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Aleron Ives's Avatar Aleron Ives 11:34 PM 07-20-2014
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post
Ha, I only ever watched a couple of episodes and I remember that scene too!
What's really sad is that they didn't even stop there. After they discovered the iPod, they then had to plug some current AC hit that the victim was playing on it.

"Hank, do you recognise this song?"
"Why yes, Nick, I love this song!"

Maybe that was their way of softening the blow of prominently showcasing people using iMacs in every episode after that.

dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:31 AM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
Fox’s Peter Rice On New Executive Structure; Future Of Pilot Model; More ’24,’ ‘Bones’
By Nellie Andreeva, - Jul. 20, 2014

With the departure of Fox’s previous top programming executive and the network’s new co-heads not in place yet, their boss, Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice, took the stage on his own at the network’s executive session at the TCAs this morning. Top question of the day: Fox’s new executive structure, in which the network and sibling 20th TV are both under the oversight of the same executives, Dana Walden and Gary Newman.

“We’d been the odd man out,” Rice said, a reference to the other broadcast networks, which have closely integrated with their studios. “As competition for talent has become more intense, it has put us at a disadvantage, and to have the network and the studio aligned would be helpful.”

Rice was asked to elaborate on the ways the previous setup disadvantaged Fox. “The old structure had a clear advantage for the studio: a big independent studio that was able to sell to everyone, which it has done extremely successfully,” Rice said. “But the network was increasingly disadvantaged. The ability to be reactive only because you are a buyer, that funnel became narrower and narrower as the (landscape) became more competitive… By putting these things together, we’re telling the creative community, we have this great network and a great studio, you can speak to us in a single voice.” Like Walden and Newman on the day of the executive announcement, Rice said the network and the studio would operate independently, buying/selling from everywhere. But “we can coordinate those things and open a bigger tent for the creative community.” Still, with all things being equal, wouldn’t the studio have the leg up? Should Universal TV or Warner Bros. TV, which have a lot of business at Fox, be concerned? “I don’t think you can be mutually exclusive,” Rice said. “I don’t think you can say ‘I want to buy from myself, but I want to sell to all of you.’ We’re involved in a business where we are all interrelated.’ We have Modern Family, Homeland and so many shows on other networks, and they have shows on our networks. But the perfect win for the company is a win on our network that’s owned by the studio.”

Rice was asked about the future of Reilly’s initiative to bypass pilot season, which he announced at the previous TCA, complete with a slide of a pilot season tomb stone. “I think that was a little misinterpreted,” Rice said. He indicated that what Fox was actually looking to bury was “trying to have a singular development process, which is very, very rigid: hearing 500 pitches, read scripts in December, order 20 pilots in January when all other networks are doing the same… I don’t think that’s good for the creative process… We are trying to be less rigid and as elastic as possible so creative people can be as creative as they can be. We will be flexible — we will make pilots sometimes in February, sometimes in September, sometime we will go straight to series.” 24 live another day image

Rice is credited as the architect of the 24 limited series Live Another Day. Will there be more? “I’d love to see another season of 24,” he said. “(Live Another Day) was twisted and fantastic. It’s a wonderful franchise, and when you look at the show itself, it has many more stories to tell.”

Rice also said he hopes this is not the final season of Fox’s longest-running drama series, ultimate utility player Bones, though he acknowledged that would require reaching new deals with stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, whose contracts are up at the end of the season.

Also in the “hope it comes back” department — Fox’s summer reality series So You Think You Can Dance, though conversations will not be held until the current cycle is over. The fate of Cabot College is still in limbo as Fox has not made a decision whether to pick up to series the pilot from Matt Hubbard, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. “It’s still in development, it’s up to Dana and Gary to have conversations with Tina, Robert and Matt; they will have to see if everyone is seeing eye to eye.”

Rice acknowledged that Fox “played musical chairs with judges” on American Idol the last several seasons. This year, the judging panel is staying the same, and Rice confirmed today that there will be no behind-the-scenes changes on the show either. “We felt good with production this past season,” Rice said. “Idol is still a very strong show for us. I think it is aging gracefully.”

Fox recently opted not to proceed with ancient Egypt drama Hieroglyph after filming one of what was supposed to be a 13-episode order. “It didn’t live up to the ambition,” Rice said. “Rather than keep plodding through, we decided to stop.”

On the decision to curtail the final season of Glee from 22 to 13 episodes, “we wanted to go out in a way that celebrates it, and felt a compacted final season was the better way. Glee is one of the great shows in TV history; it touched so many hearts and burnt so hard and so fast.”

Rice also chimed in on the ongoing discussion of the increasing irrelevance of Live+same day ratings. He too agreed that overnight ratings paint a very skewed picture, giving the example of Fox shows like The New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which are labeled as low-rated based on live numbers but rise dramatically in time-shifted and online viewing. He was encouraged by advertisers starting to embrace C7 vs. C3 during the most recent Upfronts ad sales period. With the growing popularity of time-shifting, does a programming grid mean anything anymore and does it matter when shows are launched? “I think it’s important in how you release and initially distribute and help audiences the way you guide them through it, instead of a Wild West where everything is up at the same time; It’s helpful to have a schedule,” Rice said. “You can still draft and promote around it. But clearly viewers are making their own schedule. We have to present it in a certain way.”

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Fox’s ‘Gracepoint’ Producers Promise It’s Not A Reproduction Of British Original
By Lisa De Moraes, - Jul. 20, 2014

Fox’s Gracepoint, an American remake of the British series Broadchurch, is not a shot-for-shot recreation — though it may seem like it’s going in that direction in the first two two episodes, after which it will begin to differ substantially, the exec producers promised to dubious TV critics this afternoon at the TCAs.

The first portions of the British eight-parter were “so well done, why would we contort ourselves to tell it differently?” Carolyn Bernstein said when some critics commented about how the two episodes they’d seen of Gracepoint replicated early Broadchurch episodes. “We didn’t want to fix something we all thought was excellent,” Bernstein explained at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. She and EP/showrunner Dan Futterman promised it will begin to differ substantially.

Further muddying things, in October, Fox announced that Broadchurch star David Tennant had been cast in its 10-hour series. In Fox’s version, Tennant plays an American detective who is the lead investigator in a shocking murder that puts a small town under scrutiny. Though this time it’s set in an American town, like the original it follows the tragic and mysterious death of a young boy found dead on a beach surrounded by rocks and a jutting cliff face, from where he may have fallen. Although his cause of death remains unsolved, the picturesque seaside town where the tragedy occurred is at the heart of a major police investigation and a nationwide media frenzy.

The American version purports to have a different killer.

“I don’t want you to rule anybody out as a suspect,” Futterman said coyly, when asked for assurances of a different outcome than the British version. “We end in a very different place, which is exciting for a first season and could be, yes, a great second season as well.”

Complicating things further, in May, ITV announced Tennant would reprise his role as Detective Alec Hardy on Sesason 2 of Broadchurch. “I’m just happy to go where the good writing is, which has been Broadchurchm and Gracepoint — and now Broadchurch again,” Tennant said. “I will keep turning up, if I make it to the end of Gracepoint Season 1. Who knows?”

He insisted the two roles “feel very different to me,” though he joked, “they both look quite like me and have similar heights.” It’s the same character, and yet not the same,” he insisted, explaining, “The spine of the story is the same, but there is different flesh on the bones.”

One TV critic noted pointedly that one of the reasons they gave Broadchurch such great reviews is because they got to see all eight episodes, and knew all of them were great; she wondered if Fox would similarly give them all 10 episodes of Gracepoint in advance of premiere. Bernstein said she expected Fox to give them enough episodes to see that their version veers from the original, but not enough episodes to spoil the ending.

Another critic wondered how, with early episodes so similar, the Gracepoint producers thought they could draw in fans who’d watched Broadchurch on BBC America, while acknowledging that it’s possible BBCA’s entire Broadchurch audience was in the room.

“My mom is right down the alley of the BBC audience, and she watched it, and said, “I can’t understand a word they’re saying,” the critic said

“How rude,” Tennant joked but maybe not.

“I think that was a common experience,” Futterman insisted stoutly.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:34 AM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
'Gotham' focuses on humans, not heroes, producer says
By Robert Bianco, USA Today - Jul. 20, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS — It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Commissioner Gordon!

And that's the issue for Gotham, the Batman prequel coming to Fox that is built around Ben McKenzie's young, not-yet-in-charge Detective James Gordon. People care about Batman, present in the show in the person of a very young Bruce Wayne. They care about The Riddler, Catwoman and The Penguin, all of whom have origin stories in Gotham. But do they care about Jim?

Producer Bruno Heller, who created The Mentalist, certainly hopes you will — and thinks you should. "Gordon is the moral linchpin of the show … He's the man who creates Batman, or gives Batman the permission to exist in this world," he says at the Television Critics Association panel on the new series.

Still, Heller says, it's not just about Jim — who is partnered here with Donal Logue's Detective Harvey Bullock. While Heller says "Gordon will very much remain in the center of it," the show also is about Robin Lord Taylor's soon-to-be Penguin or crime boss Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett Smith.

And if that makes Gotham a Batman show without Batman, that's just fine with Heller. "That's the situation that the show is all about: How do you deal with crime at this level when there are no superheroes, when there are just ordinary men and women trying to solve these things?....It's about men and women, not superheroes, and to me that's a more interesting story."

It's also a very dark (and rainy) one: Gordon faces a city in collapse, and we know he will not be able to fix it until Bruce Wayne grows up.

Why watch that? "It's a noir," says McKenzie. "The structure that exists around him is so daunting and so challenging that no single man is going to be able to overcome it. The notion that our hero is doomed and so we shouldn't be interested in his story is somehow wrong."

The opening episode of that story has four famous soon-to-be villains in it, which is a lot. "You have to frontload the pilot," says Heller, "with the best that you've got… As the show rolls on, we'll be more parsimonious."

That pilot, and the series it will spawn, takes place in a fantasy world that doesn't adhere to the rules of any particular place or time, as in a dream. It also doesn't precisely mesh with every single Batman story, says Heller, because there are too many of them for any chronology to exactly fit. No "essential" parts of the myth will be broken, he says, but details will shift.

And in case part of that mythology for you involves the old kid-friendly Batman TV series, be warned that this is a much more adult, and much more graphically violent approach. And Heller is unapologetic.

"Violence, if you show it, should be disturbing. That's the only moral way to show it…This is a crime story, and crime is violence, essentially."

As for the level of violence shown, Heller feels it doesn't go beyond anything you've seen, or can see, on broadcast TV.

"The benchmark for what is acceptable violence has risen in society … It's up to parents to decide what standards their kids should cleave to in terms of what they watch on TV."

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Stand-up comic Mulaney gets the spotlight on Fox
By Bill Keveney, USA Today - Jul. 20, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS – Another stand-up is making the jump to TV situation comedy.

Former Saturday Night Live writer John Mulaney will headline Mulaney (Fox, Oct. 5, 9:30 p.m.), which echoes parts of his own career. The series will incorporate bits of Mulaney's stand-up routine, as Jerry Seinfeld, who also played a comedian on Seinfeld, did on his hit comedy.

Asked how the sitcom Mulaney came about at a Television Critics Association panel, Mulaney joked: "Just watched Seinfeld and copied it. They run it all the time."

On a more serious note, Mulaney, who plays a 29-year-old comedian in the show, said he loved his time at SNL but wanted to try something else and was drawn to the types of sitcoms he watched growing up.

"The live-audience sitcom ... is very character-based. I thought it would be fun to try to do one with my sense of humor," a comedy with "maybe a weirder bent to it," he said.

Mulaney has bounced around a bit, having been developed at and passed over at NBC before securing a spot in the Fox lineup after Family Guy. Andy Ackerman, who directed Seinfeld episodes, is a director and executive producer.

In the show, Mulaney, the latest in a long line of comics to get a TV series, plays a stand-up comedian who gets a job writing for game-show host Lou Cannon (Martin Short). Before SNL, the real-life Mulaney wrote bits for comedians who appeared on talk and awards shows.

Mulaney's support system includes two roommates, personal trainer Jane (fellow SNL alum Nasim Pedrad) and another comic, Motif (Seaton Smith); trust-fund baby Andre (Zack Pearlman); and neighbor Oscar (Elliott Gould).

Mulaney said he imagined acclaimed performers Short and Gould as part of the ensemble when he wrote it. "To actually get the actors themselves was incredible," he said. "Just talking to the gentlemen on the phone (were) some of the most excited and nervous" moments.

When SNL chief Lorne Michaels, a Mulaney executive producer, asked Gould to meet with the young comic, the veteran actor was impressed with him as "a really good, decent, brilliant, original person. I'm happy to be part of this new chemistry."

Short joked that his first meeting with Mulaney wasn't set up in quite the same way as Gould's. "The difference is Lorne asked Elliott to meet with John and he asked me to (audition) for John."
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:38 AM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
‘Sleepy Hollow’ Co-Creator Bob Orci Teases Season 2: ‘War Is Coming to Town’
By Tony Maglio, - Jul. 20, 2014

Don't lose your heads, “Sleepy Hollow” fans, but “war is coming to town” in Season 2, co-creator Roberto Orci told journalists at Sunday's Television Critics Association panel.

And that darkness has a name and a face: the former is Henry Parish, the latter comes courtesy of actor John Noble.

Additionally, more names and faces will join the fantastical Fox world this fall. “Sleepy Hollow” is introducing several new creatures — a Wendigo, a succubus, a kindred, and a pied piper — as well as two key humans, including new sheriff Leena Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey).

One of the topics of conversation at the “Sleepy” TCA panel was the hard-to-believe platonic relationship between Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Det. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie). Fans of the show see the chemistry between the characters in a different way than apparently the actors and producers do.

That simple friendship-first (and “only,” for now at least) attitude is actually what drew Beharie to the character, she said: “[Abbie] has a relationship with a man, but it's not romantic.”

“We didn't plan for an undercurrent of romance between Abbie and Ichabod,” executive producer Heather Kadin added, while Mark Goffman reminded the audience of reporters that Crane has a wife. And about that whole wife thing? ”We're going to drop a few bombs this season with regards to [Ichabod and Katrina's] relationship that they were not possibly prepared for,” Goffman teased.

Finally, we couldn't resist posting what might be the best joke of the summer TCAs, which was dropped during the “Sleepy” panel. A journalist asked the producers about something former Fox chief Kevin Reilly said during the previous TV crtics press tour, that “Sleepy Hollow” was behind schedule. “Look what happened to him,” Orci quipped.

Reilly left the network in June; Dana Walden and Gary Newman are taking on his duties at the end of this month.

The 18-episode Season 2 of “Sleepy Hollow” kicks off on Monday, Sept. 22.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Simon Andreae on ‘Utopia': ‘I'm Not Placing a Bet on This Show Not Working’

The run-up to Fox's “Utopia” has not been perfect, but it's getting to where the network wants it to be, executive producers Conrad Green and Simon Andreae told reporters Sunday at Fox's Television Critics Association panel.

The reality show is late in its casting process, having whittled “potential pioneers” down from 5,000 applicants to 30 or 40 currently. Eventually, that number will hit the final 15.

At the press tour, four possible cast members spoke about their reasons to want to leave society behind for a full-year's commitment — a requirement of the show. Two couldn't-be-more-opposite types, long-bearded former marine and hardcore Christian, Jeremy, of Lansing, Mich., and green-haired, self-proclaimed “liberal lesbian” Emma (both pictured, above) of Providence, R.I., were the most vocal of the small group.

“Utopia” is intended to be a true “reality” TV show by the original definition of the word, Green explained. ”We're not controlling this whole process,” he said of the eventual product. “There aren't rounds of competition — these guys write the script,” he added, referring to the potential pioneers.

Those participants will have some “reasonable shelter,” Andreae specified, along with the capacity to generate food — i.e. soil or water — and animals to use either for eating or milk. They'll also have some money, though the financial details are still being sorted out.

While the pioneers cannot leave the compound, others can temporarily enter to do business.

Fox will shoot the contenders around the clock, live-streaming it online as well as airing multiple episodes during the week. A three-night “Utopia” premiere event will kick off the Fox fall season, starting on Sept. 9.

“I'm not placing a bet on this show not working,” Andreae concluded.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:49 AM 07-21-2014
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - The Bachelorette (120 min.)
10:01PM - Mistresses
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper ("Guardians of the Galaxy")
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - 2 Broke Girls
(R - Oct. 28)
8:30PM - Mom
(R - Feb. 3)
9PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Dec. 9)
9:30PM - Two and a Half Men
(R - Oct. 10)
10PM - Under the Dome
* * * *
11:35AM - Late Show with David Letterman (Jeff Daniels; journalist Norah O'Donnell; a performance of the song "MacArthur Park")
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Octavia Spencer; TV personality Brad Goreski)

8PM - Last Comic Standing
(R - Jul. 17)
9PM - American Ninja Warrior (120 min.)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Kate Hudson; Ellar Coltrane; Nico & Vinz perform)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Meyers (Zach Braff; musician Jack Antonoff; Bleachers performs)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Director Marc Webb; The Colourist performs)
(R - Apr. 30)

8PM - MasterChef
9PM - Hotel Hell (Series Premiere)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Vintage Salt Lake City
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Vintage Milwaukee
(R - Jul. 1, 2013)
10PM - POV: Dance For Me (90 min.)

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

8PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Jun. 9)
9PM - Seed
9:30PM - Backpackers

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Correspondent Sue Turton)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Paul & Storm; Mike Phirman)

11PM - Conan (Carl Reiner; Angela Kinsey; comic Reggie Watts)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Dean Norris)

dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:53 AM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour/Critic's Notes
Fall — and Fate — Are a Mystery for Fox (Analysis)
By Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Bastard Machine' Blog - Jul. 20, 2014

Well, that was pretty easy.

Peter Rice, CEO of the Fox Network Group, came to TCA on Sunday and effortlessly nailed the executive session (which some are terrified to do, while others approach it as an exercise in being vague, etc.) and answered the questions he could with frankness and mostly took a stab at others where he didn't want to say for certain either way. It was surprisingly informative for a session that could have been 45 minutes of Rice saying we'd have to ask Dana Walden and Gary Newman, who were hired to run the Fox network like five minutes earlier and thus weren't available to answer our questions.

The hard part, of course, is trying to figure out if anything that Rice said really matters -- the network is locked and moving forward on a course charted by a man who isn't there anymore. We don't even know whether Walden and Newman have ideas in mind. But the reality is the fall will look mostly like how departed entertainment president Kevin Reilly shaped it, as will midseason -- at least the early parts. And despite having a year-round schedule it would be difficult for Walden and Newman to dramatically rework much of anything even late in their first season.

Which is both good and bad.

It's good for them because nothing is their fault yet. Technically, the duo get a free pass until next July, when they will be telling assembled scribes at the Television Critics Association press tour what their new fall season is. Sure, the TCA en masse will see them in six months in Pasadena, but even then Walden and Newman can't really be held accountable.

The bad part is that Fox needs to do better -- and quickly. While it has buzz building around the drama Gotham and the network is hoping that Red Band Society can bust out, it's not a schedule that screams hit machine. There are some real hurdles ahead.

Mondays look good with Gotham leading into last season's hit Sleepy Hollow, though that means Gotham will have to self-start. Tuesdays -- and Fridays -- are far more worrying, as the reality series Utopia, a "social experiment" where 15 strangers try to start a new society, gets an hour on each night after a confusing three-night launch (Sunday, Sept. 7, Tuesday, Sept. 9 and Friday Sept. 12). Given that most people are prone to sampling new series before adding them to the DVR line-up, Fox is asking viewers to kick off Utopia's first week by committing to three hours on three different nights -- that's just a huge gamble. If Utopia fails to launch, it craters two different nights in the fall. So, yeah, worrisome.

On Friday, Fox follows Utopia with an encore airing of Gotham. And while this cable-style play for additional viewers might bring in some new eyes, it also looks suspiciously like not trying. If Utopia goes south, Fridays are then adrift completely.

Other worries? Maybe it's true that flow on a schedule matters less in our DVR, time-shifted universe, but on Wednesdays Fox has Hell's Kitchen leading into the teen-centric Red Band Society, which is kind of a head scratcher.

On Thursday the ever-solid Bones leads into Gracepoint, the American remake of Broadchurch, the acclaimed British drama. If that gets business, Fox might find some real stability there.

Lastly, Sundays are given a slight shake-up as live action comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine -- one of the best comedies on television that deserves a wider audience -- and freshman entry Mulaney join the former "Animation Domination" block (Bob's Burgers, The Simpsons and Family Guy remain).

Midseason is a much stronger time for Fox, but it's also important to get out of the gates fast in the fall and there are legitimate questions about that schedule. After pinch-hitting admirably on Sunday, Rice will give way soon to Walden and Newman. Based on sunk-costs of promotion, it's not like the new duo will flip-flop a bunch of shows on the schedule so, again, what they can control in the early going is very limited.

But, on Sunday at least, Fox averted that "who's flying the plane?" panic that might otherwise have been present without an executive panel. We'll see in September if Reilly's outgoing schedule and shows are a gift or a curse and Fox can exhale.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:57 AM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
Hank Azaria to Lead Cast of Comedy from ‘Family Guy’ Producers
By Whitney Friedlander, - Jul. 20, 2014

“The Simpsons” vet Hank Azaria is heading across the border and will be the lead voice role in “Bordertown,” Fox’s new animated series created and written by “Family Guy’s” Mark Hentemann.

Azaria will play Bud Buckwald, a married father of three and a politically out-of-touch Border Patrol agent in the comedy that aims to take a satirical look at at the cultural shifts occurring in America. He joins a previously announced cast that includes “Family Guy” alum Alex Borstein, who voices both his wise-yet-oblivious wife and his socially awkward daughter Becky, Missi Pyle, who voices his beauty-pageant obsessed daughter Gert, and Judah Friedlander, who voices his delusional son Sanford. “Sleepy Hollow’s” Nicholas Gonzalez lends his voice to Bud’s overachieving immigrant neighbor Ernesto Gonzalez, while “Napoleon Dynamite’s” Efren Ramirez guest stars as Ernesto’s son Ruiz.

“Borerdown” is produced by 20th Century Fox TV. Hentemann is exec producing with Seth MacFarlane. Alex Carter and Dan Vebber are co-exec producing. Lalo Alcaraz and Gustavo Arellano are consulting producers and Valentina L. Garza is a supervising producer.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
‘Simpsons'-'Futurama’ Crossover to Air in November
By Tim Molloy, - Jul. 20, 2014

Good news, everyone! And woo hoo! The crossover between Matt Groening series “The Simpsons” and “Futurama” is coming in just a few months.

The crossover episode of the two series will air on Fox as an episode of “The Simpsons” in November, “Simpsons” producer Al Jean said during a panel at the Television Critics Association on Sunday.

The crossover episode will feature “Futurama” voice actors Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom and Tress MacNeille.

After originally running on Fox before getting picked up by Comedy Central, “Futurama” ended its series run in Sept. 2013.

Jean also said that a “Simpson” character will die this season. While the producer declined to say which character, he did offer the clue that the episode will be titled “Clown in the Dumps.”

He added that the actor who voices the character won an Emmy for his portrayal of the character.

Jean also said that it's possible the character could be resurrected in some form at some point in the future, perhaps in flashback or ghost form.

Also guest-starring on “The Simpsons” in its upcoming season, which premieres Sept. 28 is Jane Fonda, who'll play Mr. Burns’ girlfriend, Democratic Assemblywoman Maxine Lombard; and Willem Dafoe, as Bart's new bully of a teacher, Mr. Lassen.

Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”), Sarah Silverman (“A Million Ways to Die in the West”), David Hyde Pierce (“Frazier”), comedian Jeffrey Ross and musician Matthew Sweet will also provide guest voices for the upcoming 26th season of “The Simpsons.”
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:01 AM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
Fox explains cutting 'Glee' final season order: 'It burned so hot and so fast'
By James Hibberd,'s 'Inside TV' Blog - Jul. 20, 2014

You already know the final season of Glee will only be 13 episodes. Now Fox Networks Group Chairman-CEO Peter Rice is going on the record as to why. Naturally the musical dramedy’s ratings are a giant factor — the recent fifth season fell sharply to all-time lows. But when asked about the cutback at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills on Sunday, the executive had something else to add.

“I think Glee is one of the great shows in television history, and it was so hot and so big,” Rice said. “I remember being in this room, and while a lot of people assumed it was going to fail, you guys supported it. And it touched so many hearts and brought social issues to the forefront, and it burned so hot and so fast. But it’s been on for over 100 episodes now in six seasons, and we want to go out in a way that celebrates it. And we thought that finding 13 episodes and compacting it and doing it in a straight run was a better way to finish the show.”

The news comes a couple days after a court ruled that Glee would have to change its name in the UK. Seems the title Glee infringes on a similarly named stand-up comedy chain in the UK. Perhaps Fox could argue that viewers couldn’t possibly confuse the two since the show hasn’t really been funny in years?

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Fox: 'American Idol' contestants need to improve

How can Fox improve American Idol? According to the network’s top executive, it’s the contestants that could use some upgrading.

Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills on Sunday that Idol is “aging gracefully,” and that increased competition from shows like NBC’s The Voice are a factor in the former ratings kingpin’s declining popularity. Yet the executive had one specific note for improving the show itself, which is carrying over last season’s judges panel of Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. into next year’s 14th season.

“It’s been a very competitive year for singing shows,” Rice said. “Idol has a very committed fan base. If I had a criticism of the show, it’s that we haven’t found a group kids the last two years who really captured the imagination of the public. We talked about it this year—how do we focus on that and not get wrapped up in this constant conversation about the judges and how good they are?”

One critic asked if Rice ever thinks that — given all the TV karaoke shows mining the talent pool in recent years — if maybe there aren’t any great singing kids left.

“They’re always making more,” the executive replied.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:06 AM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
Young Auds Want Mortality Dramas Like ‘Red Band Society’, Not ‘Twilight’
By Anthony D'Alessandro, - Jul. 20, 2014

While Fox’s Red Band Society drama deals with the grave topic of ill-stricken teenagers in a Los Angeles children’s hospital, the potentially grim subject matter didn’t daunt network executives, the show’s executive producers said today at TCA. Commenting on the recent string of illness-centered dramas, including The Big C, and Chasing Life alongside the ABC Studios-produced Red Band Society, series EP Margaret Nagle said, “Teens and twentysomethings aren’t about the immortality as seen in Twilight. Rather, they’re more focused on dramas that deal with mortality. They’re very forthright about these things. The way that the show can work is that it has to tonally go to that place of teen life, i.e. My So-Called Life. Even M.A.S.H. was an influence with this series. Those shows were willing to go to a place with their material that were off-center, and off-center was where they thrived.”

Originally intended to be part of ABC’s lineup, Red Band Society landed on Fox’s fall schedule instead. EP Justin Falvey said that Fox “feels like it’s a better fit.”

Nagle further expounded on how Red Band Society went to Fox saying, “(Executive producer) Steven Spielberg knows everything about teen hospital wards. He’s so involved in this area and on the ground. He knew there was a place for this show and where he wanted the show to be.”

In avoiding the opposing narrative sides of the hospital genre — either most patients are dying or most are getting miraculously well — Nagle said, “85% of all kids with any one of these diseases in a children’s hospital ultimately recover. The show is about that time spent in a hospital and how that changes you.” Many of the under-18 cast spoke about how the series was akin to John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club, which set up teen archetypes that aren’t always what they appear to be. The story arcs in Red Band Society’s first season will unspool over four months in season one.

While the series, which stars Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, is based on the Spanish show Polseres Vermelles, Nagle drew largely from her life in creating the show. Not only does she come from a family of doctors, but a good deal of her childhood was spent in a children’s hospital visiting her younger brother Charlie, who went into a coma following a car accident. Season one of Red Band Society centers on a comatose young boy, also named Charlie. “My brother said he could hear when he was in the coma and could also smell,” said Nagle. Today, the real Charlie is an outsider artist.

Also mentioned at the panel today: actor Griffin Dunne has a recurring role as Ruben Garcia, the hospital hypochondriac whose relationship with Spencer’s Nurse Jackson grows. Dunne also will direct some episodes.

Executive producers also include Darryl Frank (The Americans) and Sergio Aguero (Y Tu Mama Tambien) as well as Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Red Band Society premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 9 PM, following Hell’s Kitchen.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
Wilting Of Big Screen Romantic Comedies Discussed At Fox Comedy Panel

With the $15 million weekend opening of Sex Tape serving as exhibit A, it would be an understatement to say that romantic feature comedies have been in a sling creatively and at the B.O. for sometime. But for those TV creators who love the genre at Fox’s “Behind the Laughs” TCA panel, if romantic comedies are alive, then it’s on the small screen with such shows as Elizabeth Meriwether’s New Girl and Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project. Chalk the death of romantic comedy movies up to the staling of set premises like the sexy wedding planner who can’t get anybody or, as Kaling pointed out, “Matthew McConaughey falling into a cake.”

“They are so predictable, but that’s why I love them so much. I think they can be good, but they’ve been suffering for so long. I think the easiest way to your voice out there (for romantic comedies) is TV,” said Kaling whose next season of The Mindy Project dotes on her character’s relationship with long-love Danny (Chris Messina).

Meriwether pointed out that the current generation of single folks, unlike those protags portrayed in big screen romcoms, simply don’t to see any obstacles when hooking up. “As someone who loves the romantic comedy genre, I don’t think there’s a lot of space in the movie industry for the stories I want to tell: small stories that are honest and not about The White House being taken over by North Korean terrorists. Sorry, I just watched Olympus Has Fallen this morning,” said the New Girl creator. Meriwether explained that she will continue to keep her lead character Jess (Zooey Deschanel) single in season 4 as there”s more gas in the situation than when she’s dating Nick (Jake Johnson).

“It’s easier for me to write them as single people in the world trying to get laid. I had trouble figuring out the conflict and where the comedy was coming from in their relationship,” said Meriwether.

Declared Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-creator Mike Schur, “The types of movies that Nora Ephron made, I don’t think they exist any more. That’s sad to me as I loved those movies. The new chapter of people who write movies for grown ups having relationships do it on TV.” Schur even pointed out that an action road movie such as 1988′s Midnight Run would have a hard time getting traction with movie executives now. ”Today, that concept of a bounty hunter taking a mafia accountant cross-country would be a special event miniseries.”

Serving as a complete, hysterical distraction throughout the entire Fox panel was Will Forte, sitting front and center, donning a Grizzly Adams-like beard for the new comedy that he’s the creator/writer/EP of, The Last Man on Earth. Will there be any women or children in Forte’s new show? “No, because I’m the last man on earth,” exclaimed the Saturday Night Live alum. Whether the beard will live or die on the show, well, Forte just couldn’t let that secret out of the bag.

Among the animated creators on the Fox panel, EPs Steve Callaghan and Rich Appel explained that the Simpsons Guy crossover event on Sept. 28 is essentially a one-hour Family Guy episode, written by their team; that they were lent The Simpsons characters. In addition, Liam Neeson will play himself on upcoming episode of Family Guy in which Peter brags that he can kick the actor’s ass. Meanwhile, Simpsons EP Al Jean revealed that The Simpsons-Futurama crossover episode scheduled for November is being overseen by team Simpsons. Jean also teased that Krusty the Clown might die in the Sept. 28 season opener.

Joked Jean, “Actually The Simpsons crossover we’re doing is with Scooby-Doo where they don’t find Casey Kasem’s body.” Also present on the Fox “Behind the Laughs” panels was Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-creator Dan Goor and Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:12 AM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘True Detective’ Win at TCA Awards
By Debra Birnbaum, - Jul. 19, 2014

For the second year in a row, AMC’s “Breaking Bad” was named program of the year by the Television Critics Assn. at the 30th annual TCA Awards, held on Saturday at the Beverly Hilton.

Its main rival in the Emmy race for best drama, HBO’s “True Detective” took home the prize for outstanding miniseries (the TCA members don’t have to follow Emmy category rules), while Matthew McConaughey was honored for his acting work.

Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” was crowned best new program, while CBS’s “The Good Wife” won a measure of redemption by being named top drama, after being shut out in the Emmy race.

HBO’s “Veep” was a double winner, grabbing awards for Julia Louis-Dreyfus as well as the show itself, which tied for best comedy with FX’s “Louie.”

The night’s other winners included Fox and Nat Geo’s “COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey” for news and information; Logo’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for reality; and ABC Family’s “The Fosters” for youth programming.

NBC’s long-running “Saturday Night Live,” which will start its 40th season in the fall, won the org’s Heritage Award, and James Burrows was honored with the Career Achievement Award.

With four total, HBO won the most awards of any network.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:16 AM 07-21-2014
TV Notes
South Park heads on down to Hulu
By Mike Snider, USA Today's 'Cutting the Cord' Column - Jul. 20, 2014

If you want to stream on down to South Park, online video service Hulu is your ticket.

Last week, Hulu announced that it had signed a multiyear deal to be the streaming home for Comedy Central's animated series. South Park had been available on Netflix, as well as an official South Park website in addition to Hulu,

But when the new season, the show's 18th, begins on Sept. 24, fans will be able to watch new episodes on Hulu and Hulu Plus (as well as the South Park Studios website, which will be powered by the Hulu player) the day after airing on Comedy Central. The South Park site and Hulu will continue to have a variety of free episodes available, but the only place to see every episode of South Park will be Hulu Plus ($7.99 monthly).

Series creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker are still going strong with the series that began airing in 1997. South Park is a multiple Emmy winner for outstanding animated program and was recently nominated again (awards are given Aug. 25).

"This show has revolutionized TV and it has consistently remained a top 10 most-watched show on Hulu," said Hulu's senior vice president and head of content Craig Erwich on the Hulu blog on July 12, the day that the streaming service announced the deal.

Hulu's moves come at a time when viewers continue to embrace full-length videos, rather than short clips, according to Hulu has seen a bump in paying subscribers to its Hulu Plus service – surpassing 6 million, a 50% increase from 4 million Hulu Plus members last year. Meanwhile, Netflix has grown 23% to 34 million-plus subscribers.

Created in 2007 by NBC Universal, Fox and Disney to house its own content, Hulu has followed the lead of Netflix and Amazon. New series The Hotwives of Orlando had its debut on July 15. And the second season of East Los High began July 9. Other exclusives include the FX series The Bridge and Bravo's Real Housewives franchise.

As for South Park, Parker and Stone, who also voice the main characters in the series, consider each new season as a whole. "We think of it in terms of being in a band, even though that's much cooler than what we do," Trey Parker told USA TODAY in 2011. "Every season is an album, and every show's a song. This album will be different from the last one, but it's the same band."

Whether you are a newcomer to South Park or a longtime fan here's a sampler of some favorite episodes, gathered unscientifically via social media from friends and acquaintances:

-- Cartman Gets an Anal Probe -- the first official episode from the first season (1997) will have you laughing your, err, fanny off.

-- Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo (season 1, episode 10) brings a new kind of holiday cheer, singing feces.

-- Towelie (Season 5, Episode 8) introduces another recurring character, a pot-smoking towel.

-- Christian Rock Hard (Season 7, Episode 9) a funny take on the music industry at a time when illegally downloading music was top of mind.

-- Trapped in the Closet (Season 9, Episode 12) one of the most attention-grabbing episodes in the series' history, lampooning Scientology and Tom Cruise.

-- Black Friday (Season 17, Episodes 7) the first of a trilogy about the boys' quest for new video game systems.

While some online have aired displeasure about the South Park catalog going behind a pay wall, consider the words of Cartman from the Trapped in the Closet episode: "Stan, don't you know the first law of physics? Anything that's fun costs at least $8."
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:28 AM 07-21-2014
TV/Business Notes
Is CNN worth more than analysts think?
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Jul. 20, 2014

Wall Street analysts may be underestimating the value of Time Warner's CNN unit, according to people with close knowledge of its operations.

If Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is successful in its effort to buy Time Warner, it is expected to sell CNN, which competes with the Fox News Channel. Such a move would likely ease, though hardly eliminate, the concerns of the Justice Department, which would review such a deal for any potential antitrust concerns.

Two prominent media analysts -- Marci Ryvicker of Wells Fargo and Kannan Venkateshwar of Barclays -- have both put CNN's value around $4.3 billion. That is an adjusted for taxes. Pre-tax value is in the $6-billion to $7-billion range.

That is low, according to current and former senior executives at Time Warner Inc., who declined to speak publicly on the matter because of the 21st Century Fox situation. One former executive put CNN's worth at between $8 billion to $12 billion. A company insider said $8 billion to $10 billion was in the ballpark.

While CNN's ratings are down in the United States and it is still struggling to find a programming strategy, it is still very profitable and attracts premium advertisers. As important is CNN International, which is in more than 200 countries and is very successful. CNN's online operations are also solid.

The CNN unit also includes HLN (formerly Headline News), although it is unclear if 21st Century Fox would shed that asset as well since it has moved away from being a hard news channel in recent years in favor of covering high profile criminal trials and celebrity fare.

CBS is mentioned as the most likely buyer for CNN. Last week, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves again said his company would certainly look at CNN if it were to become available. CNN and CBS have had talks in the past about creating a joint venture.

Walt Disney Co.'s ABC News has also flirted with CNN and would probably at least take a look at the network as well.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:39 AM 07-21-2014
Critic's Notes
Appreciating the relaxed genius of the late James Garner: 'Maverick,' 'The Rockford Files' & much more
Perhaps the most laid-back TV star of them all, whether a card-playing cowboy or a dogged private eye
By Alan Sepinwall, - Jul. 20, 2013

There have arguably been bigger stars in television history than the late James Garner, but none who ever made it look quite so easy.

Garner, who reportedly died in his home on Saturday at the age of 86, first hit it big in 1957 with "Maverick," a comical Western in which he played Bret Maverick, a Wild West cardsharp who was as quick on the draw as he was with a quip. At a time when TV was dominated by Westerns — and very solemn ones, at that — Garner was happy to play the same material lighter, to occasionally be the clown or the guy who gets punched in the face, and yet always made it clear that Maverick could easily kill you if he wanted to — it just wasn't his preferred way of doing things.

Garner left Maverick after only a few seasons (and had spent much of that time alternating episodes with Jack Kelly as Bret's brother Bart, because production demands were too great for any one actor) over a contract dispute with the studio. He would return to the role in a short-lived early '80s series, "Bret Maverick," and then again (sort of) in 1994's big-screen "Maverick," where he was revealed at the end to be playing the oft-mentioned daddy of Mel Gibson's Bret (who was himself named Bret). Even in the mid-'90s, in a big-budget movie featuring Gibson and Jodie Foster, Garner brought the same relaxed, unassailable charm he had given the role in the late '50s.

Garner got out of "Maverick" at a good time for his career, as he worked steadily in big movies throughout the 1960s. He was often in supporting roles (Audrey Hepburn's fiancé in "The Children's Hour") or as part of big ensembles (Hendley the scrounger in "The Great Escape"), but he always left an impression in the way he underplayed the material. He was sincere, but he was never particularly worried about showing off how well he could emote. And he also got to headline some high-profile movies of the period, like John Frankenheimer's "Grand Prix" and the 1969 version of Raymond Chandler's "Marlowe."

He also started appearing in light comic Westerns in the vein of "Maverick" like "Support Your Local Sheriff!" and "Skin Game," and likely could have continued with that for a while. Instead, he went back to television, trying the Western genre again with "Nichols," a show that lasted only one season and attempted to radically retool itself in the final episode by killing off the main character and then introducing his twin brother, also played by Garner.

Then he reunited with "Maverick" creator Roy Huggins, along with up-and-coming writer Stephen J. Cannell, for what would be their masterpiece: "The Rockford Files," a drama about Jim Rockford, an ex-con who became a private detective, lived and worked out of a trailer in Malibu, and seemed to get punched in the face each week right around the second or third act break.

It was the perfect marriage of storytellers, star and genre: a show where Rockford's cases didn't matter remotely as much as the chance to see Garner banter with Joe Santos as Rockford's cop friend Dennis Becker, or to watch him try to outmaneuver his con man friend Angel (Stuart Margolin), or just enjoy the company of his father, Joseph "Rocky" Rockford (Noah Beery Jr.). The opening credits sequence is one of the best ever made, mixing Mike Post's irresistible California rock theme song with images of Rockford going through the mundane parts of his work (long stakeouts, working the pay phone) and personal life (shopping in the frozen food section, going fishing with Rocky). The show employed some great writers — it was the first significant TV gig for "The Sopranos" creator David Chase — all of whom understood what a star-driven show this was, and how much they could lean on Garner's smooth, seen-it-all persona.

All those foot chases and brawls Rockford shrugged off took a huge physical toll on the actor playing him, including knee and back pain, plus an ulcer. After six seasons, he gave up the job altogether, and got embroiled in various legal disputes with the studio that would last for much of the '80s. During that time, he successfully toggled back and forth between the big and small screen, getting a big hit as Julie Andrews' confused love interest in "Victor/Victoria," his first and only Oscar nomination for "Murphy's Romance," and acclaim and awards for TV-movies like "Promise" (where he played the brother to schizophrenic James Woods) and "My Name Is Bill W." (a reunion with Woods, about the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous).

By the time the decade was out, Garner was in his 60s, and looked it. He had never exactly been boyish, but his laid-back screen persona had kept him seeming younger than he was for a long time. In the '90s, he began shifting into rascally elder statesmen roles, not just in the "Maverick" film, but the scorchingly satirical HBO film "Barbarians at the Gate," and even in a series of "Rockford Files" TV-movies that acknowledged that its hero was moving a lot slower than he used to.

Though he eventually retired Jim Rockford for good — "God, he's getting old," Garner told me a year after the last Rockford film aired. "I just think we've milked it to death." — he kept working steadily, and kept moving back and forth between film and television with an ease that eluded many of his contemporaries. Age had given him the gravity to seem like more of an authority figure, and he played an astronaut ("Space Cowboys"), a Supreme Court justice ("First Monday"), and even the Almighty ("God, the Devil and Bob"). But he also played a sitcom grandfather, stepping into "8 Simple Rules" after John Ritter's death, and he introduced himself to a new generation of moviegoers — or, at least, to those who noticed anything in the film beyond Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams — as the dogged but affable storyteller of "The Notebook."

I came of age past Garner's '70s peak, but "The Rockford Files" was still in such heavy rerun rotation at the time — and such an obvious influence on '80s shows I loved like "Magnum, P.I." and "The Greatest American Hero" — that I couldn't help but coming across his work, and then going back to see what he'd done in the '60s, and even the '50s. For those who weren't there, it's hard to truly convey how great and important Garner was, simply because he did so much of his most famous TV work within pretty strict genre formula, and because his defining characteristic as a performer was his breezy charm.

I had loved Garner for a long time, but I think the moment when I truly understood his genius came in Robert Benton's little-seen 1998 film "Twilight," yet another private eye story, but with Paul Newman as the hero (a senior citizen riff on his classic Harper character), while Garner played an old drinking buddy who turns out to be in league with the bad guys. Newman had spent the better part of the previous 20 years trying to establish himself as the most carefree movie star of them all, and here Garner (himself playing a character with a strong resemblance to an iconic prior role) was acting him off the screen by somehow being even more at ease on camera. It's one thing to see an actor steal scenes by out-emoting the star, but I'd never seen a supporting player figure out how to out-relax the star, especially one on Newman's level, with Newman's skillset.

Some actors' greatness is obvious and showy. There is effort involved, and very obviously, at that. Garner's greatness came from the way he never seemed to be working hard, even as he was being insulted, hit, chased or otherwise menaced, year after year, decade after decade.

Goodbye, Jim Rockford. Goodbye, James Garner. Playing this song for you:
YouTube (Short URL)
mikeewing's Avatar mikeewing 06:17 AM 07-21-2014
Originally Posted by rezzy View Post
"My (Nissan) Versa is right outside"...Chloe Sullivan on the show Smallville. "We can take my car" would've normally sufficed. And on another ep of the same show, Pete Ross eats kryptonite-exposed (Strident) gum and becomes Plastic-Man. I guess placement has its place, but this was way too "in the face".
Michael252's Avatar Michael252 07:13 AM 07-21-2014
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post
Because the majority of the time it's written not as natural character dialog, but as a litany of marketing bullet points clearly influenced by the advertising partner's requirements.
I wouldn't mind an occasional product placement...IF:

1. It was presented as natural dialog as part of the show. i.e., Dispatcher: "Be on the lookout for a blue Toyota." NOT: "Be on the lookout for a blue Toyota with fuel-injection and sport wheels."
MRM4's Avatar MRM4 09:42 AM 07-21-2014
Speaking of both product placement and the weekend passing of James Garner, I watched the very first episode of The Rockford Files yesterday. One thing that stood out was obvious product placement in that episode. There was one scene where he was pulling out of a parking lot and painted on the side of the building across the street was a giant Champion Spark Plugs sign. Can't say that was coincidental. I think I'd rather see real company names instead of these fake names that uses the same logo where you know what the product name really is.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:39 PM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
FX's John Landgraff talks 'AHS: Freak Show' and 'Fargo,' Freshman Renewals, W. Kamau Bell
By Nellie Andreeva, - Jul. 21, 2014

At TCA today, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf sent a love letter to creators. “I love artists. I really, genuinely do. I want us to be the wind in their sails,” he said during the network’s executive session. Landgraf also assured critics that he plans to continue to take risks with concepts that are off-mainstream. “We’d rather fail spectacularly & nobly than succeed in a quiet, middling way,” he said.

Landgraf revealed details about the latest installment of American Horror Story, which has been flirting with Neil Patrick Harris for a part. “It will be set in 1950s and has a very different look from a designer standpoint. Some years, the show is big, brash and campy like Coven, some are dark and brooding like Asylum. Freak Show is half-way between these two.”

Landgraf gave AHS co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy props for introducing the “analogical miniseries” genre that has “created new opportunities for writers and creators” like Nic Pizzolatto with HBO’s True Detective and Noah Hawley with FX’s Fargo.

Both True Detective and Fargo are heading into their second installments after well received first cycles top-lined by movie stars, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson (True Detective) and Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo). There are pitfalls. “I think True Detective is going to have to prove that it’s more than just a vehicle for movie stars,” Landgraf said of the HBO drama, which is close to locking in Colin Farrell for Season 2. On Fargo, Landgraf said that he thinks FX needed Thornton, who had worked with the Coen brothers before, for the TV series inspired by the cult movie. “It sanctioned the quality of Noah Hawley’s material.” Now that people know the tone, style and quality of the show, it would be nice to have a movie star in the second cycle, but I don’t think it’s necessary,” Landgraf said, noting that newcomer Allison Tolman “brought as much to Fargo’s first installment as Billy Bob Thornton did.”

Landgraf was optimistic about the renewal chances off all four original series that have premiered this summer, including dramas The Strain and Tyrant and comedies Married and You’re the Worst, though FX likes to wait for extensive Live+7 data before making decisions. (FX just abandoned reporting Live+same day ratings in favor of Live+3.) “The Strain is off to a fantastic start on a new night for us, Sunday, and will be the biggest drama launch in total viewers and second or third in 18-49″ when complete ratings data for the premiere is available, Landgraf said. He said he was pleased with the creative direction of Tyrant, which has “showed amazing ratings consistency.” He also said he was “very bullish” on the two comedies.

Landgraf was asked to do a postmortem on W. Kamau Bell‘s late-night talk show and whether the network’s decision to move the show from FX to FXX played a role in its demise. The move was not a factor, Landgraf thinks. “We took a shot. The show wasn’t quite good enough yet,” he said. But he predicted that Bell will be back.

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
FX orders second installment of 'Fargo,' fifth season of 'Louie'

It was a risky proposition, but Noah Hawley’s take on the Coen brothers classic Fargo was deemed a critical success, landing 18 Emmy nominations, and it drew a sizable total audience when time-shifted viewing and encores are factored in. Not surprisingly, FX is ordering a second 10-episode installment, with Hawley back as writer/executive producer for MGM TV and FX Prods. The new chapter of the Fargo story will feature an all-new cast of characters, a brand new cast, a new time period and a new “true crime” story, and it may be filmed in the same location in Calgary. “Noah’s audacious, bordering on hubristic riff on my favorite Coen brothers film earned 18 Emmy nominations – the most for a single program in our history,” FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. While Ryan Murphy has been using a core group of actors in multiple installments of American Horror Story, “Fargo demands a different level of realism, and we felt we couldn’t introduce these actors as new characters.”

Meanwhile, it was a long wait for Season 4 of Louis C.K.’s comedy series Louie but Season 5 is expected to arrive in time, albeit in an abbreviated form. FX has renewed Louie for a fifth season, which will consist of seven episodes — half the size of Season 4 — to premiere in spring 2015. “Louie’s fourth season was once again groundbreaking. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking — always thought provoking,” said Landgraf. “The show went to narrative and cinematic places no comedy has gone before and we look forward to seeing what Louis comes up with next.” Louie is nominated for five Emmys, including best comedy series. FX Prods. is producing.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:42 PM 07-21-2014
SUNDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog:
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:48 PM 07-21-2014
TV Review
Revisiting the Facts, After the Convictions
‘The Newburgh Sting,’ on HBO, About Bronx Bomb Plot
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - Jul. 21, 2013

The case made — convincingly — by the documentary “The Newburgh Sting” is that the four upstate New York men convicted of plotting to bomb synagogues in the Bronx and destroy airplanes in 2009 were the fall guys in an elaborate, cinematic performance orchestrated by the F.B.I. The film, showing Monday on HBO, offers a competing narrative to the one presented at trial and in the news media by the government. So far, the government’s story is winning: The men are all serving 25-year sentences in federal prisons.

Much of what we see in “The Newburgh Sting,” directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, was provided by the F.B.I. The directors make extensive use of government surveillance video shot during the year in which an informant, Shahed Hussain, presented the plot to the four Newburgh men, offered them $250,000 and supplied them with the weapons to carry it out. It’s also highly selective use, of course, leaving out the most inflammatory anti-American and anti-Jewish rhetoric of the lead suspect, James Cromitie. (He later disavowed those statements, saying they were part of his own con to convince Mr. Hussain of his terrorist bona fides.)

In a broader sense, though, the film builds a credible circumstantial case for the entrapment defense. It does so through the standard techniques of true-crime documentary: interviews with sympathetic, cogent relatives and acquaintances of the four men; an evocative depiction of life in a depressed Hudson River Valley town; the canny juxtaposition of just-folks black and Muslim Newburghers with a succession of suited, white law-enforcement officials, politicians and television talkers, often saying things we can see aren’t true.

Two characters stand out. Alicia McWilliams, aunt of David Williams, one of the conspirators, is magnificent in her anger, despair and dark humor. “How could you come in our community and prey on these damn fools?” she snaps. “David should have only got five years for not having common sense.”

And, perhaps perversely, it’s hard not to come away without some degree of admiration for Mr. Hussain, seen and heard only in the grainy videos shot in his car and living room. He puts on a superior performance over a long period of time and lies with breathtaking ease and quickness. If there were Oscars for informants, he’d be on the red carpet every year.

The Newburgh Sting
HBO, Monday night at 9, Eastern and Pacific times; 8, Central time.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:03 PM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
FXX Readies 'Simpsons' Roll out with Sprawling App, 12-Day Marathon
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jul. 21, 2014

The Simpsons won't be making a quiet entrance on FXX. After last year's landmark deal to get the off-network rights to air the Fox cartoon, and its 552-episode catalog, the cable network has invested in an elaborate online library for the series — tied in to its own streamer, FXNow.

"I think this is how people who love The Simpsons want to have it," FX Networks CEO John Landgraf told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Monday.

Joined by FX president of marketing and on-air promotions Stephanie Gibbons, FX also used the opportunity to walk through the catalog, affectionately dubbed Simpsons World after the book by Matt Groening.

"Our goal was to create the deepest digital archive of any show ever," said Gibbons, scrolling through the seemingly infinite ways to digest Simpsons episodes, clips, quotes and character profiles. The app will also allow users to chart their own progress, tallying which content has been consumed. "We're not trying to out-Facebook Facebook. This is just a personalized experience."

That experience is not for everyone. Simpsons World, like FXNow, requires cable subscription authentication. And FXNow is thus far only available to 60 percent of FX's subscriber base. RCN and Verizon are two notable exclusions, though FX COO and president of program strategy Chuck Saftler said he was optimistic about closing that gap within the year.

Looking back at the negotiations and the bid to acquire the 20th Century Fox TV property, Saftler also said the app proved paramount in landing the nearly $1 billion rights: "They [said it] would be open to our ask, as long as we didn't just load the episodes into generic on-demand folders."

Another yet-to-be-determined component is the early Simpsons content as it first aired on The Tracey Ullman Show. "We are very much working on that right now," added Saftler. "Matt has an open mind to that; he controls the rights to that. We're going in a very positive direction."

Simpsons World does not have an official launch date, though Landgraf was optimistic that it would happen in October. And in the meantime, FXX's rollout will get a big push on TV with promos and a massive 12-day marathon.

Each one of The Simpsons' 552 episodes and the 2007 feature film will air, in chronological order, in a 12-day marathon that starts Aug. 21 and runs 24 hours a day until Sept. 1.

showrunner Al Jean, also on hand to discuss the partnership, seemed more than enthusiastic about the whole roll out.

"The great thing for me is that it doesn't tell you what to do," said Jean. "At least for me, there's no reason to do anything else but this app for 24 hours a day."

* * * *

Summer TCA Tour Notes
FX passes on Charlie Kaufman comedy 'How & Why'
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jul. 21, 2014

Charlie Kaufman's return to TV may not be as soon as he thought it would be.

The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Oscar winner's comedy pilot How & Why has been passed over at FX, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Producers are now shopping the comedy starring Michael Cera to other outlets, with Netflix having already passed on the project, THR has learned. IFC is seen as a potential home for the comedy, though it's unclear if that will actually happen given the price tag associated with the comedy.

How & Why, which was ordered to pilot in March 2013, tells the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works but is otherwise clueless about life. Oscar nominee John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) stars as Goodman Hesselman, host of the How & Why show at the center of the comedy. After losing his passion for the show, he is replaced by a younger host and relocates to a different town to start a similar program with significantly lower stature.Cera(Arrested Development) will portray Mendelson, Goodman's new boss. Sally Hawkins co-stars, with Catherine Keener guest starring.

Kaufman penned the script, exec produces and directed the pilot for FX Productions. The series marks Kaufman's return to half-hour comedy following Fox's Ned & Stacey, which ended its two-season run in 1997. His TV credits also include Get a Life, The Dana Carvey Show and Adult Swim's stop-motion entry Moral Orel in 2006.

How & Why joins Paul Giamatti entry Hoke as being passed over at FX. The cabler is still prepping pilots Death Pact, Kurt Sutter's Bastard Executioner and an untitled Zach Galifianakis and Louis C.K. half-hour, among others.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:13 PM 07-21-2014
TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, - Jul. 21, 2014

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

TCM shows five movies based on Agatha Christie stories tonight, including two films based on the same mystery. Beginning the evening at 8 ET is 1945’s And Then There Were None, in which 10 people are invited to an exclusive party at a remote mansion, only to be told that one of them is a murderer – as bodies begin dropping. Stars include Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston and Judith Anderson. This story was remade in 1966 as Ten Little Indians, which TCM televises at 1:30 a.m. ET., with a much less impressive cast: Hugh O’Brien, Shirley Eaton, Daliah Lavi and… Fabian.

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

This new HBO documentary revisits the case of the four Newburgh, NY men who were convicted of terrorism – specifically, of plans to bomb synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military aircraft with missiles. The wrinkle here is, the four were just poor residents of a small town (none of them even owned a car), who were befriended by an FBI informant who promised them money and equipment if they would generate and carry out some terrorist schemes. Enforcement or entrapment? That’s the question – and though the men are behind bars, that question is still being asked.

CBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

The people under the dome can’t go anywhere – but new people keep popping up from time to time, as do new subplots. One of the new plot threads introduced tonight: a look into the past for clues, as a picture of young Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox) is found in an old high school yearbook – from 25 years before.

PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

This new POV sounds like an unlikely subject for a captivating documentary: It follows two young dancers as they prepare for competition in a ballroom competition – in Denmark. Yet if you’ve ever been sucked in by So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing with the Stars, or swept away by the healing drama of Silver Linings Playbook, give this a chance. Two very dissimilar young people unite forces to compete, and their growth and passion – off the dance floor as well as on – is what makes this story more universal than foreign. Check local listings.

TCM, 3:30 a.m. ET
In tonight’s salute to Agatha Christie, TCM saves the best for last, so set your recorders. At 3:30 a.m. ET, the network presents 1957’s Witness for the Prosecution, a wickedly clever murder mystery and courtroom drama directed by Billy Wilder. The stars in this one include Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich, both of whom deliver fabulous performances. Also featured: Tyrone Power, and one of Christie's, and the cinema’s, classic twist endings.

* * * *

TV Notes
2014 TCA Awards: Onstage and After
By Bill Brioux, - Jul. 21, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS, CA.– Who turned out the lights? That’s what everybody was asking shortly after Saturday night’s 30th annual TCA Awards. It was as if once all the stars left from the post awards party, they took all the electricity with them.

With elevators out of commission, the party simply moved downstairs to the dimly lit Trader Vics’ bar. There, critics' pal John Solberg and his FX credit card made beer and wine magically appear. It was a cool little campfire ending to a memorable night.

Earlier in the evening, when the lights were still on, there was plenty of star power in the house. Matthew McConaughey was on hand to accept his Best Actor Drama award for HBO's True Detective. “You guys and ladies did shine a light on our show,” said McConaughey, sparking a theme repeated throughout the night.

Julia Louis Dreyfus took the Best Actor Comedy prize for HBO's Veep and thanked critics with, “I love being criticized.”

Fox’s Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey took the Best News and Information award. The opportunity to make reference to Uranus was not seized in either the set up or the acceptance speech, the biggest drop-the-ball moment of the evening.

True Detective took Best Miniseries and CBS's The Good Wife won Best Drama. Best Comedy was a tie between Veep and FX's Louie. Veep creator Armando Iannucci – an Italian living in Scotland skewering American politics – killed with a very funny thank you speech.

Critics selected Bravo's RuPaul’s Drag Race as their favorite Reality Show, a head scratcher for some of us, as well as for the folks from CBS's The Amazing Race. They were sitting in the room, and probably feeling like they’d missed a checkpoint.

It was disappointing to see just one young lad – 32-year-old "Weekend Update" anchor Colin Jost – accept the critics’ Heritage Award for 39 seasons of NBC's Saturday Night Live. After all, as Jost pointed out, there have been 140 cast members over the years, 220 writers, and 500 hosts.

Dozens should have been onstage, especially Lorne Michaels. By coincidence, three former SNL hosts were in the house: McConaughey, Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston. Jost completely rose to the occasion, however, with a smart speech. Born years after the series began, he relayed something Michaels once told him about how critics stopped loving the show after the first cast moved on. Nobody liked Arthur Miller’s follow-up work after Death of a Salesman, Michaels told Jost, and then when Miller died one critic said even Salesman wasn’t that great.

The great Jim Burrows won for Career Achievement and paid homage to the man who gave him his start, Grant Tinker. The producer and programming executive was honored at the very first TCA Awards 30 years earlier. Burrows repeated the old saw about how Cheers ranked "75th out of 74 shows” its first season and thanked critics for saving it. The master TV director said he didn’t always agree with what critics wrote, but added – waving his trophy – ”I agree with this.”

Program of the Year went to the only real choice – AMC's Breaking Bad. Vince Gilligan was humble and Cranston hilarious in their thank you speeches. Since so many had already thanked HBO during the evening Cranston thanked them too – for turning his show down.

Fun for critics was seeing past TCA presidents Dusty Saunders and Ron Miller return to hand out some of the awards. Two top print guys from a time when the TCA press tour was almost exclusively made up of writers on the TV beat, neither sounded like they’d missed a step. The current members who presented onstage all shone, with past president Dave Walker of the New Orleans Times Picayune especially droll and dry in his set up to Veep. It’s a tough room to step up and make funny when you look out and see some of the biggest names in television, so hats off to everybody.

Also fun was the three-minute clip reel of past TCA Awards show moments as well as the slide show before the awards showing many of us back in the day. Kudos to TCA Veep Amber Dowling for pushing for the extras.

Host Terry Crews, of Fox's Brooklyn Nine Nine, showed he can sing as well as do shtick. “President Camacho” was joined by surprise guest co-host Miss Piggy, who seemed right at home in a room full of hambones.

Although, as my tablemate Roger Catlin observed, it was unclear exactly how she was helped by the TelePrompTer...
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:19 PM 07-21-2014
Summer TCA Tour Notes
Kelsey Grammer talks about joining Martin Lawreence in FX comedy 'Partners'
By Yvonne Villareal, Los Angeles Times' 'Show Tracker' Blog - Jul. 21, 2014

Kelsey Grammer and and Martin Lawrence walk into a courtroom ...

The premise that could very well be a TMZ story is actually the hook of the new FX comedy, "Partners," starring the two TV veterans. In the new series, which premieres Aug. 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the duo star as two Chicago lawyers who form an unlikely partnership after meeting in court.

Grammer understands that his teaming up with Lawrence seemed just as unlikely and confusing--that's part of the fun, he said.

"That's the genesis of it," he told The Times on Sunday during a party hosted by Fox/FX for the Television Critics Assn. press tour. "You couldn't get more disparate worlds and yet it's comedy gold. At least, that's what we hope it turns out to be."
Grammer has already begun trying to build buzz around the show -- that gag about him joining Twitter to fix people's grammar? A ploy to get chatter going.

"Honestly, the show spurred that," the 59-year-old actor said. "We thought, 'What's a cute way to step into Twitter and get a little attention for the show?' We're not talking down to anybody, we're just having fun."

The sitcom marks Grammer's return to comedy after a short turn as a devious Chicago mayor in the Starz drama "Boss." He's best known for his two-decade portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on NBC's heavyweights "Cheers" and its spinoff "Frasier"; he followed up the latter with a short-lived comedy series on ABC and Fox before his "Boss" gig.

"One thing I thought was important was that 'Partners' be as smart as 'Frasier' was," Grammer said. "Martin and I are not Frasier and Niles on this show by any means. We're more like Oscar and Felix--but in a way that isn't tired. They use their brains in a more vicious way because they want to win cases."

Grammer describes his Allen Braddock as a "guy who doesn't care if he's doing the right thing."

"That's been a fun departure to explore in the comedy realm," Grammer said. "He is morally challenged on just about every level, except he's faithful to his wife and he tried to be a good father to his stepdaughter, even if it doesn't work."

"Partners" is the latest series from FX to come under the 10/90 model applied to Charlie Sheen's "Anger Management." Under the design, the network has ordered 10 episodes and if the series meets designated ratings thresholds in place for them, the network will order an additional 90 episodes.

"It's totally a different way of doing things," Grammer said. "But it's perfect for the way I love to work. I love to work fast. You know quickly if something's working and if something isn't--and that gives time to fix."

That's not to say it hasn't been a learning experience in the blending of two styles, Grammer said.

"Martin might like a little more rehearsal than I do," Grammer said. "I don't care to rehearse. I don't really like it. I think it makes him more confident and I'm learning that everyone has their own way of doing things. I've been doing this for years, and people have always been saying to me, 'holy ... , are we going to rehearse or not? and I say, 'Probably not.' I think he's discovered my process is not malevolent. It's just a little bit boyish. he's OK now."

But the real question, has Grammer seen an episode of Lawrence's trademark '90s comedy "Martin"?

"I have seen it," he said. "How can you not know Sheneneh? I can't do an impression of her, I'm not that gifted, but I know about it."
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:27 PM 07-21-2014
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
'Rising Star' takes a hit on Sunday night
New reality show falls to a series-low 1.0 in 18-49's
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 21, 2013

ABC’s “Rising Star” became a falling “Star” last night.

The new reality show slid to a series-low 1.0 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, down 23 percent from last week.
Airing at 9 p.m., “Star” posted a 1.1 in its first half hour and a 1.0 in its second.

It didn’t help that lead-in “Wipeout” was also off sharply (29 percent) from last week’s season high, posting a 1.0 at 8 p.m.

Elsewhere last night, CBS’s “Big Brother” was, as usual, the night’s top show with a 2.1 at 8 p.m., off a tenth from last week.

CBS’s 9 and 10 p.m. dramas were each up a tenth from last week. “Unforgettable” posted a 1.0 and “Reckless” drew a 0.6.

CBS was first for the night among 18-49s with a 1.1 average overnight rating and a 4 share. Fox was second at 1.0/4, ABC third at 0.9/3, NBC fourth at 0.8/3, Univision fifth at 0.6/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.4/1.

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 7 p.m. ABC and CBS tied for first, each with a 0.9 rating, ABC for a repeat of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and CBS for “60 Minutes.” NBC was third with a 0.6 for a repeat of “American Ninja Warrior.” Fox and Univision tied for fourth at 0.5, Fox for repeats of “American Dad” and “Bob’s Burgers” and Univision for “Aqui y Ahora,” and Telemundo was sixth with a 0.3 for the movie “Ice Age 2: The Meltdown.”

CBS was first at 8 p.m. with a 2.1 for “Brother,” followed by NBC with a 1.1 for more “Ninja.” ABC and Fox tied for third at 1.0, ABC for “Wipeout” and Fox for reruns of “The Simpsons.” Univision was fifth with a 0.6 for “Bailando por un Sueño” and Telemundo sixth with a 0.4 for the end of “Ice.”

Fox took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 1.5 for repeats of “Family Guy” and “American Dad,” while ABC and CBS tied for second at 1.0, ABC for “Star” and CBS for “Unforgettable.” NBC and Univision tied for fourth at 0.7, NBC for a repeat of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and Univision for more “Bailando,” and Telemundo was sixth with a 0.4 for the movie “Source Code.”

At 10 p.m. Univision led with a 0.8 for “Sal y Pimienta,” with ABC, CBS and NBC all tied for second at 0.6, ABC for a repeat of “Castle,” CBS for “Reckless” and NBC for a rerun of “Chicago P.D.” Telemundo was fifth with a 0.4 for the end of its movie.

CBS also finished first for the night among households with a 3.9 average overnight rating and a 7 share. ABC was second at 2.4/4, NBC third at 1.8/3, Fox fourth at 1.3/2, Univision fifth at 1.1/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.4/1.

* * * *

TV Notes
Back for another stay: 'Hotell Hell'
Reality show aired one decently rated season two years ago

Remember “Hotel Hell?”

The Gordon Ramsay reality show aired for one short season in the summer of 2012. It drew good ratings, finishing as that summer’s No. 1 new show, but then it disappeared.

Now, finally, it is back. Season two of “Hell” kicks off tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox, following another Ramsay reality program, “MasterChef,” which airs at 8 p.m.

The premise of “Hotel” is simple.

Ramsay travels to the country’s worst hotels, with stains on the mattresses and bugs in the beds, and helps them solve all their problems, much like he does for “Kitchen Nightmares.”

“Hotel” averaged a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating in six episodes in its first season.

Why the long break for the show?

Fox renewed it two years ago, amid its successful first-season run, but the network has not said why season two took so long to appear.
Speculation is that it could be anything from Ramsay’s busy schedule (he has three other Fox reality shows as well as several in the UK) to issues with the hotels featured in the show.

But Fox picked an opportune time to bring it back. The broadcast networks have had a hard time launching strong new summer shows the past few years, with the exception of “Hotel” and CBS’s “Under the Dome.”

That’s led several networks to revive shows that hadn’t run in a year or more for this summer, including “Hotel,” ABC’s “NY Med” and NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 02:32 PM 07-21-2014
TV/Business Notes
Smaller Cable Networks Plan Their Survival Under the Feet of Giants
By Emily Steel and David Geles, The New York Times - Jul. 21, 2013

The flesh-eating zombies in AMC’s hit television series “The Walking Dead” are shambling into a land of even bigger monsters.

AMC’s parent company, AMC Networks, along with a slew of other cable television groups, including Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks and Crown Media, are bracing for profound changes as a series of momentous mergers are set to transform the media world.

The transactions would create ever-larger conglomerates, leaving smaller cable television network groups more vulnerable as independent companies, industry executives and analysts say. And questions loom as to whether these networks will also be gobbled up by the biggest players, or if the competitive landscape will push some of them off a television dial that is already crowded.

“The more these already large companies become even larger and have more market power, it just shuts down the opportunity for smaller networks that just don’t have the leverage,” said Eric Sherman, chief executive of Veria Living, an independent health and wellness cable network available in several major United States markets. He said it would be difficult to go it alone should the pending deals be consummated and that he was open to exploring a strategic partnership with another company.

Those pending deals are the proposed $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable and the $48.5 billion merger between AT&T and DirecTV, which would create cable and satellite giants that could force smaller networks to accept lower fees for their programming. And 21st Century Fox’s $80 billion pursuit of Time Warner, unveiled last week, would create a rival television and film behemoth with tremendous negotiating power over cable and satellite providers, corporate advertisers and Hollywood talent.

These transformational deals are just one of several threats facing the smaller cable television network groups. The proliferation of media has made attracting audiences increasingly difficult. The advertising market is sluggish. Perhaps most worrisome are the direct challenges from Silicon Valley and Seattle, as Netflix, Google’s YouTube and Amazon continue their aggressive expansion into original programming.

“When big companies get even bigger and you are subscale, you lose a lot of negotiating power,” said Amy Yong, a media analyst with Macquarie. “But in media, there just are so many egos that you don’t know who is going to buy and who is going to sell.”

With media industry merger-and-acquisitions activity reaching a fevered pitch, it would seem that every smaller cable network group is in play. Indeed, before making its move for Time Warner, 21st Century Fox took a look at buying a smaller group such as Scripps or the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, according to a person briefed on the deal.

But Wall Street advisers are skeptical that any of the big media companies — Disney, Comcast, Fox, Time Warner, CBS, Viacom — will try to buy the likes of AMC, Crown Media or Starz.

None of the larger companies are suffering from a lack of size; Disney, for example, has a market value of about $150 billion. Each has a combination of cable or broadcast assets that allows it to negotiate favorable rates with cable and satellite operators. Adding smaller cable network groups would give the big companies no more leverage than they already have. Moreover, none of them want to appear desperate by making a land grab, and several are constrained for their own reasons.

Comcast, the cable operator and owner of NBCUniversal, is now focused on winning approval for its acquisition of Time Warner Cable. 21st Century Fox and Time Warner are at a standstill after their brief talks. And CBS and Viacom each believe they are strong enough on their own, and are unlikely to change hands while under the control of the billionaire media mogul Sumner Redstone.

For smaller cable network groups, that leaves few obvious options. Scripps, owner of the Food Network and HGTV, has had a “for sale” sign on its door for years, media executives say. Discovery Communications is said to have held talks about combining with Scripps.

Some advisers believe that Scripps, which has a stock market value of about $12 billion, could get bigger by acquiring the likes of AMC, Crown or Starz. But even combined, those assets would not have the clout of the larger players.

AMC, the home of hit shows like “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead,” is perhaps the most alluring target of the bunch. In addition to its namesake network, the company, which has a stock market value of about $4.7 billion, owns and operates several other channels, including SundanceTV and IFC, as well as IFC Films, which released the critically acclaimed film “Boyhood” this month. One potential hindrance to its long-term value, according to Wall Street advisers, is that it while it participates on the back end of some shows, such as “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” it licenses them from entertainment studios.

Positioned between the smaller players and the media giants is Discovery Communications, currently valued at nearly $30 billion.

Discovery has a suite of well-regarded cable networks, including the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, but it has also hedged itself with an aggressive international strategy. By developing robust global distribution, Discovery’s chief executive, David M. Zaslav, has made the company less reliant on American cable and satellite operators and put it in a position to chart its own course.

Absent any deal activity, the smaller cable network groups are meeting with cable and satellite companies in hopes of negotiating favorable rates before the proposed acquisitions are made, executives said. At the same time, they are descending on Washington to outline their plight to regulators and lawmakers reviewing the proposed mergers. The hope is that conditions would be added to the deals to level the playing field for smaller or independent cable networks.

The smaller network groups are also increasing their investment in original series, hoping to create hit shows that will command lucrative distribution and advertising dollars.

“Those who produce great content certainly will have a place regardless of the delivery system, regardless of how the landscape shakes out,” said William J. Abbott, chief executive of Crown Media. Crown, which owns the Hallmark Channel, is currently trying to carve out a niche with original series, holiday movies and specials.

“You really need to have an ability to present something very different when there are so many options out there,” he said.
aaronwt's Avatar aaronwt 05:13 PM 07-21-2014
Originally Posted by Keenan View Post
I recall seeing some episodes of "Bones" where they're actually talking about the nav system, don't recall the make of vehicle, but the focus was on the nav system itself. There's been many other shows that have focused on the vehicle itself or something about the vehicle, very obvious ones like a lingering shot on the grill of a Camaro, lots of stuff like that.
I think that was back when they were doing that in a bunch of Fox shows. I think it was Ford. It was back when Fringe was still on.
mrvideo's Avatar mrvideo 09:19 PM 07-21-2014
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, - Jul. 21, 2014

CBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

The people under the dome can’t go anywhere – but new people keep popping up from time to time, as do new subplots. One of the new plot threads introduced tonight: a look into the past for clues, as a picture of young Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox) is found in an old high school yearbook – from 25 years before.
Didn't this Dave guy even watch last week's episode? The yearbook was found last week.
NetworkTV's Avatar NetworkTV 11:10 PM 07-21-2014
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
"Hey, Chuck, before we go out to save the world, why don't we enjoy a delicious Subway sandwich? The bread is so hot and fluffy, I can't even imagine why you wouldn't want to get a toasted sandwich at Subway!"

Product placement and endorsements drive me nuts. At least the ones on Chuck were often amusing (and about the only reason the show continued at all), but the most egregious example I can think of was in the pilot for NBC's Grimm, where a female jogger died, and the police questioned someone like so:

"Do you recall what the victim was wearing?"
"She had pink Nikes and was carrying an iPod."
"What's that? She had pink Nikes and an iPod?"
"Why yes, she had pink Nikes and an iPod."

"Hey, guys, over here! I found a pink Nike and an iPod!"

It was so annoying that I almost stopped watching the show after one episode. Incorporating advertising into the show is the worst way to do it, because it causes a permanent corruption of the material. Plastering banners on top of the screen is annoying, but at least they're gone when you watch on DVD/Blu-ray/online. If the actors are forced to blather about a product during the episode itself, then the annoying irrelevant advertisement is preserved forever.
Nah, the worst one ever has to be in Monk where he talks to a real estate agent about her Buick Lucerne, and in the process she extolls the virtues of the Northstar system.
dattier's Avatar dattier 06:54 AM 07-22-2014
"Partners" on Fox starring Tate Donovan and Jon Cryer
"Partners" on CBS starring David Krumholtz and Michael Urie
"Partners" on FX starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence

just trying to keep it straight ...
Aliens's Avatar Aliens 07:22 AM 07-22-2014
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
TV Review
Revisiting the Facts, After the Convictions
‘The Newburgh Sting,’ on HBO, About Bronx Bomb Plot
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - Jul. 21, 2013

The case made — convincingly — by the documentary “The Newburgh Sting” is that the four upstate New York men convicted of plotting to bomb synagogues in the Bronx and destroy airplanes in 2009 were the fall guys in an elaborate, cinematic performance orchestrated by the F.B.I. The film, showing Monday on HBO, offers a competing narrative to the one presented at trial and in the news media by the government. So far, the government’s story is winning: The men are all serving 25-year sentences in federal prisons.

In a broader sense, though, the film builds a credible circumstantial case for the entrapment defense. It does so through the standard techniques of true-crime documentary: interviews with sympathetic, cogent relatives and acquaintances of the four men; an evocative depiction of life in a depressed Hudson River Valley town; the canny juxtaposition of just-folks black and Muslim Newburghers with a succession of suited, white law-enforcement officials, politicians and television talkers, often saying things we can see aren’t true.

Two characters stand out. Alicia McWilliams, aunt of David Williams, one of the conspirators, is magnificent in her anger, despair and dark humor. “How could you come in our community and prey on these damn fools?” she snaps. “David should have only got five years for not having common sense.”
Excellent and troubling documentary. Create a terrorist plot when one didn't exist to begin with. Then make up lies and sell it to the jury. And like the Iraq War; the media buys it and sells it to the public. All of this for governmental optics.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 10:18 AM 07-22-2014
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: Tyler Christopher/Ronn Moss
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (John Stamos; comic Todd Glass; OK Go performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

(R - Apr. 29)
9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Nov. 12)
10:01PM - Person of Interest
(R - Mar. 25)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Ricky Gervais; Taylor Schilling; Eli Young Band performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Regis Philbin; model Irina Shayk; Switchfoot performs)

8PM - Food Fighters (Series Premiere)
9PM - America's Got Talent: Best of Audition (120 min.)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Dwayne Johnson; TV personality Mel B.; Chronixx performs)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Kate Hudson; journalist David Remnick)
1:37AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (John Turturro; OFF! performs; comic Katie Crown; musical group Midlake)
(R - May 1)

8PM - Family Guy
(R - Apr. 6)
8:30PM - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
(R - Feb. 2)
9PM - The Mindy Project
(R - Nov. 12)
9:30PM - The Mindy Project
(R - Apr. 1)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Icon: Al Capone
9PM - History Detectives Special Investigations: Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa? (Season Finale)
10PM - Frontline: Poor Kids
(R - Nov. 20, 2012)

8PM - Mi Corazón Es Tuyo
9PM - Lo Que La Vida Me Robó
10PM - Qué Pobres Tan Ricos

8PM - Arrow
(R - Jan. 29)
9PM - Supernatural
(R - Feb. 4)

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Director Richard Linklater)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Russian journalist Julia Ioffe)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Reggie Watts; Weird Al Yankovic; Tom Lennon)

11PM - Conan (Gary Oldman; comic Gabriel Iglesias; The Hold Steady performs)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Lela Loren)

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