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HDTV Programming > Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information
NetworkTV's Avatar NetworkTV 10:07 PM 08-25-2014
Originally Posted by rebkell View Post
Is it just me or does anyone else think TIVO is over valuing their subscription fees?

Especially since they offer no upgrade discounts for people with lifetime subscriptions on previous models that want to get a newer model.

Honestly, I would never buy an OTA-only DVR anyway. It means the thing is useless if I opt to get cable since it only does OTA.

Originally Posted by Keenan View Post
I'm currently on a monthly rate and yes, I think it is expensive. Definitely more expensive than the 2 Lifetimes I sold. But supposedly it's more than just the guide data, it's the constant improvement in the device and in the software that runs on the device along with the associated mobile features, etc. You're paying for more than just guide data. But yeah, I think it's still a little high, it used to be only $6.99 if I recall correctly.

I do think an OTA-only model should be less than the $14.95 per month being charged for the cable/OTA models though.
Horse crap.

The fundamental operation of the TiVo is nearly exactly the same as it has been. There are multiple computer based DVR options that are completely free that offer the very similar features - including mobile viewing. TiVo relies completely on name recognition, which is all you get for your money. Most of their upgrades have been to hard drive space and the number of tuners.

The fact is, TiVo won't be around for the long term when they run out of companies to sue for patent infringement. Litigation is the only reason they've stayed in the black these last few years.

HDTVChallenged's Avatar HDTVChallenged 11:05 PM 08-25-2014
Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post
The fundamental operation of the TiVo is nearly exactly the same as it has been. There are multiple computer based DVR options that are completely free that offer the very similar features - including mobile viewing. TiVo relies completely on name recognition, which is all you get for your money. Most of their upgrades have been to hard drive space and the number of tuners.
OTOH, sometimes one just wants a box that WORKS ... period. (Without having to deal with all the baggage that comes with HTPC type solutions.)
NetworkTV's Avatar NetworkTV 12:11 AM 08-26-2014
Originally Posted by HDTVChallenged View Post
OTOH, sometimes one just wants a box that WORKS ... period. (Without having to deal with all the baggage that comes with HTPC type solutions.)
Which makes them no better than the cable company: gouging people who just want it easy.

I firmly believe cable has many of the customers they do simply because it's installed in pretty much every home. That was something satellite had to work pretty hard to overcome years ago. Of course, now, they're often just as bad when it comes to all the fees they add on to the programming prices.

I swear, pay TV, the airlines and U-haul all read from the same playbook:

1) Advertise a low rate that has a big asterisk beside it.
2) Provide almost nothing for the money.
3) Add on a bunch of fees that are as much or more than the product being provided.
4) Jack up the price at any time just because they know you'll pay anyway.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 12:37 AM 08-26-2014
Technology/Business Notes
What’s Twitch? Gamers Know, and Amazon Is Spending $1 Billion on It
By Nick Wingfield, The New York Times - Aug. 26, 2014

The video in video games is suddenly a billion-dollar business.

Video games have long been something people played. But in the last few years, thanks in part to fast Internet access and multiplayer games, the games have become something that people sit back and watch, too. On Monday, that new habit enticed the web giant Amazon to reach a $1.1 billion deal to buy Twitch, the most popular website for watching people play games.

The deal for Twitch is the latest sign of the way forms of behavior once seemingly on the fringe can, in the hands of tech entrepreneurs, turn into huge online communities in no time. Twitch did not exist a little over three years ago, and it now has 55 million unique viewers a month globally, helping turn games into a spectator event as much as a participatory activity.

Those millions of eyeballs are valuable to web companies, and Amazon, although usually known for its retailing, is no exception. To win in its bid for Twitch, Amazon had to outmaneuver a who’s who of the tech world, including Google — strongly suggesting that these companies think the era of video-game viewing is just starting. It also underscored Amazon’s growing appetite for controlling and delivering content to digital devices, especially the tablets and smartphones made by Amazon.

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon,” Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, said in a statement, “and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month.”

Twitch specializes in live videos of people playing games, including regular Joes blasting away in Call of Duty, a popular shooting game, and elite players who earn million-dollar payouts at professional game tournaments. Twitch viewers typically see the screen of a broadcaster, featuring the game being played, along with a video feed of the player’s face and a chat window so they can communicate with the player and others watching the action.

The site has attracted enough viewers to put it among 15 most-trafficked websites around the world, according to data compiled by Sandvine, an Internet networking company. Twitch viewers flock to the site to improve their gaming skills by watching people who have mastered a game or just to get a closer look at games before buying them. Some of the biggest followings on Twitch are of people who are simply amusing, rather than the best players.

Gamers can transmit games over Twitch by using PCs along with consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Twitch says that people watch more than 16 billion minutes of its videos each month. More than 1.1 million unique broadcasters use Twitch to stream video.

The company shares advertising revenue with people who broadcast over its service. While the audiences for many broadcasters are so small they make little money, some broadcasters are said to earn over six figures a year.

The service has dovetailed with the rise of e-sports, as professional gaming is often called. Twitch broadcasts the action from live tournaments for big games like League of Legends and Dota 2. Professional gamers also use Twitch to let spectators watch their practices, inviting them to ask questions about playing techniques.

“Before Twitch, gaming was something you did in the basement in the glow of your monitor,” said David Cowan, a venture capitalist with Bessemer Venture Partners, a big investor in Twitch. “Now it’s something you can do in groups with hundreds and thousands of people.”

It is not clear exactly how Amazon intends to fit Twitch into its eclectic and ever-expanding portfolio of businesses. It could help accelerate the company’s advertising ambitions by giving it a huge video network to pump commercials through. This year, Amazon ad revenue is expected to jump 40 percent, to over $1 billion, according to estimates from eMarketer, a technology research firm.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 12:46 AM 08-26-2014
Emmy Notes
Emmys Winners 2014: The Complete List
By Tony Maglio and Linda Ge, The New York Times - Aug. 25, 2014

The curtain has closed on the 66th annual Emmy Awards, where Seth Meyers emceed the festivities honoring the best on TV.

“Modern Family” star Ty Burrell took the first trophy of the evening and his show took the second-to-last. “Breaking Bad” grabbed the final award of the night for Outstanding Drama Series.

The Vince Gilligan series dominated its last-ever Emmys.

In addition to the trophies, this year's show is sure to be remembered for Billy Crystal‘s touching In Memoriam tribute to the late Robin Williams, but there were plenty of other buzz-worthy moments on the NBC broadcast.

But, the night is all about those taking home the gold. Below is the complete list of Monday night's televised winners and nominees.

Outstanding Drama Series
“Breaking Bad” *WINNER

“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“House Of Cards”
“Mad Men”
“True Detective”

Outstanding Comedy Series
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Modern Family” *WINNER
“Orange Is the New Black”
“Silicon Valley”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” *WINNER

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Woody Harrelson, “True Detective”
Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” *WINNER
Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”
Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex”
Kerry Washington, “Scandal”

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
Moira Walley-Beckett, “Breaking Bad” – “Ozymandias” *WINNER

Vince Gilligan, “Breaking Bad” – “Felina”
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss,”Game of Thrones” – “The Children”
Beau Willimon, “House of Cards” - “Chapter 14”
Nic Pizzolatto,”True Detective” – “The Secret Fate of All Life”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” *WINNER

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”

Outstanding Direction in a Drama Series
Tim Van Patten, “Boardwalk Empire” – “Farewell Daddy Blues”
Vince Gilligan, “Breaking Bad” – “Felina”
David Evans, “Downton Abbey” – “Episode 1”
Neil Marshall, “Game of Thrones” - “The Watchers On the Wall”
Carl Franklin, “House of Cards” – “Chapter 14”
Cary Joji Fukunaga,”True Detective” – “Who Goes There” *WINNER

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” *WINNER

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

Outstanding Variety Series
“The Colbert Report” *WINNER

“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
“Real Time With Bill Maher”
“Saturday Night Live”
“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
Glenn Weiss, “67th Annual Tony Awards” *WINNER

James Lapine, “Six by Sondhein”
Gregg Gelfand, “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America”
Louis J. Horvitz, “The Kennedy Center Honors”
Hamish Hamilton, “The Oscars”
Beth McCarthy Miller (Directed by), Rob Ashford (Theatrical Direction by), “The Sound of Music Live!”

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
Dave Boone (Written by, Paul Greenberg (Special Material by), “67th Annual Tony Awards”
Billy Crystal (Written by), Alan Zweibel (Additional Material by), “Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays”
Sarah Silverman, “Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles” *WINNER
Various Writers, “The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards”
Ken Ehrlich and David Wild, “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America”

Outstanding Television Movie
“Killing Kennedy”
“Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight”
“The Normal Heart” *WINNER
“Sherlock: His Last Vow”
“The Trip to Bountiful”

Outstanding Miniseries
“American Horror Story: Coven”
“Bonnie & Clyde”
“Fargo” *WINNER
“The White Queen”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven” *WINNER

Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”
Minnie Driver, “Return to Zero”
Kristen Wiig, “The Spoils of Babylon”
Cicely Tyson, “The Trip to Bountiful”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge”
Martin Freeman, “Fargo”
Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo”
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: His Last Vow” *WINNER

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, “American Horror Story: Coven” – “Bitchcraft”
Adam Bernstein, “Fargo” - “The Crocodile's Dilemma”
Colin Bucksey, “Fargo” - “Buridan's Ass” *WINNER
Stephen Frears, “Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight”
Nick Hurran, “Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece)”
Ryan Murphy, “The Normal Heart”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Colin Hanks, “Fargo”
Jim Parsons, “The Normal Heart”
Joe Mantello, “The Normal Heart”
Alfred Molina, “The Normal Heart”
Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart”
Martin Freeman, “Sherlock: His Last Vow” *WINNER

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven” *WINNER
Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Allison Tolman, “Fargo”
Ellen Burstyn as Olivia, “Flowers in the Attic”
Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart”

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, “American Horror Story: Coven” – “Bitchcraft”
Noah Hawley, “Fargo” - “The Crocodile's Dilemma”
Neil Cross, “Luther”
Steven Moffat, “Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece)” *WINNER
Larry Kramer, “The Normal Heart”
David Simon and Eric Overmyer, “Treme” – “…To Miss New Orleans”

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
“The Amazing Race” *WINNER

“Dancing With the Stars”
“Project Runway”
“So You Think You Can Dance”
“Top Chef”
“The Voice”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” *WINNER

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” *WINNER

Ricky Gervais, “Derek”
Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Louis C.K., “Louie”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series
Iain B. MacDonald, “Shameless” – “Episode 309”
Paris Barclay, “Glee” – “100”
Louis C.K., “Louie” – “Elevator, Part 6”
Gail Mancuso, “Modern Family” – “Vegas” *WINNER
Jodie Foster, “Orange Is the New Black” – “Lesbian Request Denied”
Mike Judge, “Silicon Valley” – “Minimum Viable Product”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Allison Janney, “Mom” *WINNER
Kate Mulgrew, “Orange Is the New Black”
Kate McKinnon, “SNL”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series
David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, “Shameless” – “Episode 305”
Louis C.K., “Louie” – “So Did the Fat Lady” *WINNER
Liz Friedman and Jenji Kohan, “Orange Is the New Black” – “I Wasn't Ready (Pilot)”
Alec Berg, “Silicon Valley” – “Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency”
Simon Blackwell and Tony Roche (Story and Teleplay by), Armando Iannucci (Story by), “Veep” – “Special Relationship”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Adam Driver, “Girls”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” *WINNER
Fred Armisen, “Portlandia”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 12:48 AM 08-26-2014
Emmy Notes
Netflix Shut Out at the Primetime Emmys
By Shelli Weinstein, - Aug. 25, 2014

Despite high hopes and 31 nominations, Netflix went home empty-handed at 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.

The streaming provider did capture seven wins at last week’s Creative Arts ceremony but on Monday night, acclaimed shows “House of Cards,” nominated for acting and directing, and “Orange is the New Black” lost in all categories, in addition to Netflix’s Ricky Gervais-starrer “Derek.”

Leading up to the kudocast there was much discussion over how the submission of “Orange is the New Black” as a comedy would play out, as the show would be pitched against HBO’s “Veep” and “Silicon Valley,” and the reigning champion “Modern Family,” with many thinking that the buzz surrounding the prison-set series would work in its favor.

“Orange’s” three wins at Creative Arts included one for Uzo Aduba, but other acting nominees Kate Mulgrew and Taylor Schilling were shut out.

“House of Cards” also claimed just one win of its 13 nominations, a drop from its three category victories last year.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 12:53 AM 08-26-2014
TV Notes
Chelsea Handler brings Miley Cyrus aboard for final installment of E! show 'Lately'
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Aug. 26, 2014

Chelsea Handler is not leaving the E! channel quietly.

For her last “Chelsea Lately” show, Tuesday night at 11, the comedian’s phone book of a guest list will include Miley Cyrus.

Cyrus generally doesn’t show up anywhere unless she plans to generate a headline, though her only officially announced plan is to sing Roy Orbison’s “It’s Over.”

Can’t argue with that.

Other guests scheduled to help bid farewell to Handler, who is known for her unfiltered humor, include former boyfriend 50 Cent, Justin Theroux, Melissa McCarthy, Selena Gomez, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver, Kristin Chenoweth, Avril Lavigne, James Van Der Beek, Helen Hunt, Johnny Knoxville, Tim Gunn, Vanessa Hudgens, Allison Janney, Kevin Nealon and Marlee Matlin.

This final show wraps up a messy divorce from E!, where Handler has done more than 1,300 episodes over eight seasons. In March, she told Howard Stern that E! is “a sad, sad place to live.”

For editorial use only. Additional clearance required for commercial or promotional use. Contact your local office for assistance. Any commercial or promotional use of NBCUniversal content requires NBCUniversal's prior written consent.

Her next stop is Netflix, which may already be the big winner in this deal. Handler has signed for a series of comedy specials and then will launch a new talk show in 2016, further solidifying Netflix’s growing stature as a serious alternative to over-the-air TV.

Handler has indicated she wants to do more than help keep America apprised of every move by the Kardashians and others of similar contemporary import.

Through her E! gig, books and other commentary, Handler has made enough of an impression that when David Letterman announced his retirement from his late show at CBS, her name surfaced as a possible replacement.

Her Netflix show could enhance her résumé, which may be one reason she’s taking a pay cut to leave E! She reportedly made $9 million a year there.

Her nightly audience approached the million mark at one time, though by this year it had dipped to a bit below 600,000.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 12:57 AM 08-26-2014
Emmy/Critic's Notes
Cable Stars Like Bryan Cranston, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Clean Up at Emmy Awards
By Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times - Aug. 26, 2014

It is the Gilded Age of Television.

That became apparent at Monday night’s Emmy Awards when, once again, cable dominated the night.

A little like the privets of privacy that enclose billionaires’ estates in the Hamptons, pay walls sequester some of the best entertainment on television.

“Breaking Bad” on AMC won for outstanding drama, again, and its star Bryan Cranston won as lead actor for the fourth time. “Even I thought about voting for Matthew,” he said, referring to Matthew McConaughey, who was a favorite for his performance on the HBO show “True Detective.”

There is an exhilarating confluence of talent and opportunity at places like HBO and Showtime. Shows like “Breaking Bad” and “True Detective” are more inspired than movies, telling stories that are a complete vision rather than a committee-dulled compromise. But it’s increasingly obvious that the most rewarded series are also the ones that penalize audiences with costs that add up and count many viewers out.

And that makes the Emmys, a ceremony that is always carried by a broadcast network, a paradox: a water-cooler event that increasingly exalts the boutique, paid-for television experience. The master of ceremonies, Seth Meyers, made a sardonic joke about network television holding an awards show and giving all the trophies to cable and other services. “That would be crazy,” he said. “Why would they do that?”

Especially in Hollywood, where stars are demigods who see themselves as egalitarian champions of the masses, the two televisions are an unsettling echo of so many other disparities that make up the two Americas, the top 1 percent — with their private planes, private schools, personal chefs and organic markets — and everybody else.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus deserved to win yet another best actress Emmy, but her comedy, “Veep,” has a fraction of the audience that a rerun of “NCIS: Los Angeles” can command. (In the Emmy competition, networks now are a little like the British Empire after the 1956 Suez crisis: powerful, but diminished.)

There was some pushback, almost as if the Television Academy, sponsor of the awards, was determined to reward — again — those few network hits that repeatedly win nominations, notably the ABC series “Modern Family,” which won best comedy for the fifth time. There may have also been some spite in the snubbing of Netflix shows, which were almost shut out.

In an earlier golden age of television, shows like “All in the Family” or “M*A*S*H” or “Roots” were seen by everyone and anyone, without paying for cable service, let alone premium channels. Billy Crystal’s sweet tribute to the comedian Robin Williams, who committed suicide this month, also served as an elegy to the days when a hit show like “Mork and Mindy” could draw 60 million viewers.

There was a bit of robber baron laissez-faire at work in the categories, which seem to stretch to accommodate juggernaut series. “Fargo” and “True Detective” have the same format, but they found their way into different categories: “Fargo” went for mini-series and won; whereas “True Detective” went for dramatic series and didn’t. “Orange Is the New Black” tried even harder and somehow squeezed into the comedy slot. That backfired. Or as Mr. Meyers put it, “We had comedies that made you laugh and comedies that made you cry because they were dramas submitted as comedies.”

Mr. Meyers was charming, but he didn’t take many risks, and overall, the ceremony was a brisk, rather tame event. There were some highs and lows. The most touching moment was when an enfeebled Larry Kramer, swathed in a scarf and cap, took the stage when “The Normal Heart,” the HBO drama that was based on his play, won for best television movie.

The worst was Weird Al Yankovic putting lyrics to the wordless themes of shows like “Mad Men and “Scandal,” a skit that was almost as bad as the Rob Lowe duet with Snow White at the Oscars. Mostly, it was a night of late-night hosts trying to upstage one another — notably, when Jimmy Fallon took the stage pretending to accept the award won by Stephen Colbert.

“Breaking Bad” won the night, again. But the losers are the millions of viewers who may never get a chance to see it.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:01 AM 08-26-2014
Emmy Notes
Emmys: Who Got Snubbed?
By Tony Maglio and Linda Ge, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Aug. 26, 2014

Everyone deals with defeat differently. Ricky Gervais humorously ranted publicly; other Emmy nominees will have a long, contemplative drive home from the Nokia Theatre on Monday.

Jon Hamm has been nominated 13 times for an Emmy honor. The Mad Men star walked away empty-handed once again, as Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston emerged victorious. Amy Poehler nabbed 10 Emmy nominations so far in her TV career, but the Parks and Recreation star still hasn't won a single award.

Fred Armisen has been nominated three years in a row for his sketch series Portlandia. He lost out once again, this time to Modern Family's Ty Burrell. Kerry Washington, who earned her second nomination this year for her star turn in the hit ABC show Scandal, has yet to add an Emmy to her collection.

Meanwhile, Orange Is the New Black actress Kate Mulgrew, seen as a favorite in the supporting actress in a comedy category, lost out to Allison Janney, who claimed her sixth Emmy win. The Netflix series also lost the outstanding comedy series trophy to Modern Family, which grabbed its whopping fifth-consecutive victory in the category.

House of Cards' Robin Wright was seen as the likely winner for lead actress in a drama but lost out to The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies, whose series was not nominated in the drama-series category. The Beltway political drama didn't claim any wins during the primetime Emmys this year.

Gervais, who lost out for his role on Netflix's Derek, made a scene. "I lost again," he quipped with a straight face. "21 times, 21 times I've been nominated. I've lost 19, it's like a cruel joke."

Billy Bob Thornton missed out on visiting the podium for playing Lorne Malvo in Fargo, his first-ever TV role. Thornton won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for 1996's Sling Blade.

And Larry Kramer lost out after earning his first Emmy nomination for writing The Normal Heart. His play earned three Tony awards, and Kramer was nominated for an Oscar for writing 1969's Women in Love.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:06 AM 08-26-2014
TV Sports/Business Notes
NFL Scores a Touchdown With Female Fans
Links with Marie Claire to promote revamped women's line
By Staff - Aug. 25, 2013

Pop quiz: What was the most watched TV event among women in 2014? It wasn’t the Academy Awards. Or the Grammys. Or the season finale of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It was Super Bowl XLVIII, watched by an average of 44.9 million women. Overall, they make up 46 percent of all NFL fans, and an average 63 percent of women 12 and older identify as fans.

Despite those numbers, the concept of the “female fan” is still relatively new—at least as far as marketers are concerned. But over the past few years, there’s been a distinct change in the way those women are being spoken to by brands. Gone are the days of “pink it and shrink it”; now, women are being treated like the valuable untapped market that they are.

“About five years ago, we did an inventory of all our offerings [for women],” said the NFL’s director of apparel Rhiannon Madden. “We had a growing female fanbase who were just as avid as the male fans, but we weren’t giving them the best outlet to express their fandom.”

The NFL worked to create more sophisticated offerings for women, like vintage-inspired tees and apparel, more plus-size and juniors apparel, and a full line of women’s-size jerseys. Today, of the 200-plus New York Giants women’s T-shirts available on, only about 10 are pink—and many of those support breast cancer awareness.

Women’s media is also stepping up its game. Marie Claire has been one of the strongest supporters of female NFL fans. Last year, the magazine debuted a 16-page section titled “The Ultimate Fangirl’s Guide to Football,” copies of which were distributed in the style lounges of stadiums. In its September 2014 issue, Marie Claire is revisiting the Fangirl’s Guide with a new booklet highlighting real women’s NFL game-day rituals. Next month’s issue will include a pull-out poster featuring the new NFL Thursday night schedule.

According to Marie Claire publisher Nancy Cardone, the the Fangirl’s Guide was inspired by the title’s own staff. “On Monday mornings, the watercooler conversation would be what happened at the game the night before,” she said. “A few of us even kill it in our fantasy leagues,” added editor in chief Anne Fulenwider. “One staffer is her league’s commissioner.”

The magazine was careful not to speak down to its readers in its editorial content—a common problem in female-targeted sports coverage—and instead treated them like, well, fans (fans who might be interested in NFL-inspired nail art, that is).

Both Marie Claire inserts are sponsored exclusively by the NFL, featuring its “Together We Make Football” campaign. Celebrity NFL fans like singer Jordin Sparks and model Erin Heatherton are showcased sporting team apparel.

“The NFL’s focus on making the apparel much more modern and fashionable has really showed up in their creative, so you feel like you can identify with what they’re wearing,” said Cardone. “It’s very authentic.”
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:08 AM 08-26-2014
TV Notes
Study: Reality shows can make you angry
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Aug. 25, 2013

Perhaps there’s a reason you feel like screaming at your spouse after an episode of “Real Housewives” or “Jersey Shore”–those shows could make viewers more aggressive as well.

That’s based on a study by Central Michigan University psychologist Bryan Gibson, who asked participants to watch one of three types of shows–aggressive reality shows such as “Shore” or “Housewives,” more uplifting reality such as “Little People, Big World,” and fictional crime dramas such as “CSI.”

The participants each watched one episode and were then tasked with hitting a keyboard button as quickly as possible. They each thought they were racing against someone in another room, and if they won they’d get to blast their competitor with a loud noise.

The study looked at how loud and long the noise blasts were, and those who watched “Shore” or “Housewives” delivered louder and longer sounds.

“This is one form of media that may appear harmless, but I think our research provides a little bit of evidence that there can be some negative outcomes as well,” Gibson told NPR.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:11 AM 08-26-2014
Emmy/Critic's Notes
Seth Meyers was no superstar, and it was perfect
By Robert Bianco, USA Today - Aug. 26, 2014

There's something to be said for delivering exactly what people expect.

As Seth Meyers, the host for Monday night's NBC broadcast of the Emmys, has said himself, he's not exactly the world's most versatile performer. He doesn't sing. He doesn't dance. He doesn't do skits. He tells jokes -- short, topical, one-liner-type jokes.

And that's precisely what he gave you. Nothing fancy: Just Meyers, telling the kind of jokes that kept him on Saturday Night Live and won him his own late- night talk show.

Surely it came as no surprise that most of the jokes were about television; they always are at the Emmys. But unlike jokes from some other Emmy hosts, none of Meyers' were mean, pointed or unsuited to the occasion.

You could see the difference in Meyers' approach when former host Jimmy Kimmel came out to present the award for best supporting actress in a comedy -- and turned it into a very funny screed against Matthew McConaughey. As a presenter in a short, mean burst, it was perfect. But for a host, nastiness becomes tiresome, which is why Meyers was wise to avoid it.

That choice may not have made Meyers the most exciting host, but he was good-natured and efficient -- as witness that on-time ending. Those are qualities we don't always see at the Emmys.

We also don't often see the combination of class and emotion the show provided in its best segment: a sweet version of Smile by Sara Bareilles that led into a lovely tribute to Robin Williams from Billy Crystal. And then a fade to black, and silence.

As for the awards, for the series at least, they were largely predictable -- and largely a rebuff to shows like True Detective and Orange Is the New Black that tried to game the system by moving into categories where they didn't belong. Repeat winners abounded, led by series champs Modern Family for a record-setting fifth time and Breaking Bad for the second. Which is fine: Complain about repetition all you want, but why should people who were great this season be punished for having been great before?

Still, if you're judging the show by the host, then in some way, the most welcome part of Meyers' performance was his willingness to step aside and play straight man to other performers. In short, to behave as a host, rather than as a spotlight-seeking star.

And when you've been hired as a host, that's not such a bad way to behave.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:13 AM 08-26-2014
TV/Business Notes
Studio Deals Unlock a Trove of Reruns From Shows Like ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Sons of Anarchy’
By Brooks Barnes, The New York Times - Aug. 26, 2013

LOS ANGELES — Thousands of hours of television programming are becoming available to rerun on digital networks and cable channels after new residual agreements between studios and Hollywood’s three largest guilds.

The shows now freed from “residual gridlock” include old broadcast series like “Charlie’s Angels” and “The Flying Nun” and newer made-for-cable programs like “Breaking Bad” and “Sons of Anarchy,” according to John Weiser, president of United States distribution for Sony Pictures Television.

“When you add up all the extra money guilds and their members will make and the benefit to studios and to the acquiring networks, this is an important business breakthrough,” Mr. Weiser said in a telephone interview on Monday. “The guilds were open to it because they fully understand how the TV landscape is evolving,” he added. “They also know there are fans who want to see this material.”

Mr. Weiser presented the residuals changes to the three organizations on behalf of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The guilds are the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America and SAG-Aftra, which represents actors and other broadcast workers. The last of those three organizations, the Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, approved the changes Friday as part of a three-year contract.

When studios sell reruns of television shows, residuals are paid to various guild participants — primarily directors, actors and writers — based on a variety of formulas. Without delving too far into the contractual details, the problem Sony and its studio cohorts were trying to solve involved fixed-fee payments.

Under the old deals, if a cable network wanted to acquire reruns of a made-for-cable show (say, FXX was interested in buying reruns of “Breaking Bad,” which was made for AMC) it triggered fixed residual payments. As a result, reruns of dozens of made-for-cable shows never sold: The fixed residual payments were too high compared with what an acquiring cable network was willing to pay for rerun rights.

The new agreements replace the fixed-fee structure with one that pays residuals based on a percentage of the rerun licensing deal.

Payment was similarly changed for rerun purchases by “diginets,” or digital broadcast subchannels. Now residuals for reruns of old shows like “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Love Boat” — and those for so-called broken shows, or series that are canceled after a few dozen episodes — will be based on a percentage structure, making them more affordable for purchase.

These fledgling diginets, which include Antenna TV, Cozi TV, Bounce TV and MeTV, focus on the roughly 10 percent of American homes that do not pay for cable or satellite service. The channels were made possible by the government-mandated transition to all-digital broadcasting; local TV stations can now transmit signals for as many as four digital subchannels in addition to their primary one.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:34 AM 08-26-2014
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
TUESDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - Bachelor in Paradise (120 min.)
10PM - 20/20
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Idris Elba; reality-TV personality Tim Gunn; The White Buffalo performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

(R - May 13)
9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Apr. 15)
10:01PM - Person of Interest
(R - Apr. 29)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Howie Mandel; TV host Rachel Maddow; EMA performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Michael Sheen)
(R - Jul. 9)

8PM - Food Fighters
9PM - America's Got Talent: Semi Finals (120 min., LIVE)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels; Taylor Schilling; Ed Sheeran performs)
(R - Jun. 10)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Michael Fassbender; Allison Tolman; author Joshua Ferris)
(R - Aug. 7)
1:37AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (Timothy Simons; Cosmonauts performs; music group The Shanghai Restoration Project)
(R - Apr. 1)

8PM - Family Guy
(R - Nov. 24)
8:30PM - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
(R - Mar. 25)
9PM - New Girl
(R - Apr. 29)
9:30PM - The Mindy Project
(R - Apr. 29)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Lost Civil War Prison, A Time Team America Presentation
9PM - The Lost Pueblo Village: A Time Team America Presentation
10PM - Frontline: A Death in St. Augustine
(R - Nov. 26)

8PM - Mi Corazón Es Tuyo
9PM - Hasta El Fin del Mundo
10PM - La Malquerida

8PM - The iHeartradio Album Release Party With Maroon 5 (LIVE)
9PM - Supernatural
(R - Apr. 15)

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author David Rose)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Jeff Bridges and Lois Lowry)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Riki Lindhome; Kate Micucci; Pete Holmes)

11PM - Conan (Musician Jack White; Amber Stevens)
(R - Jun. 11)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Series Finale, LIVE; Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock and more stop by; performance by 50 Cent with his group G Unit)

dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:44 AM 08-26-2014
TV Notes
Syfy's 'Lost Girl' Ending After Fifth Season
By Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter - Aug. 25, 2014

Syfy's Lost Girl will end after its upcoming fifth season, the NBCUniversal cable network and its Canadian home, Showcase, said Monday.

Canadian producer Prodigy Pictures told The Hollywood Reporter that Lost Girl will wrap internationally after its upcoming season, and Syfy confirmed the fifth season will be the last one stateside.

"It’s time for Bo's journey to come to an epic conclusion," Lost Girl star Anna Silk told Fae-natics, or die-hard fans of the series set in the world of Fae, in a YouTube message Monday.

The Canadian drama follows supernatural seductress Bo (Silk) as a succubus who feeds off sexual energy.

Showcase ordered 16 episodes for season five, to be split into two parts.

The first eight episodes will start airing on Showcase on December 7, with the second batch to air in fall 2015.

Syfy did not indicate when the fifth season will air on its network.

Lost Girl is executive produced by Jay Firestone, Vanessa Piazza and Michael Grassi.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:47 AM 08-26-2014
TV Notes
Lifetime greenlights 'The Omen'-inspired horror series from ex-'Walking Dead' showrunner
By James Hibberd,'s 'Inside TV' Blog - Aug. 25, 2014

Lifetime’s The Omen-inspired horror series is a go: The cable network has given a straight-to-series order to Damien, a modern-day drama based on Twentieth Century Fox’s The Omen horror franchise.

The Lifetime revamp is written and executive produced by former Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara. The series will follow the adult life of Damien Thorn, “the mysterious child from the 1976 motion picture who has grown up, seemingly unaware of the satanic forces around him. Haunted by his past, Damien must now come to terms with his true destiny—that he is the Antichrist, the most feared man throughout the ages.”

“Glen Mazzara has re-imagined him as a dark, romantic, anti-hero and this fresh take blends complex characters with premium storytelling to make something truly original,” said Rob Sharenow, executive vice president and general manager of Lifetime.

Lifetime has ordered six initial episodes of Damien and expects to debut the series next year. Mazzara (The Shield) was the showrunner on AMC’s Walking Dead for seasons two and three. Ross Fineman (Lights Out), who developed the project alongside Mazzara, will also executive produce along with Pancho Mansfield.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:50 AM 08-26-2014
Technology Notes
LG Electronics begins sale of Ultra HD OLED displays
By Mike Snider, USA Today - Aug. 25, 2014

LG Electronics' newest displays that marry two high-end technologies -- Ultra HD and OLED -- are moving closer to the marketplace.

The Korean electronics giant today announced that it will begin taking pre-orders for 65-inch and 77-inch Ultra HD OLED TVs later this week in Korea.

Pricing and availability of the curved Ultra HD OLED TVs will be announced in the coming weeks, but LG expects to make them available by year's end.

Mashable reported that the 65-inch display will cost 12 million won or $11,765, but LG officials said that any price tags attached to the displays are not official. LG's newest curved OLED display with regular high definition is priced at about $3,500.

The company made the announcement ahead of next week's IFA electronics show in Berlin. "LG is reinforcing the commitment made at (the Consumer Electronics Show), and confirmed throughout the year, to bring Ultra HD OLED TVs to market in Q3/Q4 of 2014," said Tim Alessi, LG's U.S. head of new product development, in a statement.

Ultra HD is also sometimes referred to as "4K," because the displays have nearly 4,000 pixels lined horizontally, delivering four times the resolution of current high definition TVs. And OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays promise rich contrast and color saturation, beyond that of other technologies.

"As the next evolutionary step in display technology, OLED will play a major role in reshaping our industry. I feel confident when I say that 4K OLED is a bona fide game changer," said Hyun-hwoi Ha, president and CEO of LG's Home Entertainment Company in a statement.

"OLED's benefits are obvious," he said. "There's no deterioration in picture quality and issues such as image blurring, distortion and color leakage in curved LED units are simply non-existent on curved OLED TVs."

Both the 65-inch and 77-inch models have built-in Ultra Surround sound, designed with Harmon Kardon, and have a new Smart TV operating system based on WebOS, which LG acquired last year from Hewlett-Packard.

The 77-inch display and LG's WebOS each were chosen as among the best products at the Consumer Electronics Show in January by
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:54 AM 08-26-2014
TV/Business Notes
TV Chief Takes 2-by-4 to a Proposed Cable Merger
By Emily Steelaug, The New York Times - Aug. 24, 2013

MEDINA, Minn. — As the oom-pah-pah oom-pah-pah of the band fades, Patrick Gottsch makes his way through silver-haired couples circling the dance floor at “The Mollie B Polka Party” in this quiet Midwestern town.

Mr. Gottsch, the chairman of the Rural Media Group, steps under a disco ball and issues a warning.

“As you folks in rural America know, every once in a while, you’ve got to take a two-by-four and hit the mule between the ears,” he said. “That is what we want to do now with Comcast and Time Warner.”

He says Comcast’s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable threatens the future of his television stations, which broadcast rural-themed shows like “The Mollie B Polka Party,” “National Tractor Pulling” and “All American Cowgirl Chicks.” And he urges the dancers, numbering about a thousand, to file protests about the merger with the Federal Communications Commission, which is reviewing the deal.

“There can’t be a wall built between urban and rural America,” Mr. Gottsch says later.

Raised on a family farm in Elkhorn, Neb., Mr. Gottsch, 61, has emerged as one of the country’s most vocal critics of the proposed media consolidation, which would reshape the video and broadband landscape. His warnings about the Comcast deal, as well as AT&T’s $48.5 billion bid for DirecTV, echo a fear that some television groups have expressed about the pending mergers: The deals would create behemoths that will use their heft to push around networks, forcing them to either cut the fees they charge for their programming or risk being thrown off the air. Some executives say the consolidation would result in challenges for new networks, especially those with niche or underserved audiences, and a lack of diversity on TV.

“As media companies get bigger, there always is the sense that the East Coast, West Coast and the N.F.L. cities are very well represented,” said Amy Yong, a media analyst at Macquarie Securities. “The rest of the U.S. gets ignored sometimes.”

While few executives at larger broadcasters have publicly opposed the deals — though they complain privately — Mr. Gottsch has stirred up a dust storm. The polka party this month was his first stop on a tour of state fairs, rodeos and farmers’ conventions to rustle up opposition. In Washington, he has hired a lobbying firm and appeared before a House antitrust subcommittee, the F.C.C. and the Justice Department. His two stations, RFD-TV and Family Net, have run spots urging viewers to speak out. Of the more than 63,000 comments filed to the F.C.C. about the proposed merger, about a fifth mention RFD-TV.

Several other companies have joined Rural Media in denouncing the Comcast acquisition, which would give it control of 35 percent of the country’s broadband Internet service coverage and 16 of the country’s top 20 cable markets. Netflix, the Internet streaming business, and Dish, a satellite television provider, have urged regulators to reject the bid. And The Blaze, the conservative channel run by Glenn Beck, has collected 42,000 comments from viewers that it plans to submit to the F.C.C. before the public comment period closes on Monday, a spokesman for the network said.

Mr. Gottsch said he did not strictly oppose the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV deals, but he wanted conditions added to ensure that his networks and other independent channels were carried to maintain a diverse programming slate. Some critics question his motives, however, as companies often exploit mergers to negotiate better financial terms.

In a letter to Mr. Gottsch dated Aug. 15, David L. Cohen, an executive vice president at Comcast, wrote, “Your efforts to drive a wedge between Comcast and rural viewers as a means to promote your own business interests is unfair and grossly inaccurate.”

Mr. Cohen said Comcast had not abandoned rural programming and continued to carry the network in cities like Nashville and Salt Lake City. He said Mr. Gottsch’s campaign had confirmed what his company already knew: Some viewers want rural-themed programming.

“Comcast’s commitment to rural-themed programming is simply not just about you and your self-interested pecuniary interests, which now seems to be the exclusive focus of your advocacy,” Mr. Cohen wrote.

Mr. Gottsch fears he has much to lose. He dreamed up the concept of a rural-themed network in the 1980s while selling satellite dishes. In the 1990s, he put together a business plan for RFD-TV, named for the Rural Free Delivery services established in the late 19th century to deliver mail to farm families. Willie Nelson was an early supporter, contributing his library of music shows like “Pop Goes the Country.”

But after Mr. Gottsch had trouble securing financing and getting his programming picked up, he started RFD-TV as a nonprofit public interest channel. In December 2000, Dish Network became the first service to carry it. RFD-TV became a profit-making entity in 2007.

Today, the 24-hour cable network is carried by more than a half dozen cable and satellite providers, reaching about 40 million homes. Still, it attracts a relatively small audience. This year, through July, RFD-TV had an average of 137,000 viewers during prime time, according to Nielsen. In contrast, Comcast’s USA Network drew 2.3 million prime-time viewers and Time Warner’s Headline News network 335,000.

The Rural Media Group, which is based in Omaha, also includes a satellite radio station and a magazine. It is profitable and on track to make about $40 million in revenue this year, Mr. Gottsch said. Its flagship, RFD-TV, features 6.5 hours of rural news a day and a mix of agriculture, equine, rural lifestyle and entertainment programming. Like other TV companies, it makes money two ways: through fees from the providers that carry its programming and by selling ads. The more homes a network is in, the bigger the potential audience for advertisers, and the more money for the network.

Fewer homes probably mean less money, and the mergers have Mr. Gottsch worried about his company’s fate. A warning sign came last year when Comcast pulled the network off the air in Colorado and New Mexico. RFD-TV’s contract with Time Warner Cable has expired. DirecTV does not offer Family Net, and AT&T’s U-verse has not had an agreement to carry RFD-TV, though it does carry Family Net.

“Once we gain approval to acquire DirecTV, which has nationwide reach, and with our significant rural broadband expansion that the merger makes possible, we expect content that’s focused on rural customers will have greater appeal,” Fletcher Cook, an AT&T spokesman, said in a statement.

The brouhaha over rural programming has attracted the attention of both Republican and Democratic legislators. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, said in a statement, “We need to make sure families have access to a diverse range of content, including rural-focused programming that’s important to millions of people in Minnesota and all across the country.”

At the polka party, Mr. Gottsch’s jeremiad had fans concerned that his stations would disappear from the airwaves.

“If they take him off, we are going to throw the TV out,” said Alfons Speidel, 75, of Goshen, Ind., between dances.

Eileen Tlusty, 73, of Protivin, Iowa, said, “I can’t live without it.” She added: “What am I going to watch? Dating in the nude?”
archiguy's Avatar archiguy 06:30 AM 08-26-2014
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
Technology Notes
LG Electronics begins sale of Ultra HD OLED displays
By Mike Snider, USA Today - Aug. 25, 2014

LG Electronics' newest displays that marry two high-end technologies -- Ultra HD and OLED -- are moving closer to the marketplace.

The Korean electronics giant today announced that it will begin taking pre-orders for 65-inch and 77-inch Ultra HD OLED TVs later this week in Korea.

Pricing and availability of the curved Ultra HD OLED TVs will be announced in the coming weeks, but LG expects to make them available by year's end.
For the life of me, I can't see the reason why these TV's will have curved screens. Might be groovy for the one center seating position, but it would have to diminish the viewing angles to the sides. Is there some technical reason these sets have to be curved that I'm missing?
slowbiscuit 07:14 AM 08-26-2014
Originally Posted by Keenan View Post
I'm currently on a monthly rate and yes, I think it is expensive. Definitely more expensive than the 2 Lifetimes I sold. But supposedly it's more than just the guide data, it's the constant improvement in the device and in the software that runs on the device along with the associated mobile features, etc. You're paying for more than just guide data. But yeah, I think it's still a little high, it used to be only $6.99 if I recall correctly.

I do think an OTA-only model should be less than the $14.95 per month being charged for the cable/OTA models though.
The new OTA box is a very poor deal without lifetime option, it should be priced around $400 all-in. And they intentionally crippled it by leaving out Mini support.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 09:06 AM 08-26-2014
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, - Aug. 24, 2014

FXX, Check Local Listings

The marathon every-episode showing of The Simpsons has been going nonstop for six days now, and we’re not even at the halfway point. Amazing. So tune in any time for more fun – though, of today’s batch, I have a particular fondness for “Trilogy of Error,” televised tonight at 10:30 ET. Why? Partly because its structure is particularly complex and inventive, and partly because the title is a play on an excellent Seventies-vintage TV movie, Trilogy of Terror, starring Karen Black, and partly because Homer loses part of his thumb in an accident, which is clumsy even for Homer. All of which compels me to give the episode a non-severed thumbs up.

Starz!, 7:05 p.m. ET

This 2000 Coen Brothers film is a marvelous comedy. At least I marvel at it every time I see it, and I see it virtually every time it’s televised. The images are amazing, the performances – starting with George Clooney in one of his best and bravest roles– are superb, and the music is every bit as dynamic as everything else in the movie. Oh, and it’s based on Homer’s Odyssey, and features John Goodman as a Depression-era Cyclops. So how many times have you seen that in a film? I’m just saying…

SyFy, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s challenge has the special-effects makeup contestants devising and designing mashups between characters and looks from The Wizard of Oz and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. And since this is shown on Syfy, expect some strange, Sharknado-type hybrids indeed. Personally, I’m hoping for a Jabbertoto. Or a Munchqueen.

FX, 10:00 p.m.
We now know that a coup has been put in place, one that pits brother against brother, and could well end up pitting brother against sister-in-law as well.

IFC, 10:00 p.m. ET

Do you feel like you’ve read my Bianculli’s Best Bet about this 1993 Bill Murray movie before? Maybe you have. Maybe a lot more than once. And what does that say about whether you’re stuck in a repetitive time loop? Don’t bother responding. I already know your answer…

* * * *

Critic's Notes
In a Fiercely Competitive Year, the Emmys Mostly Got It Right
By David Bianculli, - Aug. 26, 2014

So many of this year’s Emmy categories were crammed with such strong contenders, or diluted with jarringly inappropriate competitors, you wouldn’t think the Emmy voters could get it right. But surprisingly, for the most part, they did…

The most gratifying wins of all were the ones given to AMC’s Breaking Bad, which ended on such a strong note, with such a superb final season, that it deserves to be thought of as one of the finest drama series of all time. It was – and during last night’s prime-time Emmy Awards telecast on NBC, hosted by Seth Meyers, it was embraced as such.

Breaking Bad won for Outstanding Drama Series, Best Actor (Bryan Cranston), Supporting Actor (Aaron Paul), Supporting Actress (Anna Gunn), and for writing. Good for everyone on that show – especially series creator Vince Gilligan (see photo at top), who proved that sometimes, even in Hollywood, nice guys finish first.

Best Direction, in the drama category, was taken by True Detective, for its fabulously ambitious tracking shot that ended one episode with a breathtakingly fluid yet frenzied street-level confrontation.

The fact that True Detective competed as a series, rather than a miniseries, worked well for it there – but worked against it when both Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson competed as Best Actor in a Drama Series, against Cranston, who beat them both, as well as Jon Hamm of Mad Men, Kevin Spacey of House of Cards and Jeff Daniels of The Newsroom.

(I’m hoping that, without Cranston in the race, Hamm will win next year, in his final season of eligibility.)

Meanwhile, Jessica Lange, by competing in the Movies and Miniseries category instead of as a weekly drama series for FX’s American Horror Story, won another Emmy – same show, different role. And the dramas that competed in comedy categories, such as Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and Showtime’s Shameless, came up empty.

The laughter that greeted one of Meyer’s pointed jokes about that very issue may have revealed that the black-tie Emmy voters favored competitors who truly belonged in their chosen categories.

“We had comedies that made you laugh,” Meyers said in his well-written, comfortably delivered opening monologue, “and comedies that made you cry – because they were dramas submitted as comedies.”

So no Emmys for Netflix this year, and no undeserving winners. In fact, the Emmy voters this year, while once again overwhelmingly playing favorites with their favorites (such as ABC’s Modern Family), went out of their way to acknowledge some experimental TV risktakers, like the multiple awards for PBS’s Sherlock (including best actor and supporting actor for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) and a comedy writing award for Louis CK on FX’s Louie.

FX’s Fargo was shut out, but at least it was prominently nominated – FX’s Justified was wholly ignored in that respect. But Allison Janney completed her bifecta, winning for a dramatic role in Showtime’s Masters of Sex and a comic one in CBS’s Mom.

So the voting, all in all, was good this year.

And while many of the speeches and presenters were dull, give a special nod to Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston, who did a great bit about her not recognizing him (even though they had a kissing scene) as a former recurring actor on Seinfeld, then calling back to it after she won Best Comedy Actress for HBO’s Veep, when he stopped her run to the stage by planting a big, long comic kiss on her. Then she remembered…

I’ll remember that bit for a long time. And Billy Crystal’s moving, from-the-heart tribute to his late friend, Robin Williams.

And finally, I’ll remember the bit with the dull speech by the academy president – but only because of the way Sofia Vergara of Modern Family was put on a pedestal – literally – to distract and entertain the audience by showing off her good side.

Every side she showed, it turned out, was a good side…
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 09:11 AM 08-26-2014
TV Sports/Washington Notes
L.A. Mayor Garcetti seeks FCC review of Dodgers channel impasse
By Meg James, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Aug. 26, 2014

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is asking federal regulators to examine the stalemate between Time Warner Cable and other pay-TV operators that's prevented much of the region from watching Dodgers baseball this season.

Garcetti's request came late Monday in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, which is reviewing cable giant Comcast Corp.'s proposed $45-billion takeover of Time Warner Cable. A combination of the two companies would make Comcast the dominant pay-TV operator in the Los Angeles region with 1.8 million customers.

Monday was the deadline for people to voice their opposition or support on the proposed merger to the FCC, which was deluged with thousands of comments.

Some two-thirds of the Los Angeles area has been unable to watch most Dodgers games this season because Time Warner Cable has not reached a deal with the region's other cable and satellite operators. Comcast would inherit Time Warner Cable's expensive contract to distribute SportsNet LA on behalf of the Dodgers organization, which owns the channel.

"The Dodgers are a key part of the fabric of this City, and Dodgers games with the legendary Vin Scully in the broadcast booth have traditionally been available to viewers throughout this region at no extra charge," Garcetti wrote in the letter to the FCC. "That is not true this year."

Garcetti stopped short of asking the FCC to demand resolution of the Dodgers channel impasse as a condition for the government's approval of the deal.

But the mayor did ask the FCC to delve into programming disputes and "determine why the problem has not been resolved already, and then ask Comcast to show that the merger would alleviate, and not exacerbate, problems of this sort."

Until now, Comcast has been on the sidelines in the furor over the Dodgers channel.

But Time Warner Cable remains the only pay-TV operator in Southern California offering SportsNet LA, and it has been unable to get other pay-TV providers to carry the channel. There are only five weeks remaining in the regular season, and chances of a resolution are increasingly slim.

Comcast must secure the government's blessing to buy Time Warner Cable, and it might agree to a compromise that would introduce the Dodgers channel into millions of new homes in Southern California. The proposed merger isn't expected to be approved until early next year.

Competing pay-TV operators, including DirecTV, Charter Communications Inc., Dish Network Corp. and Cox Communications Inc., have said the price to carry the channel is too high. To become the distributor of SportsNet LA, Time Warner Cable agreed to an $8.35-billion contract over 25 years, according to a valuation by the Dodgers and Major League Baseball.

To help recoup its costs, Time Warner Cable has asked other carriers to pay about $4.50 a month per subscriber household in Los Angeles, according to consulting firm SNL Kagan. But DirecTV and others have said that is too much for a channel that showcases one team and televises games for only half the year.

"We owe it to the people of Los Angeles to assure that further consolidation will improve their lives," Garcetti said in the letter.

Garcetti also asked the FCC to require Comcast to continue to follow so-called net neutrality guidelines to treat all Internet traffic equally. He also requested that the FCC encourage Comcast to increase its commitment to provide low-cost Internet service to more low-income families.

Comcast provides inexpensive Internet service to poor families through a program called Internet Essentials. It says it has about 1.4 million subscribers in Chicago, Philadelphia and other markets.

"Unfortunately, that program has not worked well," Garcetti wrote in the letter. "The potential significance of such a program in Los Angeles is undeniable. It is estimated that as many as 30% of all Angelenos do not have Internet access. But to be effective, the program needs improvements."

Satellite TV giant Dish Network and the TV channel WeatherNation also expressed opposition Monday, as did dozens of activist groups and consumer watchdogs, including Consumers Union, the Greenlighting Institute, the Harry Potter Alliance and Writers Guild of America, West.

Most of the groups contend that Comcast already was a colossus, and the government shouldn't allow it to gain even more power. Many groups expressed concern that Comcast would become the gatekeeper of the Internet because it would provide high-speed Internet service to nearly 40% of the country.

Acquiring Time Warner Cable would give Comcast nearly 30 million pay-TV and high-speed Internet subscribers.

"The merger would create a telecommunications and pay-TV entity of unprecedented size and scope," the consumer group Free Press said in a statement. "Its control over high-speed Internet services would eclipse the power once held by the monopoly Bell system."

The Writers Guild of America, West, which is based in Los Angeles, noted that four years ago it objected to Comcast's takeover of media company NBCUniversal, which includes the NBC broadcast network, movie studio Universal Pictures and cable channels USA, Bravo, Syfy, MSNBC and CNBC. Regulators allowed Comcast to buy NBCUniversal, making it one of a handful of media companies that own broadcast networks and a major Hollywood studio.

"Comcast has used its market power to harm content competitors on both traditional and online content platforms," the Writers Guild said.

Comcast defended its record.

"As we've said from the outset, we believe this is an approvable transaction and we expect to agree with regulators on conditions that will further enhance the public interest while not being unduly burdensome on our business or consumers," Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen wrote Monday in a blog post. "As we have described in detail, our getting bigger is better for consumers."

Cohen noted that because Comcast and Time Warner Cable do not operate in the same markets, the deal would not be anti-competitive. The FCC is simultaneously looking at Comcast's plan to take over some of Charter Communications' markets, including in Los Angeles.

Some of the activists cited the escalating trend of media consolidation. Within three months of Comcast announcing its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable, AT&T Inc. unveiled its $49-billion offer for satellite TV giant DirecTV, based in El Segundo.

"That Time Warner and Comcast's efforts toward a consolidated media are destructive for freedom and democracy should come as no surprise to millennials," said Andrew Slack, the head of the Harry Potter Alliance, part of a movement demanding an open Internet. "Growing up with Harry Potter, we were exposed to a wizarding world whose consolidated media led to Voldemort gaining power.... Thankfully the heroes of our favorite stories have successfully fought media consolidation. ... So will we."
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 09:15 AM 08-26-2014
TV Notes
Tom Cibrowski Promoted to No. 2 at ABC News
By Tim Moloy, - Aug. 25, 2014

“Good Morning America” senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski has been promoted to senior vice president at ABC News, where he will serve as No. 2 to president James Goldston.

Michael Corn, previously executive producer of ABC's “World News,” will replace Cibrowski at “Good Morning America.” Almin Karamehmedovic, executive producer of “Nightline,” will replace Corn at “World News.”

Cibrowski, whose full title is senior vice president of ABC News Programs, News Gathering and Special Events, has spent nearly 25 years at ABC and 13 at “GMA.” As senior executive producer, he led “GMA” to break a staggering 16-year streak for NBC's “Today” at No. 1. He also led the show to four Emmys for Best Morning Show and a Murrow award for “Robin's Journey.”

“For many years Tom has been a true leader at ABC News,” Goldston said in a message to staff. “Tom and I served side by side in the trenches at GMA, and I have witnessed countless times his uncanny news sense, his tremendous command of breaking news, and his absolute mastery in the control room.”

Corn was a senior producer for eight years at “GMA” before joining “World News,” where he has been executive producer for three years. In 2013, his team won the Murrow award for Best Newscast.

During this “World News” tenure, the show began new features like “Real Money” and “America Strong.” He traveled with anchor Diane Sawyer to Afghanistan, the scene of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and the Gulf Coast after the B.P. oil spill. At “GMA,” he produced the first live broadcast from inside the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta while tracking the H1N1 “swine flu” virus, oversaw investigatives, and led the overnight desk for several years.

Karamehmedovic, who joined ABC 16 years ago and led “Nightline” to steady ratings growth, takes the lead at “World News” as David Muir becomes the show's new anchor next month. He has reported for ABC News from more than 90 countries and from wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Russia, Sudan and Southern Lebanon. He has also covered drug trafficking in Mexico, lived among indigenous people in the Amazon, and investigated exorcisms in Africa.

He has won eight Emmys, two Overseas Press Club Awards and two Genesis Awards. The show won the 2014 Murrow Award for Hard News and was just nominated for 13 Emmys.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 09:20 AM 08-26-2014
TV Notes
NBC News President Rouses the Network
By Bill Carter, The New York Times - Aug. 25, 2014

In her first year as president of NBC News, Deborah Turness received one message loud and clear: Welcome to the feeding frenzy.

It didn’t take long for Ms. Turness to realize that the attention paid to broadcast journalism in America — the ratings, the rumors, the gossip — is exponentially more intense than anything she experienced during her TV news career in her native Britain.

“The heat that happens here is quite unique,” Ms. Turness, with a hint of a rueful laugh, said in an interview after NBC News announced its latest upheaval: the ouster of David Gregory as anchor of “Meet the Press” and the naming of Chuck Todd as his replacement.

That move came a few weeks after Ms. Turness was criticized for the decision to remove an Egyptian-American correspondent, Ayman Mohyeldin, from Gaza in the early days of the conflict there.

The criticism suggested that NBC withdrew him because his reports were anti-Israel, a charge she disputed as “dead wrong.”

Still, Ms. Turness, hardly cowed, is unapologetically upbeat. “It has been an incredibly productive year,” she said over an Earl Grey tea in the Rock Center Café. “I have achieved more in the first year than I ever thought I could.”

And, in her view, much needed to be accomplished: “People in the organization from top to bottom recognized that NBC News hadn’t kept up with the times in all sorts of ways, for maybe 15 years,” she said. “I think the organization had gone to sleep.”

When Ms. Turness, 47, took over last August, the division’s ratings had gone to seed. The “Today” show had lost its once impregnable morning news lead to ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Sunday morning’s “Meet the Press” was in steady decline. Only its nightly newscast with Brian Williams maintained supremacy.

Patricia Fili-Krushel, the chairwoman of the NBCUniversal News Group, conducted a broad search to find a leader to fix the wounded division, which employs 2,000 people. “I felt like NBC News needed new leadership,” Ms. Fili-Krushel said. “It needed to move into the future.”

The future is a burning question for all television news outlets, as more consumers are getting news — and video — from digital sources. NBC had a long run as the dominant news network, but ABC’s surge has put an end to that. CBS continues to trail in the morning and evening, though it now wins on Sunday mornings. Defying most network trends, all three evening newscasts are up this season, with NBC posting its best viewer totals since 2006, an average of 8.9 million, up 6 percent.

Ms. Fili-Krushel identified Ms. Turness, who had earned a reputation for high-spirited leadership during her nine years as one of the top news executives for the British network ITN. One former colleague, who asked not to be identified because of possible future business with NBC, said Ms. Turness brought “a bit of rock-chick swagger to a newsroom full of middle-aged men.”

Rock runs in the family. Her first husband, Damien Steward, a television journalist, was once a roadie for the Clash. Ms. Turness once competed in a 33-day Peking-to-Paris off-road car rally. She is now married to John Toker, former director of communications for Britain’s security and intelligence. The couple moved from London to Bronxville, N.Y., where they live with their two young daughters.

Continue reading the main story
Her reputation for full-on energy has settled in at NBC. “She is a dynamo,” said Brian Williams. “She is a relentless journalist.”

Matt Lauer, the “Today” co-anchor, was equally effusive. “We have all been impressed by how she is able to focus on every aspect of the organization,” he said. “For the first time in a very long time everybody wants to be on the team.”

Everybody seems an overstatement. One NBC News veteran described the internal reaction to Ms. Turness as mixed, with some concluding she should have made a more measured entrance, taking time to acclimate to the coolly professional culture of NBC News — and American television in general. (Ms. Turness does not have oversight over MSNBC.)

Her handling of Mr. Gregory’s exit led to internal criticism for not making a more decisive move as reports flooded the media that Mr. Gregory was on his way out.

Still, Ms. Turness has prominent backers. After enduring the rockiest period in his 17-year tenure at “Today,” which included the abrupt departure of the co-host, Ann Curry, Mr. Lauer surprised some in June by agreeing to stay on for several more years. “One of the biggest determining factors in my staying is having met Deborah and worked with her for eight months,” he said. Ms. Turness called Mr. Lauer’s decision to remain the “proudest moment” of her first year. “It’s possible that not so long ago he was thinking he might take a different path,” she said. “The fact that he chose to stay and buy in just meant so much.”

Addressing the troubled situation at “Today” was Ms. Turness’s first priority. Now she points to “nine straight months of growth” for the show. But it still trails the also-growing “G.M.A.” substantially in the overall ratings, though it has improved among total viewers and in the crucial 25- to 54-year-old audience, and is ahead for the season among the 18-to-49 group. Ms. Turness said “Today” was now adding viewers in their 30s, and, helped by a base of more affluent viewers, it claims to have booked record ad sales heading into the new season.

As “Today” has stabilized, the evening news race has become more heated. ABC’s newscast, though it remains about a million viewers behind and trails NBC in the 18-to-49 audience, has found enough strength in the upper end of the 25-to-54 group to edge past NBC several weeks this summer.

Whatever happens with evening news ratings, Ms. Turness said NBC would not change its approach, a comment seemingly intended to toss a gauntlet in ABC’s direction. Numerous NBC News staff members described both “G.M.A.” and ABC’s evening newscast as moving in a tabloid direction.

The example most cited related to the killing of Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene in Afghanistan on Aug. 5. ABC led its “World News” that evening with coverage of a tour bus collision in Times Square in which there were no fatalities.

“If NBC started dumbing down and doing tabloid news we would lose a large number of our viewers,” Ms. Turness said, adding that she didn’t want to pursue “a sort of race to the bottom.”

She laughed off a report that she was afraid of the incoming new anchor for ABC’s evening newscast, David Muir. “I think David Muir is the right man for ABC News,” she said. “And Brian Williams is right for NBC. Trust is earned over a long period of time.”

An ABC News spokesman responded to the claims about its taking a more tabloid approach with a statement describing its style as including both “the big stories” as well as “important information our audience can use every day.” ABC also cited recent reports of NBC paying for interviews, a controversial tactic. ABC announced three years ago it was abandoning the practice. NBC denies paying for interviews.

As for “Meet the Press,” Ms. Turness said she worked with Mr. Gregory to try to make changes, but “we weren’t able to build a new vision together in the end.”

Her new vision for “Meet the Press” includes adding a regular panel of journalists who will question guests, something of a return to the venerable show’s original format. “The show needs more edge,” she said. “It needs to be consequential. I think the show had become a talking shop that raked over the cold embers of what had gone on the previous week. The one-on-one conversation belongs to a decade ago. We need more of a coffeehouse conversation.”

The changes at “Meet the Press” won’t be the last from Ms. Turness. An overhaul of digital operations is next on her agenda, and she indicated that no one at the network should be comfortable with the status quo.

“Some change isn’t easy,” she said. “It’s painful, but an organization has to go through it. And a lot of that is still ahead.”
TheRatPatrol's Avatar TheRatPatrol 09:25 AM 08-26-2014
Surprised to see a new OTA only TiVo DVR. I thought they were getting out of the hardware business?
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 09:26 AM 08-26-2014
Critic's Notes
‘Chelsea Lately,’ or better not at all
E! late night chat show wraps up after seven years on the air
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Aug. 26, 2013

Watching the last few episodes of E!’s “Chelsea Lately” is like walking late into a party where everyone seems to be having a good time but isn’t that interested in whether or not you join in.

Worse, sometimes it seems that maybe they aren’t having such a good time but are pretending to because they’re afraid of the hostess.

The series, which airs its one-hour final episode tonight at 11, has always been a little too self-referential, with many of the jokes depending on the chemistry among the star, Chelsea Handler, and her rotating cast of sidekicks and staffers.

Although Handler’s gender made her stand out among late-night comics, she’ll have to come up with more if she’s going to get people to seek her out when she debuts on Netflix next year.

The episode that aired last Tuesday included a brief interview with the actress Chloë Grace Moretz, but the main focus was on the cast.

After a brief stand-up routine in which she mentioned visiting a clairvoyant, Handler introduced a taped sketch showing what two of her regulars, Chris Franjola and Heather McDonald, would be doing in the future.

In garish clothes and aging makeup, the two were seen making a personal appearance at a motel near the Burbank airport. Franjola was trying to sell his exercise apparatus, “Ab-or-Shun,” so named “because if you don’t have the abs, the ladies will shun you.” After pointing out that this sounds like “abortion,” McDonald offered a handsome attendee a lap dance.

Then seated behind her desk, Handler asked a panel of three regulars what they would miss most about the show.

Brad Wollack offered that he isn’t going to miss being bossed around. He then showed a video of himself spiking a drink that McDonald made him get for her.

“I’m even annoyed by you,” said Handler, “and I’m not even sure why.”

Like almost everything she said in the episode, this line got a huge laugh from the audience and the panelists.

Later, another panelist, Jen Kirkman, wondering rhetorically what you give “the woman who has everything,” did a brief tap routine. Although it may have been meant as a spoof of sycophancy, it felt sycophantic.

The panel discussed for a while a paparazzi shot of Handler and a non-Hollywood-looking guy who she said was just a friend. She then showed a photo of the last man she had had sex with: Mike Tyson.

They then joked about recent reports that Denzel Washington had started a detox program after spending a month on a boat with his wife. The panelist Jeff Wild said, “That’s such an unrelatable super-rich thing.”

Putting Handler ahead of Washington — not to mention giving her story more time — suggests that the people behind “Chelsea Lately” have an inflated opinion of its importance in the showbiz universe.

The episode ended with a purported highlight of its seven years on the air: a series of outtakes from a sketch in which the cast members kept making one another crack up. The cast probably enjoyed it more than the viewers at home.

On Wednesday’s episode, Joel McHale, the host of E!’s showbiz series “The Soup,” interviewed Handler about her time on the show. Their sarcastic styles meshed well.

Handler and another panel of regulars spent a long time talking about which of their co-workers would be their first and last choices if they were forced to sleep with one of them. Loni Love said that she would choose Handler’s “assistant,” Chuy Bravo, a diminutive but heavy-set Mexican comedian whose physique and accent are frequently mocked.

In both episodes, celebrities shared sarcastic memories of Handler and the show. The writing was generally of the same quality as the rest of the episodes.

It’s understandable that a long-running series would indulge in some navel gazing in its last days, but “Chelsea Lately” has always been too focused on itself. The series even had a spinoff called “After Lately,” an unfunny fake reality show about life behind the scenes.

“Chelsea Lately” has decent ratings considering the plethora of late-night comedies, so some viewers must have found the interplay among Handler and her minions charming and funny. Talk shows are known for trying to create an onscreen “family.”

But this show’s family feels particularly insular and self-absorbed. One can watch a random episode of “The Daily Show” and immediately get the regulars’ shtick and how Jon Stewart plays off it. These two “Chelsea Lately” episodes left occasional viewers aware that Handler and her staff think they’re funny without showing why.

After “Lately,” Handler should consider getting a new act.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 09:27 AM 08-26-2014
Originally Posted by TheRatPatrol View Post
Surprised to see a new OTA only TiVo DVR. I thought they were getting out of the hardware business?
Or maybe there are enough of us out there to justify them putting out a product to fulfill a demand.
mogrub's Avatar mogrub 09:55 AM 08-26-2014
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post
For the life of me, I can't see the reason why these TV's will have curved screens. Might be groovy for the one center seating position, but it would have to diminish the viewing angles to the sides. Is there some technical reason these sets have to be curved that I'm missing?
Nope, you haven't missed a thing. The curved sets are more expensive. The higher price, plus the marketing opportunity that comes with the novelty of the curve, are the primary reasons why they exist.

It's interesting to compare the "reasons" for a curved screen in the various marketing campaigns. There doesn't seem to be much agreement on what the actual advantage is.

Maybe because there isn't any? IMHO, of course.
DrLar's Avatar DrLar 10:33 AM 08-26-2014
I'm still waiting for actual 4K content anywhere...
dcowboy7's Avatar dcowboy7 10:52 AM 08-26-2014
Sony 4K media player says it has over 200 titles.

Am i missing something ?
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