Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3183 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews

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HDTV Programming

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How do you switch to retro skin? I don't even know what retro skin is.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Starz to Debut ‘Outlander’ Premiere Free a Week Early, Show Gets Split Season
By Jethro Nededog, Team - Jul. 11, 2014

Starz announced two developments regarding the first season run of its much-anticipated series, “Outlander.”

First, the premium cable network will release the premiere episode a week ahead of its television debut. The premiere episode will be available on multiple online and television platforms, including, the Starz “Outlander” Twitter page, the Starz YouTube page, Starz “Outlander” Facebook Page and the free STARZ PLAY app for all users in the United States starting Aug. 2.

A week later, the series will officially debut on Starz on Aug. 9 at 9/8c. But, it will only air the first half of the show's 16-episode first season on Saturdays through Sept. 27. The remaining episodes will air in early 2015.

When asked why Starz decided to split the season up, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told TheWrap in a statement that the move bought some time for the production to finish the show.

“While airing a season in two parts is not a new strategy, in the case of ‘Outlander,’ it allows the production enough time to finish making this beautiful — and very epic — show,” Albrecht said. “As it is now, it will be shooting through the end of September, well past its August 9 premiere. This also allows us to get other projects on the air before the end of the year that we've wanted to experiment with, like ‘The Missing.'”

Adapted from Diana Gabaldon's popular novel of the same name, “Outlander” follows Claire (Balfe), a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.

In the past, her life is threatened and she's forced to marry Jamie Fraser (Heughan), a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior. As a result, Claire becomes torn between her two lives.

“Battlestar Galactica” producer Ronald D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg are executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining and Supply Company and Left Bank Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
‘The Chair’ Producer Zachary Quinto Talks ‘Skepticism’ About Unscripted TV
By Tim Kenneally, Team - Jul. 11, 2014

Zachary Quinto admitted Friday that he wasn't sure about getting involved in the upcoming Starz series “The Chair,” an unscripted competition series about two filmmakers vying for a $250,000 prize as they make two separate movies adapted from the same script.

Speaking to reporters at the Television Critics Association at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Friday, “Star Trek” star Quinto — who serves as co-executive producer on the series — noted that he was wary that the series would be manipulated to hype up the drama.

“I had a certain level of skepticism about involving myself in a documentary series. But I think the thing that I recognized is that this show was made with a certain level of creative integrity and that it truly is about documentation rather than manipulation,” Quinto said of the series, which premieres Sept. 6. “I think Anna and Shane would attest to that as the filmmakers. We stayed out of the way we captured stuff and we tell the story of the show based on what actually happened rather than trying to make things happen.”

“The Chair,” created by “Project Greenlight” alum Chris Moore, chronicles the efforts of Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci to make their films on a relatively paltry budget of $950,000, only $600,000 of which was available as discretionary budget to the directors. The winner will be determined by viewers via a multiplatform voting process.

While Dawson, who boasts more than 10 million subscribers, would seem to have a competitive edge in the voting process, Moore emphasized that — so far, at least — there are scant examples of YouTube filmmakers transitioning into mainstream filmmaking success.

“To be perfectly honest, if it were as simple as whomever has 10 million fans on YouTube is going to turn into a massive filmmaker and all those people are going to go out and buy tickets and buy DVDs, the world would be a totally different place,” Moore said.

Besides, both Dawson and Martemucci emphasized, while the quarter-million dollars would be nice, participating in the show itself has already provided its own rewards.

“The fact that we're both making a movie that we don't have to break our own bank for, which we've been doing since we started, we have final cut, we get distribution, we're on the show, we have this platform … I mean, the fact that there is a prize is unnecessary, in my opinion,” Dawson said.

“It's almost secondary,” Martemucci added. “I don't think [the prize] would change my life as much as this experience has already changed my life … I wanna win; I just recognize that I've been given something more valuable already.”
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
‘Virgin Territory’ Not Your Usual MTV Fare
By The Team - Jul. 10, 2014

At today’s TCA, MTV Head of Programming Susanne Daniels acknowledged that the channel deciding to air a series on virginity is a lot like “Snooki and JWoww on Meet The Press.”

But both the exec and the creative forces behind MTV’s new docuseries Virgin Territory (launching July 16) said they believe MTV is doing a public service by examining the young generation’s thoughts on virginity.

Today’s panel included Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and three young people whose lives are explored on the show: Dominique Sullivan, a 22-year-old single virgin; Lisa Youngerman, 23, who saved her virginity for marriage; and Alec Melger, 21, a virgin who says he is doing his best to change that.

“I love to talk about sex, but I’m not having it,” Melger said to laughter. “Abstinence is not for me. Whether you are waiting or you are down to lose it, it’s your choice”. He said he loves Jersey Shore and that as a 4th grader an MTV show exposed him to a “threesome in a bathtub, and I thought that was really cool.”

Daniels, who introduced the panel, defended network programming that depicts people becoming sexually active at an early age — in particular 16 And Pregnant and Teen Mom. “I feel a great deal of responsibility,” Daniels said. She made a point of saying “I didn’t develop Teen Mom, I didn’t put it on the air” and that her first reaction was that she thought the idea “sounded exploitative.”

However, both she and Brown cited a recent study from the respected Brookings Institution that shows that the rate of teen pregnancy has dropped significantly in communities where Teen Mom and 16 And Pregnant have high viewership.

MTV as birth control? It was clear that not all of the audience was buying it. But Brown said the main point of Virgin Territory is to paint a realistic picture of how the young generation views virginity.

Brown said research indicates that “well over 70%” of young adults admire the decision to abstain until marriage even if they make a different choice for themselves. “I’m not taking sides here, I’m just reporting [survey] results,” she said.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
VH1 Execs Talk ‘Dating Naked’; LeAnn Rhimes & Eddie Cibrian Set The Record Straight

Today’s TCA panels on new VH1 shows were preceded by EVP Original Programming and Production Susan Levison begging TV critics to approach VH1’s new series Dating Naked without “preconceived notions”. (Check out the clip below).

This was a tall order since the executive also said that the show had not been screened for critics because the production team was still putting “the final blurs” over the daters’ genitalia. Still, the audience chuckled good-naturedly at a clip in which a naked male dater setting out on a date on the water said: “If I get excited, we’re going to need a big boat.”

Dating Naked is one of three new shows premiering Thursday July 17: Dating Naked (9 PM) Candidly Nicole (10 PM) and Leann And Eddie (10:30 PM) There was no Dating Naked panel, but married couple LeAnn Rhimes and Eddie Cibrian were on hand to explain why their show about themselves isn’t exploitative, either.

The couple said they pitched their series (from Duck Dynasty producers Scott and Deirdre Gurney) to VH1 as a chance to set the record straight on their tabloid-fodder lives. Said Rhimes: “Everyone has used our lives as entertainment. We wanted to take our lives back.”

Once they take their lives back, what about next season, one journalist wanted to know? “I guess that’s up to the tabloids. If they want to stop writing about us, we won’t need to set the record straight.” Cibrian joked, adding the show could last because it “is really about our relationship.”

And, Cibrian wisecracked: “Susan [Levison] has already said she wants to do LeAnn & Eddie Naked”.

Here’s a clip for Dating Naked: [CLICK LINK]
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
'Better Call Saul': New photos, details from 'Breaking Bad' spin-off
By James Hibberd, Team - Jul. 11, 2014

The producers of Better Call Saul are answering some questions about the hotly anticipated Breaking Bad spin-off prequel, and AMC is releasing some new photos. Writer-producers Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould took questions from reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills on Friday. Here’s what we learned:

1. The series regulars and their confirmed character names joining star Bob Odenkirk: Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) as “fixer” Mike Erhmantraut, Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap) as Chuck, Rhea Seehorn (Franklin & Bash) as Kim, Patrick Fabian (Grey’s Anatomy) as Hamlin and Michael Mando (Orphan Black) as Nacho.

2. Better Call Saul is set in 2002 — six years before Saul (Odenkirk) meets Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in Breaking Bad. Funny enough, that the events in Breaking Bad starting in 2008 is also new information, Gilligan said, noting that the original show never specified what year it took place. “I hesitate to say it, but it is indeed a period piece,” Gilligan said.

3. Yet the show will definitely jump around in time, as has been widely reported. “I think the best way to answer this and not get yelled at is you saw from Breaking Bad that we like non-linear storytelling and jumping around in time,” Gilligan said. “I would point you in the that direction, that anything that’s possible in Breaking Bad is possible in Better Call Saul.”

4. Saul Goodman’s name in Better Call Saul is not yet Saul Goodman. When we meet Odenkirk’s character, he’s actually known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet and working with Mike. The series will track Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman.

5. McKean plays Goodman’s brother. “So we have these two comedy legends working together,” Gould noted.

6. The show will not copy Breaking Bad’s neo-Western visual style. “Peter came with an idea book of frame grabs from classic movies, like The Conformist, we talked a lot about Kubrick,” Gilligan said. “We’re doing our damndest to make it as different as possible. It’s important that this not look like a carbon copy of Breaking Bad.”

7. Walter White will only show up if it makes sense: “If it makes sense we’ll do it, if it doesn’t make sense we won’t,” Gilligan said. “I’d love to have him as a director … character wise, who knows? Maybe there’s a way to do it.”

8. There’s a chance fan-favorite villain Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) could return: “There’s always a chance, yeah,” Gilligan said. Added Gould: “These are all characters we love and with Gus there is so much more to say about that character, and we certainly love Giancarlo. Having said that, we’re trying to make something that stands on its own that has an entertainment value that’s not just seeing a series of old favorites. It’s not the series equivalent of a clip show. So we try to balance these things out. But I agree there’s so much to be said about Gus — although in the series it always seemed to me that Saul didn’t know Gus directly. He knew a guy who knew a guy.”

9. The reason Better Call Saul was pushed from fall to early 2015: “I am slow as mud as a TV writer,” Gilligan said. “We had a pace on Breaking Bad thanks to AMC that was deliciously stately … we have a way of doing things that’s slower than most tv shows … because we want to think everything through and we think that pays dividends.”

10. Some Breaking Bad directors are returning: After Gilligan’s premiere, Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones) will direct episode 2, Terry McDonough (who directed the first Saul episode) directs episode 3 and Colin Bucksey (four episodes of Breaking Bad) helms episode four and Adam Bernstein (Fargo) has episode 5.

Better Call Saul is set to premiere in early 2015. As previously announced, Gilligan directed the first episode of the first season, which will consist of 10 epiosdes. The second season will consist of 13 episodes.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Martial arts drama from 'Smallville' team coming to AMC

Could AMC successfully resurrect the martial arts TV drama?

On Friday, AMC announced a straight-to-series order for Badlands, a new series based “very loosely” on the Chinese tale “Journey to the West.” The project is from writer-producers Al Gough and Miles Millar, who in addition to The CW’s Smallville also did the kung fu comedy film Shanghai Noon. Also on board are producers Stacy Sher and Michael Shamberg (Pulp Fiction) and martial arts filmmakers Daniel Wu (Tai Chi Zero) and Stephen Fung. The show’s pitch: “In a land controlled by feudal barons, Badlands tells the story of a great warrior and a young boy who embark on a journey across a dangerous land to find enlightenment.”

For TV fans of a certain age, the project will naturally bring to mind the 1970s classic series Kung Fu, which starred starring David Carradine as a Shaolin monk who traveled the American West. But that would be Kung Fu and Walker, Texas Ranger … not much else that’s been broadly popular lately — unless you delve into kids’ programming, which is full of martial arts-themed shows such as Power Rangers and Avatar: The Last Airbender. So like how AMC brought zombies to prime-time with The Walking Dead, the network could be onto something here since martial arts is common in kids’ programming and in movies, just not the focus of grown-up TV shows. AMC has ordered six episodes for a premiere in late 2015 or early 2016.

“This creative team has so much expertise in bringing a fresh take to classic genres from their film and television experience, and their take on martial arts will be no exception,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s executive vice president of original programming. “Along with a beautiful story, they’ve also assembled the A-Team of martial arts fight choreography in Daniel Wu and Stephen Fung.”
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TV/Legal Notes
Tracy Morgan Sues Wal-Mart Over Deadly Crash
By Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Hollywood Esq.' Blog - Jul. 11, 2014

Tracy Morgan is suing Wal-Mart over a New Jersey Turnpike accident that left one person dead and several people hospitalized, including the 30 Rock actor.

Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper allegedly plowed into a limousine van carrying Morgan on June 7, and Morgan and others injured in the accident allege negligence on Wal-Mart's part in a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

Read the complaint here.

"Wal-Mart was careless and negligent in the ownership and operation of its motor vehicle, which caused Mr. Morgan to suffer severe personal injuries,” the complaint reads. “As a direct and proximate result of said collision, Mr. Morgan was caused to sustain severe painful bodily injuries, including but not limited to multiple fractures which required multiple surgeries, extensive medical treatment and will require significant physical rehabilitation.”

Plaintiffs include Krista Millea, the wife of late comedian James McNair, who died in the accident, as well as Morgan's assistant, Jeffrey Millea, and comedian Ardie Fuqua. The plaintiffs are suing for negligence, and in addition, Millea is suing for loss of consortium.

They are seeking compensatory and statutory damages, punitive damages, legal fees, as well as pre and post-post judgment interest, among other things at a trial by jury.

Wal-Mart expressed its sorrow over the accident in a statement.

"This has been a terrible tragedy. We wish Mr. Morgan, Mr. Fuqua Jr., and Mr. Millea full recoveries," the statement reads. "Our thoughts continue to go out to them, their families and friends, as well as to the families and friends of everyone involved, including Mr. McNair who lost his life. We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved. As we’ve said, we’re cooperating fully in the ongoing investigation. We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we’re committed to doing the right thing for all involved."

The suit alleges that Roper was fatigued when the accident occurred, and that "Wal-Mart knew, or should have known" that he had been "awake for more than 24 consecutive hours" ahead of the crash. According to the suit, Roper had commuted 700 miles from his home in Jonesboro, Ga. to a Wal-Mart facility in Smyrna, Del., before beginning his shift.

"Additionally, there were many Wal-Mart distribution facilities closer to Mr. Roper's home — including nine in Georgia alone — which would have significantly reduced Mr. Ropers commute to work," the suit reads.

It says Wal-Mart either "knew or should have known" that it was "unreasonable" for Roper to drive 700 miles before his shift. The suit also alleges Roper fell asleep at the wheel immediately before the crash as a result of his fatigue. It goes on to say Wal-Mart turns a blind eye to workers who break regulations regarding shift limits set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

"Wal-Mart not only failed to condemn, but condoned this practice of its drivers routinely violating the F.M.S.C.A. Regulations," the suit reads.

Roper was going 65 mph in a 45-mph zone just before the accident, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report. Roper has plead not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges.

Morgan left the hospital on June 20 and was moved to a rehabilitation facility.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Can ‘The Divide’ Do for WE Tv What ‘Mad Men’ Did for AMC?
By Whitney Friedlander, Team - Jul. 11, 2014

Next week, WE tv will premiere “The Divide,” marking the basic cabler first attempt at an original scripted series — a leap into its rebranding strategy to be less known for femme-focused programming.

Created by writer-director Richard LaGravenese (“Behind the Candelabra,” “Water for Elephants”) and “Scandal” actor Tony Goldwyn, the eight-episode series follows a case worker and a district attorney both struggling to maintain their morals in a corrupt and racist justice system where an inmate is behind bars for a crime he (maybe?) didn’t commit. (Goldwyn also directed two episodes during his off time from leading the free world on “Scandal.”) If this sounds more high-brow that what’s expected from WE tv, that’s because it was a project originally workshopped for sister channel AMC.

At the channel’s Television Critics’ Assn. panel on Friday at the Beverly Hilton hotel, the creators and stars commented on this inevitable comparison:

Whitney Friedlander @loislane 79
Greatest decisions AMC made was 1) say no, but keep contracts 2) reinvent it for WE -- LaGravenese #TCA14 @TheD ivide_WEtv

They acknowledge the gravity of the show’s subject matter and worked with the Innocence Project, the nonprofit legal organization that works to overturn wrong convictions, for accuracy. This is issue that has haunted Goldwyn since he directed 2010′s “Conviction” and he said the subject matters in “The Divide” are “amalgams” of actual events, switching races and situations for stronger impact.

Whitney Friedlander @loislane 79
Every life associated w violent crime is extraordinary & makes for great storytelling -- @TonyG oldwyn #TheDivide #TCA14
6:46 PM - 11 Jul 2014

The panelists also acknowledged comparisons to Goldwyn’s day job, particularly when asked if they took anything away from Shonda Rhimes’ political sudser.

“How to shoot the sex scenes,” joked “The Divide” actress Marin Ireland.

“The Divide” premieres at 9 p.m. July 16 on WE tv.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Pivot Renews ‘Please Like Me’ for Season 3, Greenlights Conservation Series ‘The Operatives’
By Laura Prudom, - Jul. 11, 2014

Pivot has renewed comedy “Please Like Me” for season three, the network announced Friday at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour.

The series is created by and stars Australian comedian Josh Thomas, and centers around Thomas’ character, Josh, and his life, relationships and misadventures after he comes out to his family. Season two premieres Fri., Aug. 8 at 10:30 p.m. on Pivot. Inspired by the series, and continuing its mission to spark conversation and inspire change, Pivot has teamed with the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) on Say Something, a social action campaign that highlights the experiences of the 1 in 4 individuals living with mental illness to help de-stigmatize the issue, and sway policymakers to prioritize passing comprehensive mental health legislation.

The network has also greenlit “The Operatives,” an original series chronicling the life of adventurer, author and eco warrior Pete Bethune and his team of extreme conservationalists, who travel the world to take on and expose the offenders who are harming vulnerable wildlife, natural resources and ecosystems around the world.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Pivot on this new, action-packed series that tackles environmental and wildlife issues in a way you have never seen before on television,” Bethune said in a statement. “Pivot has a history of supporting ground-breaking conservation documentaries and series, and to have them bring our series to their network is awesome.”

In the first of eight, hourlong installments, Bethune and his team — which includes a former SEAL Team 6 member, a U.S. Marine and a Maori paratrooper — set out to film the Nambian seal pup kill that results in the deaths of 90,000 animals annually.

Pivot also announced that original drama series “Fortitude,” starring Stanley Tucci, will make its premiere in January 2015. The 12-episode first season tells the story of the small, Arctic town of Fortitude, whose peaceful existence is shattered after a brutal and shocking murder. Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer) leads the investigation and is forced to work alongside DCI Morton (Tucci), a detective who’s flown into Fortitude.

The network announced that it will debut two new half-hour comedies on Fri., Oct. 17 beginning at 10 p.m.: “Freestyle Love Supreme” an improv series inspired by the acclaimed stage show from Tony and Grammy award-winners Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail, and “Welcome to Fairfax,” which explores the vibrant arts district of Los Angeles and the entrepreneurs who work and live on those blocks.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
LeBron James’ Absence Demands Explanation During Starz's ‘Survivor's Remorse’ Panel
By Jethro Nededog, Team - Jul. 11, 2014

Starz's Television Critics Association panel for its first half-hour comedy, “Survivor's Remorse,” had to answer for their missing executive producer, LeBron James, on Friday.

At the top of the session, the first question from press was, “So, LeBron couldn't make it?”

The basketball player was an early inspiration on the project. Now based in Boston, the show was once set in James’ own Cleveland.

“There are a lot of earlier drafts that no one has seen,” writer and executive producer Mike O'Malley said.

“Survivor's Remorse” tells the story of a young man named Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher), who's challenged with honoring those who helped him reach success as his basketball career goes into overdrive.

With about half of the panel completed, the producers were once again faced with explaining James’ absence.

“What exactly is LeBron doing today?” a reporter asked.

On the spot and amid laughter, executive producer Maverick Carter said, “He may be in the H.R. office filling out his paperwork for his new job, getting a physical…”

That's likely true. It was announced earlier on Friday that the four-time MVP left the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers. But, Carter made it clear that his absence during the panel was no indication of James’ work ethic or how he feels toward the series.

“LeBron is very, very busy with his job and the playoffs and going through all the free agency things,” he said. “He's obviously a big supporter of the show, a big supporter of Mike's. He loves the show and obviously he has his reasons, he's not here.”

He continued, “He is getting a new job, literally. I was being a little sarcastic, but the truth is he got a new job today and he's celebrating with his family. And when you get a new job at the NBA, instead of going through H.R. like a normal job, you do have to go through a physical.”

“Survivor's Remorse” airs in the fall.

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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Kiss's Gene Simmons Disses Ex-Bandmates, Michael Vick
By Tim Molloy, Team - Jul. 11, 2014

Kiss's Gene Simmons played offense during a panel about his new AMC show “4th and Loud,” mocking his ex-bandmates’ struggles with addiction and taking shots at Michael Vick.

Simmons and a more diplomatic Paul Stanley took the stage at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Friday to discuss their new reality show about the L.A. Kiss, their Arena Football Team.

Asked why he and Stanley were the only original Kiss members who remain in the band, Simmons wasn't kind.

“Why would you dump your best friend who became a crackhead and a loser?” he asked. “We love and respect those guys for what they did at the outset of the band, and they succumbed to the cliches of cliches, which is drugs and alcohol. Are you kidding me? If you're going to pass the ball to your teammate and they can't see where the goal is, they've got to leave.”

Original Kiss-mates Ace Frehley and Peter Criss have both been open about their struggles with addiction.

Stanley opined that being in the band at the start didn't guarantee lifetime membership “if you can no longer uphold your end.”

Added Simmons: “Do you have a car? You ever get a flat tire? What'd you do, the whole car stopped because one flat tire decided the car shouldn't run? Or did you change the flat tire?”

Simmons also said he wanted Tim Tebow to join the L.A. Kiss, in part because he has good values and “doesn't torture dogs” — a reference to Michael Vick.

Simmons and Stanley will both feature prominently in the 10-episode first season of “4th and Loud,” which debuts Tuesday, August 5 at 10/9c on AMC.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
SundanceTV’s ‘The Honorable Woman’ Shoots Down Conspiracy Theory, Sequel Hopes
By Lisa De Moraes, - Jul. 10, 2014

Discussion of SundanceTV‘s new miniseries The Honorable Woman — a political thriller starring Maggie Gyllenhaal — began with a question about the girl who was cast as the young Nessa when she’s “darker” than Gyllenhaal. Apparently in the UK, where the show’s already debuted on BBC Two, it’s sparked some conspiracy theories — child-switching may be involved.

BAFTA-winning writer/director/producer Hugo Blick appeared to be unaware of the kerfuffle overseas, and said that when the young actress was cast she was “very much paler” than when she returned from a holiday, which they tried to correct in post — “but apparently not enough.”

As a great conspiracy died at birth, the press turned to their “How about all these substantive roles on TV for women — your thoughts?” question they like to pull out of their pocket whenever a woman who’s starred in movies comes before them at a TV Press Tour to talk about her TV project. In the project, Gyllenhaal plays a British woman who witnessed the assassination of her father, a Zionist arms procurer, grew up to head his company, which she transformed into a company that lays high spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank, gets appointed to the House of Lords, and triggers an international political maelstrom

Janet McTeer, who was also on stage this afternoon — she plays Dame Julia Walsh in the miniseries — stepped up and spoke eloquently about watching a movie that has 1,700 parts for guys but just three women, who all have to be gorgeous and under 25. Walsh also is fed up with movie roles that require women to wear shoulder pads and talk and behave like men. Gyllenhaal admitted she likes wearing shoulder pads, but otherwise is on the same page. Blick jumped in to note the political thriller genre is inherently masculine, which is a genre he thought would be interesting to populate with a group of women.

TV critics wanted to know if, despite this being billed as an eight-part miniseries, there was a chance the franchise could continue, or spawn a spinoff. The question was understandable — FX calls American Horror Story a miniseries, as well as Fargo, and some people think HBO should have done same with True Detective.

“Part of the trust we offer the audience is that it’s THIS story,” Blick said, dashing critics hopes. “We’re not trying to wink and say ‘Maybe there’s another one.’ It’s got something profoundly engaging to say…because the conclusion it takes is final.”

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
SundanceTV Serves Up Four-Hour ‘One Child’ On Thanksgiving Weekend
By The Team - Jul. 10, 2014

The original miniseries follows the story of Mei, a young woman born in China and raised by British parents who is called back to Guangzhou by her desperate birth mother after Mei’s brother is wrongly accused of murder. One Child stars Katie Leung as the woman who struggles in the face of crisis to determine her family loyalties, true identity and the meaning of family. Elizabeth Perkins, Donald Sumpter play her UK parents.

SundanceTV will air the four-hour mini, which it acquired in the spring, on November 28 & 29. One Child is a BBC Drama production for BBC Two, co-produced with SundanceTV and distributed by BBC Worldwide North America. Hilary Salmon is the executive producer. It marks the former Sundance Channel’s third consecutive collaboration with BBC Worldwide, following the mini Top Of The Lake, which won a Golden Globe for star Elisabeth Moss, and the upcoming The Honorable Woman, toplined by Maggie Gyllenhaal.
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SATURDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - Bet On Your Baby
9PM - Mistresses
(R - Jul. 7)
10PM - Nightline Prime

8PM - Bad Teacher
8:30PM - Bad Teacher
9PM - Under The Dome
(R - Jul. 7)
10PM - 48 Hours

8PM - Dateline NBC (120 min.)
(R - Jul. 12, 2013)
10PM - The Blacklist
(R - Mar. 3)
* * * *
11:29PM - Saturday Night Live (Lena Dunham hosts; The National performs, 93 min.)
(R - Mar. 8)

7PM - MLB Baseball: Regional Coverage (LIVE)
* * * *
11PM - Animation Domination High-Def (60 min.)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Austin City Limits (Randy Newman) (R - Nov. 12, 2011)

8PM - Sábado Gigante (Three Hours)

6:30PM - Movie: Fast & Furious 4 (2009)
8:30PM - Movie: Terminator Salvation (2009)

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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
History Wins With ‘Pawnography’ Game Show Debut Starring ‘Pawn Stars’ Trio
By Dominic Patten, - Jul. 11, 2014

Turns out the move into game shows were a good bet for the gang from Pawn Stars and for History. The 10 PM debut last night of Pawnography pulled in 2.82 million viewers with 995,000 among Adults 18-49 and 1.2 million among the 25-54s. While that is far below the 3.18 million total viewers who tuned in for the Season 8 premiere of Pawn Stars in October, the premiere of the Leftfield Pictures game show actually is the best any new show has done on History this year. Appalachian Outlaws drew 2.79 million for its January 9 premiere Fellow reality series Curse Of Oak Island got 2.5 million for its January 5 debut. It certainly didn’t hurt Pawnography that its debut was the lead-out to the most recent episode of Pawn Stars, which was watched by 3.477 million viewers and was the most watched original on cable last night.

in Vegas, home of the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop made even more famous after 8 cycles of the reality show, and hosted by comedian Christopher Titus, Pawnography sees contestants face off against PS stars Rick Harrison, his son Corey and his pal Austin “Chumlee” Russell. Through three escalating rounds, participants can win cash and valued items from Harrison’s personal collection at the pawn shop. History ordered 10 episodes of Pawnography in April, but with viewership numbers like last night’s debut, no doubt it intends to put the latest effort from three of the channel’s biggest stars in hock anytime soon.Maybe they can even get “Old Man” Richard Harrison to make a cameo.
dcowboy7's Avatar dcowboy7
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
How do you switch to retro skin? I don't even know what retro skin is.
Scroll down all the way to the bottom....on the left theres a dropdown box with options avs forums new, dark, retro, mobile.

But if i switch it to retro i can still see blue like where its says summer tca tour, tv legal notes so not sure why mrvideo cant see it ?

I use dark & can see blue there too.
bobby94928's Avatar bobby94928
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I can see it in Retro as well. The blue doesn't jump out at you though, the colors are somewhat close, but it is easy to read.
aaronwt's Avatar aaronwt
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Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post
Dad, the use of blue characters results in the text not being viewable at all when the new retro skin is used. Change to the retro skin and look for yourself.

You need to find a color that works for all three skins, as blue doesn't work with dark or retro.
Blue works here with dark and retro. I can see the blue just fine in Dark although with Retro it does become a little harder to read.
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, - Jul. 12, 2014

ESPN, 4:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s World Cup game won’t have the tension of other games thus far, because the two teams participating, the Netherlands and host country Brazil, have lost already in the semifinals, and are playing for pride and a third-place finish. For Brazil, any pride the team can salvage would help, because it lost its last game by suffering Brazil’s worst defeat in World Cup history, being trounced by Germany 7-1 (pictured). The Netherlands, meanwhile, after holding Argentina to a draw for 120 minutes of regulation and overtime play, lost in a penalty-kick shootout.

HBO, 8:00 p.m.

At this year's Golden Globes, co-host Tina Fey summarized the plot of this 2013 movie, which stars Sandra Bullock as an astronaut stranded in orbit, thusly: “George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.” It was a perfectly written, timed and delivered joke, and even Clooney laughed about it: “That’s a good one,” he said admiringly. “It’s a well-constructed joke.” But since then, he’s been working on pranking Fey and co-host Amy Poehler, with so far entertaining results. Speaking of entertaining: the special effects in this film are out of this world. Really.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1956 film was Marilyn Monroe’s first film after studying at the Actors Studio, and also was her first starring role in a dramatic film. It is, however, a film with music, and Monroe performs it – under-performs it, really – completely in character. Think of her down-and-out nightclub singer, Cherie, as the American equivalent of Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

SyFy, 9:00 p.m. ET

This 2004 movie is entertaining on its own merits, and a film that beat to the punch most of the current wave of movies based on graphic novels. There are two reasons to watch it at this moment in pop-culture time. One, to catch Ron Perlman’s starring performance, as a demon turned superhero, four years before he co-starred on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, in a role he recently, uh, relinquished. And the other is to catch an early, stylish directorial effort by Guillermo del Toro, who tomorrow night unveils a new TV series, The Strain, based on a series of novels he co-wrote with Chuck Hogan. Not graphic novels. Novels.

BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET

Poppy (Amy Hoggart) took in all the glamour of New York City and Fashion Week. In this week’s episode, they take in all the glamour of… Detroit. Including the ballet.

* * * *

TV Review
Good, Scary TV: FX’s ‘The Strain’ Could Catch On, Like a Virus
By David Bianculli, - Jul. 11, 2014

TV’s newest supernatural genre series, FX’sThe Strain, takes on the familiar topic of vampires – but in a way that’s inventive and dazzling, as well as, yes, biting…

The Strain is based on a series of books by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro, both of whom co-created the new FX drama, working with show-runner Carlton Cuse, formerly of ABC’s Lost. The Strain premieres Sunday night at 10, moving FX into the Sunday night TV arena, where the biggest and boldest series grapple for viewers and acclaim.

HBO earned its bones on Sundays with The Sopranos, and a string of hits up to and including True Detective. Showtime is counter-punching with the likes of Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex and Penny Dreadful. AMC has run the table with both Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and even the broadcast networks fire some major salvos here. Sunday is when CBS presents The Good Wife, and PBS presents such popular series as Sherlock.

And now, FX presents its first Sunday night TV series, hoping it’ll go viral. Which, considering the subject matter, is deliciously appropriate.

The Strain is about a very mysterious event that requires open-minded specialists to be brought in to investigate and explain. A jumbo passenger plane lands in New York, but no one gets out or responds. Everyone seems to have died as suddenly as those frozen-in-time victims at Pompeii, though the plane landed safely, and equipment on the ground picks up a sound, if not a sign, of life.

Three decades ago, this would have been a job for Ghostbusters. Two decades ago, it would have gone to Mulder and Scully on The X-Files. But in this new 2014 TV series, the guy who answers the call to action and slips into his high-tech protective gear is a scientist named Ephraim Goodweather, who leads a team of investigators at the Centers for Disease Control. And what he finds, on the other side of that airplane hatch, is a series of mysteries within mysteries, the less of which is revealed the better.

But in broadest strokes, Eph and his cohorts find themselves trying to identify, understand and eradicate a mysterious virus that kills most of its victims almost instantly – but isn’t through with them yet. And eventually (four episodes, each of them entertaining, were provided for preview), Eph comes to understand that the disease he’s fighting isn’t a new one, but an ancient one, with the strength, resilience and ruthlessness that comes with surviving for centuries.

Eph is played by Corey Stoll, a dynamic actor who had me when he played Ernest Hemingway’s Midnight in Paris. Since then, he’s appeared on Netflix’s House of Cards and elsewhere, but this is his first major TV series lead – and he handles it as expertly as you’d expect.

Even more impressive here, and the real reason to give The Strain a try, is del Toro, who not only co-wrote the novels on which this is based, but directed the pilot and is overseeing the visual look as well. This is fabulous news, because del Toro’s strong cinematic credits include Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy and Pacific Rim. Some of the images in these first few hours will stay with you, creeping you out and burrowing into your brain like a… well, like something you’ll see before long in a typically creepy scene in The Strain.

I’ll come back to The Strain, and discuss the metaphorical implications of its story line, at some later point – to do it now would reveal and ruin too many of the surprises. For now, just watch. Sometimes with your fingers covering an eye or two – but watch.

For a full review that includes a clip from The Strain, hear my review on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross website.
mrvideo's Avatar mrvideo
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Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post
Blue works here with dark and retro. I can see the blue just fine in Dark although with Retro it does become a little harder to read.
Not on my monitor. Using dark, I can barely read it and with retro, it is impossible to read it. The point is that it should not be harder to read.

One of the major rules of graphics design and web design is to NEVER use dark text against a dark background and bright text against a bright background. By definition, blue is a dark color.

Red happens to be one of those colors that works with bright and dark backgrounds. Blue does not.

Also, the red is in the page source as #FF0000 , while blue is not, meaning the actual color that is displayed by the user's browser may not be #0000FF . It is supposed to.

This is a test of forcing blue with the hex code

This is a test of setting blue with the color's name

On my display they are the same.

This is darkgoldenrod (#B8860B)

This is readable just fine with retro. After posting, I'll see how it looks with dark and the default.

UPDATE: The darkgoldenrod works on all three desktop skins. I strongly urge that blue go to the wayside and be replaced with a color that works on all three skins, like the darkgoldenrod.
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So, many of us see it just fine and you don't. Therefore we should adjust to what you can see even though it is just fine to us. Maybe you should use a different background. I actually do and see no issue at all. When I tested in your background I see little issue, it seems only you do.....
rebkell's Avatar rebkell
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Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post
So, many of us see it just fine and you don't. Therefore we should adjust to what you can see even though it is just fine to us. Maybe you should use a different background. I actually do and see no issue at all. When I tested in your background I see little issue, it seems only you do.....
I can't say I see it just fine on Retro, it kinda bleeds and it hurts my eyes. I personally, just can't imagine reading this board in anything other than the background classified as new. I can't read anything on PC screen on a dark background for very long before my eyes just give out. I also don't care for the sort of gray text on a light background, that seems to be the rage on a lot of blog type sites(not this one), it really strains my eyes.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153
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Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post
This is a test of forcing blue with the hex code

This is a test of setting blue with the color's name

On my display they are the same.

This is darkgoldenrod (#B8860B)

This is readable just fine with retro. After posting, I'll see how it looks with dark and the default.

UPDATE: The darkgoldenrod works on all three desktop skins. I strongly urge that blue go to the wayside and be replaced with a color that works on all three skins, like the darkgoldenrod.
I did some tests Saturday on five different computers (Android tablet, two PC laptops, a regular PC and a Mac) with several browsers (Chrome, Explorer, Mozilla, etc.) and, personally, I can see the blue font just fine on all different backgrounds/browsers. darkgoldenrod matches the color that the links turn into on the alternate 'skins,' so I'd rather not confuse colors of the article links with the sub-headline. I'll be messing around with different shades of blue to see if I can find a blue hue that goes better with all the backgrounds.

Sorry, mrvideo, I just don't want to mess with the color scheme Fredfa selected all those years ago that has served the "HOTP" thread so well until the recent changeover. It could be worse though. I really like light green as my personal favorite color but when I tried to incorporate that into my posts I got nearly kicked off the plant.
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Critic's/TV Notes
Heading Into Its Sophomore TV Season, Amazon Takes a Big Step Forward
By Josef Adalian, (New York Magazine) - Jul. 12, 2014

Word leaked out yesterday that Amazon had picked up four of its five adult-geared pilots, with Variety reporting Transparent, The After, Mozart in the Jungle, and Bosch will all end up as series on Amazon Prime. Amazon isn’t yet commenting, but if true, it will mean the streaming service is dramatically increasing its roster of original series: Last year, the network ordered just two series, Alpha House and Betas. Both projects got decent reviews, but like the originals trotted out by Hulu Plus last year (The Awesomes, Quick Draw), neither generated the sort of hype and hoopla that rival Netflix drew for House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. Things are already looking different for Amazon’s sophomore class. The pilot for Transparent proved to be transcendent for more than a few critics, while all of the other shows also had critical supporters, to one degree or another. TV industry trade The Hollywood Reporter declared that with its latest offerings, “It becomes clear that Amazon is a player.”

These hosannas don’t mean Amazon Prime is now suddenly a smashing success: The shows need to live up to the promise of their pilots, and more importantly, over the next year or two, Amazon will want to see evidence that more people are signing up for Prime (at $79 per year) in order to watch its shows. But it’s clear that Amazon’s expansion into the streaming business has taken a big step forward. Before news of the possible pickups broke, Vulture rang up Amazon Studios chief Roy Price to talk about just how much progress he thinks Prime has made, what he’s learned from the company’s first year in the TV production business, and how he plans to proceed next.

It’s possible Amazon could hand out different kinds of series orders to each of its pilots.
As noted, Amazon still isn’t confirming any orders. If it does end up picking up four out of five pilots to series, however, Price offered some insight in to how Amazon might make such a move work financially. “There are a lot of variables,” he told us. “You can do shows at different budget levels. You can do different numbers of episodes. You can move the timing around. There are a lot of … different ways you can serve the dish.” This is not unlike what linear networks already do: Some shows like ABC’s new drama Resurrection will air eight episodes a year, while a successful sitcom could run 24 originals each season. We spoke to Price before the Variety report hit, but even then it was clear he was mulling the idea of ordering more than two shows, as he did last pilot season. When we asked him specifically if ordering all five adult-geared pilots to series was an option, rather than dismiss the idea, he said, “We’ll have to see. There’s no question that the fairly widespread enthusiasm is going to make for some serious trade-offs and hard decisions.”

Like HBO and Netflix, Amazon is much more interested in how much people love its shows than in how many watch them.
While broadcast and even most cable networks are driven by viewership tallies, Price says he’s much more interested in getting Amazon Prime subscribers (and potential subscribers) emotionally invested in his shows. “People do have to have that extra level of passion for a show for it to be viable,” he says. “It’s important, because in an on-demand world, where there is no 8:30 show, there is no hammock — it’s all appointment viewing. That’s really what you have to be looking at. If you have broad support but it’s just not very deep, that can be not as good as having very deep support that is a little bit more narrow.” This doesn’t mean Amazon doesn’t want to see its shows viewed by decent-sized audiences: “You don’t want to take it to an extreme, where you have a show with one audience member who’s incredibly passionate about it,” he quips. “But it’s not the just the one who gets the most views. It’s got to wind up being somebody’s favorite show. And those are very different things.”

While the first two originals did well within the Amazon Prime universe, it’s too soon to draw many lessons from them.
Because Amazon, like Netflix, doesn’t release viewership data for its shows, there’s no way of knowing whether the audience of Alpha House and Betas was 2 million viewers or 2,000. But Price says the two shows “have been amongst the most popular series on Prime since their release. And that’s what we’re really paying attention to: On a relative basis, within the Prime universe, are they getting people’s attention, and are people interested?” Still, Price won’t yet say whether either show will return for a second season, though he indicated a formal decision would be revealed soon. He also isn’t willing to read too much into reaction to the shows, positive or negative. “It’s hard when you only have two shows. You don’t have a huge sample size to compare outcomes,” he explains.

We could see Amazon experiment with different release patterns, both for shows and episodes.
Last year, Amazon Prime debuted both its new shows within a week of each other. That could change this time around. “Maybe in the future we should space it out more,” Price says. “In general, we’re not religious about it. We’re open to trying different things and seeing what people prefer.” And that applies not to just when shows debut, but how many episodes drop at once. With Alpha House and Betas, new installments popped up weekly, but Price says he’s mulling doing what Netflix has done, and putting all episodes online at once.

But he sounds torn about that notion, because the season-dump strategy means viewers will have to wait months longer to see the next episode of Transparent, until producers wrap filming on every episodes. “You’re saying, ‘I’m not going to let you watch any of it until you can watch all of it’,” Price says. “And I don’t know.” Plus, Price has seen data which suggests the buzz half-life for shows is greatly reduced when episodes aren’t doled out every week. “There’s no question that when you release all at once, the social media conversation related to the show tends to decline more rapidly than with a normal show, a network show,” he says. “A network show over the course of 30 days will decline around one-third [from premiere night buzz]. And a binge show will decline about two-thirds.” And yet, Price doesn’t deny that “there’s also a certain degree of enthusiasm” with the way Netflix does things. “So maybe we should try it anyway,” he muses. “And you certainly could see that happen, because sometimes the only way to understand something is to try different approaches.”

Netflix may be the dominant brand in streaming content, but Amazon isn’t worried it’s too late to the game.
Even though Showtime has lots of hits, wins Emmys, and makes a ton of money, it’s hard to argue that HBO doesn’t have a stronger overall brand in terms of premium cable networks (unless, of course, you’re a Showtime exec, in which case you’d likely strongly disagree.) Much of HBO’s “dominance” of the quality space, be it real or perceived, stems from the fact that it was first to make a big splash in the original cable programming waters. And so it seems to be with Netflix: With last year’s success of House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, and the revival of Arrested Development, it vaulted ahead of Crackle, Hulu, and, yes, Amazon in terms of buzz and attention. Netflix sometimes seems to be streaming content what Kleenex is to tissue — a brand which defines an entire product.

That would seem to make it harder for Amazon (and others) to grab attention from the 800-pound gorilla, but Price, perhaps not surprisingly, doesn’t seem overly concerned.

If anything, he dismisses “all those rivalries” between outlets as a relic of a passing age. “In a world where there’s only CBS, ABC, and NBC, then it really does makes sense to put up a grid on the wall, and compete in a zero-sum game,” he says. “But these days, there are many providers of programming, and a lot of them are awesome ... It’s become more like the book business. It’s not a useful way to spend your time, if you’re a particular publisher, to be angling against one of the many publishers down the street. The important thing is not whether you beat out that particular publisher, or in this case, the other network or streaming service. The only issue you can do something about is, ‘Are you doing a great job for your customers? Are you really putting together distinctive shows that are worth seeking out in an on-demand world, that are really appointment television?’”

Price doesn’t dismiss Netflix’s current advantages completely, however: “Brands are important. Awareness (of programming) is critical.” His answer to the prestige gap between Netflix and other streamers: “Coming up with interesting shows. You can’t generate the buzz artificially. The only way you can get it is to earn it, with terrific material. I tend to focus on that.” For as he surely recalls, even Netflix’s initial stab at first-run programming, Lillehammer, was far from a hit.
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Summer TCA Tour/TV Notes
You Can Now Watch Every Episode Of 'South Park' On Hulu For Free
By Erin Whitney, - Jul. 12, 2014

Sure, it's great to catch reruns of "South Park" on Comedy Central. But what if you could watch any of its 247 episodes whenever you want, for free?

Now you can, thanks to the shows' new partnership with Hulu. On Saturday, July 12 at the Television Critics Academy press tour, the streaming service announced that it will be the exclusive online home for "South Park" starting the same day. Up until the premiere of the show's eighteenth season on September 24, every episode of the animated comedy will be available to watch for free. After Season 18 begins, there will still be some episodes available for free on both Hulu and the show's official site, but only Hulu Plus subscribers will have access to the entire "South Park" library.

The streaming service also announced that its original series "East Los High," a teen drama with an all Latino cast, has been renewed for a third season.

* * * *

TV Notes
Hulu Renews 'East Los High' for Third Season
By Natalie Jarvey, The Hollywood Reporter - Jul. 12, 2014

Hulu is headed back to high school.

The streaming service has renewed racy teen drama East Los High for a third season.

The series, which was created by Carlos Portugal and Kathleen Bedoya and features an all-Latino cast, follows the trials of being in high school in an East Los Angeles neighborhood. From nonprofit Population Media Center, who produced the series in association with Prajna Productions, Into Action Films and The Alchemists, the series was designed to educate as much as entertain. The storylines have morals and take on big issues including teen pregnancy.

Hulu doesn't release viewership numbers, but the streamer says East Los High is popular with women 18 to 35 and was a top 10 show on Hulu last summer.

The second season of East Los High premiered July 9 on Hulu.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Amazon’s ‘The After’: Creator Chris Carter ‘Needed a Good Break’ After ‘The X-Files’
By Laura Prudom, Team - Jul. 12, 2014

“X-Files” creator Chris Carter will soon return to screens with Amazon Studios’ “The After,” more than ten years after Fox’s cult sci-fi hit left the air. While an airdate for the Amazon Prime Instant Video series has yet to be announced beyond an “early 2015″ window, during a panel at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour, Carter did confirm that the series will debut on a week-by-week basis instead of the entire season being released at once (the opposite model to fellow Amazon series “Transparent,” which will bow all ten of its half-hour episodes in late September).

Carter admitted that he “needed a good break” following the conclusion of “The X-Files,” since he’d spent “10 years of output [and] needed the equivalent input” in order to recharge creatively.

In “The After,” eight strangers are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation. The cast includes Aldis Hodge, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Jamie Kennedy, Sharon Lawrence, Sam Littlefield, Louise Monot, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Adrian Pasdar and Jason Lewis.

The concept for post-apocalyptic drama “The After” came to him years ago while working at Walt Disney Studios, after a construction worker dropped a box of nails on Sepulveda Pass and “it brought the city to a standstill,” which made Carter realize how quickly things could turn to chaos in Los Angeles with “something as low-tech as a box of nails.”

While Carter said “The After” has a “rigorous process where we carefully plot episodes every step of the way,” and that he ultimately knows how the series will end, the show’s trajectory isn’t entirely set in stone. “You shouldn’t know exactly where you’re going … you should leave room for discovery; that’s where the fun happens.”

Through creating “The X-Files,” he realized that mythology-driven stories begin to tell themselves due to the narrative choices the writers make along the way. “Either you’re hemmed in by those choices or liberated … luckily [on 'X-Files'] we were liberated and it made for rich storytelling.” The producer ultimately envisions 99 episodes for “The After,” which was also inspired by “Dante’s Inferno.”

The show’s appearance on Amazon was mostly due to “good fortune,” according to Carter. “The simple truth is, Amazon read the script and liked it and wanted to do it and were getting into the business. It was just good fortune to be involved in a frontier in the business — I think it’s the way people will watch television exclusively in the future.”

The process of producing the show for Amazon shares many similarities with the broadcast network model, said Carter, including dealing with “compromise and limitations budgetarily.” However, the creator was attracted to the prospect of creating eight episodes, as opposed to the 22-25 required by Fox during “The X-Files.”

“That was a trial by fire — that is a tremendous amount of work,” he admitted. “I’m going to be able to focus, write the episodes before we ever film them, and make the best possible show.”

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Amazon’s ‘Transparent’ Season 1 to Debut Late September, ‘Bosch’ Premiering Early 2015

Amazon’s new original drama “Transparent” will debut on Amazon Prime in late September, creator Jill Soloway announced Saturday at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour.

All ten episodes of the series will premiere at once through Amazon Prime Instant Video, in the so-called “binge” model popularized by Netflix. Decisions have not yet been made on the exact airdates or delivery models for a number of Amazon’s other new original series, which may debut weekly or in one block like “Transparent.” Returning comedy “Alpha House” will debut in October, “Mozart in the Jungle” will premiere in December, and “The After” and “Bosch” will premiere early 2015. “The After” will be released on a weekly basis.

“Transparent” centers around an LA family with serious boundary issues who have their past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone’s secrets to spill out. It stars Jeffrey Tambor, Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker, Rob Huebel, Judith Light, Henry Simmons and Jay Duplass.

“We’ve never looked at ['Transparent'] as anything but a continuous piece of five-hour entertainment,” said Joe Lewis, Amazon Studios’ Head of Original Programming, at the TCA panel. “I don’t think of it as binging, I just think of it as a five-hour movie.”

The cast and creator were vehement that they don’t consider the Amazon series a step-down from traditional TV platforms — if anything, Hoffman said, they’ve had more freedom on “Transparent” than their previous projects, and their pay is comparable to broadcast network rates.

“This notion that we’re making some sort of sacrifice by working for Amazon [is incorrect] … I would’ve done this for no money,” Hoffman insisted. “This is a privilege, working with Joe and Amazon … they are our allies and supporters and cheerleaders. They’re letting this show be what we want it to be and need to be.”

Tambor agreed that Amazon’s creative line-up — which includes “Mozart in the Jungle” producers Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman, and “The After’s” Chris Carter — are “heavy hitters” in the entertainment industry, so actors and producers are simply going where the strongest content is.

Lewis said that Amazon Studios’ two tenets in terms of content creation are to “take the best, smartest creators and get out of their way, and to listen to the audience. I don’t think of it as our job to dictate what the show is, that’s up to Jill… Our goal was to preserve an individual voice.”

While Lewis confirmed that all of Amazon’s original series will be available on DVD and Blu-ray eventually, he also emphasized that the shows will be available “in perpetuity” for as long as viewers are members of Amazon Prime. The streaming service does not release viewership numbers, and Lewis admitted that “as a company I don’t think we’re particularly concerned with whether you watch on television or your kindle or on Thursday night or Saturday… I think it’s short-term to think about how many viewers watch on a given night.” Amazon’s priority, Lewis said, is creating something that subscribers enjoy. “For us, character and story is more important.”

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you have yet to watch the pilot of Amazon’s “Transparent” – plot details to follow.

The show undoubtedly tackles subject matter that most traditional networks would never consider, something that appealed to the cast. Star Jeffrey Tambor admitted that “this is the most transformative experience I’ve had [professionally], and it also shows how far television has come in terms of content … I feel very honored in bringing forth this whole subject.”

Tambor plays Mort, a divorced father of three adult children, who is beginning the process of transitioning to life as a woman. While Soloway admits that casting such a role might have been complicated, since Moira hasn’t yet transitioned and is starting that journey in earnest when the show begins — and that she would’ve considered a trans woman, trans man, cis woman or cis man to play Mort — she always envisioned Tambor in the role, and was grateful that he was open to taking on the character. “Jeffrey was Mort, to become Moira — he just was… It was just intuitive.”

Soloway said the concept of the show came to her “fully formed,” and she was inspired by the idea of subverting the classic Disney trope of a parent dying and their children dealing with that loss in their own quest for identity. Soloway said she loved the idea of exploring “what it meant to mourn a parent as a new parent is being born.”

“As a feminist, I think a lot about how, as a culture, there are patriarchal wounds and matriarchal wounds,” Soloway observed. She approached the show as a way to explore the concept of a “wounded father being replaced by a blossoming femininity” and noted that transgender issues are “in the zeitgeist in a great way that makes us think we’re pointing in the right direction.”

Soloway also hopes to explore gender issues in a more nuanced and realistic way than most broadcast networks allow, and wasn’t too concerned about whether her main characters came across as “unlikable.”

“The people who I believe in the most create work about people who are real… I think when people see truth in art, it resonates,” she said, pointing out that that she was often tasked with “creating rootable women or likable women” when creating TV shows for broadcast networks. Soloway said that “the rules about what women would do are super antiquated” on television, and after growing tired of hearing that “no woman would ever do that,” she was excited to tackle realistic and flawed characters.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Amazon Studios And How They’re Winging It With Streaming Series
By Anthony D'Alessandro, - Jul. 12, 2014

After presenting a slew of series panels for its upcoming series and a sizzle reel for its pilots, director of Amazon Studios Roy Price was bombarded with questions by the press at the Beverly Hilton about Amazon Prime‘s avant garde pilot process and overall strategy as a streaming network.

First gripe by the media: There’s no press site up yet to obtain materials, not to mention there’s an approximate, not exact, set of release dates for upcoming shows, i.e. Jill Soloway’s series Transparent drops in late September, Alpha House in late October, Roman Coppola, Alex Timbers and Jason Schwartzman’s Mozart in the Jungle in December and Amazon’s two dramas, Bosch and Chris Carter’s The After in 2015. Pilots Red Oaks, The Cosmopolitans, Really, Hysteria and Hand of God will be streamed to the site in August. Amazon’s third pilot process entails their customers voting on what they like before proceeding with a series commitment.

In terms of the number of pilots Amazon is looking to pick-up, “We’d like to get a couple of shows out every pilot season, but it depends on how many people respond. There’s a lot of flexibility and it’s not locked in stone,” said Price. As far as how many series will run a year, Price continued, “We’ll figure it out over time. One a month is too few, one a week is overkill. With the pilots this fall and our upcoming series calendar, we’ll see how this works over time,” said the executive.

Chris Carter exclaimed during his panel for The After that his goal is to churn out 99 episodes for the apocalyptic series, an homage to the 99 cantos in Dante’s Inferno.

Despite the loose-goosey means of distribution, Amazon believes it has something to offer, in terms of the creativity allowed to series creators, a process that HBO long established. Despite the fact that other networks are chasing edgy series by auteurs, and in Amazon’s case they have Steven Soderbergh (Red Oaks) and Whit Stillman (The Cosmopolitans) in their court, Price sees that there’s enough suppliers out there to choose from. “Quality is the key challenge to deal with,” said Price about how Amazon’s pilot process dictates the fate of what they’ll ultimately produce.

Roman Coppola and Amazon Changing Streaming RulesOscar-nominee Coppola and Schwartzman were beaming about their collaboration with Amazon today on their classical music comedy Mozart in the Jungle. With their distinguishing resumes, they could have taken their series anywhere, but they settled on Amazon given their shared creative sensibility with Amazon programming execs Sarah Babineu and Joe Lewis. “Our agent told us Amazon was doing something exciting. We presented our writing to them, there was a huge interest and there weren’t a lot of notes. It just clicked and from the get-go there was a natural fit and we were all on a natural front,” said Coppola from a remote camera feed today.

Coming away from the panels, there was a perception that Amazon Studios was getting some tier talent at bargain prices, however, Price asserted that “People are getting paid just as much” as they would at other networks; that no dime is spared as “quality is the priority.” Added Price, “When Whit Stillman sets his script in Paris, everyone goes to Paris, we shot Mozart in the New York, and (Michael Connelly’s) Bosch in LA.”

With the press being inundated with the slew of big names that Amazon is in business with, i.e. TV creators Chris Carter, Eric Overmeyer (Bosch), and Paul Weitz (who directed the first episode of Mozart), they questioned whether Amazon Studios was still upholding its unsolicited submission process, which churned out the comedy series Those Who Can’t from a Denver-based comedy team; whether Amazon was playing favorites with Hollywood. Price assured, “Our submission policy remains the same. You can submit a script or upload a video through our website. Everyone is treated like everyone else. It all shows up on our desk.”

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Amazon’s ‘Alpha House’ Creator Garry Trudeau Has No Idea How Many People Watching
By Lisa De Moraes, - Jul. 12, 2014

Alpha House creator Garry Trudeau has no idea how many people are watching the Amazon streamed program.

“We don’t know,” he told TV critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “One of the interesting things about working for Amazon is it’s kind of a black box. We don’t know what the metrics are. We’re just thrilled when they say the audience likes it and they want to put together another season. We’re not really part of appraising the show… We just try to make the best show we can.”

Amazon Studios comedy chief Joe Lewis had opened the session talking about the audience’s acceptance of the show; one TV critic, who noted competitor Netflix is “very mysterious about how many people are watching” its program, asked, Lewis, “Do you know how many people are watching, and will you tell us?”

“We do know how many, and I’m not going to tell you,” Amazon Studios comedy chief Joe Lewis said. He insisted they are concerned about the feedback and not necessarily about “the number.”

“Showtime used to pull this all the time too,” the TV critic snapped. “Why are you so mysterious about the number of people watching, per month?”

“It’s because when we’re talking to the creator….and when we talk among ourselves, it’s not the numbers we’re talking about. .. we’re talking about making something our customers love” Lewis said. Which, of course, would be gauged by looking at how many customers are watching. Also known as ratings.

During the previous Q&A session for Amazon’s new comedy, Transparent, Lewis talked about Amazon staying out of show creators’ way. During the Alpha House session Trudeau said, when asked if Amazon gave notes or wanted to have conversations about where the show and the characters were going, “I would be surprised not to have that conversation. Obviously they’re quite curious where we’re going. As far as story arcs, Amazon is very interested — the folks are very interested in knowing where the characters are going.”

Critics gave up on Lewis and the Amazon angle after asking the cast what’s the difference between working for TV and working for Amazon, and star John Goodman responded, “I got shanked in the cafeteria — we share a stage with Orange is the New Black. That rarely happened on Roseanne.”

Alpha House, written by Trudeau and produced by Trudeau, Elliot Webb and Jonathan Alter, is a comedy about four Republican senators who live together in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill. It was inspired by the actual Capitol Hill home known as The Omega House that’s shared by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois; Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York; and Rep. George Miller, D-California. The second season is set to show up in late October.

The show has become a cameo stop for Washington — in January, Anthony Weiner made it one of the stations of the cross on his road to career redemption, appearing in an episode that also featured cameos from Tom Brokaw, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, and CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

TV critics asked the cast: Is there any messages they wanted delivered to the public through this political comedy?

“People are bad. they are sheep,” Goodman guessed.

Last November, Trudeau said he’d read a story about four real congressmen who live together — one of whom said a lot of people mentioned that it would make a great TV series, but the problem was “who’s gonna watch a show about four middle-age guys with no sex and violence? So the way we got around that is, we added sex and violence.”

In March, Amazon Studios confirmed a second-season pickup for the comedy, that also stars Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson and Matt Malloy as Republican senators living under one roof. At that time, Trudeau said, “Alpha House is a joy to work on…It’s fun to dance on the leading edge of streaming video, where audiences converge on server farms at all hours, besotted by John Goodman and free two-day shipping.”
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TV Review
‘The Strain,’ that it is, but worth it
The writers of this FX horror drama know how to build suspense
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 11, 2013

Writers of suspense fiction usually try to make us care about the characters before putting them in jeopardy, so we get scenes of the characters interacting with friends, co-workers and family members, usually doing something admirable or at least relatable. Sometimes this is not only unnecessary but positively distracting.

That’s the case with FX’s new series “The Strain,” a gory, goofy horror drama that would be scarier, tenser and more entertaining if it didn’t spend so much time trying to build its characters. But if viewers fast-forward through the dull parts — and if they have strong stomachs — they’ll have a good time.

In the premiere episode, airing this Sunday, July 13, at 10 p.m., something begins making noise in the cargo hold of an airliner bound for New York. When the plane comes to a halt on the tarmac, with no signs of life inside, the authorities call in a team from the Centers for Disease Control led by Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll).

Entering the plane, Eph and his associate and former mistress Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) discover that all but four of the passengers and crew members are dead. There is no evidence of illness or foul play other than a strong scent of ammonia. But in the cargo hold, they find a huge coffin-like object that is filled with dirt.

When he hears of the tragedy on the news, Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), an elderly but tough Harlem pawnbroker, says, “He’s back. I don’t know if I have the strength to do it all over again. This time, I can’t fail.”

Anyone who has seen a print advertisement or a poster for the series already knows that something creepy is going to start spreading among the population. But that coffin — as well as the identity of Setrakian’s interlocutor — is a hint that the series isn’t the typical virus-gone-wild thriller.

Although one of the people who seem to have been instrumental in the importation of the coffin is Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde), who runs the powerful, if unfortunately named, Stoneheart Group, “The Strain” isn’t yet another mystifying drama about a vast, elaborate corporate conspiracy, and that should be fine with most viewers.

The main strength of the series is the clever ways it sets up suspenseful scenes in which we know something shocking is going to happen and then delivers the shock, which is a pastiche of gross-outs from numerous previous works of sci-fi and horror, with a heavy dose of “Dracula” and “Alien.”

A twist from the “Wolfman” movies gives another turn to the screw.

Unfortunately, the series wastes too much time setting up back stories and motivations for its main characters. Eph, a workaholic and a recovering alcoholic, is going through a custody battle with his estranged wife, Kelly (Natalie Brown) over his son, Zach (Ben Hyland). A more efficient series could have provided that information with a phone call. This one spreads it out over several repetitive scenes.

Vasiliy Fet (Kevin Durand), a likable Russian-American who works for the city health department, appears in two long segments intended to show his competence and admirable dedication to his work. Gus Elizalde (Miguel Gomez), an ex-con, gets even more screen time intended to show that he’s really good at heart.

But by the end of the four episodes provided for review, they’re still barely attached to the main story line.

Although some of those scenes might have viewers slowly reaching for the remote, the show’s creators, the director Guillermo del Toro and the novelist Chuck Hogan, are smart enough to pull us back to the main action before it’s too late.

The script does what it’s supposed to do, providing the expected clichés when needed. “A virus exists only to find a carrier and reproduce,” Eph tells some obstructive government agents. “That’s all it does.”

Later, when Nora balks at taking some extreme measures, Eph tells her, “This is what we do.”

Although Eph and Nora realize they’re battling either a cover-up or bureaucratic inertia, or both, they frustratingly refuse to present the clear evidence they have that the official story is at least incomplete.

But sci-fi and horror fans know that that sort of illogic is to be expected in a scientists vs. monsters thriller. Although we have to strain at a few such gnats in “The Strain,” they don’t keep us from enjoying the good, dumb fun.
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FRIDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Family rules in Amazon's 'Jungle'
By Roberto Bianco, USA Today - Jul. 12, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS — Amazon's Jungle is a family affair.

Arriving in December, Mozart in the Jungle is a half-hour comedy set behind the scenes at a fictional New York Symphony that was created in part, by cousins Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman — who come to the subject naturally. Their grandfather, Carmine Coppola, was a musician and composer who played in the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini and composed the music for many of son Francis Ford Coppola's films, including The Godfather.

They're clearly tied to the material. But why bring the show, which stars Gael García Bernal and Malcolm McDowell as competing conductors, to Amazon?

"Our agent felt there was something exciting happening with Amazon." says Coppola. And once they got it there, "It was all about doing the work and making it happen, not a lot of discussion or trying to unravel it. Just about doing the work."

The work, Schwartzman, is also a way to introduce more people to classical music — or, at least, he hopes it is. "I'm learning so much and I love it so much and my hope is that we honor the music and get people interested in the music."
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TV Sports/Business Notes
Biggest Scorer in World Cup? Maybe Univision
By Jonathan Mahler, The New York Times - Jul. 13, 2014

Months before the first whistle of the World Cup, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, the president of the sports division of Univision Communications, presented his engineers with a challenge: Could they figure out how to beam its soccer broadcasts into American homes faster than its English-language competitors?

About a half-million dollars in new technology later, the challenge was met — Univision’s broadcasts beat ESPN’s and ABC’s, if only by a matter of seconds.

For Mr. Rodriguez, that felt like enough to lure away some viewers. “Who doesn’t want to yell ‘Goal!’ five or six seconds before their neighbors?” he said in an interview from Brazil.

The World Cup has been a record-breaking event for Univision, which has dominated its TV rivals in several of America’s largest cities — Los Angeles, Miami and Houston. It even won the New York market for some games. With the finals still to come on Sunday — featuring a Latin American team for the first time in 12 years — Univision has already drawn roughly 80 million viewers, or about 60 percent more than it logged for the 2010 tournament.

The numbers serve as a kind of exclamation point on the sharp growth of America’s Hispanic population over the last two decades. It is a demographic shift that has been apparent in voting trends and employment patterns. Now the World Cup has shown how it is reshaping the media landscape too.

A confluence of other factors — some deliberate, some serendipitous — have also worked to the network’s advantage. Legions of soccer fans used Univision’s free streaming to covertly watch games on their office computers or cellphones. A handful of Latin American teams, including Mexico and Costa Rica, performed surprisingly well in the tournament. And some non-Hispanic viewers simply prefer the network’s excitable commentators, who work themselves into a frenzy every time a player crosses midfield with the ball, never mind drives it into the back of the net: “Mamita querida que GOOOLLLAZZZOO!”

The unprecedented exposure that it has received from the World Cup could not have come at a better time for Univision. The company is owned by a group of investors led by the media mogul Haim Saban, who is perhaps best known for importing the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to America from Japan. During a private equity boom in 2007, his group acquired Univision for $13.7 billion in a bidding war orchestrated by the company’s largest shareholder and former chairman, A. Jerrold Perenchio. Mr. Perenchio, a onetime Hollywood agent, saw the potential of Spanish-language television in 1992, when he bought Univision for just $500 million.

Mr. Saban and his partners are now exploring the possibility of a deal in the middle of a flurry of big media industry mergers. In recent months, they have spoken to at least two large companies, Time Warner and CBS, about selling Univision for roughly $20 billion. They are also considering an initial public offering of stock.

Twenty billion dollars would be a high price for a Spanish-language media company. But on any given night, Univision’s steamy telenovelas — tales of love, sex, money and betrayal, imported exclusively from Mexico — can attract more viewers than English-language networks like Fox and NBC. The network established its political influence when it hosted a presidential forum during the last campaign, and it is poised to play an even larger role in the 2016 race.

Univision, which was started in 1955 as a local San Antonio TV station, is now a sprawling media empire based in New York, reaching nearly 100 million television households across the United States.

“We’re seen as a Spanish-language broadcaster that mostly competes with Telemundo,” the company’s chief executive, Randy Falco, said. “But in my view, we should be competing with the English-language networks because increasingly we will have an audience that will surpass them.”

Mr. Falco, who took over at Univision three years ago after senior positions at NBC and AOL, embodies the company’s desire to be seen as a mainstream media company. He is a 60-year-old Bronx native who does not speak Spanish.

Yet the same shifting demographics that help Univision also threaten its dominance. Other media companies are now trying to reach the growing Hispanic population, most notably Telemundo, which has the powerful resources of its parent company, Comcast, behind it.

Telemundo outbid Univision for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, breaking the Spanish-language monopoly Univision has held over the tournament since 1972. Telemundo has also been investing heavily in its own telenovelas. Its biggest hit at the moment, “El Señor de los Cielos” (“The Lord of the Skies”), about a Mexican drug lord, sometimes draws larger audiences than Univision’s competing drama in the same time slot. Not so long ago, that would have been inconceivable, according to Spanish-language TV experts.

“If I were Univision right now, I would be asking myself, Where are we headed?” said Emiliano Saccone, the former head of MundoFox, another relative newcomer to the Hispanic market. “Can we sustain our kingdom the way we have for the last 50 years? My feeling is, not necessarily.”

Assimilation poses an even greater long-term threat. More Hispanics are now born in the United States every year than immigrate to the country. Many grow up bilingual and identify themselves culturally as American. Univision will have to compete with every other media outlet, Spanish and English alike, for their attention.

Whether the challenge is a stronger Telemundo, new Spanish-language networks like Nat Geo Mundo or streaming services like Hulu Latino, Univision is just starting to confront the same phenomenon that the major English-language networks have been dealing with for years: consumer choice.

“Univision speaks to that immigrant and post-immigrant generation, which is both their great advantage and their limitation,” said Alberto Vourvoulias, former managing editor of Fox News Latino. “Increasingly, as the dynamic shifts to a U.S. Latin market — to kids who are centered on U.S. culture and debates — then Univision becomes old school.”

That means Univision must find ways to appeal to a new generation of Hispanics without alienating its immigrant base. So far, its most prominent effort to reach a more acculturated audience of young Latinos is the English-language cable channel and website Fusion. A joint venture with ABC, Fusion began last fall and is aimed not only at young Hispanics but at millennials in general.

It would be a new audience for Univision, though the network is using a familiar face in its bid to attract viewers. One of Fusion’s anchors, Jorge Ramos — the Walter Cronkite of Spanish-language TV, as he is sometimes known — presided over Univision’s 2012 presidential forum, pressing President Obama on his failure to pass immigration reform.

Mr. Ramos is also a co-host of Univision’s nightly news program, “Noticiero Univision,” which averages about two million viewers a night, a modest number compared with those of the Big Three English-language networks — but one that dwarfs those of cable news shows like CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” or MSNBC’s “Politics Nation.”

For the time being, anyway, Univision’s power in the political sphere is clearly on the rise. It is already the preferred outlet for politicians looking to reach Hispanic voters, a constituency that will only have more sway over United States elections in the coming years. The Center for American Progress estimates that the number of eligible Hispanic voters in 2016 will total 27.7 million, a 17 percent increase from 2012. “From the numbers that we have, we see 800,000 Latino kids turning 18 every year,” said Isaac Lee, Univision’s president of news.

And for another day, at least, Univision still has the World Cup and its souped-up feed, courtesy of what a company spokeswoman described as “an investment in encoding and fiber transfer.” It also doesn’t hurt that the finals will feature Argentina, a team led by one of the world’s biggest soccer stars, Lionel Messi.

“It’s the main passion point for this audience,” said Mr. Falco, before pausing to reconsider. “Well, I guess we could argue about whether it’s soccer or telenovelas.”
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Critic's Notes
'Big Brother': Better than ever?
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel's 'TV Guy' Blog - Jul. 12, 2014

"Big Brother" doesn't get a lot of love in the press, but two friends in two days have raved that the CBS reality series is better than ever. That's strong and surprising praise for a show in its 16th edition.

The first friend described the first 10 minutes of Thursday's episode, in which players started spilling secrets before the group, as some of the best reality television ever. In those moments, University of Florida grad Zach delivered a fiery speech that helped him escape ejection.

My second friend was relieved that this season's players are focused on playing the game and not annoying viewers with offensive comments or behavior. This "Big Brother" fan marveled that trendy DJ Paola and old-fashioned school groundskeeper Donny had become friends in the house.

After Paola was ejected Thursday, she was in tears about the bearded Donny. Paola was surprised that they had become friends and noted they had nothing common.

Sometimes this televised social experiment can produce happy results.

"Big Brother" threw in a major twist this season by having two head of households each week, which heightens the suspense.

The casting process seems to have worked out. Down-to-earth types such as Donny, hunting guide Caleb and pedicab driver Hayden make the show more enjoyable.

"Big Brother" always enlists good-looking people, and esthetician Amber, sales account executive Cody and recent nursing grad Nicole look ready to decorate magazine covers.

Devin, a motorcyle sales manager, has quickly emerged as a villain for an overbearing style. Paola complained that he has "five personalities and they all suck." Zach has vowed to get Devin out of the house.

There's never been anything quite like the friendship, or "showmance," between blustery Zach and Frankie, a pink-haired YouTube personality. That relationship has produced nicknames ("Zankie," "Zrankie"), and it will keep fans watching.

So far, the ratings are good. "Big Brother" averaged 6.2 million viewers Thursday; only a rerun of "The Big Bang Theory" had more (7.8 million) that night. But "Big Brother" had the most young adults for the night. This week, "Big Brother" reached more young adults than "The Bachelorette" or "So You Think You Can Dance."

So far, this "Big Brother" is one of the summer's happier surprises. The show continues at 8 p.m. Sunday.,

* * * *

TV Notes
Trayvon Martin: Rachel Jeantel on 'This Week'

Rachel Jeantel, Trayvon Martin's friend, will be featured on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

In a preview, ABC News said, "In our 'Sunday Spotlight,' one year after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, ABC News' Matt Gutman catches up with Martin friend Rachel Jeantel."

Attorney General Eric Holder also talks to "This Week" at 11 a.m. on WFTV-Channel 9. The panel will be Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Republican strategist Ana Navarro, ABC's Cokie Roberts and David Plouffe, former Obama White House senior adviser.

Also on the Sunday morning guest list:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks to CBS' "Face the Nation" at 10:30 a.m. on WKMG-Channel 6. The program also features Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat, chief representative of the PLO to the United States. Other guests include Gov. Rick Perry, R-Tex.; Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex.; Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif.; and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. The panel features Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal, Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post and Jane Harman of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Netanyahu and Perry are also guests on "Fox News Sunday" at 10 a.m. on WOFL-Channel 35. Other guests are Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Tex., and Dennis Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The panel will be Juan Williams, Karl Rove, Bob Woodward of The Washington Post and radio host Laura Ingraham.

Netanyahu is a guest on CNN's "State of the Union" at 9 a.m. and noon on CNN. Other guests are Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Chris Cabrera, border patrol agent, Rio Grande Valley, Tex. The panel will be Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md.; Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill.; and Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Tex.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is a guest on NBC's "Meet the Press" at 9 a.m. on WESH-Channel 2. Other guests are Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Tex. The panel will be former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich.; former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.; Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press; and Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal.,0,
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)

7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R - Jan. 26)
8PM - Wipeout
9PM - Rising Star (LIVE)
10PM - Castle
(R - Jan. 6)

7PM - 60 Minutes
8PM - Big Brother
9PM - Unforgettable
10PM - Regardless

7PM - American Ninja Warrior (120 min.)
(R - Jun. 23)
9PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
(R - Apr. 9)
10PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
(R - Apr. 30)

7PM - Brain Games: Brain vs. Body
8PM - The Simpsons
(R - Apr. 27)
8:30PM - The Simpsons
(R - Apr. 6)
9PM - Family Guy
(R - Apr. 27)
9:30PM - American Dad
(R - Apr. 27)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Last Tango In Halifax
9PM - Masterpiece Mystery! Endeavor, Season 2: Sway (90 min.)
10:30PM - Vicious

7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - Bailando por un Sueño (120 min.)
10PM - Sal y Pimienta

6:30PM - Movie: Puss in Boots (2011)
8PM - Movie: The Karate Kid (2010)

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TV Review
CNN's ‘The Hunt With John Walsh’
By Brian Lowry, - Jul. 11, 2014

CNN is clearly still experimenting with the sort of nonfiction series the network can accommodate, as it seeks to wean itself off the ratings vagaries of the news cycle. And while this initiative has produced some interesting programs, it has yielded few misses as stylistically ill considered as “The Hunt With John Walsh.” Essentially a new iteration of Walsh’s “America’s Most Wanted,” the show feels more suited to TLC or Investigation Discovery, featuring reenacted shots like a dead body with blood artfully oozing from it. In the process, CNN further blurs the thin red line between news and Lifetime movie.

Once again acting as the audience’s surrogate avenger, Walsh cites his own history, noting, “I’ll always be the parent of a murdered child.” And while one can yet grieve for the tragedy that helped make him famous, Walsh’s hang-’em-high approach is made clear in his role here, which is less to serve as host/narrator, per se, than to provide periodic commentary that reminds viewers how horrible the bad guys are. Walsh even urges one suspect — if he happens to be watching — to turn himself in or, barring that, take his own life.

As with “America’s Most Wanted,” the perpetrators (nothing in the show ever implies “alleged”) remain at large, with their crimes meticulously recreated via a mix of heavily scored reenactments and interviews with law enforcement and victims’ loved ones. The cases are visceral, and terrible: In the premiere, a Northern California man is accused of killing his wife and two young daughters. The second hour focuses on an accused pedophile.

The goal of helping authorities nab these fugitives is laudable, and the series is produced by Zero Point Zero Prods., which is also responsible for “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.” Yet unlike that travelogue, there’s something unsavory about CNN employing such techniques to conjure a context-free true-crime platform as salacious as anything in the entertainment realm.

Walsh was largely inoculated against such concerns during “America’s Most Wanted’s” heyday because of all the good the Fox series did in helping apprehend fugitives, but even with the compromises made under CEO Jeff Zucker, CNN is a different animal. And while the demonstrated popularity of the genre makes it likely this show will yield ratings benefits, “The Hunt” suggests the line governing the network’s evolving standards might be as elusive as any of these suspects.

'The Hunt With John Walsh'
(CNN, Sun. July 13, 10 p.m.)
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post #95490 of 100306
07-13-2014 | Posts: 8,132
Joined: Jun 2001
Originally Posted by rebkell View Post
I can't say I see it just fine on Retro, it kinda bleeds and it hurts my eyes. I personally, just can't imagine reading this board in anything other than the background classified as new. I can't read anything on PC screen on a dark background for very long before my eyes just give out. I also don't care for the sort of gray text on a light background, that seems to be the rage on a lot of blog type sites(not this one), it really strains my eyes.

I'll compare it to reading a book. Who wants to read a book in metro or dark? Agree they are brutal on the eyes. I also think it causes the brain to work overtime.

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