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post #95761 of 95775 Old Yesterday, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post
In the articles about Under the Dome, they typically quote Les Moonves talking about how UNder the Dome is profitable for CBS before they even air it. And he is the CEO of CBS.
Which division of CBS, or CBS Corp as a whole? For CBS Corp as a whole, it more than likely is.

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post #95762 of 95775 Old Yesterday, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post
Which division of CBS, or CBS Corp as a whole? For CBS Corp as a whole, it more than likely is.
You can't buy shares of stock in just one unit or one division, you have to buy stock in the whole corporation. So, how much do the shareholders care about each unit within the company? And are shareholders always looking for short-term profit and not caring all that much about the company's long-term prospects?
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post #95763 of 95775 Old Yesterday, 09:19 PM
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You can't buy shares of stock in just one unit or one division, you have to buy stock in the whole corporation. So, how much do the shareholders care about each unit within the company?
Shareholders do care if a division is pulling down the corp. bottom line.

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And are shareholders always looking for short-term profit and not caring all that much about the company's long-term prospects?
Certainly seems that way sometimes (short term over long term).

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post #95764 of 95775 Old Today, 12:40 AM
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Comic-Con 2014 TV Notes
‘Penny Dreadful’ Showrunner John Logan Teases Season 2 & New “Human” Villain
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Jul. 24, 2014

San Diego is about to get a Gothic horror visit from Victorian England today and John Logan is about to let Penny Dreadful get truly uninhibited. “A lot of Season 1, for me, was actually putting the playing pieces on the board,” says the Oscar nominated scribe of the Showtime series of 19th century iconic supernatural misfits he created. “Now I feel we’ve had 8 hours to do that, to establish the landscape and so now I really get to play,” the first time showrunner adds with a laugh. “I can create more and more complex patterns of the relationships of the characters and of the supernatural element as well,” the Gladiator and Skyfall writer says. “In terms of the second season, I’ve written all but two of the episodes. So, the last two are yet to be written. So I’m well ahead of the game there, and the actors will all be getting it the end of this month.

In just over a month since Dreadful’s rather spectacularly blood soaked Season 1 finale, Logan will be taking the stage in Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center this evening with cast members Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney and Josh Hartnett. If he returns next year, he may be bringing a few more people with him and not just absent leads Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. “I’m teasing out from the characters I really love from last season, who had smaller parts, and adding a whole new set of new characters as well,” the playwright and Oscar nominee admits for Season 2. Careful to keep the poetic mystery that embodied the series since it’s May 11th debut, Logan is economical with his words about who those additions will be – though he does admit there will be more supernatural creatures and the main characters will leave London in Season 2.

The writer is less circumspect with Penny Dreadful’s new threat. “The biggest change for me in the second season, beyond the fact that it’s ten hours as opposed to eight hours, is we have a human antagonist,” he says. “Last season, we sort of had the vampire, the generic monster, Now we have a human villain played by Helen McCrory, who is Madam Kali in the, I hope memorable, séance episode earlier in the season.” What evil the new Dreadful villain will enact was scarcely hinted at in Madam Kali brief but preying appearance at the end of Season 1.

While Logan won’t reveal more of Penny Dreadful’s next season nor talk about the follow up to 2012’s Skyfall except to say the script for the next James Bond movie is done, he will speak in detail about the challenges of creating and running his first TV show. “One of the reasons I love it so much and find it so different that films or even theater is that I’m there every day on the set and obsessively writing it, working with the actors and editing,” the big screen vet says. “It’s a brand new challenge, and I am learning every single day. “Thankfully, my boss, David Nevins, is just an amazing sort of educator as well as supporting the more outlandish parts of my vision, which he certainly does next season,” Logan laughs.

Not that he didn’t plan Penny Dreadful out when the idea came to him several years ago and he spoke to his Skyfall director and now TV producing partner Sam Mendes about the idea. Showtime picked up the project from the frequent collaborators in January 2013 “Because this is my first TV show and I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it, I spent years thinking about it and charting out the cosmology, all the various forces of play around those characters,” Logan says. “I charted it up to the third season in terms of where I wanted to take the story, where I wanted to align to some of the classic novels that inspired it and some of the ways I wanted to variant those things.” Where that will be, we will have to discover, however for Logan that is part of the fun for himself.

“The second season, for me, is, in a way, more joyous to write because I know the voices in my head, and I know where I want to challenge the actors, and I know where I want to play to their sweet spots,” he says with a laugh. Indeed.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/07/penn...orror-villain/
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post #95765 of 95775 Old Today, 12:44 AM
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Comic-Con 2014 TV Notes
'Community' Star Joel McHale Never Doubted Revival Chances
By Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jul. 24, 2014

Community had an 11th-hour reprieve last month when Yahoo Screen revived the cult comedy for a sixth season, fulfilling the first half of the unofficial #sixseasonsandamovie mandate.

The stars and producers weren't shy about the unexpected save after an aggressive push by studio Sony Pictures Television. "Sony and Yahoo are giant corporations. Their tentacles reach — hail Hydra! — into every crevice," creator Dan Harmon told the Ballroom 20 audience during Thursday's Comic-Con session.

"Wherever the show is, people will find it — especially when it's on Yahoo Screen," added Harmon. "It's season six of Community. You'll be watching it the way you've always watched it — only now it's legal." Though no official announcement was made, Harmon and executive producer Chris McKenna said that Community will still have a traditional sitcom format, with the 13 episodes rolled out on a weekly basis, likely beginning after Christmas. (The writers' room kicks back up in the fall.)

Prior to Community's resurrection, Harmon was vocal about tempering expectations, even penning a blog post explaining his reasoning. "I didn't want [the fans] to be crushed," Harmon said. "I didn't feel that this was possible, so I didn't want them to get optimistic. I knew that, honestly, it was corporate politics. At a certain point the love is a commodity to them, which has been overly demonstrated. Then it's time to sit back and let them make something happen, and they did."

If there was one person who was confident about Community's return, it was Joel McHale, a major proponent for Harmon returning to the show in season five a year after his ouster. "I had no doubt we would be back," The Soup host said. "Much like a Japanese general in World War II, the only option was victory or suicide. As I've said a lot, I love the show."

McHale half-joked that if it came down to it, he "was ready to do a regional theater version of the show." If anything, the digital transition for the perennial bubble show — which has never been a ratings ballbuster — was kismet. "I know most of you watch on tiny little screens and now we're on one. F— you network television! Unless they want us back," McHale deadpanned.

Gillian Jacobs and Jim Rash revealed that they found out about news of Community's return on social media, Twitter specifically. "I definitely shed a tear when we were canceled. I cried in my car. I didn't want to let go of the show, because I think there are a few times in your life where you get to work on something as groundbreaking ... and heartbreaking as this show," Jacobs said. Added Rash, "It's been a blessing each season to go to a next [season] and to maybe see the hashtag come to reality."

When asked whether the shackles would be off now that Yahoo Screen would, Harmon joked, "I had a lot of anti-vaccination messages that I wanted to show."

Harmon emphasized the importance of maintaining the DNA of the show — with some tweaks. "The community that these guys recognize needs to be there and I need to be very careful about that," Harmon said. "I don't want to take the wheels off so much that people are like, 'This is a new show.'"

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...-harmon-721012
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post #95766 of 95775 Old Today, 12:46 AM
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Comic-Con 2014 TV Notes
‘Hannibal’ Season 3 to Focus on Lecter Manhunt and Book Characters, But No Clarice Starling
By Laura Prudon, Variety.com - Jul. 24, 2014

NBC’s “Hannibal” took over Ballroom 20 at Comic-Con Thursday, with creator Bryan Fuller, EPs Steven Lightfoot and Martha De Laurentiis, director David Slade and cast members Caroline Dhavernas, Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams on hand to tease the sure-to-be delectable developments ahead in season three.

Stars Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy were absent from the panel due to work commitments, but Mikkelsen sent his apologies via video from Denmark, while Dancy recorded a message from Australia, both thanking all the “Fannibals” for their support of the critically-acclaimed drama.

The biggest reveal from the panel? Raul Esparza will be “a huge part of season three” despite his character, Dr. Chilton, being shot in the face in season three. Esparza (who worked with Fuller on “Pushing Daisies”) said that he trusts the writer implicitly, because no matter what kind of awful mishaps befall the twisted psychiatrist, Fuller always reassures him that he’ll survive — and Esparza believes him (in part because Chilton plays such a major role in the books).

While the series will no longer be able to feature the delicious verbal sparring between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter at the beginning of season three, Fuller compared the duo to R2D2 and C-3PO — who “don’t become less interesting” when you separate them. They’ll be introducing new characters for both leads to interact with, as well as revisiting some old favorites.

Star Eddie Izzard is set to return via flashback, and Kacey Rohl’s Abigail Hobbs will also appear in some form in season three. Fuller intends to introduce a number of major book characters next year, including Commander Apache in episode two; Lady Murasaki in episode three; Cordell in episode four and Francis Dollarhyde in episode eight.

Season three will start a year after the season two finale in order to join the characters at their “most active point,” according to Fuller. “We want to be very vague with who survived that bloody, bloody night.” Episode four will deal with the events of that missing year. “We’re telling the story emotionally as opposed to temporally.”

The show is also departing from the procedural structure of the prior two seasons, which often featured a case of the week among the character beats. “You only see the FBI in one episode in the first seven,” Fuller revealed, because the show will focus on the pursuit of Hannibal going forward.

The cuisine theme in the titles next season will be Italian, according to Fuller, which gives a big hint as to where Hannibal may end up after his plane lands.

While some shows are slow to embrace the appetites of their fanbase, Fuller admitted that he loves the art and fan fiction the series inspires. “I think the whole television show is fan fiction, we’re all adamant fans,” he pointed out. “What’s good for the gander is good for the goose.”

Still, fans shouldn’t expect Mikkelsen and Dancy’s characters to lock lips on the show any time soon. “They have love for each other… it’s not necessarily a sexual love, but they absolutely have a pure, genuine love for each other,” Fuller said. “The audience is already taking care of it, there is some fantastic art out there.”

De Laurentiis teased that Fuller already has a plan mapped out for upcoming seasons to include plots from “Hannibal,” “Hannibal Rising” and “Red Dragon.” Asked whether we’ll ever see Clarice Starling on the series, Fuller noted that MGM still retains the rights to all “Silence of the Lambs” characters and plotlines, but that they intend to launch a “full court press” to adapt the film, since Fuller appreciates the importance of telling a complete story.

Fuller also spoke of his passion for writing female characters, having switched the genders of Freddy Lounds and Alan Bloom from men in the novels to women in the series, just to include more female voices in the story. “I tend not to think about genitals when I’m writing a character, they’re people first and foremost,” he noted. “There’s something unique about the female experience that I think has an accessibility and an emotional resonance… I find writing for women to be no less complicated than writing for men, because I look at them as individuals.”

Fuller admitted to being excited to have more female characters in season three, including more of Gillian Anderson’s Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier and Lady Murasaki, Hannibal’s Japanese aunt, who has yet to be cast. “We think we’re doing some interesting things with the female characters… most of the female characters can see Hannibal clearer than the male characters… we’re going to be exploring more of that in season three,” he said.

As for whether we’ll ever see a musical episode of the already heightened series, Fuller demurred, but admitted, “I would love to see a surreal musical number in Hannibal’s mind palace. I want to see Mads Mikkelsen dancing like Christopher Walken in ‘Weapon of Choice.’”

“The man can dance,” Esparza agreed.

Anything can happen on “Hannibal.”

http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/comi...-3-1201268807/
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TV Sports/Business Notes
ESPN's SEC Network Scores Carriage Deal With Time Warner Cable, Bright House
By Tony Maglio, TheWrap.com - Jul. 24, 2014

ESPN's SEC network is touching down on Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

The so-called Worldwide Leader in Sports has reached a carriage deal with the two cable providers for the channel's Aug. 14 launch. The first game of the SEC 2014-15 college football season — Texas A&M vs. South Carolina — kicks off on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. ET.

With the addition of the two cable companies, the SEC Network will be available to approximately 60 million households nationwide.

“We know we have customers who want the SEC Network, and are pleased to bring it to them,” Andrew Rosenberg, senior vice president of Content Acquisition for Time Warner Cable, said in a press release. “This deal will help ensure that fans and alumni of SEC universities won't miss any important games.”

Added Sean Breen, Disney and ESPN Media Networks senior vice president, Affiliate Sales: “By delivering the SEC Network across Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks’ nationwide footprint, including key markets within SEC territory, we are meeting the demands of fans while also adding value to customers’ video subscriptions in advance of the network's launch next month.”

The SEC Network will air more than 1,000 live events in its first year, including at least 45 exclusive SEC football games, more than 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games, 75 baseball games, 50 softball games and events across all of the SEC's 21 sports.

http://www.thewrap.com/espn-sec-netw...-bright-house/
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TV Review/Notes
WGN America retells the story of the Manhattan Project
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jul. 24, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – It’s difficult to imagine that the more sophisticated, adult drama “Manhattan” (9 p.m. Sunday, WGN America) comes from the same network that just a few months ago debuted the silly, supernatural drama “Salem.”

Perhaps WGN America, new to original scripted series, is pursuing a let’s-throw-anything-against-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks programming strategy because these two series could not be more different.

Both shows are rooted in history, but “Salem” posits an alternate history where witches were real and masterfully manipulated events in 17th-century Massachusetts.

Newcomer “Manhattan” takes the real history of the Manhattan Project and retells the story of the creation of the first atomic bomb with fictional characters.

“Manhattan” clearly seems to be positioned as a serious cable show, and although it lacks the psychological depth of “Mad Men” or the edgy vibe of “Breaking Bad,” this new drama is easily one of the best new summer series.

John Benjamin Hickey, who played Laura Linney’s brother on “The Big C,” stars in “Manhattan” as fictional Frank Winter, a science researcher on one of several teams trying to develop an atomic weapon under the direction of real-life figure Robert Oppenheimer (Daniel London) in a no-name town in New Mexico (Los Alamos).

Winter’s team is not the team preferred by Oppenheimer and the U.S. Army; they are the underdogs. But Winter doggedly pursues any approach that will shave time off the development of a weapon because he sees every passing hour reflected in an increased number of dead American service members. He’s so worried about ending the war that he even considers sacrificing a rule-breaking colleague in the pilot.

Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zukerman) and wife Abby (Rachel Brosnahan) are new to “the Hill,” and Charlie, although an admirer of Winter’s work, is recruited by the rival team. Charlie is haunted by his own worries: Once America develops this weapon, what’s to stop another, less enlightened country from making a bomb of its own?

One researcher on the same team brags, “We have the highest combined IQ of any town in America and more Jews than Babylon. You’ll be wined and dined by the U.S. Army until Hitler and the Japs say uncle.”

The pilot episode, written by series creator Sam Shaw (“Masters of Sex”) and directed by Thomas Schlamme (“The West Wing”), offers some beautiful desert vistas and crane shots out of a Steven Spielberg film. It’s easily one of the most beautiful hours of television to come along this year. (As is often the case, a subsequent episode is less cinematic.)

The first hour is a little slow, somewhat pacey at times — it clocks in at 56 minutes, not the usual 42 minutes, and will run one hour and 10 minutes with commercials — but it does a fine job of setting up the story and introducing the characters. “Manhattan” is not just about the scientists, but also their wives.

Winter’s wife, Liza (Olivia Williams, “Dollhouse,” who can’t seem to shake her British accent), is the most anarchic wife, doing anything to ease her boredom. She has a doctorate but has put her career on hold for her husband. She takes newcomer Abby under her wing in episode two and shows her one way to get some kitchen equipment that involves trading tampons for peyote for a hot plate.

In two episodes made available for review, the homefront stories of the wives actually come off better than many of the lab scenes because the wives are better drawn. Winter’s lab is full of scientists, but viewers barely learn their names, let alone personalities, in these early episodes.

But Winter is a compelling character and the stakes of his work are high, which gives “Manhattan” a leg up on another summer workplace drama, AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire,” which began with a strong premiere and immediately grew dull with no interesting places for its stories to go.

But will viewers who tuned in to “Salem” in large enough numbers for that series to get a second-season renewal be likely to come to the more historically plausible, reality-rooted “Manhattan”? If they don’t, WGN America may have an altogether different kind of bomb on its hands.

Producers on ‘Manhattan’

After a “Manhattan” press conference earlier this month, Mr. Schlamme said WGN America executives acknowledged there may not be a lot of crossover between the “Salem” audience and the “Manhattan” audience.

“What they wanted was a great show,” he said. “They’ve been unbelievably supportive. They said, ‘If we can get a quality television show, that is what we want to do.’ And honestly, they’ve never winked. It’s never been, ‘Well, we said that, but what we really mean is the other.’ ”

“Manhattan” was filmed at an old New Mexico U.S. Army hospital that was days away from being torn down. The production came in and took over 12 acres of buildings that were reconfigured for the show. Mr. Schlamme said 85-90 percent of the series is shot on that location and much of it is shot outdoors.

“We created a world,” he said. “And part of that hope was to create a world that [the actors] could walk into that didn’t feel like a soundstage. It’s what it would have felt like for the [real-life] men and women who were transported from their homes on the East Coast, on the West Coast, and just plopped into the desert.”

Ken Burns on ‘The Roosevelts’

PBS mainstay Ken Burns returns with his latest massive production, the 14-hour “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” airing two hours a night for seven nights the week of Sept. 14.

Mr. Burns said the Roosevelts — President Theodore Roosevelt, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and FDR’s wife, Eleanor — have played a part in many of his past films, including “The Civil War,” “The National Parks” and “Prohibition,” so he was eager to explore their roles in American history in a film of their own.

On Teddy Roosevelt, the film looks at his prolific letter writing. Mr. Burns said he penned hundreds of thousands of letters.

“He would not stop talking,” says commentator David McCullough, a Pittsburgh native and historian, in the film. “He was a one-man gas bag, but it was so interesting most people wouldn’t mind it.”

Mr. Burns said a sense of obligation to the betterment of America ran through the family, philanthropists who devoted both money and time toward the greater good.

“It wasn’t checkbook, it was actual, dedicated public service,” Mr. Burns said.

And despite their wealth, Americans of all social classes felt a kinship with them.

“They sense that those people somehow miraculously understood them, and exactly how that happened I think is one of the great mysteries,” said “Roosevelts” writer Geoffrey C. Ward. “But a man in the ’36 election said that FDR was the only president who ever understood that his boss was a son of a bitch. And that people really felt that way. And exactly how they did it is an alchemy.”

Channel surfing

The CW has pulled its Monday night summer comedies “Backpackers” and “Seed” after just two weeks, effectively canceling them. “America’s Next Top Model” will debut its 21st cycle at 9 p.m. Aug. 18, airing in a Monday time slot for six weeks before moving to 9 p.m. Friday on Oct. 3. … Comcast customers with X1 cable boxes can test-drive new features in the Comcast Labs section within the settings, including a lock the remote feature, a shuffle feature and a jump-to-the-next-episode feature for binge watchers.

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-ra...s/201407240272
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TV Notes
Best tube bets this weekend
The top draws on broadcast and cable and in sports
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 24, 2013

FRIDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: CBS, “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” 12:35 a.m.
Actor Bradley Cooper guests.

Best bet on cable: we TV, “Marriage Boot Camp” 9 p.m. The season, which features reality TV stars from other shows, ends with a 90-minute episode.

Top sporting event: MLB Network, “Major League Baseball,” 7 p.m. Most will see a good matchup between the Yankees and Blue Jays, while others will see Red Sox versus Rays.

SATURDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: Fox, “UFC Saturday Night,” 8 p.m.
Live UFC fighting will most likely dominate an otherwise slow Saturday night on broadcast.

Best bet on cable: Disney Channel, “Phineas & Ferb,” 9 p.m. The hour-long “Star Wars”-themed episode the network has been promoting for weeks.

Top sporting event: Fox, “Soccer,” 4 p.m. There is soccer after the World Cup: Traditional English powerhouse Manchester United takes on Roma in Denver in a match from the International Champions Cup.

SUNDAY

Best bet on (public) broadcast
: ABC, “Wipeout,” 7 p.m.
Two-hour episode in which 12 single women are set up on blind dates.

Best bet on cable: WGN, “Manhattan,” 9 p.m. Series premiere. New drama focuses on the race to build the world’s first atomic bomb.

Top sporting event: ESPN, “NASCAR Racing,” 1 p.m. The Sprint Cup Brickyard 400, from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/bes...ts-weekend-42/

* * * *

Nielsen Notes (Cable)
Cable overnights: A surge for ‘Suits’
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Jul. 24, 2013

USA’s “Suits” saw its rating surge Wednesday night.

The show jumped 29 percent from the previous week, from a 0.7 adults 18-49 rating to a 0.9, according to Nielsen overnights.

It was the second-highest-rated original show on cable last night, behind MTV’s “Teen Mom,” which posted a 1.3, even to last week.

Adult Swim’s “Family Guy” was the No. 1 program on cable overall in the demo, with a 1.5 for the 11 p.m. episode.

That episode also ranked first in total viewers with 2.9 million.

Top 10 Cable Programs
Ranked on Total Viewers
July 23
# Program Net (000)
1 FAMILY GUY-07/23/2014 ADSM 2937
2 FAMILY GUY-07/23/2014 ADSM 2907
3 THE OREILLY FACTOR-07/23/2014 FOXNC 2758
4 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-07/23/2014 TBSC 2743
5 SUITS-07/23/2014 USA 2702
6 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-07/23/2014 TBSC 2688
7 BOLT-07/23/2014 DSNY 2612
8 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-07/23/2014 TBSC 2487
9 AMERICAN DAD-07/23/2014 ADSM 2451
10 KELLY FILE, THE-07/23/2014 FOXNC 2365
Source: Nielsen

Top 10 Cable Programs
Ranked on Adults 18-49
July 23
# Program Net (000)
1 FAMILY GUY-07/23/2014 ADSM 1871
2 FAMILY GUY-07/23/2014 ADSM 1833
3 TEEN MOM II SSN5B-07/23/2014 MTV 1593
4 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-07/23/2014 TBSC 1540
5 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-07/23/2014 TBSC 1495
6 AMERICAN DAD-07/23/2014 ADSM 1487
7 AMERICAN DAD-07/23/2014 ADSM 1305
8 BIG BANG THEORY, THE-07/23/2014 TBSC 1245
9 ROBOT CHICKEN-07/23/2014 ADSM 1172
10 SUITS-07/23/2014 USA 1082
Source: Nielsen

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/cab...s-surge-suits/
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TV Notes
'The Knick' Portrays Gilded-Age Gore
The makers of the new Cinemax series mined history for a fresh angle on a familiar TV genre: the medical drama
By John Jurgensen, Wall Street Journal - Jul. 24, 2013

In the first episode of "The Knick," a cable-TV series set in a New York hospital in 1900, surgeons perform an emergency caesarean section in an operating theater packed with observers. Almost as gruesome as the procedure itself are the squeaks from a rickety device that a doctor cranks to suction blood into overflowing vials.

The title refers to the fictional Knickerbocker Hospital, which is run by a well-heeled family but surrounded by downtown slums. The term "period drama" often sparks images of lace collars and elaborate hats. "The Knick," which unfolds at the end of the Gilded Age, has its share, but even some high-society scenes are far from prim. In one, a health inspector tracking a typhoid-fever outbreak grills an uptown lady about bowel movements and sex.

New television shows, even ones starting in summer's back stretch, face intense competition for audiences. But "The Knick," premiering Aug. 8 on Cinemax, is armed with the sort of pedigree necessary to attract viewers as well as social-media chatter.

Steven Soderbergh, whose movies range from "sex, lies, and videotape" to the "Ocean's Eleven" franchise, midwifed the series as an executive producer and directed the first season's 10 episodes.

Clive Owen plays John Thackery, the hospital's prickly head of surgery who tries to keep his addiction to cocaine and opium under wraps while pushing for innovations in the operating room. The series captures an era marked by medical breakthroughs amid staggeringly high mortality rates. It also portrays conflicts of race and class that swirl around the hospital. Andre Holland plays Algernon Edwards, a black surgeon who trained at Harvard and in the elite operating rooms of Paris but is routinely humiliated as the Knick's newly installed assistant chief of surgery.

"The Knick" will appear on Cinemax, the sibling channel of HBO that is trying to shed its reputation for pulpy movies and soft-core pornography. "This street brand of 'Skin-emax' built by default, and we're trying to evolve beyond that," says Cinemax President Kary Antholis. "The Knick" is part of the channel's rebranding effort, which includes a handful of original series emphasizing high-octane action, he says.

When Mr. Soderbergh and his producing partner Gregory Jacobs presented the show to Michael Lombardo, HBO's president of programming, they asked to be on Cinemax. ("It took us about two seconds to make the decision," Mr. Antholis says.) They believed "The Knick" would stand out more on Cinemax than among HBO's many high-profile series. And they knew it would be easier to get the necessary budget if they were on Cinemax's books, instead of tapping into the same resources as costly HBO series such as "Game of Thrones." Mr. Antholis says "The Knick" is more expensive than Cinemax's other original series but declined to discuss the budget, noting that the speed at which Mr. Soderbergh shot—nearly 10 hours of TV in 73 days—made it cost-effective.

"The Knick" was recently picked up for a second season, marking the first time that Cinemax or HBO has renewed a series before it aired. Mr. Soderbergh also will direct all 10 episodes in the second season.

"The Knick," which was created by writers Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, recreates operating rooms in an era before antibiotics or surgical gloves. Doctors in the series confront meningitis, hernias and the ravages of syphilis. Ambulance drivers get paid per passenger and jockey for cadavers that doctors can dissect for research. To the producers, all this offered a fresh angle on a TV genre that has been done to death: the medical drama.

"Surgeons then had to be so strong, emotionally, to deal with the mortality," Mr. Soderbergh says. "To have people die and in many cases not know why— the psychic pressure of that must have been intense."

The director also saw advantages in envisioning how "Grey's Anatomy," might have looked at a time when "Grey's Anatomy" was a relatively new reference book for physicians. For one: no surgical masks. "Typically when you shoot a doctor show you've got all these scenes where you can't see their faces," he says.

"The Knick" was filmed in New York. The sets, designed by Howard Cummings, have flickering electric lights, grimy wallpaper and archaic surgical instruments. To convey the often murky atmosphere, Mr. Soderbergh relied almost entirely on hand-held digital cameras. An electronic score by the director's frequent collaborator Cliff Martinez adds a contemporary pulse and an air of mystery.

Mr. Owen's character, Dr. Thackery, is loosely modeled on Dr. William Halsted, a founder of Johns Hopkins. He has a rakish thin mustache and wears white lace-up boots chosen by costume designer Ellen Mirojnick to hint at a rock-star attitude. Mr. Owen says the surgery scenes were particularly taxing. In the operating theater, he had to speak with nurses andfellow doctors, explain the surgery to spectators—and at the same time make sure his surgical handiwork looked convincing. "I'm playing this genius doctor, so you don't want the [camera] cutaway to somebody else's hands being brilliant," Mr. Owen says. A historical consultant, Dr. Stanley Burns, supplied period photographs of operations and advised on the surgery scenes. Mr. Owen says, "Often his mantra was 'more clamps and more blood.' "

http://online.wsj.com/articles/cinem...ore-1406223226
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY 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)

ABC:
8PM - Shark Tank
(R - Apr. 11)
9PM - What Would You Do?
10PM - 20/20
(R)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, "Guardians of the Galaxy"; Classixx performs)
(R - Jul. 21)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
(R - Oct. 30)
9PM - Hawaii Five-0
(R - Jan. 10)
10PM - Blue Bloods
(R - Feb. 28)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Michael Douglas; comic Paul Morrissey; Kiesza performs)
(R - Jul. 10)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Bradley Cooper; Lisa Joyce)

NBC:
8PM - Dateline NBC (120 min.)
9PM - Crossbones
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Jon Hamm; Brit Marling; entrepreneur Martha Stewart)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Taye Diggs; Andy Serkis; Neon Trees performs)
(R - Jul. 9)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Comic Marc Maron; Kaiser Chiefs perform; singer-songwriter Chuck E. Weiss)
(R - May 7)

FOX:
8PM - MasterChef
(R - Jul. 21)
9PM - 24: Live Another Day
(R - Jul. 14)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week with Gwen Ifill
8:30PM - Charlie Rose: The Week
9PM - Tina Fay: The Mark Twain Prize (90 min.)
(R - Nov. 14, 2010)
10:30PM - Emery Blagdon and His Healing Machine

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

THE CW:
8PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Apr. 11)
8:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Mar. 28)
9PM - Colin & Brad: Two Man Group
(R - Jan. 27, 2011)

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

HBO:
10PM - Real Time with Bill Maher (LIVE; economist Richard D. Wolff; astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson; political consultant Hogan Gidley; journalist Amy Goodman; author Matt Kibbe)

E!:
11PM - Chelsea Lately (Cameron Diaz)
(R - Jul. 17)
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TV Notes
‘Crossbones’ Final Episodes To Air On Saturday
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jul. 24, 2014

NBC has shipped pirate drama Crossbones to Saturday for its last two airings, with this Friday’s episode the last to air in the series’ regular Friday 10 PM slot. The John Malkovich starrer will then be replaced by an NBC News special and Dateline for the following two weeks.

Crossbones, which had been in the works for a long time, having been announced at NBC’s 2012 May upfront, started slow and has since lost half of its premiere rating, most recently drawing a 0.5 in 18-49 and 2.7 million viewers last Friday. NBC often sends underperforming dramas to end their runs on the low-trafficked Saturday night, something it previously did with Smash and Crisis.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/07/cros...-saturday-nbc/
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Critic's Notes
Difficult Women
How “Sex and the City” lost its good name.
By Emily Nussbaum, New Yorker - Jul. 29, 2014 Issue

When people talk about the rise of great TV, they inevitably credit one show, “The Sopranos.” Even before James Gandolfini’s death, the HBO drama’s mystique was secure: novelistic and cinematic, David Chase’s auteurist masterpiece cracked open the gangster genre like a rib cage, releasing the latent ambition of television, and launching us all into a golden age.

“The Sopranos” deserves the hype. Yet there’s something screwy about the way that the show and its cable-drama blood brothers have come to dominate the conversation, elbowing other forms of greatness out of the frame. It’s a bias that bubbles up early in Brett Martin’s otherwise excellent new book, “Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Wire’ to ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad,’ ” a deeply reported and dishy account of just how your prestige-cable sausage is made. I tore through the book, yet when I reached Martin’s chronicle of the rise of HBO I felt a jolt. “It might as well have been a tourism campaign for a post-Rudolph Giuliani, de-ethnicized Gotham awash in money,” Martin writes of one of my favorite shows. “Its characters were types as familiar as those in ‘The Golden Girls’: the Slut, the Prude, the Career Woman, the Heroine. But they talked more explicitly, certainly about their bodies, but also about their desires and discontents outside the bedroom, than women on TV ever had before.”

Martin gives “Sex and the City” credit for jump-starting HBO, but the condescension is palpable, and the grudging praise is reserved for only one aspect of the series—the rawness of its subject matter. Martin hardly invented this attitude: he is simply reiterating what has become the reflexive consensus on the show, right down to the hackneyed “Golden Girls” gag. Even as “The Sopranos” has ascended to TV’s Mt. Olympus, the reputation of “Sex and the City” has shrunk and faded, like some tragic dry-clean-only dress tossed into a decade-long hot cycle. By the show’s fifteen-year anniversary, this year, we fans had trained ourselves to downgrade the show to a “guilty pleasure,” to mock its puns, to get into self-flagellating conversations about those blinkered and blinged-out movies. Whenever a new chick-centric series débuts, there are invidious comparisons: don’t worry, it’s no “Sex and the City,” they say. As if that were a good thing.

But “Sex and the City,” too, was once one of HBO’s flagship shows. It was the peer of “The Sopranos,” albeit in a different tone and in a different milieu, deconstructing a different genre. Mob shows, cop shows, cowboy shows—those are formulas with gravitas. “Sex and the City,” in contrast, was pigeonholed as a sitcom. In fact, it was a bold riff on the romantic comedy: the show wrestled with the limits of that pink-tinted genre for almost its entire run. In the end, it gave in. Yet until that last-minute stumble it was sharp, iconoclastic television. High-feminine instead of fetishistically masculine, glittery rather than gritty, and daring in its conception of character, “Sex and the City” was a brilliant and, in certain ways, radical show. It also originated the unacknowledged first female anti-hero on television: ladies and gentlemen, Carrie Bradshaw.

* * * *

Please, people, I can hear your objections from here. But first think back. Before “Sex and the City,” the vast majority of iconic “single girl” characters on television, from That Girl to Mary Tyler Moore and Molly Dodd, had been you-go-girl types—which is to say, actual role models. (Ally McBeal was a notable and problematic exception.) They were pioneers who offered many single women the representation they craved, and they were also, crucially, adorable to men: vulnerable and plucky and warm. However varied the layers they displayed over time, they flattered a specific pathology: the cultural requirement that women greet other women with the refrain “Oh, me, too! Me, too!”

In contrast, Carrie and her friends—Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte—were odder birds by far, jagged, aggressive, and sometimes frightening figures, like a makeup mirror lit up in neon. They were simultaneously real and abstract, emotionally complex and philosophically stylized. Women identified with them—“I’m a Carrie!”—but then became furious when they showed flaws. And, with the exception of Charlotte (Kristin Davis), men didn’t find them likable: there were endless cruel jokes about Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Carrie as sluts, man-haters, or gold-diggers. To me, as a single woman, it felt like a definite sign of progress: since the elemental representation of single life at the time was the comic strip “Cathy” (ack! chocolate!), better that one’s life should be viewed as glamorously threatening than as sad and lonely.

Carrie Bradshaw herself began as a mirror for another woman: she was the avatar of the New York Observer columnist Candace Bushnell, a steely “sexual anthropologist” on the prowl for blind items. When the initial showrunner, Darren Star, and his mostly female writing staff adapted Bushnell’s columns, they transformed that icy Carrie, pouring her into the warm body of Sarah Jessica Parker. Out popped a chatterbox with a schnoz, whose advanced fashion sense was not intended to lure men into matrimony. For a half dozen episodes, Carrie was a happy, curious explorer, out companionably smoking with modellizers. If she’d stayed that way, the show might have been another “Mary Tyler Moore”: a playful, empowering comedy about one woman’s adventures in the big city.

Instead, Carrie fell under the thrall of Mr. Big, the sexy, emotionally withholding forty-three-year-old financier played by Chris Noth. From then on, pleasurable as “Sex and the City” remained, it also felt designed to push back at its audience’s wish for identification, triggering as much anxiety as relief. It switched the romantic comedy’s primal scene, from “Me, too!” to “Am I like her?” A man practically woven out of red flags, Big wasn’t there to rescue Carrie; instead, his “great love” was a slow poisoning. She spun out, becoming anxious, obsessive, and, despite her charm, wildly self-centered—in her own words, “the frightening woman whose fear ate her sanity.” Their relationship was viewed with concern by her friends, who were not, as Martin suggests, mere “types” but portrayals of a narrow slice of wealthy white thirty-something Manhattanites: the Waspy gallerina, the liberal-feminist lawyer, the decadent power publicist.

Although the show’s first season is its slightest, it swiftly establishes a bold mixture of moods—fizzy and sour, blunt and arch—and shifts between satirical and sincere modes of storytelling. (It’s not even especially dated: though the show has gained a reputation for over-the-top absurdity, I can tell you that these night clubs and fashion shows do exist—maybe even more so now that Manhattan has become a gated island for the wealthy.) There is already a melancholic undertow, full of foreshadowing. “What if he never calls and three weeks from now I pick up the New York Times and I read that he’s married some perfect little woman who never passes gas under his five-hundred-dollar sheets?” Carrie frets in Episode 11. In a moment of clarity, she tells Miranda that, when she’s around Big, “I’m not like me. I’m, like, Together Carrie. I wear little outfits: Sexy Carrie and Casual Carrie. Sometimes I catch myself actually posing. It’s just—it’s exhausting.”

That was the conundrum Carrie faced for the entire series: true love turned her into a fake. The Season 1 neurotic Carrie didn’t stick, though. She and Big fixed things, then they broke up again, harder. He moved to Paris. She met Aidan (John Corbett), the marrying type. In Season 3, the writers upped the ante, having Carrie do something overtly anti-heroic: she cheated on a decent man with a bad one (Big, of course), now married to that “perfect little woman,” Natasha. They didn’t paper over the repercussions: Natasha’s humiliation, and the way Carrie’s betrayal hardened Aidan, even once he took her back. During six seasons, Carrie changed, as anyone might from thirty-two to thirty-eight, and not always in positive ways. She got more honest and more responsible; she became a saner girlfriend. But she also became scarred, prissier, strikingly gun-shy—and, finally, she panicked at the question of what it would mean to be an older single woman.

Her friends went through changes, too, often upon being confronted with their worst flaws—Charlotte’s superficiality, Miranda’s caustic tongue, Samantha’s refusal to be vulnerable. In a departure from nearly all earlier half-hour comedies, the writers fully embraced the richness of serial storytelling. In a movie we go from glare to kiss in two hours. “Sex and the City” was liberated from closure, turning “once upon a time” into a wry mantra, treating its characters’ struggles with a rare mixture of bluntness and compassion. It was one of the first television comedies to let its characters change in serious ways, several years before other half-hour comedies, like “The Office,” went and stole all the credit.

* * * *

So why is the show so often portrayed as a set of empty, static cartoons, an embarrassment to womankind? It’s a classic misunderstanding, I think, stemming from an unexamined hierarchy: the assumption that anything stylized (or formulaic, or pleasurable, or funny, or feminine, or explicit about sex rather than about violence, or made collaboratively) must be inferior. Certainly, the show’s formula was strict: usually four plots—two deep, two shallow—linked by Carrie’s voice-over. The B plots generally involved one of the non-Carrie women getting laid; these slapstick sequences were crucial to the show’s rude rhythms, interjecting energy and rupturing anything sentimental. (It’s one reason those bowdlerized reruns on E! are such a crime: with the literal and figurative ****s edited out, the show is a rom-com.)

Most unusually, the characters themselves were symbolic. As I’ve written elsewhere—and argued, often drunkenly, at cocktail parties—the four friends operated as near-allegorical figures, pegged to contemporary debates about women’s lives, mapped along three overlapping continuums. The first was emotional: Carrie and Charlotte were romantics; Miranda and Samantha were cynics. The second was ideological: Miranda and Carrie were second-wave feminists, who believed in egalitarianism; Charlotte and Samantha were third-wave feminists, focussed on exploiting the power of femininity, from opposing angles. The third concerned sex itself. At first, Miranda and Charlotte were prudes, while Samantha and Carrie were libertines. Unsettlingly, as the show progressed, Carrie began to glide toward caution, away from freedom, out of fear.

Every conversation the friends had, at brunch or out shopping, amounted to a “Crossfire”-like debate. When Carrie sleeps with a dreamy French architect and he leaves a thousand dollars by her bed, she consults her friends. “Money is power. Sex is power,” Samantha argues. “Therefore, getting money for sex is simply an exchange of power.” “Don’t listen to the dime-store Camille Paglia,” Miranda shoots back. The most famous such conversation took place four episodes in, after Charlotte’s boyfriend asked her to have anal sex. The friends pile into a cab for a raucous debate about whether her choice is about power-exchange (Miranda) or about finding a fun new hole (Samantha). “I’m not a hole!” Charlotte protests, and they hit a pothole. “What was that?” Charlotte asks. “A preview,” Miranda and Samantha say in unison, and burst out laughing.

The show’s basic value system aligns with Carrie: romantic, second-wave, libertine. But “Sex and the City” ’s real strength was its willingness not to stack the deck: it let every side make a case, so that complexity carried the day. When Carrie and Aidan break up, they are both right. When Miranda and Carrie argue about her move to Paris, they are both right. The show’s style could be brittle, but its substance was flexible, in a way that made the series feel peculiarly broad-ranging, covering so much ground, so fleetly, that it became easy to take it for granted.

* * * *

Endings count in television, maybe too much. “The Sopranos” concluded with a black screen: it rejected easy satisfaction and pissed off its most devoted fans. (David Chase fled to the South of France.)

Three years earlier, in 2004, “Sex and the City” had other pressures to contend with: while a mob film ends in murder, we all know where a romantic comedy ends. I’ll defend until my dying day the sixth-season plot in which Carrie seeks respite with a celebrity like her, the Russian artist Aleksandr (Mikhail Baryshnikov), a chilly genius she doesn’t love but who offers her a dreamlike fairy tale, the one she has always longed for: Paris, safety, money, pleasure. It felt ugly, and sad, in a realistic way. In one of the season’s, and the show’s, best episodes, she saw other older women settling (Candice Bergen) or falling out of windows (the hilarious Kristen Johnston, who delivered one of “Sex and the City” ’s best monologues: “When did everybody stop smoking? When did everybody pair off? . . . I’m so bored I could die”). The show always had a realpolitik directness about such social pressures; as another HBO series put it recently, winter was coming.

And then, in the final round, “Sex and the City” pulled its punches, and let Big rescue Carrie. It honored the wishes of its heroine, and at least half of the audience, and it gave us a very memorable dress, too. But it also showed a failure of nerve, an inability of the writers to imagine, or to trust themselves to portray, any other kind of ending—happy or not. And I can’t help but wonder: What would the show look like without that finale? What if it were the story of a woman who lost herself in her thirties, who was changed by a poisonous, powerful love affair, and who emerged, finally, surrounded by her friends? Who would Carrie be then? It’s an interesting question, one that shouldn’t erase the show’s powerful legacy. We’ll just have to wait for another show to answer it.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...ifficult-women
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TV Notes
MTV Renews Teen Wolf for Season 5
By Michael Slezak, TVLine.com - Jul. 24, 2014

Just as sure as the full moon will rise again, Teen Wolf will be back for Season 5 — and it’s going to be a big one.

MTV announced today at San Diego Comic-Con that its hair-raising thriller has been renewed for fifth season that will span 20 episodes (and be split into two parts).

That’s good news for fans of the show, considering Season 4 — which is currently airing — will only last a comparably pithy 12 episodes.

http://tvline.com/2014/07/24/teen-wo...v-20-episodes/
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ESPN
During one of my runs last week, I was stopped dead in my tracks as I heard a bird do this twice...and to a tee.


Priceless.

If only I had a recorder.
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