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post #96151 of 98282 Old 08-12-2014, 01:06 PM
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TV Notes
TBS & MTV Nab Cable Rights To ‘New Girl’
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Aug. 12, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that TBS and MTV will share the basic cable syndication rights to Fox comedy New Girl in a five-year deal with Twentieth Television. The comedy starring Zooey Deschanel will make its cable debut in fall 2015 and will air on TBS and MTV weekdays for the following five years. Noone is discussing price, but I hear the combined license fee paid by TBS and MTV is in the neighborhood, and likely a little lower than the $700,000 per episode FX shelled out for Mike & Molly two years ago. (Industry types estimate that TBS and MTV each paid about $300,000-$400,000). The records for off-network sitcom sales were set by The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls, which both sold to TBS for $1.5 and $1.7 million per episode, respectively. Still, industry insiders give Twentieth props for being able to make what they call “a very good deal.” That is because New Girl had already been sold to Netflix in a lucrative streaming deal, said to be worth as much as $900,000 per episode. Many cable networks frown upon sharing a series with Netflix or another streaming service, so it was unclear whether the studio could find a buyer. (Mike & Molly, Big Bang and 2 Broke Girls sold with cable and SVOD exclusivity). All in all, I hear the per-episode fee that Twentieth has been able to secure, including streaming, is north of $1 million and possibly as high as $1.4-$1.6 million.

Created by Liz Meriwether and produced by Chernin Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox TV, New Girl was a breakout hit, starting off as one of the biggest comedies in years. Its live+same day ratings have softened since, but the show remains Fox’s highest-rated comedy and is a top draw in time-shifted viewing and among the younger viewers coveted by advertisers.

That proved key for the off-network sale of New Girl, said Steve MacDonald, EVP of Cable Sales, Twentieth Television. The ratings strength in Live+7 viewing, the currency used by buyers, “shows you the size and substance of a brand,” he said. With their different demo targets, 12-34 for MTV and 18-34 and 18-49 for TBS, “we had a situation in which two totally different networks lined up incredibly well with very little duplication,” MacDonald added. With its theme, a coming-of-age comedy about a girl out of college finding her way with the help of her friends, he feels New Girls would mesh well with MTV original scripted series like comedy Awkward. At TBS, New Girl would be a good demo fit for the network’s early fringe sitcoms, Friends and Seinfeld, and it also is considered a solid potential companion for 2 Broke Girls in primetime. Like New Girl, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, which TBS acquired in 2012 in a blockbuster deal, also will be available in fall 2015.

New Girl’s fourth season premieres on Fox on September 16. Twentieth TV introduced New Girl and fellow 20th TV-produced comedy, Last Man Standing, at NATPE and recently shopped the Fox series, landing the joint deal with TBS and MTV. Last Man is expected to be taken out next.

http://deadline.com/2014/08/able-rig...go-to-tbs-mtv/
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post #96152 of 98282 Old 08-12-2014, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by tomhunter8 View Post
Most people don't understand the tears of a clown. They don't realize that the funniest and most outgoing among us are oftentimes the most depressed and internally embattled. RIP Robin Williams. Thank you for the laughs you've given us all these years.
Seems many of the best performers used their brand of comedy as a therapy of sorts.

Freddie Prinze Sr, John Belushi, Charlie "noog-man" Barnett, and Chris Farley amongst others. The good do die young.
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"I knew you'd say that"...*BLAM!*
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post #96153 of 98282 Old 08-13-2014, 10:45 AM
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And loved Keith Olbermann's piece on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUhG...6lnrvldU_urowQ

And the last minute of it speaks for itself!
And he should be happy, Toyota has decided to pull the on-field red zone advertising. Jan from Toyota might disagree.
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post #96154 of 98282 Old 08-13-2014, 11:12 AM
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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)

ABC:
8PM - The Middle
(R - Apr. 23)
8:30PM - The Goldbergs
(R - Sep. 24)
9PM - Modern Family
(R - Mar. 12)
9:31PM - Modern Family
(R - Mar. 26)
10PM - Motive
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Justin Theroux; Angie Harmon; 5 Seconds of Summer performs)
(R - Jul. 24)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Big Brother
9PM - Criminal Minds
(R - Apr. 30)
10PM - Extant
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Sylvester Stallone; Theo James; Ledisi performs)
(R - Mar. 12)
12:37AM - Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Shailene Woodley; comic Dan Boulger; Wild Child performs)
(R - May 26)

NBC:
8PM - America's Got Talent: Cutdown
9PM - America's Got Talent: Results (LIVE)
10PM - Taxi Brooklyn
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Taylor Swift; Andrew Rannells; Ryan Adams performs)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Meyers (Mickey Rourke; "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner; radio hosts Roger Bennett and Michael Davies)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Lee Pace; Liquor Store performs; author John Green)
(R - Jun. 5)

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

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Nature - Echo: An Elephant to Remember (Oct. 17, 2010)
9PM - NOVA - Finding Life Beyond Earth: Are We Alone?
(R - Oct. 19, 2011)
10PM - Hawking
(R - Jan. 19)

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

THE CW:
8PM - Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9PM - The 100
(R - May 7)

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

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Aubrey Plaza)
(R - Jul. 31)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Authors Pat Buchanan and John W. Dean)
(R - Aug. 4)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Rob Riggle; Rob Huebel; Owen Burke)
(R - Aug. 5)
12:31AM - The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Martin Lawrence; comic Kumail Nanjiani; Jonah Ray; Ty Segall performs)

E!:
11PM - Chelsea Lately (Aubrey Plaza)
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post #96155 of 98282 Old 08-13-2014, 11:14 AM
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TUESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog.
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post #96156 of 98282 Old 08-13-2014, 11:23 AM
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Aug. 13, 2014

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
TCM, 2:45 p.m. ET

Today is Cary Grant day on TCM, and the network is using the day, and night to present lots of lesser-known, or at least less frequently televised, Grant movies, along with a couple classics. TCM’s choices are heavy on the comedies, and you could do a lot, lot worse than to make special efforts to watch or record 1940’s His Girl Friday (9:30 a.m. ET, opposite Rosalind Russell) and 1948’s Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (9:30 p.m. ET, opposite Myrna Loy). But the biggest treat of all today, for me, is the afternoon showing of 1944’s Arsenic and Old Lace, in which Grant plays a newspaper drama critic (no wonder I love it) whose extended family includes two eccentric and sweetly homicidal aunts, an uncle who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, and a monstrously murdering brother who resembles Boris Karloff. Raymond Massey plays that last role, which was played in the original stage version by the original Karloff. His hunching assistant, in this movie version, is played by Peter Lorre, who’s wide-eyed and hilarious. Then again, so is Grant, in one of his broadest, funniest roles. And the rest of the cast –Josephine Hull and Jean Adair as the dotty aunts, John Alexander as the bugle-blaring uncle, Edward Everett Horton as the insane-asylum director – are all, in the hands of director Frank Capra, utterly brilliant. This movie makes me feel good every time I watch it, and I watch it every time it’s televised. And appreciate, every time, how in 1944, it found a perfectly acceptable and defensible way to have Cary Grant scream the word “bastard.”

ZOMBIE SHARKS
Discovery, 9:00 p.m. ET

Yesterday I wrote about some of this week’s new Shark Week specials being more entertaining for their titles than, necessarily, for their content. Today, may I just say… ditto.

LEGENDS
TNT, 9:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
Sean Bean stars in this new TNT series, playing a deep undercover operative who sometimes gets lost in the roles he’s playing. In other words, it owes a lot to the Nineties CBS series Wiseguy, and even a little to the Seventies series Baretta, in which Robert Blake adopted weekly personas to bring down that episode’s villain. Legends breaks little new ground in this regard, and is watchable only because Bean is a charismatic leading man, and, past that, only if you find perverse pleasure in watching how quickly the series resorts to tired genre conventions. How long does it take before Ali Larter from Heroes, as Bean’s tough-as-nails superior and handler at the agency, joins him on an undercover assignment by posing as a lap-dancing stripper? Three commercial breaks, tops. Not that I’m complaining, really. It’s just that I’m not surprised – and in the best moments from the other shows where executive producer Howard Gordon’s name is attached, such as 24 and Homeland, surprise is one of the most potent ingredients. Not here. At least not at first.

THE DIVIDE
We TV, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s new installment features a lengthy, increasingly tense dinner out in which someone pontificates, rather bluntly, about parents and children and their respective relationships. Meanwhile, on other fronts, secrets are revealed and confronted that may lead to a change of legal tactics – or allegiances.

EXTANT
CBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s installment both deepens and begins to explain the central mysteries of this sci-fi series. One question addressed, and effectively answered: Why was Molly (Halle Berry) selected to go on her solo space mission in the first place? One question newly posed, and not yet answered at all: Why has her robot “son,” Ethan, just experienced his first dream?


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

Critic's Notes
Each Time I Saw Robin Williams Perform Live, Something Truly Memorable Happened…
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Aug. 12, 2014

Over my long career as a TV critic, I attended three standup shows at which Robin Williams performed live. I have very strong, very fond memories tied to all three. And after reading my fellow critics’ evocative tributes on this site honoring Williams, who died yesterday at age 63, I feel both obliged and honored to offer my own.

* * * *

The first time I saw Robin Williams perform live was at the same Los Angeles TV critics’ press tour event which Ed Bark, also in attendance that day, already has described in his Williams tribute for Uncle Barky’s Bytes. It was the summer of 1978, and ABC, during its portion of the semiannual publicity tour for national visiting television critics, rolled out the star of one of its new sitcoms – not to be interviewed, but to do an impromptu comedy act, interacting with the critics in the audience and just going with the flow.

The show was Mork & Mindy, the unknown comic was Robin Williams, and he killed. When he walked on stage, only one or two critics, from the Bay Area, had any idea who he was. By the time he walked off, everybody was buzzing about him. Who was that guy?

In my July 2, 1978 dispatch for The Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel, I may have gotten the spelling of the star’s first name wrong – but I identified the hot new talent just right.

“Mork & Mindy star Robyn Williams,” I wrote, “may or may not become a giant comedy star because of this broad comedy show, but he can’t be kept away from the brass ring too much longer. The man is a dynamic comic; if only someone can figure out how to capture and package him, they’ll both be rich for life.”

* * * *

The second time I saw Robin Williams perform live was almost exactly a year later. It was press tour again, this time in the summer of 1979, and this time ABC was trying to make lightning strike twice by presenting another unknown comic, and a star of a new upcoming ABC sitcom, to do another improv stand-up act before an audience of TV critics.

That star’s name was Jimmy Brogan – and just like Robin Williams the year before, had made a guest star appearance on an episode of Happy Days, then been rewarded with a shot at his own series. In Brogan’s case, the sitcom was to be called Out of the Blue, and he played a young angel put back on Earth to earn his wings. Williams was on hand to introduce Brogan, then turn the mic over and walk offstage while Brogan did his stuff.

The problem, though, was that while Williams, the year before, was an ad-libbing, free-thinking, pinball wizard of a comedy whirlwind, Brogan was a slow-talking, slower-thinking, droll comic whose entire act was built upon asking audience members what they did for a living, and where they lived, and reacting to that.

Well, when he asked the first person what she did for a living, and she said “TV critic,” he made a decent joke and moved on. When the second person had the same answer, Brogan asked, “You’re a TV critic, too? Do you know this person?” – pointing to the first critic. When the answer was yes, he turned to a third person, got the same occupation as a response, and all the blood drained from his face. “How many people in this room are TV critics?” he asked, suddenly comprehending the makeup of the room. When a sea of hands went up, he said, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to comedy hell!”

But at that moment, out of nowhere, Robin Williams reappeared – unrequested, unexpected, but certainly welcome by all. He grabbed the mic, and the moment, and was off – with no prepared material, but not needing any. He destroyed that room, as he had a year ago. And the next time I interviewed Brogan, after his short-lived show was canceled, he told me that Williams’ merciful rush to the stage was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for him.

* * * *

The third and final time I saw Robin Williams perform live was at the Aspen Comedy Festival in 2000. I was there because I was writing a book on the Smothers Brothers (the book that eventually became Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,’ published nine years later), and Tom and Dick Smothers were being honored at that year’s festival – and because I was not only observing their tribute, but had helped write Bill Maher’s introduction to it, the festival folks gave me access, and a free ticket, to any event I wanted to attend.

Needless to say, I wanted to see Robin Williams. So, going by myself, note pad and recorder in hand, I sat on the aisle about 20 rows from the stage, and took notes as Williams burned through a hilarious series of impersonations, free-form observations, and verbal political assassinations.

And then, without warning, he jumped off the stage and began walking up the aisle. My aisle. And before I could react, he had grabbed my note pad, jumped back on stage, and started leafing through it, promising to read to the audience whatever I’d written about him.

The crowd was howling. But even though I had written nothing uncomplimentary, I was cringing.

“Only half as funny as he thinks he is,” Williams pretended to read, or something like that, as the crowd booed. Then Williams smiled and fessed up. My handwriting was so bad, so unreadable a scribble, he said, that he had no idea at all what I’d written. Couldn’t make out a damned thing. So, after jumping back down to floor level, walking back to me and handing me my notes, he wished me luck on ever figuring out a way to use them.

Thanks, Robin. Fourteen years later, I finally did.

I just wish you were here to read the results…

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...px?postId=7952
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post #96157 of 98282 Old 08-13-2014, 11:28 AM
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Big turnout for ABC’s Robin Williams special
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Aug. 13, 2013

There has been an incredible outpouring of love for late comedian Robin Williams in the days following his death, as well as a desire to remember his great performances.

Last night viewers tuned in to a special episode of ABC’s “20/20” that paid tribute to the actor, giving the network strong ratings in what’s usually a weak timeslot.

“20/20” averaged a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, finishing second in the hour to NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

“20/20” was the night’s No. 2 show on broadcast, behind only “Talent,” which averaged a 2.0 for the night.

The tribute averaged a 2.3 among adults 25-54, as well as 7.2 million total viewers, becoming the network’s highest-rated and most-watched summer show in the 10 p.m. Tuesday hour in four years.

NBC led the night among 18-49s with a 1.7 average overnight rating and a 6 share. ABC and Univision tied for second at 1.3/4, CBS was fourth at 0.9/3, Telemundo fifth at 0.7/2, Fox sixth at 0.6/2 and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

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

At 8 p.m. Univision was first with a 1.3 for “Mi Corazon es Tuyo,” followed by NBC with a 1.1 for “Food Fighters.” ABC and CBS tied for third at 1.0, ABC for “Extreme Weight Loss” and CBS for a repeat of “NCIS.” Fox was fifth with a 0.7 for repeats of “American Dad” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “Reina de Corazones” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for an “Arrow” rerun.

NBC took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 2.0 for “Talent,” while Univision placed second with a 1.5 for “Low Que La Vida Me Robo.” ABC was third with a 1.3 for more “Weight Loss,” CBS fourth with a 0.9 for a repeat of “NCIS: Los Angeles,” Telemundo fifth with a 0.6 for “En Otra Piel,” Fox sixth with a 0.5 for reruns of “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for a repeat of “Supernatural.”

At 10 p.m. NBC was first again with a 2.1 for more “Talent,” with ABC second with a 1.7 for “20/20.” Univision was third with a 1.2 for “Que Pobres Tan Ricos,” Telemundo fourth with a 1.0 for “El Señor de los Cielos” and CBS fifth with a 0.8 for a repeat of “Person of Interest.”

NBC was also first for the night among households with a 4.6 average overnight rating and an 8 share. CBS was second at 4.1/7, ABC third at 3.4/6, Univision fourth at 1.8/3, Fox fifth at 1.0/2, Telemundo sixth at 0.8/1 and CW seventh at 0.5/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/big...liams-special/

* * * *

TV/Nielsen Notes
First ‘Sharknado.’ Now ‘Zombie Sharks.’
It's Shark Week on Discovery Channel, which means weird stuff
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Aug. 13, 2013

Imagine if “The Walking Dead” and “Sharknado,” two of the most successful franchises on cable, had a baby.

It might look a little like “Zombie Sharks,” a special airing tonight at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel.

Part of the network’s annual Shark Week, “Zombie” explores an odd anomaly of the shark world, when these sea beasts enter a catatonic state called tonic immobility.

The problem with that state is it makes sharks vulnerable to attacks from creatures that otherwise might not bother them. The special explores the impact of the zombie state on sharks and the rest of the sea world.

Of course, when you read the explanation, it doesn’t sound quite as outrageous as the title implies. But in the wake of the wild popularity of “Sharknado,” Syfy’s ridiculously cheesy and highly rated original movie franchise, Discovery got creative with this year’s group of names.

“Zombie Sharks” is just one of them. Other specials this week include “Jaws Strikes Back,” “Lair of the Mega Shark” and “Air Jaws: Fin of Fury.”

The over-the-top titles appear to be working.

Shark Week bolted to its best start in its 27-year history on Sunday, averaging 3.64 million viewers on its first night, according to Nielsen.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/fir...zombie-sharks/
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post #96158 of 98282 Old 08-13-2014, 11:32 AM
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TV Notes
Chloë Sevigny and Whit Stillman on Their Amazon Pilot The Cosmopolitans
By William Van Meter, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Aug. 13, 2013

“This is the most glamorous character I’ve ever played,” says Chloë Sevigny. “Finally! After 20-something years in the business, I’m a fashion journalist!”

She and director Whit Stillman are in a West Village café talking about The Cosmopolitans, an Amazon Studios pilot debuting August 28 that might become a series. It fits right in with Stillman’s American-expat oeuvre. “It’s supposed to be open-ended so people want more episodes,” he says. “But I think it works fine—if this is the only thing we get to do, it will be nice. It’s sort of Metropolitan meets Barcelona in Paris.” He looks at Sevigny and adds, “With some Last Days of Disco thrown in.”

“Sprinkled!” says Sevigny, who starred in that 1998 Stillman film. She’s wearing an oversize hunter-green Lacoste shirt tucked into a pleated tennis skirt along with a chunky gold watch. The Cosmopolitans—with Adam Brody, Dree Hemingway, and Carrie MacLemore—is partly about Americans’ longing to infiltrate the Parisian haute bourgeoisie. “Metropolitan spoke about UHBS,” Stillman later explained, “the urban haute bourgeoisie. Paris is the world capital for this group, the expat community especially. Pack a blazer or suit.

“You can be an American or an En*glish-man or Canadian and be a Parisian,” he says, in words echoed almost verbatim by Brody’s character. “It’s a very admirable culture, and people want to identify with it. They don’t want to be an American leaving steps in the sand that will be washed away.” This expat enclave is also seeking love. “For Americans,” he went on to email, “Paris has long been the mecca (or refuge) for those either looking for romance or fleeing broken ones. When such choices don’t go well, the loneliness can be particularly severe.”

Nothing so extreme happened during nine days of filming in Paris in April. “It was very civilized,” says Sevigny. “Lunches were fantastic. The crew works fewer hours, too. They’re more excited to be at work and about the art.”

After losing his Soho loft, Stillman lived in Paris for almost a decade. “This and Metropolitan are the most based on my real life,” he says. He has a great French accent—though that took some doing: “I thought knowing Spanish would be an advantage, but they hate the Spanish accent and said, ‘You speak French like Zorro.’ ”

Sevigny first went to Paris with the earnings from her debut in Larry Clark’s Kids. “It was my first time leaving the country,” she says. She’s been four times this year. In Paris, she likes going to fancy dinners at such restaurants as Caviar Kaspia and shopping. “I love the vintage store Come On Eileen,” she says. “They have inexpensive Gaultier and Alaïa, not like Resurrection prices.” She also has a local posse. “Olivier Zahm [the Purple editor], some other friends, and filmmakers like Olivier Assayas”—with whom she worked on the film Demonlover, in which she convincingly spoke French despite not really knowing it. “I studied with a doctor in Paris,” she says. “He works with children with speech impediments and opera singers. He teaches your ear how to hear certain sounds. I would listen for hours on headphones to French children singing nursery rhymes.”

When friends of Sevigny’s visit Paris, they sometimes send her pictures of Rue de Sévigné in the Marais, where a scene from the pilot was, in fact, shot. Is she ever tempted to follow suit with a selfie taken under the street sign? “I don’t take selfies,” says Sevigny. Parisian UHBS would approve.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/08/chloe...opolitans.html
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TV Notes
HBO Renews ‘The Leftovers’ For Season 2
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Aug. 13, 2013

HBO has renewed the Damon Lindelof drama “The Leftovers” for a second season.

The series, about a world in which millions have disappeared in what may or may not have been The Rapture, was created by the “Lost” executive producer with novelist Tom Perrotta, who wrote the book of the same name on which the series is based. Lindelof serves as showrunner of the series, which is produced for HBO by White Rabbit in association with Warner Bros. Television.

“We are thrilled to bring back ‘The Leftovers’ for a second season with the exceptional talents of Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta,” said HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo. “It has been truly exciting to see the overwhelming response to their provocative and original storytelling. We look forward to continuing the journey as the show delves deeper into the lives of those who remain.”

Set in the small New York suburb of Mapleton, the series takes place three years after the day 140 million people disappeared. Grief and confusion spawn cynicism, paranoia, madness and cults.

The 10-episode first season premiered June 29, and the season finale is scheduled for Sept. 7. The show's stars include Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Carrie Coon, Emily Meade, Amanda Warren, Ann Dowd, Michael Gaston, Max and Charlie Carver, and Annie Q.

http://www.thewrap.com/hbo-renews-th...-for-season-2/
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TV Notes
WGN America Orders Appalachian Series, Fast Tracks Underground Railroad Drama From Sony TV
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Aug. 13, 2013

WGN America has greenlighted its third original scripted drama, giving a 13-episode straight-to-series order to Titans, a tale of struggle for power and control in the hills of Appalachia from playwright Peter Mattei, producers Peter Tolan and Paul Giamatti and Sony Pictures TV. Additionally, WGN is giving a blinking green light to another drama from Sony TV, Underground, executive produced by Akiva Goldsman. The project, about the fabled Underground Railroad used to smuggle slaves from the pre-Civil War South to the North, has been authorized to start pre-production and set up a writers room with an eye toward a straight-to-series order.

Both dramas eye 2015 premieres, joining WGNA’s Salem, which has been renewed for a second season, and Manhattan, which debuted recently. The network also has a Ten Commandments event series in the hopper. “These projects, each exploring a world we find to be unique and fascinating, continue our aggressive expansion into original scripted programming,” said Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios.

Titans tells the story of the Farrell clan, a family of outsiders who’ve been in these parts since before anyone can remember. Living off the grid and above the law on their mountaintop homestead, they’ll protect their world and defend their way of life using any means necessary. The series is created and written by Mattei, who serves as executive producer with Tolan from Fedora Entertainment, actor Giamatti and Dan Carey from Touchy Feely Films and Fedora Entertainment’s Michael Wimer.

Underground follows the slaves who set foot on the Underground Railroad, the secret network of men and women who risked their lives aiding them, and the mercenaries tasked with hunting them down at any cost. The project is created and written by Misha Green (Sons Of Anarchy) and Joe Pokaski (Heroes) who serve as executive producers with Oscar winner Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) from Weed Road Pictures, along with Tory Tunnell (King Arthur) and Joby Harold (King Arthur) from Safehouse Pictures.

http://deadline.com/2014/08/wgn-orde...ony-tv-818590/
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TV Review
Sean Bean is believable in 'Legends'
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's 'Tuned In' Blog - Aug. 12, 2014

There’s a Kiefer Sutherland-like quality to British actor Sean Bean – he’s a rough-and-tumble, gruff-voiced performer and at times in the pilot for TNT’s “Legends” (9 p.m. Wednesday), you can almost smell a mix of cigarettes and alcohol wafting through the TV screen, lack of smell-o-vision be damned.

He’s absolutely believable as deep-cover FBI agent Martin Odum, who takes on a new character – or “legend” – for each assignment.

The show itself is action-packed but less legendary, feeling more like a series audiences have seen plenty of times before.

Mr. Bean’s Odum has a lived-in quality but those around him – nagging colleague Crystal (Ali Larter, “Heroes”), punky computer genius Maggie (Tina Majorino, “Big Love”) and boss man Nelson (Steve Harris, “The Practice”) – play more to TV types.

“Legends” does offer some unexpected plot twists, killing off characters who seem like series regulars in early episodes, and a serialized story thread about whether Odum has a true personality of his own or if “Martin Odum” is himself a legend.

In the series premiere, Odum goes undercover with a homegrown terrorist group for six months to try to prevent a new terrorist attack. In episode two, he’s up against Russian baddies and the episode ends with the promise of Odum resurrecting an old legend from his past.

Darker and less escapist than TNT’s other new summer entry, “The Last Ship,” “Legends” offers a down-and-dirty hero with rough edges but surrounds him with a cadre of cleaner, less sullied colleagues, making for somewhat of a tonal mish-mash.

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-ra...s/201408120014
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TV Notes/Q&A
How Chris Pratt's TV bosses knew he'd be a star long before 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
By Alan Sepinwall, HitFix.com - Aug. 11, 2014

That Chris Pratt is the star of one of the biggest movies of the year (two, really, even if people didn't specifically see "The Lego Movie" for him) is perhaps surprising to filmgoers who didn't know him at all (or only knew him from supporting roles in films like "Moneyball" or "Zero Dark Thirty"). But it's almost certainly not surprising to TV fans who watched him grow up from the unexpected heart of "Everwood" as sensitive jock Bright Abbott, to a scene stealer on "The O.C." as rich kid revolutionary Che, through his current role as man-child musician Andy Dwyer on "Parks and Recreation" — three roles that, together, showed off the range, charisma and impeccable comic timing that he brought to the role of Star-Lord.

And it is absolutely not a shock to the people he worked for on those shows. As "Guardians of the Galaxy" prepared for its second weekend at the box office late last week, I reached out to several of the producers who hired and wrote for Pratt to get a sense of exactly when they realized he was one day destined to save the galaxy with the help of a walking tree and a talking raccoon.

Greg Berlanti, "Everwood" creator

Why did you hire Pratt in the first place, and what were your expectations for him?


We were looking for Bright Abbott for a while, it was the last series regular we cast. Chris walked in and had the part from the start. He just landed from the airport and didn't have the lines memorized — in fact he'd just looked at them minutes before if I remember correctly. He tossed the pages in the air and started riffing on the scene and had us all in hysterics. I thought… right now it's just a few lines, but he was the kind of actor you could have built a whole show around.

What was the moment — whether something he did in performance or something he did just hanging around the set — when you realized what kind of talent you had in him?

After a few episodes I realized he was even more special than we thought -- we never knew what kind of dailies we were gonna get back and it became so exciting cause we would send dramatic scenes and he'd find comedy -- and in the comedic ones he would find moments of drama. I thought he was kind of like an acting Buddha -- always in the present moment and always reacting so honestly and truthfully.

If someone had tapped you on the shoulder midway through season 1 or 2 and said "In a few years, Pratt is going to be the beloved star of a mega-hit summer action movie," how would you have reacted?

I would not have been surprised. Honestly all the success each of the cast has had beyond the show never surprises me. They were -- and Chris is the perfect example of it -- the kind of actors that made every line better.

I am particularly happy that all of this success has happened to such a nice person. Chris was the same person who walked into audition for us when he left the show -- kind, warm, funny and incredibly talented and beloved. The movie has captured all of those traits.

Josh Schwartz, "The O.C." creator

Why did you hire Pratt in the first place, and what were your expectations for him?


Our casting director, Patrick Rush, had also cast "Everwood" and he first made me aware of Chris. When he became available, we created the role of Che with him in mind. We were looking to inject some real humor back into the show, and Chris was just one of the funniest guys around. He was also super charming and so fun to watch -- we kept coming up with reasons to keep him on the show because he was so good. And all the other actors really loved him too.

What was the moment — whether something he did in performance or something he did just hanging around the set — when you realized what kind of talent you had in him?

Rachel Bilson always talked about her favorite Chris joke where he would gather people on set and say "Okay, guys. Guess what movie is this from?" Beat. "Welcome to Jurassic Park..." It killed every time. On screen, the moment he played the didgeridoo, we knew he was gold. Thanks to Che, Summer became an environmental activist, and was recruited (on screen) to save the planet by none other than Mike Schur!

If someone had tapped you on the shoulder midway through season 4 and said "In a few years, Pratt is going to be the beloved star of a mega-hit summer action movie," how would you have reacted?

100%. He was the first guy I wanted to play "Chuck". But as fate would have it, he was destined to guard the galaxy, not the Buy More. And might I add, couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

J.J. Philbin, "The O.C." writer/producer

What were your expectations for Pratt when he came onto the show?


We'd written this goofy character -- he was supposed to be Summer's new boyfriend at college. "Che" was an environmental activist who took himself really seriously and basically brainwashed Summer. When Pratt was brought into audition, all I knew about him was that he'd been on Everwood, so I was expecting a dramatic actor. But as Che, Chris was just hilarious. We just kept on writing for him, and we kept pushing it, putting him in weirder and weirder scenes, because we knew he could make anything work. All these years later, I still remember specific scenes he was in -- particularly one where he broke into the science lab at Brown, and freed all the caged rabbits, leading them out of the classroom pied-piper style while he played the didgeridoo. It was a truly ridiculous scene. Pratt not only made it ten times funnier than it was on the page, he somehow brought a reality to it -- which wasn't easy considering what he was doing.

What was the moment — whether something he did in performance or something he did just hanging around the set — when you realized what kind of talent you had in him?

I'm not sure I can boil it down to one specific moment... and I might be getting some of the details of this wrong... but I remember watching an episode of "The O.C." at home with my husband ("Parks and Recreation" co-creator Mike Schur), and in my memory Chris was sitting cross-legged in a teepee, and I think he was interrupted by Summer, who told him she had just gotten engaged, and he said "That's amazing! I'll weave you something ASAP!" And Mike and I just giggled and giggled, and rewound it a hundred times. Not because of the joke, but something about the way Chris delivered it. He was just fun to watch.

Mike has said that you were very influential in him hiring Chris to be on "Parks and Rec." What did you tell him?

All through season 4, I went on and on about Pratt to Mike, who agreed when he watched the episodes that Pratt was effortlessly funny. As Parks was coming together, we talked about finding a way to use him, although I was sure it wouldn't work out for one reason or another. I remember the day Mike came home after the audition, and said Pratt was amazing and that they were absolutely going to hire him. As far as I knew it was a short term thing and that he'd be gone after a few episodes. Obviously that didn't happen. But at the time I was just glad I got to watch him be funny again.

If someone had tapped you on the shoulder midway through season 4 and said "In a few years, Pratt is going to be the beloved star of a mega-hit summer action movie," how would you have reacted?

I would've said, yep, that makes sense.

Mike Schur, "Parks and Recreation" co-creator

Why did you hire Pratt in the first place, and what were your expectations for him?


My wife had worked with him on "The O.C.," and when we were casting she reminded me of how great he'd been in that show. We saw a lot of really funny people for the role of Andy, but Pratt just flat won the part. He did improvisations in the audition, with Rashida, that could've just gone into an episode of the show verbatim. He was technically a Guest Star in our first six episodes, but that was a contractual formality -- we had begun to recalculate the character and his role in the show before we even shot the pilot, because we knew we couldn't let him go.

What was the moment — whether something he did in performance or something he did just hanging around the set — when you realized what kind of talent you had in him?

It was honestly the audition. If you mean, "within the show," I remember looking at his talking heads in the second episode we shot, "Canvassing," where he was talking about his next-door neighbor Lawrence, and he had done something different and funny every single time. The real explosive break-through, for me, was in "Rock Show" when he did his talking head about all of the former names of his band. He improvised about 30 more than we'd written and they were all great. He also wrote the "Ann" song he sings in that episode, just because he wanted to try to write a song. He's talented, is what I'm saying.

If someone had tapped you on the shoulder midway through season 2 and said "In a few years, Pratt is going to be the beloved star of a mega-hit summer action movie," how would you have reacted?

I would've kept looking at that person, expectantly, waiting for him or her to tell me something surprising.

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-wat...-of-the-galaxy
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TV/Nielsen Notes
‘Today’ vs. ‘Good Morning America'
Morning News Race Heats Up TV’s Fiercest Duel
By Brian Steinberg, Variety.com - Aug. 12, 2013

Like most duels, this one starts at dawn.

About 5,000 people, some of them dressed in purple wigs or stars-and-stripes hats, have lined up outside Rumsey Playfield in New York’s Central Park in the wee hours of what will turn out to be a beautiful June morning. The attraction? A chance to watch Jennifer Lopez debut songs from her latest album on the nation’s most-watched morning show, ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Tom Cibrowski, the show’s senior executive producer, shows me a helicopter flying high above. The whirlybird is taking shots of this spectacle, which has a difficulty factor, logistically speaking, of 11. George Stephanopoulos, Amy Robach and other members of the “GMA” on-air team have had to tape segments during ad breaks to gain time to be ferried up to the concert site while the show is being broadcast. No matter. Securing J. Lo, says Cibrowski, represents “one of the greatest musical gets of the summer.” The show made sure viewers knew that, too, with multiple promos featuring Lopez saying: “I’m live here this morning — only on ‘Good Morning America.’ ” And it isn’t even 9 a.m.

The scene is very similar a few weeks later, when I visit “GMA’s” arch-rival, NBC’s “Today,” which is hosting crooner Jason Mraz in the plaza outside its studios at New York’s Rockefeller Center. By 6:30 a.m. on a humid July morning, a line of people hoping to gain access to the show snakes around 48th Street and well up New York’s famous Fifth Avenue. Alex Ficquette, an associate producer who joined “Today” in February, will seek people in the crowd who might have an interesting story to tell or have a fervent desire to talk to, say, news anchor Natalie Morales, spotted next to co-host Savannah Guthrie, swaying to Mraz’s lilting tunes.

These glitzy scenes are part of the fiercest competition in television these days, the battle for ayem supremacy between ABC and NBC. Two of TV’s most durable programs slug it out daily over a razor-thin margin of victory as they try anything and everything to woo viewers in the lucrative morning news race, where keeping the top spot seems less guaranteed than in years past. There are booking wars, digital innovations and, of late, a flurry of anchor shuffles. With the pace of change on both programs accelerating, the result is a Coke vs. Pepsi-like battle for hearts and minds that won’t reach the last drop any time soon.

“Never take for granted being No. 1,” says “GMA” co-anchor Robin Roberts. “The sports person in me says that once you do that, you get yourself in trouble. … My mother always said, ‘When you strut, you stumble.’ ”

“Today” led viewership among the coffee-and-cereal crowd for 16 years, but amid the on-air drama of Ann Curry’s short tenure as co-anchor opposite Matt Lauer, NBC’s cash cow was outmuscled in 2012 by a revived “GMA.” The ABC show has maintained that edge, despite the loss of two on-air personalities who helped take it to the top, Sam Champion and Josh Elliott.

Now, reclaiming the morning television crown is nothing short of a mania inside NBCUniversal. CEO Steve Burke made a point of touting “Today’s” improved numbers as well as its 18-to-49 rankings during a sit-down session with reporters in March, and the ABC team is just as determined to retain its preeminence.

The competitive fervor between the two shows is heightened by the fact that the difference between No. 1 and No. 2 in the target adults 25-54 demographic is only about 124,000 — less than two football stadiums’ worth of people. Season to date as of July 20, “GMA” has continued to lead “Today” by a handy average of 653,000 viewers overall, according to Nielsen. “GMA” increased its lead in total viewers since September 2013 by 329,000, no small feat when TV viewers are dispersing to all kinds of new video opportunities. “Today” boosted its total audience by 334,000. CBS also has grown total viewership during the past two years, by more than 500,000 for “CBS This Morning” with its newsier makeover featuring anchors Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell.

“The viewers aren’t just going to come overnight. It’s going to take them a while to recognize that it’s time to come back,” says Don Nash, “Today” executive producer. “We have built it, and now we just need the viewers to come. And they will.”

Not, in ABC’s view, from those watching “GMA.” “We are not going to stop innovating. We are not going to stop trying. We are not going to rest on our laurels,” says Cibrowski, describing a mindset more akin to that of a scrappy entrepreneur than an entrenched champion.

On set, the two shows could not be more different. About a dozen crew members work in near silence on “Today,” befitting, perhaps, its recent decision to emphasize news coverage after dabbling to ill effect on lurid crime headlines and more frivolous fare. At “GMA,” twice as many people — stylists, carpenters and others — roam the room, and feel free to speak even while the broadcast is live. Robach, who once anchored the weekend edition of “Today,” says she experienced “culture shock” when she arrived at “GMA,” where the anchors may laugh at something said off camera or during a commercial break, then talk about it with the audience. “What you see is what you get,” Roberts says. “It’s not like the camera comes on and we are one way, and then it goes away and we are another way.”

* * * *

The work is grueling. As I discover over four visits to the shows, the human brain does not naturally flicker to life at 4 a.m., which is when the workday starts for most morning-TV folks. Some of the anchors are up even earlier: Stephanopoulos says he rises at 2:30 a.m. each day so he can meditate and take in breaking headlines before he goes on air. When the shows are over, the anchors’ day just starts. There are interviews to book, meetings to attend. Before they go to sleep, many of the staffers prep for the next day by reading the latest on breaking stories. Roberts is surprised by people who think her workday ends when “GMA” signs off at 9. Guthrie’s advice: Don’t slow down. Once you take a break, she tells me, your body wants more rest.

The burden isn’t going to get any lighter. “Today” must overcome what NBC News president Deborah Turness calls “a long, slow decline” that actually began in 2000. The show’s numbers were so great for so long that producers stopped looking at who might be creeping up on them. By the time “GMA” broke through, the ouster of Curry in 2011 by those in charge of “Today” had an unintended effect. “The action that they took ended up being the very catalyst that propelled (the show) to the No. 2 position almost overnight,” she said.

“GMA” seized the reins in the early-bird hours after Ben Sherwood, then the new ABC News president, and others decided the format had become outdated. “It was due a reinvention,” explains James Goldston, who succeeded Sherwood as the news unit’s chief. The show’s second hour was reconfigured, and “GMA” soon had a faster pace and more stories.

“I had come aboard as a general assignment correspondent in the late ’90s, and became a full-time member of the family in 2002, so you take 10, 12 years to be No. 1? It was, ‘Wow,’ ” Roberts recalls. “It was an event.”

NBC is banking on the combination of a re-signed Lauer and his chemistry with Guthrie — and their skill in interviewing everyone from Pippa Middleton to John Kerry to Mick Jagger — to get the show back to top-dog status. ABC, meanwhile, has added to “GMA’s” ranks genial former NFL star Michael Strahan, who co-anchors the syndicated “Live With Kelly and Michael.”

The network is also countering the perception that “GMA” leans toward the silly and the salacious, naming one of its standard-bearers, Stephanopoulos, chief anchor of ABC News, rather than David Muir, who is inheriting the network’s evening newscast from Diane Sawyer. That means the one-time White House adviser is the face ABC viewers see nearly every time a crisis breaks out around the world, even as he rises early every day for “GMA.”

Lauer and Guthrie may stand at “Today’s” center, but the spotlight these days is on the broader crew. Morales and meteorologist Al Roker sit alongside the two co-hosts; Carson Daly, the ubiquitous personality brought onboard to weave social-media elements into the program, fills in just as much as anyone else; and Willie Geist and Tamron Hall, featured in the show’s 9 a.m. hour, appear regularly during its start.

The widened focus comes as the result of an in-process overhaul that sounds like something Procter & Gamble might do when sales decline for a detergent or toothpaste. NBC determined “Today” lost just 10% of its viewers to “GMA,” with the rest scattering across TV, Turness recounts. To get them back, the network interviewed hundreds of viewers, loyal and lapsed, and asked what it was that they wanted in the morning. The answer was, first and foremost, “substance.” Injecting more of that — and giving viewers a broader team to maintain their interest — Turness determined, “would place us back in the heartland of morning TV.”

Lauer decided to sign up for another term — he declined to comment on whether it would last two years or more — because of the show’s reboot. Keeping the veteran presence onboard the show was imperative, Turness says. “If he left, we would be in a very different place” she adds. “He is key to the future.”

On a sign hanging next to Nash’s office on the third floor of NBC’s headquarters reads a new “Today” mission statement that starts, “We are a news show.” That sentiment, says Lauer, helps keep “Today” from drifting away from viewer expectations.

* * * *

“I’ll be blunt. I think we lost our way a little bit a while ago,” Lauer says during an interview alongside Guthrie in his dressing room. He talks of picking up his kids from school on Friday afternoons, only to hear from parents who would tell him they had to turn off the TV because of the lurid bent of certain stories, especially in the show’s second half hour. Now, he says, “one of the things we have been really good about doing over the past year or year and a half is paying less attention to what (other networks) do, and more attention to what we want to be doing, what we want to be known for.”

For Guthrie, too, “Today” must offer more than eye-grabbing headlines. “You can choose to do something that’s dark and tabloidy, or you can choose something enterprising, interesting, fascinating, educational,” she says. “And we have made that shift.”

“Today” still has its share of outdoor concerts and lighthearted moments. How could it not? It’s a morning show, not “60 Minutes.” That dichotomy creates an entity that is more difficult to manage than “GMA,” which is more homogeneous in its approach, says Allen Adamson, chairman of North America operations of branding consultant Landor Associates: “It’s easier to manage a single-minded brand than it is to manage a brand with two personalities,” he maintains. Besides, there are many other rivals, each with its own distinct focus, ranging from “CBS This Morning” to MSNBC political gabfest “Morning Joe.”

“Today’s” efforts come as “GMA” has made strides with a team that tends to get more personal on camera. As part of its coverage of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, for instance, “GMA” featured a segment about how to talk to children about the event, which prompted the hosts to speak of their own families. When meteorologist Ginger Zee returned from her honeymoon in June, “GMA” shot her getting out of a convertible outside the show’s Times Square studio, kissing her new husband and walking in to work. Says Nash, “We probably wouldn’t do that, but if that’s the decision they make, more power to them.”

It’s just this sort of thing that has given “GMA” exactly that: more power. Viewers have watched as Roberts revealed her diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood marrow disease; and as Robach learned she had breast cancer after doing a segment about mammograms on the show. “It’s every person’s decision about what to share, but I don’t think we had another choice on some of these,” Cibrowski says. After all, the anchors would have to leave the program for medical treatment.

Robach is comfortable sharing such intimate information with viewers, so long as it delivers a greater message about important topics. Adds Roberts: “There’s been no master plan. Whatever was going on in my personal life — the death of my parents, (news about) my hometown, my health, my girlfriend, all that — I’ve decided to share just what I feel is right. And I think that is why, knock on wood, for the most part, it’s been so well-received.”

Lauer and Guthrie are more ambivalent about moving in that direction — though recently “Today” ran a seven-minute segment depicting Guthrie’s husband learning how to swaddle and change a newborn baby. While both anchors at the NBC show express support for their rivals (the teams on both broadcasts are friendlier than one might suspect), they also want to keep focus on the news, not themselves. “The viewers become very interested in (personal) stories because there’s something special about morning television, and people feel connected to you,” Guthrie says. “I don’t think we are looking in any way to try to match that.”

Ratings aren’t the only thing at stake. For Disney and Comcast, the respective owners of ABC and NBC, “Good Morning America” and “Today” are essential to the profitability of each network division, says media analyst Michael Nathanson. Consider this: the weekday and weekend versions of “Today” snared more than $630 million in ad revenue last year, according to data from tracking firm Kantar, while “GMA,” which airs fewer hours, notched around $332 million.

The shows represent a massive block of live content — with four hours of programming Monday through Friday. “Today” serves up more hours each week than there are in Fox’s entire primetime schedule. Perhaps most important, the live format and the sense of routine that morning TV engenders is in sharp contrast to the growth of on-demand viewing in other dayparts.

The fall from No. 1 appears to have crimped “Today’s” advertising base. While the show’s overall revenue increased in 2012, ad revs for the first two hours of “Today,” where the bulk of its sponsor spending lies, declined in 2013 — the first dip since 2009, according to Kantar. Ad revenue for those two hours grew just 2.6% in 2012, and slipped 0.3% in 2013. Meanwhile, “GMA’s” sponsored coin improved nearly 7% in 2012, and almost 10% in 2013. NBC News says ad revenue for the first two hours of “Today” rose in 2013, and it expects record ad sales for the entire franchise in 2014.

Both programs give Comcast and Disney a stake in the ground in their efforts to capture a new generation of video-consuming millennials: Fans will follow Roberts or Lauer almost anywhere, whether it’s to Greenland or to the smartphone. The shows need to focus increasingly on content designed and edited for mobile consumption — clips that can easily be shared by users on those devices, says Christopher Vollmer, who leads the media and entertainment practice at Strategy&, a business consultant. That means employing anchors who are even more deeply connected with viewers than, say, evening-news regulars like NBC’s Brian Williams or CBS’ Scott Pelley.

Just as Coke and Pepsi sell a similar fizzy brown liquid, so too are “GMA” and “Today” pouring from the same pot of coffee into different mugs. “GMA” can be equally as serious as “Today” in its first hour when news warrants. For every trip that “Today’s” Guthrie makes to interview Secretary of State Kerry, there is a sojourn by “GMA’s” Robach to Nigeria to explore the plight of captive schoolgirls. For every “GMA” report on two sisters who survive being knocked off their paddleboards and drifting out to sea, there is a “Today” interview with a young man who shed 550 pounds. “GMA” recently featured a contest among local firefighting squads; after Lauer was doused in ice water on a charity dare from golfer Greg Norman, “Today” dispatched Guthrie and Lauer to Howard Stern’s XM Satellite Radio show to get the shock jock to take Lauer’s challenge.

“I know we’re doing something right,” says “Today’s” Roker, “because two or three months later, we’ll see it on ‘GMA.’ We have our ‘Orange Room,’ and oh my gosh, look at that, they’ve got a ‘Social Square’! ” One could argue that “GMA” began showing the entire on-air team on camera well before “Today” took a similar approach.

In the studios of both shows, producers frantically try to lay tracks for the massive trains already in motion. “Gotta go!” one producer yells to Roberts as she spends more time than the control room would like interviewing Jason Segel one morning. “Savannah to Andrea!” barks a director at “Today” when the show must rework its opening lineup to accommodate a reporter on scene at the site of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, resulting in Guthrie handling an interview with veteran NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell. The main difference behind the scenes? Cibrowski tends to sit during the broadcast; Nash often stands.

The distinctions are to be found in the packaging, not the preparation. “I do think we are a little more substantive,” Nash says. “If you asked most people, they would say we are a little more focused on the news than is ‘Good Morning America.’ ”

Roberts scoffs at that notion. “You pick up a newspaper or pick up a magazine — there are fun articles and there are heavy sections, and we are no different. I think you get out of us what it is you need.”

When you wake up tomorrow morning and switch on your favorite program, the battle will be raging, though you won’t hear swords being drawn or pistols being loaded. “Some days are closer than others,” Robach says. “I think we all bring our A-game, and that’s probably how it will continue.”

http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/toda...el-1201280481/
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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
‘Outlander:’ Big on TV, bigger online
Starz' much-hyped new series bows to 720,000 on cable
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Aug. 13, 2013

A lot of people watched the series premiere of “Outlander” Saturday night on Starz.

But more watched the show the web and on video on demand.

The program premiered to 720,000 viewers in its regular 9 p.m. timeslot Saturday, according to Nielsen, making it the most-watched show on Starz last week by 31 percent.

On new media outlets, though, it did even better.

The premiere drew 1.4 million viewers online and on demand, as Starz made the first episode available for free across a number of online platforms.

That means people who don’t subscribe to Starz could watch that first show, and the result was a boost that helped “Outlander” set a new record for the network.

Combined with the 1.58 million who watched “Outlander” on television after its premiere, during various repeats Starz showed throughout the weekend on its flagship and other channels, the romantic drama drew a total of 3.7 million.

That’s 200,000 more than the network’s previous multi-platform record-holder, “Black Sails.”

It’s yet another reminder that these days hits come in different formats, and live viewing tells only part of the story.

Just 19 percent of “Outlander’s” viewership came in its regular timeslot.

The rest came from re-airings, on demand and online, and those are valuable outlets for a network like Starz, which needs to convince people to sign up for its premium service based on big-buzz series and movies.

Starz has had one signature drama, “Spartacus,” since it began producing originals in 2008.

If “Outlander” can keep up the momentum, it will give the network a powerful argument to convince people to subscribe, much like “The Sopranos” or “Homeland” have done for HBO and Showtime, respectively, in the past.

* * * *

In cable ratings for the week ended Aug. 10:

Top five networks in primetime (18-49s):
Discovery Channel, TBS, USA, Adult Swim, TNT.

Top five networks in primetime (total viewers): USA, TNT, Disney Channel, Fox News Channel, History.

Top five cable news networks in primetime (25-54): Fox News Channel, CNN, HLN, MSNBC, CNBC, FBN, Al Jazeera America.

Top five cable news programs (total viewers): 1. Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” (Monday, 8 p.m.); 2. Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” (Tuesday, 8 p.m.); 3. Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” (Wednesday, 8 p.m.); 4. Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” (Thursday, 8 p.m.); 5. Fox News Channel’s “Special Report: President Obama-Iraq” (Thursday, 9:30 p.m.).

Top movie (total viewers): Disney Channel’s “Toy Story 3″ (Monday, 10:30 a.m.) 2.74 million.

Top sporting event (total viewers): ESPN’s “NASCAR Sprint Cup” (Sunday, 1 p.m.) 4.94 million.

Shows making the top 10 among 18-34s, 18-49s and 25-54s: Discovery Channel’s “Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine” (Sunday, 9 p.m.).

Show on the rise: ESPN’s “NASCAR Sprint Cup,” Sunday, 1 p.m. The stock car race averaged 1.45 million viewers 18-49, up 18 percent from 1.23 million for the previous week’s race.

Show on the decline: FX’s “The Strain,” Sunday, 10 p.m. The new drama took a step back, slipping 14 percent week-to-week among 18-49s, from 1.50 million to 1.29 million.


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/out...bigger-online/
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TV Sports
NCAA Game Change: How Two Big Decisions Could Impact Agents, TV Deals
By Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter - Aug. 13, 2013

The collegiate sports business has opened Pandora's box, and the ramifications of two back-to-back decisions could lead to an overhaul of the industry.

In a landmark antitrust class action suit led by ex-UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon, U.S. district judge Claudia Wilken ruled Aug. 8 that student-athletes can't be prevented from getting paid for the use of their names, images and likenesses. The day before, college athletics' top governing body granted its five most powerful conferences autonomy to change their rules through a legislative process separate from the rest of Division I.

The two moves mean more power for student-athletes, but it's not yet open season for agents looking to sign them. Players still are barred from individual endorsement deals, and Wilken's injunction allows the NCAA to cap each student-athlete's annual licensing revenue at $5,000, to be held in a trust available only after he or she leaves school.

Still, Scott Rosner, associate director of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Sports Business Initiative, says that the power conferences may now opt to lift certain NCAA recruiting restrictions, which eventually could allow agents to get involved with players earlier without jeopardizing their college eligibility.

As for television deals, the most lucrative football rights are held by the power conferences, and all but the Big Ten are currently in the middle of long-term contracts. But as elite programs in minor conferences now have added incentive to try joining the Power 5, any significant conference realignment could reopen those media deals.

The NCAA holds rights to the Division I men's basketball tournament, currently under a $10.8 billion, 14-year contract signed with CBS and Turner in 2010. Some observers had speculated that the power conferences would threaten to secede if NCAA president Mark Emmert hadn't granted them more autonomy, which surely would have hurt March Madness' worth. On the other hand, Rosner notes that the governing change, which still must be approved by the wider NCAA, would further widen the gap between the haves and have-nots of college programs. That could lead to less compelling tournaments: "The NCAA just unwittingly allowed for the weakening of its most valuable asset," he says.

The NCAA will appeal the O'Bannon ruling, but regardless of the outcome, the case is hugely significant, says 21 Marketing co-CEO Rob Prazmark. He likens it to baseball star Curt Flood's 1972 Supreme Court case, which ushered in the era of free agency. And another antitrust lawsuit brought by sports labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler seeks to lift all compensation restrictions on college athletes, essentially turning amateur sports into an open market. A victory there would mean, Rosner says, "the professionalization of the intercollegiate model."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...how-two-725025
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Technology Notes
PlayStation 4 sales top 10 million
By Brett Molina, USA Today - Aug. 12, 2013

Scratch off another sales milestone for Sony's PlayStation 4 video game console.

During a press event at the Gamescom video game conference in Germany, the company announced global sales of PS4 topped 10 million.

The PS4, which launched last November, has been a huge hit for Sony. Sales of the company's video game and network division nearly doubled during the second quarter off the rise of PS4.

"It's a remarkable milestone that reinforces PS4's record-breaking pace and the movement it has created among players globally in defining next generation gaming," said Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, in a statement.

PS4, along with rival device Xbox One, have helped fuel a surge in video game hardware sales in the U.S., according to data from NPD Group. In June, hardware sales more than doubled.

But it's PS4 that has burst out the gate fastest. It has been the top-selling video game console in the U.S. for six straight months.

This fall, Sony will launch a significant software update for PS4, which will include YouTube upload supports and Share Play, allowing players to invite friends to join in on a game, even if they don't own a copy.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/g...lion/13953513/
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TV Notes
Comedy Central renews '@midnight' for second season
By Yvonne Villareal, Los Angeles Times' 'Show Tracker' Blog - Aug. 12, 2013

It looks like "@midnight," the late-night Internet-themed quiz show, has scored major points with Comedy Central, getting renewed for a second season that will air in 2015.

The announcement, appropriately enough, came just after midnight (on the East Coast), with host Chris Hardwick revealing the news during his Monday appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."

"@midnight" (or "At Midnight," as the cable guide might label it) has proven to be a hit new entrant to Comedy Central's established late-night roster (it follows "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report") — particularly, and unsurprisingly, among the young demographic (#duh).

"People always ask me when ‘@midnight’ airs," quipped Kent Alterman, president of content development and original programming for the network, said in the network's official announcement.

After a successful four-week trial run last October, in which it averaged more than 450,000 viewers (outpacing competition from fellow cable talkers), the series scored a 40-week, first-season pickup on the Viacom-owned network. It currently averages 769,000 total viewers.

The interactive half-hour series, which airs Monday through Thursday, brings social media and improv comedy together with its comedic panelists and offbeat crowdsourcing campaigns.

And it has kept Hardwick, former host of MTV's '90s dating-game show "Singled Out," busy on the hosting front. He also fronts "Walking Dead" post-show gabfest "Talking Dead," in addition to his popular Nerdist podcasts.

“’@midnight’ has been an absolute dream come true for me — a game show of Internet jokes with my comedian friends,” Hardwick said in a statement . "I cannot thank Comedy Central enough for letting us continue. If they hadn’t, you can damn well bet that I would have forced people to come over to my house to play it anyway, for no audience, so everyone is thankful we dodged that bullet.”

"@midnight's" second season will also consist of a 40-week run.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...812-story.html
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TV Sports
Commissioner Vote Could Be Anybody’s Ballgame
Tom Werner Is Trying to Block Rob Manfred’s Bid to Replace Bud Selig
By Richard Sandomir and Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times - Aug. 13, 2013

Some commissioner elections are landslides, with one favorite candidate and no opposition. Others are like old-style political conventions, filled with intrigue, rivalries and multiple ballots.

There is no certainty what will happen Thursday when Major League Baseball’s team owners convene in Baltimore to vote on a commissioner to replace Bud Selig, who will retire in January after more than 22 years in the position.

But with two candidates — Rob Manfred, baseball’s chief operating officer, and Tom Werner, an owner of the Boston Red Sox — linked to different factions, neither man might receive the 23 of 30 votes required for election. That could lead owners to turn to a third candidate, Tim Brosnan, baseball’s executive vice president for business, whose work has produced increasingly lucrative television and sponsorship deals. They could also reconsider the owners Mark Attanasio of the Milwaukee Brewers or Stuart Sternberg of the Tampa Bay Rays, both of whom met with the search committee that nominated Manfred, Werner and Brosnan.

f the owners unite around Manfred, baseball’s No. 2 executive and the perceived favorite to succeed Selig, they will be emulating the smooth transition that occurred earlier this year in the N.B.A. when, after a long and highly public apprenticeship, Adam Silver took over for David Stern after his 30-year run as commissioner. Silver had been the heir apparent for so long that no visible competition arose.

Manfred has handled labor relations and baseball’s drug-testing program for Selig, two areas of critical importance to the sport.

But an easy victory lap for Manfred seems unlikely because of opposition from Werner, a television producer whose time as a Red Sox owner has included three World Series championships, and Brosnan.

Werner has the support of Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago White Sox, and Arte Moreno, the Los Angeles Angels’ owner, who believe that Manfred has given too many concessions to the players union and want the next commissioner to be more confrontational. John Henry, the principal owner of the Red Sox, feels that Werner’s background in entertainment qualifies him more than Manfred to broaden baseball’s fan base, according to owners and senior baseball officials.

Like Selig, Werner would be an owner-turned-commissioner. Selig and his partners owned the Brewers, which gave him a power base that he used to help oust Fay Vincent as commissioner in 1992. Selig replaced Vincent but was not formally elected commissioner until 1998, when he put his ownership of the team into a trust.

If Werner can get eight votes, he can block Manfred and make the process chaotic. Brosnan would have to rely on bringing more revenue to baseball — like the $12.4 billion television rights deals with ESPN, Fox and Turner Sports — to make his case that the sport needs a commissioner with his particular business background. He is also known for innovations in marketing, like the MLB Fan Cave.

The history of several other commissioner elections shows that a deadlock among the known candidates can produce the unexpected — and can damage the chances of favorites.

In late 1968, there was no clear consensus among owners to replace William D. Eckert as baseball commissioner. At first, it was a battle along once-rigid hierarchical league lines between Michael Burke, the president of the Yankees, and Charles Feeney, a vice president of the San Francisco Giants. Burke could not drum up National League support; Feeney got some American League backing but not enough to win. Other names were proposed, including those of Lee MacPhail, the Yankees’ general manager, and John McHale, the president of the Montreal Expos, who had not yet played their first game.

After 19 ballots taken over 13 hours at a Chicago airport hotel, the owners took a breather until early February. Eckert, whom the owners had dismissed, stayed on.

The owners reconvened in Bal Harbour, Fla., but knew that neither Burke nor Feeney could get the 75 percent of the votes needed in each league to win. They needed someone new — and an insider with a distinctive name, Bowie Kuhn, was suggested. Kuhn was then a lawyer for the National League. The 24 owners elected him unanimously, initially for a one-year term. He would serve a tumultuous 15-year tenure that was characterized by his resistance to free agency, his battles with the union chief Marvin Miller and his suspension of the Yankees’ owner, George Steinbrenner, for illegal campaign contributions.

The last three N.F.L. commissioners were not elected quickly.

In 1960, owners could not name a commissioner after more than 20 ballots. Marshall Leahy, a San Francisco lawyer; Austin Gunsel, a former F.B.I agent who became the acting commissioner after the death of Bert Bell; and Don Kellett, the general manager of the Baltimore Colts, could not get enough votes. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner, Art Rooney, suggested seven other candidates, including Happy Chandler, the former baseball commissioner, and Don Miller, one of Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen. But nowhere on Rooney’s list was the man finally elected: Pete Rozelle, the general manager of the Los Angeles Rams.

In 1989, Jim Finks, the president of the New Orleans Saints, was the only person recommended by a search committee to replace Rozelle. But opposition by some of the newer and younger owners led to a further search that brought in Paul Tagliabue, a longtime lawyer for the league who was elected on the 12th ballot.

Seventeen years later, Roger Goodell needed five ballots to be elected, despite being closely allied with Tagliabue.

During his time as baseball commissioner, Selig has often worked tirelessly to produce consensus on major decisions and mask internal divisions. But the absence of unanimity around a single candidate could turn Thursday’s commissioner vote into a donnybrook like the N.F.L.’s.

Owners, Selig and the candidates are scheduled to arrive in Baltimore on Tuesday; the candidates will make oral presentations to the owners Wednesday. The executive council will meet that day to determine the details of the voting, a process that the owners must approve.

On Thursday, if chaos does not intrude, the identity of Selig’s successor should be known.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/13/sp...bud-selig.html
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TV Notes
ABC Family’s ‘Switched at Birth’ Renewed For Fourth Season
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Aug. 13, 2013

ABC Family has picked up a fourth season of original drama series Switched at Birth. The third season finale of the Peabody Award-winning series airs next Monday. Switched at Birth was a breakout when it launched in 2011 and has done solid business since. It ranks as cable TV’s No. 1 series in its time period in key female demos.

“Fans will be clamoring for season four and to know what happens with Daphne and Bay after the season three finale next week,” said Tom Ascheim, President ABC Family.

Switched at Birth tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital. The series is executive-produced by Lizzy Weiss and Paul Stupin.

http://deadline.com/2014/08/switched...family-818920/

* * * *

TV Notes
ABC Family’s ‘Twisted’ Cancelled After One Season

There will be no second season for ABC Family’s Twisted. The cable network has opted not to renew the drama, whose first-season finale (and now series finale) aired in April. The news comes as ABC Family has started to make renewal decisions on its current series and pilots, with drama Switched At Birth getting a fourth-season pickup earlier today. The network is expected to make a call on new comedies Young And Hungry and Mystery Girls in the next two weeks, with pickup decisions on pilots Recovery Road, Stitchers and Unstrung also coming in the next few weeks. Flagship drama Pretty Little Liars recently was given a two-season pickup, top comedies Baby Daddy and Melissa and Joey also are set to coming back, as is freshman drama Chasing Life, which received a back order before its series premiere. Chasing Life last night logged series highs in adults 18-34 and 18-49.

Twisted was from the same pilot batch as Chasing Life and The Fosters. It premiered at the same time as blended family drama The Fosters last summer. Both series quickly received 10-episode back orders. By the fall, months ahead of their January 2014 back-order premieres, The Fosters had also been given a second-season order. Twisted debuted in June 2013 with 1.61 million viewers and returned in January with 1.3 million, both times following ABC Family top series, PLL. “We love Twisted, but we’re going to announce pick-ups toward the end of the summer,” ABC Family president Tom Ascheim said about the future of the show at TCA last month as quoted by TVLine.

http://deadline.com/2014/08/abc-fami...season-819042/
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TV Review
Netflix’s ‘BoJack Horseman’
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Aug. 13, 2013

Joining the premium-TV ranks requires a certain commitment to doing what others aren’t. Hence, Netflix gets virtually no points for “BoJack Horseman,” a raunchy animated series that not-so-boldly goes where seemingly everyone — Fox, Comedy Central, Adult Swim — has gone before. Will Arnett and Aaron Paul lend their voices to the enterprise (as well as helping pad the roster of exec producers), but it’s such a stale premise that even when the series musters the occasional smirk, it feels deserving of a trip to the glue factory. Does “BoJack’s” Hollywood satire merit saddling up to watch? To quote the protagonist, “Neigh.”

Part of the series’ problem right out the starting gate is that Arnett’s boorish, self-absorbed former sitcom star feels like little more than an equine version of a character he’s played a dozen times, most effectively in “Arrested Development.” BoJack headlined a “Full House”-like show in the ’90s called “Horsin’ Around,” but the phone has stopped ringing, and his agent and occasional paramour (a cat voiced by Amy Sedaris, who features “Cats” on her hold music) can’t find him any work.

“You couldn’t even get me in the room for ‘War Horse,’ ” BoJack grouses.

In essence, think of BoJack as “Entourage’s” Johnny Drama, only with a horse’s head, with Paul voicing the shiftless squatter living in his home, where BoJack sits around watching his old reruns and fretting about a book advance he’s already spent for an autobiography he can’t get himself to write.

An ongoing plot thread involves an attempt to get the book project moving, with the agent enlisting a ghost writer (“Community’s” Alison Brie) to work with him. Yet while BoJack kind of likes her, she’s already dating another sitcom has-been, a relentlessly cheerful dog named Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins), who has found a second act by starring in a celebreality show.

Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg and produced by Michael Eisner’s company, the series does amass a rather impressive assortment of celebrity voice cameos, among them MSNBC alum Keith Olbermann as a whale of an MSNBSea anchor (no, really).

Frankly, though, anthropomorphic animals (really just heads on human bodies) tend to yield diminishing returns comedy-wise, even if the head of Penguin Books is — what else? — a penguin. And while the episodes improve slightly as the show progresses, it’s hard to get past the first few, including a premiere that violates the unwritten vomiting-scene rule of depicting more than one per episode.

Perhaps foremost, shows that exhibit the “courage” to skewer Hollywood — poking fun at luminaries like Eric McCormack and David Boreanaz along the way — at this point feel more tired than edgy.

“Really? Not even a pity laugh?” BoJack asks when a joke falls flat.

It’s just one more reminder why this horse’s head is an offer you can refuse.

'BoJack Horseman'
(Netflix, Aug. 22)


http://variety.com/2014/digital/revi...an-1201279975/
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Critic's Notes
I’m Still Mad at Fox for Canceling My Favorite Show!
Your Pressing TV Problems, Solved
By Margaret Lyons, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Aug. 13, 2013

Last year, I loved FOX's Almost Human — really obsessive, will-never-be-over-it kind of loved it. And now that's it's been canceled, I've really soured on FOX's other shows. For instance, I liked Sleepy Hollow last year, but now I get angry whenever I see it mentioned, because feels like a favored sibling who got all the network parent's love while Almost Human was the redheaded stepchild. Is this crazy? Is it possible to get over this? —Kristen

If you're a sci-fi or genre fan in general, I'm surprised this is your first encounter with Fox hatred. I'm pretty sure there are some Firefly devotees out there who are still upset. So no, I don't think you're nuts. I mean, I think you're nuts for loving Almost Human because I … did not care for that show. Did that robot cop learn to love? I hope he did.

I feel you on the holding a grudge, though. I love holding grudges. It's how I know I'm winning! Sadly, the problem with holding a grudge against a TV network is that you're only hurting yourself. This is also true about holding grudges against real people, but at least real people sometimes wear unflattering clothes to widely photographed events and you can sit back and be like, "haha, have fun untagging yourself in everything, you vain monster." But a network — a cable station too, really — is just a pile of money with no feelings; all the pile wants is more pile, and that's it. If that means giving Almost Human 100 seasons, the pile will do it. If that means canceling it after one episode, the pile will happily do that too. Piles gotta pile. Souring on Sleepy Hollow just means you miss out on some fun.

I've been making my way through Gilmore Girls for the first time, and after six seasons of perfection, I'm now struggling my way through the abysmal final season. I know showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino was absent for that last season, but what's the best way to handle that situation as someone going back to an older series? Do I stick with it for the sake of having seen it all, or just skip to the finale and be done with it? I can imagine running into similar problems with other shows that underwent major creative shifts (looking at you, West Wing). —Max

Congratulations on joining the Gilmore Girls family; we welcome you with coffee and pop-culture references. While I agree that the final season of the show absolutely lacked the zip and heart of the "real" seasons, in the interest of fairness, it's worth remembering that lovable genius Amy Sherman-Palladino introduced April Nardini, who was the worst; it was AS-P who had Rory fall for smarmy dipshit Logan and drop out of Yale; and it was AS-P who had Lane get married at age 20. So … part of loving Gilmore Girls is loving it through its flaws. I mean, I loved GG even when Rory's story lines were about the professor of herbology at Chilton, you know?

For Gilmore Girls, my strong recommendation is to suffer through. Wouldn't you feel sad if there were episodes of Gilmore Girls out there that you hadn't seen? If someone told me, "Margaret, I've got some good news and bad news: The good news is that there's an episode of Gilmore Girls that you've never seen. The bad news is that it is far and away the worst episode of the series." I would still be so happy! I would be weeping with joy. I would jump on a plane so I could watch this episode just as I watched the previous episodes: Sitting next to my BFF, eating tacos, and drinking gin and tonics. (We called this "Gilmore Girls gin and tonic taco Tuesdays." We did this for many wonderful years.) Make yourself some tacos and a tasty beverage and see if that helps you appreciate the endgame.

For West Wing, though, just skip all of season five — it's horrible, sorry — and watch the first few minutes of any episode of season six until you find one you like, at which point, settle in. Then watch all of season seven, except for the live-debate episode, which is garbage. Season seven is pretty good, but it's a totally different show. It's not West Wing anymore; it's a decent political show, but try not to think of it as the same as the early seasons. People kiss and stuff, though, and I always like that.

I didn't watch Switched at Birth last season (or half-season, whatever ABC Family calls the last run of episodes), but I fully intended to catch up at a later time. Now, though, with everything I've read about the currently airing episodes, I'm not sure I should even bother. Is it worth my time to catch up? Is it still a worthwhile show? —Jean

I still really like it. I like on teen shows when the good kid has a meltdown — like on Everwood, when Amy was super depressed for a season; or on Gilmore Girls, when Paris doesn't get in to Harvard. This season has some good, old-fashioned melting down! (That said, some of the hokiness is in full effect, and a recent "teen girl does cocaine" episode was just this side of Reefer Madness.) My much bigger worry is how SAB will handle its characters graduating from high school, which is always a danger zone for teen shows.

I am not likely to watch the same show from different countries (there are too many shows to watch already), but I hear that some of the foreign versions of American favorites are much better than the American versions. What are your thoughts if I'm choosing between two different countries' versions? Am I better off watching Homeland or the Israeli Hatufim (I've never seen either)? —Joanna

Homeland and Hatufim are completely different shows. Hatufim follows two former POWs, not just one, and it's much sadder than Homeland, less action-oriented and more about how suffering affects people. I loved Hatufim, but it scratches a totally different itch for me. For your purposes, then, I suggest watching the first season of Homeland; seasons two and three aren't really worth it if you are working with a limited TV-time budget. If you're really into it, break your "no doubling up" policy and go ahead and watch Hatufim for a different take on a similar premise.

There's no one absolute rule for American Version versus Original Overseas Version; I preferred the American version of The Office because I found it less sad. (Most of the time.) I liked both the British and the American Being Humans. American Skins was awful, but British Skins is great. The American version of The Bridge is good, but I watched the Scandinavian version first; the shows are too similar for the mystery to still feel fresh the second time through. In terms of sheer entertainment value, originals and adaptations are both viable, and originals might have a slight edge.

My suggestion, though, is to watch the American versions. If you like a show and want to read recaps or reaction pieces, your needs are better served by watching the American remake. American TV shows tend to have longer seasons, so there's more show to enjoy. And people at cocktail parties (in America) want to talk about the American versions of the show they watch — telling them all about the bleak Danish original is not going to win you any new pals. Ask me how I know.

http://www.vulture.com/2014/08/stay-...-networks.html
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Critic's Notes
TV discovers prison isn't such a confining setting
By Michael Hewitt, Orange County Register - Aug. 12, 2013

Movies have been going to prison for years, embracing themes of incarceration from “Jailhouse Rock” to “The Shawshank Redemption.” “Chicago” won the best picture Oscar with some dazzling jailhouse musical numbers, while William Holden and William Hurt won best actor awards in prison films.

Television, though, has been less inclined to incarcerate itself. The goofy 1960s “Hogan’s Heroes” and HBO’s groundbreaking “Oz” leap to mind, but scripted shows that use prison life as a significant milieu have been hard to find – until recently.

At least three current shows have found a home, at least partly, in the grim penitentiary setting.

The most celebrated, of course, is “Orange Is the New Black,” Netflix’s comedy/drama set in a women’s prison that recently released its second season and seems likely to win the Emmy as outstanding comedy series Aug. 25.

But two more of this summer’s outstanding series also swirl in and out of prison – the high-stakes, highly depressing Death Row, no less.

“The Divide,” the first scripted drama ever produced by We, follows a crusading law student as she tries to free a Death-Row inmate who she believes is innocent.

And “Rectify,” Sundance’s hypnotic, metaphorically charged sophomore series, tells the story of a former Death Row inmate as he tries to adjust to life in the free world after having his conviction overturned on a technicality.

The primary action in both shows is outside the prison, but in each, life inside informs every part of the dramatic action.

Other series, like Cinemax’s bawdy “Banshee,” feature characters with prison in their pasts who occasionally flash back to scenes behind bars.

In one way, it’s obvious why television wasn’t ready to set too many shows inside prisons previously. In the days before anything-goes cable productions, prison life simply was inappropriate for prime time. Shows that tried, like “Hogan’s Heroes” and Fox’s 1988 bust “Women in Prison,” drew scorn for their overly pleasant depictions. Today, though, television routinely goes beyond what Hollywood movies will depict in terms of violence and sex.

Less apparent is the issue of confinement. Two hours built around 6-by-9 cells aren’t so bad for the viewer. Week after week is another matter.

Modern series are more physically agile, though, thanks to more-mobile cameras and sound equipment, so multiple settings are easier to accomplish. “Orange Is the New Black” mixes things up by flashing back to characters’ lives before prison.

For “Rectify” and “The Divide,” prison isn’t the main physical setting, even if it is the psychological centerpiece. So the prison scenes don’t dominate the visual landscape, but when they arrive, they pop.

“Rectify” even dresses its Death Row inmates in off-white jumpsuits and sticks them in stark white cells, giving the prison sequences an alien, ethereal quality.

Ray McKinnon, the creative force behind “Rectify,” notes that for Daniel, the show’s protagonist, prison was “part dungeon and part monastery.”

“The monastery part was, he had a schedule, and he didn’t have to deal with the complexities of modern life,” McKinnon told a gathering of television critics.

Using prison as a backdrop, Death Row in particular, also gives the drama a built-in intensity. There is no need for writers to concoct life-or-death situations; they’re intrinsic to the stories.

Conversely, that seemingly black-and-white divide amplifies the moral grayness that all of these shows create when the prisoners are the protagonists and the people on the outside are their opponents.

Tony Goldwyn, co-creator of “The Divide” but better known as President Fitz on “Scandal,” told TV critics, “There are no good guys and bad guys. Everyone is good and bad.”

'ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK'
Airs: On Netflix streaming service. Both seasons are available in their entirety.

'RECTIFY'
Airs: 9 p.m. Thursdays on Sundance Channel

'THE DIVIDE'
Airs: 9 p.m. Wednesdays on We


* * * *

TV BEHIND BARS

Previous forays into prison produced mixed results. Here are some of the notable efforts.

"Hogan's Heroes," 1965-71, CBS – Controversial for its innocuous depiction of a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp, the real offense of "Hogan's Heroes" was its limp humor.

"The Prisoner," 1968, CBS – Patrick McGoohan starred in this British-made series about a spy sent to a bizarre prison. Psychedelic, metaphorical and utterly wacky, "The Prisoner" retains a cult following. Remade as a miniseries in 2009.

"Women in Prison," 1987-88, Fox – This one-season wonder had a setup not unlike that of "Orange Is the New Black" but enjoyed considerably less success. Julia Campbell played a yuppie sent to prison, where she served time with a varied cast. C.C.H. Pounder, Peggy Cass and Wendie Jo Sperber co-starred.

"Oz," 1997-2003, HBO – The first one-hour drama series produced by HBO took place in an imposing maximum security prison in New York. The large ensemble cast included Ernie Hudson, Harold Perrineau Jr., J.K Simmons and Dean Winters.

"Prison Break," 2005-09, Fox – A long-form adventure saga about a group of prisoners who escape and go on the run. "Prison Break" ran out of story steam when everyone realized you could only break out of prison once.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/p...hows-life.html
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
THURSDAY 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 - The Quest
9PM - Rookie Blue
10PM - NY Med (Season Finale)
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Daniel Radcliffe; Abigail Spencer; Kiesza performs)
(R - Jul. 29)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Big Bang Theory
(R - Mar. 6)
8:31PM - Mom
(R - Oct. 21)
9:01PM - Big Brother (LIVE)
10PM - Elementary
(R - Apr. 24)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Chris Pratt; Judy Greer; Rodrigo y Gabriela perform)
(R - Jul. 29)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Bob Newhart; Constance Zimmer)
(R - Jun. 2)

NBC:
8PM - Hollywood Game Night
(R - Mar. 6)
9:01PM - Last Comic Standing (Season Finale, 120 min.)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Sylvester Stallone; Eve Hewson; the winner of "Last Comic Standing")
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Taylor Swift; singer Boy George; comic Derek Waters)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Rachael Taylor; Robbie Fulks performs; comic Taylor Williamson)
(R - Mar. 17)

FOX:
8PM - Sleepy Hollow
(R - Nov. 11)
9PM - Gang Related (Season Finale)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour (R - Feb. 27)
9PM - Breakfast Special
(R - July 24, 2010)
10:30PM - Antiques Roadshow: Vintage Richmond
(R - Jul. 29)

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

THE CW:
8PM - The Vampire Diaries
(R - Mar. 20)
9PM - The Originals
(R - Mar. 11)

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

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Wu-Tang Clan)
(R - Aug. 6)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Director James Cameron)
(R - Aug. 5)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Kurt Braunohler; Jessimae Peluso; Jason Biggs)
(R - Aug. 6)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Aubrey Plaza; singer Kesha)

E!:
11PM - Chelsea Lately (Singer Fergie)
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TV Sports/Technology Notes
NFL Films Retains Its Name as It Goes Digital
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Aug. 14, 2013

For 50 years, NFL Films has built its reputation by immersing viewers in a cinematic experience unlike watching games on television. Spiraling footballs, muddy linemen battling at the line of scrimmage, wired coaches, leaping receptions and vapor rising from bald heads looked like Hollywood movies, especially when augmented with martial music and over-the-top narration by baritone voices.

You could not speak to Ed Sabol, who founded NFL Films, or his son, Steve, its chief storyteller, without hearing about the warmth and richness of the colors produced on 16-millimeter film. Football became a slow-motion war in an NFL Films production — unless the Sabols took a detour by stringing together a series of comic bloopers worthy of “Benny Hill.” Even fumbles looked better on film.

Within the headquarters of NFL Films in Mount Laurel, N.J., resides more than 100 million feet of film stored in tens of thousands of metal canisters. But that era is about to end: starting this season, NFL Films will shoot all regular-season and postseason games with digital video cameras.

“This is revolutionary,” said Howard Katz, the chief operating officer of NFL Films. “We’ll still be called NFL Films even if we’re not shooting with film.”

NFL Films began to change to all-digital several years ago. Some of the urgency rested in concern about continuing to find a plentiful source of film and some arose from network clients who wanted to get the highlights and other footage they needed for their shows faster.

Testing began on various models with the goal of finding one that would replicate the look of high-speed film and satisfy Steve Sabol, who counted cameraman among his many roles at the company. One problem that Sabol and others at the company wanted to avoid is the fluttering on digital video shot at high speeds, Katz said. The experiment continued after Sabol’s death in September 2012, as cameramen used models from Sony, Panasonic and Arri, mainly for close-ups and bench shots.

“We wanted our cameramen to have the same comfort they’ve had with film cameras all these years,” Katz said.

Eventually, NFL Films chose the Arri Amira and bought 30. Steve Sabol never saw what the Amira could do but did see another Arri model, the Alexa.

“He was impressed with how far the technology had come,” Katz said. “He got comfortable with his.”

The shift to shooting all games with digital cameras was supposed to begin with the 2015 season, but that was accelerated with the move of the “Inside the NFL” show on Showtime from Wednesday night to Tuesday night. The show will be repeated on the NFL Network on Wednesday night with an additional segment looking at the Thursday night game.

The change will also make NFL Films more efficient. Storage will be easier and video will be easier to access.

On game days, reels of film will no longer have to be driven or flown from game sites or developed. Instead, the game action captured on digital cards inside each camera will be sent from the stadiums after every quarter to Mount Laurel, where it will be edited and transmitted to the 60 shows on multiple networks that will use the highlights.

“The notion of feeding our shows faster would please Steve,” said Katz, who added, “It’s been an enormous engineering challenge for our people to create an infrastructure to do this in so short a time and a significant operating expense for the bandwidth we needed.”

There is still some unused 16 millimeter film left at NFL Films. Some of it will be used for future documentaries, but the last bit will be used for “NFL Films Presents,” a show that is moving to Fox Sports 1 this season after a long run on ESPN.

The goal at NFL Films has always been to promote the league with a brawny and entertaining form of sports propaganda that presents a separate reality to the games seen on Sunday. Ed Sabol carried himself like an old-time movie mogul, running a studio within the league. Once an overcoat salesman, Sabol altered how football was viewed, but always on film.

“What a story we have,” Steve Sabol said in 2011 before his father’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “The father with the little 16-millimeter camera helps the N.F.L. become the No. 1 sport in the country.”

All done on film. Until now.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/sp...html?ref=media
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
TV Sports/Technology Notes
NFL Films Retains Its Name as It Goes Digital
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Aug. 14, 2013

For 50 years, NFL Films has built its reputation by immersing viewers in a cinematic experience unlike watching games on television. Spiraling footballs, muddy linemen battling at the line of scrimmage, wired coaches, leaping receptions and vapor rising from bald heads looked like Hollywood movies, especially when augmented with martial music and over-the-top narration by baritone voices.

You could not speak to Ed Sabol, who founded NFL Films, or his son, Steve, its chief storyteller, without hearing about the warmth and richness of the colors produced on 16-millimeter film. Football became a slow-motion war in an NFL Films production — unless the Sabols took a detour by stringing together a series of comic bloopers worthy of “Benny Hill.” Even fumbles looked better on film.

Within the headquarters of NFL Films in Mount Laurel, N.J., resides more than 100 million feet of film stored in tens of thousands of metal canisters. But that era is about to end: starting this season, NFL Films will shoot all regular-season and postseason games with digital video cameras.

..........................

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/sp...html?ref=media
Wow!! They were still using film?!?! that seems so crazy in this day and age.

EDIT: I guess I should have read the entire post first.

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SEC Network Launch Day !!

Sample of a days programming....

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Y'know, I will probably watch Herschel Walker Punching Things. Actually I might watch a few of those programs!

I act my age sometimes. Sometimes ;). Crap I say
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post #96178 of 98282 Old 08-14-2014, 01:52 PM
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WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog: http://www.tvmediainsights.com/forum...esday-81314-4/
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
A night of decline for broadcast on Wednesday
NBC's 'America's Got Talent' slides to a series-low 1.8 in 18-49
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Aug. 14, 2013

A number of broadcast reality shows took a week-to-week ratings hit last night.

Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and CBS’s “Big Brother” all suffered declines, including a series low for the long-running “Talent.”

The NBC variety program posted a 1.8 adults 18-49 rating at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, off 10 percent from a 2.0 last week.

“Brother” was the night’s top program with a 2.0 at 8 p.m., but that, too, was down from last week, when it posted a 2.2.

Later in the night, new drama “Extant” drew a 1.0, topping NBC’s “Taxi Brooklyn” (0.9) and ABC’s “Motive” (0.7). All three programs were even to last week.

Fox’s “Dance” dropped a tenth from last week to average a 1.0 from 8 to 10 p.m.

CBS and Univision tied for first for the night among 18-49s, each with a 1.3 average overnight rating and a 5 share, while NBC averaged a 1.3 rating and a 4 share. ABC was fourth at 1.0/4, Fox fifth at 1.0/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/2 and CW seventh 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 8 p.m. CBS was first with a 2.0 for “Brother,” while Fox, ABC, NBC and Univision all tied for second at 1.1, Fox for “Dance,” ABC for reruns of “The Middle” and “The Goldbergs,” NBC for a repeat of “Talent” and Univision for “Mi Corazon es Tuyo.” CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.5, CW for “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and Telemundo for “Reina de Corazones.”

NBC took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 1.8 for a new “Talent,” followed by Univision with a 1.5 for “Lo Que La Vida Me Robo.” ABC was third with a 1.3 for repeats of “Modern Family.” Fox and CBS tied for fourth at 0.9, Fox for more “Dance” and CBS for a repeat of “Criminal Minds.” Telemundo was sixth with a 0.6 for “En Otra Piel” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for a repeat of “The 100.”

At 10 p.m. Univision moved to first with a 1.3 for “Que Pobres Tan Ricos,” with CBS and Telemundo tied for second at 1.0, CBS for “Extant” and Telemundo for “El Señor de los Cielos.” NBC was fourth with a 0.9 for “Taxi” and ABC fifth with a 0.7 for “Motive.”

NBC was first for the night among households with a 4.3 average overnight rating and an 8 share. CBS was second at 3.6/6, ABC third at 2.5/4, Fox fourth at 2.1/4, Univision fifth at 1.7/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.9/2 and CW seventh at 0.7/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/night-decline-broadcast-wednesday-2/

* * * *

TV/Nielsen Notes
For 'Gang Related,' too little bang.
Fox's gritty drama drew steady but low ratings
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Aug. 14, 2013

Give credit to Fox for trying something new with “Gang Related,” one of the few scripted shows the network has aired the past few summers.

Alas, “Gang,” which wraps up its first season tonight at 9 p.m., has a future just as dim as most of the gang bangers depicted in the show.

“Gang” has drawn very low ratings, averaging just a 0.6 adults 18-49 rating last week. Though its numbers were steady through most of the summer, airing behind “Hell’s Kitchen,” one of Fox’s top shows, they weren’t good enough to warrant a second season.

The network has not officially canceled the drama, but there’s little reason to think it will return.

Fox’s summer really hasn’t gone the way the network had hoped. In addition to “Gang,” two unscripted shows, “Riot” and “I Wanna Marry ‘Harry,’” bombed so badly they were canceled after just a few outings.

And the network’s “So You Think You Can Dance” is showing its age, sliding to series lows in its 11th season.

Perhaps eager to move on from this summer, Fox will roll out its fall schedule earlier than the other Big Four, starting with the premiere of new reality show “Utopia” in less than a month.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/for-gang-related-too-little-bang/

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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
TNT's 'Legend's' Debuts OK
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Aug. 14, 2013

Well, at least Sean Bean didn’t die in the first episode of Legends on TNT last night. In fact, you could say the much killed actor found new life with the debut of the Howard Gordon produced spy thriller series at 9 PM. Certainly Legends found a lot of viewers with 2.6 million tuning in to watch the first broadcast of the 1-hour pilot. However, that’s down from the blockbuster debut of The Last Ship on TNT back on June 22. With the best cable debut of the year and knocking out Big 4 shows, the Michael Bay EP’d post-apocalyptic sea set drama pulled in 5.3 million total viewers for its first broadcast with 1.5 million viewers among Adults 18-49 and 1.7 million viewers among the 25-54 demo. TNT’s other debut of the summer, Murder In The First had 3.8 million viewers for its June 9 launch. With no new lead-in, Legends had 1 million viewers among Adults 18-49 and 1.1 million among Adults 25-54.

Not that the heavily promoted Fox 21-produced Legends, which TNT has picked up for 10 episodes last year, didn’t get a lot of eyes elsewhere too. For the past week, the David Semel-directed pilot has been available on multi-platforms for viewers to watch. The pilot was also played in its entirety at Comic-Con this year. Based on the book by Robert Littell, Legends focuses on the work and life of the Bean-played Martin Odum. An undercover agent for the FBI’s Deep Cover Operations division, Odum has the ability to develop a new identity for each assignment. His success at work barely covers the fraying Odum feels as he begins to wonder if he is who he thinks he is – if he keeps his head say unlike Bean’s role on the first season of HBO’s Game Of Thrones

http://deadline.com/2014/08/legends-tnt-debut-ratings-sean-bean-game-of-thrones-819488/
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