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post #95881 of 95885 Old Today, 12:34 AM
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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
CNN Overtakes MSNBC in July as Ratings Take a Hit
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter - Jul. 30, 2014

The cable news ratings seesaw for No. 2 has been in MSNBC's favor for some time, but not in July. CNN reclaimed runner-up status to Fox News Channel for the month by most key measures.

What's most disconcerting for MSNBC might be its total day average among the news demo of adults 25-54.
Dropping 33 percent from July 2013, it actually ranked below HLN by 16,000 viewers for No. 4 status.

To be sure, it wasn't a particularly outstanding month for most of the networks. In primetime and total day, CNN, MSNBC and HLN all were off double digits in the targeted demographic compared to a year ago. FNC, which easily retains the top slot, had the benefit of being up a tick (2 percent) in primetime for an average 299,000 adults 25-54.

July proved to be full of breaking news, with the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 occupying significant coverage from all during the second half of the month. The ratings losses that have been logged were somewhat lessened by the lifts seen in the last two weeks.

There also are individual races that proved more interesting than usual. In the morning, CNN's New Day overtook MSNBC's Morning Joe in the key demo, 93,000 to 79,000 viewers. At 5 p.m., FNC's The Five hit its third month at No. 1 among total viewers across all of cable — beating Nickelodeon's longtime vet and kid-pleaser SpongeBob SquarePants.

And in the evening, Rachel Maddow was only marginally improved from her lowest month ever in June, averaging 181,000 viewers in the key demo. (FNC's Megyn Kelly, by contrast, enjoyed her second-highest-rated month since launch with an especially strong 386,000 adults 25-54.)

It's also worth noting that Kelly and Maddow no longer see traditional news competition from CNN at 9 p.m. ET. Doc special The Sixties, which has been airing in the hour on Thursdays, has averaged 291,000 adults 25-54 over the course of its seven premiere telecasts. It now regularly outperforms Maddow.
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post #95882 of 95885 Old Today, 12:47 AM
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TV Notes
Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Nessa Stein in 'The Honorable Woman' on Sundance
She's a woman with a difficult past and complicated present who tries to make a difference in the Middle East
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Jul. 27, 2014

Nessa Stein seems to have everything, including the resources to bring about some reconciliation in the Middle East.

She’s not the first to discover that’s harder than it looks.

Still, she tries, which is the right thing.

“You don’t have to do it perfectly,” says Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays Nessa Stein in “The Honorable Woman,” a BBC Two series that debuts here Thursday night at 10 on Sundance. “But you have to do something. This (story) is about acting, getting involved, putting your feet in the water.”

In an eight-part drama that’s part action thriller and part psychological drama, Nessa runs the Stein Group, a multinational firm she steers toward large-scale philanthropic projects.

In the Middle East, of course, not even the best-intended gestures can stay above conflict.

For Nessa, the seemingly benevolent act of installing high-speed data service between Israel and the West Bank triggers a backlash that quickly becomes whiplash.

Her plan becomes embroiled in external conflicts that eerily mirror the current real-life battles in Israel and Gaza — though this script was written some time earlier. As complications arise and dominoes fall, “The Honorable Woman” takes off on a ride that’s both fast-paced in its action-adventure story and contemplative in letting us see the complexity that drives and at times threatens to smother Nessa’s own life.

While the show’s title reflects her aspirations and her most fervent hope, the course of events makes it clear that unblemished honor is a luxury not available to mortals and perhaps not even to gods.

Gyllenhaal — who declined to comment on the current real life violence in the region — is okay with that.
“None of us,” she says, “ever do anything perfectly.”

Nessa Stein has a very personal reason for wanting to do something meaningful in the Middle East.

When she was a young girl, she and her brother Ephra were dining with their father Eli, who then ran the Stein Group, at a fancy restaurant.

One of the waiters pulled a gun and shot Eli in the head, leaving Nessa and Ephra spattered with his blood.
In the eyes of the waiter, it was more assassination than murder. One of the Stein Group’s primary enterprises was supplying guns to Israel.

Gyllenhaal says growing up with that memory, and in that shadow, became part of what inspired Nessa to take the present-day Stein Group in a very different direction.

“She understands why her father did what he did,” says Gyllenhaal. “Still, she’s the daughter of a Zionist gunrunner and she’s accepting some responsibility for what his company did.

“So she’s focused on trying to bring people and countries together. She’s focused on the large issues.”

In one early scene, she and her brother walk a short red carpet into a concert hall for a Stein-funded musical gala. A reporter asks her about reconciliation, she gives a bland answer. Then she returns to add that she’s not sure anyone has one single solution, but that at least “we are no longer part of the problem.”

Meanwhile, her personal life is almost as complicated as regional politics. She’s efficient, highly competent, skilled in social situations and entrenched behind the walls she’s been building since the day she saw her father die.

“It almost feels like Nessa is holding her breath until this moment where she can’t hold it any more,” says Gyllenhaal.

“The Honorable Woman” heightens the tensions in both her professional and personal lives by watching Nessa’s small moments.

Gyllenhaal notes one early moment where Nessa “snaps at one of the bodyguards, seemingly out of nowhere.” It’s a glimpse, she suggests, of what’s really simmering inside her walls.

“One of the things I loved about the script is that a lot of things surprised me about who Nessa is,” she says.

“She’s always trying to avoid revealing herself, and there were times when I didn’t know myself what was going on. There’s a scene in one episode where I’m crying on the floor in my underwear, and I don’t know why.”

One of the larger beauties of “The Honorable Woman,” Gyllenhaal says, is that this kind of self-deception is not peculiar to women from wealth and privilege. It’s common right down the socio-economic line.

“The public/private dichotomy is a huge part of who Nessa is,” she says. “When she’s in public, she’s performing. She’s playing herself.

“I can certainly relate to that, and not just because I’m an actress. It’s definitely an occupational hazard of being an actress, but I think every human being in the world, on some level, is performing herself and themselves.

“And the reason is because what’s underneath it can be terrifying.”

For an actress, of course, “terrifying” is code for “Bring it on.”

“I was attracted in this script to the whole spectrum of expression that was available to me as Nessa,” says Gyllenhaal. “Because, yes, she’s very powerful and graceful and intelligent. She’s also really childish and broken and hungry and desperate.

“I recognize those qualities in myself. They all exist in me. I like big shoulder pads, but I don’t necessarily want to play just a powerful woman, because I don’t buy that. There are moments I feel very powerful, and then there are moments where I really don’t. This role allowed all that to exist at the same time.”

That explains why she took a relatively rare step in her own life, which was accepting a role in a TV series. At 36, she’d never done that before — and in this century she has only done three other TV projects, two movies and a hosting gig on Discovery.

But she couldn’t turn down “The Honorable Woman,” written by Hugo Blick.

“It’s always more interesting to watch someone actually learning something or actually having an experience than to watch them pretending,” says Gyllenhaal. “And the only way to do that is if you’ve created a situation where that freedom, that surprise, that question mark is possible.

“It’s unusual. It happens, like, once every five years. You get together with a group of people, and something actually happens. You actually come out a different person.”

Nor did she emerge from “The Honorable Woman” simply feeling personal satisfaction. She also hopes the audience, besides enjoying the story and spectacle, will spend a little time contemplating the all-too-real Middle East issues the show raises.

“We don’t tend to think about them, perhaps because they seem so hopeless,” says Gyllenhaal. “I’m hoping this show will create a little space where people might.

“Our project doesn’t say this is right and this is wrong. It just points out the things we need to consider. It doesn’t even matter where you come down as long as you think about them.”

You don’t have to be perfect. Just be in the game.
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
WEDNESDAY 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 Middle
(R - Oct. 23)
8:30PM - The Goldbergs
(R - Mar. 11)
9PM - Modern Family
(R - Feb. 26)
9:31PM - The Middle
(R - Jan. 8)
10PM - Motive
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Rosario Dawson; Eric McCormack; Self performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - Big Brother
9PM - Criminal Minds
(R - Oct. 2)
10PM - Extant (Time Slot Premiere)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Zoe Saldana; former Press Secretary Jay Carney; Crash performs)
12:37AM - Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Dana Carvey; Brit Marling)

8PM - America's Got Talent: Cutdown
9PM - America's Got Talent: Results (LIVE)
10PM - Taxi Brooklyn
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Heidi Klum; Mike Birbiglia; Temples perform)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Meyers (Chris Pratt; Laverne Cox; Big Data and Joywave perform)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (John Slattery; Night Terrors of 1927 perform; comic Cristela Alonzo)
(R - May 13)

8PM - So You Think You Can Dance (120 min.)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - My Wild Affair: The Rhino Who Joined The Family
9PM - NOVA - Australia's First 4 Billion Years: Monsters
(R - Apr. 24, 2013)
10PM - Sex in the Wild: Kangaroos

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

8PM - Penn & Teller: Fool Us (Series Premiere)
9PM - The 100
(R - Apr. 23)

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

11PM - The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Maggie Gyllenhaal)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (James Franco)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Megan Neuringer; Matt Braunger; Emily Heller)
12:31AM - The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail

11PM - Conan (Norm Macdonald; Mackenzie Davis; musical guest Veruca Salt)
(R - May 21)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Kelsey Grammer)
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TV Review
'Sharknado 2: The Second One' is every bit as good as the first one
By Mark Dawidziak, Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- "Sharknado 2: The Second One" is bad, and that's good. Well, it's meant to be bad, in a good sort of way.

Look, if you saw last summer's surprise Syfy hit, "Sharknado," you know exactly what I mean. An intentionally cheesy collection of B-movie cliches, it was closer in lunatic spirit to "Airplane!" than "Jaws" (and, remember, the opening shot of "Airplane!" was a spoof of "Jaws").

Director Anthony C. Ferrante's "Sharknado 2" is a sequel exuberantly embracing that connection. Airing at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, on Syfy, it opens with Finley "Fin" Shephard (Ian Ziering) and April Wexler (Tara Reid) on a plane flying through a storm toward New York City.

Cut to the pilot, who is played by none other than Robert Hays. Surely, not that Robert Hays? Yes, that Robert Hays, and fill in the familiar punch line from "Airplane!"

Hays, of course, played the reluctant pilot hero of "Airplane!" Before you can say, "Win this one for the Zipper," he and his co-pilot are debating whether to have chicken or fish for dinner. Always go with the chicken on a commercial flight, they decide, launching the first of many, many in-jokes.

"Don't worry, this is nothing," Hays says of the turbulence rocking the plane. "I've flown worse." Meanwhile, Fin is staring out the window, "Twilight Zone"-style, sure he sees something on the wing. "It's happening again," he says in a voice dripping with "so bad it's good" melodrama.

In the first film, a freak storm dumped man-eating sharks all over the Los Angeles area. Ex-surfer Fin and his ex-wife, April, were swept up in the horror of it all.

It is, indeed, happening again, only this time, Fin and April are in the middle of a freak weather system that's unleashing a Sharknado on New York City. And the mirthful mixture of snark and shark will keep you laughing at and with "Sharknado 2," all the way to the wildly over-the-top conclusion.

It's bad? It's really bad? That's sort of the point. The idea behind these "Sharknado" romps is that everybody -- director, actors, cable channel and, most importantly, the viewers -- is in on the joke. The dialogue is intentionally bad. The CGI work is intentionally cheap. The plot is intentionally ludicrous. The shock tactics are intentionally schlocky. And all this bad adds up to one monstrously good time, particularly if experienced with a rowdy and ready group of friends.

Ferrante wants viewers to jeer at the screen, making "Sharknado 2" a kind of national "Mystery Science Theater 3000" experiment.

To help the at-home comments along, he has stuffed "Sharknado 2" with as many cameo appearances as there are in-jokes. Look sharp, "Sharknado" fans, and you'll spot, among others, Vivica A. Fox, Robert Klein, Judd Hirsch, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mark McGrath, Kari Wuhrer, Kelly Osbourne, Andy Dick, "Downtown" Julie Brown, Perez Hilton, Judah Friedlander, Richard Kind, Al Roker and Matt Lauer.

You're not going to question how a storm could cause such a disaster. You're not going to be sitting home and thinking, "How did these guys think this was good?" You'll only be wondering how the actors kept a straight face while mouthing these ludicrously overripe lines.

Discovery Channel has built its annual summer tradition with Shark Week (this year's edition beginning Sunday, Aug. 10). Syfy is taking a jaw-dropping bite out of that playbook, asking viewers to swallow a happy-meal concoction of corny dialogue and hammy performances, cooked in a cheese sauce and served with a generous side of baloney.

You obviously know what you're sinking your teeth into with "Sharknado 2." Just remember, sharks or no sharks, as the marine biologist said, they're doing it on porpoise. Surely, they can't be serious.

Sharknado 2: The Second One
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 30.
Where: Syfy
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TV Notes
Nick Orders Comedy '100 Things to Do Before High School’ From ‘Big Time Rush’ Creator
By Jethro Nededog, - Jul. 29, 2014

Nickelodeon has greenlit a new comedy from “Big Time Rush” creator and executive producer Scott Fellows titled “100 Things To Do Before High School.”

The kids’ channel ordered 26 episodes of the half-hour, single-camera series that follows three best friends as they navigate the highs and lows of middle school, with the help of a bucket list of adventures that help them overcome class cliques, terrifying bullies and clueless teachers.

Production on the new series will begin in Los Angeles in the fall.

The series stars CJ Parker as Isabela Moner, who has only a short time left to make the most of her middle school years. Together with her two lifelong best friends Fenwick (Jaheem Toombs) and Crispo (Owen Joyner), she is determined to get the most out of this time, using an ever-expanding list of challenges as a guide. For this group, growing up means trying everything and taking chances while they still can.

“Crossing that bridge into high school is a milestone and a journey filled with taking chances, expressing yourself and building friendships,” said Nick's president of content development and production, Russell Hicks, in a statement.

He continued, “Kids will be able to relate to this coming of age comedy that embodies that crazy and sometimes magical time in their lives.”

Aside from creating Nick hit show “Big Time Rush,” Fellows also created and executive produced “Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide” and DHX Media's “Johnny Test.” Previously, he worked as a staff writer on “The Fairly OddParents,” for which he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for the show in 2003.

* * * *

TV Notes
VH1 Renews ‘Hit the Floor’ for Season 3
By Tim Kenneally, - Jul. 29, 2014

Here's something to cheer about, “Hit the Floor” fans.

VH1 has renewed the scripted series, which delves into the treacherous and tempting world of NBA cheerleading, for a third season.

The series — which follows Ahsha (Taylour Paige), who joins the Los Angeles Devil Girls cheerleading squad — will wrap its second season on Aug. 11.

“‘Hit The Floor’ delivered again with fantastic ratings and social media engagement in season two, especially among women,” VH1's EVP of Original Programming and Production Susan Levison said. “We look forward to seeing what kind of trouble the Devil Girls will get into next season.”

During its first season, “Hit the Floor” was the top-rated new scripted cable series of the summer in the 18-49 demographic most important to advertisers. To date, the second season ranks as the top ad-supported scripted cable drama among women 18-49.
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