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TV Notes
Sam Champion's ‘AMHQ’ Cuts Jobs Just Four Months After Debut
By Tony Maglio, - Jul. 14, 2014

Sam Champion's Weather Channel morning show, “AMHQ,” has cut several production freelancers. The exact number kind of depends on who you talk to.

A spokesperson for The Weather Channel told TheWrap that five freelancers were let go — which is a lower total than other outlets reported.

The cable network also refuted reports that took the news even further, claiming staffer lay-offs and a hiring freeze: ”We did not lay anyone off. Period,” a spokesperson for The Weather Channel told TheWrap. “We did adjust our daily contractor schedule in the studio to gain some efficiency post launch. But no employees were cut. And there are no cuts ahead. In fact we are hiring several new full time positions.”

The spokesperson stated that this is simply a “typical production scenario,” where those needed at launch are no longer needed now that the show is underway.

MediaBistro's TVNewser reports that the number of freelancers cut was actually a dozen.

Furthermore, the spokesperson touted some positives for “AMHQ,” including ratings growth (8 percent) in comparison to the end of “Morning Rush,” which Champion's show replaced. And in June, “AMHQ” bested its competition on MSNBC.

“AMHQ” launched in mid-March. Sam Champion left ABC News and “Good Morning America” in December.
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TV Notes
Fox’s ‘Enlisted’ in Talks for Second Season at Yahoo
By Shelli Weinstein, - Jul. 14, 2014

Yahoo could be looking to bring another recently canceled comedy back to life. Variety has confirmed that Fox’s military comedy “Enlisted” is in talks for a second season on the free, ad-supported Yahoo Screen, though no timeline has been set.

The news comes just a couple of weeks after the announcement that the canceled NBC comedy “Community” would find a second life on the digital platform with a sixth season.

Much like “Community” and other shows that have found new lives on different networks, “Enlisted” grew a passionate, albeit small following during its one-season run. The series’ final episode drew 905,000 viewers, according to Nielsen data.

Following three brothers (played by Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young) and a group of misfits on a small army base, the show suffered from a weak push by the network and was ultimately pulled from the schedule early, despite the promise of a 13-episode commitment. While fans and creator Kevin Biegel made a committed effort to increase viewership for the final run of episodes, the series was not picked up for a second season.

Yahoo declined to comment.

Biegel has previously seen success in switching networks with his ABC laffer “Cougar Town,” which made the jump to TBS in 2013. Cult favorites finding fresh life on digital platforms is hardly new, either; Netflix revived “Arrested Development,” another cult comedy with solid critical standing but low ratings, for a fourth season last year, after it was canceled by Fox.

Deadline Hollywood first broke the news of the talks.
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TV Reviews
A big dose of drama for summer TV viewing
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jul. 13, 2014

Maybe the summer TV doldrums will hit in August, but they sure aren’t in evidence this week with a plethora of new and returning cable dramas.

Tonight FX debuts “The Strain,” and Showtime brings back “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex.” On Saturday, Hallmark Channel returns “Cedar Cove” for its second season. And a quartet of new scripted drama series debuts.

When: 9 p.m. Tuesday, El Rey.

It’s too bad so few viewers have access to El Rey — locally El Rey is available on DirecTV (Channel 341), but the cable network is not yet available on Comcast or Verizon’s FiOS TV — because El Rey shows have a distinctive, stylish, pulp noir vibe that really sets them apart.

El Rey’s first series was the TV version of “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn,” which was violent and bloody but also clever, smart and beautifully shot. Now comes the much less graphic “Matador” (9 p.m. Tuesday), a new take on the undercover spy show.

Created by some of the team behind “Sleepy Hollow,” including Roberto Orci (“Star Trek: Into Darkness”), and executive produced by Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie (”Revenge,” “The Event”), “Matador” introduces viewers to Tony Bravo (Gabriel Luna), a DEA agent who gets recruited by CIA control agent Annie Mason (Nicky Whelan) and her awkward CIA partner Noah Prescott (Neil Hopkins) to try out for the professional soccer team L.A. Riot.

The CIA wants Bravo to get close to the team’s billionaire owner Andres Galan (Alfred Molina, “Ladies Man”), who may be in league with some international baddies. In exchange, Bravo’s imprisoned brother will get his sentence reduced.

The show’s opening culminates in a pretty funny, gross-out gag that follows Bravo chasing down a drug dealer, proving “Matador” has a sense of humor and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

“A man’s entitled to stand his ground,” Bravo says at one point. “Ask Florida.”

There’s a hint of “Chuck” in the overly long training montages as Bravo gains the skills to try out for the Riot, where he makes a quick impression and earns the nickname “Matador” after he “spears the bull” and injures a team star with a rabid fan following.

A fun, entertaining action show, the timing is right for “Matador” after soccer’s rising American prominence, thanks to World Cup fever.

‘*The Divide’*
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, WEtv

Executive produced and written by Richard LaGravenese (“Behind the Candelabra,” “The Bridges of Madison County”) with a pilot episode directed by “Scandal” star Tony Goldwyn (director of “Conviction”), WEtv’s first original drama series offers a serious, talky, thought-provoking introduction.

The earnest two-hour premiere raises some worthwhile questions about justice, race, politics and ambition. It’s not perfect — the pace is a bit plodding at times,; some characters hew a little too close to types — but overall “The Divide” is an engaging endeavor.

The series focuses on overeager, overly impassioned law student Christine Rosa (Marin Ireland), an intern at an Innocence Project-type organization that seeks to prove the innocence of the wrongly convicted.

Christine has her own personal reasons for getting involved with The Innocence Initiative: Her father was wrongly convicted of a crime; she was there, but no one believed her version of events.

The central case in the series picks up 12 years after the murder of a middle-class African-American family as one of the men sentenced in the attack, Jared Bankowski (Chris Bauer), is about to be executed.

Christine discovers evidence that could clear Bankowski, much to the consternation of the district attorney who made his career by putting Bankowski behind bars. District Attorney Adam Page (Damon Gupton, “The Newsroom”) is black, like the victims. Bankowski and another man convicted of the crime, Terry Kucik (Joe Anderson), are white.

This is where the exploration of race comes into play as Page galvanizes members of the African-American community in opposition to Christine’s efforts, with one person shouting at a community gathering, “This wouldn’t be happening if he was a black man on death row!”

The pilot suggests Page deep-sixed evidence that would have cleared at least one of the men convicted, but there are also suggestions that The Innocence Initiative, run by Page’s law school friend Clark Rylance (Paul Schneider, “Parks and Recreation”), is getting funding from politically motivated sources.

“The Divide” pilot suffers from a few TV flourishes -- of course it’s the passionate intern who finds evidence of the convicted man’s innocence! -- but “The Divide” deserves the attention of fans of legal thrillers as it marks a step in WEtv’s evolution away from the likes of “Bridezillas.”

When: 10 p.m. Thursday, USA.

It’s not just WEtv that’s seeking to change its image. USA Network began evolving its “blue sky” programming strategy of light dramas last summer with the debut of the cloudier “Graceland.”

Now comes the considerably darker “Satisfaction” (10-11:23 p.m. Thursday, USA) about a couple in midlife crisis.

Investment banker Neil Truman (Matt Passmore, “The Glades”) has been married to wife Grace (Stephanie Szostak) for 18 years, and in some respects, he has it all: a generally happy marriage, a teen daughter, a pool in his backyard, and a 3-D, 80-inch TV.

But lately picking out his tie has become the most exciting part of his day, which leads him to believe something is wrong: Cue existential, middle-age crisis.

Neil tries to quit his job, but his boss thinks he’s joking when Neil says, “We don’t contribute anything to the world in any meaningful way. We just horde money.”

After a disastrous business trip that inexplicably doesn’t make the news, Neil returns home to find Grace having sex with a stranger, although Grace does not see Neil.

Then the pilot flashes back six months to tell Grace’s side of the marriage story. She’s been out of the job market raising the couple’s daughter and finds it difficult to get back in. She’s unsatisfied by her book club and uninterested in sex with Neil. But when she meets a male prostitute, Simon (Blair Redford), she starts making appointments and paying for sex.

At this point the almost 90-minute “Satisfaction” pilot returns to the present and shows Neil’s reaction to his wife’s infidelity, which involves a turn into territory explored on HBO’s “Hung.”

This ultimately bolsters Neil’s confidence and puts a spring in his step, although through the pilot episode he and Grace never discuss that he knows about her dalliance.

Like many recent pilots, the premiere of “Satisfaction” gives little hint as to what the show will be on a weekly basis. When will Grace get clued in? Will Neil try to juggle his day job with a sex worker side gig at night?

When it comes to exploring relationships and the interior lives of its characters, “Satisfaction” seems fairly on point and entirely relatable. But will viewers find entertainment value in a story that may also hit close to home?

Although the subject matter is darker than usual for USA, series creator Sean Jablonski (“Suits,” “Nip/Tuck”) manages to find lighter moments so that “Satisfaction” is not a depress-a-thon.

Neil tends to have every bit of bad luck imaginable – he’s physically bumbling, which seems designed more to lighten situations than it fits Neil’s character – and sometimes these comic flashes work well, particularly in an airplane scene (although the ramifications of that scene are not rooted in the real world).

Perhaps the biggest challenge for “Satisfaction” is that its characters can never be satisfied or the show would end; how satisfactory will their endless misery be to viewers?

When: 9 p.m. Thursday, USA.

Call it “Royal Pains 2.0.”

Just as that earlier USA series focused on a doctor catering to an elite clientele, so does “Rush” (9 p.m. Thursday).

But befitting USA’s new, darker vibe, Dr. William Rush (suave Tom Ellis, “The Fades”) is a doctor who dabbles in drugs and treats known criminals who are willing to pay him loads of cash to look the other way.

Writer/director Jonathan Levine (“How To Make it in America”) even shows Rush treating a woman who was beaten by her baseball player boyfriend. Rush takes the man’s money the first time. And Rush takes the money the second time he treats the same bruised woman, but in a nod to the limits of a USA character as an accessory to attempted murder, Rush also offers the ballplayer some payback. In addition, Rush’s assistant, Eve (Sarah Habel), encourages the abused woman to leave her boyfriend.

And that shows that “Rush,” although darker than earlier USA efforts, isn’t AMC- or HBO-dark. This isn’t no-limits Showtime. There are still some limits on how dark characters at USA can get.

“We don’t screen, we don’t discriminate, we don’t judge,” Rush says of his treatment policy. “I’m not a shrink, not a lawyer, not a priest, not a cop. We treat people who pay.”

Rush does drugs with a woman and then brings her back from near-death after she goes into convulsions (he keeps a defibrillator handy for just such occasions), helps his drug dealer by offering medical assistance to a gravely wounded gang-banger, and annoys his best friend (Larenz Tate), a more conventional ER doctor, who invites Rush’s ex-girlfriend to a party, which messes with Rush’s head.

Basically, “Rush” is USA’s answer to “House,” albeit with a younger, hotter doctor. Unlike “Satisfaction,” “Rush” doesn’t seem overly serialized, which keeps it in line with traditional USA series, only this one is more gray-sky than blue-sky programming.
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TV Notes
Brooks Wheelan not returning to 'SNL' next season
By Marc Snetiker,'s 'Inside TV' Blog - Jul. 14, 2014

Live from New York, it’s… well, not Brooks Wheelan. Not anymore.

Sources confirm to EW that Saturday Night Live newbie Wheelan, who joined the cast in September 2013 as a featured player, will not be returning for SNL‘s upcoming 40th season. In fact, Wheelan himself broke the news on Twitter:

Brooks Wheelan ✔ @Brooks wheelan
Had a blast and loved every second of it. I'm totally honored to be able to make this next joke... FIRED FROM NEW YORK IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!
7:05 PM - 14 Jul 2014

Though Wheelan joined the cast last season alongside a slew of other new hires, viewers noticed that the comedian suffered from a significant lack of screen time as the season wore on (other new cast members Beck Bennett, Mike O’Brien, and Kyle Mooney appeared to earn more).

SNL had no comment about the Wheelan news.
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
TUESDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - Extreme Weight Loss (120 min.)
10PM - Celebrity Wife Swap: Jenna von Oy/Jill Zarin
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Zach Braff; Jenna Dewan Tatum; St. Paul & the Broken Bones performs)
(R - Jun. 23)
12:37AM - Nightline

(R - Apr. 15)
9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Oct. 8)
10:01PM - Person of Interest
(R - Mar. 18)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Jason Segel; Liv Tyler; Trampled by Turtles performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Fashion designer Nicole Richie; Nat Faxon; comic Mark Forward)

8PM - America's Got Talent: Best of Audition (120 min.)
10:01PM - The Night Shift (Season Finale)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Cameron Diaz; Josh Gad; Bleachers perform)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Anna Paquin; comic Marc Maron; chef Elizabeth Karmel)
1:37AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (Brett Gelman; Sir Sly performs; musical group Skaters)
(R - Apr. 23)

7:30PM - 2014 MLB All-Star Game (LIVE)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Time Scanners: Petra (Season Finale)
9PM - History Detectives Special Investigations: Texas Servant Girl Murders
10PM - Frontline: Separate and Unequal

8PM - De Que Te Quiero, Te Quiero
9PM - Lo Que La Vida Me Robó
10PM - Qué Pobres Tan Ricos

8PM - Arrow
(R - Jan. 15)
9PM - Supernatural
(R - Jan. 28)

8PM - Reina De Corazones
9PM - En Otra Piel
10PM - El Señor de los Cielos

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Hillary Clinton)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Internet pioneer Vint Cerf)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Paul F. Tompkins; Mary Lynn Rajskub; Scott Aukerman)

11PM - Conan (Michael Sheen; actor and producer Joe Manganiello; Marsha Ambrosius performs)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Model Chrissy Teigen)

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TV Sports
Baseball All-Stars Take Field, but Fewer People Tune In
Home Run Derby 2014 Looks Enticing Compared to the Main Event
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Jul. 15, 2013

The trend is clear and perhaps irreversible: Baseball’s All-Star Game is doomed to be seen by fewer people with each passing July.

The sluggers’ reality show known as the Home Run Derby may soon overtake it as a television event.

The Derby is guaranteed to have home runs, and lots of them. The All-Star Game is not. Three of the past five All-Star Games had none. In all, 178 home runs have been hit in the All-Star Game, according to, a collection that began with Babe Ruth’s in the third inning of the inaugural 1933 game. Memories still linger over those hit by Reggie Jackson, Stan Musial, Ted Williams and Johnny Callison.

More than home runs, what made baseball’s All-Star Game resonate so much over the decades was its credibility. It closely resembled a regular-season game, with the players on each team clearly wanting to win. They played defense. They played for their leagues, which meant something more than it does today. The game was also a refreshing novelty, letting fans see players they would not normally see in their home stadiums or on television. But that was before the glut of locally and nationally broadcast games and before interleague play, which eroded any real distinction between the leagues.

No one said baseball shouldn’t evolve or make billions of dollars in television deals, but the specialness of the best all-star game in sports has become a victim of those changes.

The evolution has left baseball with a not-very-special July exhibition in which, it seems, managers try to please fans of every team by inserting every player into the game.

Now, in the so-called post-steroid era, power and run production are ebbing, and pitching’s dominance is rising.

The past two All-Star Games were shutouts, with no home runs hit in last year’s 3-0 victory by the American League. The National League won, 8-0, two years ago.

The All-Star Game attracted 22 million viewers 20 years ago. Last year, it attracted 10.95 million viewers, the second fewest recorded by Nielsen, and smaller than the audience for many episodes of “The Walking Dead” on AMC in 2013, as well as one episode of “Duck Dynasty” on A&E that same year. The record low measured by Nielsen occurred in 2012, when the game drew 10.89 million viewers.

Somehow, in the past four years, the N.F.L.’s Pro Bowl has had more viewers than baseball’s All-Star Game.

The Pro Bowl is usually a laughable affair in which the absence of defense is part of its fabric. But in January, the Pro Bowl generated 11.4 million viewers playing an ersatz game where kickoffs were eliminated, the play clock was shortened, bump-and-run coverage was allowed and two-minute warnings were added to the first and third quarters. Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice held a two-day draft to select the roster, which gave new meaning to trash programming.

The score, 22-21, was surprisingly low, but then so was the quality of play. Yet in the week before the Super Bowl, fans might be willing to watch anything the N.F.L. serves.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
The N.B.A. All-Star Game is a whoop-de-do cavalcade of scoring — last year’s final was 163-155 — but its viewership has slid from 13.1 million in 2002, its final February with NBC, to 7.5 million on TNT; the N.H.L. version, which has employed some tinkering in how the teams are chosen, registered only 1.3 million viewers in its last go-round in 2012, far below its high of 6.5 million in 1996.

Baseball has not toyed with the rules of its game to create a dubious version of itself for the All-Star Game. But it has had its share of minor controversies: the extra-innings tie declared by Commissioner Bud Selig in 2002; and the mixed decision, starting in 2003, to assign home-field advantage for the World Series to the league that wins the All-Star Game.

The Home Run Derby is more of a cacophony of wood. A modern ancestor of the 1960 black-and-white program filmed at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, the Derby has become a pageant of pure power from the likes of Yoenis Cespedes, Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton, Robinson Cano and David Ortiz. It has also become a bloated form of entertainment in the hands of ESPN, with the incessant “back-back-backs” of Chris Berman and the presence of so many correspondents that you’d think the network was covering an invasion. But it works because it is comfort food — dozens of home runs are swatted in a few hours; cameras are positioned close to the players; you can hear them speak and see how much fun they’re having.

Between 1995 and 2013, viewership for the Derby has risen, not fallen, with peaks and valleys in between. In 1995, 4.6 million viewers watched; the show hit its peak in 1998, the celebrated year of drug-inflated home run production, with 9.17 million viewers. In the past few years, it has attracted 6.4 million to 6.8 million viewers.

With power scarcer in real baseball like the All Star-Game, it seems that Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig hitting one Derby ball after another moonward on one Monday night a year looks mighty enticing.
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TV/Legal Notes
Dish Network prevails in latest court decision
By Mike Snider, USA Today - Jul. 14, 2014

Dish Network won a legal victory Monday when a federal appeals court said that customers could continue to use the features in Hopper DVRs to watch live TV remotely and transfer programs to devices for viewing on the go.

After the Supreme Court's decision in the Aereo case last month, Fox asked the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop Dish Network from streaming its network content over the Internet to subscribers. Along with ABC, CBS and NBC, Fox sued Dish two years ago to stop the ad-skipping feature on its Hopper digital video recorders.

Fox argued that Dish's streaming of the network's content is unauthorized, similar to Aereo's violations that the Supreme Court cited.

Dish maintained that its Hopper DVRs constituted an entirely different setup because they are physically in subscribers' homes, whereas Aereo let subscribers use a cloud DVR.

The appeals court decided against Fox's request for an injunction, but the case continues to move through the legal process.

"We will continue to vigorously defend consumers' right to choice and control over their viewing experience," said Dish executive vice president and general counsel Stanton Dodge, in a statement.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Oxygen Unveils New Logo & Tagline; Greenlights 2 New Series, 3 Projects In Development
By The Team - Jul. 14, 2014

Oxygen Media is getting a makeover. The network debuted its new logo and tagline – “very real” – today at Summer TV Press Tour. It’s part of Oxygen’s rebrand targeting young modern women initally announced in April and scheduled to launch on Tuesday, October 7 across all platforms. The network also announced two additional series It Takes A Sister and After Happily Ever After, for a total 9 new shows, along with three development projects, The Assistants, Party Inc., and Stranded At Work.

They join Oxygen’s upcoming lineup including Sisterhood Of Hip Hop, Nail’d It, My Crazy Love, Street Art Throwdown, Funny Girls, Living Different, Fix My Choir and a second season of the hit series Preachers of L.A. Here are details on Oxygen’s newly picked up series and projects in development:


“It Takes A Sister” (working title)
Produced by 495 Productions Inc. with SallyAnn Salsano serving as Executive Producer and in association with New Wave Entertainment LLC with Brian Volk Weiss and Mark Rousso serving as Executive Producers.

This comedic docu-series gives viewers a look into Nikki “Hoopz” Alexander’s unique and chaotic modern family with her five younger sisters and her 11 nieces and nephews. With an unparalleled bond, the Alexander sisters, ages 24 to 31, have been together through thick and thin. Now at Nikki’s ranch in rural Knoxville, Tennessee, these city girls are fish-out-of-water as they try to fit in down south. Their relationships will be tested as Nikki, known as the “Mama Bear” of the family, pursues her dream of opening her own boutique, while also helping her sisters accomplish their own goals. Can Nikki do it all being the head of this hectic household, older sister, world’s best aunt and business owner?

“After Happily Ever After” (working title)
Produced by Screaming Flea Productions with Matt Chan, Dave Severson and Liza Keckler serving as Executive Producers.

With 60% of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 years old ending in divorce,* this series chronicles twenty-somethings who got married young and now find themselves at a crossroads in search of a second chance and a new beginning. They know leaving their married life and spouse behind may be a risk, but hope by taking this chance they will find a new side of themselves.
*National Center for Health Statistics


“Stranded At Work” (working title)
Produced by EyeworksUSA with JD Roth, Todd Nelson and Brant Pinvidic serving as Executive Producers.
By 2020, nearly half of all U.S. employees will be Millennials*. Facing leadership gaps, business owners are frustrated with workplace politics and drama amongst their young employees and its affecting their businesses— and now they are turning to more drastic measures to get the company back on track. Employees will be suddenly forced to navigate several days in the wild and undergo a series of stressful and difficult situations together, all planned by their fed up boss who is hoping for them to form a meaningful bond. As the saying goes… what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger!
* Lynch, A. (2008). ROI on generation Y employees. Bottom Line Conversations, LLC.

“Party INC.” (working title)
Produced by Moonshot Productions with David Rowe, Erik Hartman and Chris Dunn serving as Executive Producers.

With DJs like Tiesto and Calvin Harris, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) has finally surged from its underground roots and into mainstream consciousness for millenials. Two lifelong girlfriends, Andi Cross and Lex Houser, are using their passion for music and putting everything on the line to launch their own events and apparel startup business, The Bad Kids Collective, within the multibillion dollar global EDM industry. From starting out with very little money in Lex’s mother’s basement to establishing a fiercely loyal following, their venture is filled with tension and drama as these young entrepreneurs attempt to manage a hectic workplace and grow BKC into a successful powerhouse, while also juggling their day jobs so they can support their dream.

“The Assistants” (working title)
Produced by NCredible Entertainment with Nick Cannon and Michael Goldman serving as Executive Producers in association with Evolution Media with Douglas Ross, Alex Baskin and Greg Stewart serving as Executive Producers.

Being a boss is tough, but being an assistant is impossible. This project follows the dynamic and hard-working assistants to the biggest mavens and moguls in the Atlanta entertainment scene from celebrities to record executives. With blood, sweat and tears, these ambitious 20-somethings are willing to do whatever it takes to learn the ropes one step at a time so they can climb the ranks. These assistants are exposed to a life of privilege at work, traveling on private jets and attending lavish red carpet events, however, at the end of the day, they struggle just to pay rent and find time for their own personal lives.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
USA Network’s ‘Dig’ Extends Hiatus To Assess Jerusalem Production Shoot

A scheduled hiatus in production on USA Network‘s new series Dig has been extended a week while producers assess the situation and decide if they can continue to shoot the six-episode series in Jerusalem. ”This caught us off-guard and we are assessing,” Gideon Raff told TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014, of the violence in the region. The network is “looking at all options and hopefully things will calm down, and we’ll go back” to Jerusalem to shoot the remaining episodes. “If not, we’ll sort it out” he said, noting “Jerusalem is a key element in our show. We chose to shoot there because of its history.”

The action adventure drama, from Tim Kring and Raff — creator of the Israeli series on which Showtime’s Homeland is based — centers on Peter (Jason Isaacs), an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of an archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. The series is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. Anne Heche co-stars.

As of this morning, press reports have put the death toll from nearly a week of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza at 176, with more than 1,280 wounded. Israel has not heeded calls for cease-fire, saying it will continue the offensive as long as militant group Hamas keeps firing rockets into its territory, CNN reports. Hamas shows no sign of letting up after launching almost 1,000 rockets at Israel, the network adds. Tensions escalated when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank in mid-June. Israel accused Hamas of the abductions and launched a crackdown on the group in the West Bank. Hamas, which controls Gaza, responded by stepping up rocket fire. The situation deteriorated last week when the bodies of the Israeli teens were found, and a Palestinian teen in Jerusalem was abducted and burned to death in what Palestinians claim was a revenge attack.

“I… was born and raised in Jerusalem…our hearts go out to everyone in Israel and Gaza, and hopefully it will be resolved very soon,” Raff said at the press tour, in Beverly Hills.

TV critics asked Heroes creator Kring about the advantage of working on an short-order event drama. “A lot of us have been talking about this for years — the power of scarcity…When JK Rowling told the world she would write seven Harry Potter books, it made those books very precious,” Kring said. “Television has finally seen this as a viable model…Certain stories lend themselves to a beginning, middle and end…Knowing where you’re going is a real luxury when you’re writing something,” he added.

“There’s nothing like a story” with a beginning, middle and, “most important, an end,” chimed in Isaacs. “I love telling a proper story,” added the Awake star, when asked about that short-lived, highly serialized NBC series.

In success, the Dig franchise will continue, with the same characters, but solving a mystery in another country, the producers said. Asked what countries the story would be taken to next, Raff said, “We’re focusing on the first six — of course we daydream in the writers’ room.”

“(cough)*Hawaii*(cough),” said Isaacs.

In February, Isaacs signed on as the lead of the six-episode event series. The following month, Heche (Save Me) was tapped as a series regular, playing Lynn, the head of the Jerusalem FBI office and Peter’s boss. She also is his only friend and occasional lover.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
'12 Monkeys' Producer on Syfy Series: 'It's a Complete Reimagining'
By Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jul. 14, 2014

Don’t expect Syfy’s 12 Monkeys to be a replica of Terry Gilliam’s 1995 movie.

“It’s a complete reimagining,” co-executive producer Terry Matalas told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “We were all big fans of the original film and had a deep love and respect for the material. We didn’t want to just redo what the movie does.”

“This isn’t a cover band of the film,” added star Amanda Schull. Co-executive producer Travis Fickett echoed that sentiment: “It doesn’t make sense to tell the same story again.”

12 Monkeys centers on a time traveler, Cole (Aaron Stanford), from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in the present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race.

The team behind the 13-episode series, scheduled for a January 2015 launch, intentionally switched up the rules to freshen things up and differentiate the universe. “Everything from the top down changed,” Matalas said, citing character tweaks like Cole and Dr. Whaley. Having said that, there will be clear homages to characters from the movie, such as Jones. Another change was the lack of ambiguity over the series' treatment of time travel. The time-traveling visual effects, in fact, were largely inspired by Rian Johnson’s 2012 film Looper.

Executive producer Richard Suckle, who helped produce the Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis film, said discussions about bringing 12 Monkeys to TV took place soon after the original movie was released. But things got in the way.

At the end of the day, the producers were itching to do “a gritty time-traveling show,” said Matalas, and felt audiences were ready to dive into a show with a rich mythology as 12 Monkeys. “We wanted it to be grounded and closer to a thriller but that’s not to say we wont play with tone."

There will be trips to various time periods, including World War I and the 1980s. “We will definitely travel around [time],” showrunner/executive producer Natalie Chaidez said.

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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Marti Noxon on 'Girlfriends' Guide': Move to Bravo 'Changed its DNA'
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jul. 14, 2014

Bravo becomes the latest cable network to enter the scripted space with Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, Marti Noxon's dramedy that was first developed for Showtime before moving to the NBCUniversal-owned cable network.

Inspired by the Girlfriends' Guide books by Vicki Iovine, the series follows Abby (Lisa Edelstein), a self-help book author and guru of all things family who shocks the world when she reveals that her seemingly perfect life is a lie. Paul Adelstein, Janeane Garofalo, Beau Garrett and Necar Zadegan also stars, with Orange Is the New Black's Laverne Cox guest starring. Adelstein also serves as a writing consultant on the series.

Noxonused the show's platform at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour to tout the changes and creative freedom that come with being Bravo's first original scripted show. The writer, who got her start on Joss Whedon's beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer before moving on to series including Glee and Mad Men, said the change from a half-hour comedy at Showtime to an hourlong dramedy at Bravo helped make the series "richer."

"I worked on Mad Men — and I'm not comparing us to Mad Men; Matt Weiner, if you're here don't be mad at me! — and I was part of experience of being part of train that changed the whole network," Noxon told reporters Monday. "One of the things that was great is since we're going longer, can we go deeper. One of the most frequent notes we got was: Can these characters have another facet? It was great to be challenged that way."

Expanding the series also allowed Noxon to add Necar Zadegan's character, Abby's fierce divorce attorney. "[The move] changed the DNA of the stories," Noxon said. "I didn't know that [Adelstein's] Jake [Abby's soon-to-be ex-husband] would be so central or that we wanted to know so much about their kids."

Noxon, who told reporters that the panel coincided with her last alimony payment after her marriage ended five years ago, stressed that the show isn't autobiographical but instead about divorces in general. "I wanted to write about sexual politics for a long time," she said, noting the series will explore the balance of power when women earn more than men or have greater success in their careers as well as the impact of divorce on men.
Noxon, who also received a series pickup for her Lifetime entry Un-Real, is happy to be to find herself back on cable.

"Mad Men changed my life. I'd been working only in network and it wasn't a good fit for me," she admitted. "After the experience of working on Buffy, I didn't realize that you weren't allowed to write what you wanted to write all the time. A lot of networks have notes. I like to go blue as you can see but I really like things to develop at their own rate. I went to mad men and asked what the theme was. I went to Matt and he said, 'Screw theme! Where did you learn that!?' There was more drama in the writers' room than there was on set all the time. The season I was there was all female writers. [It was] laugh, tears, cry. And that was just Matt!"

As for what to expect from Girlfriends' Guide, Carrie Fisher has a recurring guest role as Abby's long-time book editor and guide, and was cast before she booked her Star Wars return. Noxon joked that Fisher's hiatus from the series — she'll be back in subsequent episodes — will be written into the show. "We didn't know she was about to go do Star Wars and because of that, it worked for story that she goes away for a while. When she goes back, we'll say she was in rehab!"

Girlfriends' Guide debuts Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 10 p.m.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Cris Collinsworth Says ‘League of Denial’ Won't Stop His Kids From Playing Football
By Tim Molloy, - Jul. 14, 2014

Days after a judge approved a settlement in which the National Football League will pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to players with concussion-related health claims, NBC analyst and former NFL player Cris Collinsworth said he doesn't hesitate to let his two sons play the game.

Collinsworth was asked at a “Sunday Night Football” panel Monday to comment on the PBS's 2013 “Frontline” special “League of Denial,” which detailed how players suffer brain disorders, including dementia, after years of gridiron collisions. One of his sons played in high school, and the other — Austin Collinsworth — plays at Notre Dame.

“My wife and I have had this discussion,” Collinsworth said. “We watched ‘League of Denial.’ I've read ad nausea. I know a lot about what's going on with this subject. But you want to really know what I think? I think the most important thing in the world for most people is to learn how to get knocked on your ass and get back up and start fighting again. And I think it happens to all of us in all walks of life and football is a pretty neat way of telling you how to do that.”

“League of Denial” doesn't focus on injuries sustained from being “knocked on your ass,” but rather on repeat, traumatic brain damage. A neuropsychologist in the special said a season of hits is equivalent to “driving a car at 35 miles per hour into a brick wall 1,000 to 1,500 times per year.”

In a follow-up with Collinsworth, TheWrap asked if he was downplaying the seriousness of the problem by likening football injuries to getting “knocked on your ass.”

“Have you watched soccer? Have you watched hockey? All these sports — I mean soccer, I saw some horrific blows to the head yesterday,” he said, referring to the World Cup Final. “If you talk to physicians, they'll tell you that they may be even more at risk. There's a theory in the law [about] assumption of the risk. Are you willing to assume the risk to play hockey, to play football, to tackle, to do whatever it is — MMA? There are people that are going to choose to do that.”

The NFL is the only sports league that has agreed to a settlement in the hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate players making concussion-related claims. The league agreed to lift a $675 million cap on damages to cover all the cases.

Is that a sign that football poses a greater risk?

“I would question that,” Collinsworth told TheWrap. “There's more people.”

He added that he agreed the settlement money should be made available.

The concussion issue doesn't just involve adult players who choose to assume the risk, but also children who aspire to grow up to play pro.

The question about Collinsworth's sons sprung from comments by NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson explained on “League of Denial.” Carson said that for many years, players didn't realize the danger of concussions.

“From a physical risk standpoint, you know what you are doing when you sign your kid up, that he can hurt his knee, OK?” Carson said on the special. “But what you should know now is your child could develop a brain injury as a result of playing football. It's not just on the pro level, it's on every level of football. The question is, do you want it to be your child?”

Collinsworth and other panelists said the league was doing its best to minimize risks to players. They also said there would always be enough kids who want to play football to keep the league going for decades.

You can watch “League of Denial” here.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
‘Chrisley Knows Best’ Star: ‘Today, I'm Not Gay’
By Jethro Needog, - Jul. 14, 2014

Todd Chrisley is certainly not the first celebrity to be surrounded by gay rumors. But very few actually address them, as he did with People Magazine in March.

Chrisley said that he never thought that he had to address his sexuality, but answers when faced with the question.

“I don't feel there's a need for me to not address it,” Chrisley told TheWrap during the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday. “The reporter asked the question and it's rude of me not to respond.”

“Chrisley Knows Best” is a comedic reality series following wealthy, larger-than-life Todd and his family in Atlanta. Todd and his wife Julie have their hands full with their teen and grown children, as well as opening a department store.

The Chrisleys recently participated in the No H8 campaign. And the family patriarch said that he holds no negative feelings about gay people.

“I don't believe that being gay is something you should be ashamed of,” he said. “I don't believe it's something you should hide. And if I wanted to date someone, I would call you and I would ask you go to dinner with me. But right now, I'm very content in my life with where I am. Today, I'm not gay.”

“Chrisley Knows Best” will return for its second season in the fall.
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TV Sports
A farewell to Jeter. Oh, and a game too.
Tributes to the retiring Yankee will dominate the All-Star Game
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 15, 2013

There is, believe it or not, more than one player participating in this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which takes place tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. on Fox.

But you probably wouldn’t have guessed it based on all the pregame coverage.

All the stories have focused on Derek Jeter, the shortstop for the New York Yankees who is retiring at the end of this season.

Jeter is a 14-time all-star who has appeared in seven World Series. In 20 seasons, he has become the Yankees’ all-time leader in hits, stolen bases and games played.

Considering the franchise’s storied history, that’s pretty impressive. He’s a guaranteed future Hall of Famer.

So no surprise, most of the talk tonight will be about Jeter and his great career.

He will bat leadoff for the American League, and Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, who will manage the AL team, has hinted he will pull Jeter out at an opportune time to let the crowd give him a standing ovation.

The added hype around Jeter could help boost viewership for the game, which has waned in recent years.

Last year’s contest averaged 11.0 million total viewers, third-fewest in MLB history, according to Nielsen, and had a median viewer age of 53, its highest ever.

Still, even if viewership drops again, the game will likely be the most-watched program on Fox this summer.

* * * *

TV Sports/Nielsen Notes
One last huge turnout for the World Cup
Germany-Argentina final averages 26.5 million total viewers
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 14, 2013

ESPN/ABC and Univision wrapped up a record World Cup with more record-breaking ratings.

The final Sunday afternoon between Germany and Argentina, which went to extra time before Germany prevailed with a 1-0 victory, became the most-watched men’s World Cup final ever in the U.S.

The game averaged 26.5 million total viewers on ABC and Univision, according to Nielsen.

That included 17.3 million viewers on ABC, up 1.8 million, or 12 percent, over the 2010 final between the Netherlands and Spain.

It was the third-most-watched soccer match in U.S. history on English-language TV, behind only the U.S-Portugal first-round match a few weeks ago, which drew 18.3 million viewers, and the 1999 Women’s World Cup final, which tallied 17.98 million viewers.

On Univision the game averaged 9.2 million total viewers, also an all-time best for a final and up 4 percent over 2010. The Spanish-language network’s viewership included 5 million adults 18-49.

Viewership online was very strong as well. Germany-Argentina drew 1.8 million unique viewers, including an average audience of 675,000 per minute, on the WatchESPN app.

The strong showing for the championship capped a big tournament for both networks, sparked in part by strong performances by the U.S. and Mexican teams, both of which made the round of 16. The Mexican team is very popular with Univision viewers.

ESPN averaged 4.6 million total viewers for all 64 matches, up an impressive 39 percent over 2010.

And Univision grew 34 percent among total viewers and 21 percent among 18-49s.

Some of the gains certainly had to do with more favorable timing, as the 2010 World Cup aired in South Africa, and many matches started early in the morning and weren’t as conducive to live viewing for Americans during their workdays as they were for this World Cup, which took place in Brazil.

But there’s also an argument to be made for growing American affection for soccer following decades of indifference.

The U.S. has a rising Hispanic population, and soccer is huge in Central and South America.

Soccer also has become a very popular youth sport over the past few decades, meaning more and more adults are familiar with the game, whether they played themselves as kids or their own children have played.

Plus, it always helps when the U.S. team does well. The squad advanced to the round of 16 and lost in extra time to Belgium.
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TV Review
'Matador': Bullish on action with a Latin spin
By Dave Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle - Jul. 13, 2014

Experiencing withdrawal now that the World Cup is over? Don't worry: Robert Rodriguez's El Rey network has just the fix you need in the form of a frothy new action drama called "Matador," premiering Tuesday night.

Gabriel Luna ("Bernie") stars as Tony Bravo, an undercover DEA agent who is recruited by the CIA to try out for the fictional pro soccer team the L.A. Riot in order to get the goods on the team's billionaire owner, Andres Galan (Alfred Molina, "Spider-Man 2").

We first meet Bravo in Baja, where he and a couple of colleagues are posing as small-time drug dealers trying to buy a lot of product from a German mobster, who is a sausage maker on the side. After the guy deposits a meat cleaver deep into the skull of one of the undercover agents, he takes off, with Bravo in hot foot pursuit.

Unbeknownst to Bravo, he's being watched by a pair of CIA agents, Annie Mason (Nicky Whelan, "Franklin & Bash") and her more skeptical partner, Noah Peacott (Neil Hopkins, "Lost"). Impressed by Bravo's running speed, they recruit him, at least temporarily, to try out for the Riot.

The show was created by Roberto Orci ("Fringe," "Sleepy Hollow") and Andrew Orci, with "Criminal Minds" producers Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie. Roberto Orci and his frequent TV partner Alex Kurtzman are the executive producers. Rodriguez is among the show's producers, but says the writers came up with the meat cleaver bit all on their own.

Is it credible? Oh good grief, of course not, but who cares? Is it credible for Ichabod Crane to pop out of the grave in modern-day Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.?

There's much to love here, beginning with Luna, who, oddly enough, may remind you of Jackie Chan in one of his better action comedies. Luna brings a similar deadpan comedic style to the character of Tony Bravo, as well as warmth and nuance. The show is an action drama, but it's also funny - even the meat cleaver scene is more humorous than stomach-turning. Molina, of course, can do anything, but he's always fun as a villain, and he plays villainy to the hilt here. He's obviously having a good time, and so are we.

The show is fast-paced and sexy, but perhaps its secret weapon is the authenticity of Tony's character as a young Latino resident of the working class, largely Mexican American Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles. We see Tony at home with his family, and it's convincingly real. He's not the typical brooding, womanizing action hero but a likable everyman who also shows he's not someone easily pushed around, either on the soccer field or off.

El Rey is still in its infancy, but Rodriguez's idea of offering English-language shows with a Latin twist, blended with such classics as "Starsky and Hutch" and "The X-Files," is a good one. It's not just that "Matador" is the second original series on the network, though: It's that it shows Rodriguez's intention to expand the playing field. The network's first original, the adaptation of Rodriguez's "From Dusk Til Dawn," is also action-packed but more violent. "Matador" may be lighter fare, but it's just as engaging.

9 p.m. Tuesday on El Rey Network.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Syfy’s ‘Ascension’ Departs From Jason Blum’s Microbudget Film Formula
By Anthony D'Alessandro, - Jul. 14, 2014

Syfy‘s miniseries Ascension continues Jason Blum‘s development of intriguing TV projects, and unlike the low budget horror thriller films he’s made his mark with, i.e. The Purge and Insidious, he admitted “The budget for this series wasn’t as low as some of my movies. I’m new to TV. My long-term goal is (creating) lower budget TV series.”

Chalk it up to the demands of the sci-fi genre. Originally Blum was looking to have the all the action for the 600-person deep-space travel story to take place in one location, just like his haunted house pics.

“We thought this was going to be a low budget show, but it grew to be the size of The Queen Mary. The scope of the show is enormous and the only way 600 people (in deep space) can live is if you have crops, and different living quarters,” explained Blum.

“The reason why I advocate lower budgets is so the filmmaker can have more creative control. And luckily with Ascension, Phil had creative control with more money,” added the producer.

Ascension, which debuts on November 24 for six episodes, tells the story about a spaceship of 600 people that’s launched on a covert mission by the Kennedy Administration in 1963, in hopes of reaching a new world. The miniseries begins 50 years into their journey, and there’s a been a murder on the ship.

Like HBO’s AIDs drama The Normal Heart, which Blum also executive produced, Ascension is also outside his horror wheelhouse. What piqued Blum’s interest was the originality of EP Philip Levens‘ story idea, which was inspired by the Orion military project under JFK. Levens pointed out that Kennedy squashed the development of Orion soon after Bay of Pigs as the military began equipping the spaceship with weapons. “He was terrified that they were turning it into a Death Star,” said Levens. The initial idea of Orion was a spaceship fueled by nuclear propulsion.

Added Blum about his feature and TV development p.o.v., “When filmmakers pitch me, I don’t tell them that I”m looking for something scary. We do things that are different. Jem and the Holograms, one of our next projects, is far from scary. I responded to the originality and Phil’s notion with Ascension was something I have never heard.”

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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Meredith Vieira On ‘The View’: “You Can’t Go Back”
By Lisa De Moraes, - Jul. 14, 2014

Meredith Vieira, who came to TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 to plug her new NBCUniversal daytime talk show debuting on September 8, got asked if, were she not launching her own daytime show, would she be interested in returning to ABC’s daytime talker The View. Vieira served as that show’s original moderator from its debut on August 11, 1997, until June 9, 2006.

“No,” Vieira responded firmly. “I knew after nine years it was time to leave The View; I have a pretty good sense of timing and I always like to get out before something bad happens.” Having since appeared on The View several times during which she said she was treated “lovingly,” she came to realize “you can’t go back.” Going back, she said, would have seemed “crazy aunt going back.”

That’ll be news to Rosie O’Donnell, who in fact is going back to the show she famously left after one short, acrimonious season. ABC confirmed Rosie’s hire in a tweet, ending a mad media chase of this The View Is Out Of New Ideas story.

So popular has been the Rosie storyline, reports have now surfaced the show’s producers and ABC are mulling other Hosts Who Got Pushed as candidates for The View. The list includes Ann Curry, who was famously, tearily, removed from NBC’s Today (she’d replaced Vieira), and Leah Remini, who got shown the door by CBS’ The View homage, The Talk. Former VPOTUS candidate/current reality TV star/Fox News contributor Sarah Palin also pitched to take The Conservative Chair on the daytime talker — though O’Donnell’s reported insistence on having veto power over other potential co-hosts and insistence the producers rule out reality show stars would seem to be directed at Palin. The View now needs to replace not only Walters, but Sherri Shepherd, who announced to Deadline a few weeks back that she was done co-hosting the show, and Jenny McCarthy, who’s contract was not being renewed. According to some reports by people with knowledge of the situation, conservative Meghan McCain — a Pivot network co-host and daughter of Sen. John McCain, also was under consideration. ABC has declined to comment on other names.

Vieira, following in the footsteps of her Today predecessors Jane Pauley and Katie Couric, is expected to do a lighter show than Pauley’s short-lived talker, or Couric’s only-slightly longer-lived Disney syndicated show, playing off Vieira’s 11-year Who Wants To Be A Millionaire run and her years air-traffic controlling on The View. Today, as in other interviews walking up to her new show launch, Vieira stressed her “authenticity.” Viewers, she said, “can smell a fake a mile away — not that the other ones failed because the people who fronted them are phony,” she added quickly. By way of demonstrating how authentic hew new show will be, she explained the chair in which she will sit is actually a beat up chair from her own home’s family room. The rest of the beat up furniture on the set will be fakes — replicas of her own family room beat up furniture — because, she explained, her family would not let her take away the rest of their family-room seating. And she had hoped her dog, Jasper, would be with her on the show every day, “but he almost bit a photographer’s testicles the other day and I don’t want a lawsuit.” Instead, each week will feature a service dog and every Friday viewers will meet the human being paired with the dog.

In May, NBCU announced E Street Band’s Everett Bradley has joined Vieira’s show as bandleader, and Vieira’s “pal” Jon Harris will serve as the show’s announcer. Bradley plays percussion and sings backup vocals with Bruce Springsteen, and will lead the house band on the weekday show, a rarity for daytime TV. In addition, Geoff Rosen and Matthew Strauss were named co-executive producers. Benita Alexander, Angela LaGreca and Leslie Peirez have joined as supervising producers.

In February, Vieira made history, becoming the first woman to ever anchor NBC’s primetime Olympics coverage. NBC gave her the gig because it needed a fill-in for Bob Costas, who had been felled by an eye condition. Vieira, who’d been brought to Sochi to co-host the Opening Ceremony with Matt Lauer, and to do segments for Today on U.S. athletes to watch at the Games, took over for Lauer, who’d pulled double duty to fill in for Costas for three days. Costas spent the entire Winter Games battling an infection in both eyes that made studio lighting his enemy, though he too may have made TV history: first anchor on record with Twitter-trending eyes. For a TV veteran whose new syndicated daytime talk show was set to launch in the fall, the Sochi exposure was a gift.

Rosie’s return to The View already had been commented on by other alums, before Vieira was asked today about the show’s search for co-hosts.

“They thrive on ratings and she’ll probably bring ratings. She’s very edgy — there’ s a certain amount of danger to Rosie, and they’re looking to soup up the show,” former co-host Joy Behar told Don Lemon on CNN, the night before ABC finally gave up trying to keep O’Donnell’s re-hire under wraps. Behar’s comments came hours after yet another ex-co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck savaged O’Donnell’s return: “Here in comes to The View the very woman who’s spit in the face of our military, spit in the face of her own network, and, really spit in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debates for the time that she was there – coming back with a bunch of control, ready to regain The View with a seat at that table,” vacationing Hasselbeck phoned in to her new show, Fox & Friends, specifically to say. Hasselbeck claimed that when The View collected all of its past and present co-hosts for Walters’ penultimate episode, Rosie told her she’d “produced the reunion show.”

Hours later, on CNN, Behar called Hasselbeck’s comments “below the belt,” “hate-filled,” and “dangerous” — noting one of Rosie’s children is now at The Citadel military college.
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TV Review
MTV’s ‘Virgin Territory’
By Brian Lowry, - Jul. 14, 2014

MTV’s “Virgin Territory” explores a serious topic — young adults who delay having sex — in an un-serious way. Following multiple participants, who rotate in and out, the show employs a docuseries format that’s heavy on direct-to-camera interviews, but uses an anecdotal approach that cries out for some experts, discussion and third-party sources. “Some will keep it. Some will lose it,” the show notes of the characters’ virgin status. And some networks will pimp kids out — under cover of sex education — to score ratings.

Actually, the show might have a better chance at maintaining interest if it stuck with a central quartet and followed them over the course of its entire run. Instead, there’s little rhyme or reason to how long the players stick around. For example, one 23-year-old woman, Lisa, who has waited to have sex until marriage, is dropped after her wedding night, a little like “Logan’s Run,” only with a different kind of sanctuary.

Those featured range from 19 to their early 20s, and many are self-conscious about being virgins. Others are motivated by religion or personal factors that have caused them to abstain. “No ring-y, no ding-y,” as Dominique, 21, puts it.

Like a lot of these shows, suspension of disbelief is key to buying in to the situations. Take Kyle, who worries that his friends — who often talk about their sexual conquests — will find out his secret. But one wonders what those friends have been told about the camera crew following Kyle around as they go out for a night of clubbing and hoped-for debauchery. (He eventually spills the beans.)

Obviously, virginity is an extremely personal matter, and at times the vulnerability of the participants overcomes the way the material is presented, and feels raw and honest.

Too often, though, “Virgin Territory” surrounds those moments with carefully edited and scored sequences that resemble a beer commercial. And there’s no escaping the intrusive nature of the premise, like Lisa providing a morning-after recap of how her wedding night went.

MTV has a unique opportunity to explore young people’s lives at a formative stage, and has found no shortage of participants willing to share (or over-share) in that fashion, whether it’s unplanned pregnancy or online dating.

In that sense, “Virgin Territory” takes what could be an interesting idea and settles for going where many have gone before — sacrificing, in the process, any claim to purity.

'Virgin Territory'
MTV, Wed. July 16, 11 p.m.
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How's this blue you recommended looking, mrvideo?
Definitely very readable on all three skins. Thanks.
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MONDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
’24: Live Another Day’ finale surges for Fox
Miniseries ender draws a 1.7 in 18-49s, up 21 percent
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 15, 2014

Jack Bauer checked out with stronger ratings.

The finale of the miniseries “24: Live Another Day,” a limited-run revival of the hit drama “24,” posted its best rating since June 2 last night.

“24” averaged a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, up 21 percent from a 1.4 last week.

Among total viewers, the show drew its biggest audience since its May premiere, averaging 6.5 million total viewers.

Fox has not said whether “24” will return, though producers have indicated they’d be open to another limited-run series.

“24” wasn’t the only broadcast series to grow. CBS’s “Under the Dome” rebounded from last week’s series low, posting a 1.9 18-49 rating at 10 p.m., up 12 percent over last week’s 1.7.

It jumped ahead of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” in their shared 10 p.m. hour, after finishing behind the reality show last week, and “Dome” finished as the night’s No. 1 show.

“Ninja” posted a 1.7 from 9 to 11 p.m., even to last week, while ABC’s two-hour reality show, “The Bachelorette,” slid a tenth to a 1.7.

On the CW, the new comedies “The Backpackers” (8:30 p.m.) and “Seed” (9:30 p.m.) both struggled, averaging a 0.2 apiece.

Fox led the night among 18-49s with a 1.7 average overnight rating and a 6 share. ABC and CBS tied for second at 1.4/4, NBC was fourth at 1.3/4, Univision fifth at 1.1/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/2 and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

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

At 8 p.m. Fox was first with a 1.8 for “MasterChef,” followed by ABC with a 1.6 for “The Bachelorette.” CBS and Univision tied for third at 0.9, CBS for repeats of “2 Broke Girls” and “Mom” and Univision for “De Que Te Quiero, Te Quiero,” NBC was fifth with a 0.7 for a repeat of “Last Comic Standing,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “Reina de Corazones” and CW seventh with a 0.4 for “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (0.5) and “Backpackers” (0.2).

Fox and ABC tied for first at 9 p.m., each with a 1.7 rating, Fox for “24: Live Another Day” and ABC for more “Bachelorette.” NBC was third with a 1.5 for “Ninja,” CBS fourth with a 1.4 for repeats of “Mike & Molly” and “The Big Bang Theory,” Univision fifth with a 1.3 for “Lo Que La Vida Me Robo,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “En Otra Piel” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for a rerun of “Whose” (0.2) and “Seed” (0.2).

CBS took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 1.9 for “Dome,” with NBC a close second with a 1.8 for more “Ninja.” Univision was third with a 1.1 for “Que Pobres Tan Ricos” and ABC and Telemundo tied for fourth at a 0.9, ABC for “Mistresses” and Telemundo for “El Señor de los Cielos.”

ABC was first for the night among households with a 3.8 average overnight rating and a 6 share. CBS was second at 3.7/6, Fox third at 3.6/6, NBC fourth at 2.7/5, Univision fifth at 1.5/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.8/1 and CW seventh at 0.6/1.
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, - Jul. 13, 2014

Hulu, 12:00 a.m. ET
This new comedy series is an extended parody of reality TV’s Real Housewives franchise – an idea for a lampoon that was done by Saturday Night Live years ago, and seems not only ripe for ridicule, but overripe. Yet The Hotwives of Orlando starts out with a pilot that not only skewers the structure and stereotypes of the genre, but does so with a playful comedy cast. Included in the mix: former SNL player Casey Wilson (as trophy wife Tawny, whose charity of choice is High Heels for Dogs and whose motto is “Girls just want to have fun, even when their husbands are dying”); Kristin Schaal as former child commercial star Amanda (“I grew up on TV, and I plan to die there”); and others, including Angela Kinsley from The Office. The premiere, available any time as an exclusive Hulu series, has more bite and laughs than you might expect, and the promos show even more promise. I won’t watch reality TV shows like the ones Hotwives is spoofing, but I have no problem watching this.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Consider this 1942 swashbuckling classic an early precursor of Pirates of the Caribbean. The setting is 17th-century Jamaica, and the most charismatic pirate in this Caribbean movie is played by Tyrone Power – with Maureen O’Hara playing an abducted noblewoman who becomes an initially reluctant piece of his pirate booty. So to speak.

El Rey, 9:00 p.m. ET
Here comes El Rey’s second original series – and this one is a modern take, and spin, on the old I Spy concept of having a globally competing athlete working undercover as a spy. That Sixties classic used the world of tennis as a cover, but Matador uses football. Not American football – world football, what we in the U.S. commonly call soccer. Gabriel Luna stars as Tony Bravo, a gifted athlete who’s drafted by CIA operative Annie Mason (Nicky Whelan, of Scrubs and Franklin & Bash) to investigate both a particular team owner in particular and criminal bad guys in general. And premiering just a few days after the conclusion of the World Cup, you have to give El Rey points for good timing, if for nothing else.

PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

Just like last night’s POV, tonight’s Frontline finds itself in Louisiana, and looking closely at racially tinged local politics. In the case of Separate and Unequal, it’s the efforts of some residents of the East Baton Rouge Parish to create a new city and school system – a new school district that would segregate from the status quo by being largely affluent, and white, while lower-income, mostly black families would remain in the existing district. How can this happen, 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education? Ask the U.S. Supreme Court – and stay tuned. Check local listings.

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

In tonight’s episode, an anniversary is imminent – but it’s neither romantic nor cause for celebration. It’s the 20th anniversary of the date on which Barry’s father, President Khaled Al-Fayeed, ordered a chemical weapon attack, and the date remains so burned in local history that protests and reprisals are feared. And probable.

* * * *

Critic's Notes
Mel Brooks: The TV Worth Watching Interview, Take 3
By David Bianculli, - Jul. 15, 2014

Mel Brooks recently turned 88, but still juggles as many ongoing projects as Ken Burns. This month alone, he’s popping up on TCM, appearing at a Hollywood salute to Sid Caesar, and hatching plans for… well, you have to read it to believe it…

Brooks has been so unfailingly nice, and so graciously accessible, to me the past few years, I popped in to see him and say hi when I was in Los Angeles recently. Then I called him for a one-hour interview keyed to the next book I’m hoping to write – and only now, while reading over the transcription of that interview and recalling the gist of our earlier talk, did it dawn on me that there was enough topical – and newsworthy – stuff that I should share it, while holding the book topics for later.

First thing first:

On Wednesday, July 16, the Paley Center for Media – the Los Angeles one, not the one in New York – hosts a 7 p.m. PT presentation called Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner & Friends Salute Sid Caesar. It’s a salute to the comic genius who gave Brooks his first TV job (in 1949, as an uncredited writer on The Admiral Broadway Revue) and first paired him with future 2000 Year Old Man partner Reiner (on Caesar’s classic Your Show of Shows). Caesar’s live TV triumphs on both Your Show of Shows and its successor, Caesar’s Hour, will be discussed and presented, with best buddies Brooks and Reiner making room for other voices as well.

“We’re gonna do a little memorial salute to Sid Caesar,” Brooks explained, speaking casually yet tenderly. “We’re gonna say goodbye, we’re gonna show some clips, we’ve got a few friends of his talking.”

Eddy Friedfeld, who co-wrote the comedian’s memoir, Caesar’s Hours: My Life in Comedy, with Love and Laughter, will moderate the session, with other participants showing up as surprise guests. Tickets can be obtained at the Paley Center website, where you can also get details about the site’s live streaming of the event.

If you can’t get to Los Angeles, you can see Mel Brooks on TCM, which on July 31 is devoting the night to him. The evening begins at 8 p.m. ET with 1970’s Twelve Chairs, Brooks’ take on the Russian classic about a man whose mother reveals on his deathbed that she sewed a fortune in jewels in one of a dozen family chairs. Frank Langella and Rod Moody star.

Roger Ebert, then a young film critic already showing his chops, singled out Twelve Chairs for special praise in his Dec. 22, 1970 review: “While The Producers was hilarious, yes, The Twelve Chairs is a more fully realized work because it uses comedy not just for laughs but as a tool for examining the human condition.”

Other, better-known treats in TCM’s Mel Brooks movie night are 1976’s Silent Movie (9:45 p.m. ET), 1977’s High Anxiety (11:30 p.m. ET), and 1983’s To Be Or Not to Be (2:15 a.m. ET), his fond and funny remake of the 1942 Jack Benny comedy of the same name – which TCM presents at 4:15 a.m. ET, immediately after Brooks’ version has concluded. And sandwiched in between all that, at 1:15 a.m. ET, is a showing of the 2006 Dick Cavett interview with Brooks. What an evening.

And what of The Producers, his 1967 movie classic that led to his 2001 Broadway triumph? Roger Ebert, in that same review from 1970, anointed The Producers “one of the funniest films ever made.” But Brooks, ever the creative and competitive firecracker, would take issue with the qualifier. “One of”?

One reason Brooks showed up to open the recent American Film Institute Life Achievement Award show for Jane Fonda – an award he had been given the year before – was to schedule a throwdown with AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale.

Brooks wants to stage a battle for posterity bragging rights regarding the AFI’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Comedies, a list released back in 2000. Brooks had three films on the list, and was the most represented director in the Top 15: Blazing Saddles was ranked No. 6, The Producers No. 11, and Young Frankenstein No. 13. But for Brooks, that’s not good enough, and he feels The Producers, even now, could do better – especially against the AFI’s top-ranked comedy, Some Like It Hot.

Brooks told me the deal he made with Gazzale to open the Fonda tribute.

“I said, ‘I’ll make a deal with you. If you have a laugh-off between Blazing Saddles and Some Like it Hot’ – Some Like it Hot is number one of the 100 Funniest Films in America on the AFI list – I said, ‘If you create a laugh-off, same audience, you know, one run at seven, one run at nine, then I’ll do it. I’ll come back to the AFI for the Jane Fonda thing.’ He said, ‘Ok. You made a deal.’”

Brooks laughed. “So sometime in the next couple of months, we’re going to have this Blazing Saddles vs. Some Like it Hot Laugh-Off!... Probably get the Chinese Theatre [on Hollywood Boulevard].”

And other past Brooks projects may resurface in the future as well – in other forms, or as sequels. At the same time Brooks is editing his latest TV special in which he tells stories and answers questions before a packed house, he’s contemplating other ideas. One is a Broadway musical version of Blazing Saddles, which he’s discussed here before.

And the other, which is especially intriguing for his newer generations of fans, is that he’s thinking about raising the money to produce a movie sequel to Spaceballs, his Star Wars parody that, though not making the AFI’s all-time best American comedy list, has become, over the years, Brooks’ best-selling title on DVD.

With a new round of Star Wars movies in production, Brooks reasoned, and with Spaceballs having developed its own cult following, the time might be right to write a new chapter of his 1987 sci-fi parody.

“And,” he says with an impish smile, “I could still play Yogurt.”
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
ABC President Paul Lee on ‘Rising Star's’ Slow Start: ‘We Were a Little Disappointed With the Numbers’
By Tony Maglio, - Jul. 15, 2014

ABC President Paul Lee defended the slow start of summer show “Rising Star” early on during his executive session Tuesday at the summer Television Critics Association.

“We were a little disappointed with the numbers, we wanted it a little bit higher,” Lee admitted of the show's soft ratings.

“It's a live show — unlike the other talent shows where you get he pre-packaged first episodes — so we sort of had to learn on the roll,” he continued. “I think they learned on the roll extremely well, and the episodes now are really high quality.”

Lee touted a rise in Twitter interaction surrounding the interactive show as one measurement for success.

“I think that revolution that we did — which is to say now we're truly giving you live voting — it took about a week to get the West Coast set right. I think you're going to see that idea roll through reality now, because you now really do have the ability to say, ‘I vote this person [through] now.'”

On NBC's last minute move to take thunder away from the “Rising Star” premiere with a new “America's Got Talent,” Lee simply said, “We live in a competitive world, we all compete.”

“Rising Star” debuted to a 1.5 fast national rating in the key 18-49 demographic on June 22, according to preliminary numbers available at the time. That evening, “AGT” had a 2.1 in the demo.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
'12 Years a Slave’ Writer John Ridley Signs Overall Deal With ABC
By Tim Molloy, - Jul. 15, 2014

ABC has signed an overall deal with “12 Years a Slave” screenwriter John Ridley, ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee announced Tuesday.

Ridley, an Oscar winner for “Slave,” also wrote ABC's upcoming “American Crime,” in which an attack on a couple in their home exposes racial animosity.

Lee said at the Television Critics Association Thursday morning that ABC inked the deal with Ridley just moments before he took the stage.

Lee has often said that ABC wants storytellers’ most passionate projects, and the deal with Ridley represents an attempt to draw high-quality, prestige programming to the fourth-place network. It helps make Lee's argument that ABC is as a creative haven for showrunners.
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Business Notes/TV Sports
NBA Targets Doubling of TV Rights Fees in Talks With Disney, Time Warner Units (Report)
By Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter - Jul. 15, 2014

The National Basketball Association is targeting to double the TV rights fees it gets from Walt Disney's ESPN/ABC ‎and Time Warner‎'s Turner Broadcasting unit under its current deals that run through the 2015-2016 season, the Wall Street Journal reported.‎

The paper said the companies are in preliminary talks about extending the current deals that see‎ Disney paying around $485 million annually and Turner $445 million per year.

Doubling the fees would mean the deals would be worth nearly $15 billion over eight years, the term of the current agreements, according to the Journal.

Sports is considered a rare form of content that still draws big live TV audiences in an age of audience fragmentation and digital options, which has driven up the cost of sports rights.

But the rightsholders are expected to push for as small a fee increase as possible, and the length of new deals could also possibly change.‎ Turner has been using the fact that it has NBA rights to get higher carriage fees from pay TV operators.

In a possible change from the current deals, Turner is pushing to get a piece of the best-of-seven NBA Finals, according to the Journal.

For example, the two rightsholders could alternate finals coverage from year to year or divide up coverage of each year's finals series.

The league can only negotiate a finals split if it fails to reach a new deal with Disney.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
ABC Family’s ‘Chasing Life’ Faces The Harsh Realities Of Cancer
By Diane Haithman, - Jul. 15, 2014

The season finale of the new ABC Family series Chasing Life — about a 24-year-old aspiring journalist facing leukemia — will focus on April (Italia Ricci)’s “7 days in chemo and all that goes with that,” executive producer Patrick Sean Smith revealed at today’s TCA.

Smith appeared on today’s panel with fellow EPs Joni Lefkowitz and Susanna Fogel and cast members Ricci, Haley Ramm, Steven Weber and Mary Page Keller.

The 6th episode of theABC Family logo first-season drama (which made its debut June 10) airs tonight. Smith said that production has completed on episode 21. The producer noted that the series is different from most fictional stories about cancer because it does not start with treatment but rather the many emotions and decisions facing the character leading up to treatment.

Smith said that ABC Family has encouraged producers to face the harsher realities of the disease or treatment. He said Lefkowitz and Fogel pitched a scene where April is with her boyfriend and ends up having to spit blood in the sink. Smith told them ABC Family would never go for it but the network’s response was positive.”They don’t want to shy away from how ugly it can be,” Smith said.

As expected, Smith was asked whether the success of the movie The Fault In Our Stars about young people facing cancer, or Fox’s upcoming Red Band Society (about young hospital patients) has inspired the show.

Smith joked that he was “not familiar” with The Fault In Our Stars. He added that ABC Family shot the Chasing Life pilot in 2012 and has wanted to do such a series “for awhile”.

The Fault In Our Stars, Smith said, made it “feel a little bit less scary to go to that place. ” He added that “I think we’re all fascinated by the end, and death,” adding that millenials “like to talk about things that make grownups uncomfortable”. This realistic story, he said, gives young viewers a chance to look at death “organically … without a zombie apocalypse”.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Salaam Coleman Smith Named ABC Family’s EVP Strategy, Programming
By The Team - Jul. 15, 2014

Salaam Coleman Smith has been named EVP strategy and programming at ABC Family, the network’s president Tom Ascheim announced this morning at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “You may know her best from her work at Style or E!,” he said, calling her hire a “key part of building our future. She’s a great exec and an even greater person.” Smith’s hire seems to confirm sources’ reports ABC Family is looking to make a bigger push into the unscripted genre. Meanwhile, Ascheim said, “I am actively looking for Kate Juergens’ replacement.”

Kate Juergens, the executive behind ABC Family‘s defining original programming including Pretty Little Liars, The Secret Life Of The American Teenager, Switched At Birth and The Fosters, last week exited her post as Chief Creative Officer and EVP Original Content. The move was announced last week via a staff memo from Ascheim. He said her departure will result in a restructuring at the Disney cable network that includes the exit of SVP Acquisitions and Scheduling Lynn Stepanian, the odd person out in a new plan to combine Business Strategy, Planning & Development and Scheduling & Acquisitions under one roof and one leader. Both Juergens and Stepanian departed last week.

Juergens was Michael Riley’s No. 2 until his departure in September as ABC Family president. She was tipped to be a front-runner for the top job, much as she was in the mix as the top development executive when Paul Lee left as network president in 2010 — she did not make a play for the post then. Ascheim, a former Nickelodeon GM and CEO of Newsweek, eventually was hired in December after a search led by Anne Sweeney, then co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group (Sweeney reportedly searched for an executive with a strong business background).

Coleman Smith joins the network with extensive experience in business, creative and day-to-day network management, having served as President of Style Media for the past five years and most recently as President, Strategic Initiatives for NBCUniversal’s Cable Entertainment Group.

Juergens said in her own memo to staff that she began discussions about leaving the network “several months ago.” Ascheim asked her to stay through pilot season, which originally included pickups for three drama pilots; one, Alice In Arabia, about an American teenage girl kidnapped by her extended royal Saudi Arabian family and forced to live with them, was pulled four days after it was announced amid pressure from a Muslim advocacy group.

Stepanian was hired by Riley for her current post in June 2012 from TV Guide Network. In her role she was responsible for off-network series and feature acquisitions as well as overseeing the strategic scheduling of all on-air linear content and longform video.
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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
FX’s ‘The Strain’ Premieres to Promising Ratings; Showtime’s Sunday Series Return Lower
By Rick Kissell, - Jul. 15, 2014

FX’s decision to slot Guillermo del Toro’s new vampire-virus drama “The Strain” on Sunday nights paid off with a good ratings performance for its premiere.

Also of note on Sunday in cable were sluggish but OK second-season premieres for Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex,” both of which drew their smallest regular-timeslot audiences to date — though each enjoyed stronger lead-in support during their first seasons.

According to Nielsen estimates, “The Strain” averaged a 1.2 rating in adults 18-49 and 3 million viewers overall for its initial telecast Sunday night at 10. The demo rating matches TNT’s “The Last Ship” as cable’s top premiere of the summer, and is considerably better than FX saw this year with “Fargo” in April (0.8) or “Tyrant” in June (0.6).

The expanded 100-minute premiere of “Strain” was television’s No. 1 show of the night in men 18-34 (1.4 rating/5 share) and stood as the No. 2 cable show of the night in men 18-49 (1.4/4), behind HBO’s “True Blood.”

It figures to generate strong DVR playback too, as FX’s dramas have consistently done. The network opted against touting the same-night numbers for “The Strain,” instead planning to wait until “Live + 3″ numbers are released by Nielsen later this week.

Sunday has become the signature night for acclaimed cable series, a trend that began with HBO’s “The Sopranos” and continues today with the marquee series on HBO, Showtime, AMC and others. Until now, FX had traditionally stuck with weeknight timeslots for its series, including “Sons of Anarchy,” “Justified” and “American Horror Story.”

The regular-timeslot competition for “The Strain” in the 10 p.m. hour on Sunday included HBO’s “The Leftovers,” Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire” and TNT’s “Falling Skies.”

“The Stain,” from FX Productions, was co-created and is executive produced by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, who teamed to pen the pilot script. Del Toro directed the episode.

Carlton Cuse serves as executive producer/showrunner and writer. Gary Ungar also serves as executive producer.

The high-concept thriller tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers, wage war for the fate of humanity itself.

In other cable ratings news on Sunday, Showtime’s second-season premiere of “Ray Donovan” averaged 1.22 million viewers — below both its series premiere last year (1.35 million) and its first-season finale in September (1.41 million). It’s worth remembering, though, that “Donovan” aired behind the net’s top show, “Dexter,” last summer; the serial killer drama opened with 2.5 million and ended its run with 2.8 million.

Similarly, “Masters of Sex” averaged 825,000 viewers with its 10 p.m. premiere Sunday — below the 998,000 it opened to last fall and the 1.21 million for its season finale. But it aired behind Showtime’s No. 2-rated program, “Homeland,” whose series premiere drew 1.9 million, and its finale did 2.4 million.

And at Lifetime, the second-season finale of “Devious Maids” did a 0.79 rating in adults 18-49 and 2.23 million viewers overall. This season didn’t rate as high as last year’s, but it picked up steam late, with the finale rising 16% week to week in 18-49 (from 0.68) and nearly 80% over two weeks ago (0.44).

In its third week, HBO’s “The Leftovers” dropped to 1.38 million viewers for its regular-timeslot episode, down from 1.55 million last week and 1.77 million for its premiere.
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Critic's Notes
‘Sam & Cat’ cancellation, whether over sexy Jennette McCurdy photos or money, marks sad end to good show
By Daving Hinckley, New York Daily News - Jul. 14, 2014

"Sam & Cat" is gone.

That's terrible news.

Not surprising.

But terrible.

Ariana Grande, who co-stars with Jennette McCurdy in the hybrid Nickelodeon comedy, confirmed on Twitter that Thursday's episode, the 36th in the series, will be the finale.

The ending is as messy as it is frustrating. The first season was supposed to run 40 episodes, and there was no reason to believe it couldn't then run another season. Or two.

Not happening.

Nor do we know why. The stars have denied that racy pictures of McCurdy, leaked onto the Internet in March, were a killer. Grande has also denied she and McCurdy got into it personally over who made more money.

You could speculate that the rest of Grande's career, notably her music, has taken off so fast she'd like more time to concentrate on it.

She probably would. And good for her.

But that doesn't make it any less depressing that one of the most refreshing, funny, lively and upbeat shows on television has imploded and crumbled to dust.

"Sam & Cat" was created by Dan Schneider as an offshoot from two of his earlier Nick shows, "iCarly" and "Victorious."

McCurdy had co-starred for years with Miranda Cosgrove on "iCarly," playing the offbeat junk-food addict Sam and justifiably becoming a fan fave.

Grande was part of the ensemble cast of "Victorious," playing the endearingly airheaded Cat Valentine.

When "iCarly" and "Victorious" ended, Schneider matched McCurdy and Grande. It's an idea that doesn't usually work, and maybe the ending of this partnership proved it didn't work here, either.

But on screen it worked beautifully. "Sam & Cat," like "iCarly" and "Victorious," was a show that bridged all kinds of demographic lines.

It was aimed at tweens and teens, of course, but parents would find themselves lingering in front of the TV set themselves.

It also proved you can make a funny show without a constant stream of lazy sex jokes. There's more than enough humor in the rest of life, and Schneider knows how to find it.

All young-folks shows have to end eventually, of course. If nothing else, the actors move on. They try to find older roles and they're replaced on Nick (or MTV, or Family) by the next new generation of young actors.

That's natural, and all we can do is be glad for the time we had.

But that doesn't seem we didn't get our hopes up that "Sam & Cat" could run for another couple of years.

And then poof, gone.

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Ariana has the #1 song "Problem" for 2 weeks on the Billboard Top 40 chart....i didnt even know that was her on this show.
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It’s too bad so few viewers have access to El Rey — locally El Rey is available on DirecTV (Channel 341), but the cable network is not yet available on Comcast or Verizon’s FiOS TV — because El Rey shows have a distinctive, stylish, pulp noir vibe that really sets them apart.

Comcast in Portland has El Rey on channel 137, but since it is not in HD, it may not count.
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Originally Posted by earletp View Post
Comcast in Portland has El Rey on channel 137, but since it is not in HD, it may not count.
You might check the OnDemand section for HD, even though Comcast does not carry Sundance HD on my system they do have the HD version OnDemand, I've been using it to watch Rectify.
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Originally Posted by Keenan View Post
You might check the OnDemand section for HD, even though Comcast does not carry Sundance HD on my system they do have the HD version OnDemand, I've been using it to watch Rectify.
Thanks for the tip. They do have Dusk to Dawn episodes 1,2,3, 6,7, and 10 in HD. Maybe they will add more HD content soon.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
Paul Lee Talks ‘Black-ish,’ ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ and Diversity vs. Authenticity
By Tim Molloy, - Jul. 15, 2014

ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee owned up to a couple of “very weak” months for his network, and talked about a rebuilding plan built largely around diverse comedies that he says reflect the “authenticity” of America.

Lee spoke Tuesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, where at one point he invited reporters to turn around and look at the ABC employees standing in the back of the room, saying they reflected the diversity of America.

The head of the fourth-place network said the network began making a comeback toward the end of the 2013-14 season.

“We had a very weak January and February and then we came roaring back in March, April and May,” he said, noting that ABC won its first May sweeps in 14 years.

ABC's hopes of climbing are built largely around programming that recognizes and celebrates diversity. The network signed a deal Tuesday with “12 Years a Slave” writer John Ridley, and has turned its entire Thursday night lineup to Shonda Rhimes, famous for her colorblind casting. In the fall, it will debut “Black-ish," “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Cristela,” which are about African-American, Asian and Latino families, respectively.

The cynical read is that ABC is trying to expand its demographics as it strives for ratings. But Lee said the network's goal is to tell honest stories and reflect America.

Lee has said many times that ABC wants writers’ passion projects, and said such projects tend to be specific. “Black-ish,” “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Cristela” are all based at least in part on their creators’ real lives.

“When they come in with real specificity … when they bring you authentic, relatable stories, you really have no other choice than to pick them up,” he said. “When I watch ‘Fresh Off the Boat,’ when I watch ‘Black-ish,’ when I watch ‘Cristela,’ I am one of those families.”

Lee, the British-born head of an American network, noted that he could relate to being an immigrant, like the families in “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Cristela.”

He invited reporters to turn to look at his executives, saying it was just as important to have diverse talent behind the camera as in front of it.
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Summer TCA Tour Notes
'Saturday Night Live': Noel Wells and John Milhiser are also out
By Hillary Busis,'s 'Inside TV' Blog - Jul. 15, 2014

And two more bite the dust: A source confirms to EW that Saturday Night Live has elected not to renew the contracts of Noël Wells and John Milhiser, both of whom joined the sketch show last fall as featured players. Deadline first reported the news.

Word of Wells and Milhiser’s oustings comes one day after another former featured player, Brooks Wheelan, announced his own exit from the show in an irreverent tweet (“Fired from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”).

Milhiser’s booting shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who kept up with SNL last season; the New Jersey-born comedian got a minimal amount of screen time throughout the year, performing just a handful of impressions (including Jon Cryer and Matthew McConaughey) and a single recurring character (if “student in two Shallon sketches” even counts). The departure of Wells, the only new female cast member to join the show last fall, is slightly more surprising (Sasheer Zamata didn’t join the show until January). Since SNL will presumably lose Nasim Pedrad to the Fox sitcom Mulaney in September, it seemed as though Wells, who specializes in impressions (Zooey Deschanel, Kristen Stewart, Lena Dunham), may have been kept around to help fill Pedrad’s old spot.

Milhiser, Wells, and Wheelan were just three of the eight new featured players added to SNL during the rebuilding year that was season 39. The futures of Beck Bennett, Colin Jost (the show’s head writer as well as its new Weekend Update co-anchor), Kyle Mooney, Mike O’Brien (a longtime writer and first-time featured player last year), and Zamata remain unclear—though Deadline writes that O’Brien could return to the writers’ room full-time come September.

SNL had no comment about Milhiser and Wells.
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TV Review
Teetering on the Line Between Good and Evil
‘The Divide,’ a Drama Inspired by the Innocence Project
By Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times - Jul. 16, 2013

“The Divide,” a legal drama that begins on Wednesday, is surprisingly good. But what’s most surprising is that it’s on WE, a cable channel best known for shows like “L.A. Hair” and “Marriage Boot Camp.”

Not that there is anything wrong with escapist reality shows aimed at women. But if HBO is the Stanford of cable networks, WE is closer to Mary Baldwin College in Virginia.

“The Divide” isn’t frilly or fun: It is a smart, intense thriller inspired by theInnocence Project, the nonprofit organization that uses DNA testing to fight to reverse wrongful convictions — including many in death penalty cases.

And there are so many news accounts these days of inmates being released after decades in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

CNN has an entire documentary series, “Death Row Stories,” narrated by Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking”), that looks at real-life capital punishment cases where convicts turned out to be victims of an unjust system of justice.

“The Divide” isn’t focused on the lighter side of wrongful incarceration; promotional materials begin with a quotation from Solzhenitsyn: “The line separating good and evil passes not through states nor between classes nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.”

Of course, that’s not exactly encouraging, either; some dramas about the legal system drown in their own righteousness. Fortunately, the two-hour premiere of “The Divide” defies expectations in both directions.

On the premiere, the death row inmate that do-good, pro bono lawyers seek to save is Jared Bankowski (Chris Bauer), a white man who was convicted of brutally slaughtering almost all the members of an African-American family in their home.

Nobody wants this infamous monster released, not the young woman who is the sole survivor of the killing spree and certainly not Adam Page (Damon Gupton), the ambitious African-American district attorney who put his career on the map with the case.

The setting is Philadelphia, and anything to do with that fictional multiple homicide, known in the tabloids as Killadelphia, is explosive. Jared’s conviction has become a cornerstone of the city’s efforts to restore racial harmony, so there are plenty of reasons to want the execution to stay on track, besides the prosecutor’s and the public’s certainty that Jared is guilty.

Marin Ireland (“Homeland”) plays Christine Rosa, a law student and intern at the Innocence Initiative. And while Christine is a lot prettier than either Barry C. Scheck or Peter J. Neufeld, the two lawyers who founded the Innocence Project, she actually looks like a lawyer.

Television shows too often cast flawless, gorgeous actresses to play rumpled, stressed workaholics.

Christine works in a bar to pay for law school and has shadows under her eyes; her hair is long, blond and a little stringy, and she wears jeans and field jackets, not short skirts and high heels.

The understated cinematography and music are in the same vein: Someone went to some trouble to avoid the genre’s usual cheesy shortcuts and clichés.

Christine is the show’s heroine, but Adam, for all his ambition, isn’t the villain, and neither, really, is Jared. Good deeds are sometimes stained by crass or selfish motives, and bad ones sometimes have a mitigating factor. The premiere of this eight-episode legal thriller is remarkably free of cheap melodrama.

That may partly be an act of atonement by one of the creators of the show, Tony Goldwyn, who also directed the premiere. At his day job, Mr. Goldwyn plays the passionate, lovesick President Grant on Shonda Rhimes’s florid nighttime soap “Scandal,” on ABC; there is some perfunctory sex on “The Divide” but scant romance and a lot less murder, conspiracy and face slapping than on “Scandal.” Christine has a boss, Clark Rylance (Paul Schneider), who respects her commitment and zeal but has a more realistic view of the job. “You want to be a lawyer,” Clark tells her. “You better get used to knowing what should happen and accepting what does.”

Christine doesn’t listen, and she has hidden facts on her side. So does “The Divide,” a show that tries to live up to Solzhenitsyn’s maxim that there is good and evil in everyone, even lawyers.

The Divide
WE TV, Wednesday night at 9, Eastern and Pacific times; 8, Central time.

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