Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 3342 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #100231 of 100248 Unread Today, 08:36 AM
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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 100248 Unread Today, 08:40 AM
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TV 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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post #100233 of 100248 Unread Today, 08:44 AM
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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, below, with Arquette), 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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