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post #96811 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 10:40 AM
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TV Review
“Red Band Society” an appealing drama
By Joanne Ostrow, Denver Post - Sep. 15, 2014

Terminal illness brings out the love, humor and camaraderie in a group of teens in “Red Band Society,” premiering Sept. 17 on Fox (locally 8 p.m. on KDVR), a series that is much more nuanced and thoughtful than it sounds.

“Red Band Society” has the potential to be a teen destination as a tear-jerking and humor-laced hospital dramedy. Anyone who felt misty-eyed at “The Fault in Our Stars” will recognize the angst in this story of ill youth confronting mortality (and sneaking beers and kisses) in a hospital, pushing the limits like teens anywhere.

Octavia Spencer (“The Help”) plays a tough-love nurse. Dave Annable (“Brothers & Sisters”) plays a knowing doctor. Griffin Gluck (“Back in the Game,” “Private Practice”) is Charlie, narrating the story from within a coma. New patient Jordi (Nolan Sotillo, “Prom”), comes to the hospital seeking treatment. The usual “Breakfast Club” personalities, including the “mean” cheerleader, the rebel and the know-it-all, are all aboard.

What could be a trite pitch for togetherness is probed for deeper meaning in an hour that has a big heart behind its hip stance. The narrative will play with time in a way that takes the story out of the confines of the hospital, exploring life before illness. Overall, there’s optimism here, if not about recoveries then about humanity in general.

The series was inspired by the personal story of Albert Espinosa, who lived in a Spanish hospital for 14 years. The executive producer, Margaret Nagle, said her experience in hospitals during the time her brother was in a coma. She acknowledges it’s a hospital dramedy, but she aims to make it something more. The pilot suggests, her prescription is working.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/ostrow/2...g-drama/19926/


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post #96812 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 10:45 AM
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Q&A
Q&A: Queen Latifah Talks Adding Twists to Her Talkshow
By Shelli Weinstein, Variety.com - Sep. 15, 2014

The second season of “The Queen Latifah Show” premieres on Monday (check local listings) with not only a new look, but with twists in store for guests and viewers. Queen Latifah talked to Variety about her motivations for hosting a talkshow, what audiences can expect from the new season, being a hip-hop kid at heart and her HBO biopic on Bessie Smith.

What originally inspired you to do a talkshow?
Honestly, a lot of people had come to me about doing a talkshow since everyone found out that Oprah was going off the air. Everybody was kind of rushing to fill that vacuum and we saw a lot of people have come and gone and tried, and I think you have to take your time. No one else is Oprah, there is only one Oprah and there is no such thing as the next Oprah. Oprah is still busy being Oprah. So I don’t want to try to fill Oprah’s shoes.

But I did feel when Overbrook came to me, the idea of doing it with them and the idea of doing it with Sony, which is known for high-quality material, I felt was intriguing. I’m telling you, people threw money at me, but it was not interesting to me at all because I enjoy doing the things I like to do. So if I’m acting in a project, I’m doing that project because I enjoy doing it and think it challenges me in a way that I feel is fulfilling. Money does not do it for me. I think you do great things and money comes. That’s how it’s always been since I was a young kid.

The idea of doing it with these partners was a great thing to me. I felt this is my generation. We all kind of started from the bottom and made it to the top and built our careers, and we’ve been all around the world, we’re hip-hop kids at heart, and we wanted to bring that journey to the show and build a show around me.

It feels like home. I walked back into that studio a week and ago and it felt good, like “this is my house.” In a way of “I’m home, I’m comfortable.” This is where I’m going to come to work every day and work with my crew to present a great show.

What’s been the biggest challenge in keeping things fresh every day?
For us it’s trying to be original and reflect who I really am, and that’s the challenge. I’m a music lover and I have an extremely varied taste in music, in art and culture, and appreciation of everything I’ve seen in my journey on this planet. And it’s trying to bring those things to people’s attention. For me it’s about making sure that we offer information that people may want to use in their daily lives that could be helpful to people. Continuing to do that is always a challenge and it’s something that we desire to do so we’re always trying to make that happen and keep it fresh and as high quality as we can.

How did it feel finishing your first year?
It felt like I had pledged a sorority and it was that sort of hell week for nine months. It started off like that and it had its ups and downs and its challenges. It’s one of the toughest things I’ve done, but I already knew it would be tough. But where it might have been tough for other people, it wasn’t for me because I had done another talkshow years and years ago, so I know how tough the schedule is, but I also know how rewarding it is. I knew what it felt like to walk out of there after having done a great show or having changed someone’s life. I knew what the power of this show could be, so I never lost the light at the end of the tunnel, and I knew if we could just get a rhythm and get everything flowing on the set and book great guests and have great execution then I would be very comfortable being just me, just La. And that’s what’s happened. It’s worked its way toward being great, not just good, so I’m excited. I’m still as passionate as I was when it all came together.

Has any interview gone in a completely different direction than you planned?
That would be Cloris Leachman. And guess what, I’d have Cloris Leachman back tomorrow. I just remember it was so funny, because I was still green and everyone was freaking out, like “What the hell is Cloris gonna do?” but I just laughed my ass off. It was actually a day off for me! It was just, “Listen, camera’s – go wide! Mics – stay on! Let her do whatever the hell she wants to do!” Because it’s Cloris Leachman, we’ll get a question in here and there but just let her go! So for me, as a performer, that was no problem but it was probably hell for the producers.

What new elements do you have coming up in season 2?
Well, there’s going to be a lot of spontaneity, I can tell you that! Some of the things we have for this year are really taking things one step further. We were able to do a lot of great things last year and make a lot of cool things happen for people. There are so many people out there doing extraordinary things every day. We were just hoping to take their lives one step further, and that’s one of the things that helps us walk out of the building feeling good about ourselves.

Also, this cool thing we have called the “Queen Screen” where we’re popping up all across America, showing up live, people won’t expect us, and we’re going to play some fun games to see if they can win some prizes. The cool thing about just kind of popping up on people is that you never know what’s going to come out of their mouth, so I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of fun we can have.

And one of the things we’re going to do is take you out on a high note. Having this hour a day is a privilege, for so many people it’s a break from their day, a chance to step out of whatever is going on in their everyday lives, have a little fun and be inspired in some way. At the end of the day, we want to send you out the door feeling good. So we want to end our show on a high note, with whatever that may be. It may be a performance, something funny, a game, anyway it’s going to be something that makes you feel “Man, that felt good, that was a good hour.”

“Bessie” is coming up on HBO, what can you share about that?
“Bessie” is done, we shot “Bessie” this summer, which tells the life of Bessie Smith, who was a great blues singer, one of the greatest of her time. The first to play in front of an integrated audience, the highest paid entertainer of her time. She took down so many barriers and really brought blues to a national and international level, initially in the 1930s. She was an incredible woman and I wanted to tell her story. This is a project that’s been 22 years in the making and we finally found the right script and the right team and HBO, and I’m excited for people to see it.

http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/quee...ow-1201304808/


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post #96813 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 11:09 AM
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TV Sports
Time Warner Cable to televise final six Dodgers games on local TV
By Meg James, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Sep. 15, 2014

Time Warner Cable has agreed to broadcast the final week of the Los Angeles Dodgers' regular season baseball on local broadcast station KDOC.

The move -- in a show of goodwill to Los Angeles area baseball fans -- enables millions of viewers throughout the region to watch the final six games of the regular season. The Dodgers are locked in a tight race to clinch the National League West Division title.

For much of the season, millions of Dodgers fans have been unable to see much of the action because Time Warner Cable is the only major pay-TV distributor in the region that offers sports channel Sports Net LA, which carries the Dodgers games.

On Monday, Time Warner Cable said it has secured an agreement to broadcast the final week of Dodger games, beginning on Sept. 22, on the independent broadcast station KDOC. Legendary broadcaster Vin Scully will call the games.

KDOC is carried by cable and satellite operators, including DirecTV, Dish Network, Charter Communications, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse.

Fans who do not have a pay-TV subscription can receive the station over the air with an antenna.

The final six games, including a series against rival San Francisco Giants, could determine whether the Dodgers make the post-season playoffs and have a chance to win the World Series. The games also will be simulcast on the cable channel owned by the Dodgers, SportsNet LA.

“Time Warner Cable is part of this community and we’re Dodger fans too,” said Dinni Jain, Time Warner Cable’s chief operating officer. “Angelenos love their Dodgers, and we’re happy to give them a way to watch their beloved team during this pennant chase.”

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/


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post #96814 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 11:38 AM
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Critic's Notes
Frights That Tickle the Funny Bone
Tim and Eric Debut ‘Bedtime Stories’
By Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times - Sep. 14, 2014

Tim and Eric, those early adapters of the short satirical video, are still around, and in the Thursday-into-Friday Adult Swim block, they serve up a pretty amusing new series, a “Twilight Zone” with a deadpan sense of humor.

The show, “Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories” (at 12:15 a.m. Eastern time on Friday), features Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, along with assorted guests, in bite-size stories that might have been written by the love child of Rod Serling and Steven Wright. That a doctor (played by Bob Odenkirk) might have a practice that consists entirely of amputating people’s toes is only the beginning of a tale from this bizarre universe. How he disposes of those toes is another matter entirely.

Mr. Heidecker and Mr. Wareheim have long been Adult Swim regulars (“Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job!”). The new series is slicker, and perhaps sicker, than most of their work, which should only increase its ability to attract guest stars. Certainly M. Emmet Walsh, as the investigator who pursues that psycho doctor, looks to be having a great time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/ar...ref=television


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post #96815 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 11:41 AM
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Nielsen Notes
'Utopia' Bucks Reality Trend With Big DVR Ratings Growth
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Sep. 15, 2014

Reality is not a genre that typically sees significant improvement from DVR views. As much as networks have (justifiably) been focusing ratings attention on time-shifting, it's largely an arena for scripted dramas and comedies.

But Utopia's initial DVR boosts show a stronger-than-typical delayed audience for Fox's big unscripted play for the fall — after largely stumbling out of the gate in live-plus-same day showings. The second episode of Utopia rose a full 56 percent in the key demo — the biggest lift of any broadcast show last week (Mon. - Wed.) outside of CBS' Extant.

The average 1.4 rating among adults 18-49, after the DVR lift, put it as No. 3 for that Tuesday — and not the last-place position it was in same-day showings. It's good news for the freshman series, which opened on the eve of the official 2014 fall TV season. Friday's episode averaged just a 0.7 rating in the demo in same-day showings.

Newly-minted Fox Broadcasting chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman say that they're banking on the show to grow.

"We're definitely going to exhibit patience," Walden told The Hollywood Reporter last week. "What exactly that means, it's hard to tell. I'd say that as long as we're feeling creatively satisfied with the show, we're going to do everything in our power to give it an opportunity to thrive and grow."
Utopia adopts its regular twice-weekly schedule this week, airing on Tuesday and Friday.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...end-big-732838


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post #96816 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 11:44 AM
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TV Review
‘The Meredith Vieira Show,’ same old
Former 'Today' anchor's talk show entirely lacks orginality
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 15, 2014

Jane Pauley, Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira all left their jobs as anchors on “Today” trailing enormous amounts of goodwill. They decided to draw on that goodwill by starring in a daytime talk show.

Judging by the brief experience of Pauley and Couric on the job — and the long experience of stars like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen De Generes and Jerry Springer — one needs more than a fan base to make it in daytime talk. Oprah brought inspiration and self-improvement; Ellen brought humor; and Jerry brought trashy chaos.

Judging by the first three episodes of “The Meredith Vieira Show,” which premiered in syndication last Monday, Vieira is making the same mistake as Pauley and Couric: She’s imitating earlier daytime successes without offering anything new except herself.

The result is a dully familiar if inoffensive hour, with some awkward moments. Vieira will burn through her goodwill quickly if she doesn’t start providing something original and unique.

Each episode starts with a segment called “The List,” in which Vieira addresses three topics. In her first episode, the first was topic “Why This Show?” Her answer was “Because I missed you!”

She went on to say that the show is “sort of a combination of everything I’ve been doing for past almost 40 years in this business: a lot of storytelling, talk and opinion, and games. And if I do this right, I hope to make a little difference in everyone’s life and have fun doing it.”

That vague description fit what followed.

She introduced her husband and her daughter, saying that her sons were unavailable. After a supposedly surprise taped segment in which her family members talked about her — her daughter said she cries at everything —her sons showed up, and Vieira cried.

Then a bunch of performers from current Broadway musicals sang songs with rewritten lyrics about Vieira. Although the hooha was typical of current talk-show premieres, it would have been more appropriate in a series finale. Why is the show paying tribute to its host before she’s done anything?

Except for one member, the house band is female, but the show loses feminism points because the one man is the bandleader.

Meredith introduced a middle-aged man as Jon Harris, her best friend of 20 years, adding, “I know you’re going to love him as much as I do.” Presumably meant to be the on-set sidekick, Harris did almost nothing in the first three episodes.

The celebrity interviews are standard. In the first episode, Vieira encouraged Jennifer Lopez to say that she has trouble finding dates and that she sometimes has “unsexy mom moments.”

Lopez then played a game called “Car-aoke,” in which Vieira and the “Today” co-hostess Hoda Kotb took turns singing songs in a car; only they could hear the music, through headphones. Lopez, sitting at the wheel, had to guess the songs’ titles. Hilarity didn’t quite ensue.

The gears shifted when Vieira introduced a segment about a group of disabled young dancers, one of whom spoke inspiring words about overcoming obstacles and redefining beauty. Vieira announced that the troupe’s dream was to perform at Lincoln Center, then surprised them with the announcement that the show had arranged the booking for them.

After another game segment, in which an audience member participated, with much help from Vieira, everyone in the audience was given a high-end blender.

The episode ended with a very brief tribute to the late Joan Rivers.

The second episode was more serious.

The actor Seth Rogen and his wife, Lauren, spoke about their campaign to raise funds for research into Alzheimer’s disease, which killed her mother. Vieira said that her own brother died this summer from Alzheimer’s at age 65.

Harris announced that the show had a surprise for Vieira: A line of women representing various corporations entered holding enormous checks to be donated to Alzheimer’s research. Each woman made a brief presentation that included a description of the company — e.g., “the leader in long-term-care insurance” — reducing the emotional impact of the moment.

The former Spice Girl Mel B., a.k.a. Scary Spice, discussed her current projects and then sat through a pointless segment called “What Scares Scary Spice?” All of the comedy segments are introduced by the band members with deliberately cheesy theme songs, a bit that was funny when Paul Shaffer first did it on “Late Night” 30 years ago.

Wednesday’s episode featured the Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, who was left paralyzed from the waist down in an ATV accident this summer and who talked about her impressive progress in rehab. The impact of that was lessened by yet another surprise: The star of a home-improvement show came on to announce that while Van Dyken-Rouen was in the hospital, he had installed accessible features in her kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

The thinking behind various segments is hard to follow. On Tuesday, Vieira talked about a young boy who advertised his free piano concert with a hand-lettered sign that drew attention when someone posted it online. So the show invited a completely different boy with his own internet following to sing a song.

In the third show, two audience members dressed as bananas had to answer rapid-fire questions or be dropped into vats of whipped cream. Oddly, when they got a question correct, they were lowered toward their vat. Even more oddly, the segment plugged a national baked-goods company because the company had donated the banana costumes.

But even if the segments were well executed, they would still be the same sort of drollery that is featured on most celebrity-oriented daytime talk shows. The plug-filled interviews, social-media-driven human-interest features, backstage pranks and constant giveaways and surprises are also tediously familiar.

Vieira’s chief asset, the hint of mischief and sarcasm she brought to “Today” and even “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” is absent on her own show.

If Vieira and her producers can’t make “The Meredith Vieira Show” a little different, no one is going to have any fun, and soon they won’t have any show.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/the...show-same-old/


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post #96817 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 12:16 PM
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 15, 2014

...

THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART
PBS, 11:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s show features two of the people making some of the smartest, most entertaining and most illuminating television of their generation: guest Ken Burns, whose The Roosevelts: An Intimate History continues tonight on PBS, and host Jon Stewart.
...

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
tvworthwatching now lists The Daily Show where I expect it: on Comedy Central. The Comedy Central web site likewise lists Ken Burns as the guest for tonight's The Daily Show.

My very humble setup:
Man Cave:Vizio E500i-A1 "Smart TV" (50-in 1080p 120Hz LED/LCD, has Netflix app.), Blu-ray players (Sony BDP-S3100, old LG BD390), Roku (the original model: N1000), PC (Windows 7), Comcast Internet (25Mbps/5Mbps).
Bedroom:LG 32LV3400-UA TV (32-in 768p 60Hz LED/LCD), HD DVR (Motorola RNG200N), Xfinity Comcast cable (Digital Starter Package), DVD/VHS player.
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post #96818 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 02:17 PM
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tvworthwatching now lists The Daily Show where I expect it: on Comedy Central. The Comedy Central web site likewise lists Ken Burns as the guest for tonight's The Daily Show.
HA. Fixed.

Walking the fine line between jaw-dropping and a plain ol' yawn.
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post #96819 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 03:03 PM
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TV Sports
Time Warner Cable to televise final six Dodgers games on local TV
By Meg James, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Sep. 15, 2014

The final six games, including a series against rival San Francisco Giants, could determine whether the Dodgers make the post-season playoffs and have a chance to win the World Series.
That would be an EPIC collapse.

Dodgers have a 7.5 game lead over the brewers so for the dodgers to miss the playoffs even if the brewers went 10-2 all the dodgers have to do is go 4-9.

Think we can say the dodgers are in....they dont have the highest $$ payroll for nuthin.

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post #96820 of 96839 Old Yesterday, 11:53 PM
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TV Notes
Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly Sell Comedy to ABC
By Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Sep. 15, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Jimmy Kimmel’s humor could be expanding to ABC’s primetime lineup.

The network’s beloved late night host has sold a pilot script via ABC Studios, which made a major script commitment plus penalties. Kimmel will write the pilot himself, something he has never done before, as well as produce alongside his longtime friend Carson Daly. Joining the pair as an executive producer on the project is a more experienced scripted hand, Dan Fogelman, whose résumé includes creating ABC comedy The Neighbors.

The untitled half-hour entry is about a once massively popular VJ who loses it all and is forced to move back in with his parents and take a job as host of a local radio "morning zoo." If that scenario sounds familiar, it should — the concept is loosely based on Daly’s career before his recent resurgence as host of NBC breakout reality competition The Voice and a regular role on the same network’s Today show.
Kimmel and Daly have a lengthy shared history, dating back to the mid-1990s, when the former convinced the latter to drop out of college and become his intern at popular L.A. radio station KROQ. The two men, who both went on to become late night hosts (Kimmel at ABC; Daly at NBC), have remained close in the two decades since.

The comedy sale comes as Kimmel’s clout at the Disney-owned network continues to grow. His nightly show, along with its many viral videos, has successfully secured a loyal audience that's expanded in recent years despite a deluge of competition across the dial. He was tapped to host the Emmys (on ABC in 2012) as well as the White House Correspondents' Dinner (that same year), and is a regular and refreshing presence at the network’s upfront presentation in May.

Although plenty of late night hosts have served as producers on primetime series — David Letterman's production company was behind Everybody Loves Raymond on CBS; Conan O'Brien produced Rebel Wilson's Super Fun Night at ABC; and Jimmy Fallon was an EP on NBC's Guys With Kids — rarely does someone in Kimmel's position have the time or know-how to write, too.

Kimmel and Daly are both repped by Dixon Talent and Jackoway Tyerman; Fogelman is repped by WME, Management 360 and attorney Bruce Gellman.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...ly-sell-732852


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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
FX’s ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Final Season Premiere Soars In Live+3 Ratings
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Sep. 15, 2014

With its final season now on the road, Sons Of Anarchy is getting some serious traction. First of all, the September 9 seventh and final season debut marked a series ratings high for the Kurt Sutter-created biker drama in those Live+Same Day numbers that FX no longer reports. The nearly two-hour premiere had 6.2 million viewers at 10 PM with 4.1 million among adults 18-49.

With Live+3 numbers, the season opener has shifted into a whole new gear: the time-shifted results show 9.25 million total viewers watching the first broadcast of the premiere with 6.1 million in the demo, an almost 50% leap in both total viewers and the demo from Live+SD. It’s also up 11% from the 8.32 million total viewers and by about the same from the 5.45 million in the demo that SOA’s Season 6 debut got in Live+3 results last September.

The latest numbers solidify the SOA Season 7 debut as the most-watched show ever in FX’s history. Over all its plays, the SOA S7 opener had 10.62 million viewers and 6.92 million in 18-49s. Taking DVR figures into account, the sixth season of SOA averaged 7.48 million viewers with 5.11 million among adults 18-49. Currently, that’s the most-watched season of a FX original series in terms of total viewers and the key demo in the cabler’s two decade history. However, the Live+3 results for the Season 7 debut are showing jumps of 33% and 28% in overall viewers and amongthe 18-49s, respectively.

Now let’s see what those Live + 7 numbers and future episodes say next.

http://deadline.com/2014/09/sons-of-...s-3-fx-834586/

* * * *

Nielsen Notes (Cable)
‘Bill Maher: Live From DC’ HBO’s Most Watched Comedy Special In 5 Years
By The Deadline.com Team - Sep. 15, 2014

Bill Maher: Live From DC became HBO’s most watched comedy special in nearly five years, when 1.1 million people watched at 10 PM and a second played cumed it out at 1.6 million Friday night.

That makes it HBO’s most-watched comedy special premiere since Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction logged 1.9 million viewers on December 6, 2009.

Maher kicked off the night with the return of his HBO series, Real Time with Bill Maher; live from Washington. That 9 PM telecast, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Seinfeld, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman, and NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell, attracted 1.1 million viewers and a cume of 1.8 mil across two plays — up 22% from the show’s most recent telecast on August 1, 2014.

http://deadline.com/2014/09/bill-mah...lliams-834789/


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TV Review
'Happy Valley' On Netflix Supplies Suspense, Intelligence And A Fascinating Female Cop
By Maureen Ryan, HuffingtonPost.com

The first excellent thing about "Happy Valley" is how efficient it is.

Within a few minutes of meeting police officer Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), we get the basic outlines of her life. In the course of talking down a jittery drunk who's turned suicidal at a local playground, Cawood explains that her life isn't so great either; she's single, raising her grandkid, lives with her ex-junkie sister and so on. She reels all this off without bitterness or regret; Catherine's not an oversharer, she's just trying to give the guy some perspective. As played by the phenomenal Lancashire, Catherine is brisk, no-nonsense and immediately winning.

With deft strokes, creator Sally Wainwright quickly adds to her portrait of Catherine: She's a pretty good boss, her home life is complicated but not without its rewards, and the big and small frustrations of her job don't stop her from being good at it. Like the cops on "The Wire," decisions made above Catherine's head baffle her; they're usually opaque, short-sighted or far too influenced by political considerations.

But she keeps going, because it's just in her nature (she's a welcome addition to the TV sub-category dubbed British Women Getting It Done). Catherine and "Happy Valley," a U.K. import that recently arrived on Netflix, both possess sturdy engines, and the six-part drama pulls you ever more deeply into her life and the seedy underside of her community. Before you know it, Sarah's past collides with awful events transpiring around the corner from her modest home, and by the fourth episode of the show, I was on the edge of my seat.

Suspense is a beautiful thing, but when it's married to terrific character development and finely etched moral dilemmas, it makes this kind of police story even more powerful. Catherine's fascinating in her own right, but so are the bigger questions asked by this concise, condensed tale.

Like so many excellent crime-oriented dramas of late -- "Top of the Lake," "Rectify," "The Bletchley Circle," "Banshee," "Fargo," "Broadchurch," "True Detective," "The Bridge" and "The Fall" -- "Happy Valley" is very rooted in a very particular time and place. Catherine's valley is a half-lush, half-urban tangle of suburbs and exurbs in the north of England; a typical shot includes tower blocks and rolling hills. It's not unusual to see farming equipment and Wellingtons, but drugs are everywhere too. The "happiness" of the valley is often illegally obtained.

Crime dramas about basically noble teams catching the bad guys by the end of the hour will never go out of style; the reassuringly solid thunk-thunk of a "Law & Order" and the glossy lab equipment of "CSI" and its clones help us deal with the subconscious panic modern life inspires. But we know that kind of tidy narrative is a con, and more existentially nervous crime dramas have proliferated of late, which is only appropriate, given the nervous-making times we live in.

These days, you can find a lot of solid TV shows and well-written novels about frustrated cops and sleuths who hail from all over the globe. Salon's Laura Miller notes that the best characters in the latest wave of crime novels are different from the noir-ish solo acts you often find in tough-guy fiction. "The battlefields they depict," Miller writes, "are not the sleazy nightclubs, back alleys, diners and shabby offices of the archetypal P.I. novel, but a far more intimate and treacherous terrain: family, marriage, friendship."

These books and many of the best crime-oriented TV shows are about how communities respond to evil, and they're about the witnesses -- many of them women -- who can't abide the weakness and hypocrisy of those inadequate responses. Like the terrific "Happy Valley," these stories are psychologically intense and morally complex, and their cumulative power comes from both plot twists and emotional twists of the knife, if you will.

Equally obsessed with geography and hierarchies, most of these shows, from "The Bletchley Circle" to "The Bridge," use the cloak of suspense to ask challenging questions: How much evil has sunk into the roots of this place? How much complicity do those in power have when it comes to the exploitation and casual ruin of people lower on the food chain? And how can those who struggle with anger, pain and a desire for revenge rid their communities of the worst kinds of injustice? Just how far can they go before they make things worse?

These TV shows are the cousins of the smart page-turners by Kate Atkinson, Tana French, Denise Mina and Laura Lippman because they also use the trappings of law, "order" and society's rules to examine the shaggiest and messiest aspects of human nature with rigor, perspective and compassion. I could easily see Catherine taking a job with French's Dublin Murder Squad, the subject of one of the most fascinating book franchises around. As I've noted before, on TV, these kinds of stories play around with genre conventions, but in pursuit of subversive ideas and strangely optimistic ideas about community and empathy. As Miller says of two of the books she mentions, "the corrective to wickedness in both novels is not a bruised, melancholy individualism, but connection, loyalty, trust."

In "Happy Valley," as is the case with "Top of the Lake" and "Rectify," the past is always present: It'd be a crime to give too much of the story away, but suffice to say that Catherine has a very difficult personal history that becomes enmeshed in a present-day kidnapping. It wouldn't be going to far to say that Catherine is literally living with the consequences of a terrible act, and "Happy Valley" treats that situation with the complexity it deserves without ever stumbling into self-importance or cliche.

It's also worth noting that "Happy Valley" shows the consequences of violence against women (and men) without ever stylizing or fetishizing these acts, as too many crime dramas do. (What could be worse than insipidly cynical drama "The Following" in that regard? The new Kevin Williamson drama "Stalker," which I will not write about because RAGE SPIRALS).

As Batya Ungar-Sargon writes in the Daily Beast, part of the goal of "Happy Valley" is "decoupling the violence against women from the suspense that keeps us watching, without sacrificing the gripping absorption offered by the best crime dramas." You might almost say that "Happy Valley" consistently does for violence against women what "Masters of Sex" consistently does for depictions of female sexuality on premium cable: The women on these shows, just like the men, are subjects, not objects. (Note: It may be best to read the Daily Beast piece, which discusses plot points, after you've seen "Happy Valley.")

Lancashire had a long, varied career in the U.K., but this is my first extensive exposure to her (I hear good things about another project from Lancashire and Wainwright, PBS' "Last Tango in Halifax"). She is nothing less than a revelation and a continual wonder. The word that keeps coming to mind when I think of Lancashire's performance is "transparent"; there are no tricks or actorly mannerisms on display in "Happy Valley."

Catherine's not grand or imperious, but her blue eyes seem to stare right into people's souls, and they offer a window into hers as well. A deep well of almost unreasonable stubbornness is all that keeps her going some days, and the show doesn't shy away from depicting how hard it can be for her to get through the daily grind of being a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a breadwinner and a tenacious cop. One of "Happy Valley's" quiet themes is the idea that choosing to be a good person every day can be a monumental and completely unrecognized challenge (one that some fail, as evidenced by the "Happy Valley's" version of Walter White, who is merely a supporting character here). But this is not a dour show; like any self-respecting U.K. drama, it's shot through with mordant wit and unexpected acts of kindness. (A general note: The Northern accents on the show can occasionally be tough to decipher, but that wasn't a dealbreaker for me.)

The cast around Lancashire is uniformly terrific, but that's almost always the case with U.K. dramas; I am convinced terrific character actors do actually grow on trees over there (keep your eyes peeled for a "Downton Abbey" alum). But Lancashire and Catherine are the reasons to watch.

To call "Happy Valley" a miniature version of a season of "The Wire" isn't quite right, because that comparison implies smallness. Both shows rigorously explore a refusal to accept powerlessness in the face of indifferent amorality; both shows feel very much of a place and work hard to give almost every person in the narrative the dignity of nuance.

Catherine's "patch" in "Happy Valley" may be more limited than the big chunks of Baltimore covered by Bunk and McNulty, but morally and emotionally, this fantastic drama goes deep. As I said, it's nothing if not efficient: In only six episodes, "Happy Valley" accomplishes more than some dramas do in their whole runs.

"Happy Valley" is available on Netflix.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/0...f=maureen-ryan


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TV Reviews
Fox’s ‘New Girl,’ ‘The Mindy Project’
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Sep. 15, 2014

Relationships can be tough, especially on sitcoms. So it’s encouraging to find Fox’s “The Mindy Project” and “New Girl” each beginning their season in relatively fine form, with one adjusting to the complications of a new in-show romantic entanglement, and the other seeking to rebound from having indulged in its own. Although neither show has been an unqualified hit, they’ve done well enough to hang on, and scheduled together feel like a compatible little island of 30-ish neuroses, on a network with enough problems elsewhere that – barring a major swoon – it would probably be wise to just leave them alone.

“New Girl” stumbled a bit by succumbing to the risk of having the quirky Jess (Zooey Deschanel) hook up with one of her roommates, Nick (Jake Johnson), even if all the signs had been pointing in that direction. As shows such as “Cheers” and “Friends” learned, bringing characters together in this fashion invariably changes the dynamic, while closing some doors, narratively speaking.

Yet any awkwardness associated with the breakup is relatively modest in the season premiere, which finds the entire gang attending a wedding, making a pact in which all of them will try to go home with someone. Jess sets her eye on the best man (“Veep’s” Reid Scott), who has unfortunately already drawn the attention of another woman (guest Jessica Biel, nearly stealing the show), who proves formidable competition. Meanwhile, the walking id Schmidt (Max Greenfield) prods Nick toward a group sexual encounter that raises questions about just how close buddies can get before things start getting weird.

As for “Mindy,” Mindy Kaling’s eponymous character is fully embroiled in a workplace romance with fellow doctor Danny (Chris Messina), which is complicated by her inability to edit herself. In the premiere, that includes bragging to all of their co-workers about Danny’s prowess in bed (OK, at one particular activity), which embarrasses him and offers a window into their mismatched personalities.

Frankly, the series still remains a trifle weak in terms of the support staff, and the opener’s secondary plot feels even more disposable than usual, a description that also applies to a mildly amusing cameo by “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s” Rob McElhenney. Still, the interplay between Kaling and Messina is actually quite good – much better, in fact, than their squabbling when they were at each other’s throats earlier in the run.

With the two having become a couple, the trick will be not turning the show into a modern-day “That Girl,” where the exasperated Danny is constantly rolling his eyes over the misadventures into which Mindy has drawn him.

Fox is already gambling by scheduling live-action comedies (including a relocated “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) alongside animated fare on Sunday nights this fall, so it can ill afford to have these Tuesday holdovers experience a significant decline.

The good news is if you’ve enjoyed the shows in the past – and perhaps felt “New Girl” lost a bit of its fastball – the kickoff episodes suggest there might be more to like in the year ahead. The bad news is that both enter the fall campaign without much margin for error – either creatively speaking, or ratings-wise.

Fox's 'New Girl,' 'The Mindy Project'
(Fox, Tue. Sept. 16, 9 and 9:30 p.m.)


http://variety.com/2014/tv/reviews/t...ct-1201302789/


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TV Notes
'SNL' adds Pete Davidson to cast
By Carly Mallenbaum, USA Today - Sep. 15, 2014

Welcome to Saturday Night Live, Pete Davidson!

After dropping featured players Brooks Wheelan, John Milhiser and Noël Wells from the cast and adding Michael Che to the Weekend Update desk, the show has two new changes: Writer Mike O’Brien is no longer onscreen and comedian Pete Davidson has been picked up as the newest featured player.

The Brooklyn native has appeared on Guy Code, Wild ‘N’ Out, Failosophy and Adam Devine’s House Party. He also performed a solid set on Jimmy Kimmel this year, where he revealed he’s only 20 and dropped out of college. [CLICK LINK BELOW TO SEE CLIPS/TWEETS]

Maybe his “miscellaneous” look will help with SNL’s diversity issues. Hope he lasts!

The new SNL season premieres Sept. 27.

http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/20...pete-davidson/


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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)

ABC:
8PM - Dancing with the Stars: Results Show (LIVE)
9PM - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
(R - May 13)
10PM - 20/20
(R)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele; journalist David Muir; Fall Out Boy performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Big Brother (Special Time)
9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - May 13)
10PM - Person of Interest
(R - May 13)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Tina Fey; Moody McCarthy; Kevin Drew)
(R)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Terry Bradshaw; Joel Stein)

NBC:
8PM - America's Got Talent: Cutdown
(R - Sep. 10)
9PM - America's Got Talent: Finale Performance (120 min., LIVE)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Julianna Margulies; Jerry Lewis; Public Enemy performs with The Roots)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Craig Ferguson, Octavia Spencer, James Ellroy)
1:37AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (Nicholas Stoller, Cerebral Ballzy, Theo Von)
(R)

FOX:
8PM - Utopia
9PM - New Girl (Season Premiere)
9:30PM - The Mindy Project (Series Premiere)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - The Fire of Life (1910-1919) (120 min.)
10PM - The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - The Fire of Life (1910-1919) (120 min.)
(R)

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

THE CW:
8PM - Arrow
(R - May 7)
9PM - Supernatural
(R - May 13)

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

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Bill Hader)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Musicians Unlocking the Truth)
12:01AM - At Midnight (Kevin Smith; Justin Long; Jen Kirkman)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Kevin Nealon; Dr. Jennifer Berman; Nick Griffin)


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TV Review
'Gotham' (Fox)
By Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Bastard Machine' Blog - Sep. 15, 2014

It’s a little too easy and convenient — and ultimately unfair — to say that Fox’s buzz-heavy new series Gotham could face the same problems as last year’s buzz-heavy entry, ABC’s Agents of SHIELD. But they are being lumped together as examples of shows that are missing the core ingredient of what the audience really craves.

In Agents of SHIELD, that’s all the Marvel heroes from the popular movies — the series revolves around the actual agents, not the superheroes. In Gotham’s case, it’s being billed as a Batman series without Batman.

And while all of that is technically accurate, here’s the difference: Agents of SHIELD always felt like a series that was missing a center (those superheroes), and it took a lot of episodes for the series to even find its own way and establish its own characters as at least semi-interesting substitutes to what you got at the movies. Gotham, on the other hand, arrives as its own entity, a wholly realized universe, in a separate time and place, with enough intriguing characters and a stylized visual presence that is immediately intriguing.

It's billed as “an origin story” that allows viewers to see Batman as a child traumatized by the murder of his parents, and the emergence of beloved/reviled peripheral characters in the Batman universe such as Catwoman, the Penguin, the Riddler, the Joker, Poison Ivy and Two-Face.

Only a person inept at grasping the concept would watch Gotham and complain about it not being a true Batman series. Gotham’s success is not in distracting viewers from what’s not there — which is what Agents of SHIELD does with its better episodes — but in creating a nascent world where familiar figures of yore are introduced. The pilot makes that world compelling. The writing and the actors make that world unique, a series unto itself, not a Batman series that doesn’t have Batman in it.

Creator, writer and executive producer Bruno Heller (Rome) deserves the bulk of the credit for crafting the mythology of invention here and not bristling at but rather embracing a Batman-less world. When he met with television critics in July, Heller said that’s what fueled his interest. Letting the fictional Gotham City creep daily into chaos, the forces of good struggling to save a city circling the drain without a miracle to beckon — the storytelling from that perspective seemed exciting. “That’s the situation the show is all about — is how do you deal with crime of this level when there are no superheroes, when there’s just ordinary, mortal men and women trying to solve these issues,” Heller said. “It’s as much about the hope and the struggle that they’re engaged in as waiting for a savior. It’s about men and women, not about superheroes, and to me that’s the more interesting story.”

Minus a grown, justice-and-revenge-fueled Batman, Gotham centers on rookie detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie of Southland), who is partnered with the more jaded veteran Det. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), who has learned to survive in the ever-rotting Gotham City by being a little (fine, a lot) too close to organized crime.

This turns out to be a perfect pairing for the show (and for viewers). McKenzie gives off that rookie eagerness vibe while really nailing the fact that Gordon won’t let even a minor infraction go unpunished while Bullock’s line-crossing is rooted in a long history of trying to keep at least a glimmer of justice in play while the forces of evil grow unstoppable. Logue has that slimy-but-likable side to him in this role that jibes seamlessly with McKenzie’s wide-eyed Gordon.

The look of Gotham is also brilliantly realized — like a dirty pre-safe New York from the 1980s mixed with the dark hues of Blade Runner. It’s a mixture of realism and some kind of brutalized patina that really sets the show apart visually.

In addition to McKenzie and Logue, other immediate standouts include Jada Pinkett Smith as crime boss Fish Mooney, Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, aka the future Penguin (who, in the pilot, is the most explored of the fledgling villains — others are introduced, but Heller says that was in service of the pilot and that he wants them all to roll out in surprising and more fully realized ways going forward). And even though we barely see him, Sean Pertwee establishes himself almost immediately as Alfred.

As for the young ones, David Mazouz is Bruce Wayne; Camren Bicondova is Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman; Cory Michael Smith is Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler; Clare Foley is Ivy Pepper; more will emerge.

And emerge is a key word for this series, because everything we know about the Batman mythology has yet to happen, so Heller can write it pretty much any way he wants. Following the green Gordon as he comes face to face with evil and simultaneously understanding what triggered main characters like Catwoman to become who they eventually become is inherently interesting, primarily because it’s different.

Although critics saw only the pilot, and that’s always a dubious way to judge a series, at least Gotham was original and entertaining and gave enough hope that it can stand out as more than just “an origin story” about Batman, sans Batman.

GOTHAM
Airtime: Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox, beginning Sept. 22
The Bottom Line: The series is set in Gotham City when there wasn't yet a Batman or a Catwoman or any of the villains and characters the Batman universe is peopled with — it's how all of that came about and it works by itself.


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/rev...-ML-DdHfAoCAAA


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The 2014/15 Season
For ABC, a season of improvements
Though it won't compete for first, it will be more competitive
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 15, 2014

ABC finished fourth among the Big Four in adults 18-49 last season, but it ended the year on a winning streak.

The network unexpectedly won the May sweeps, its first such victory in more than a decade.

And it did so largely on the strength of its regularly scheduled programming, with only a handful of sweeps stunts.

With a more promising crop of new shows this fall, ABC should see improvements in several troubled timeslots, including Tuesdays at 9 p.m., Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 8 p.m.

Given that greater stability, ABC should move into third place among the Big Four networks this season, a prediction based on Media Life’s analysis of the fall schedules and input from media buyers and planners.

Here’s how the network looks heading into the new seasons, which begins next Monday, Sept. 22.

Last season’s average
ABC averaged a 2.1 adults 18-49 rating during the 2013-’14 season, down 5 percent from the previous season.

Top returning shows:

“Modern Family” (Wednesdays at 9 p.m.)

The sitcom was once again ABC’s No. 1 show, though ratings were down sharply from season four.

“Scandal” (Thursdays at 9 p.m.)
One of the only broadcast shows to see ratings gains last season, “Scandal” moves from 10 to 9 p.m. and could see an accompanying ratings bump from airing earlier in the night.

“Grey’s Anatomy” (Thursdays at 8 p.m.)
Eleven seasons in, it still ranked as ABC’s No. 3 program overall and its No. 2 drama.

Most troubled returning show: “Nashville” (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)
If the struggling third-year show’s ratings don’t stabilize, this will be its final season.

Top new show: “How to Get Away with Murder” (Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
Like “Scandal” and “Grey’s,” this drama is produced by Shonda Rhimes. It’s expected to be an immediate hit.

New show most likely to be canceled: “Selfie” (Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
Media buyers consider “Selfie” one of this season’s worst new programs.

Most improved timeslot
ABC moved “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” from 8 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, an hour the network has struggled with for years. At the least, it could give the troubled 10 p.m. lead-out slot a boost.

The prediction
As the only Big Four network without an NFL package, ABC cannot compete for first. But the network will finish third among 18-49s this fall and have another strong spring, after football is finished.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/abc...-improvements/


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The 2014/15 Season
Watch, Skip, or Binge: Your Definitive Guide to Fall TV
By Wired.com Staff - Sep. 16, 2014

Every fall the major television networks unleash scores of new shows for you to watch while simultaneously bringing back your faves. Throw in all the prestige shows now populating cable channels and suddenly keeping up with everything you want to watch this fall seems impossible without losing sleep and/or hitting the max capacity of your DVR. We’d like to help. Below are our picks for what you should watch (because it’ll be necessary to your pop culture survival), what you should skip (because it’s all filler, no killer), and what you should save and binge later (because it’s good, but could be easily scarfed another time). Welcome to Watch, Skip, or Binge—the easiest way to manage your fall TV diet.

What to Watch

Homeland

Even though it’s had a rough couple of seasons, Homeland’s chess game of international espionage is still the stuff of watercooler conversations. You don’t want to show up at work on Monday and not know who Carrie (Claire Danes) lied to/slept with/almost got killed. —Angela Watercutter

The Flash
This is the CW’s front-runner (pardon the slight pun) to be the show that lives up to the reputation Arrow built for the network in the Superheroes With Great Jawlines We Want to Watch Weekly category. (We swear that’s a thing.) Don’t blink and miss out on this one. —Angela Watercutter

The Blacklist
Whether it’s the melodramatic plot that makes Alias look like a slow, somber investigation into realistic family drama, or just the sheer joy of seeing James Spader chew up scenery as protagonist Red Reddington, The Blacklist proved to be a surprise guilty pleasure last year. This season, it’s your best bet for more “Did you see that?” moments than anything this side of Scandal, making it a show you should really try and check out live each week. —Graeme McMillan

How To Get Away with Murder
This is how Viola Davis, playing law professor and artery-slicing attorney Annalise Keating, advises her students on life choices: “You can spend it in a corporate office drafting contracts and hitting on chubby paralegals before finally putting a gun in your mouth, or you can join my firm and become someone you actually like.” The plot point of Keating’s students committing an actual murder and spending some portion of the season using their new-found defense attorney skills to circumvent the law could move into tedium, but as long as this show rides the strength of Davis in its lead role and delivers on the trailer’s promise to make her a dark Alicia Florrick, we will keep tuning in every week. — Jordan Crucchiola

Archer
Yuuuuuuuuuuuuup. Watch it. All the time. On repeat, if possible. —Devon Maloney

Madam Secretary
CBS is stepping up its lady game yet again, giving Julianna Margulies’ power attorney a tag-team partner in the form of Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, played by Téa Leoni. The tone looks right. The selection of Leoni looks right, and so does her supporting cast, with Geoffrey Arend, Tim Daly, Zeljko Ivanek, and Bebe Neuwirth set to help and hinder this Madam Secretary in equal measure as she works to save America from politicking and self-serving ambition. Geena Davis’ Commander in Chief didn’t quite have the legs back in 2005 and Sigourney Weaver’s Political Animals from 2012 didn’t get a well-deserved series pickup, so hopefully Secretary can finally put a woman in the TV White House and keep her there for at least one administration. — Jordan Crucchiola

The Newsroom
Watch it. Watch it every Sunday, you cynical bastards! Then re-watch it on Monday nights and weep with Dan Rather over this show’s premature passing. Maybe, if enough people watch in real time, we can get a Sloan Sabbith spin-off series in 2015. But it needs to have Don. And Mak. And Will and Leona and Rebecca and Maggie and the rest of the cast of The Newsroom—except Jim. Jim can go. — Jordan Crucchiola

Sons of Anarchy
While it ended on a pendulum swing of epic proportion, last year’s penultimate Season 6 had its share of flaws. That being said, Sons showrunner Kurt Sutter has his deck stacked for SAMCRO’s final ride, and watching him deal that last hand, card by blood-drenched card, is going to be worth your while. (And if it’s disappointing? At least you’ll be able to gripe about it with friends—and the internet—in real time.) —Peter Rubin

America’s Next Top Model
No. Seriously. If you’re still by Tyra’s side after 22 cycles, take ANTM in installments and stage viewing parties. This is best watched while playing a bevvy of drinking games and/or with a major snack spread—and that’s a lot cuter when it’s done in one-hour increments instead of five. —Jordan Crucchiola

Faking It
OK, normally a saccharine, MTV teen-dream show like Faking It wouldn’t make this list. However, after handling a lot of tough issues of sexuality with humor and heart in its first season, the series is going into all new territory in Season 2 and introducing an intersex character (it’s actually someone already on the show, but we won’t spoil that here). Season 2 could be one that, we hope, people are talking about. Be a part of the conversation. —Angela Watercutter

What to Skip

A to Z

Hi, I’m NBC. I’m sure you’ve noticed I don’t exactly know what I’m doing when it comes to comedy development. However, I’m also sure that there’s nothing you want to watch more than a meet-cute-a-thon starring The Mother/MacGuffin from How I Met Your Mother and The Guy Who Cut His Nipples Off On Mad Men Hey Sorry About Spoiling That For You, so I’m just gonna throw that on the air for you. Their names are Andrew and Zelda, so the title works on two levels! Wait, come back! WE ORDERED A FULL SEASON OF THIS! —Peter Rubin

Gotham
Although the idea of exploring Gotham City from the point of view of its police detectives sounds like a ripe opportunity for a toothy, noir look at the less-powerful side of the DC superhero universe, Gotham feels like little more than an exercise in checking off every trope and cliche about good cops in a bad city, seasoned with with hammer-subtle references to the Dark Knight. —Laura Hudson

Bad Judge
This is apparently from executive producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, which should give us a little confidence, but based on the promo materials it looks like the Cameron Diaz vehicle Bad Teacher stretched out to series length—with the operative word being stretched. Showrunner Liz Brixius, most famous for her runner work on Nurse Jackie, also just departed the series over “creative differences.” So if you want Kate Walsh, just re-watch Private Practice. —Jordan Crucchiola

Duck Dynasty
Let us join together and end this national nightmare. — Jordan Crucchiola

Forever
Yes! We’ve been dreaming of another hetero-normative buddy rom-dramedy that’s one part cop, one part unconventional investigation specialist! Bones and Castle and Sleepy Hollow are simply not enough! We like you, Ioan Gufford, but we think you’ve got better options than this (or at least we hope you do). —Jordan Crucchiola

Law & Order: SVU
Listen, even die-hard fans of many, many years have to admit: there comes a time in every long-running procedural’s life when it’s just time to die. After several seasons of “Maybe they can come back from this!” it’s become pitifully obvious that even Mariska Hargitay, patron saint of all that is righteous in crime TV, cannot save the immovable pile of shark-jumping that Special Victims Unit has become. And she definitely can’t do it on her own now that almost every single other cast member has already jumped ship. It’s time, Dick Wolf. It is time. —Devon Maloney

Manhattan Love Story
Halfway through watching the trailer for this, the video stopped working. When we refreshed it a “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page!” message came up. So even ABC doesn’t want people to watch this show, but we’ll keep waiting for Analeigh Tipton’s big break. —Jordan Crucchiola

Selfie
Selfie should be so much better than it is: Karen Gillan? John Cho? An update on Pygmallion (or, if you’re so inclined, My Fair Lady)? What could go wrong? About five minutes of the pilot will answer that question, sadly. Seriously, stay away from this one if you want to continue to like anyone involved. —Graeme McMillan

Two and Half Men
Because, really, how is this show still on the air? It’s already been around for two and half seasons too many. —Angela Watercutter

The Vampire Diaries
Has Ian Somerhalder not yet paid his debt to the hereafter? Must he still return year after year to serve at the whims of a craven audience, hungry for his natural eye liner and ageless visage? Let’s all agree to finally gaze upon his painting (re: stop watching this show) and let this maybe-actual-vampire sleep into peaceful oblivion. Ian Somerhalder has earned a merciful true Teen Heartthrob death. —Jordan Crucchiola

What to Binge

American Horror Story: Freak Show

The fun thing about binging on Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s wunderkind horror series is that it’s kind of like reading a book of short stories: each season is completely different, so you can decide to watch each of them all the way through, in or out of order, or pick and choose to your liking. Can’t deal with psycho horror? You can 100 percent skip Asylum (Season 2) and not have missed a thing when you dive into Coven—when it finally gets added to streaming services, that is. Same goes for the upcoming run: Freak Show. —Devon Maloney

Transparent
You should binge-watch this show because it’s on Amazon Prime and that’s how these whole-season-at-once things work. However, you may want to do so sooner rather than later. The story of Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) coming out as transgender to her three delightfully self-involved adult children is engrossing TV. Heart, humor, Tambor playing every scene like he can smell his Emmy already—Transparent has everything. It’s also just plain hard to take your eyes off of. —Angela Watercutter

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Former Saturday Night Live stars don’t always seem to stick when they make the transition to network television, but Andy Samberg scored big with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as the cocky class-clown detective Jake Peralta. Forget shows where you have to watch two seasons “to really get into it”; this series is a delight with an ensemble as strong as its star, from Andre Braugher as the stoic, gay Captain Holt to the sheer delight that is Terry Crews. When something is this easy to love, why fight it? —Laura Hudson

Boardwalk Empire
Some folks gossip about this Prohibition-era HBO drama the day after it airs, but largely it’s a slow-burn show that is just as easily enjoyed at your leisure. This season is Boardwalk Empire’s last, so maybe wait until it’s over, pour yourself a tall (legal) drink, and enjoy it in one long bender. —Angela Watercutter

Castle
Nathan Fillion, much like a procedural crime dramedy, is best viewed in hours-long sessions. Stay warm inside with Richard Castle when the autumn chill sets in.—Jordan Crucchiola

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Last season it was smart to keep up with this show just because of its narrative tie-ins to Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This time around that’s less of a concern. Save up a few on the DVR and catch up when you feel like kicking it with Coulson. —Angela Watercutter

Constantine
Friday night at 10 is less Must-See TV than it is Death-Knell TV, but I can’t help it: I loved Hellblazer, so I’m going to watch this. But adapting a “mature” book is a risky proposition, and pilots are notoriously unreliable; in this case, it might be better to save up a few weeks’ worth of the show and mainline it to see if you like where it’s going—or if it has a chance of sticking around. —Peter Rubin

The Goldbergs
This one was a sneaky charmer in its opening season. It’s not LOL-worthy enough to classify as appointment viewing, and it won’t light up a dinner party with provocative conversation, but it’s lovable and goofy and worth stacking up two or three at a time to breeze through on a Wednesday night. Besides, Jeff Garlin and Wendy McLendon-Covey deserve your attention. —Jordan Crucchiola

Gracepoint
If this American remake of Broadchurch is anything like the original (and it should be, boasting the same writer and star in Chris Chibnall and David Tennant, respectively), it’ll be a show that’ll gain from watching at your own speed, whether that means taking in as many episodes as possible to solve the mystery or taking occasional breaks to get away from the bleakness. —Graeme McMillan

Nashville
You know you want to. — Jordan Crucchiola

Revenge
Having too much time to think about this show produces diminishing returns, but jacking in for four to six hours at a time really hits the sweet spot. Think of it as Scandal’s trashier companion piece—and that is too much fun to miss out on. — Jordan Crucchiola

http://deadline.com/2014/09/cable-co...report-833747/


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TV Review
'Happy Valley' On Netflix Supplies Suspense, Intelligence And A Fascinating Female Cop
By Maureen Ryan, HuffingtonPost.com

The first excellent thing about "Happy Valley" is how efficient it is.
Just finished watching this and it was excellent, this review captures it perfectly. I would love to see Tana French's novels put to film and agree that Lancashire would be a very good fit.
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 16, 2014

ALAN ALDA AND THE ACTOR WITHIN YOU: A YOUNGARTS MASTER CLASS
Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Alan Alda, the actor whose TV achievements start with M*A*S*H, include great work on The West Wing, and – hey, really, who needs more than that? – guides six very lucky young students through a master class in improv acting, and also gives some valuable advice about how to pursue an acting profession. (Regarding the unavoidable string of rejections after auditions, his simple but key advice is to bend, not break.) And the improv exercises, which he both takes very seriously and enjoys immensely, clearly come naturally to him, and could well be responsible for his own success: He started out on stage in Second City, where improv is everything.

THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY
PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET
Part 3.
This third installment of The Roosevelts is keyed on Teddy, though not as exclusively. Time is spent on Franklin’s betrayal of Eleanor with Lucy Mercer – and while this episode doesn’t shy away from confronting and identifying Teddy’s “blood lust” when it came to animal safaris, it also explores his aggressive position on international warfare – which, like his political positions and battles, transformed the coming century. To hear my review on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which includes audio samples from several episodes, visit the Fresh Air website. Check local listings.

NEW GIRL
Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
This new season of New Girl begins with a wedding – but none of the show’s principals is getting married. They’re wedding guests instead, and trolling the event in search of attractive singles. But others have the same idea – and when Jess (Zooey Deschanel) decides to flirt with one intriguing fellow guest (played by Reid Scott of HBO’s Veep), she finds herself competing for the same wedding-day prey with a sexy scientist (played by another familiar guest star, Jessica Biel).

THE MINDY PROJECT
Fox, 9:30 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
In this season opener, Mindy (Mindy Kaling) may actually have found some lasting measure of happiness with Danny (Chris Messina) – unlikely as that sounds. But their newly intimate relationship seems to be working – at least for now.

SONS OF ANARCHY
FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

In last week’s season premiere, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) ended up torturing and killing the man he was told killed his wife, Tara. What he doesn’t know yet – but is bound to find out before this final season of Sons is over – is that Jax was lied to. And the lie, as viewers know already, came from the real killer: Gemma (Katey Sagal), Jax’s own mother. It’s quite an intense story line – which might explain why last week’s premiere was, by far, the highest-rated episode in Sons of Anarchy history.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

Critic's Notes
2014-15 Might Mean More Streaming to View Quality TV
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Sep. 15, 2014

Say it’s late October and you’ve got NBC’s Constantine on. That means you’re watching a knock-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but instead of a blonde ingénue in the lead, it’s a hangdog Brit (Matt Ryan) channeling Keith Richards, if he was a supernatural exorcist.

And you might be wondering if that’s all there is to new television this year.

ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder is virtually alone this season as a must-see – with some outrageous plot antics you won’t mind because Viola Davis sells it like nobody can.

You’ll have to get all the way to early next year to get two from producer Vince Gilligan – Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad back-story about crook lawyer Saul Goodman on AMC, and around the same time, his un-buddy detective dramedy, Battle Creek premieres on CBS. (TVWW has seen the Battle Creek pilot and it’s great – looking every bit as buzzworthy and award-winning as Breaking Bad.)

Meanwhile, through next January, that might leave streaming content from Amazon Studios as the best and most worthy options. (Cable has a few upcoming winners, most notably BBC America’s import of the UK miniseries A Poet in New York in October.)

That’s no surprise for viewers who have flocked to Netflix to binge on House of Cards or Orange is the New Black for full-season same-day releases.

Amazon premiered a handful of pilots earlier this year and then polled viewers on which shows should go to series. Starting this month, one of those will be available to subscribers of their Amazon Prime service. Others will follow once a month through the fall season and early next year.

The online retailer is following in the footsteps of AMC, Sundance and others – carefully acquiring smart shows to make its mark, lacking the network luxury of a bag of new shows they hope will stick but likely cancel.

First to debut on September 26 is Transparent from Six Feet Under veteran Jill Soloway. She’s written and directed the ten-episode series about a dysfunctional LA family of two divorced parents with three adult children. Following the Netflix model, the entire series will be available on the premiere date.

The Transparent characters may seem über-self-absorbed in the style of Girls (and it features Gaby Hoffman from that series), but more likely you’ll find the series a smart, icky-tricky family study, full of little twists you didn’t see coming.

Transparent also stars perennial Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) as the family patriarch and is probably the hip dramedy of the year if it can create enough streaming buzz.

Around December, the web company will premiere Mozart in the Jungle, produced by Roman Coppola and actor Jason Schwartzman. Featuring Malcolm McDowell and Bernadette Peters, the single-cam dramedy follows a struggling oboist and the adult hijinks around a New York City orchestra.

Perhaps the biggest Amazon fish here is X-Files veteran Chris Carter who produces The After – a Lost-like enigma starting up in early 2015 (co-starring Louise Monot). It follows a group of mismatched LA survivors thrown together after the power goes off and causes civil order to unravel. The After has a terse, well-constructed pilot but the reveal at the end will tell whether you want to see more or not.

If you’re looking for a hard-boiled procedural without a lot of tricks out of the writer’s room (and a new anti-hero to get behind), Bosch ought to fill that bill well. Also premiering in 2015, Bosch is based on the Michael Connelly novels and follows Detective Harry Bosch, a grizzled, jazz-loving Harry-O-type loner and stars Titus Welliver (top photo; he’s currently the suave pitchman for the speedy Comcast Business Class). Though there are heavy Hollywood detective tropes here, the twists are honest and Welliver is endlessly fascinating to watch. (And you have to love a character titled after the 15th century visionary painter Hieronymus Bosch.)

While the Amazon shows feel at times like arty/indie ventures that the cable channels might have passed on, they thrive on strong directorial vision and assiduously avoid the usual network-style canned shtick.

And the content-first, demographics-second commitment is continuing. Amazon released five more pilots last month, including a comedy produced by renowned filmmaker Steven Soderbergh who has a critical hit with The Knick currently running on Cinemax.

Given the tepid network lineups upcoming for 2014-15 you might be better off picking up the tablet and putting down the remote.

And start streaming.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...px?postId=8139


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MONDAY'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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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
A dip for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ premiere
ABC reality show posts a 2.0 in 18-49s, off 8 percent
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 16, 2014

ABC’s long-running hit “Dancing with the Stars” was a little less jazzy in its 19th season premiere last night.

The two-hour bow averaged a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, down 8 percent from last spring and a new low for a debut episode.

But the program still finished well ahead of Fox’s “MasterChef” as the No. 1 show on broadcast last night, and it lifted ABC to a tie for first place with Fox for the night.

“Stars” remains a stronger draw among total viewers, averaging 13.5 million, the most for any regularly scheduled non-sports series since May.

Note, ABC’s Indianapolis affiliate did air football last night, which may have artificially inflated its overnight ratings.

Meanwhile, “MasterChef” posted a 2.0 for its two-hour finale, up 11 percent from last week.

And CBS’s “Under the Dome” drew a 1.6 at 10 p.m., surging 14 percent from last week.

Fox and ABC tied for first for the night among 18-49s, each with a 2.0 average overnight rating and a 6 share. NBC was third at 1.8/5, CBS fourth at 1.3/4, Univision fifth at 1.1/3, 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.

ABC started the night in the lead with a 2.3 at 8 p.m. for “Stars,” followed by Fox with a 1.9 for “MasterChef.” NBC was third with a 1.5 for a special U.S. vs. the world edition of “American Ninja Warrior,” Univision fourth with a 1.3 for “Mi Corazon es Tuyo,” CBS fifth with a 1.1 for reruns of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom,” and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.4, CW for reruns of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” and Telemundo for “Reina de Corazones.”

At 9 p.m. ABC led again with a 2.5 for more “Stars,” while Fox remained second with a 2.1 for the end of “MasterChef.” NBC was third with a 1.9 for more “Ninja,” Univision fourth with a 1.3 for “Hasta el fin del Mundo,” CBS fifth with a 1.2 for repeats of “Two and a Half Men” and “Big Bang Theory,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.7 for “En Otra Piel” and CW seventh with a 0.4 for “America’s Next Top Model.”

NBC took the lead at 10 p.m. with a 2.1 for another hour of “Ninja,” with CBS second with a 1.6 for “Under the Dome.” ABC was third with a 1.1 for a “Castle” repeat, Telemundo fourth with a 1.0 for “El Señor de los Cielos” and Univision fifth with a 0.9 for “La Malquerida.”

ABC was first for the night among households with a 7.6 average overnight rating and a 12 share. CBS was second at 3.9/6, Fox third at 3.2/5, NBC fourth at 3.0/5, Univision fifth at 1.5/2, Telemundo sixth at 0.9/2 and CW seventh at 0.7/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/a-d...tars-premiere/

* * * *

TV/Nielsen Notes
For ‘New Girl,’ life after Jess and Nick
The will-they-or-won't-they couple came together in season two
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 16, 2014

It’s always risky for a TV show to bring together a will-they-or-won’t-they couple, especially early in a show’s run. “New Girl” paired off Nick and Jess midway through its second season, and the relationship had played itself out by the end of season three.

As “Girl” returns tonight at 9 p.m. for its fourth season on Fox, the aftermath of their breakup is largely in the past, and the show returns to its first-season setup of a girl living with a bunch of guys and how funny and awkward that can be.

But it will be hard to replicate the dramatic tension from the first season and a half, when Nick and Jess were slowly moving toward each other and gave the show a long-term plot device.

Now “Girl” can still be funny, but it lacks the driving force of a doomed romantic relationship to draw in viewers.

Not that viewers seemed overly smitten with the Nick and Jess romance. “New Girl’s” ratings have steadily eroded since season one. Last year the sitcom averaged a 1.6 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen, off 30 percent from season two.

“Girl” saw a 75 percent boost from live-plus-seven-day DVR playback, to a 2.8, but that was still well below the 3.7 L7 average for season two.

Fox appears to hope that rolling the show out early will help it in the ratings. It returns a week before the regular TV season begins, against more minimal competition than it will face next week.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/for...jess-and-nick/


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TV Notes
Rihanna slams CBS for pulling her song from 'Thursday Night Football' intro
By Kelly Lawler, USA Today's 'Entertain This!' Blog - Sep. 16, 2014

After a video of former Ravens player Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancée Janay Palmer surfaced last week, CBS Sports decided to pull an intro featuring Rihanna singing the Jay Z song Run This Town from its Thursday Night Football pre-game show. To many, this seemed the sensitive thing to do in light of the controversy, but one person was not pleased about this decision.

Rihanna ripped CBS for pulling her song in a tweet sent Tuesday morning:

CBS, you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, ---- you! Y'all sad for penalizing me for this.

She followed that up with this sentiment:

The audacity...

No word from CBS as of yet, but last week they said they were pulling the intro because it didn’t fit with the serious tone of the pre-game show, which spent 25 minutes focused exclusively on the Rice controversy. This is also not the first time Rihanna has found herself in hot water after tweeting about a controversy.

http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/20...ootball-intro/


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Business/Legal Notes
Labor Board Orders CNN to Rehire 100 Fired Employees intro
By Dave McNary, Variety.com - Sep. 15, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered CNN to rehire 100 workers and compensate 200 others for a labor dispute that originated in 2003.

The 11-year dispute stems from CNN’s decision to replace a unionized subcontractor called Team Video Services, which provided the network with audio and video technicians, with an in-house nonunion work force in its Washington and New York bureaus.

The decision comes weeks after CNN’s top boss Jeff Zucker hinted at additional job cuts at the Turner-owned news channel, which employs over 2,000 people.

“We are going to have to do what we do with less,” he said in a memo to CNN employees. “As a result, that means there will be changes. No final decisions have been made.”

It’s unclear how the NLRB’s ruling will impact the expected restructuring at the news operation.

The Labor Board found “overwhelming” evidence of anti-union animus in CNN’s failure to bargain with the union about the decision to terminate the subcontracts. The org also found CNN had implemented a hiring plan designed to limit the number of discharged TVS employees to avoid a successorship bargaining obligation.

A CNN spokesperson said, “CNN disagrees with the NLRB decision and we are evaluating our options.”

The Communication Workers of America said that CNN’s 2003 decision had amounted to a “phony reorganization scheme to get rid of unionized workers.”

The union also said the compensation for the 200 employees, who continued to work at the company without the benefits of a union contract, would be “on the order of tens of millions of dollars.”

The union also said CNN is required to restore any bargaining unit work that was outsourced since the end of the contracts. The company also must recognize the employees’ union and resume bargaining with NABET-CWA Local 11 and NABET-CWA Local 31.

“These workers have waited far too long for this measure of justice to finally be delivered and have suffered far too much as the result of these unlawful activities,” said NABET-CWA president Jim Joyce. “CNN should finally do the right thing now and immediately comply with the orders of the National Labor Relations Board issued today.”

The union noted that it had immediately filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB after CNN terminated the subcontracts. The case did not go to trial before an Administrative Law Judge at the NLRB for almost five years.

After 72 days of trial, the ALJ ruled in 2008 against CNN and found the network had engaged in “widespread and egregious misconduct” and had demonstrated “a flagrant and general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights.” The ruling was appealed, leading to several more legal actions by the union.

The NLRB, an independent agency of the United States government, has two key functions — conducting elections for labor union representation; and investigating allegations of unfair labor practices.

http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/nlrb...00-1201306309/


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Nielsen Notes
NBC Finishes No. 1 in Ratings for Full Year: It's Our New ‘Standard Season’
By Tony Maglio, TheWrap.com - Sep. 16, 2014

Fifty-one of the 52 weeks are in, and NBC is calling the year for itself.

The network will finish first in the key 18-49 demo for the full 52-week year, marking the first time that's happened in a decade. In touting its victory, NBC said that the ranking would hold even if one removed its Olympic nights from the averages. The net is running 14 percent ahead of its year-ago rating in they demo — to a 2.4 from a 2.1.

NBC also told TheWrap that going forward it will consider the Sept.-to-Sept. period the “standard season.”

In terms of total viewers, NBC was No. 2 for the second time in 10 years. The network is up 25 percent versus last season in total viewers, which it claims is the biggest increase for any of the so-called “Big 4” networks in 25 years.

For the summer, this marks the fourth year in a row that NBC finished first.

Some highlights for NBC over the past year include primetime's No. 1 show, “Sunday Night Football,” reality hit “The Voice,” strong summer performer “America's Got Talent” and new breakout show “The Blacklist,” among others.

Also, special “The Sound of Music Live!” and awards shows, the Golden Globes and the Emmys, helped the net reach the peak.

“As the business continues to see significant original programming launched throughout the calendar year, the 52-week statistics become more and more meaningful,” commented Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “And following a very strong September-to-May win, I'm pleased that NBC once again dominated the summer, leading us to win virtually all key demos in primetime and latenight for the full 2013-14 season.”

Greenblatt concluded: “My hat is off to everyone at the network, Comcast, our affiliated stations, and the talent, producers, and crews on all of our shows who have worked so hard to make NBC relevant and vital once again.”

http://www.thewrap.com/nbc-finishes-...andard-season/


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TV Review
‘Utopia,’ old order tricked out as new
Despite its name, Fox show is the usual reality show gimmickry
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Sep. 16, 2014

At the end of the second episode of Fox’s new reality show “Utopia,” the hipster host-narrator, Dan Piraro, wonders whether all the conflict is due to “happenstance, history or human nature” and then answers his own question: “Perhaps a little of each.”

That answer leaves room for the most likely explanation: The people who cast reality shows are most likely to be looking for strong, colorful personalities — in other words, the sort of cast members who will clash with others.

Therefore, despite the show’s claims to be “the biggest social experiment ever,” there’s little to be learned about human nature or society from it. As entertainment, however, it has its moments.

Airing on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., “Utopia” places 15 Americans in a hilly, five-acre farm in what looks like rural Southern California, where they will be allowed to build their own society, with their own rules.

If all goes well, they will spend one year there, under the constant watch of 130 robotic cameras. There are no cash prizes, the experience presumably being its own reward.

Only 14 strong in the two-hour premiere episode, which aired on Sunday, Sept. 7, the detainees — aged between 20 and 45 — can order food or supplies from the outside world, but they have only $5,000 to spend the whole year.

They can sleep in a barnlike structure, but it’s evidently warm enough that the first night most of them choose to sleep outside in sleeping bags.

The first fight occurs when they’re told that of all the clothes and personal items they’ve brought, they can keep only what will fit into one large shared crate. Dave, a homeless ex-con from Queens, N.Y., first says that he doesn’t need to keep anything, then flies into a rage when the other try to get him to choose a few things.

Besides being unpleasant to watch, this behavior is not in the normal part of the bell curve.

The amount and nature of the food and drink supplied to the Utopians by the show remains sketchy. They’re frequently seen drinking some orange beverage out of Mason jars. And although one of them has brought a hunting bow and they soon start to complain about hunger, deer wander around unharmed.

But Dan, 42, a handyman and self-described hillbilly from Kentucky, is allowed to keep a bottle of bourbon. Along with the wine supplied by the show, it manages to get Josh, 36, a general contractor from Salt Lake City, stumbling drunk.

Josh makes a rude pass at Hex, 25, an unemployed bow hunter from Detroit. The other men have to intervene and force him to go to bed. The next morning, Hex is so sick from drinking that she is taken off the compound for an IV. Again, this behavior is not in the normal part of the bell curve.

Even the relatively stable cast members have their quirks.

The majority of the women have no qualms about bathing, swimming or doing yoga either completely or partly naked in the sight of the cameras. Dedeker, a 26-year-old from Los Angeles, is seen saying goodbye to her two boyfriends and one girlfriend.

In a stroke of luck that one can’t attribute to luck, Chris, 25, a glass blower from North Carolina, and Bri, 20, a veterinary technician from California, pair off almost immediately. In just the second episode, they sneak up to a hay loft where they mistakenly think they’ll be out of camera range.

Everyone goes to extremes. The majority of the men seem to have anger issues. To counterbalance Jonathan, 44, a conservative pastor from Tennessee who doesn’t believe in mixed swimming, even with bathing suits on, the show has cast a few vocal atheists and New Age types. A random sampling of the 18-to-49 cohort wouldn’t provide this assortment.

The end of the first episode and much of the second are dominated by a conflict between Red and Aaron, 26, a cook from Mississippi. In the first episode, Red insists on cooking a chicken that seems to have died of natural causes. For some reason, Aaron thinks this disrespects him.

Then Red and Dave decide they’re seceding, forming the Utopia State of Freedom. When it comes time to call for supplies, Dave tries to get Aaron to order “jail food.”

He and Red take what they consider their share of the money and buy the fixin’s for a barbecue, including hamburger meat and chips. They use the food to try to persuade other cast members to secede.

Dan the narrator, who is a jarring sight in his trilby and handlebar mustache, claims at the end of the second episode that in just a week the Utopians have run through much of American history, including the pioneer era, secession and war.

In fact, what they’ve done is run unusually quickly through the history of “The Real World” and “Survivor.”

For example, it wasn’t until the eighth season of “The Real World” that a pair of housemates got as close as Chris and Bri have in two episodes. No one got deliberately naked on camera on “Survivor” until its ninth episode, and that was Richard Hatch, whom nobody wanted to see anyway.

So far, “Utopia” has done a good job of catering to fans of reality-TV arguments, sex and blurred-out nudity. Its grander pretensions remain pretensions.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/uto...ed-out-as-new/


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TV Notes
Craig Ferguson To Visit NBC’s ‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’ Tonight
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Sep. 16, 2014

It will be outgoing CBS late-night host Craig Ferguson’s first appearance on NBC’s Late Night, which airs against his Late Late Show. He was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno several times. Ferguson is set to depart CBS’ Late Late Show in December, to be succeeded by James Corden.

Ferguson will likely have another separation on his mind tonight as his native Scotland votes whether to leave the UK on Thursday. Late Night With Seth Meyers also recently hosted Stephen Colbert, who is set to succeed David Letterman as host of CBS’ Late Show.

http://deadline.com/2014/09/craig-fe...bc-cbs-835019/


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The 2014/15 Season
Watch, Skip, or Binge: Your Definitive Guide to Fall TV
By Wired.com Staff - Sep. 16, 2014

Every fall the major television networks unleash scores of new shows for you to watch while simultaneously bringing back your faves. Throw in all the prestige shows now populating cable channels and suddenly keeping up with everything you want to watch this fall seems impossible without losing sleep and/or hitting the max capacity of your DVR. We’d like to help. Below are our picks for what you should watch (because it’ll be necessary to your pop culture survival), what you should skip (because it’s all filler, no killer), and what you should save and binge later (because it’s good, but could be easily scarfed another time). Welcome to Watch, Skip, or Binge—the easiest way to manage your fall TV diet.
From what I've seen of the fall shows, this is probably the most accurate list so far. I SO want "Gotham" to succeed, but it's up against pretty stiff competition, including football. Won't last. I could be wrong, but the pace of "Gracepoint" is excruciatingly "bleak" to steal the author's words. If anybody's still watching by the 4th episode, I'll be shocked. They sent us the first seven episodes and some swag, so they're pretty worried about it, too.

Walking the fine line between jaw-dropping and a plain ol' yawn.
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From what I've seen of the fall shows, this is probably the most accurate list so far. I SO want "Gotham" to succeed, but it's up against pretty stiff competition, including football. Won't last. I could be wrong, but the pace of "Gracepoint" is excruciatingly "bleak" to steal the author's words. If anybody's still watching by the 4th episode, I'll be shocked. They sent us the first seven episodes and some swag, so they're pretty worried about it, too.
Sadly the only thing I really want to watch when the new shows start is Gotham. I really want it to do well too, but I don't have my hopes up.

I still don't understand why they had to make Gracepoint. I already watch Broadchurch and even though I have a huge thing for David Tennant I'm not going to watch just to see him speak with an American accent.

I'm a 'hooker' and a knitter. I guess that makes me bi-stitchual :).
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