could potentially do well in M-F daily strips. All other reality shows that have been stripped (Amazing Race on GSN, Fear Factor on FX/syndication, Survivor on OLN/Versus, etc.) have bombed in the ratings. "EM:HE" is the only reality show on network TV with regularly-scheduled repeats that often wins its time slot. Hope Pennington's screw-up doesn't jeopardize one of the few "nice" (if somewhat mentally-retarded) family-friendly shows on network TV.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 08:24 AM 05-08-2007
The 2007-2008 Season
Cliffhanger of sorts for 'George Lopez'
The big question: Will it return next season?
By Diego Vasquez staff writer May 8, 2007

After another dismal year for ABC's sitcoms, it seems possible that the network won't bring any of them back. There have been rumors for months that According to Jim, once its No. 1 comedy, will be canceled. And several new shows, including Help Me Help You, Big Day and The Knights of Prosperity, have already been yanked, while midseason replacement Notes from the Underbelly is performing only so-so.

That leaves one more candidate for renewal, George Lopez, which ends its sixth season tonight at 8 p.m. with an episode in which George tries to convince Max not to drop out of school lest he end up working in a factory.

Ratings for Lopez have fallen 12 percent this year, from a 2.6 in adults 18-49 last year to a 2.3 this year. Of course last year Lopez was airing Wednesday at 8 p.m., out of the path of American Idol. This year the sitcom airs Tuesday at 8, opposite Idol, the No. 2 show on broadcast this year with a 12.4 average, behind only Wednesday's edition.

If ABC decides to bring back Lopez, it could move the show to another timeslot, perhaps back to Wednesday, hoping it would perk up away from Idol. Yet that seems a big thing to ask for a seventh-year sitcom.

Most likely Lopez will be dropped, as its season-to-date average is well below the network's 3.5 season-to-date average in primetime, usually considered a good indicator of whether a show will come back.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 08:28 AM 05-08-2007
The TV Column
'Lost'? ABC Has An Exit Strategy
By Lisa de Moraes Washington Post Columnist Tuesday, May 8, 2007

In a shocking development sure to consume the media for at least 12 hours (oh wait, Paris just filed notice she'll appeal her 45-day slammer sentence -- never mind), ABC has declared an expiration date on its serialized drama series "Lost."

The creative team behind the weedy tangle of a series will get exactly 48 more chances to explain away the airplane, the island, the hatch, the polar bears, the smoke monster and The Others.

That's two seasons' worth of episodes.

Only, to make sure the writers have plenty of time to try to figure out what their show is about, ABC will air only 16 episodes each season, so it will continue for three more seasons, ending in 2009-10 with what ABC reports will be a "highly anticipated and shocking finale."

Each season, the 16 episodes will be bundled together, airing without repeats in the spring, most likely from the February ratings sweeps to the May sweeps, in the manner of Fox's "24." Only, in this case "16."

ABC no doubt hopes the "potentially paradigm-shifting play" (Variety) will bring back some of those disenfranchised uber-fans who started complaining about midway through season No. 2 that the series seems to be winging it and making them feel like perfect fools.

Since returning from a break this season, "Lost" is averaging just under 14 million viewers. At its peak, the show clocked more than 20 million.

"We always envisioned 'Lost' as a show with a beginning, middle and end," exec producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof said in yesterday's announcement. "By officially announcing exactly when that ending will be, the audience will now have the security of knowing that the story will play out as we've intended."

The additional 48 episodes will bring the series total to 119.

Not coincidentally, the traditional recipe for happy TV series off-network syndication calls for 100 episodes, at which point the studio producing the series would have recovered its costs.

In the TV business, unless you're lucky enough to work on a major hit with a cast that can be culled from time to time to keep down costs, after 100 episodes it's pretty much time to dust off the old résumé.

Not coincidentally, 100 episodes is what the exec producers said they had envisioned back when "Lost" was the Next Big Thing, in its first season. It's what every executive producer envisions.

By the end of this season, about 70 episodes will have been shot. Which explains why the "Lost" executive producers, back in January at Winter TV Press Tour 2007, told TV critics an endgame for the series would be announced shortly. That seemed to take ABC Entertainment chief Steve McPherson by surprise back then. Yesterday, he said in the announcement: "[D]ue 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."

More inexplicably, NBC has given an early order for a fourth season of its "Lost" time-slot competitor, "Medium," which stars Patricia Arquette as a woman who talks to dead people and who can see the future -- both skills that give her a leg up in her job as a consultant to the district attorney's office.

" 'Medium' is a quality show with an outstanding star that has always delivered a very loyal audience," said NBC Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly.

Um-hum, but it doesn't really do a very good number. "Medium" is averaging about 8.5 million viewers each week and about 3 percent of the nation's audience of 18-to-49-year-olds -- the demographic group NBC says it sells to advertisers. There are about 15 NBC prime-time series that clock better ratings -- though, in fairness, "Medium" is building by 37 percent on its "Crossing Jordan" lead-in. We think we can safely say "Crossing Jordan" will not be getting an early pickup for next season. So far that list includes, in addition to "Medium," "The Office," "30 Rock," "My Name Is Earl," "Heroes," "Law & Order: SVU" and "Las Vegas."

On the other hand, "Medium," which is just finishing its third season, is a kid compared with the other NBC dramas still sitting on the fence and, therefore, has more potential for growth. "Crossing Jordan" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" are both ending their sixth seasons, while "Law & Order" is in its 17th.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 08:34 AM 05-08-2007
Monday's metered market over-night prime-time ratings - and Media Week Analyst Marc Berman's view of what they mean -- have been posted at the top of Ratings News the second post in this thread.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 08:52 AM 05-08-2007
Technology Notebook
Here's a thought: DVRs are not all bad
Viewers have to watch an ad to zap through it
By Kevin Downey staff writer May 8, 2007

Just mention TiVo and it invariably sets off a tic in TV people. It's the boogey man of this technological age, threatening to destroy or powerfully damage the entire structure of TV advertising as we know it by allowing viewers to fast forward through ads on shows recorded on TiVos or other digital video recorder devices.

With the television upfront just weeks away, the TiVo threat looms even more ominously, as buyers meet sellers to price out next year's ad inventory on broadcast, cable and syndication. The question they all ask: How much ad-zapping really goes on, and how much worse will it get as more households get such devices?

But to Kenneth Wilbur, the whole TiVo issue is way overblown.

Wilbur makes a simple argument: The very act of fast-forwarding requires that the viewer pay attention to the ad in order to know when the programming resumes.

And that's better than the alternatives: viewers getting up to go to the fridge or the bathroom or turning away to the computer or to talk to someone else in the room or flipping the remote around the channels.

"There's a pretty good basis for thinking that the active attention required to fast-forward could reinforce brand awareness," says Wilbur, who's an associate professor of marketing at USC's Marshall School of Business. "There can be a real effect on purchasing behavior due to the attention required."
Wilbur is publishing a paper later this year on DVR fast-forwarding in the Journal of Advertising.

Rather than panicking over DVRs, he believes advertisers should be figuring ways to take advantage of the attention fast-forwarding requires.
"You could see extensive changes coming to creative formats and a great deal of research into how creative can best be adapted to fast-forwarding," says Wilbur.

"The best place for the industry to address this problem is in the ad creative itself and how to reduce viewers' motivations to fast-forward. There could be large [financial] rewards for agencies that can figure out how to do this."

Citing various research studies, Wilbur says DVR users say they fast-forward through perhaps three-fourths of all commercials, a figure he says is probably high and reflects how hardcore early adopters of DVRs use the devices.

Still, fast-forwarding is widely believed to be significant and becoming more commonplace.

DVR penetration was only 12 percent when Wilbur worked on the bulk of his research last year. It's now 17.5 percent, according to Nielsen Media Research, and forecasters think it'll surpass 50 percent by the end of the decade.

Wilbur says advertisers can use information gathered from DVRs to figure out how to combat fast-forwarding, noting that TiVo's Stop||Watch service is tracking second-by-second viewing among 20,000 DVR users.

He says three main reasons viewers don't watch commercials is because they aren't interested in the creative execution, they've seen the commercial too many times, or the advertised product isn't relevant to them.

Media buyers and sellers are still struggling to figure out how to place a value on viewers who fast-forward through commercials, with buyers leaning toward not paying anything.

But Wilbur says it's inevitable that networks will ultimately begin charging for this viewing because DVR users are paying attention to the content.

He also says the networks will adapt to fast-forwarded commercials by further integrating products into programming and by tricking viewers by changing the length of commercials or commercial pods. But he says that may annoy viewers and suggests a better option is to evaluate second-by-second ratings to determine which elements in commercials keep viewers interested.

"I don't think this challenge is so difficult that it's insurmountable for the industry to take on," he says. "In fact, the challenges are small relative to the potential gains from the insights you can learn from more research."
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 08:56 AM 05-08-2007
I bow to no one in my ability to be cynical.

But here is a thought about Ty Pennington.

I understand the urge to pile on. But I am not sure Pennington deserves it. As far as I know, he has made just this one transgressions.

He is no Paris Hilton or mega corporation continually (at best) fudging the truth or laughing at convention.

He is a guy who made a mistake, quickly owned up to it and is asking for some understanding.

Just because other celebrities and corporations have lied to us time after time, it seems to me we could give Pennington some slack.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 08:59 AM 05-08-2007
The Business of Television
NCTA: Cable Just Scratching Surface of VOD
By Mark Robichaux Broadcasting & Cable,5/7/2007

The nation's largest cable operators say they are just scratching the surface of video-on-demand and promised to offer a cavalcade of new products to allow viewers more control over their TV schedule.

My sense is that (VOD) goes all the way, said Stephen Burke, COO of Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator. Eventually not only will you have prime time television shows that you can go back and catch up with, but eventually on your TV set, you will get virtually everything or maybe everything on TV when you want it.

Burke was speaking on a panel entitled Cable 2.0: Growing Cable's Next Business Opportunity at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's annual trade show in Las Vegas.Among the topics, VOD seemed to be top of mind for cable giants.

Said Tom Rutledege, COO of Cablevision Systems Corp., We think clearly TV patterns are changing.

Perhaps more than any other cable operator, Time Warner has most aggressively marketed new VOD products.One service, called Start Over allows viewers who tune in a few minutes late to start a network show at the beginning. A longer window is available in another service called Look Back.The latest product, Catch Up,allows viewers access to recent episodes of a show, such as 24 to catch up.

Glen Britt, president and CEO of Time Warner Cable, said that viewers who used DVRs were some of the biggest users of other VOD products. We're just in the third inning with this, he said.

Video ON Demand is becoming more powerful and were not going to stop, said Burke. So far history has shown when you give people more choice people they want more choice.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:02 AM 05-08-2007
A`question: If cable leaders are so high on VOD ("...when you give people more choice people they want more choice...") why are they against a la carte?

Maybe they should charge every cable sub $25 a month and allow everyone unlimited VOD. That would be in line with cable's "business model, wouldn't it?
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 09:06 AM 05-08-2007
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Technology Notebook
Here's a thought: DVRs are not all bad
Viewers have to watch an ad to zap through it
By Kevin Downey staff writer May 8, 2007

But to Kenneth Wilbur, the whole TiVo issue is way overblown.

Wilbur makes a simple argument: The very act of fast-forwarding requires that the viewer pay attention to the ad in order to know when the programming resumes.

Still, fast-forwarding is widely believed to be significant and becoming more commonplace.

What planet are these industry folks living on if they think average people with DVR's (which they apparently aren't) don't fast-forward through commercials of DVR'ed shows? It's basic common sense to assume the vast majority of people, normal people, have a busy life and would rather get to the show they're watching as quickly as possible. Just as its been common sense (but apparently not to these people) to assume normal TV viewers click away with the remote whenever a show goes on commercial to see what else is on other channels.

In my case I always catch one or two seconds of the first commercial on a block as I start fast-forwarding, and then the last 10-5 seconds of the last commercial (usually a network promo or local spot) before the show resumes. Maybe the networks could get creative and offer these "bridge" spots (the first and last of every break) at a premium price to advertisers because even fast-forwarding DVR owners will catch a second-long impression of the product/service. And in this day and age a sponsor of a network show should be happy to even get that much (little?) attention from viewers given the range of options to skip commercials altogether.
DoubleDAZ's Avatar DoubleDAZ 09:06 AM 05-08-2007
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

I bow to no one in my ability to be cynical.

But here is a thought about Ty Pennington.

I understand the urge to pile on. But I am not sure Pennington deserves it. As far as I know, he has made just this one transgressions.

He is no Paris Hilton or mega corporation continually (at best) fudging the truth or laughing at convention.

He is a guy who made a mistake, quickly owned up to it and is asking for some understanding.

Just because other celebrities and corporations have lied to us time after time, it seems to me we could give Pennington some slack.

I agree Fred. In my younger days I've been as guilty as anyone, just never got caught and never hurt anyone thankfully. Anyone who owns up to it instead of going to court with high priced lawyers gets another chance in my book. Though it's pretty stupid to drive under the influence these days, at least he isn't trying to hide and get off on some technicality like so many others do.
Rico6288's Avatar Rico6288 09:07 AM 05-08-2007
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Technology Notebook
Here's a thought: DVRs are not all bad
Viewers have to watch an ad to zap through it
By Kevin Downey staff writer May 8, 2007

Unless I use the 30 second skip button. Then I miss most ads and see only a second or two of other ads, if that.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:11 AM 05-08-2007
The 2007-2008 Season
The CW's viewership is steering the network toward brassy and trashy
By Melanie McFarland Seattle Post-Intelligencer TV Critic

Barely a sweet 16 months ago, when The CW was just a twinkle in Les Moonves' eye, the network formerly known as UPN adopted the slogan "Where the Girls Are." Illustrating that idea were the network's two most prominent faces, "Veronica Mars" star Kristen Bell and "America's Next Top Model" host Tyra Banks.

The WB, the other half of The CW, had long established its feminine appeal with shows such as "Felicity" and "Dawson's Creek," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Gilmore Girls." Then, late in its life, along came "Beauty and the Geek."

Billions of dollars in lost revenue later, the networks merged, and they made "Gilmore Girls" and "Veronica Mars" a Tuesday night dream team. The success of the former, one of the longest-running and most faithfully watched series, should have raised the fortunes of the latter.

It didn't. Instead, The CW noticed that "America's Next Top Model," beauty queens, nerds and pole dancers drew more viewers than the mother-daughter team or the network's much-loved girl detective.

So here we are, days before The CW is set to reveal next season's schedule, and we expect the idea of where the girls are to look very different from where the girls once were.

Bluntly put, it's a depressing view and a little like looking down the street at a junior version of a red-light district. Last week, The CW and Warner Bros. Television jointly announced that "Gilmore Girls" would be ending its run next Tuesday. Faltering ratings for the third season of "Veronica Mars" could spell its cancellation as well.

"America's Next Top Model," meanwhile, is thriving. "Beauty and the Geek" also performed quite well, as did "Veronica's" springtime replacement, "The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll."

See a pattern? It appears that whatever viewers stuck around to watch The CW's shows aren't looking for challenging scripts or college girls with ambition and spine. Heroines getting by on the strength of a high IQ and harsh life lessons are going out of style; surviving makeover rounds and mastering the art of what Banks called the booty touch -- that is, making your rump look larger than it really is in cheesecake shots -- are in.

At least one new drama may borrow from that idea. Josh Schwartz, who created "The O.C." will bring the TV take of "Gossip Girl" to the network. It's based on a series of books about materialistic New York prep school girls who worship at the altars of designer labels, money, sex and backstabbing. Feminist writer Naomi Wolf, sharing her thoughts on the books in a New York Times piece, was not amused.

What happened?

A number of things, really. Our obsession with Paris Hilton doesn't help. "Laguna Beach" did its part, along with "My Super Sweet 16." The popularity of "The Hills" was portended, in part, by the popularity of The WB (and now The CW) soap opera "One Tree Hill." In short, television's image of what it means to be a teen in America changed from yesteryear's introspection and the accentuation of qualities like free-spiritedness and resilience to coveting the best clothes, purses and, like, stuff.

The CW is trying to plant its banner on the pop culture landscape, and the fields have shifted drastically since Rory and Lorelai Gilmore were first introduced. Since "Veronica" played by that model from its first episode, there's no wonder her modern Nancy Drew was never a ratings homecoming queen.

It's possible that this mourning is a touch premature. "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas recently pitched an idea that would jump a few years into the future, re-imagining the title character as a novice FBI agent. Thomas is a smart writer with innovative ideas and an ear for clever dialogue, and The CW needs as many fresh ideas as it can get for 2007-08. This one would come with a loyal and passionate fan base. However, "Gilmore Girls" is in a different situation than "Veronica" in that it has had a seven-season run. Under Amy Sherman-Palladino's leadership for six of those years, the show was quite healthy. Its fatal flaw is that it went on for a season too long and had to end before its viewers abandoned it completely.

"Veronica" still has plenty of life in its concept. Sadly, the crowd devoted to "Veronica" was never large enough to guarantee its long-term survival and probably never will be. The series' first new episode after a two-month hiatus retained 53 percent of the "Gilmore Girls" audience and raked in about 2.52 million viewers.

Still, the idea is fairly nauseating that the death blow to "Veronica" may have been dealt by chicks whose goal in life is to hump the air to disposable pop music in frilly corsets and garters. The Pussycat Dolls professed to stand for empowerment in spite of all this, a state achieved via touching one's knee to one's ear. Indeed, The CW felt empowered to the tune of 3.9 million viewers watching the premiere, a number that more or less held steady throughout its run.

That, I'm afraid, is the reality of The CW's immediate future.

Unscripted programming is inexpensive, easy to produce and it delivers an injection of viewers in the short term. Even though a drama like "Veronica Mars" has more potential than reality series to make money later through syndication and DVD sales, The CW needs something to get its business off the ground now. Besides, enough episodes of "Gilmore Girls" and "Smallville" exist to keep that revenue stream flowing.

Savor the Gilmores and Veronica and Keith Mars while they're still on the air, and try not to think too hard about what CW viewers stand to lose with their departure. Rest assured, the fall lineup still will have plenty of programming that caters to female viewers. But nothing could ever replace what we have with the ladies of Stars Hollow or Neptune.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 09:14 AM 05-08-2007
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

I understand the urge to pile on. But I am not sure Pennington deserves it. As far as I know, he has made just this one transgressions. He is a guy who made a mistake, quickly owned up to it and is asking for some understanding. Just because other celebrities and corporations have lied to us time after time, it seems to me we could give Pennington some slack.

There's no bigger fan on this internet forum of "EM:HE" than me (or should I say there's no other vociferous fan of this show besides me) and you're right. Pennington doesn't have a reputation (other than being a hunky shirtless carpenter, something I personally don't get but I'm a guy) of being irresponsible, he did something wrong and owned to it right away. But the statement sounds like something cooked-up by Disney lawyers and it took three-four days after the arrest to be issued. The man hosts one of the highest-rated TV shows in the country, one that prides itself in being wholesome and family-friendly. So negative attention is inevitable given that this disrupts, at least for now, the perception the show built for itself, its talent and the network. I wish Ty best of luck in his road to recovery (both personal and professional) and my perception of him being a nutty designer with a big heart hasn't changed. But I certainly won't pass an opportunity to knock a celebrity off his pedestal. This is America, this is what we do for sport.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:16 AM 05-08-2007
Rico and dad: the networks are trying desperately to get advertisers to ignore the 17.2% (the most recent Nielsen number) of households which use DVRs.

Of course a massive amount of commercials aree missed by DVR viewers. But the networks still need to charge advertisers for those viewers.

The almost unbelievable fact is that despite steady increases in the number of DVR users, and steady decreases in viedwers, the networks will probably get at least a modest bump in the prices they get for their commercials when they begin to sell next week after the upfronts.

Network TV -- always a bit bizarre -- is almost becoming like an Alice In Wonderland business these days.;
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:25 AM 05-08-2007
Nielsen Notebook
May Sweeps Week One:
CBS, Fox Lead the Pack
By Marc Berman MediaWeek May 8, 2007

CBS and Fox lead the May 2007 troops after one week, with CBS the most-watched network and Fox No. 1 among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

Both networks, however, are down year-to-year, with CBS' early losses more extensive at 1.93 million viewers and 16 percent among adults 18-49. ABC currently ranks second in adults 18-49, with growth of three percent from one year earlier. And NBC is off to what could be its lowest rated sweep historically in the demo, with erosion of a hefty 26 percent. The CW, meanwhile, is no better than former networks UPN and the WB.

What follows is the week one (Thursday, April 26 - Wednesday, May 3) May 2007 sweeps results (with percent change versus the comparable year-ago period for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox in parentheses):

Total Viewers:
CBS: 11.13 million (-15)
Fox: 10.66 (- 2)
ABC: 9.82 (+13)
NBC: 7.09 (-22),
CW: 3.15

Adults 18-49:
Fox: 4.1 rating/12 share (- 9)
ABC: 3.4/10 (+ 3)
CBS: 3.1/ 9 (-16)
NBC: 2.3/ 7 (-26)
CW: 1.3/ 4
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:32 AM 05-08-2007
TV Notebook
Rescue Me Date Change, Other FX News
By Rich Heldenfels in his Akron Beacon Journal blog May 8, 2007

FX has now moved Rescue Me from its planned Tuesday telecasts to Wednesday, with the fourth season beginning June 13. Damages, the new Glenn Close drama, begins July 24. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia will be back in September. Dirt and The Riches have been picked up for another year.

Detailed announcement after the jump

Here's the official skinny from the network:

FX has placed orders for second seasons of the drama series Dirt, starring Courteney Cox, and The Riches, starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver, announced John Landgraf, President and General Manager of FX Networks. With the pick ups of those two dramas, the network has locked down its original programming schedule for 2007-2008, including the highly anticipated new drama series Damages, starring Glenn Close.

We're very proud to have managed, in the toughest possible competitive environment, to launch Dirt and The Riches two highly original series that have resonated with our audience as strongly as The Shield and Rescue Me, said Landgraf. FX now has six original dramas, more than any network in the history of cable television, cementing the network's status as a leader in quality original series. We congratulate all the wonderfully talented actors, writers, directors and producers who worked so hard on these shows.

The ratings for Dirt and The Riches are comparable to those of Rescue Me and The Shield in weekly delivery of Adults 18-49. FX sells it series to advertisers on the metric of multiple weekly telecasts. The weekly cume delivery for Dirt in its first season 3.66 million Adults 18-49 and 5.2 million total viewers. Through seven weeks of its first season, The Riches is averaging a weekly cume audience of 3.9 million Adults 18-49 and 5.9 million total viewers. By comparison, the third season of Rescue Me posted a weekly cume audience of 3.64 million Adults 18-49 and 5.66 million total viewers. The Shield's fifth season delivered 3.65 million Adults 18-49 and 5.65 million total viewers. FX's Nip/Tuck is basic cable's #1 show in delivery of Adults 18-49, posting a weekly cume audience of 5.1 million Adults 18-49 and 7.2 million total viewers.

Dirt was created by Matthew Carnahan, who also is executive producer along with Cox, David Arquette and Joel Fields. It is produced by ABC Studios and FX Productions.

The Riches was created by Dmitry Lipkin who is also Executive Producer along with Dawn Prestwich, Nicole Yorkin, Peter O'Fallon, Eddie Izzard, Guy Oseary, Mark Morgan and Michael Rosenberg. It is produced by Fox Television Studios and FX Productions.

Listed below is the programming schedule of FX original series for the remainder of 2007:


The critically acclaimed drama series Rescue Me, starring Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominee Denis Leary, moves to Wednesdays at 10PM ET/PT beginning June 13. FX will run the 13 episodes over 14 weeks (no new episode on the night of July 4th). All series regulars return this season and guest stars include Larenz Tate (at least 4 episodes), Jerry Adler (at least 3 episodes), Jennifer Esposito (4 episodes), and Susan Sarandon (2 episodes). When FX launched Rescue Me in 2004, it occupied the Wednesday night slot.


FX's new original drama series Damages premieres on Tuesday, July 24 at 10PM ET/PT. FX has ordered 13 episodes for the first season. A legal thriller set in the world of New York City high-stakes litigation, Damages follows the turbulent lives of Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) the nation's most revered and reviled high-stakes litigator and her bright, ambitious young protégé Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). After Patty handpicks Ellen to be a first-year Associate at the high- profile law firm, Hewes & Associates, life will never be the same for either one of them. Ellen, newly-engaged to her boyfriend David Connor (Noah Bean), is thrilled to join the ranks and be trained under Patty and Patty's trusted Senior Associate, Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan). But Ellen soon realizes that the price of success may be much higher than what she's willing to pay. Currently, the focus of Hewes & Associates' attention is a class action lawsuit targeting the allegedly corrupt Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson), one of the country's wealthiest CEOs. Patty, on behalf of her clients, is attempting to bankrupt and personally destroy Frobisher. As Patty battles with Frobisher and his attorney Ray Fiske (eljko Ivanek) Ellen Parsons will be front and center witnessing just what it takes to win at all costs.


FX's original comedy series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns for its third season in early September, with Danny DeVito returning for all 15 episodes. Sunny stars Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson and DeVito as owners of Paddy's Pub in Philadelphia, where their constant scheming to get ahead by not-so-redeemable methods usually lands them in a world of hurt.


The Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning drama series Nip/Tuck will return for its fifth season in the fall. The cultural phenomenon that is Nip/Tuck reveals the lives of Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon), two plastic surgeons, best friends and business partners who run recently relocated their thriving practice to Los Angeles.


The critically acclaimed reality program 30 Days is scheduled to return to FX in late-2007 with six one-hour installments for its third season. Hosted by Morgan Spurlock, the show places and individual in a situation that challenges their beliefs, taking on subjects such as religion, immigration and labor issues to name a few.


The series that launched FX in the business of scripted drama, returns for is seventh and final season of 13 episodes in 2008. Currently in its sixth season (runs Tuesdays at 10PM through June 5), the Emmy and Golden Globe award winning series begins production of its final season next month.


Dirt, starring Courteney Cox, returns for a 13-episode second season in 2008. Cox plays Lucy Spiller, the ruthless, powerful editor-in-chief of the celebrity tabloid magazines DirtNow. A genius at the art of manipulation, Lucy possesses a maniacal dedication to exposing the truth about Hollywood's luminaries. As steadfast photographer Don Konkey (Ian Hart) constantly provides exclusive, shocking pictures of the rich and famous for Lucy's magazines, the glossy, perfect veneer created by Hollywood is shattered - and available on newsstands every week. Dirt exposes the truth behind the façade of show business image making, and reveals the lives of those determined to do so, despite often tragic results.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 10:06 AM 05-08-2007
Monday's fast national over night prime-time ratings - and Media Week Analyst Marc Berman's view of what they mean -- have been posted at the top of Ratings News the second post in this thread.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 10:08 AM 05-08-2007
Overnights in the 18-49 Demo
CBS shows renewed spark on Monday
Ties with ABC for No. 1 in 18-49s with a 4.3
By Toni Fitzgerald staff writer May 8, 2007

After several so-so Mondays, CBS saw a bit of a revival on a night it used to dominate.

The network tied with ABC for No. 1 in primetime with an average 4.3 rating and 12 share last night, according to Nielsen overnights. CBS was up 5 percent over last week's 4.1 rating, while ABC was down 2 percent from last week's 4.4.

The past few years, CBS has been at or near the top on the night. But since last fall, when NBC began a string of wins, the Big Four networks have consistently traded leadership on the evening.

Last night CBS was helped by reviving ratings for two shows that have recently hit series lows, How I Met Your Mother at 8 p.m. and CSI: Miami at 10 p.m. Both were up at least 6 percent over the previous week, though still showing season-to-date declines.

Meanwhile, NBC's Heroes and Fox's 24 were both down from their season averages. Heroes hit a series low of 5.0, down from its previous low of 5.3 set two weeks ago. It had been averaging a 6.3 season to date. And 24 nearly matched a season low with a 4.0.

CBS and ABC tied for first last night among viewers 18-49, each with a 4.3 average rating and a 12 share. NBC was third at 3.5/9, Fox fourth at 3.3/9, Univision fifth at 2.0/5 and CW sixth at 1.2/3.

ABC started the night in the lead with a 4.5 rating during the 8 p.m. hour for the first 60 minutes of Dancing with the Stars. NBC was second that hour with a 3.1 for Deal or No Deal, CBS third with a 2.9 average for Mother (3.0) and The New Adventures of Old Christine (2.8), and Fox fourth with a 2.7 for a repeat of House. Univision was fifth with a 2.0 for La Fea Mas Bella and CW sixth with a 1.0 average for Everybody Hates Chris (1.0) and All of Us (1.0).

NBC took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 5.0 for Heroes, with CBS moving to second with a 4.6 average for Two and a Half Men (4.6) and The King of Queens (4.5). ABC slipped to third with a 4.5 average for the end of Stars and the first half hour of The Bachelor, with Fox fourth with a 4.0 for 24, Univision fifth with a 2.1 for Destilando Amor and CW sixth with a 1.3 average for an hour of Girlfriends.

The 10 p.m. hour was CBS's turn on top, as the network led with a 5.3 for CSI: Miami. ABC was second with a 3.9 for the last hour of The Bachelor, NBC third with a 2.4 for The Real Wedding Crashers and Univision fourth with a 1.8 for Cristina.

Among households, ABC led the night with a 10.0 average rating and a 16 share, with CBS second at 8.3/13, Fox third at 5.7/9, NBC fourth at 5.5/9, Univision fifth at 2.4/4 and CW sixth at 1.8/3.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 10:12 AM 05-08-2007
TV Notebook
Grace to leave Court TV
Former prosecutor to focus on CNN show
By Michael Learmonth Variety May 8, 2007

Nancy Grace, the fiery former prosecutor who has defined Court TV programming for more than a decade, is leaving the network.

Grace is leaving her two-hour Court TV show, "Nancy Grace: Closing Arguments," to focus on her CNN Headline News show, "Nancy Grace," a move sources said she had been considering for some time.

She has anchored shows on both networks since the re-launch of CNN Headline News in 2005. But in February, Court TV signed Star Jones and said it would cut back Grace's show to one hour to create a new show for the former co-host of "The View."

Grace's show on Headline News is in primetime and has been that network's biggest hit, and while Court TV gave Grace her start in TV, it has been shifting its promotional resources to a primetime of reality shows and dramas such as "Psychic Detectives" and "Forensic Files."

Court TV recently cancelled "Catherine Crier Live," another legal analysis show that had a seven-year run on the network.

Grace's show will continue to air between 3 pm to 5 pm through the summer. Court TV had planned to cut back the show to one hour to in the fall when the show it is developing with Jones was to air at 4 pm.

Grace's departure comes months after Time Warner acquired the 50% of the network it didn't already own and folded it into its cable unit, which includes Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS and TNT.

At the network's upfront presentation in February, network execs said Court TV would be re-branded and re-named in January to reflect its new focus on entertainment.
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