Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3342 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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TV Notes
'Man Seeking Woman' Renewed for Second Season by FXX
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Mar. 3, 2015

FX once again is demonstrating its signature patience when it comes to new series, handing out a 10-episode second season order to freshman comedy Man Seeking Woman for a 2016 premiere.

Simon Rich’s half-hour series starring Jay Baruchel, from FX Productions and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, has not been a breakout, which is the case for many comedies, including FX/FXX flagship It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

With Sunny as a lead-in, Man Seeking Woman opened with 326,000 total viewers and a 0.2 rating in adults 18-49 in Live+same day, dropping to 185,000 viewers and a 0.1 in Week 2.

In Live+7 to date, the comedy’s first season is averaging 254,000 Adults 18-34 and 353,000 Adults 18-49 through five episodes. FXX notes that MSW‘s averages are +67% (18-34) and +41% (18-49) higher than the network’s primetime demo averages. Additionally, Man Seeking Woman, the first original series to launch on FXX, garnered strong reviews at its launch.

“Simon Rich has delivered an incredibly smart and original take on the search for love,” FX’s Nick Grad said. “Critics and fans alike have embraced his unique storytelling, Jon Krisel’s stunning visuals and the brilliant performances of Jay Baruchel, Eric André and the rest of the cast that has made Man Seeking Woman one of the best new comedies on television.”

A sweet and absurd look at the surreal life-and-death stakes of dating, Man Seeking Woman stars Baruchel as Josh Greenberg, a naive romantic on a desperate quest for love. The cast also includes Eric André, Britt Lower and Maya Erskine. Man Seeking Woman was created by Rich based on his book of short stories, The Last Girlfriend On Earth. Rich serves as showrunner and executive producer along with Jonathan Krisel, Lorne Michaels and Broadway Video’s Andrew Singer.

The next of three remaining episodes from Season 1 of MSW airs tomorrow night.

For the past four years, every live-action FX series has gone to a second season.

http://deadline.com/2015/03/man-seek...xx-1201385135/

* * * *

TV Notes
‘Garfunkel & Oates’ Cancelled By IFC After One Season

IFC has opted not to order a second season of comedy series Garfunkel & Oates, which had a 10-episode freshman run last year. The half-hour show featured female comedy-folk duo Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates), and spotlighted the personal and professional lives of the duo whose career choices – singing satirical and sometimes dirty songs — left them with little in common with their peers, and no one but each other to turn to for support and understanding.

The series was produced by Abominable Pictures and executive produced by Lindhome, Micucci and Jonathan Stern. IFC also recently cancelled The Birthday Boys after two seasons.

http://deadline.com/2015/03/garfunke...on-1201385220/
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post #100232 of 100255 Old Today, 08:40 AM
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TV/Critic's Notes
Sling TV springs forward with AMC, IFC, EPIX movies and Sundance channels (hands-on)
By David Katzmaier, CNET.com - Mar. 4, 2015

The bad news is Sling TV probably still lacks a few channels you really want. The good news is that it's not done adding new ones.

With plenty of time to spare before the Mad Men premiere April 5, the bundle-busting Internet TV service just added AMC and IFC to its base package, bringing the total up to 16 channels for $20/month.

Also available today is a new $5/month add-on pack called "Hollywood Extra" that includes five movie-centric channels: EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX3, EPIX Drive-In and Sundance TV.

AMC and EPIX were announced previously, but the IFC channel (an AMC property) appearing in the base package is a pleasant surprise, especially for people who enjoy tumblrs about people who put birds on things.

Also included in Sling TV's announcement is mention of video-on-demand content "coming soon" for all of those channels (and others in Sling's portfolio). We still don't know to what extent, however, so whether you'll be able to binge watch the entire series of Walking Dead up till the present--and whether that will require watching all the commercials--remain open questions.

Hands-on first impressions

As of press time all of the channels were live on my reviewer account and working fine on Roku 3 and Android. I didn't test the apps on other platforms for these new channels, but judging from past experience they should work as well.

Like most Sling TV channels, AMC, IFC and Sundance TV do not offer pause, rewind or other DVR functions, nor the service's "3 Day Replay" limited video-on-demand feature.

Happily, however, all four EPIX channels are commercial-free and offer pause, rewind and fast-forward up to live time, so you can go to the bathroom without having to wait for a boring exposition bit.

They also have 3-day replay, giving me access to numerous movies. Sure many tend to repeat but there were still plenty of A-list titles like Star Trek: Into Darkness, Nebraska, Hugo, The Guilt Trip and Skyfall.

As I mentioned in the original Sling TV review, browsing via 3-day replay can be a pain since you have to scroll "back in time" until you find the movie or show you want. They do come up in Sling TV's search window, however, so if you know what you're looking for (for example, from browsing the EPIX web site), you can watch the EPIX movies that way.

Unfortunately the "Movies" section still doesn't seem to include any of the EPIX offerings; it's the same hodgepodge of mostly-pay rentals I complained about earlier. A few are free but since there's no "stuff I get for free" filter, finding them is a pain. Better to just switch over to your Netflix or Amazon Prime Video app.

Video quality on the new channels was again softer than my FIOS TV connection and while still "good enough" for most viewers, especially on a small screen, they all seemed a bit worse than ESPN on Sling TV. I watched a few minutes of Skyfall, The Guilt Trip, Scent of a Woman, Dark Blue and School of Rock across the various channelsand all seemed softer than I expected, with quality that veered closer to standard-def DVD than high-def.

That said, the addition of AMC and IFC is the real story here, and makes Sling TV that much more compelling without raising the price. And the Hollywood Pack offers pretty solid bang for your five bucks with its full DVR functionality, commercial-free movie channels and Sundance TV thrown in.

Do the new additions make you more likely to ditch cable TV and/or try Sling TV? Let me know with a comment.

http://www.cnet.com/news/sling-tv-sp...nels-hands-on/

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TV Notes
U.S. Spanish-Language Networks Take Turkish Dramas
By Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter - Mar. 4, 2015

Turkish television drama, which already dominates programming in the Middle East, is slowly making inroads in the U.S.

In a pair of new deals, U.S. Hispanic networks MundoFox Broadcasting and Azteca America have, respectively, acquired broadcast rights to hit Turkish-language series Kurt Seyit and Sura and Kacak. Both deals were with Scandinavian group Eccho Rights, which handles international sales for many high-profile Turkish dramas.

MundoFox will begin airing Kurt Seyit and Sura later this month, while Azteca will premiere Kacak later this spring.

The deals follow in the wake of ABC's pilot order for Runner, a drug cartel drama based on the Turkish series Son, aka The End. CSI: Miami star Adam Rodriguez has been cast to headline Runner alongside Paula Patton.

Kurt Seyit and Sura is an epic period drama set in Russia and Turkey in the early 20th century. Kacak is a crime drama about a cop living under a new identity in a small town whose dark past catches up with him. Both have been ratings hits at home and strong performers in the Middle East region.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...-dramas-779115
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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
For Bill O’Reilly, steady through it all
'O'Reilly Factor's' ratings are unchanged, despite the hullabaloo
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 4, 2015

Media buyers and planners must have access to a good crystal ball.

Or they really understand television.

When allegations broke nearly two weeks ago that Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly had lied about his experiences covering the Falkland Islands War, the majority of media people predicted in a Media Life poll that the kerfuffle would not impact his ratings.

They’ve been right.

Though viewership for “The O’Reilly Factor” surged the day after the story broke, when O’Reilly first addressed the scandal, it quickly settled back down, and the host saw virtually no change in his audience during the week ended March 1, the first full week after the allegations surfaced.

“Factor” averaged 2.978 million total viewers that week, according to Nielsen, up a negligible 0.1 percent over the previous week, when the show averaged 2.95 million viewers.

Seventy-one percent of media buyers and planners had predicted ratings for O’Reilly would remain the same in the aftermath of the Mother Jones article that challenged his account of heroic deeds while covering the war in 1982 for CBS.

Nearly a quarter, 23 percent, said they would go up.

That steadiness of viewership speaks to several things, not the least of which is the loyalty of O’Reilly’s viewers, which is part of the reason why FNC probably isn’t worried about the allegations.

O’Reilly’s fans are extremely devoted, and many have gone on social media or in online forums to decry what they see as a witch hunt against the host by Mother Jones.

As one such respondent charged in Media Life’s survey: “Liberal media created this on behalf of Obama administration.”

On the flip side, people who do not like O’Reilly are not likely to tune into his show no matter what, even to see what his response to the allegations was.

Cable news is so partisan these days that there’s very little crossover between the networks’ audiences, and anyone interested in O’Reilly’s response could easily find it online the next day rather than sit through an entire show.

* * * *

In cable ratings for the week ended March 1:


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

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

Top five total-day networks (total viewers): Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, USA.

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

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

Top movie (total viewers): Hallmark Channel’s “Good Witch” (Saturday, 8 p.m.) 2.91 million.

Top sporting event (total viewers): TNT’s “NBA Basketball: Golden State/Cleveland” (Thursday, 8:14 p.m.) 2.64 million.

Show on the rise: History’s “American Pickers,” Wednesday, 9 p.m. The reality show averaged 2.97 million total viewers, up 11 percent from 2.68 million the previous week.

Show on the decline: TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles,” Tuesday, 9 p.m. The drama tumbled 20 percent week-to-week among total viewers, from 3.58 million to 2.86 million.


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/for...hrough-it-all/
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TV Review
Latest ‘CSI’ spinoff sends crew into cyberspace
By Sarah Rodman, Boston Globe - Mar. 3, 2015

If viewers are immediately gripped with a desire to change all their online passwords after the first episode of “CSI: Cyber,” then the latest iteration of the show will have succeeded.

Premiering Wednesday night at 10, the show takes its zoomed-in lab approach into cyberspace, focusing on a special team of FBI agents that roots out Internet bad guys. But instead of sifting through DNA, fingerprints, and autopsies, the white hats investigate IP addresses, social media, and the “dark web” to make their arrests.

Change of venue notwithstanding, “CSI: Cyber” falls squarely in line with its predecessors and is a perfectly adequate diversion in the way that crime procedurals can be. It scares us with the idea of “it can happen to you” and then reassures us with a righteous collar in under 60 minutes.

The cast is the same basic group of types typical of these shows.

Newly-minted Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette heads up the team as agent Avery Ryan, a former psychologist. She tells us in the voice-over that precedes the obligatory Who theme song — in this case, “I Can See for Miles” — that just like us she posted on social media and checked her bank account balance online. Unlike most of us she also kept the confidential files of her practice on her computer, was hacked, and as a result one of her patients was murdered. The subsequent investigation brought her to the FBI where she is teamed with quirky, cerebral boss Simon Sifter (Peter MacNicol, doing that thing he does), the dashing and square-jawed Elijah Mundo (James Van Der Beek, up a new creek), snarky tech nerd Daniel Krumits (Charley Koontz, familiar to “Community” fans as “Fat Neil”), and newbie Brody Nelson (Shad Moss, a.k.a. rapper Bow Wow), who was headed to prison for being a black hat hacker but was spared by Ryan, who has him use his expertise for the white hats.

Everybody gets the requisite handful of personality traits and backstory black clouds to help shade their characters; for instance, Mundo loves video games and is coping with a recent divorce and the pain of shared custody of his daughter. Everybody has to spout technical dialogue and exposition in something resembling natural conversation, to varying degrees of success. Everybody gets to make one of the occasional jokes that are thrown in to lighten the mood as they investigate baby abductions by means of hacked monitors or a roller coaster crash by means of hacked computer. And there are lots of flashy graphics projected onto the screen to enliven scenes that basically amount to the characters typing.

Incidentally, although the show is set in Washington, D.C., Boston figures prominently in a couple of the early episodes — one concerning a subway train and another a serial killer abusing an Uber-like app to target victims — and there’s something oddly enjoyable about seeing the city portrayed without a single inch of snow on the streets, practically traffic-free, and with a fully operational, albeit hacked, mass transit system.

Essentially, if you’ve enjoyed the basic “CSI” formula up to this point, “CSI: Cyber” should not disappoint, and maybe you can change your passwords while you’re watching.

CSI: CYBER
Network: CBS
Show date: Wednesday, 10 p.m.


http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/tele...GXO/story.html
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TV Notes
NBC working on Net subscription comedy service
By Mike Snider, USA Today - Mar. 3, 2015

Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon could be part of a new comedy-centric Net video service NBCUniversal is planning to launch.

The network is working on a comedy-focused subscription video on-demand service expected to be available later this year, said Lauren Skowronski, vice president of corporate communications.

NBC would not elaborate on what content might be offered on the service. But SNL and other current series, as well as original content are being considered, people familiar with the project told The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the project.

NBCUniversal is considering several other potential Web TV services including horror, family and faith-based content, the Journal said.

NBC's move would target the growing cord-cutting and cord-never movement. About 14% of adult broadband users do not use a legacy pay-TV service, up from 9% in 2011, the Diffusion Group has found.

And it would cater to those who watch video on the go, too. Nearly 126 million Americans watch video on a smartphone at least once a month, up about 25% in 2013, Nielsen says.

These trends have led the major networks to begin the embrace of streaming and on-demand online content delivery. In October, CBS launched its CBS All Access service ($5.99 monthly), with next-day access of current series on mobile apps and full current seasons of 15 prime-time shows such as NCIS.

And each network, NBC included, delivers some live, linear broadcasts online or mobile.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2...nnel/24329459/
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TV Notes
Fox casts True Blood star Rob Kazinsky as Frankenstein monster
By Samantha Highfill, EW.com - Mar. 3, 2015

The Frankenstein monster is getting a brand new face. EW has confirmed that Fox has cast Rob Kazinsky—or “Warlow” to True Blood fans—as Pritchard in its upcoming Frankenstein pilot.

Described as “athletic, strong, and handsome,” Pritchard is an older version of the Frankenstein monster, who just so happens to be a former Marine and county sheriff. The twist? He was recently murdered.

Pritchard will be brought back from the dead in a new body, but his mind will remain that of a 75-year-old “badass curmudgeon,” according to Fox.

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/03/03...tein-pritchard
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TV Notes
TruTV Greenlights First Full-Length Scripted Comedy Series
By Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety.com - Mar. 3, 2015

TruTV has given the greenlight to its first-ever full-length scripted comedy, “Those Who Can’t,” with a 10-episode order, the cabler announced Tuesday.

The series revolves around three frustrated and dysfunctional high school teachers in Denver who are as screwed-up as the students they teach.

The half-hour laffer will star show creators Adam Cayton-Holland, Andrew Orvedahl and Ben Roy. The trio hails from Denver-based comedy troupe the Grawlix. Maria Thayer (“Comedy Bang! Bang!,” “Eagleheart”) rounds out the cast as Abbey Logan, a new librarian who questions, denies and then ultimately joins in on the antics of her co-workers.

“‘Those Who Can’t’ has exactly the kind of fresh, slightly off-kilter humor we’re looking for as we venture into the world of scripted comedy,” said Chris Linn, president, head of programming for TruTV. “Adam, Andrew and Ben have created a terrifically funny show that’s a perfect fit for the new TruTV and our target audience of young adult viewers.”

The three creator-stars will also serve as exec producers, alongside Tracey Baird and Krysia Plonka of Thank You, Brain! Productions, Michael Rotenberg and Josh Lieberman of 3 Arts Entertainment, and Angel Annussek and Rich Korson for TruTV.

“Those Who Can’t” is set to premiere by early 2016.

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/trut...er-1201445374/
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TV Notes
Door may open for Brian Williams if former NBC News exec Andrew Lack returns
By Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Mar. 3, 2015

Embattled NBC News anchor Brian Williams has a potential lifeline in Andrew Lack's expected return to NBC News.

Lack is in advanced negotiations to take the top news post at the network, where he worked from 1993 to 2001, according to NBC executives not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. He would replace current NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel, who is set to take another corporate role, the executives said.

Several TV news executives who worked under Lack's previous tenure at the network say Lack's becoming the new head of the news group provides a path for Williams to return from his six-month suspension. Lack was responsible for grooming Williams to take over the anchor chair on "NBC Nightly News" from Tom Brokaw.

"While it's not a guarantee, it certainly indicates that he is coming back," said one of those former executives who asked not to be quoted by name. Five other veterans of NBC News with former ties to Lack and Williams agreed with that assessment.

"They are great friends," said another former colleague of both men. "Brian Williams thanks Andy for getting the chair."

Williams' successful 10-year run on "NBC Nightly News" came to an abrupt halt Feb. 7 when he stepped away amid the controversy over his false statements regarding his 2003 reporting during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. On Feb. 11, he was suspended while NBC News conducts an internal review to determine whether there have been other discrepancies in his reporting.

Lack advised NBC News during the discussions on the anchor's future, according to several network executives familiar with the matter. He was among the people NBC Universal Chief Executive Steve Burke reached out to when deciding how to handle the situation.

Thanks to his highly successful run when he was NBC News president, Lack has the respect within the organization needed to get support for a Williams rehabilitation effort, said another former executive who has worked closely with the two in the past.

"He can say 'Brian has served his time and we know he was wrong — I've known this guy as long as anybody and I have 100% faith in him that it won't happen again,'" the former executive said.

David Westin, who as a top executive at ABC News spent years competing against Lack, believes he is capable of restoring the luster to a news division that has been embroiled in turmoil since Fili-Krushel took over in 2012.

"He did a terrific job at NBC the first time around, and I'm sure he'll do it again," Westin said.

But Westin added he believes any action that Lack takes on Williams won't be based on friendship.

"There are strong reasons why it made sense for Steve Burke to leave the door open for Brian's return," Westin said. "But Andy will make the right decision for NBC News on the merits, not because of any personal relationship with anyone. That's what those jobs require."

The situation with Williams has been part of a steady stream of events that have depicted NBC News as a chaotic organization unable to regain its footing.

NBC News hired one-time ESPN programming whiz Jamie Horowitz to help turn around its "Today," only to fire him less than three months later after sweeping changes he proposed for the second-place morning program had been leaked to the media.

David Gregory was unseated from his moderator role at "Meet the Press" after the company publicly stated support for him.

Gregory's successor, Chuck Todd — chosen after NBC News President Deborah Turness approached comedian Jon Stewart about taking the job — has only delivered minor improvements to the ratings on the program.

While the return of Lack, who had top executive stints at Bloomberg Media and Sony Music, brings valuable institutional knowledge to NBC News, there is still the question of whether he can lead the division into the future.

Turness, who was Fili-Krushel's hire, was brought in with a mandate to prepare the news division for TV's changing digital landscape.

That strategy may not matter at this moment, according to one NBC News insider who said, "How can you get to the future if you can't handle today?"

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...304-story.html
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Critic's Notes
BBC America's 'Broadchurch' back for season two
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's 'Tune In Journal' Blog - Mar. 4, 2015

BBC America's murder-mystery "Broadchurch" (10 tonight) returns for its second season, and what seemed like an open-and-closed case at the end of season one begins to unravel in season two.

At the end of season one (season-one spoilers follow), detective inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and partner Ellie Miller (stand-out Olivia Colman) discovered the murderer of 11-year-old Danny Latimer was none other than
Spoiler!


But as season two begins,
Spoiler!


If season one was all about the murder mystery, season two seems more rooted in legal brinksmanship.

A retired prosecutor (Charlotte Rampling) returns to work the case after her protege (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) agrees to defend ___.

And while _____ initial turnabout, a surprise to even ___ first public defender, seems improbable, once "Broadchurch" writer Chris Chibnall ("Life on Mars") begins breaking down the case, it turns out this is the more believable aspect of season two.
Spoiler!


More eyebrow-raising is a concurrent plot involving Hardy and a failed case that was referenced in season one (see trailer below). Turns out Hardy has been hiding
Spoiler!
By the end of episode two hapless Ellie has screwed that up, too.

While there are still some improbable elements --
Spoiler!
-- "Broadchurch" remains a tense, engrossing drama.

Here's a scene from the new season: [CLICK LINK BELOW]

http://communityvoices.post-gazette....for-season-two
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
WEDNESDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - The Middle
8:30PM - The Goldbergs
9PM - Modern Family
9:31PM - Blackish
10PM - Nashville
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Vince Vaughn; Mike Tyson; Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors perform)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Survivor
9PM - Criminal Minds
10PM - CSI: Cyber (Series Premiere)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Late Show with David Letterman (Aziz Ansari; comic Brian Kiley; Ben Howard performs)
(R - Feb. 9)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show (Drew Carey guest hosts; David Arquette; Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak; comic Josh Robert Thompson)

NBC:
8PM - The Voice: The Best of The Blinds (120 min.)
10PM - Chicago P.D.
(R - Oct. 8)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Danny DeVito; Zoe Kravitz; comic Artie Lange)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Kenneth Branagh; Felicity Huffman; Purity Ring performs; Kate Pierson sits in with the 8G Band)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Comic Adam Carolla; Le Butcherettes perform; Leland Orser)

FOX:
8PM - American Idol (LIVE)
9PM - Empire

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Nature - Attenborough's Life Stories: Life on Camera (R - Jan. 23, 2013)
9PM - NOVA: Deadliest Volcanoes
(R - Jan. 4, 2012)
10PM - To Catch a Comet
(R - Nov. 19)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Mi Corazón Es Tuyo
9PM - Hasta El Fin del Mundo
10PM - Que Te Perdone Dios... Yo No

THE CW:
8PM - Arrow
(R - Jan. 28)
9PM - The 100

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Los Miserables
9PM - Tierra de Reyes
10PM - Dueños del Paraíso

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (NHL player Viachaslav Fetisov)
11:31PM - The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
12:01AM - At Midnight (Neal Brennan; Bryan Callen; Esther Povitsky)

TBS:
11PM - Conan in Cuba (Special, 80 min.)
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TV Review
'American Crime’: Hatred is real crime in stunning series
By David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

If anyone thinks that broadcast TV has all but surrendered to the presumed creative primacy of cable and streaming platforms, wait till they see ABC’s boldly provocative “American Crime,” premiering Thursday, March 5. With grit, guts and some of the best performances you’ll see on TV this year, “American Crime” aims for truth and pulls no punches getting there.

What is the crime in the title of the new anthology series from John Ridley, the screenwriter for “12 Years a Slave”? At first, we assume it has to do with who killed a young married man and left his wife in a coma. Soon enough, we begin to think otherwise. But as we get to know the suspects, as well as the families of the two victims, we are prompted to consider a broader definition of crime, a more personal and in some ways more dangerous variety.

The superbly written and acted drama establishes the complex foundation of its storytelling as we meet the divorced parents of Matt Skokie, his beaten-down father, Russ (Timothy Hutton), trying to keep his life afloat after succumbing to gambling addiction and being arrested for petty theft, and his brittle, tightly controlling mother, Barb Hanson (Felicity Huffman). They’ve come to Modesto from Arizona and Simi Valley respectively after their son has been murdered.

We meet the men who may have been involved in the killing, a heavily tattooed low-level hoodlum named Hector Tonz (Richard Cabral); meth addict Carter (Elvis Nolasco), doing whatever he can to score drugs for himself and his teenage runaway girlfriend, Aubry (Caitlin Gerard); and a young teenager named Tony Gutierrez (Johnny Ortiz), who is suffocating under the strict rule of his dad, Alonzo (Benito Martinez).

Character revealed

As the investigation proceeds, the characters reveal more and more about themselves, in some cases belying our earlier assumptions of who and what they are. Eve and Tom Carlin (Penelope Ann Miller and W. Earl Brown), the parents of Matt’s comatose wife, Gwen (Kira Pozehl), at first seem to be everything Matt’s parents are not: a strongly united, deeply religious couple. The more they learn about their daughter and her marriage, the more that picture begins to fall apart.

To some extent, the tragedy of the situation could be seen as the catalyst for the various character revelations, but then again, truth will out, sooner or later.

The ice-cold vortex of the drama is Barb Hanson, a woman who blames the rest of the world for what has happened to her son and for what has happened to her throughout her life. Like Tracy Lord in “The Philadelphia Story,” she has no regard for human frailty in anyone, including herself. When she falls apart after one of the court hearings and castigates Carter’s devout Muslim sister (Regina King), she sheds a few icy tears, not for her deceased son, but because she has lost control for a brief moment. For Barb, losing control is almost a sin.

Barb Hanson is racist. If you met her in Simi Valley, you might not think so. In fact, if you suggested she was prejudiced, she might even be shocked. But Matt’s murder and the fact that the suspects are black and Latino have shown her for what she is. She uses expressions such as “you people” and believes that the charges against her son’s murderers should include the hate crime proviso: If two white men had murdered a young black or Latino man, she is sure it would be considered a hate crime.

Having lost his wife nine years earlier to heart failure, Alonzo is trying to raise Tony and his sister, Jenny (Gleendilys Inoa), by himself while he struggles to keep his auto body shop going. At some point, no doubt, he believed that being a strict father was good for his children, but somewhere along the line, his fear that they would fall in with the wrong crowd has made him a petty tyrant. He’s forgotten that being a parent isn’t just about discipline; it’s also about love and understanding.

Carter’s sister, Aliyah, is an unshakably devout Muslim and is willing to help her brother with bail money, but only if he abandons his white girlfriend, Aubry, and follows the teachings of Islam.

The performances are almost universally brilliant, in your face and shattering, from Hutton’s broken middle-aged man unable to catch a break, to Carter’s jumpy drug addict, to the brittle sanctimony of Miller and Brown.

Huffman’s great acting

But even greater than all of these performances, and others, is Huffman’s Barb Hanson. The mother of the slain man is impossible to like. We can easily imagine how much her ex-husband felt the sting of her disapproval.
Nothing he did was good enough, but, by the same token, nothing her son Matt did was good enough either. Only in retrospect does she assign worthiness to her dead son — not just because of profound loss but because it’s the only way Barb can avoid accepting her own blame for what happened to him. Huffman is simply monumental in the role.

The world of “American Crime” is rife with prejudice and self-righteousness, more than enough to go around. And that, we inevitably conclude, just may be the most destructive crime of all.


American Crime
Anthology series.
10 p.m. Thursday, March 5, on ABC.


http://www.sfgate.com/tv/article/Ame...me-6105815.php
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TV Notes
Mike Epps to Play Titular Star on ABC’s ‘Uncle Buck’ Comedy Pilot
By Travis Reilly, TheWrap.com - Mar. 3, 2015

“The Hangover” actor Mike Epps will topline ABC’s upcoming comedy pilot adapted from the classic 1980s film “Uncle Buck.”

The actor will star as Uncle Buck alongside Nia Long‘s Alexis on the half-hour project, which focuses on his character’s immature approach to rearing his brother’s kids.

Produced by Will Packer Productions and Universal TV, the “Uncle Buck” pilot is written and executive produced by Steven Cragg, Brian Bradley and Phil Traill.

The ABC pilot is based on John Hughes‘ 1989 comedy, which starred John Candy in the titular role. Will Packer is executive producing, along with co-producer Korin Huggins.

Epps is currently filming “Survivor’s Remorse” for Starz and appeared in HBO’s TV movie “Bessie,” dropping in May. On the big screen, he starred in “The Hangover,” “The Hangover Part 3″ and “Resident Evil: Extinction.”

CAA, Industry Entertainment and Niles Kirchner represent Epps.

Long starred in “Friday,” “Big Momma’s House” and “Big Momma’s House 2.” She has also starred on WeTV’s “The Divide” and Showtime’s “House of Lies.”

Intellectual Artists Management and Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson and Binder represent her.

http://www.thewrap.com/mike-epps-to-...-comedy-pilot/
This idea just seems to get worse and worse every time I see any sort of news item about it.


All it needs is to add some Will Smith offspring to put it over the top.


All the head shaking I've been doing is starting to make me dizzy.
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TUESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insights' Blog.
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Nielsen Overnights (18-59)
Big surge for NBC’s ‘The Voice’
NBC reality show draws second-best Tuesday audience ever
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 4, 2015

A bigger episode of “The Voice” delivered bigger ratings.

The special two-hour NBC reality show averaged 15.4 million total viewers last night from 8 to 10 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, the second-best Tuesday audience ever for the show.

It also posted a 4.1 adults 18-49 rating, up 5 percent from last week and matching its best rating since October 2013.

The big lead-in helped boost “Chicago Fire,” which aired at 10, to a 2.2, up 57 percent over last week, when its lead-in was two low-rated comedies.

It marked the show’s best rating since the second week of this season.

Of course, NBC easily won the night with the top two shows in primetime, with CBS in repeats.

The season premiere of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” posted a 1.4, down a tenth from last fall’s debut.

On ABC, 8 p.m.’s “Fresh Off the Boat” (1.7) and 8:30 p.m.’s “Repeat After Me” (1.2) both fell a tenth from last week.

At 9 p.m., the return of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” from a three-month layoff drew a 1.6, down a tenth from its season average.

NBC led the night among 18-49s with a 3.4 average overnight rating and an 11 share. ABC and Fox tied for second at 1.3/4, Univision was fourth at 1.1/3, CBS fifth at 1.0/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.6/2, and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

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

NBC was first during each hour of the night, starting with a 3.8 at 8 p.m. for “Voice,” while ABC and Fox tied for second at 1.4, ABC for “Boat” (1.7) and “Repeat” (1.2) and Fox for “Kitchen.” Univision was fourth with a 1.3 for “Mi Corazon es Tuyo,” CBS fifth with a 1.2 for a repeat of “NCIS,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “Los Miserables,” and CW seventh with a 0.4 for “The Flash.”

At 9 p.m. NBC was first with a 4.3 for more “Voice,” with ABC second with a 1.6 for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” Fox and Univision tied for third at a 1.1, Fox for “New Girl” (1.3) and “The Mindy Project” (1.0) and Univision for “Hasta el Fin del Mundo.” CBS was fifth with a 1.0 for a rerun of “NCIS: New Orleans,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “Tierra de Reyes,” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for a repeat of “Supernatural.”

NBC was first again at 10 p.m. with a 2.2 for “Fire,” while ABC remained second with a 1.0 for “Forever.” CBS and Univision tied for third at 0.9, CBS for a repeat of “Person of Interest” and Univision for “Que te Perdone Dios,” and Telemundo was fifth with a 0.7 for “Dueños del Paraiso.”

Among households, NBC was first for the night with an 8.1 average overnight rating and a 13 share. CBS was second at 5.3/9, ABC third at 3.0/5, Fox fourth at 2.0/3, Univision fifth at 1.5/2, and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.8/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/big...bcs-the-voice/

* * * *

Nielsen Notes (Broadcast)
A much better midseason for Fox
The network now has one very hot show, the drama 'Empire'
By Media Life Magazine Staff - Mar. 4, 2015

Last fall things looked pretty grim for Fox.

All but one of its new series flopped, some of them badly. Returning shows such as “New Girl” and “Bones” saw big declines. And the network knew it couldn’t count on the midseason return of “American Idol,” now long past its prime, to lift it out of fourth place.

But at midseason, things are looking up for the network, thanks to two new shows doing much better than expected, smash hit “Empire” and promising comedy “The Last Man On Earth.”

“Empire” was the No. 1 show on broadcast last week with a series-high 5.4 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen, building from a 4.0 for January’s debut.

And “Man” tied for 11th for the week with a 2.4 for back-to-back episodes, becoming Sunday’s highest-rated show on broadcast.

“Man” was Fox’s No. 3 show of the week, finishing ahead of the Thursday edition of “Idol” and fall’s standout new show, “Gotham.”

The two programs lifted Fox into a tie for first place with ABC, which has also done well in recent weeks after finishing third last fall behind NBC and CBS.

Fox still has some problem areas. Third-year drama “The Following” returned to mediocre numbers this week, and another midseason show, “Backstrom,” has struggled.

But the success of “Empire” and “Man” are a reminder that midseason shows are not always burnoffs. Indeed, over the past decade a handful of top programs have premiered at midseason and went on to become huge hits.

ABC saved the Shonda Rhimes shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” for midseason. Both went on to became the network’s top-rated dramas in their third season.

And NBC premiered “The Office” at midseason a decade ago, renewing it despite low ratings and watching it grow into a hit.

It will be another few weeks before it’s clear if “Man” can hang onto that opening-night momentum, but “Empire” is clearly the biggest hit of the season.

Unfortunately for Fox, it has just a few episodes of the show left. Like most midseason programs, it only received a 13-episode order.

* * * *

In broadcast ratings for the week ended March 1:

Among adults 18-49
, ABC and Fox each averaged a 1.7 rating and a 5 share, followed by CBS and NBC at 1.6/5, Univision at 1.2/4, Telemundo 0.5/1, CW at 0.4/1, ION and UniMás at 0.3/1, Me-TV, Bounce TV, Estrella and Azteca at 0.1/0 and MundoFox and COZI TV at 0.0/0.

Top five English-language Big Five shows (18-49s): 1. Fox’s “Empire” 5.4; 2. CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” 4.5; 3. NBC’s “The Voice-Monday” 4.1; 4. NBC’s “The Voice-Tuesday” 3.9; 5. ABC’s “Modern Family” 3.4.

Top five English-language Big Five shows (total viewers): 1. CBS’s “NCIS” 17.38 million; 2. CBS’s “The Big bang Theory” 16.67 million; 3 NBC’s “The Voice-Tuesday” 14.06 million; 4. NBC’s “The Voice-Monday” 13.97 million; 5. Fox’s “Empire” 13.90 million.

Show on the rise: NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” Tuesday, 10 p.m. The series finale didn’t break any records, but it did go out on a high note with a 1.6 among 18-49s, up 33 percent from a 1.2 for two episodes the previous week.

Show on the decline: ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” Thursday, 8 p.m. The long-running drama slipped 12 percent week-to-week among 18-49s, from a 2.5 rating to a 2.2.


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/a-m...eason-for-fox/
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TV Review
'Dig': USA's New Drama Is Complex But Intriguing
By Jessica Rawden, CinemaBlend.com - Mar. 3, 2014

A mysterious stone, a set of connecting tunnels hidden beneath Jerusalem and a cult hidden in broad daylight in the desert are all facets of Dig, USA’s thrilling new action series. The latest show from Heroes’ Tim Kring and Homeland’s Gideon Raff offers a unique setting and intricate storytelling—hallmarks of both men’s work. Unsurprisingly, the series kicks off with a bang, as well.

Dig stars Jason Isaacs as an FBI agent named Peter Connelly who is stationed in Jerusalem. Early on, Peter is introduced to an archaeological dig beneath the city that becomes the focal point of the series following a subsequent murder. It’s rare for US audiences to encounter a series set in Jerusalem and just as rare to see a murder mystery focused around an archaeological dig. But Dig is no procedural. Instead, the murder is a catalyst to connect to a bigger conspiracy, one that affects both Christian and Jewish factions in places as distant as Jerusalem, Norway and the New Mexican desert. The conspiracy Connelly stumbles upon has been in the works for 2,000 years.

Obviously, with a storyline so wide-ranging and a mystery that relies on more than the dead young American woman who kicks off the story, the plot does get convoluted. Regardless, Dig isn’t striving to be a simple crime procedural, and the tangled web the series is weaving has enough interesting threads to be engaging. It’s a little bit like Lost in that way, although I’m unsure that an archaeological dig setting will easily suck in large numbers in the same way a plane crash did.

There’s one thing for certain: Jason Isaacs was born to play an action hero. Following a lengthy run in the Harry Potter movies, the actor took a stint on Awake, another crime drama with an interesting bent. The show ended up getting canceled by NBC at the end of the season, but Isaacs was clearly a standout as a cop on a mission, and he’s even more in his element with Dig, running around, finding clues and getting into life and death situations.

The rest of Dig’s cast is also notable. Anne Heche is signed on as Lynn Monahan, Peter’s exasperated boss at the FBI who has a complex relationship with her underling. As the story switches from Jerusalem to the United States, Six Feet Under actress Lauren Ambrose gets to play a marginalized and harried member of a cult while Suits’ David Costabile get to play a man who has amassed a large religious following and who has a secret overarching goal.

USA made the first few episodes of Dig available for perusal, and there are some shocking moments in the new drama, especially for a network that really isn’t known for chancy storytelling. Tonally, Dig isn’t close to the other programming USA has endeavored to produce in the past, including Suits and the recently ended White Collar. While pilot orders hinted at this, it's becoming clear that USA is attempting to head in a new direction with its storytelling. I have no idea if the network will be able sustain this more serious type of television, but it’s nice to see the network taking a chance. Dig may not be an instant favorite with audiences, but there’s enough to like about it that the series is worth taking a chance on.

'DIG'
On USA on Thursday, March 5 at 10 p.m. ET.
Rating: ★★★1/2 (out of five)


http://www.cinemablend.com/televisio...ing-70421.html
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TV Notes
Biancilli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 4, 2015

SHERLOCK
BBC America, 8:00 p.m. ET
SERIES REPEAT:
If you missed, or would like to re-experience, the current rebooting of Sherlock Holmes, now’s your chance. PBS imported Sherlock originally, but now BBC America has acquired its rerun rights. So here it is again, beginning tonight with the episode that introduced Benedict Cumberbatch as the famous sleuth of Baker Street, and Martin Freeman as his often flustered associate, Dr. Watson.

EMPIRE
Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET

There are only a few episodes left, so expect the plot to boil over. This is not the kind of series to avoid going out with a bang – even if just for a seasonal break. Guest stars include Estelle.

CBS: CYBER
CBS, 10:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
Maybe you can help me on this one. I’ve been sifting through my memory – which, these days, is like sifting through a sieve – and can’t think of another instance, before tonight’s premiere of CSI: Cyber, in which an actor or actress starred in a new TV series almost immediately after winning an Oscar. Patricia Arquette did just that, after winning an Oscar for Boyhood, but there may be a catch. She started filming Boyhood even before starring in her previous TV series, Medium, so she’s been at this for quite a while. But is there an Oscar precedent in this regard? If so, tell me. Meanwhile, Arquette is indeed the star tonight, of the latest CBS procedural.

BROADCHURCH
BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
This is complicated, but is worth sorting out. Broadchurch began as a British miniseries, imported by BBC America, starring David Tennant as a detective investigating a murder in a remote coastal town. Then Fox mounted an Americanized remake of it, called Gracepoint, also starring David Tennant – but with an American accent. Now he’s back in Season 2 of Broadchurch, back with his original accent, and a far superior crime drama that will pull you back in, completely, even before the opening credits begin. Olivia Coleman co-stars.

THE AMERICANS
FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

Callie Thorne continues her guest role as Tori in tonight’s episode, spending more time with Noah Emmerich’s Stan. Meanwhile, at his neighbor’s house, things are much more intense as Elizabeth is instructed to move against her husband, if she has to, in order to fully indoctrinate their daughter into the ways of the KGB.

MAN SEEKING WOMAN
FXX, 10:30 p.m. ET

Tonight’s episode features a pair of surrealistically amusing takes on relationships – good examples of why this series has been renewed for a Season 2. One comic observation is that new relationships are applied for, like college applications, and rejected just as dismissively. The other is that, when a potential soulmate is found, the temptation is to try to get too close too soon. Or, as the protagonist of this oddball series asks, “We spend so much time together, why not get surgically conjoined?”


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

TV Review
The By-the-Book ABCs of 'CSI,' with Oscar-Winner Patricia Arquette Taking the Fourth
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 4, 2015

There’s no need to feel unduly sorry for Patricia Arquette.

Yes, she’s the newly crowned Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winner for Boyhood after also winning every other major award for the role. And now, just when all these new doors are opening, she’s tied to a previous commitment to another formulaic CBS crime series.

It’s a nice “problem” to have, though. Arquette gets the lead role in CSI: Cyber, which premieres on Wednesday, March 4th behind CBS’ long-running Criminal Minds. Virtually without a doubt, more people will see Episode 1 of her new show than will ever see Boyhood.

Besides that, this fourth CSI iteration is almost guaranteed to provide long-term employment at a very nice rate of pay. CBS is the network, after all, that has made hits this season of its NCIS: New Orleans spinoff and the third TV version of The Odd Couple, which was critically panned to apparently no avail.

So Arquette will be just fine, even if CSI: Cyber for the most part tends to be head-hurting on a number of fronts. Not the least of which are its far-fetched leaps from one high-tech deduction to another.

Arquette plays Washington, D.C.-based FBI special agent Avery Ryan, who of course has a tragic backstory. This fuels her single-minded efforts to chase down conscience-less cyber criminals who in the first two episodes kidnap infants and fatally derail a roller coaster. The latter case, which fills next week’s Episode 2, turns out to be a cut-and-dried case of “gore porn.”

“Faceless. Nameless. Lurking inside our devices, just a keystroke away,” Arquette’s Ryan says in the weekly set-up to episodes. Her voice then drops to a whisper: “It can happen to you.” But please, viewers, don’t get any ideas. We already have enough trouble combating the Internet’s escalating number of pop-up ads.

Ryan gets very much involved in the tire-squealing, physical pursuits of various vermin. Her action-craving right-hand man otherwise is Agent Elijah Mundo (James Van Der Beek returning to the drama fold after sitcom fails with Don’t Trust the B -- In Apartment 23 and Friends With Better Lives).

Another familiar TV face, Peter MacNicol (Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal), co-stars as Cyber Crime Division supervisor Simon Sifter. He mulls options, cuts through bureaucratic barriers and in Episode 1, says things like, ”My guess is he’s feeling desperate.”

To which Ryan replies, “And desperate people do desperate things.” Oh please.

The team is rounded out by the requisite tubby bearded guy (Charley Koontz as Daniel “Krummy” Krumitz); the requisite trouble-plagued young newcomer getting a make-or-break second chance (Shad Moss as Brody Nelson); and someone his age for Brody to hang out with (Hayley Kiyoko as Raven Ramirez).

There’s also the requisite CSI theme song by The Who. In this case it’s the very welcome “I Can See For Miles.” Ring the royalties cash register again for its writer, Pete Townshend, who probably wouldn’t mind at all seeing CSI: Outer Space and CSI: Underground at some point in the near future.

On CSI: Cyber, Ryan and her team act very swiftly, oftentimes preposterously so. Computer graphics whiz and buzz. And then, just like that, another suspect is chased down and vetted by Ryan, who seemingly needs nothing more than a burp or a twitch to determine who the bad guys are and who they are not.

Arquette’s character supposedly is drawn from real-life Cyber Psychologist Mary Aiken, whose official bio says she’s a faculty member at the Dr. Steve Chan Center for Sensemaking as well as a fellow at the IBM Swansea University Network Science Research Center. She also works with various police departments in efforts to thwart cyber crime. But Aiken likely has never said, “Let’s roll” (as her TV counterpart does in Episode 3 before hopping into the ready-for-action Cyber Crime Division van and eventually getting involved in a shootout).

None of CSI: Cyber’s excesses or contrivances are likely to matter in the least. Arquette, who previously starred to much better effect in NBC’s Medium, has a pre-sold vehicle that seems sure to take her for at least a five-season ride. It’s not worthy of her talents, but that’s perhaps beside the point. With an Oscar now on her mantle and no further validation required, this is as good a time as any to make some real money again.

GRADE: C

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...px?postId=9124

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TV/Business Notes
HBO in talks with Apple to be launch partner for coming web service 'HBO Now'
By Michael Learmonth, BusinessInsider.com/International Business Times - Mar. 3, 2014

HBO is in talks with Apple to make Apple TV one of the launch partners for its highly anticipated streaming service when it debuts next month. HBO and streaming partner Major League Baseball Advanced Media are working to have the standalone service, called “HBO Now,” ready to launch in April in conjunction with the premiere of the fifth season of “Game of Thrones,” according to sources familiar with their plans.

When it launches, consumers will be able to subscribe to “HBO Now” directly from HBO for the first time, rather than through a cable, satellite or telco TV distributor such as Comcast or Verizon. The retail price is expected to be $15 a month when purchased directly from HBO, or about the that consumers pay when they order HBO through their cable, satellite or telco provider.

With “HBO Now,” HBO’s corporate parent, Time Warner Inc., is looking to a whole new generation of distributors for HBO such as Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Amazon and others to help market the service to an estimated 10 million U.S. broadband subscribers who do not pay for a cable TV bundle. CEO Jeff Bewkes has said the offering could also help reach some of the 70 million cable TV subscribers who do not subscribe to HBO but might if given the opportunity to subscribe online.

HBO’s over-the-top service has been cast as the biggest chink yet in the so-called cable bundle, where consumers are required to buy packages of channels, some of which they may never watch. One study claimed the service would lead to a 7 percent drop in pay TV subscribers as users opt of cable and opt-in to HBO Now.

But some cable providers, such as Cablevision and Cox Communications, have expressed interest in bundling “HBO Now” with broadband for their own subscribers who don’t get cable TV.

Apple has been most aggressive in courting HBO in a bid to add the service to Apple TV, sources say. Apple TV already carries HBO Go for current HBO subscribers, but it may add a second app for HBO Now. Apple has spent the last several years negotiating for the rights to offer their own linear TV package; in the meantime, HBO Now is seen as an added service to drive adoption of Apple TV.

While HBO has not confirmed a launch date for HBO Now, internally the target is an April launch, in time for the April 12 debut of “Game of Thrones.” That’s an aggressive timeframe for Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which is building the back-end along with a new front-end separate from HBO Go. HBO is taking care not to launch HBO Now before it can guarantee that the service will work without some of the technical glitches that plagued HBO Go during last fall's debut of "Game of Thrones."

The launch of “HBO Now” will be a milestone for Time Warner’s premium TV channel, which has for most of its 42-year history been distributed as an add-on to a package of cable channels. The web service will allow HBO to sign on a new group of distribution partners, which it sees as no different than when it added satellite TV and, later, telcos like Verizon and AT&T.

Each of those distributors pays a wholesale price for HBO and then resells it to consumers for anywhere from $13 to $18 a month. Most see HBO as a retention device; those that subscribe are less likely to drop service or switch providers. HBO and Time Warner declined to comment.

At $15 a month, HBO Now will be significantly more expensive than Netflix, which ranges from $8 to $12 a month for various levels of service, but cheaper than some were predicting. HBO makes the case that it has more original programming than Netflix and a better, more current film library. “It’s a premium product and it will be priced accordingly,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler said during a Time Warner earnings call in February.

HBO’s push to launch HBO Now comes after years of talking about launching an over-the-top service that bypasses traditional cable TV. It has been met with some resistance from current distributors, such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast, two companies in the midst of a $46 billion merger, according to sources.

But HBO heard the same misgivings from cable when it first added satellite TV providers and then telcos as distributors. HBO’s strategy is to give early partners a pricing advantage over newer ones; it’s unclear how this will go over with Apple, which has a track record of squeezing advantageous deals out of media, including the 99 cent single, more than a decade ago.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said in December he saw “cord-cutting” accelerate as pay-TV providers dropped subscribers. U.S. pay TV providers lost 125,000 subscribers in 2014, according to Leichtman Research Group. At the same time, HBO and Cinemax its highest number of new subscribers -- 2.8 million -- in 30 years.

Among the challenges HBO faces to get HBO Now launched is how to avoid confusion with HBO Go, the service that allows HBO’s TV subscribers to access it on the web, smartphones and tablets. The two services will have separate log-in pages and separate apps, but some cable execs are concerned about customer confusion. The explanation might challenge even the best call center employee: HBO Go is for TV subscribers to watch their content on devices; HBO Now for those who don’t subscribe via TV.

http://www.businessinsider.com/hbo-i...hbo-now-2015-3
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TV Notes
TNT Orders More ‘Cold Justice’ For Spring Premiere
By Denise Petski, Deadline.com - Mar. 4, 2014

Ahead of the show’s winter finale on March 6, TNT has ordered 12 additional episodes of real-life investigative series Cold Justice for premiere on April 10. Additionally, the network has ordered two new Justice Served specials hosted by John Walsh (America’s Most Wanted). The specials will update viewers on victims’ families and the status of cases as they have wound their way through the legal system. The spring edition of Justice Served also will include a look at Cold Justice: Sex Crimes, TNT’s new series set to launch this summer. Cold Justice airs Fridays at 8 PM (ET/PT).

Cold Justice follows former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and former crime-scene investigator Yolanda McClary as they assist local law enforcement in trying to close long-unsolved cases. Since the show’s premiere in September 2013, Siegler and McClary have assisted local law enforcement in securing 22 arrests, 11 criminal indictments, four confessions, three guilty pleas and three convictions. Just before the start of Weason 3, Cold Justice helped land its first jury trial conviction.

Cold Justice is produced for TNT by Wolf Reality and Magical Elves, with Dick Wolf, Dan Cutforth & Jane Lipsitz, and Tom Thayer serving as executive producers.

http://deadline.com/2015/03/tnt-cold...ng-1201385915/
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Nielsen Notes (Syndication)
Syndication Ratings: Trio of Debmar-Mercury Shows Hit Series Highs
By Rick Kissell, Variety.com - Mar. 4, 2014

February was a memorable month for producer-distributor Debmar-Mercury, as all three of its firstrun syndicated series — “Family Feud,” “The Wendy Williams Show” and “Celebrity Name Game” — notched series-high ratings.

According to Nielsen estimates for the week ending Feb. 22, “Family Feud” continued its scorching season by matching its all-time high household rating (7.2), first set three weeks earlier. The Steve Harvey-hosted gameshow, distributed by Debmar-Mercury and from producer FremantleMedia North America, was up 11% vs. the previous week and 26% higher than the same frame a year ago.

Season-to-date, “Family Feud” is averaging a 6.2 household rating and is up in that category and most other demos by about 20%. For the first time, it also ranks as syndication’s top-rated gameshow in women 25-54, moving ahead of “Wheel of Fortune.”

In its sixth season, “Wendy Williams,” produced and distributed by Debmar-Mercury, set another household ratings record (2.0) during the week ending Feb. 22, up 5% from the previous week and 25% above the same week in 2014. The 2.0 vaults it comfortably ahead of the likes of “Dr. Oz,” “Rachael Ray” and “Jerry Springer.”

Season-to-date, it’s averaging a 1.7 household rating — up 16% from last year. Among women 18-34, it’s tied with “Ellen DeGeneres” as the No. 2 syndie talker (behind only “Maury”).

And the newcomer of the bunch, the Craig Ferguson-hosted “Celebrity Name Game,” hit a new high in both households (1.5) and women 25-54 (0.9). The first-year gameshow from producer-distributor Debmar-Mercury and producer FremantleMedia North America averaged a 1.1 with its first week in September and had been at a 1.4 for three weeks prior to achieving its high of 1.5.

Tribune Broadcasting and Sinclair Broadcast Group earlier this year gave a season-two greenlight for the quizshow about celebs and pop culture, which was developed by Courtney Cox and David Arquette’s Coquette Prods.

Elsewhere, it was a very competitive (and good) week for the talkshows. “Dr. Phil” stayed on top in the households race (3.5), holding off “Live With Kelly & Michael” (3.4), which spiked 17% to hit a season high, and “Ellen DeGeneres” (3.1), which was on the upswing too. All three shows tied for the lead in women 25-54 (1.8).

“Steve Harvey” (2.1), “Rachael Ray” (1.6) and “Dr. Oz” (1.6) all matched their best scores of the season, and “The Doctors” spiked 18% to its high (1.3). “Meredith Vieira” also rose (to 1.2) and matched its season high in women 25-54 (0.7).

The overall household leaders in firstrun syndication for the week ending Feb. 22 were “Wheel of Fortune” (7.6), “Jeopardy” (7.4), “Judge Judy” (7.3), “Family Feud” (7.2) and “Entertainment Tonight” (3.9).

Earlier this week, CBS TV Distribution rewarded “Judge Judy” Sheindlin with a contract extension that will keep her show on the air through at least the 2019-20 season.

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/synd...hs-1201445750/
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TV Notes
Fox Stations Pick Up 'Tosh.0' for Daily Syndication
By Alex Ben Block, The Hollywood Reporter - Mar. 4, 2014

The Fox Television Stations have acquired broadcast syndication rights to the Comedy Central series Tosh.0 starring comedian Daniel Tosh, it was announced Wednesday by Fox and Debmar-Mercury.

At least 120 episodes of the clip and sketch series will being airing this fall on Fox stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Houston, Charlotte and Minneapolis. It is also being sold nationally to stations in other markets for airing as a late night strip and on weekends.

“Tosh.0 is a terrific show, marketed creatively,” said Frank Cicha, senior vp, programming, Fox Television Stations. “I love the scheduling flexibility this deal brings.”

Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, co-presidents of Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, said in a joint statement that they are excited to “once again team with our South Park partners at Comedy Central on another absurd, incredibly ingenious series that has such a loyal fan base.”

“This is a huge win for America,” said Tosh. “It is exciting to know that people who can’t afford cable or the internet will finally be able to laugh with us.”

Tosh.0 has been on Comedy Central since June 2009. It has averaged 2.1 million total viewers and a 1.6 rating among viewers 18 to 49.

Debmar-Mercury is riding a hot streak. In national ratings released Tuesday, three of their shows hit new season highs – Wendy, Family Feud and Celebrity Name Game.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...p-tosh0-779170
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TV Notes/Q&A
Conan O’Brien on Going to Cuba and the State of Late-Night TV
By John Horn, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Mar. 4, 2014

Late-night TV is a numbers game. It's not about specific moments as much as an overall impression. No one knows that better than Conan O'Brien, who has been a late-night host for over two decades. So, how does he stay relevant in a crowded field as he approaches his 22nd year? Cuba! Tonight, O'Brien will air a special episode of his show that will put him as the first late-night host to be there in 50 years. Earlier this week, O'Brien spoke with John Horn, host of Southern California Public Radio's new arts and entertainment show “The Frame,” about the special, doing comedy in a foreign country, and the ever-changing late-night terrain. (Listen to part of Horn and O'Brien's interview here, and subscribe to “The Frame” at iTunes or Stitcher.)

Conan, welcome back from Cuba.
Thank you very much, it’s good to be back.

So just in terms of the landscape, when Letterman retires later this year, you will be the late-night show host with the longest run at nearly 22 years. So how much was this trip part of a way to find new things to do with the form and with your show?
Well, it’s huge. At this point, when you’ve been doing it as long as I’ve been doing it, the primary objective is to challenge yourself and to find ways to surprise yourself a little bit — see if there’s something you can do with the form that you haven’t done before. You’re just competing with yourself. I’ve always felt that way, I’ve always felt like I want to push it, I want to push the envelope, I want to try things, and that gets harder to do when you’re around longer. So, yes, the minute we realized maybe we could get into Cuba and be the first late-night talk show to be there in 50 years, it was thrilling.

When you first floated this idea to the bosses at TBS, what did they say? Or did you actually tell them you were going to Hawaii?
We didn’t actually tell them. We kept it on the down low, and then we told one guy pretty much that we were thinking of doing it, and he said, "That sounds cool." We decided if we told too many people, either (a) it’ll get out or (b) someone will give us a really good reason why we can’t, or a legal reason why we can’t. We decided better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

Do you think you could’ve pulled this off with a network like NBC, or are they too risk-averse? Is that the advantage of working at someplace like TBS?
It’s a good question. There are certainly advantages to being on Turner because they let us do pretty much anything we want to do. I like to think we show common sense, but they’ve been terrific partners. We may have been able to do it at NBC, but certainly it would’ve been a little trickier in terms of keeping it secret, ‘cause it’s a much bigger bureaucracy.

Obviously, relations between the United States and Cuba are changing. That opens the door, but as a comedy show, what did you think the potential [was] for content and comedy and creating something that was not just in Cuba but actually about something? What was that conversation?
It was important to me that there be no snarkiness. One of the advantages of my comedy fitting in a situation like this is that I like to make fun of myself a lot, especially in remote segments. I like the joke to be on me. I wanted it to be really funny and have belly laughs in it, but I also wanted it to be sweet. We very much went in with a feeling of, we’re going into another culture and we want to respect that culture, and all I want to do was try and make people laugh. I didn’t want to do comedy where I’m making fun of something in their society; that’s just rude. I wanted to go in as a good ambassador, but also to see if I could get them to laugh at my idiocy. Maybe that’s the common language that we all speak is that, whatever our differences, most people find me ridiculous.

What played and what didn’t play?
The key to something like this is just going with it; you can’t be in control. I got there and I wandered around with the camera crew. I don’t know if the government was aware that we were there, but nobody stopped us from doing anything. What really played was being a very physical comedian. That’s a universal language. Whenever I’m trying to dance or I’m trying to sing or I’m trying to speak Spanish to them, they’re laughing already. And I tried to dive into their culture. I tried to make Cuban cigars at an authentic Cuban cigar factory where they hand-make them, and I got the help of these different women and that ends disastrously, but they’re laughing. And I go to a rum museum, and that goes disastrously because I’m an Irish guy who really shouldn’t be drinking that much rum at 11 o’clock in the morning. But they’re all laughing at me, so that is the value of what we were doing. And we saw so much. We were there for four days, and I think I met about 150 different people.

How did you introduce yourself and the show to people? Did they have any familiarity with who you were, what the show was about? Do they have an equivalent late-night TV program?
The people who knew me were tourists from other parts of the world. As far as Cubans, they didn’t know, but there’s a segment where I walk along the oceanfront, the Malecón, and I’m showing young people my show on a tablet. And of course it’s just clips of me acting like an ass. I get a great variety of reactions, from them laughing and saying, "Sure that could be good," to just staring at it and thinking, okay, do we really want to be involved with this country? The best I could do was just tell them I’m a comedy star. I actually did tell a number of them I’m the biggest star in America.

And they believe that 'cause they don’t know better.
Exactly. But who’s to say I’m not.

That’s true. And what surprised you the most about the country?
When you grow up in our culture and in most of the capitalist countries around the world, you forget how much advertising you see everywhere. I mean, we’re just so inundated by advertising, we don’t even notice it. When you go to Havana, you notice something is very different right away and you don’ t know what it is. It took me a while to realize there are no advertisements. Occasionally you might see some propaganda.

So stepping back a little bit, you took this trip at a time when there’s amazing amounts of changes in late night. Letterman’s retiring, John Stewart announced he’s leaving The Daily Show, Colbert is on hiatus, what goes through your mind as a host when you’re in the middle of that much change?
It’s funny, but it’s always about running your own race. To the outside world, whenever they think about late night, they envision us all looking at each other’s shows and trying to outwit each other. But for me — and I don’t know what the other guys do — but for me nothing could be further from the truth. I just try to challenge myself and make myself happy and try to do a good show on my terms every day. I’ve been in this since 1993, and it’s constantly been in flux. Now is a particularly chaotic time, but I’ve seen this happen like five different times, you know? When I came on the air, Arsenio was on the air and Chevy Chase was on the air, shows have come, shows have gone, and my philosophy has always been, just keep my freak flag flying, just do my Conan thing, whatever the hell that is, the best that I can possibly do it. Everybody’s carved out their own niche at this point. It used to be that big Letterman-Leno feud for about five years, and people acted like it was Ali and Foreman going at each other, and you don’t get that sense anymore because everyone’s show is so different. In the modern era, people have realized there are 750,000 little pods of entertainment, and I can get them all 15 different ways, so it’s very hard to create that this-person-versus-that-person environment.

Other than recommending he apply to be an intern on your show, any advice for Jon Stewart?
Wow, I think he’s figured it out. I went on his show, and his whole thing is, "I want to get out while I’m on top," and I said, "What if farmers had that attitude?" [Laughs.] What if farmers said, "Hey, you know, I had a really good crop so I’m shutting it down now"? I said the point is to realize your best work and then do another 15 years. And I don’t think he’s going to listen to me.

Let me ask you this last question: At this point in your career, what gives you the most pleasure?
When I can leverage my time in show business or the fact that I have a show and get to places that I may not be able to get to otherwise and do things. There are these scenes in Cuba where I’m in a white linen suit and I’m dancing in a parade in the middle of the street, and everyone around me is like dancing and clapping. It’s transcendent. I can’t believe I get to do that. That’s something I would have trouble imagining I’d be able to do back when I was sitting in my small room writing Simpsons scripts on the Fox lot in 1991. I could never have dreamed that I would get to do this. So, yes, my goal is to challenge myself as much as possible and just try to have fun and do things that are new to me. Because when I’m doing that, I feel like I’m 19 years old, and I have the sexual prowess of a 19-year-old.

So I’ve heard. And then next week you’re going to Iran, is that right?
I’m going to go to Iran and straighten things out there. I’m going to the Aleutian Islands. We’re going to do a show underwater next year. And then it’s to space. We’re going to go to Jupiter; it’ll take me about 15 years to get there.

But we’ll have aged 80 years, so your show will be off the air by the time you get back.
Yeah, Matthew McConaughey explained all the physics behind this to me after Interstellar, and I completely understand it now. Thank God for McConaughey.

http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/conan...-night-tv.html
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Technology Notes
Nvidia unveils Shield console for TVs
By Brett Molina, USA Today - Mar. 4, 2014

Nvidia is making a play for the living room.

The chip maker announced the Nvidia Shield video game console for TVs, which will include access to Google's Android TV ecosystem and support for console video games such as Crysis 3 and Borderlands. The console will also support 4K video.

"It's an incredibly powerful, efficient and advanced living room entertainment device," said Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang in a statement. "It's the best Android TV experience. And it can transform into a serious gaming machine. It's made to game."

The console will also offer access to Nvidia Grid, dubbed by the company as "Netflix for games." For a monthly fee, users will have access to more than 50 games including Batman: Arkham Origins and Metro: Last Light Redux. Users can also buy and stream new games from the service.

The console will launch in May for $199.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/g...sole/24367437/
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TV/Nielsen Notes
Inside CBS’s Blitz to Lock in Younger, Hipper Viewers
It’s No Longer ‘The Geezer Network’
By Itay Hod, TheWrap.com - Mar. 4, 2015

CBS has long been regarded as your grandmother’s network — a fact that even company President and CEO Les Moonves has admitted.

“They called us the ‘Geezer Network,'” Moonves told more than 2,000 advertising buyers in 2005.
But fast-forward a decade, and CBS is finally getting a much-needed makeover.

With new, younger-skewing hit shows, two different online services and a fresh, über-cool late-night lineup led by Stephen Colbert, the broadcaster once known as “The Tiffany Network” is going from hip-replacement to simply hip.

Riding that wave — possibly causing it, in part — is Patricia Arquette, the star of “CSI: Cyber,” the latest installment in the network’s big moneymaking franchise debuting Wednesday.

“There’s a lot of youth on the show,” Arquette told TheWrap. “It’s a big testament to CBS and show creators of ‘CSI.’ To have a middle-aged female lead is really interesting, too.”

The 46-year-old actress, fresh off a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award win for “Boyhood,” is something of a new direction compared to the franchise’s habit of casting middle-aged male leads: William Petersen was 47 when he took on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”; David Caruso, 46 when “CSI: Miami” kicked off; and Gary Sinise, 49 at the outset of “CSI: NY.”

“It’s exciting,” CBS Interactive’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, Marc DeBevoise.

Three months ago, Debevoise spearheaded the launch of “CBS All Access,” a new Hulu-like streaming service that offers subscribers thousands of CBS episodes online for a monthly fee of $5.99 (while all other broadcast networks joined platforms like Hulu or Amazon, CBS decided to go it alone, essentially cutting out the middle man).

That move seems to be paying off. While CBS won’t release any numbers yet, Debevoise said, “the overwhelming majority fall in the 18-49 demo.”

cbs-chasing-youth“Our viewers [on ‘CBS All Access’] are skewing younger than even the audience that we already have [on CBS.com],” he said. “On average, our viewers watch twice as much content as our typical CBS.com or CBS app users.”

While CBS has more viewers than all the other networks, it also has the oldest. CBS’s median age is 59.9, highest among all network broadcasters. Though to be fair, its competitors aren’t faring much better. ABC’s median age is 55.9, NBC is doing slightly better at 53.8 and Fox is at 50.5. Even The CW, known for its pubescent programming, is going through a midlife crisis with a median age of 46.6.

By comparison, the median age for “CBS All Access” is somewhere in the lower 40s, according to the network. That may not sound very young, but in today’s ever-graying TV landscape, it’s practically jailbait.

“I think CBS now has a place at the table,” Horizon Media senior VP of research Brad Adgate told TheWrap. “Now they can compete with other networks when it comes to having content that people can watch on different devices.”

In November, CBS launched another streaming venture: “CBSN,” a new, 24-hour digital news channel, in yet another attempt to tap into the “cord-never” generation known for its aversion to traditional cable viewing.

“There are somewhere between five and 15 million households that don’t have cable or satellite,” Debevoise said. “If you think about the fact that every household has two to 2.5 people in it, you’re talking somewhere between 10 and 30 million people.”

CBS is also making headway on its programming side. “Scorpion” — based on a real-life team of young computer geeks recruited by the government to fight global high-tech threats — has become CBS’s biggest breakout hit this year. The series, which has already been picked up for a second season, is getting lots of buzz — but the age of its audience may represent the show’s real feat.

“Scorpion” has averaged a 3.2 in the advertiser-sought 18-49 demographic per Nielsen’s most current ratings, which include Live + 7 Day (viewers who watch within seven days of a broadcast) numbers where available. That makes it the 15th highest-rated show on broadcast TV, excluding sports. Among new shows, “Scorpion” is tied for third place with Fox’s “Gotham.”

“We’re thrilled,” “Scorpion” creator and executive producer Nick Santora told TheWrap. “I watch the show with my 10-year-old, and she belly-laughs.”

While the show’s producers say they never set out to target a younger audience, their casting choices tell a different story. Although the real-life inspiration behind the show’s main character, Walter O’Brien, is close to 40, on the show the character is in his 20s, as are most of his colleagues.

CBS gave the green light to another younger-skewing show, “Supergirl” and cast “Glee” actress Melissa Benoist for the coveted role of DC Comics’ Kara Zor-El, a.k.a. Supergirl. The network was so eager to get the series up and running, it gave the show a full-season order right off the bat. Executive produced by Greg Berlanti, the king of teen superhero shows on The CW, it’s safe to say “Supergirl” will fly with younger viewers.

And then, of course, there’s Stephen Colbert. The network poached the late-night talk show host from Comedy Central to take over David Letterman’s chair on the “Late Show” in May. CBS is banking on Colbert’s fiercely loyal — and much younger — viewers to follow him to his new home.

The network then had many scratching their heads when it picked largely unknown British actor James Corden to host “The Late Late Show.” But, Corden has at least one thing going for him — at 36, he’ll be the youngest of the current late-night hosts when he takes over for Craig Ferguson in March.

Ferguson trailed significantly among young-adult viewers. During his tenure, the Scottish host barely matched NBC’s “Last Call with Carson Daly,” which airs an hour later.

“Colbert has a pretty big presence in streaming videos,” said Adgate. “CBS will be able to benefit from a revenue perspective with the so-called ‘second screen.’”

This isn’t CBS’s first attempt to appeal to a younger audience. For years, the network struggled in that category, with mixed results.

“The Big Bang Theory” has been the No.1 comedy on network TV for years. “How I Met Your Mother,” which went off the air last season, also did well among younger viewers. But, despite all its efforts, CBS hasn’t been able to capture that cool factor.

But these days, the network is getting high marks from those who matter most: advertisers.

“CBS is making some really smart decisions,” said Integrated Investment Senior Vice President Courtney Maron. An ad buyer for major brands, Maron spends from $300-400 million a year buying media for her clients. “CBS will definitely grow their ad sales with a younger-skewing audience.”

But, Maron says, even though CBS is heading in the right direction, she would hold off on recommending it to clients looking for a younger target audience, at least for the time being.

“NBC is certainly much younger than CBS, and even ABC has some hot shows that appeal to younger audiences. Fox has traditionally always been the younger-skewing broadcast network, but they don’t really have a ratings hit this year with the exception of ‘Empire,’ so the dollars that you were using towards Fox are now shifting more towards specific shows on NBC and ABC,” Maron said.

CBS’s official mandate hasn’t changed. Execs say they’re still going for the “Big Tent” approach, with programming that can appeal to as many viewers as possible.

But at the end of the day, CBS says it’s keen on changing with the times.

“You can’t ignore the fact that everyone has Internet connectivity and devices they want to view content on,” Debevoise said. “We want to make sure our content is available on those devices.”

“CSI: Cyber” showrunner Pam Veasey noted the show’s viewers are also the show’s subjects.

“Because the hackers and computer scientists and those who work at the FBI and private cyber-investigation companies are young people, I think we’re tapping into a world where we’re reflecting the age group that work at cyber crime,” Veasey said. “Most hackers we’ve met, their ages are from 12 to 25, so we hope they tune in — they’ll probably tune in to see if we got it right.”

About whether the show will appeal to a younger demo overall, Veasey said: “I hope so … From your lips to God and Nielsen rating’s ears.”

http://www.thewrap.com/cbs-network-c...young-viewers/
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