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post #98761 of 98779 Old 12-27-2014, 11:04 AM
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Critic's Notes
Amazon adds 10M Prime subscribers during holiday
By Brett Molina, USA Today - Dec. 26, 2014

Amazon says more than 10 million people tried the online retailing giant's Prime subscription service for the first time this holiday.

In a statement released Friday, Amazon says more than 60% of customers bought items using their mobile devices. Also, total holiday sales in the U.S. made from the Amazon app doubled this year.

Amazon Prime is a subscriptions service available for $99 a year. It offers free two-day shipping on most items sold through Amazon, as well as access to its streaming video and music services. Kindle owners also get access to a lenders library where they can borrow books for free.

Shares of Amazon are up more than 1% in morning trading.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2...rime/20909973/
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post #98762 of 98779 Old 12-27-2014, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post
Nobody said you had to watch, but yeah there are way too many bowls with the suspect teams to go with them.
It's a matter of opinion on the number of bowls. One interesting little tidbit is that the bowl game on cable last week in New Orleans featuring two mid-major teams, Nevada and Louisiana Lafayette outdrew the college basketball game on CBS featuring the number one team in the country, Kentucky, versus UCLA. So apparently fans like college football a lot even when the teams are so-so.
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post #98763 of 98779 Old 12-27-2014, 11:16 AM
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Dec. 27, 2014

DOCTOR WHO MARATHON
BBC America, 12:00 a.m. ET

BBC America’s Doctor Who marathon, which began yesterday, continues today with more modern episodes. Season 5, featuring Matt Smith as the new Doctor, continues through 7 p.m. ET, when Season 6, also with Smith, takes over. It’s a great way to spend some time with the TV – Doctor Who, since its modern reboot, has been a very underrated series, especially in terms of its writing and acting.

MANHATTAN MARATHON
WGN America, 9:00 a.m.

WGN America put itself on the original series map with Salem. Then it followed up with another impressive series for an upstart start-up: Manhattan, a period of drama about the Manhattan Project and the race to develop the atomic bomb. In what can best be described as an explosive programming idea, WGN is presenting the entire Season 1 of Manhattan, beginning at 9 a.m. ET.

THE GREAT BUDAPEST HOTEL
HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

Wes Anderson’s visually beautiful, playfully audacious 2014 movie stars Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham and a ridiculously deep talent pool of actors in eager support: Bill Murray, Jude Law, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Andrew Norton, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton, and even more.

THE BLACK STALLION
TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Whenever this gorgeous 1979 movie is televised, I usually take care to credit director Carroll Ballard and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. And with good reason, because the visuals are stunning – pure cinematic poetry. But there’s poetry in the story, as well, so here’s to Walter Farley’s original novel, and to the screenplay, whose writers include Melissa Mathison, who also worked on the script for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW
BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET

These shows come to the U.S. the week after they’re taped and shown in the U.K., so this actually is Norton’s 2014 Christmas show. But as belated gifts go, it’s a big one. Ricky Gervais is on hand, along with Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Usher, Rebel Wilson and Ben Stiller. All in the same show.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
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post #98764 of 98779 Old 12-27-2014, 11:25 AM
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Obituary
Jeremy Lloyd: Actor and screenwriter who was co-creator of popular TV comedies such as Are You Being Served? and ’Allo ’Allo
By The Guardian Staff - Dec. 27, 2014

Jeremy Lloyd, who has died aged 84, is best remembered for co-creating with his fellow comedy writer David Croft the television shows Are You Being Served? and ’Allo ’Allo. Both were innuendo-laden, populated with pantomime grotesques and were accused by sniffier critics of being sexist, racist, misogynist and homophobic. The former ran on the BBC from 1972 to 1985 and was set in the ladies’ and gents’ clothing departments of Grace Brothers department store, a kind of dilapidated retailing equivalent of British Leyland. It starred Mollie Sugden as a stereotypical battleaxe, Mrs Slocombe, John Inman as a gay (in both senses) assistant, Mr Humphries, and Wendy Richard as Miss Brahms, the focus of heterosexual male interest.

’Allo ’Allo was set in a wartime cafe in occupied France, run by a proprietor ostensibly trying to help the allied war effort but really more concerned with groping his waitresses in the broom cupboard. It starred Gorden Kaye as René Artois, Carmen Silvera as his long-suffering wife, Edith, and Vicki Michelle as Yvette Carte-Blanche, one of the objects of his weekly thwarted lust. ’Allo ’Allo was accused of trivialising war, but that did not mar its popularity nor prevent it running, again on the BBC, for a decade, from 1982 to 1992.

But Lloyd easily might not have lived long enough to co-write these enduring and politically incorrect British sitcoms. In the 1950s, while working as a paint salesman, he was sent to investigate a buoy bobbing in the Thames estuary at Dead Man’s Reach. He stepped off the boat and stood on the buoy to study its anti-rust coating at close quarters. The buoy started to roll very slowly under his feet, so he started to walk to keep pace with it. At that moment, the boat due to return him to Greenwich disappeared over the horizon. Gangly, 6ft 4in, dressed in bowler hat and suit, with an umbrella hooked over his arm, Lloyd doubtless looked as though he was walking on water – or like an especially natty pelican.

As Lloyd recalled in his memoir, Listen Very Carefully, I Shall Say This Only Once (1993), a German cargo vessel’s crew reported seeing a bowler-hatted English gent walking very slowly for his life. Lloyd called across the waves: “I say, hello there.” British comedy would have been the poorer if they had not rescued him.

After eluding a watery grave, the salesman resolved to take up writing. “As a result of my life on the road and the increasing number of rainy afternoons in cinemas, I began to get the idea that I might write a film,” he recalled. He started a film script about the Loch Ness monster called What a Whopper! Two weeks later, he drove up to the gate of Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, with the finished manuscript, demanded to see its executive producer, Earl St John, and convinced him to buy the script. The film was made, even though it was not that good and a team of writers was needed to turn it into a vehicle for Adam Faith in 1961. Lloyd parlayed its existence into a gag-writing career, first for Jon Pertwee and then for many other BBC light entertainment funnymen, such as Dickie Henderson and Morecambe and Wise.

He combined acting and writing for popular BBC light entertainment shows. “I knew I had arrived,” wrote Lloyd, “when taxi drivers would say, ‘You’re that twit on the Billy Cotton Show, aren’t you?’” That was an understatement: he was also that twit in School for Scoundrels (1960), Doctor in Clover (1966), and two Beatles films, A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965). What’s more, he was a transatlantic twit: he was lured to Hollywood to write for Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

His career could have been different had he listened to the director Joseph Losey. When Losey was looking for an aristocrat to play opposite Dirk Bogarde in the Harold Pinter-scripted movie The Servant (1963), he sought Lloyd, who was playing a twit opposite Kenneth More in a film called We Joined the Navy (1963). “Ever played a homosexual?” asked Losey. “You’d be good.” Lloyd declined and James Fox got the part.

Lloyd once suggested he might never have been fortunate enough to have become a writer had he not been lucky enough to be such a failure at everything else. He was born in Danbury, Essex, son of an army colonel, Eric Lloyd. and a dancing Tiller Girl, Margaret (nee Lees). “My first failure was to be born a child not wanted by his father or mother, as they parted shortly after I was born.” He was packed off to boarding school (“quite the unhappiest days of my life”) where, underweight and puny, wearing spectacles with one glass blacked out and with a nose so prominent he was nicknamed Beaky, he became bully fodder.

He was raised by his grandmother in Didsbury, Manchester. Now and again, granny would point out his elusive mother as she passed by on a Manchester bus – her image was used in bus advertisements for Craven A cigarettes. After the second world war, Lloyd Sr invited his 15-year-old son to live in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, where he was in the habit of introducing Jeremy to friends as “Dead Loss, the son of dance-band leader Joe Loss”.

He became a plumber’s mate, then a light-bulb inspector. He then made the historically significant decision to apply for the post of, as he put it, “junior slave in the Gents’ Natty Suiting department” at Simpsons in Piccadilly, London. It was there he first heard the future catchphrases “I’m free!” and “Are you being served?” His father visited and, even though Lloyd got him a discount on some trousers, told his son it was not a proper job. Which is why he became a paint salesman. During this time, he married a model, Dawn Bailey; the couple divorced in 1962.

Once embarked upon his writing career, velvet-suited and happy, Lloyd swung through the 60s. He was briefly engaged to the actor Charlotte Rampling. He drove a Rolls-Royce and a Lotus. He wrote a Dracula movie for David Niven (typical scene: Niven holds up a Playboy centrefold and says: “My word, what a splendid pair of jugulars!”). Lloyd was friendly with Terence Stamp, Roger Moore, Twiggy, Peter Sellers, Diana Rigg and other 60s stars. In Hollywood, he became friends with Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski. In his memoir, he recalls that Tate invited him for tea one Saturday, but he – fortunately – forgot to go. On that evening, 9 August 1969, she and four guests were murdered at her Los Angeles home by followers of Charles Manson.

In 1970 he married the actor Joanna Lumley (their marriage lasted from May to September). She suggested he write a sitcom based on his experiences at Simpsons. And he dropped a line to Croft – co-creator with Jimmy Perry of Dad’s Army, then running on the BBC – suggesting writing what turned out to be Are You Being Served?, the sitcom that ran for 69 episodes. It was so global in its bawdy reach that, legend has it, the opening of the Israel’s parliament once had to be delayed as it clashed with the show Knesset members loved.

Lloyd also wrote a detective series called Whodunnit? (1973-74), the sitcoms Oh Happy Band (1980) and Come Back Mrs Noah (1977-78), and a sequel to Are You Being Served?, Grace and Favour (1992-93), as well as a Mittyesque novel, The Adventures of Captain Dangerfield (1973). Lloyd was, though, most proud of creating Captain Beaky and his band of animal adventurers (including Hissing Sid, Batty Bat and Timid Toad). He wrote poems and lyrics for the stage show and books, with illustrations by Keith Michell (the actor best known for his portrayal of Henry VIII) and music by Jim Parker. Thanks to being played incessantly on Radio 1 by Lloyd’s friend Noel Edmonds, the song Captain Beaky peaked at No 5 in the UK singles chart in 1980, and the stage show was a great popular, if not critical, success.

But it was another Croft-Lloyd collaboration, ’Allo ’Allo, that would prove even more successful than Are You Being Served? Some disliked its jaunty attitude to Hitlerian occupation and racial and sexual stereotyping; others enjoyed its unremittingly daffy characters, such as the tall gendarme who, for reasons that don’t bear an instant’s scrutiny, spoke to everybody in scarcely comprehensible Franglais, offering apercus such as: “It’s a gid loof, if you don’t wicken.”

Lloyd had such fun on the show that he became briefly engaged to Carole Ashby, who played the demented Louise of the Communist Resistance. Michelle of the De Gaulle Resistance, played by Kirsten Cooke, had the catchphrase that Lloyd took for the title of his memoir: strictly speaking, it should have been spelled Leesten Vairy Carefully, I Shall Say Zees Arnly Wernce. ’Allo ’Allo was such a triumph that it ran to nearly 90 episodes. The BBC managed to sell the show to the Germans, who may have liked how its Nazis were depicted as harmlessly pervy and bumbling.

In 2011 Lloyd’s lineup for a Royal Albert Hall revival of Captain Beaky included Lumley and Roger Moore. The following year he was appointed OBE for services to comedy.

In 1992, Lloyd married the actor Collette Northrop. Earlier this year he got married again, to the interior designer Lizzy Moberly, who survives him.

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-ra...3/jeremy-lloyd
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post #98765 of 98779 Old 12-27-2014, 03:35 PM
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TV Notes
Cable cranks out midseason debuts
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Dec. 26, 2014

Jan. 24: “Black Sails” (9 p.m. Jan. 24, Starz).
Got my dvr set tomorrow starting 3:00pm starz is playing season 1 all 8 episodes.
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post #98766 of 98779 Old 12-27-2014, 11:58 PM
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)

ABC:
7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R - Oct. 12)
8PM - Revenge
(R - Nov. 16)
9PM - Revenge
(R - Nov. 30)
10PM - Revenge
(R - Dec. 7)

CBS:
7PM - NFL Football: Regional Coverage (from 4:25PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - 60 Minutes
8:30PM - Undercover Boss
9:30PM - The Mentalist
10:30PM - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

NBC:
7PM - Football Night in America (80 min., LIVE)
8:20PM - Sunday Night Football: Cincinatti Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (LIVE)

FOX:
7PM - NFL Football: Regional Coverage (from 4:25PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - The OT
8PM - The Simpsons
(R - Oct. 5)
8:30PM - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
(R - Sep. 28)
9PM - Family Guy
(R - Oct. 19)
9:30PM - Bob's Burgers
(R - Nov. 24, 2013)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
7PM - Vicious: Holiday Special
(R)
7:30PM - Downton Abbey Rediscovered
(R - Nov. 30)
8PM - The Great British Baking Show: Cake (Season Premiere)
9PM - Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey Season 4 (120 min.)
(R - Feb. 23)

UNIVISION:
7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - La Rosa de Guadalupe: Amigas por Siempre (Special)
9PM - Sal y Pimienta: Musica, Muerte y Tragedia (Special, 120 min.)

TELEMUNDO:
6:30PM - Movie: The Smurfs (2011)
8:30PM - Movie - The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

Last edited by dad1153; Yesterday at 09:01 PM.
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Business Notes
Aereo To Sell Off Technology In Bankruptcy Deal
By Patrick Hipes, Deadline.com - Dec. 26, 2014

Aereo has reached a deal with broadcasters in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that will allow the former streaming service to auction off its TV technology — as long the the networks be allowed to monitor the process and examine any potential deal. The latest news comes after Aereo filed for voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization last month following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that Aereo must pay broadcasters to retransmit their free, over-the-air signals.

According to the order (read it here, along with the auction guidelines) filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, the final bidding deadline is February 15, 2015 “for all or substantially all of its assets, pursuant to Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code (the “Sale”), as an entirety or in one or more lots,” wrote U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane. The court said the auction will be held February 24, with a deadline of sale approval set for March 11. The creditors — including the parent companies of the Big 4 networks– will receive weekly updates on the sales process and be allowed to attend the auction.

The doc also says Aereo retains the right to seek approval of a stalking horse and stalking horse bid “consistent with the Bidding Procedures,” including payment of any break-up fee.

That Supreme Court case ended pretty much all hope that Aereo could continue as a TV service, which broadcasters opposed because it violated networks’ copyrights. In October, a U.S. District Court imposed a nationwide injunction. The company also hoped that the FCC or the U.S. Copyright Office might deem it the equivalent of a cable company, which might have opened opportunities to negotiate programming deals or offer local broadcast signals for a relatively small fee.

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Aereo said it was to preserve its value “without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts.”

http://deadline.com/2014/12/aereo-ba...al-1201336791/
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TV Review
‘Branson Famous’
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Dec. 26, 2014

There’s bad, there’s fabulously bad, and then there’s “Branson Famous.” What TruTV is billing as the first “reality musical” – and quietly unleashing, understandably, between Christmas and New Year’s – achieves a certain level of hilarity, though how much of that is intended proves difficult to discern. In this half-hour soap built around a performing family and their Branson, Mo., stage/variety revue, the characters don’t just deliver their direct-to-camera thoughts but sing their feelings, with one silly line rhyming with the next. As for the participants, they’re due to receive a measure of fame, all right, although probably not the kind they envisioned.

At the center of the series is the Mabe family, which performs in the long-running Baldknobbers Jamboree. The act consists of the extended family, minus one sister who desperately wants to escape her lot working in the gift shop but, alas, sings like someone who wouldn’t get invited to Los Angeles on “American Idol.”

Jumping right in, the show picks up with the son, Brandon, and his parents Tim and Patty auditioning new singers in an effort to help fill empty seats. They quickly settle on the pretty and perky Heather Gentry (who is dramatically introduced in silhouette), much to the chagrin of Brandon’s girlfriend and co-star, Megan McCombs, who doesn’t get along particularly well with Patty, mostly because she broke up Brandon’s marriage.

OK, so all that’s equal parts country-and-western song and “Nashville.” Where “Branson Famous” wildly goes off the rails is during the between-drama interludes, where Brandon sings, “I’m chasin’ Branson fame,” and his mom follows that with, “I’m savin’ my family’s name.” Or Brandon’s crooned reassurance that “I ain’t no cheatin’ man,” while Megan sings back at him, rolling her eyes. There’s even a sort-of split-screen duet at one point involving Megan and Patty, which is every bit as silly as that sounds.

Like a lot of reality shows, enjoying “Branson Famous” – or at least, accepting it as “real” in any way – requires ignoring the existence of the show itself, which, presumably, might help solve some of the family’s money troubles, not just through program fees but the attention (good or ill) this exposure will bring to them. Then again, dwelling on such matters would appear to be giving the show more thought than those responsible (and especially those who wrote the lyrics) ever did.

TruTV is undergoing a kind of creative evolution, having relied on heavily staged unscripted shows, and now morphing into a more comedy-driven version of the same. There will be, inevitably, some trial and error during that process.

For sheer kitsch value, “Branson Famous” is so absurdly goofy it might not be a total loss, and if so, it wouldn’t be the first time Southern-fried reality has reaped dividends.

That said, there’s a fine line between being laughed with and laughed at, and if the Mabes wanted to escape this exercise with their dignity, then like many an old-fashioned country song, the producers and TruTV have done them wrong.

'Branson Famous'
TruTV, Mon. Dec. 29, 10 p.m.


http://variety.com/2014/tv/reviews/t...us-1201385619/
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TV/Nielsen Notes (Cable)
CNN Scores Youngest Audience Age of 2014 Due to Network’s New Original Series
By Jordan Chariton, TheWrap.com - Dec. 26, 2014

CNN’s median audience age in primetime dropped by two years in 2014, making it the youngest cable news network.

According to Nielsen, the median age of the CNN viewer during primetime dropped from 60 in 2013 to 58 in 2014. That’s the lowest viewer age since 2008, which was the network’s lowest since 1992.

CNN’s chief competition — Fox News and MSNBC — were both older: Fox by a decade, at 68, and MSNBC at 61; up a year from 60 in 2013.

The two-year drop for CNN might not seem that significant to the naked eye, but it’s helpful for the network while shopping its programming to advertisers and sponsors. The drop in audience age is in large part attributable to the network’s investment in original series like “Anthony Boudain: Parts Unknown,” “The Hunt” with John Walsh, “This is Life” with Lisa Ling,” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” with Mike Rowe.

The advantage of these shows is two-fold: they offer speciality programming that serves a variety of audiences interested in travel, culinary and cultural programming while also being DVR-friendly.

Shows like this were part of the reason CNN landed on TheWrap’s top 5 media winners of 2014 list, along with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, The Blaze’s Glenn Beck, Lebron James, and ABC News.

http://www.thewrap.com/cnn-scores-yo...iginal-series/
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TV Review
'The Great British Baking Show'
Mouth-watering desserts and well-mannered judges? Smash U.K. series rises to the challenge
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Dec. 26, 2014

“The Great British Baking Show” could be subtitled “The Anti-Gordon Ramsay Show.”

“Great British Baking” is as cheerful, polite and well-mannered as Ramsay is impetuous, loud and confrontational.

It's also become quite the hit in the U.K., and now PBS has brought it here. Not by coincidence, it launches a week before another show featuring good British manners, “Downton Abbey.”

In principle, it’s not terribly different from other baking shows. A dozen contestants have to create a specific baked good, and the results are judged by people with famous palates — including, in this case, renowned British baker and author Mary Berry.

One of the challenges the first week is to bake a cake from a Berry recipe. The twist is that the contestants don’t get the whole recipe, just the ingredients and a general sense of what it should look like.

Yet even when some of the results are rather shoddy, there is no humiliation. The judges limit themselves to a sympathetic, albeit honest, assessment.

True, that contrasts with most reality competition shows these days. No pain, no ratings gain.

But this show doesn't seem to mind being different, which is underscored by the fact that it’s filmed in a tent in the middle of a lush meadow.

For the first round, the sun shines brightly into the tent, which may lead weather buffs to ask who stole Britain and replaced it with this imposter.

No matter. The filming is superb, and the baked goods look delectable. Plus, cooking for Mary Berry is a lot easier on the digestion than cooking for Gordon Ramsay.

'The Great British Baking Show'
Network/Air Date: PBS, Sunday at 8 p.m.
Rating: ★★★ (out of five)


http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...icle-1.2056074
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Critic's Notes
Great TV 2014: Not a List, Not in Order
By Emily Nussbaum, NewYorker.com

For four years, I’ve refused to write a top-ten list. My motives were suspect. A good chunk of it was principle, but it’s hard to deny that there’s an element of entitlement. After all, I was lucky enough to be working at a venue outside the journalistic list mines. I’ve written my share of lists, and they make me itch—so reductive, so mathematical. Also, like all TV critics, I haven’t watched everything.

On the other hand, it’s hard to deny that some shows are better than others—and I’m hardly immune to arguing. So this year I thought I’d begin my annual refusal to make a list with some comparisons. Among other things, statistically speaking, Amazon’s “Transparent” is 27.5 times better than FX’s “Fargo.” (I measured.) Yes, they are very different. “Fargo,” which has topped several best-TV lists, is a stylized drama that strips the Coen brothers’ movies for parts. The series includes some truly beautiful scenes, including a dazzling shootout in the snow. But it is the same old, same old: just another of cable drama’s nicely tailored empty suits. In contrast, “Transparent,” Jill Soloway’s new series about a bunch of L.A. Jews, feels new. It swings. It’s funny, sad, loose, dirty, humane without being corny—it opens doors. It changes the viewer. “Fargo” ’s stylish looks are certainly seductive, but they’re a charade: the show is less auteurist than auteurist-ish. “Transparent” shakes up the system.

NBC’s “Hannibal” is another show like that: a gorgeous, radical, unsettling horror series, a joint vision of empathy and cruelty. It is fifteen times better than HBO’s “True Detective,” for all of the latter’s manly charms. “Jane the Virgin” is thirty times better than ninety per cent of all network shows. Fiona Apple’s theme song to “The Affair” is way better than “The Affair.” Watch “Outlander,” not “Downton Abbey”!

O.K., I’ll drop the fake math and rude comparisons. The truth is, this is an oddly difficult year to boil down. Everything is in flux, in the best way: the TV seasons have dissolved, and so has the distinction between comedy and drama. Directors have begun to flood a medium that used to be run by writers. New variations on television keep pouring through odd outlets, from Netflix and Amazon and probably, soon, your coffee maker. Online TV is blossoming for real.

First up, here are some shows that feel new—the ones that shake up the idea of what TV can be. They’re not in order. I recommend, however, that you skip to HBO’s “Getting On,” which, like “Hannibal,” I never got around to reviewing—my biggest regret of the year. Set in a geriatric unit, with a genius ensemble (including Niecy Nash and Laurie Metcalf), it’s “Enlightened” all over again: an odd-sounding HBO sleeper that never got press but is unlike anything you’ve seen. Pray for a third season.

Amazon’s “Transparent.”

HBO’s “Getting On.”

NBC’s “Hannibal.”

Vimeo’s “High Maintenance.”

Channel 4’s “Black Mirror,” a sci-fi series to resurface your brain.

HBO’s “The Leftovers,” a weepy oddity with miraculous force.

Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.”

HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge,” a stealthy, slow-fuse literary adaptation.

Comedy Central’s “Broad City,” shaggy, salty, and crazy confident.

Of course, new isn’t all that’s interesting. Below are the shows I recommend when people are looking for a drama, once I figure out whether they’re looking to cry, solve a murder, or are simply one of all the people who live on earth, to whom I recommend “The Good Wife.” Again, they are not in order.

FX’s “The Americans,” especially after its near-perfect Season 2.

CBS’s “The Good Wife.” Please go back and watch it all.

BBC’s “Sherlock,” which stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

ABCFamily’s “The Fosters,” a warm, intelligent, and deep family series.

CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” the best new show of the year, if I made lists.

Showtime’s “Homeland,” which had a memorable comeback season.

Netflix’s “Happy Valley,” a gritty, affecting crime drama.

BBC’s “Call the Midwife,” a satisfying British historical medical procedural.

AMC’s still-trippy “Mad Men.”

HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” most likely—though because time is non-infinite, I never managed to catch up on the whole season.

(Full disclosure: I’m entirely caught up on “Nashville,” although it is objectively twenty-three times more terrible than “Game of Thrones.”)

If I were really doing this in order, my whole non-list might be comedies—and half the shows listed above are very funny. Anyway, in no order, these are some favorite half-hour series that contain jokes, although there are a bunch missing (like “Review” and “Peep Show”) that I need to catch up on.

FXX’s “Always Sunny,” now and forever.

HBO’s “Girls,” endlessly critiqued, now entering Season 4, in which Hannah gets critiqued.

FX’s “Louie,” which hits and misses in the best way.

FXX’s “You’re the Worst,” the best new sitcom of the year, if I made lists.

Fox’s “The Mindy Project,” the rare network sitcom with bite and idiosyncrasy.

FX’s “Archer,” good counter-programming for every horrible thing in the news.

ABC’s “The Middle,” the perfect family sitcom.

“The Comeback,” a caustic skeleton key to television.

IFC’s “Portlandia,” Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele,” and Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer”—fantastic sketch shows.

FOX’s “Bob’s Burgers,” which has a cult following for good reason.

Comedy Central’s “Drunk History,” from which you’ll learn more than you realize (although I regret not catching up with “The Roosevelts,” which I would almost certainly have somewhere on this non-list).

HBO’s “Veep” found its feet in Season 2 and has been kicking ever since.

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cul...014-list-order
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TV Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Dec. 28, 2014

DOCTOR WHO MARATHON
BBC America, 3:00 p.m. ET

The BBC America Doctor Who marathon continues today, with Season 8 occupying the morning and afternoon until 3 p.m. ET. That’s when BBC America repeats David Tennant in The Christmas Invasion, voted by fans on the BBC America website as their favorite Doctor Who Christmas special. And following that, it’s a random sampler of some of the series’ very best episodes. Lots of Doctors today, making lots of house calls – at least on TV.

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW
PBS, 8:00 p.m.
SERIES PREMIERE (U.S.):
I visited London not too long ago, and spent some of that time watching some very strange programs on British television. This time around, my favorite shows were the ones devoted to coverage of the game of darts – but there were plenty of other weird contenders, nearly as compelling. This new import, known there as The Great British Bake Off, is a perfect example: It’s a baking competition, but done with a peculiarly British flavor, an ingredient you can’t fake if you try repeating the recipe in America. So here, thanks to PBS, is the original. Check local listings.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
Disney Channel, 8:00 p.m. ET

Think of all the youthful fan adulation built around Frozen, then go back almost a decade, and here’s the same sort of well tapped by Disney back then. High School Musical was a 2006 musical that launched a franchise, sold a best-selling soundtrack, and had teen and preteen girls, especially, repeating viewings and listenings of it ad infinitum. Sound familiar?

MASTERPIECE CLASSIC: "DOWNTON ABBEY"
PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

This is a repeat of the final episode of Season 4. It’s the last Downton repeat of the year – but next year, very quickly after the calendar turns to 2015, you’ll be able to see the premiere episode of Season 5. So if you need a reminder of where the series left off, here it is. Check local listings.

THE COMEBACK
HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET
SEASON FINALE:
Once again, The Comeback is prepared to go away. Last time, it vanished for nine years before presenting a Season 2. This time, based on the ratings, there may not be a next time. But Valerie (Lisa Kudrow), this time, is going out with a bang – or at least with a taste of success, though it’s a taste she finds less pleasant than expected.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
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TV Notes
'Doctor Who' star Jenna Coleman will remain for another season
By Patrick Kevin Day, Los Angeles Times - Dec. 26, 2014

Good news for fans of Jenna Coleman, who has played companion to the Doctor on the last season and a half of "Doctor Who": She's not going anywhere. At least for now.

Beginning in the fall, rumors began cropping up online that Coleman was about to leave her role as Clara Oswald, the schoolteacher-turned-space-time-traveler. Coleman herself did nothing to dispel those rumors when she told Radio Times in September that she would be in the Christmas episode, but wouldn't confirm any involvement in the series after that.

When the title of the Christmas episode was announced, "Last Christmas," it seemed that this might indeed be the end of the road for Coleman.

And even for viewers of the special, which aired on Christmas Day, it seemed as if this was Coleman's final adventure with the Doctor. Right up until the final moments of the episode. And then it was revealed that, despite rumors of her departure, Coleman would continue to travel with the Doctor for a little while longer.

Coleman told the BBC: "I get a whole other series of stories with the Doctor and I couldn't walk away with the story being unresolved."

Coleman joined the series in 2012, replacing the Ponds (Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill), who had been with the Doctor since 2010. She began with Matt Smith and continues with Peter Capaldi.

It looks as if the rumors might have just been one big misdirect to toy with fans leading up to the Christmas special. Maybe one day, "Doctor Who" fans will tire of having their emotions played with this way. But that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon.

Who doesn't want to watch a "Doctor Who" with the expectation that you could burst into tears at any moment?

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...226-story.html
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Obituary
Harry Potter actor David Ryall dies aged 79
By BBC News Staff - Dec. 28, 2014

Actor David Ryall, known for playing Elphias Doge in the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows film, has died aged 79.

The actor passed away on Christmas Day but no more information has been given.

Ryall had a five-decade career across film, TV and theatre, including in movie The Elephant Man and on TV, The Village and Outnumbered.

Daughter Charlie Ryall said: "Please take a moment to remember his huge five-decade-spanning career outside of the more well-known TV & film."

In a tweet, Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss called Ryall "a twinkling, brilliant, wonderful actor I was privileged to call a friend. RIP".

Gatiss directed Ryall in TV movie The Tractate Middoth in 2013.

Ryall replaced Peter Cartwright as Elphias Doge in 2010's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

His character was a close friend of Albus Dumbledore in addition to being a Ministry of Magic jurist and an Order of the Phoenix member.

His other film roles included parts in 2004's Around the World in 80 Days, 1990's Truly, Madly, Deeply and 1980's The Elephant Man.

On TV, character actor Ryall appeared in many well-known shows including The Singing Detective, Holby City, Casualty, Midsomer Murders, Goodnight Sweetheart and the Andrew Davies version of House Of Cards.

Most recently, he was perhaps best known as Frank, the grandfather who suffers from dementia, in BBC comedy Outnumbered.

He is also recognisable to TV viewers as Britain's oldest man Old Bert, the narrator of BBC One's The Village, who recalls his life through a series of flashbacks.

He also appeared in the Sky One comedy Trollied and in BBC drama Our Girl.

On Twitter, fans and colleagues of the actor paid tribute.

"So very sad to read of the death of actor David Ryall may he RIP," said Colette Mayer.

TV writer David Brown said: "RIP David Ryall - one of the best Inspector Morse baddies. Derek Whittaker - driving test psycho who tried to knife Morse."

Actor Clive Merrison added: "I'm so sorry to hear David Ryall has died. He was a wonderful actor and a dear colleague."

Ryall began his career on the stage before becoming a familiar face on British TV.

He received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1962, during which time he won the Caryl Brahams Award for a musical.

Ryall went on to join Laurence Olivier's company with the National Theatre, during which time he was involved in several well-known plays, such as Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

His work at the National Theatre also included Guys and Dolls, The Beggar's Opera and Animal Farm, Coriolanus, The School of Wives, Democracy and The UN Inspector.

Ryall continued to be a regular face in the theatre, with appearances in Patrick Marber's Don Juan in Soho at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007.

Ryall is survived by his son, music manager Jonathan Ryall, and two daughters, singer Imogen Ryall and actress Charlie Ryall.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-30615934
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)


FOX:
7PM - NFL Football: Regional Coverage (from 4:25PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - 60 Minutes
8PM - The Simpsons
(R - Oct. 5)
8:30PM - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
(R - Sep. 28)
9PM - Family Guy
(R - Oct. 19)
9:30PM - Bob's Burgers
(R - Nov. 24, 2013)

Fox is now airing 60 MINUTES???? Wait till Sean Hannity finds out!
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LOL! I don't make too many mistakes, but when I do they're keepers.
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY 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 - Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (Special)
(R - Jan. 1, 1986)
9PM - Rudolph's Shiny New Year (Special)
(R - Dec. 10, 1976)
10:01PM - Castle
(R - May 5)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Tracey Ullman; Garth Brooks performs)
(R - Dec. 16)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Two Broke Girls
(R - Apr. 21)
8:31PM - Mike & Molly
9:01PM - Scorpion
(R - Oct. 6)
9:59PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Apr. 1)
* * * *
11:35AM - Late Show with David Letterman (Ben Stiller; Olivia Munn; La La Brooks performs)
(R - Dec. 9)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Zoe Saldana; comic T.J. Miller)
(R - Oct. 15)

NBC:
8PM - State of Affairs
(R - Nov. 17)
9PM - State of Affairs
(R - Dec. 8)
10PM - State of Affairs
(R - Dec. 22)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Shailene Woodley; Michael Shannon; Eric Church performs; Lenny Pickett sits in with The Roots)
(R - Oct. 15)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Meyers (Shaquille O'Neal, Eddie Redmayne, Gary Vaynerchuk)
(R - Dec. 11)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Eliza Coupe and Michaela Watkins; King Tuff performs; "High Maintenance")
(R - Nov. 17)

FOX:
8PM - Gotham
(R - Oct. 13)
9PM - Sleepy Hollow
(R - Oct. 6)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Manor House Treasures
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Phoenix, AZ
(R - Apr. 26, 2010)
10PM - Independent Lens - Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey (90 min.)
(R - Sep. 30, 2013)

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

THE CW:
8PM - The Originals
(R - Nov. 3)
9PM - Jane The Virgin
(R - Oct. 27)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Los Miserables
9PM - Tierra de Reyes
10PM - Señora Acero

TBS:
11PM - Conan (The cast of "Sons of Anarchy"; band First Aid Kit)
(R - Nov. 11)
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Critic's Notes
Year in review: TV season went from 'Good' to better
By Robert Bianco, USA Today - Dec. 28, 2014

From broadcast to cable to new streaming options, it was a very busy and very good TV year, at least at the top. USA Today's Robert Bianco chooses the best of 2014

Drama series: The Good Wife (CBS)
This frequently shocking, always entertaining and bracingly intelligent series proves that quality dramas can still thrive on broadcast television — and that, in the right hands, sex, soap, politics, law and family troubles can not just mix, but can combine into something totally terrific and new.

Comedy series: Transparent (Amazon)
Sparked by a transcendent performance by Jeffrey Tambor, this intricately observed, multilayered family comedy instantly pushed Amazon to the forefront of digital services. By beautifully telling the story of one man's attempt to come to grips with who he really is, it spoke to everyone who has ever asked themselves any form of that question.

Miniseries: Fargo (FX)
Admit it: When you heard they were doing a miniseries based on the movie Fargo, you thought, "Well, that's a terrible idea." Happily, instead of a pale copy, what Noah Hawley gave us was one of the most thoroughly original and flat-out fun programs of the year. Powered by a great cast led by Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton and Allison Tolman, Fargo was idiosyncratic perfection.

Movie: Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
This quietly captivating film about a seldom quiet woman wasn't just the best movie of the year — it was the best movie or miniseries HBO has produced since 2010's Temple Grandin. Sensitively directed by Lisa Cholodenko and ingeniously constructed by Jane Anderson from Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer-prize winning short stories Olive was one of the rare TV projects that was exactly as long as it should have been, without a moment wasted or another moment needed.

Special program: The Roosevelts (PBS)
For 14 hours, Ken Burns used this great American political dynasty to once again tell us the story of ourselves, something he regularly does better than any TV historian ever has. Match a great filmmaker with a great subject — in this case three incredibly complex, endlessly fascinating people — and if fate and talents allow, you get a film as good at The Roosevelts.

Ten more to prize

1) The Americans (FX)
2) Masters of Sex (Showtime)
3) Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon)
4) Modern Family (ABC)
5) Louie (FX)
6) Jane the Virgin (CW)
7) Silicon Valley (HBO)
8) True Detective (HBO)
9) Black-ish (ABC)
10) The Flash (CW)


Performances of the year

Comedy: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

In a career-transforming role that could have been played for cheap laughs, Tambor gave us nothing but truth, allowing us to see the woman trapped inside his character's body. We always knew Tambor was gifted. We just didn't know how much he could do with those gifts when given the chance.

Drama: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Week after week, Margulies' performance is a marvel of restraint that is equally marvelous on those rare occasions when the restraining walls crumble. Playing a good wife and woman who is loving, ambitious and flawed, she reminds us that it's possible to grab viewers' attention without screaming, and that broadcast viewers will embrace complexity when it's presented in the right package.

Movie: Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Do you want to know why McDormand is considered one of the great actors of our age? Watch Olive Kitteridge. It is, quite simply, a performance for the ages.

Miniseries: Martin Freeman, Fargo
Brilliance abounded in Fargo, from Billy Bob Thornton's gleefully malevolent sprite to Allison Tolman's doggedly persistent everywoman hero. But at the center stood Freeman as a gentle little man who, bit by bit, loses hold of his humanity. If Freeman doesn't make that transformation work, Fargo doesn't work either — and boy, did it.

TV newcomers of the year: Gina Rodriguez and Gael Garcia Bernal
She plays the miraculous virgin in CW's equally miraculous Jane the Virgin. He plays the clearly not virginal conductor in the last great series of 2014, Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle. He's had a successful career in film, but neither of them has done much series work and neither is a household name. Well, memorize those names, because you'd be hard-pressed to find two more talented actors or charming performances.

* * * *

More highlights from 2014 from the TV staff


Most intensely disliked series finale: How I Met Your Mother (CBS), in which the recently introduced title character was killed off so that Ted and Robin, who we were told wouldn't end up together, did. Runner-up: True Blood (HBO).

Biggest TV-event letdown: Discovery's Eaten Alive,in which Paul Rosolie's quest to be consumed by an anaconda (to "save the Amazon rainforest") led only to his arm getting squeezed by one already in captivity. Runner-up: NBC's Peter Pan Live!, which managed only half the audience of The Sound of Music, proving that last year viewers may have been more primed for Carrie Underwood than the rebirth of the live musical.

Most dramatic death scenes: Sure, there were dramatic departures of The Good Wife's Will Gardner, House of Cards' Zoe and Sons of Anarchy's Jax and Gemma, along with countless victims on The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, including its despicable King Joffrey. Still, Michelle Fairley may take the cake: After her Catelyn Stark was killed in Thrones' 2013 "Red Wedding" massacre, her evil Margot was tossed out a window by Jack Bauer on 24: Live Another Day, though Fairley managed to return from the dead on ABC's Resurrection.

Most successful handoff: After poorly handled late-night transitions involving Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno, NBC tossed Leno to the curb (again) and installed Jimmy Fallon at The Tonight Show, who not only maintained but improved upon Leno's status as the top-rated host, helping another SNL veteran, Seth Meyers, establish his own talk show in Tonight's wake. Smoother changes are to come in 2015, when Stephen Colbert replaces David Letterman and James Corden takes over for Craig Ferguson, both on CBS, and Larry Wilmore fills Colbert's slot on Comedy Central.

New presidents we're most looking forward to: Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) on Netflix's House of Cards, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Selina Meyer on HBO's Veep.

Most embarrassing flops (unscripted): Utopia (Fox), the "social experiment" that had contestants build a new society in Santa Clarita, Calif. (scripted): Manhattan Love Story (ABC), the first of several unrequited romantic sitcoms to get the ax. Even more embarrassing: Fox's Hieroglyph, which never got on the air in the first place.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/t...4-tv/20148249/
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TV/Nielsen Notes
Reality TV facing its own reality: a ratings slump
By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times - Dec. 28, 2014

Just a few years ago, underemployed TV writers were complaining that reality programming was taking over their industry.

Now the scribes are having their revenge: Unscripted programming is mired in an unexpected slump.

Onetime smashes such as "Survivor" and "Dancing With the Stars" are drooping with age. Coca-Cola recently wrapped up its 13-year sponsorship of "American Idol" after Fox's singing hit plummeted in the ratings last season. NBC's own singing show, "The Voice," saw its season finale drop nearly 10% this month.

And what's worse, no new hits are taking their place.

Fox bet the farm early this season on "Utopia," a voyeuristic series in which a group of isolated "pioneers" was observed trying to create a new society. Viewers yawned, and the network eventually canceled the program, for a loss that insiders pegged at more than $50 million. ABC drew disappointing results this summer with its gimmicky singing show "Rising Star."

"Reality TV was supposed to be a long-term fix to the problems of television, but that optimism was misguided," said Jeffrey McCall, a media studies professor at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. "Program executives overestimated the true value of the commodity and drove the genre into the ground."

Even cable networks, a longtime proving ground for the genre, are seeing diminishing returns.

A&E's "Duck Dynasty" ratings have plunged, even though they are still high by cable standards. TLC this fall quickly shelved its hit "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" after matriarch Mama June was accused of dating a sex offender, but viewership had already declined sharply. And this fall, AMC largely abandoned a three-year foray into unscripted programming, deciding to return its primary focus to its signature scripted series such as "Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead."

What's the problem? Industry observers pin the blame on various factors. Too many copycat shows. Too many airings of the few hit shows out there ("Idol," which once aired as many as three times a week, will get cut to one night per week for this winter's Season 14). Too few truly original concepts.

Of course, there are still plenty of reality series to go around. In fact, some TV executives point out that the broadcasters probably wouldn't be able to stay in business without unscripted series. That's because, as overall network viewership has declined in the face of competition from cable and the Internet, ad income has stagnated.

Reality shows are usually relatively inexpensive to produce — "Utopia" was an exception because of a rich deal struck with the producers — and can be scheduled for many more hours than comedies or dramas. Thus, reality is a cheap way to fill prime time.

Take "The Voice." Despite its ratings fall-off, the singing contest remains one of the top shows on TV. This month's season finale delivered 12.7 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. That was off 8% compared with the December 2013 finale, but those kinds of numbers still easily vault "The Voice" into the top 10. Then there's the No. 2 reality series, "Survivor," which has proved an enduring hit for CBS; next year, it heads into its 30th edition.

"These are enormous franchises that, frankly, don't come along that often. Every six or seven years, a mega-format comes along," said Paul Telegdy, who oversees "The Voice" as NBC Entertainment's president of alternative and late-night programming. "I don't think there's anything wrong with the reality business."

That may be true in the long run. But there's no question that the genre has stumbled lately. And there are few signs of the gold-rush mentality that surrounded reality TV a decade or so ago.

Broadcasters are scheduling fewer unscripted series. This fall, a total of 13 hours per week were devoted to reality shows collectively on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. That's a steep drop from 20 hours as recently as 2011.

Moreover, many of the top executives who helped drive the prime-time reality craze have moved on.

Andrea Wong, who brought "The Bachelor" and "Dancing With the Stars" to ABC, now helps run the international division of Sony Pictures.

Mike Darnell, the reality guru at Fox, left for a job running Warner Bros.' sprawling syndicated TV operations.

Ben Silverman, the former talent agent who helped usher in the prime-time reality trend when he brokered a deal to bring the British game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" to the U.S., finished a turbulent tenure as a top programmer at NBC in 2009 and has gone back to producing programs.

Now corner offices are occupied by people whose main backgrounds are in scripted entertainment, not reality. ABC's Paul Lee used to run ABC Family. NBC's Bob Greenblatt is a former producer who oversaw programming for Showtime. The new top programmers for Fox are Gary Newman and Dana Walden, the duo who has for years been supervising the studio side, home of scripted hits such as ABC's "Modern Family" and Fox's "The Simpsons."

"The networks don't have the executives in them anymore who really love reality TV," said Tom Nunan, a producer and former president at the network UPN (now the CW) who teaches at UCLA.

Nunan and other experts believe the networks have depended for too long on supposedly "proven" reality shows lifted from other countries — such as "Rising Star," which ABC adapted from an Israeli hit and sent into an overcrowded U.S. singing show market — and are missing out on opportunities to expand the genre with new concepts of their own.

"Competition, endurance, social experiments — there's still a lot of room to play within those areas," Nunan said. He pointed out that "The Apprentice," "The Amazing Race" and "The Biggest Loser" were all created in the U.S. and went on to become worldwide hits.

What's more, a reality smash can help promote scripted shows. Fox used "Idol" to market series such as "24."

"Imagine Bob Greenblatt did not have 'The Voice' these past couple of years," Nunan said. "How would he have even promoted 'The Blacklist'?" NBC's crime thriller starring James Spader has turned into a hit partly thanks to its scheduling right after the singing show.

Without a strong reality lineup, the already-sobering prospect for broadcasters can look downright perilous. And that's something that could get the attention even of TV writers who still blame "American Idol" and "Survivor" for their woes.

Networks "are in free fall, and they need to at least give people a reason to watch their air," Nunan said. "The scripted shows are not enough."

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...ry.html#page=1
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