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post #98071 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 06:48 PM
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Critic's Notes
Traditional Sitcoms Don't Work for Talented Comedians
By Molly Fosco, HuffingtonPost.com

I finally got around to watching the first three episodes of John Mulaney's new show Mulaney on Fox. As an avid comedy lover and an unapologetic sitcom fangirl, I was excited to see how this old school format would play out with a modern narrative. I didn't read any reviews beforehand, but couldn't completely ignore the Seinfeld comparison chatter.

As the first episode began, the dialogue sounded a little familiar. I quickly recognized that it was a joke from Mulaney's standup routine about deviously trying to procure Xanax from his doctor. When I began to guess the punchline of every joke there after, I realized his standup routine had essentially been turned into a pilot for sitcom. This actually came as somewhat of a pleasant surprise. I've followed Mulaney's stand-up for a while and happen to find him hilarious. A show based entirely on his comedy would surely be entertaining.

What turned out to be not quite so compelling, is when the show began to stray away from Mulaney's comedy and started to rely heavily on cliche sitcom one-liners. Coupled with audience laughter after every other joke delivery, things began to rapidly sour. I was reminded of another clever, quick-witted comedian who tried his hand at a traditional multicam sitcom back in 2006.

Lucky Louie was Louis C.K.'s first endeavor into a serialized comedy based on his own life, but actually turned out to be more like an attempt at a contemporary Roseanne with excessive profanity used as a comedic crutch (it was HBO after all), and the most annoying child actress that has ever been cast in the history of the entertainment industry. In a nutshell, it didn't work, and didn't even come close to the gem that Louie on FX turned out to be years later.

While I'll always be a huge fan of the traditional multicam sitcom, I think Mulaney's talents as a writer and comedian would be better suited for a format that could let his sarcasm and hilarious real-life observations run free. The pilot was able to incorporate a lot of that but it somehow disappeared in the following episodes. Even though Mulaney described his own standup in GQ as "boring, very straightforward, rarely edgy," I think it's a lot less screwball than the writing and acting present in his sitcom so far.

It doesn't appear to be an issue of which network or the fact that its broadcast and not cable either. New Girl and The Mindy Project are both on Fox and are both hilarious, well-written comedies, even with the restrictions of broadcast TV. Lucky Louie was on HBO with the ability to use as much profanity and adult humor as possible (and certainly took advantage of that) but it still didn't work. The lackluster chemistry of Mulaney appears to be more of a format issue. His style of comedy isn't allowed to breathe in a sitcom.

Perhaps this will be Mulaney's Lucky Louie and in five years he'll have a version of this show where he's really in the driver's seat. I imagine laughing out loud a lot more to that version.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/molly-...p_ref=tv&ir=TV
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post #98072 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 06:50 PM
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TV Review
‘Santa Hunters,’ hunt for something else
This Nick kids movie does the legend of Santa Claus no favors
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Nov. 26, 2013

Watching cute, talented kids do their best performing a simple story will touch the heart of any adult. But it’s likely to leave kid viewers unaffected, not to mention bored.

That’s likely to be the effect of Nick’s Christmas movie “Santa Hunters.” Starring some of the channel’s young actors as a group of cousins who decide to catch Santa in the act, it’s too simpleminded to please grown-ups or children. The latter group might enjoy the frequent instances of potty humor, but soon even they will realize they’re being talked down to.

In the movie, airing this Friday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m., 9-year-old Alex (Benjamin Flores Jr.) gets the help of his younger sister, Elizabeth (Laya DeLeon Hayes), and their cousins Zoey (Breanna Yde) and Richard (Mace Coronel) in an elaborate scheme to prove the existence of Santa Claus.

On Christmas Eve, they wire Alex and Elizabeth’s house with an unlikely number of hidden cameras.

They’re assisted by their feckless Uncle Charlie (Kelly Perine), who has invited his Eastern European girlfriend, Natasha (April Telek), to spend the holiday with his family.

But when they actually do corner Santa (Donavon Stinson), he tells them that if children see him, he loses some of his magic. Presents and decorations start disintegrating around them.

They have to destroy the hard drive on which the video evidence is stored. But the Santa-hating Natasha thinks that she can sell the footage and get rich. If that happens, Zoey says, Christmas will be “ruined forever.”

The show’s writer, Jamie Nash, and director, Savage Steve Holland, must never have read or seen “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” because then they would know that Christmas isn’t just about getting presents and that it means a little bit more.

But if they wanted to make Christmas all about Santa, they should have found one with more charisma and gravitas. His ho-ho-hos are halfhearted. Parents will probably feel the need to explain to their younger kids that this guy is only an actor.

Although the movie remains lighthearted throughout, the jokes are weak or tasteless, with a strong emphasis on the lower digestive tract. Early on, Alexander finds a piece of what he thinks is reindeer poo in the snow. So he picks it up and tastes it. (It’s actually chocolate yogurt, but that’s pretty disgusting too.)

The worst moment comes when Zoey has to hide in a bathroom shower and the kids’ grandfather has a gas attack on the toilet. He apparently had three bowls of her aunt’s Christmas chili.

Like all of the kids in the cast, the little girl playing Zoey is a trouper. She really makes us smell the gas. The adult cast members either overact or phone it in.

At least the adults knew what they were in for when they agreed to appear in “Santa Hunter.” The kids didn’t. The adults off camera should have worked a little harder to give the kids some decent material.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/san...omething-else/
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post #98073 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 06:53 PM
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TV Notes
The programming schedule remains an important part of TV
By Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times

Amanda Lotz can recall when she would look forward to the launch of a new TV season. Armed with a marker, she would scrutinize TV scheduling grids and entertainment magazines, highlighting promising new shows and old favorites as she often built her evenings around the network's schedule.

That was almost six years ago.

Except for special events, Lotz, 40, the mother of two elementary schoolchildren who is an associate professor of communications studies at the University of Michigan, doesn't watch live TV anymore. These days she prefers to binge-watch shows, often on Netflix.

New technologies like video streaming, DVRs and video on demand have liberated millions of viewers who were once beholden to the intractable TV schedule. As more viewers opt to control their own entertainment calendar, the practice raises questions about whether the once-almighty TV schedule will become as obsolete as rabbit antenna ears and black-and-white sets.

"People can now 'read' television," Lotz said. "It's become like reading books."

Both broadcast and cable networks are taking steps that would make the kind of push-button world of instantly available programming possible for everyone. Last month, CBS trumpeted plans for a subscription service that for $5.99 a month will enable viewers to stream live television and access on-demand series such as "The Good Wife" and "NCIS."

The CBS move followed an earlier announcement from the premium cable network HBO that it would offer a stand-alone streaming series next year. Netflix continues to be the leader in video streaming, while Amazon TV is one of several venues aggressively moving forward with an original programming slate that viewers can access at their leisure.

While leading TV executives say that the traditional TV schedule has indeed been affected, they maintain that it remains an essential tool both for viewers and networks — and, from their point of view, will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Research indicates that a majority of the TV audience depends on the schedules to make viewing choices. Meanwhile, network executives still rely on it for marketing and programming strategies.

"We're still a good distance away from the schedule not being particularly relevant," said David Poltrack, chief research officer for CBS Corp. "Eighty percent of viewership is still live, and over 60% of viewing in prime time is still live."

Added Kim Lemon, executive vice president of research, program planning and scheduling and research for Showtime Networks: "You'd have to have your head in the sand not to acknowledge that people are definitely taking more control of how they watch television. But personally I still believe in the schedule."

Poltrack pointed out how schedules will continue to be a guidepost: "You can see what happens when a hit like 'The Big Bang Theory' is a lead-in as opposed to a normal show being a lead-in. Having a big lead-in affects the performance of the shows behind it. Scheduled shows that are big tent poles drive viewers to other shows."

Schedules remain an effective launch pad, Lemon said. "For us, it's like the gun is going off. We really think of our schedule in terms of time of year and launching shows on a quarterly basis. We find Sunday night is a great night for TV viewers. So for us, it's when does the gun go off, and then we just try to make it really available and convenient for our viewers to consume."

In 2006, Lemon said, the premiere of a Sunday installment of "Dexter" would pull in 70% of its viewers live on that night. The live average viewership for last season's "Homeland" episodes was 30%.

That kind of collapse in live viewing might also erode the time-honored "water cooler" conversations — the spontaneous exchanges at workplaces where the previous night's TV is discussed.

"The water cooler is not one day anymore," Lemon said. "But a big chunk, about two-thirds, of viewing is happening within three days."

Julie Piepenkotter, executive vice president of research for FX Networks, said viewers will continue to need the shared experience of watching television. She noted how the network's hugely popular motorcycle gang drama "Sons of Anarchy" still gets a majority of its viewership live.

"As soon as those episodes drop, people are consuming them," she said. "It's not the same level of critical mass we've seen before. But people are still social beings seeking consensus and connection."

Tom Schatz, director of film studies at the University of Texas, likened the usefulness of the traditional TV schedule to the movie industry's practice of promoting and releasing new films: "Everything is driven by the release of new films, and show premieres drive everything in television. It's an old-fashioned model, but it works. It's not going anywhere any time soon."

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...123-story.html
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post #98074 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 06:58 PM
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Technology Notes
Nexus 9 tablet is a serious contender for iPad's throne
By T.J. Donegan, USA Today/Reviewed.com - Nov. 24, 2013

......................
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2...rone/70047854/
And I was all ready to spend my money on a Nexus 9 until they announced it. And then I realized they used an archaic aspect ratio. I was grudgingly ready to give them a pass on that until I found out that it didn't have wireless charging. I still can't believe they went with an old aspect ratio. I haven't used that aspect ratio in many many years with content. A larger version of the 2013 Nexus 7 would have been perfect for me. So for now I will continue using that.

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post #98075 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 07:03 PM
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Technology/Business Notes
Amazon cuts Fire Phone price to $199 without contract
By Eli Blumenthal, USA Today Team - Nov. 26, 2014

...........

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/p...rice/19523489/
They would need to pay me a large sum of money to even consider using that phone. I still can't believe they released a phone with mostly three/four year old tech, and then restricted it to one carrier. It had "fail" written all over it when it was launched.
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post #98076 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 07:12 PM
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Critic's Notes
CNBC Actually Has a Great Show, The Profit, and You Should Watch It
By Margaret Lyons, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Nov. 25, 2014
I really enjoy and recommend this show. I've been hooked for awhile.
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post #98077 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 07:17 PM
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They would need to pay me a large sum of money to even consider using that phone. I still can't believe they released a phone with mostly three/four year old tech, and then restricted it to one carrier. It had "fail" written all over it when it was launched.
My friends wife, who I love dearly but sometimes makes me just , was very excited over this phone even though we tried to explain it's really not the latest and greatest. She bought it anyway, used it for a couple days and sent it back. It's total junk.

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post #98078 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 07:46 PM
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They would need to pay me a large sum of money to even consider using that phone. I still can't believe they released a phone with mostly three/four year old tech, and then restricted it to one carrier. It had "fail" written all over it when it was launched.
I've never had a smart phone, but this one seems awful tempting to me since I don't really need the latest tech and now that it's unbroken I can use my pay-as-you-use AT&T program. Since I'm a Prime member already they'd refund me $99 for the one-year free service it comes with, which means I can get it for $99. Is that still a bad deal?
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post #98079 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 09:54 PM
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The angle they took was 1st live performance of the song....yea this week it already moves into the top 10 on the billboard mainstream top 40 chart after only 4 wks....ill always have a "Blank Space" on my dvr for Taylor.
Ya, that was a great performance. Looks nicer without the ABC bug. I don't think there were any snipes, even if there was, those wouldn't be in my capture either. Unfortunately, the damn twitter tags were put up in LA, not NY.

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post #98080 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 11:08 PM
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TV Review
A Film That Might Inspire an Armchair Singalong
The Making of Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ on BYUtv
By Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times - Nov. 27, 2013

Not every piece of seasonal television fare is a sitcom’s Thanksgiving episode or a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. On Thursday night, BYUtvbroadcasts “Handel’s Messiah,” a decently made documentary about how one of the most beloved pieces of music ever created came to be.

“Unlikely as it may seem, the spiritual rapture of ‘Messiah’ was birthed in a trough of tragedy containing adultery, apostasy, financial ruin and suicide,” the narration, read by Jane Seymour, says in introducing the story. “And yet out of that dark swirl came the ultimate expression of Christian faith, hope and enlightenment.”

Yes, it’s a purple-prose start, but an accurate one, as we learn from the story of three intersecting lives. The main focus, of course, is George Frideric Handel, who by the time of the work’s premiere in 1742 (at Easter time, not Christmas) was a well-known composer, but, we’re told, was struggling financially. Musical tastes in the era changed rapidly, just as they do today, and he was constantly trying to adapt to trends.

Also crucial was Charles Jennens, a longtime Handel supporter, who wrote the libretto and urged the composer to do something with it. And then there was Susannah Cibber, a prominent stage actress and friend of Handel’s who in the 1730s had been tarnished by a scandal that would have been supermarket tabloid fodder even today. She sang the contralto solos in the “Messiah” premiere in Dublin, adding her own redemptive tale to the themes of the piece.

BYUtv is an affiliate of Brigham Young University, and some of the experts who help tell the tale hint that a fourth entity was also involved. Handel, in his mid-50s at the time and having had what might have been a stroke in 1737, wrote the complex piece surprisingly quickly.

“When one considers how old he was, and the infirmity he had gone through, to have put it through in just over three weeks, I don’t think a mortal man in his condition could have done that,” says Michael L. Ballam, a music professor at Utah State University. Perhaps, he suggests, it was “a three-way collaboration: Charles Jennens, Mr. Handel and deity.”

The program portrays the story using re-enactments, which get a little overwrought toward the end. But it’s an apt treatment for anyone who loves the music, made more so by film clips sprinkled throughout of various choirs from all over world, and in all sorts of styles, performing that wonderful “Hallelujah” chorus.

Handel’s Messiah
BYUtv, Thursday night at 9, Eastern time; 8, Central time; 7, Mountain time; 6, Pacific time.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/27/ar...ref=television
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post #98081 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 11:20 PM
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
THURSDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Thank You America! With Robin Roberts
9PM - How To Get Away With Murder
(R - Sep. 25)
10PM - How To Get Away With Murder
(R - Oct. 2)
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Jamie Foxx; Tracee Ellis Ross; The New Basement Tapes perform)
(R - Nov. 19)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Big Bang Theory
(R - Nov. 21)
8:31PM - Mom
9:01PM - Two and a Half Men
9:30PM - The McCarthys
10PM - Elementary
* * * *
11:50PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Ted Danson; stupid human tricks; comic Andrew Norelli)
(R - Sep. 26)
12:52AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Bob Newhart; Melissa Rauch)
(R - Nov. 5)

NBC:
8PM - Football Night in America: Special Edition (LIVE)
8:30PM - NFL Football: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (LIVE)
* * * *
12:05AM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Whoopi Goldberg; Rashida Jones; chef Tom Colicchio)
1:07AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Larry, Hilary and Josh Meyers)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Michelle Monaghan; You Me at Six perform; "Dear White People")
(R - Oct. 16)

FOX:
8PM - Fox's Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular (120 min.)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour (R - Oct. 23)
9PM - Nature: My Life as a Turkey
(R - Nov. 16, 2011)
10PM - Antiques Roadshow: Finders Keepers
(R - Dec. 23)

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

THE CW:
8PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Jun. 16)
8:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Jun. 23)
9PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Jul. 14)
9:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Aug. 4)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Movie: Avatar (2009)
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post #98082 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 11:22 PM
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TV/Nielsen Notes
Comedies go from yuks to yuck
There are nine dramas among the top 20 on broadcast
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Nov. 25, 2013

Remember the comedy renaissance that dawned a few years back, when the broadcast networks couldn’t get enough new sitcoms and put up new blocks on nearly every night of the week?

That time is over.

This season comedies have struggled, and it is hard to imagine the networks keeping all the comedy blocks currently on the schedule for next season.

New comedies have had an especially difficult time. Four have been canceled so far, compared to zero new dramas.

But plenty of veteran comedies have felt the hurt, too.

“The Millers” was canceled by CBS after only a handful of episodes, and programs such as “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project” have seen significant ratings declines.

This season, nine dramas rank in the top 20 programs on broadcast, compared to six comedies. The others are non-scripted or sports programs.

So what is the problem with comedy?

It is largely a case of low quality.

The networks rushed to launch comedies a few years ago when shows like Fox’s “New Girl” and CBS’s “2 Broke Girls” were doing well.

But in the networks’ haste to get comedies on the air amid the revival of the genre, they greenlighted way too many shows. A lot of them are just plain bad.

Low quality breeds low ratings, and that has certainly been the case for the four comedies canceled so far: ABC’s “Selfie” and “Manhattan Love Story” and NBC’s “Bad Judge” and “A to Z.” All got poor reviews.

Of course, there are a handful of exceptions.

ABC’s “Black-ish” is a good new show with good ratings, and “The Big Bang Theory” remains broadcast’s top scripted series.

Interestingly, the networks appear to be recognizing the problem with hustling bad shows onto the air and weeding out some of the problem shows themselves after this fall.

Last week NBC packed a midseason comedy from Tina Fey off to Netflix, where it will air instead after what was rumored to be a troubled development season. The network also canceled another midseason show, “Mission Control,” before it debuted as well.

And earlier this week ABC decided to can “Members Only,” a sitcom starring John Stamos, before any episodes hit the air.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/com...-yuks-to-yuck/
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post #98083 of 98100 Old 11-26-2014, 11:44 PM
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Essay
Thanksgiving movies stuffed with dreary drama
By Mackenzie Carpenter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Nov. 26, 2014

...

Me, I think I’ll just skip ahead and watch “Groundhog Day” for the 11th time. It doesn’t have a turkey in it, but there is lots of hugging and learning.

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/movie...s/201411170186

Not to mention that the montage of Bill Murray being slapped many times is fantastic ... or at least a heart-warming piece of poetic justice!

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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 #98084 of 98100 Old Yesterday, 05:01 AM
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I've never had a smart phone, but this one seems awful tempting to me since I don't really need the latest tech and now that it's unbroken I can use my pay-as-you-use AT&T program. Since I'm a Prime member already they'd refund me $99 for the one-year free service it comes with, which means I can get it for $99. Is that still a bad deal?
AT&T considers the Fire a smartphone, so if you went that way you would have to pay more a month for your GoPhone plan. It won't work on the pay-per-use or the other lower priced tiers. My Samsung Escape costs $60/month (it's a GoPhone) and since it's a smartphone I had to pay more than the $15/month I was paying for my other one which was non-smart. I would do a bit of research before making the plunge on that phone though. I will admit I am not very tech-savvy when it comes to all this new stuff out, but after playing with the Fire even I could tell it wasn't a good piece of equipment.

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post #98085 of 98100 Old Yesterday, 10:02 AM
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Technology/Business Notes
Amazon cuts Fire Phone price to $199 without contract
By Eli Blumenthal, USA Today Team - Nov. 26, 2014

You can call this a "fire sale."
LOL, this is the price the phone should have launched with, then gone down from there. I don't know what Bezos was smoking when he authorized this lock-in phone with a restricted version of Android, but I want some.
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post #98086 of 98100 Old Yesterday, 10:47 AM
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AT&T considers the Fire a smartphone, so if you went that way you would have to pay more a month for your GoPhone plan. It won't work on the pay-per-use or the other lower priced tiers. My Samsung Escape costs $60/month (it's a GoPhone) and since it's a smartphone I had to pay more than the $15/month I was paying for my other one which was non-smart. I would do a bit of research before making the plunge on that phone though. I will admit I am not very tech-savvy when it comes to all this new stuff out, but after playing with the Fire even I could tell it wasn't a good piece of equipment.
Thanks, that sounds like sage advice.
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post #98087 of 98100 Old Yesterday, 10:50 AM
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Nov. 27, 2014

CAUSE FOR PAWS: AN ALL-STAR DOG SPECTACULAR
Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

Jane Lynch and Hilary Swank co-host this celebration of, and adoption benefit program for, rescue dogs.

THE LEGO MOVIE
HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

More clever than you might expect it to be – certainly, it was more clever than I expected it to be – this 2014 comedy is scheduled nicely as a family movie to enjoy on Thanksgiving night. The kids will like it, and so will their parents and grandparents.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS VS. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
NBC, 8:30 p.m.

This is the third game in today’s NFL triple-header, and it’s the one most eagerly awaited. Both the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are 7-4, and these teams are meeting for the first time since last year’s NFC Championship. Seattle won that game, after a very tough fight, so this game is personal.

COMEDY CENTRAL’S ALL-STAR NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
Comedy Central, 10:00 p.m. ET

Stephen Colbert, Larry Wilmore and the stars of Key & Peele are on hand for this new special, which is produced by Funny or Die. Nothing like a Christmas special on Thanksgiving night to make the transition from one holiday to the next – and it’s a transition this Comedy Central special is likely to make fun of, before anyone else has to.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
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WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insights' Blog.
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TV Review
Nat Geo Wild's Big Cat Week
The channel's annual feature is interesting and a visual treat, with a caged observer among lions as one of the highlights
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Nov. 27, 2014

Big cats always end up being a tiny bit less mysterious after Nat Geo Wild’s Big Cat Week, and in a sense that’s too bad.

But a solid week of film showing lions, tigers, cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, leopards and their kin prowling through the wild never lessens the fascination.

This year’s series kicks off with Nat Geo regular Boone Smith getting as up close and personal as one would ever want to get with lions.

In a maneuver that parallels underwater divers who study great white sharks from inside steel cages the sharks are trying to devour, Smith camps out in a cage in the heart of lion country.

Since we’re seeing his report, we can figure that he didn’t end up as a feline snack. Still, the power of lion paws is impressive from where Smith is crouching.

This being the Nat Geo family, the footage here is great, while the narrators explain what it all means. Breaking down the biomechanics of a cheetah’s sprint wouldn’t carry a whole show, but it creates an interesting side note.

Smith’s findings include the role of male lions in the hunt, which some big-cat shows suggest is to lie around and wait for the females to come back with fdinner. Not so, it turns out. The males kill some of it themselves.

Another new episode here focuses on a female leopard working to protect her cubs in their first months of life. The challenge of her mission is underscored by the fact that she lost her cubs to predators the previous year.

It’s not all Darwinism, though. Big Cat Week is also fun — as long as the cage holds.

‘Big Cat Week’
Network/Air Date: Nat Geo Wild starting Friday at 8 p.m.
Rating: ★★★ (out of five)


http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...icle-1.2024012
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Nielsen Overnights
'Charlie Brown' and 'Survivor' Share Thanksgiving Eve
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Nov. 27, 2014

Many series that bothered airing original episodes on Wednesday night saw the inevitable dips that come with the long Thanksgiving weekend — though CBS notched wins across the board with its new episodes.

Survivor, averaging a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49, led the pack — though down three-tenths of a point from last week. Criminal Minds (2.2 adults) and Stalker (1.6 adults) were steady. Top demo honors for the night didn't belong to Survivor alone. ABC's annual airing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving pulled a 2.1 rating with adults 18-49 as well. That's up 31 percent from last year's Thanksgiving day telecast.

NBC specials The Making of Peter Pan Live! pulled just a 0.6 rating with adults 18-49, and A Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving (1.1) adults shed half of a point from last year's airing.

Hell's Kitchen (1.1 adults) lost four-tenths of a point from last week, while Red Band Society (officially producing just 13 episodes for its soft freshman season) dropped two-tenths of a point in its second to last scheduled airing.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...urvivor-752710
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Critic's Notes
George Stephanopoulos’ Darren Wilson Interview Speaks Volumes About ABC News
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Nov. 26, 2014

George Stephanopoulos’ interview with Darren Wilson – the police officer who killed African-American teenager Michael Brown – tells us a lot more about ABC News than it does about what actually happened that day in Ferguson, Mo.

Wilson’s account of events was hardly unexpected. He sounded like someone who had been well coached by attorneys, both in regard to potential criminal charges and a possible wrongful-death civil lawsuit. Stephanopoulos mischaracterized his demeanor as “very clinical,” when the better description would be “very lawyered up,” which is strictly an observation, not a criticism.

ABC, by contrast, approached its coup of landing the first sit-down chat with Wilson in an unorthodox way, or at least one that says a great deal about the network’s priorities, which have been crystal clear since Stephanopoulos – as host of “Good Morning America” – was designated the principal breaking-news and big-event anchor, putting him a rung above “World News’” David Muir within the ABC News hierarchy.

Simply put, there was a time not long ago when this sort of “big get” interview would have commanded an hour in primetime, or at the very least a lead segment on “20/20.”

Instead, ABC diced it into what amounted to bite-sized bits – airing sections on “World News,” “Nightline” and finally “GMA,” before throwing the whole thing on its website.

Even if bolstering “GMA,” and beating the “Today” show, has become ABC’s chief objective as a news organization, the decision appears puzzling. Granted, the network didn’t want to preempt or disrupt Tuesday’s “Dancing With the Stars” finale, but it surely wouldn’t have been a hardship to bump Wednesday’s “Nashville,” or Friday’s “True Confessions”-themed installment of the generally news-free newsmagazine “20/20.”

But primetime, seemingly, isn’t considered a destination for hard news on ABC these days, even during a moment when cities across the country are witnessing protests and expressions of anger and frustration triggered by the grand jury decision in the Brown case.

In that regard, while Stephanopoulos dutifully walked Wilson through a detailed account of his recollections regarding his encounter with Brown, the interview largely whiffed on the most pressing issue at the heart of the story: Law enforcement’s relationship with the African-American community — especially young men — in Ferguson, and by extension, in the U.S. as a whole.

Then again, what should one expect from an interview that gave way during the second hour of “GMA” to an extended, completely giddy “Dancing With the Stars” after-party? Given the perceived soft-news appetite of that audience, Stephanopoulos understandably balanced the tick-tock of what transpired with People-magazine-type questions, asking Wilson about where he goes from here.

The police officer insisted all he wants is to “just live a normal life,” although one suspects that ship has sailed, at least for the foreseeable future.

Yet while Wilson spoke in slow, measured tones, what ABC chose to air and its overall handling of the interview speaks volumes – very little of it good – about the new normal at ABC News.

http://variety.com/2014/tv/columns/g...ws-1201365568/
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TV Notes
‘Red Band Society’ Pulled From Schedule, Will Stop Production After 13 Episodes
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Nov. 27, 2014

Fox has opted not to order more episodes of freshman Red Band Society beyond the original 13-episode order, which will wrap production in mid-December. The network has stopped short of cancelling the hospital teen drama starring Octavia Spencer, which will air two more episodes, tonight (Episode 9) and next Wednesday’s fall finale (Episode 10), December 3, before getting off the schedule. It is unclear when the three remaining episodes will air.

Red Band Society has become the latest softly rated new series this fall to be allowed to complete its 13-episode pickup with no back order. NBC did it with comedies Bad Judge and A To Z and drama Constantine, all of which also were left on the air to finish their 13-episode freshman runs in their original slots. In the cases of Bad Judge and A to Z, the network closed the door on a second season to make for a dignified cancellation, while leaving the renewal option very much open for Constantine. Red Band Society falls in between, though it appears closer to the NBC comedies, with its chance of coming back considered very slim. In addition to the low ratings, the drama has had some production issues. At Fox, Red Band Society joins freshman comedy Mulaney, which saw its order trimmed with little chance of Season 2. The only new Fox series this fall to get a back order was breakout drama Gotham, which has a full-season, 22-episode pickup.

Based on a Catalan series, Red Band Society entered the fall as one of the most popular pilots among writers. It got off to a slow start and was a very modest but stable Live+Same Day performer, most recently averaging a 0.9 rating in adults 18-49 the last few weeks. It gained audience in time-shifted and digital viewing, getting a lift of more than +100% in 30-day multi-platform ratings and did OK in teens.

Red Band Society, from Amblin TV and ABC TV Studios, was ABC Studios’ first series for Fox.

http://deadline.com/2014/11/red-band...ox-1201297346/
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Technology/Business Notes
Cord-cutters shake up consumer electronics
By Howard R. Gold, USA Today - Nov. 27, 2014

Starting Thanksgiving Day, Americans will head out en masse to "door-buster" sales at the USA's biggest retailers.

Flat-screen televisions will be among the hottest items: Walmart stores are offering a 65-inch Vizio LED HDTV for $648, and Best Buy a Samsung 55-inch LED for $599. According to IHS, televisions will be on one-third of U.S. consumers' shopping lists this holiday season.

But Black Friday's frenzied buying masks tectonic shifts in the $207-billion consumer electronics industry. Mobile devices are upstaging traditional TVs in what could be the biggest change in mass entertainment since television supplanted radio and the movies after World War II.

2014 could mark the second consecutive year of declines in television sales. DVD sales are plummeting and Blu-ray, once the industry's great high-definition hope, has plateaued.

Meanwhile, smartphones, tablets, and streaming-video services are surging as "cord cutting" from cable or satellite TV accelerates. More consumers now value mobility and sharing over the picture and sound quality that marked the home theater era of the 2000s.

"We're at a very interesting inflection point," explained Sean DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Electronics Association, an industry trade group based in Arlington, Va.

"No product has ever been as successful as television. TVs were the largest revenue category for consumer electronics for a very long time — we can easily say, for the last 50 years."

But now, said DuBravac, "televisions are definitely a mature market. People are not adding more units to their households."

Televisions are in 99% of U.S. households, which average 2.9 sets each.

But one group — Millennials — appears to be cutting the cord in particularly large numbers.

Back in 1991, The New York Times noted that in college dormitories, "televisions are nearly as common as stereos."

Fast forward to November 2014, and the Times reported that a Tufts University student found the presence of a TV "a little bit weird" and that 90% of her friends had never owned one.

While television sales decline from their peak of 40.3 million in 2012, smartphone purchases have tripled since 2010, to an estimated 163.5 million this year. Since 2010, tablet shipments have skyrocketed almost 700% to an estimated 80.4 million units in 2014, according to CEA.

"For right now we see a generational shift in adoption of technology," said CEA's DuBravac. "Whether that maintains as consumers age remains to be seen."

Meanwhile, physical media look to be in permanent decline. Sales of Blu-ray players should remain steady at around 11 million, but they're in only 31% of U.S. households compared with DVD players' 95% penetration at their peak.

In 2013, sales of video discs were less than half of the $20.2 billion worth of DVDs sold in 2006, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

A report by PWC earlier this year predicted streaming-video services like Netflix and Hulu would earn more than movie theater box offices by 2017.

Another popular holiday gift, digital cameras, have seen shipments plunge 33% through September, reported the Japan-based Camera & Imaging Products Association.

Point-and-shoot cameras are in free fall as picture quality on iPhones and other smartphone cameras improves. Shipments have fallen by more than half since their 2010 peak.

"The value in using a mobile device is the value to share it immediately. They've passed the 'good enough' threshold," said Christopher Chute, vice president of digital imaging practice with Framingham, Mass.-based market research firm IDC.

"That whole consumer side of the market is now the phone camera. You have all these options and they're very accessible from the device you carry in your pocket every day."

That's happening throughout consumer electronics as traditional home entertainment gives way to a new age of mobility, sharing and convenience.

Howard R. Gold is a MarketWatch columnist and founder and editor of GoldenEgg Investing, which offers simple, low-cost, low-risk retirement investing plans.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/...ends/19548011/
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R - Dec. 15)
9PM - Shark Tank
(R - Sep. 26)
10PM - 20/20
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Musical group One Direction; Tom Verica; Jessie J performs with 2 Chainz)
(R - Nov. 20)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Amazing Race
8:59PM - Frosty the Snowman
(R - Dec. 7, 1969)
9:30PM - Yes, Virginia
(R - Dec. 11, 2009)
10PM - Hawaii Five-0
(R - Nov. 2)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Michael Keaton; Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D-N.Y.) presents the Top Ten List; Foo Fighters and Ann and Nancy Wilson perform)
(R - Oct. 14)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Kat Dennings; comic Jermaine Fowler)

NBC:
8PM - Dateline NBC
9PM - Grimm
10PM - Constantine
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Bradley Cooper; Neil Diamond performs)
(R - Oct. 17)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Martin Short; model Coco Rocha; humorist Simon Rich)
(R - Nov. 4)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Wyatt Cenac; Porter Robinson performs; director Margaret Brown)
(R - Oct. 27)

FOX:
8PM - MasterChef: Junior Edition
(R - Nov. 25)
9PM - Gotham
(R - Nov. 17)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week With Gwen Ifill
8:30PM - Charlie Rose This Week
9PM - Kristin Chenoweth: Coming Home (90 min.)
10:30PM - Emery Blagdon and His Healing Machine
(R - Aug. 18)

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

THE CW:
8PM - Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
(R - Dec. 15, 2000)
9PM - Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special
(R - Nov. 24, 2010)
9:30PM - Merry Madagascar
(R - Nov. 17, 2009)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Reina de Corazones
9PM - Los Miserables
10PM - Señora Acero
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Nov. 28, 2014

ROAD TO UTOPIA
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This is the last Friday in November, and thus the final installment of TCM’s “Road Movies” Friday TV tour. And tonight, the network shows three of the very best road movies, all in a row. Start at 8 p.m. ET with 1945’s Road to Utopia, which sends Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour north to Alaska, and presents all the music, comedy, and fourth-wall-shattering nonsense that made these films so popular, and so quietly subversive. This showing also serves as a primer of sorts, with the release of a new Hope biography in bookstores, and a new Crosby biography on PBS next week.

KRISTEN CHENOWETH: COMING HOME
PBS, 9:00 p.m.

This musical special is the final edition of this year’s PBS Arts Fall Festival, and features series host Kristen Chenoweth in the spotlight, in her home town of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, featuring local singers and musicians who back her as she runs through the songs on her latest album.

SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS
TCM, 9:45 p.m.

Another superb road movie presented tonight by TCM. This one, from 1942, is Preston Sturges’ marvelous examination of Hollywood, from the point of view of a director of light comedy films who yearns to do something darker – and embarks on a mission to travel with the “common people,” riding the rails and hitting the road to learn, and then reflect, the anxieties of the everyday man. Joel McCrae stars as the director, Veronica Lake co-stars as his eventual traveling companion, and the whole thing adds up to a wonderful Tinseltown satire, but with a lovely, heartfelt message about the value of simple laughter.

THE FOO FIGHTERS: SONIC HIGHWAYS
HBO, 11:00 p.m.

This edition of Dave Grohl’s transcontinental trip down musical memory lane takes him to home turf: Seattle, where he looks back on the birth and tragic end of Nirvana, and the emotional formation of the Foo Fighters, who, with Grohl, write a song about their return visit to the city, and the recording studio where the Foo Fighters were formed. But older parts of music history are covered as well, including visits with Nancy Wilson of Heart and Larry Parypa of the Sonics.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT
TCM, 11:30 p.m. ET

The first movie to sweep all the major Oscars, this 1934 Frank Capra stars Claudette Colbert as a runaway heiress, Clark Cable as the reporter on her trail (and in her bed, though with a divider in between them). All three won Oscars, along with screenwriter Robert Riskin and the film itself.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
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Critic's Notes
Angry Turkeys, Meet Grumpy Cats
Television’s Hissing, Yowling Animal Parade
By Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

So much to do during Thanksgiving week. Make up the guest bedrooms. Prepare the dinner. Eat the leftovers. Nap. Eat more leftovers. Nap. Repeat for six or seven days. In short, no time to watch any television, except maybe a football game.

Network executives appear to fear just that, and so they are countering the tryptophan-induced indifference with the only surefire enticement they can think of: animals. A ridiculous number of animal-related shows will be clogging television in the next few days, these among them:

“The Whale: Revenge From the Deep”

“The Jellyfish: Revenge From Just a Few Feet Offshore”

“Fox’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular”

“Fox’s Cause for Claws: An All-Star Cat Spectacular”

“Fox’s Cause for Gnaws: An All-Star Rodent Spectacular”

“Big Cat Week: Man v. Lion”

“Big Cat Week: Leopard — Ultimate Survivor”

“Big Cat Week: Future Cat”

“Big Cat Week: Alternate-Universe Cat”

“Big Cat Week: Cats Watching Big Cat Week”

“Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever”

“Grumpy Cat: Not Big Enough to Be a Big Cat”

“National Dog Show Presented by Purina”

“National Turkey Show Presented by Butterball”

“When Turkeys Attack”

“When Turkeys Attack Grumpy Cats”

“How to Clone a Woolly Mammoth”

“What?? We’re Trying to Clone a Woolly Mammoth???”

“The Sturgeon Queens”

Oh, all right, only 10 of the above are actual shows, and “The Sturgeon Queens” isn’t really about sturgeon, it’s about Russ & Daughters, the Lower East Side specialty food store, which has a lot of smoked fish in it. But you get the idea: When in doubt as to whether anyone wants to watch TV, put on a show about or featuring animals.

No critic could possibly watch all the animal shows that are crammed into the next few days, so you’ll read nothing further here about “The Sturgeon Queens” (Channel 13, next Tuesday; WLIW21, Dec. 3), “Fox’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular” (Thanksgiving night), “The Whale: Revenge From the Deep” (a “Moby-Dick”-like Animal Planet movie Wednesday night), NBC’s coverage of the National Dog Show (noon on Thanksgiving), the woolly mammoth cloning thing (Smithsonian Channel, Saturday night) or the “Leopard — Ultimate Survivor” installment of Nat Geo Wild’s Big Cat Week (Saturday night). Instead, you’ll have to settle for a paragraph or two about the four shows this critic was able to choke down.

‘BIG CAT WEEK: MAN V. LION’ These Big Cat Weeks (this one begins on Friday) have been around long enough that a certain desperation is beginning to creep in. On “Man v. Lion,” scheduled for Friday night, a tracker named Boone Smith puts himself in an acrylic box in a South African game reserve, next to a carcass of some deerlike beast that lions like to eat.

The idea is to get a really, really close look at lions feeding, although what is to be gained from this is not entirely clear. It’s not quite as garish or exploitative as a show the Discovery Channel is planning next month, “Eaten Alive,” in which a man tries to get himself swallowed by a giant anaconda, but it’s certainly unnecessary.

‘BIG CAT WEEK: FUTURE CAT’ Yes, this show, scheduled for Sunday, is an hour’s worth of speculation about what lions, tigers, cougars and such might be like in the future. Not the near future, something we might actually care about and be able to influence. This bit of idiocy concerns itself with the point in the future at which the continents might have merged into one giant land mass, or water might cover much of the planet.

In the waterlogged version of the future, big cats, we’re told, might have to become aquatic hunters. This leads to a bit of speculation that will have fans of these Random Animal Weeks quivering with excitement: How would the tigers and leopards of the distant future fare against the sharks of the future? It’s either a Syfy movie (“Cougatron Versus Megashark”) or a Big Cat Week/Shark Week crossover episode.

‘GRUMPY CAT’S WORST CHRISTMAS EVER’ Some people find the holidays depressing, and nothing will be more depressing than the viewership number put up by this movie, which has its premiere on Saturday on Lifetime. Grumpy Cat is a real-life animal that has become Internet-famous entirely because of her perpetual sourpuss, and here she gets her own movie, with Aubrey Plaza of “Parks and Recreation” providing her voice.

It’s a seasonal story involving a friendless girl, a pet store, a mall robbery and an ugly-sweater contest, and it’s full of self-referential wisecracks, with Grumpy frequently addressing viewers directly and strongly implying that they’re pathetic for watching. But watch they will, no doubt by the millions. The movie is actually rather amusing if you have cat video standards, and Ms. Plaza seems to be having a droll time. Still, afterward we are all going to have to face the fact that we live in a country where a large number of people spent the Saturday night of a four-day weekend watching this thing.

‘WHEN TURKEYS ATTACK’ The Grumpy Cat movie, though, is an intellectual feast compared with this show, which Destination America offers on Wednesday night, presumably to encourage you to put a little extra bite into that turkey leg the next day. The show is nothing more than a collection of amateur videos of turkeys getting riled. They knock down children. They terrorize people in cars. They chase gray-haired ladies. What are they so angry about? Presumably it’s that, even in a week defined by turkey, cats get most of the attention.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/ar...ref=television
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TV Notes
Count the TV audience? Not so easy to do these days
By Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times

Like Barry Allen of CW's "The Flash," the changes in TV viewing habits are moving at superhuman speeds. And the industry, which relies on accurate measurements of audiences, is racing to catch up.

While the majority of viewers watch the old-fashioned way — live and seated in front of a TV screen — new technologies are rapidly transforming the way programming is consumed. The upending of television is being led by digital video recorders, video on-demand and streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon that can be watched on mobile phones and tablets as well.

The new TV behavior patterns, which are expanding as viewers become more comfortable with technology, are dramatic and come with potentially far-reaching consequences for the industry. This season, time-shifting has accounted for 37% of non-rerun, non-sports viewing up to seven days after day-of-air on the four major broadcast networks, according to Nielsen. That's up from 33% at the same time last year and up significantly from just 26% in 2009.

The bigger the window, the more pronounced the trend appears. An estimated 14 million people watched the premiere of Fox's Batman-inspired series "Gotham" in the 30 days after it aired, a huge increase from the 8.3 million who tuned in on the day of the show's premiere.

The problem: At least 5 million of those "Gotham" viewers don't count in Nielsen's ratings, the main currency for TV networks and advertisers.

Nielsen's metric doesn't include those who watched the episode on streaming sites like Hulu or Fox's own website, nor does it count those who watch via video-on-demand more than four days after the original airing. That's an issue for networks that want to use those viewership totals with advertisers.

"There's value in those viewers who are time-shifting," said Will Somers, head of research at Fox.

Overall, people are likely spending more time with television programming, given all the ways they can watch. The downside for networks is that they are viewing increasingly in nontraditional ways that make it harder for networks to make money.

The major broadcasters are trying to show advertisers how many people are really watching their shows at the same time as the live TV audience dwindles. Overall television ratings are down from a year ago, despite strong results from some newcomers. Total prime-time viewership among the key 18-49 demographic was down about 10% on average over the last two quarters.

Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen and Co. in San Francisco, said the trend could be a troubling sign for the big media companies. The time-shifted viewing measured by Nielsen is not making up for the decline in the drop-off in live ratings.

Also cutting into the network's overall ratings is the rise of online streaming services. Subscribers between ages 18 and 54 watch about 20% less traditional TV than before, according to Nielsen, which for the first time next month will begin measuring audiences for the streaming services. (Nielsen won't include data from shows watched on mobile devices, however, since they don't have the technology yet to do so.)

Most returning network TV shows are down, noted Creutz, while new picks haven't picked up the slack. This environment could foreshadow a future in which digital media eats more of TV's slice of the advertising market.

"Probably for the first time, there's real evidence that national television is coming under pressure from an audience perspective and an advertising perspective," Creutz said. "The question is, how much?"

Analysts and advertising firms say brands are increasingly taking more of their money to the Web rather than the traditional tube, even as critics say the industry is experiencing a golden age in television programming quality.

That's partly because advertisers are reluctant to buy time based on numbers of DVR users, who can easily skip ads. Also, some ads don't work if people see them a week late. Film studios, for example, want people to see commercials before a movie hits theaters.

"No one wants their Halloween message seen on the first of November," said Darcy Bowe, a vice president at advertising company Starcom USA.

In a note to clients in October, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield went further in expressing skepticism.

"Ads are not watched on DVRs no matter what studies from Nielsen indicate and torturing consumers with unskippable ad breaks ... cannot possibly be the correct answer for a brand trying to build a meaningful relationship with consumers," he wrote.

Network executives push back against the naysayers, arguing that the prevalence in ad-skipping with DVRs is overblown. After all, people have been avoiding advertising all along, and even those watching live TV can leave the living room during the commercial break. (Video on-demand does not allow ad-skipping.)

The big broadcasters, CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC, are trying to get the data crunchers who analyze TV ratings to pay more attention to the lifts shows receive from delayed viewing rather than fixating on the initial viewership counts. The companies have even begun including projections for the three-day and seven-day upticks in their morning releases to journalists.

Nielsen is working on ways to include more of the audience in its measurements, such as those who watch while away from home and on smartphones and tablets. Earlier this month it revealed the results of a test in Chicago that said ratings got a 7% to 9% lift from the inclusion of out-of-home viewing (meaning people watching at bars or at the gym).

Dounia Turrill, senior vice president of client insights at Nielsen, is optimistic about the state of the TV industry as a whole. Giving consumers more ways to watch shows means they can experiment with and keep up with more shows than ever.

"We definitely feel that video consumption overall is increasing, fueled by this opportunity for extra discovery," said Turrill.

Before the advent of new TV technologies, many shows — particularly those with serialized story lines — were hard-pressed to build an audience if they didn't debut strongly. But once streaming services began airing old programming, viewers could find or catch up with shows they might originally have missed.

One of the most notable examples is the AMC drama "Breaking Bad." The dark series about a chemistry teacher turned meth dealer saw its audience — and its Emmy recognition — skyrocket once Netflix began offering past seasons to its tens of millions of subscribers.

Some advertisers have been willing to make deals with networks based on the seven-day viewing window. But TV has a long way to go before the industry can translate its big nonlive audiences into advertising dollars.

"The holy grail is the ability to measure everyone across all platforms," said Alan Wurtzel, head of research at NBC. "No one is doing that yet."

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...ry.html#page=1
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TV Review
'Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever' with Aubrey Plaza as Grumpy Cat
It's the part she was born to play, baby, but the movie doesn't work for long
By Alan Sepinwall, HitFix.com - Nov. 27, 2014

Late in Lifetime's "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" TV-movie, the cat that launched a thousand memes objects to a plot twist by asking, "Is this not my movie?"

The film (it debuts Saturday night at 8), written by "SpongeBob" vet and "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties" director Tim Hill (who also directed this) and Jeff Morris, seems at war with itself as to how much it should — or can — be Grumpy Cat's movie, and the answer is "not enough," unfortunately.

But at least the movie is aware of that problem, since it opens with Grumpy Cat (aka Tardar Sauce) — played in voiceover by Aubrey Plaza, in a piece of casting that feels like destiny — getting excited at the thought of how disappointed we'll be "when you realize this movie is just a sappy melodrama about me, Grumpy Cat."

Except it's only vaguely about Grumpy Cat, and primarily about Chrystal (Megan Charpentier), a lonely girl who hangs out at the mall where Grumpy Cat lives at the pet store, and who just wants a true friend for Christmas.

We open with about 10 minutes of pure, unadulterated Grumpy Cat, introducing the pet store and its collection of unlovable misfit animals, commenting on the different cliches in the movie and making fun of every second she's not on camera. (During a stretch where we meet several of the human characters, Grumpy Cat drowns out the dialogue by narrating, "Blah blah blah, B-story, B-story, not my line, not my line...")

But at a certain point, the film has to get into its actual plot, which involves Chrystal trying to prevent two bumbling musicians from stealing a valuable dog that could keep the pet store out of bankruptcy. (Grumpy Cat, when the dog's value is introduced: "That sounds like a MacGuffin to me — whatever that is.") Thanks to a Christmas wish come true, Chrystal can communicate with Grumpy Cat when no other person can, but there are large swaths of the movie that play like a super low-budget "Home Alone," or like a typical Lifetime/Hallmark Christmas film that occasionally pauses to let Grumpy Cat heckle it.

In fairness, turning a character like Grumpy Cat into the center of a movie, even one made for Lifetime, brings with it many complications — more than even trying to build a feature film around a one-joke "SNL" character. An animated movie would allow her to be more central to the plot, but would take away the actual Grumpy Cat. Do it in live-action — and without the money to hire Andy Serkis as a motion-captured Grumpy Cat for certain action sequences — and you are restricted by what you can get a differently-abled feline with limited mobility to do.

The result is "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever," which has some funny lines from Plaza while occasionally inserting Grumpy Cat into ridiculous situations (a paintball gun is involved at one point), but is mostly trying to do what it can within the limitations of its budget, its network and its leading feline. You'll probably laugh a few times, but within a half hour, you'll understand why there hasn't been a rush to make a Nyan Cat or David After Dentist film.

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-wat...-as-grumpy-cat
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TV Notes
Peter Pan Takes Flight—On Live TV
NBC will broadcast the live musical Dec. 4 starring Allison Williams
By Stefanie Collins, Wall Street Journal

On a recent day at the Grumman Studios in Long Island, an artist was sanding a fake rock in the mermaid lagoon, giant sandbags were flying through the sky, a huge poodle mix was waiting for his cue, and Christopher Walken was going over his tap-dance moves in a long black wig, a red satin coat, and a hook for a hand.

It was 16 days out from “Peter Pan Live!”—a musical to be broadcast live on NBC Dec. 4. The roughly 400 people needed to pull off the extravaganza were buzzing around the giant studio clutching clipboards, speaking into headsets, and staring at monitors with the determined looks of soldiers preparing for war.

Last year, “The Sound of Music Live!” the first live-musical broadcast in more than 50 years, drew 22 million viewers in a huge coup for the network. It scored the highest rating for a single night of TV since the season finale of “Frasier” in 2004. Twitter exploded with commentary, some of it vitriolic, about the show. Some tuned in to poke fun at it—and they weren’t totally disappointed. Star Carrie Underwood drew particular criticism for what some called her wooden acting.

“The truth of the matter is whether you get great stuff on social media or nasty stuff, it still makes people watch,” says Neil Meron, one half of the producing team with Craig Zadan.

Allison Williams, who plays Peter Pan, doesn’t care if people watch just to make fun of the show. The admittedly Type-A star of the HBO show “Girls” is convinced the haters will be grudgingly impressed. “Even for the cynical people, I know something they don’t, which is that when they tune in, what they are going to see is going be excellent, and is going to consume them whether they like it or not,” she said.

Also, she’s not doing it for them, anyway—she’s thinking about the kids watching. Her goal is to have every kid in America dress as Peter Pan or Tinkerbell next Halloween. That’s what she did as a kid after watching the Mary Martin version of the televised classic on repeat for about three years straight. (Peter Pan was originally broadcast on NBC in 1955 and attracted the highest number of viewers for a single TV program at the time—65 million.)

For this Peter Pan, the cast of 46 includes Broadway veterans like Kelli O’Hara as Mrs. Darling, Taylor Louderman as Wendy, and Christian Borle as Smee. Mr. Walken accepted the role of Captain Hook with one condition: that he be able to dance a lot. In this version he does a tango, a tarantella, a choreographed duel and a new opening tap-dance number, says director Rob Ashford. “We exploited every moment in the script to include dancing.”

The set is inside an airplane hangar where the former Grumman aircraft maker once built Apollo lunar modules. The main stage is Neverland—an almost 360-degree set with an underground hideaway for Peter Pan’s famous “Lost Boys,” a forest made of rose trees, and the mermaid lagoon. On a recent day Mr. Ashford led the Lost Boys through a sequence in which they left their hideaway carrying bedrolls and pots and pans and marched down a mountain, the set rotating as they walked. Slowly, the Pirates sneaked up on them and snatched them up one by one, gagged them with bandannas, and tied them together. Prop men were on hand to secret the bedrolls away, hidden from the cameras, and hand over the length of rope used to bind the boys. With perfect timing, Mr. Walken appeared from behind a rose-topped tree to confront them.

The scene, which is probably about seven minutes total, took 2½ hours to rehearse. Mr. Ashford was “blocking” the scene, deciding where everyone needs to be and when, so the cameras would be in the right place.

“The action is constantly traveling, because that’s what you can do on television that you can’t do on a Broadway stage,” says Mr. Ashford, who describes the melding of television and Broadway as a new art form. (Mr. Ashford directed the “Sound of Music Live!” last year and this summer he co-directed with Kenneth Branagh the critically acclaimed “Macbeth” at New York’s Park Avenue Armory. On Broadway, he helmed “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in 2011 and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in 2013.)

Mr. Walken watched the boys rehearse seated in a director’s chair offstage dressed in full Captain Hook regalia. Unlike the other actors, who were in sweats and workout clothes, Mr. Walken wears at least part of his costume most days.

“It’s a lot to get used to: a hook, boots, hair,” he said. The actor sometimes walks the set alone, trying to “feel” his character, says Mr. Meron. He improvises all the time, says Ms. Williams, and she has no clue what he’ll end up doing during the actual broadcast. Mr. Walken said he hadn’t totally worked out his character yet. “I’m hoping for a mitzvah,” he added.

All of the actors and crew say the most difficult aspect of the event is the flying. It took Ms. Williams a whole month just to learn how to make it appear that she was “electing to lift off the ground,” she says, and how to face the direction she desired to fly and land in a natural way. It requires a knowledge of force and torque she’s long forgotten from high school physics to ensure she doesn’t fling herself off the Darling children’s nursery when she hops up on the ledge. But if she does, so be it.

“The truth of the matter is until you do the live performance you won’t know if you can get through it without any screw ups,” says co-producer Mr. Zadan, who sounds a little bit like he’s taunting people to tune in, just to see if there’s a mishap. There are no contingency plans in place for any possible problems. Ms. Williams doesn’t have an understudy and she says that unless she blacks out for some reason she would never consider needing one.

“These are really well-trained Broadway actors, and Walken is so insanely talented and so good at improvising that he’s not even worry-about-able, either,” Ms. Williams says. “For me to think they would react to me being suspended at an inopportune moment with shock and horror? They can’t, they won’t.”

http://online.wsj.com/articles/peter...-tv-1416931328
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Nielsen Overnights
NFL Thanksgiving Day Game Ratings Steady On NBC, ‘Elementary’ Rises, ‘NFL on CBS’ Scores
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Nov. 28, 2014

There was a lot to be thankful for if you were the Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving Day 2014. There was great NFL primetime game by the Emerald City’s Richard Sherman, the less than stellar performance by the San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, and of course, the critical breaking of a 5-game losing streak for the Seahawks with that 19-3 blowout. In its third primetime Thanksgiving game, NBC got a 5.8/20 rating among adults 18-49 with 17.73 million viewers. With just a slight 3% decline, that’s pretty steady with the fast nationals of last year’s primetime NFL Thanksgiving Day match-up that got a 6.0/19 and 18.61 million. The much closer 22-20 November 28, 2013 Thanksgiving game between the victorious and then Super Bowl champs Baltimore Ravens over the Pittsburgh Steelers went up to a 6.9/23 and 21.073 million watching in final nationals.

All in all, like the Seahawks, last night was a fairly easy win for NBC both among the demo (5.6/19) and total viewership (17.28 million).

As always, Thanksgiving or otherwise, expect adjustments in live sports results in the final nationals. However, in metered-market result, last night’s Seahawks-49ers game was a steady win for NBC with a 12.5/25. That’s a 6% rise from the Ravens vs. Steelers game of last Thanksgiving. It is also the best the primetime Thanksgiving game has done ever in MM results since it started on the NFL Network in 2006 and then moved over to NBC in 2012. Unsurprisingly the top market for last night’s game was Seattle with a solid 35.5/74. Sacramento (26.4/56) was next, then Portland (19.8/44) and then San Francisco (18.8/49) in fourth place and Las Vegas (18.4/36) in fifth.

nfl on cbsIn other NFL Thanksgiving news, The NFL on CBS also scored yesterday with the best holiday game result in 16 years. The 12:45 – 4 PM 34-17 game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears pulled in a 15.3/35 overnight. That’s a slight 3% rise over last year’s later afternoon game between the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys and a 9% uptick over the 12:30 – 3:45 PM game between the Green Bay Packers and the Lions on Fox. As on the field, no matter how close, a win is a win.

Back to primetime, ABC and Fox both had specials in the 8 PM hour as their original Thanksgiving offerings. The former’s unsung heroes tribute Thank You America With Robin Roberts (0.6/2) came up short against the latter’s FOX’s Cause For Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular (1.6/6). However, with afternoon NFL games on Fox, Cause For Paws’ number are likely more than a bit pumped up. On CBS, a Big Bang Theory repeat had a 1.7/6 rating with 8 million viewers – almost as much of an audience as the ABC and Fox special put together. The CW was all repeats all night.

The only network to stick reasonable close to its regular Thursday schedule was CBS. Having said that, the network is categorizing its shows last night as specials and hence not counting the results to season averages. Not a bad idea all things considered as Mom (1.6/6) and Two and A Half Men (1.5/5) were down 35% and 32% respectively from last week as they faced a much more competitive NFL game on NBC. Troubled freshman The McCarthys (1.1/4) also took a double digit hit, down 21% from last week. With that, a little but of Sherlock Holmes obviously was something for some to be thankful for. After hitting a season low last week, Elementary (1.1/4) rose 10% with last night’s show.

Hope everyone had a great holiday.

http://deadline.com/2014/11/nfl-rati...ts-1201300372/
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