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post #100681 of 100709 Old Yesterday, 12:38 AM
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TV/Business Notes
Control Issues: How Media Moguls Keep a Tight Grip on Their Empires
By Cynthia Littleton, Variety.com - Mar. 25, 2015

The parlor-room drama surrounding the fates of Viacom and CBS Corp. has only reinforced how thoroughly Sumner Redstone has exerted control over his media empire for decades.

And Rupert Murdoch’s succession plans at 21st Century Fox and News Corp. has all the intrigue of royal-court maneuvering among heirs to the throne held by an iron-willed king.

All those companies are publicly traded entities, but their respective boards and shareholders won’t call the shots when the time comes for big decisions such as succession. Redstone and Murdoch, like a number of their peers in media and entertainment, own so much voting stock in their companies that they can rule, and overrule, as they see fit, in many instances. So does Brian Roberts, chairman-CEO of Comcast, whose pending merger with Time Warner Cable has sparked the latest round of debate on the “how big is too big” question for media behemoths.

In fact, most of the major U.S. media congloms are among the small percentage of large publicly held U.S. firms that are tightly controlled by a single dominant shareholder. Cablevision, Liberty Media and Discovery Communications and others also operate with a dual-class stock structure that allows for some to hold preferred shares with expanded voting rights and benefits compared with the shares that are sold to the public. The Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner are the exceptions, with no single uber-shareholder able to sway decision-making.

Preferred shares tend to be held by company insiders and their family members, particularly founders such as Murdoch or architects such as Redstone, who orchestrated the acquisition of Viacom in 1987 and CBS in 2000 through his National Amusements holding company, a private entity. Such shares are typically issued at the time of incorporation or initial public offering, and in some cases cannot be purchased via public markets. (Fox and News Corp.’s Class B voting shares are publicly traded, and a company rep emphasizes that the boards of both companies, not shareholders, will make the decisions on CEO succession.)

“Dual-class stock structures are not particularly well liked by investors,” said Richard Greenfield, media analyst for BTIG Research. Yet Greenfield noted that bifurcated voting rights have pluses and minuses for companies.

With federal regulators still sizing up the pros and cons of Comcast’s $45.2 billion expansion bid, it’s worth noting that control of the company still rests with its founding family, the Roberts clan of Philadelphia. Brian has a firm grip on the conglom through ownership of preferred shares that account for 33.3% of voting rights — a stake that will not be diluted if the TW Cable acquisition is completed.

By all accounts, Roberts has done a masterful job of expanding the once-tiny cable company his father founded in 1963. Since he took the reins as president in 1990, Comcast has outperformed the S&P average by more than 1,100 percentage points. Still, those preferred voting shares mean the company’s common-stock shareholders would have a hard time forcing him out if they ever decided they didn’t like what he was doing.

As the Justice Dept. and the FCC prepare make-or-break decisions on the antitrust and public-interest ramifications of the TW Cable deal — which is now expected by mid-year after lengthy delays — consumer groups and some competitors are howling about the deal’s potential to turn Comcast into the “gatekeeper” for content delivered via the Internet, by expanding the firm’s broadband footprint. There’s been less focus on the fact that an enlarged Comcast would still be effectively controlled by one family, as it has since the company went public in 1972 with a dual-class structure.

The Roberts clan had an even tighter hold on the company prior to its 2002 acquisition of AT&T’s cable systems — the $48 billion deal that made Comcast the nation’s largest cable operator. As a condition of that acquisition, Roberts agreed to reduce his preferred shares down from 87% of all voting rights.

Roberts and Comcast’s management team have long received high marks for accountability and for engaging with investors. But the prospective scope of the company’s reach into America’s living rooms, with a service that has become a household utility, has stirred enough vociferous opposition to raise doubts about the feds approving the transaction.

“I think the only thing we can say for certain is that the result of (the TW Cable merger) will not be more competition,” said Robert McChesney, a professor of communications at the U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has written extensively about media consolidation. “What we’ve learned from the Internet in the past decade is that it’s not a force for competition. It’s a force for disruption, but it’s creating more companies with virtual monopolies.”

The use of the dual-class stock structure in public companies has long been a polarizing issue among investors, economists and corporate governance watchdogs. Some argue that the principle of “one share, one vote” should be the rule for all public companies. Opponents of the dual-class stock system say it allows dominant shareholders and their chosen managers to become insulated from accountability.

“When you separate a company’s economic interests from its voting interests, you create all kinds of potential problems. It basically emasculates the board,” said Charles Elson, professor of finance at the U. of Delaware. “The counterargument is that people knew about the structure when they bought the stock. But the problem is that when these companies fall on hard times, it’s the public shareholders who have to help clean up the mess.”

Proponents of dual-class systems counter that allowing different levels of voting can shield business leaders from the pressure to deliver quarterly earnings and rising share prices at the expense of risk-taking, R&D spending and strategic investments.

Murdoch is the poster-CEO for this argument. His visionary moves in the 1980s and ’90s might well have been thwarted at times by pushback from risk-averse shareholders.

“(Control) allows you to take bold bets in the way that Rupert was able to go out and try to buy Time Warner (last year),” Greenfield said. “You look at the Roberts’ family control allowing Comcast to do the NBCUniversal deal no matter whether investors at the time thought it made sense. On the flip side, you have situations like Viacom where you wonder if it could have been sold several years ago when the assets were in their prime vs. now when they are struggling.”

The insulating power of preferred voting shares was evidenced in 2011, when what was then News Corp. faced a backlash from shareholders because of the phone-hacking scandal that enveloped the company’s British newspapers. James Murdoch was in the line of fire as the head of the U.K. and Euro businesses at the time. At the company’s October 2011 annual meeting, James and his older brother, Lachlan, would not have received enough support to remain on the board of directors were it not for their father’s voting power.

Last year, a majority of Cablevision’s public shareholders voted at the company’s annual meeting in favor of a resolution to convert the company to a single-class stock structure. But the shareholder proposal was easily defeated through the votes wielded by chairman Charles Dolan and his son, CEO James Dolan. The Dolan family controls 72% of the voting power in the company, founded by Charles.

Eli Noam, professor of finance and economics at Columbia U. and author of “Who Owns the World’s Media?” says that consolidation of power can be a positive for a business intially. “In the early stages of a company, you have a dynamic and visionary leader, which is good to have when shaping (its) culture,” he says. “If investors trust the leader, they’ll go along with the idea of ‘You’ll get the dividends and let me run the ship.’ ” But it can be awkward if the next-generation CEO messes up. “They’re very hard to fire, and presumably, it creates less ability for those who are inside the company to disagree with management.”

The spike in dual-class stock organizations in the IPOs of technology companies over the past few years has renewed debate over the practice. Investors, particularly large institutional funds, often frown on their use.

In 2012, leaders of CalPERS, the nation’s largest pension fund, talked up plans to boycott any IPO with a dual-class structure. The Washington, D.C.-based Council of Institutional Investors has stepped up its lobbying of the NYSE and Nasdaq to shun listings for dual-class companies. But observers note that a dual-class offering has rarely been a deal-breaker as long as the company comes to the market with sizzle.

Bloomberg News in 2012 dubbed the tech-sector trend “the Zuckerberg grip.” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg ensured that he would retain unfettered control of the company after its IPO by giving himself preferred shares that command 10 votes to every one vote afforded to common stockholders. Groupon, Zynga, Zillow and LinkedIn have fielded IPOs with dual-class structures in recent years. Twitter stuck with a single-class setup with its 2013 public offering, but the company reserved the right to issue preferential shares down the road.

Even more than Silicon Valley firms, media titans favor the dual-class structure. Media congloms accounted for 16 of 114 such firms in a 2002-2012 survey of companies in the S&P 1500 index conducted by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute. In the S&P 100 index of the nation’s largest public firms, however, only 9% of companies across all sectors were dual-class, according to a 2004-2014 survey by the Silicon Valley law firm Fenwick & West.

Conventional wisdom among economists is that companies with dual-class stock generally trade at a lower price than single-class companies, as investors exact a discount in exchange for limited voting rights. The Investor Responsibility study found that in the media sector, CEOs of dual-class firms are paid more, and boards are more populated with insiders.

There are, of course, fiduciary responsibilities and legal guidelines in force even for preferred shareholders. Enhanced voting power doesn’t mean owners have the right to loot company coffers or disavow the will of the board of directors.

The uncertainty surrounding the future for Viacom and CBS Corp. after the death of Redstone, who will be 92 in May, underscores how control can be maintained through family trusts for generations.

Redstone’s holdings will be managed by the five-member board of a trust designed to benefit his grandchildren. There are plenty of questions about what decisions that board will make regarding the best way to manage assets. Companies with broadly dispersed ownership would face pressure from investors to spell out in greater detail a long-term management plan.

Murdoch’s empire has clearly been more shareholder-friendly since the hacking scandal, taking steps to strengthen its corporate governance and returning cash to shareholders. And after weathering that storm, James Murdoch’s stature is rising again (and he and Lachlan have easily won re-election to board posts by common shareholders for the past three years). “He’s increasingly been more visible, and built a level of respect with investors over the past few years,” Greenfield said of the younger Murdoch, who is seen as the heir apparent.

Investors may grouse about unequal voting rights, but industry observers don’t see anything changing for dual-class stock media congloms. And public shareholders can always vote with their feet.

“Everybody who invests in Fox should know that Rupert’s children will eventually run the company,” Greenfield said. “If you don’t like that idea, you shouldn’t buy the stock.”

http://variety.com/2015/biz/features...st-1201459120/
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post #100682 of 100709 Old Yesterday, 12:55 AM
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
THURSDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Grey's Anatomy
9PM - Scandal
10PM - American Crime
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Zooey Deschanel; Jeff Perry; Charlie Wilson performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
7PM - 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Wichita State vs. Notre Dame (LIVE)
9:30PM - 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament: West Virginia vs. Kentucky (LIVE)
* * *
12:35AM - Late Show with David Letterman (Kevin Bacon; comic Jimmie Walker; Airborne Toxic Event performs)
(R - Mar. 13)
1:37AM - The Late Late Show with James Corden
(R - Mar. 23)

NBC:
8PM - Dateline NBC: The Fugitive Millionaire
9PM - The Blacklist
10PM - The Slap
* * * *
11:34AM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Alan Cumming; Carey Mulligan; Ludacris performs with The Roots)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Kelsey Grammer, Paula Pell, Sesame Street's The Count)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Elisha Cuthbert; Gap Dream performs; filmmaker Etan Cohen)

FOX:
8PM - Bones
9PM - Backstrom

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour
9PM - PBS Previews -- Best of Drama
(R - Mar. 22)
9:30PM - PBS Previews -- Best of Drama
(R - Mar. 22)
10PM - Antiques Roadshow: Bismarck
(R - Mar. 23)

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

THE CW:
8PM - The Vampire Diaries
(R - Feb. 5)
9PM - The Flash
(R - Feb. 3)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - La Biblia
9PM - Tierra de Reyes
10PM - Dueños del Paraíso

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author John Hargrove)
11:31PM - The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
12:01AM - At Midnight (Natasha Leggero; Jeff Ross; Sarah Tiana)

TBS:
After NCAA Coverage (approx. 1AM) - Conan (Will Ferrell; Ellie Kemper; comic Andy Woodhull)
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TV Notes
Dean Smith Documentary Pays Homage to Visionary Coach
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Mar. 26, 2015

“Dean Smith,” the new documentary about the North Carolina basketball coach, is purely a homage. The portrait is not of a difficult or meanspirited man but of one whom any recruit’s parents would want to have in their home: polite, old-fashioned, supportive, averse to cursing (but not occasional sarcasm), hypercompetitive, humble, colorblind and pro-education (really).

After retiring in 1997, Smith spoke out against the death penalty and kept helping former players with advice until dementia left him unable to be the Dean Smith he used to be.

The documentary (its debut was Wednesday night on Showtime) is an hourlong valentine to Smith, offered on the eve of the start of the round of 16 of the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament, a tournament his team won twice.

The closest that “Dean Smith” dips into coaching controversy is his rebuke of Mike O’Koren for criticizing the four-corners offense, or Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s expression of his near hatred for a man he came to love. There is nothing wrong with a documentary about a resolutely decent and serious man, but the risk is creating a film that presents a one-sided view of a major figure in college sports history.

There is relatively little of his voice from archival sources in the film, produced by George Roy and Steve Stern, and no participation from Smith’s family.

“He was so humble that it wasn’t easy to find sound bites from him,” said Ross Greenburg, the executive producer. “We added some more after he passed because it felt a little barren without them. But he didn’t do a lot of interviews. He wasn’t the kind of guy to wander onto ‘Charlie Rose’ for an hour. I guess he never felt comfortable doing that. He was unrevealing about himself.”

And while Smith’s family gave its backing to the documentary, his survivors chose not to give interviews.

“They’re very private,” Greenburg said. “They told U.N.C. that we were blessed to do the film, and they got behind it.”

Their absence is felt even as one can understand their reticence to talk about Smith during his dying days or shortly after he died on Feb. 7.

Still, it would have been valuable to hear about him away from the court to grasp what sort of toll 36 years of coaching North Carolina had on his family. A man of probity and achievement is more than his public persona, but that is what viewers get in “Dean Smith.”

He didn’t mind riling opponents or his players by slowing games down with the four-corners offense. He recruited Charlie Scott as the first black player on the North Carolina team. He was the motivator who instructed his players to point to the player who assisted them on a basket. And he was the spoilsport who wouldn’t let Sports Illustrated photograph Michael Jordan for its cover as one of the Tar Heels’ starters because he was a freshman.

“He felt I didn’t deserve it,” Jordan said, recalling his long-ago disappointment.

The task of breathing life into Smith as a documentary subject is left largely to those who played for him, a list that includes Jordan, Scott, O’Koren, James Worthy, J. R. Reid, Hubert Davis, Eric Montross, Phil Ford, Antawn Jamison, Mitch Kupchak and Bob Bennett. They do their job as well as possible, recalling a man they clearly loved who seems to have inspired them with decency but not flamboyance.

A documentary about Bob Knight would be a very different product.

One issue that gets a bit of play in the film is an academic fraud scandal at North Carolina; for nearly two decades, the university allowed students — about half of them athletes — to take phony courses and receive artificially high grades from the African and Afro-American studies department. Although the fraud began while Smith was still coaching, the investigation did not ensnare him.

“We had to include that,” Greenburg said. “But the scandal didn’t touch him. The African-American studies department ran amok without him knowing.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/26/sp...oach.html?_r=0
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TV Notes
Fargo Elects Bruce Campbell to Play Ronald Reagan in Season 2
By Michael Ausiello, TVLine.com - Mar. 24, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Bruce Campbell as Ronald Reagan?! Oh, you betcha.

The Burn Notice vet has been cast as a pre-POTUS Reagan in Fargo‘s forthcoming second season, TVLine has learned exclusively.

Taking place in the late 1970s, Season 2 — a prequel to Season 1 that stars Patrick Wilson as a younger version of Keith Carradine’s Lou Solverson — is set against “the cultural transformation that was going on at that time,” as well as Reagan’s first campaign for President of the United States, previewed FX Networks CEO John Landgraf back in January. “He’s on his first campaign [and he] makes a swing through Fargo. Some of the characters have some interactions with him. And some of his movies are also a part of the show.”

It’s unclear if one of those folks interacting with Campbell’s Gipper will be former Burn Notice co-star Jeffrey Donovan, who is set to recur in Fargo‘s second season.

Campbell, who recently signed on to reprise his role as Ash in Starz’ 10-episode Ash Vs. Evil Dead series, will appear in one episode.

Fun fact: Campbell made an unbilled cameo in the big-screen Fargo. In the kidnappers’ cabin, he can be briefly seen on the TV.

http://tvline.com/2015/03/24/bruce-c...season-2-cast/
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TV Review
'Killing Jesus'
National Geographic movie more like a crime show than theology
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Mar. 26, 2014

It's long been a core element of Christian faith that Jesus was nailed to a cross.

“Killing Jesus” sets out to nail the perps.

It succeeds reasonably well in that goal, distilling the story of Jesus’ life into a tale of political and theological intrigue that could fit comfortably into a contemporary TV procedural.

That's not to suggest “Killing Jesus” is casual or irreverent in any way — just that many of the characters feel as if they could have stepped out of a modern-day action-adventure drama.

This two-hour condensation of Jesus’ life starts with the paranoid King Herod (Kelsey Grammer), who orders all male children killed because he has heard one of them may someday seek to challenge him.

But the ultimately fatal threat to Jesus (Haaz Sleiman) comes from the High Priests of Jerusalem’s Great Temple, who see Him as a threat to their power and their alliance of convenience with the ruling Romans.

Caiaphas (Rufus Sewell), most powerful of the High Priests, ultimately brings Jesus down by slipping Judas 30 pieces of silver to betray Him.

Even then, Caiaphas has to do some judicial shopping. Pontius Pilate (Stephen Moyer) at first isn't interested in the charges against Jesus and sends the case to Herod’s son Antipas (Eoin Macken), who also finds no crime.

Finally Caiaphas convinces Pilate that Rome is better off with Jesus dead.

As all this suggests, “Killing Jesus” focuses less on theology than the political and strategic forces by which Jesus’ enemies finally won the day.

It also notes that while they won the day, they lost the next couple of millennia. Even though most of Jesus’ disciples were also eventually killed, today there are more than 2.2 billion Christians.

'Killing Jesus'
Network/Air Date: National Geographic, Sunday at 8 p.m.
Rating: ★★★ (out of five)


http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...icle-1.2162201
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Yeah, yeah, I'm still waiting for my prize for having Post 100,000!
Spoiler!


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The real problem may be that more companies are jumping on the streaming bandwagon and whereas you may be getting their content today via Netflix or Hulu, in the future it might be "exclusively" available on their own services. The public always seems to lose.
We're already seeing this with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, most recently with "Empire", which Hulu has exclusive rights to. There's no way that the media companies are going to launch services and not keep at least some of their own content exclusive.

Eventually, you'll need 10 different services all at least $6-$8 a month to watch everything.
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post #100689 of 100709 Old Yesterday, 11:48 AM
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We're already seeing this with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, most recently with "Empire", which Hulu has exclusive rights to. There's no way that the media companies are going to launch services and not keep at least some of their own content exclusive.

Eventually, you'll need 10 different services all at least $6-$8 a month to watch everything.
If they do that then they just don't "get it". The whole "cable cutting" thing is getting away from paying "$100 and nothing to see." And they still don't understand millennials who don't watch "conventional TV" may even just like things in webisodes and few ads.

I think the telecom CEOs are really steamed because many of us have cut their TV services and we won't sign back up for it again regardless of all their carnival barking. I'm sure their long term projections were for TV remaining as viable revenue source.
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TV Notes
William Petersen Joins WGN America’s ‘Manhattan’ For TV Return
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Mar. 26, 2015

Former CSI star William Petersen is returning to television with a series regular role on the second season of the WGN America drama series Manhattan.

Created and written by Sam Shaw and directed by Thomas Schlamme, Manhattan is set against the backdrop of the mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb and follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families in Los Alamos. Petersen will play Col. Emmett Darrow, the enigmatic new ranking military officer at Los Alamos. A deeply religious and patriotic man, Darrow feels called by God to usher in the atomic future and to spread American values across the globe.

Produced by Lionsgate Television, Skydance Television and Tribune Studios, Manhattan will begin production on its second season in April in New Mexico for a 2015 debut on WGN America.

This marks Petersen’s first TV role since leaving the mothership CSI series in 2009 after 10 seasons. He joins returning Manhattan cast members John Benjamin Hickey, Olivia Williams, Daniel Stern, Ashley Zukerman, Rachel Brosnahan, Katja Herbers, Alexia Fast, Christopher Denham, Harry Lloyd and Michael Chernus.

The caliber of talent on WGNA series has been rising, with Christopher Meloni and Jurnee Smollett-Bell among the stars of the network’s upcoming Underground Railroad drama Underground, with Kanye West expected to be involved in music.

http://deadline.com/2015/03/william-...ca-1201399188/
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Technology Notes
Chosen looks to bring TV talent competition to apps
By Jefferson Graham, USA Today - Mar. 26, 2015

VENICE BEACH, Calif. —Who's ready to play American Idol on a smartphone?

David Hyman's new app, Chosen, is touted as a talent competition for the mobile age, a crowd-judged game for the iPhone.

It launches today, but with a caveat. It's invite only, at least for the first four weeks, then open for the general public.

"It's a place where performers and musicians compete, and you're competing as well, to move up the ranks as judges," says Hyman, the former CEO of MOG and Beats Music.

To compete, use the app to shoot a video of you performing, or upload a previous clip. Chosen's tools instruct you to pull out the best 15 seconds of the clip to be judged on.

Unlike the TV competitions, folks who compete on Chosen don't get big fat recording contracts.

Hyman has arranged for the winner of the first contest to appear on stage this May at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee.

"It fascinates me to be applying game mechanics to music consumption," he says. "If we succeed, through the wisdom of the crowds, great performers should rise to the top," without the traditional record company gate keepers.

Chosen has raised over $6.5 million in funding from several investment firms, including DCM, Rhodium Capital, Fosun and CrunchFund.

Hyman isn't new to the music scene. He created one of the first music websites, Addicted to Noise, in 1995. He followed that up by becoming CEO of the website that became known as Gracenote, the tech firm that identified the names of songs on CDs when you put them into computers. Then he created Mog, a music subscription service which was snapped up by Beats Electronics in 2013 before Apple acquired Beats for $3 billion.

Hyman has filed a $20 million wrongful termination suit against Beats and Apple, alleging he was let go right before Apple got involved with the company, to ace him out of his share of the potential windfall. Hyman won't comment on the sui.

To compete on Chosen, people go to Chosen.fm to register, and await their invite. The new app also has an offer for the first 500 USATODAY readers to respond. Just click in the code 12345after downloading the app from the iTunes store. (The app is only available for Apple devices at launch.)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2...-app/70389772/
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WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insights' Blog.
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
A lackluster return for ‘American Idol’
Without top-rated 'Empire' as a lead-out, reality show falls to a 1.7
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 26, 2015

Without “Empire,” broadcast’s top-rated non-sports show, Fox’s Wednesday lineup was clearly going to take a hit.

And it did last night, with “American Idol” falling sharply from its most recent Wednesday episode.

The reality show posted a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating from 8 to 10 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, off 26 percent from a 2.3 fast national rating two weeks ago, when it aired ahead of “Empire.”

In fact, “Idol” was third in its 8 and 9 p.m. timeslots, behind ABC and CBS.

Of course, “Idol” expanded to two hours last night, after airing just an hour in its most recent episode.

And “Idol” wasn’t the only show to drop. Several of ABC’s comedies also saw big declines from their most recent outings two weeks ago.

ABC’s “Modern Family” was the night’s top show with a 2.8 at 8 p.m., though that was off from a 3.4 two weeks ago.

ABC had three of the night’s four top shows, with “black-ish” third with a 2.1 and “The Goldbergs” fourth with a 2.0.

And NBC’s “The Mysteries of Laura” was off 0.4, to a 1.0.

CBS’s steady lineup won the night, paced by a 2.2 for “Survivor” at 8 p.m., even to last week.

TV usage levels were down 5 percent last night compared to the same night last week, when the season finale of “Empire” drew towering ratings.

* * * *

Top show of the night in 18-49s

ABC’s “Modern Family,” 2.8 rating from 9-9:30 p.m.

Top show of the night in 25-54s
ABC’s “Modern Family,” 3.7 rating from 9-9:30 p.m.

Top show of the night in total viewers
CBS’s “Criminal Minds,” 9.88 million from 9-10 p.m.


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/a-l...american-idol/

* * * *

TV/Nielsen Notes
For ‘Bones,’ the real mystery lingers
The reliable Fox drama has been on hiatus since December
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 26, 2015

Booth and Brennan have been on ice for months.

But tonight at 8 p.m., following a more than three-month layoff, the pair will finally return in the first episode of Fox’s “Bones” since Dec. 11.

Fans of the show have gotten antsy during the absence, taking to Twitter to pine over the show.

They may have much more to be upset about.

Fox still has yet to renew “Bones” for an 11th season. While the network appears to want to bring it back, acknowledging as much during the winter Television Critics Association press tour, it hasn’t been able to nail down a deal.

It gets tougher to negotiate pickups as a show ages. Salaries get higher and production costs rise. Plus many actors grow weary of playing the same role for such a long time.

Many procedurals can continue with a rotating group of leads, but what’s always made “Bones” stand out is how much attention it pays to the characters’ personal lives. The Booth and Brennan romance is part of what makes the show, and they can’t be replaced.

The show still draws decent, if not spectacular, numbers in a tough timeslot opposite ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.”

“Bones” has averaged a 1.4 adults 18-49 rating this season, according to Nielsen, down from last year but still better than other Fox dramas such as “Backstrom” and “The Following.”

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/for...stery-lingers/
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TV Notes
‘Downton Abbey’ will end for good after next season
By Emily Yahr, Washington Post's 'Style' Blog - Mar. 26, 2015

As rumored, hit British TV show “Downton Abbey” will indeed end for good after next season.

Production company Carnival Films, ITV and PBS confirmed the news on Thursday morning with a statement from executive producer Gareth Neame.

Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years. Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end and ‘Downton’ is no exception. We wanted to close the doors of ‘Downton Abbey’ when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans.

This isn’t so surprising — as TVLine reported over the weekend, the cast’s contracts expire after the upcoming sixth season, and it seems most of the actors want to wrap things up.

The smash drama, which premiered on ITV in Britain in September 2010, was an international hit. It racked up awards (including the Emmy for Best TV Movie or Miniseries in 2011) and easily became the most-watched show ever on PBS, adding to the America’s never-ending problem of Too Much Good TV To Watch On Sunday Nights.

Though ratings have dropped slightly with its UK audience, the show remained a powerhouse on U.S. television this season, with an impressive 10.1 million people tuning in for the fifth season premiere.

There are no available details yet on the sixth season, but Neame says there will be madness.

“We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up,” he said.

Downton Abbey ✔ @Down tonAbbey
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The time has come to announce that Series 6 will be our final visit to #Downton. Thank you for sharing our journey!
11:33 AM - 26 Mar 2015


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...r-next-season/
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TV Notes
HBO Partners With Vice For First-Ever Daily Newscast Of Its Kind
By Catherine Taibi, HuffingtonPost.com - Mar. 26, 2015

HBO and Vice Media announced a new partnership on Thursday that will bring Vice news content to HBO subscribers in a number of different ways.

The new expansion effort will include a daily, half-hour newscast from Vice, a weekly series on HBO and an increase in Vice-produced specials, the companies announced in a press release. The television company and media outlet have agreed to a four-year deal that promises some 32 Vice specials from now through 2018.

Vice will also have its own channel on HBO's streaming service HBO NOW.

“I think the first thing, perhaps the hardest thing, I learned about journalism over the past 20 years is that maintaining any type of independence, any type of freedom, is difficult as you scale up," Vice founder and CEO Shane Smith said in the press release. "This deal, simply put, allows Vice the freedom to go after any story, anywhere we find it – and to do so with complete independence. This deal is a tremendous gift and a tremendous opportunity, and we at Vice realize this."

This will be HBO's very first daily newscast, Smith added. The program will feature "on-the-ground reporting" on key stories around the globe. Vice currently has more than 30 bureaus worldwide.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/0...n_6949052.html
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TV Notes/Q&A
Turner Chief on March Madness Money, Whether Conan is Worth $12M and Kevin Reilly's Mandate
By Marisa Guthrie, The Hollywood Reporter - Mar. 26, 2015

In summer 2013, after 27 years at Turner Broadcasting, David Levy — who joined the company as a junior account executive — was elevated to the top job with oversight of seven networks, including TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network (but not CNN). It's a time when the cable business is being forced to reinvent itself on several fronts. With the exception of The Big Bang Theory, relying on sitcom and procedural reruns no longer is economically sustainable. Meanwhile, large network groups like Turner's face the threat of unbundling and pressure to make content available a la carte to the growing ranks of cord-cutters.

Levy, 50, a married father of two sons, completed an overhaul of Turner's executive ranks in November with the hiring of former Fox chairman Kevin Reilly to run TNT and TBS. The latter was cable's No. 1 entertainment network in primetime in 2014, but with robust competition from television rivals as well as a growing roster of digital streaming services, Levy's mandate is to reinvent Turner's original programming identity. Reilly busily has been stocking the pipeline with scripted fare, and Turner CEO John Martin has said the Time Warner-owned company's investment in original programming on TNT and TBS will double to $1 billion annually by 2018.

Based in New York, Levy, who played hockey at White Plains High (which his former boss, Phil Kent, also attended) and Syracuse University, also has run Turner's sports assets since 2003. He has forged multibillion dollar deals for NCAA men's basketball, the NBA, Major League Baseball and golf's PGA Championship tournament. Turner's joint deal with CBS for the NCAA "March Madness" tournament — their 14-year, $10.8 billion pact began in 2011 — was hailed as a model of cross-network cooperation at a time of skyrocketing sports fees. In October, Turner and ESPN-ABC extended their deals with the NBA by nine years, with Turner's share of that rights package set to funnel $1.2 billion annually to that league. Levy invited THR to his office in Time Warner Center to discuss sports rights, his push for originals and whether TBS' Conan is a success.

Where is the ceiling for premium sports rights?
Consumption of media is completely changing in this market, probably at a pace none of us anticipated. Nobody watches the Super Bowl on Monday; you're not going to watch March Madness a week from now. We're not a 24-hour sports channel — I don't need filler. We're focused on premium sports properties that are going to drive subscription rates for our brands. It's a supply-and-demand business. No one knows where the tipping point will be.

What about the long term, as consumption habits continue to evolve toward over-the-top options?
What I'm worried about each and every day are the "nevers." The nevers are people who are never going to buy a cable, satellite or telco hookup, so you are starting to see a falloff in subscriptions. As that continues, the math on sports rights becomes a little more challenging.

Digital sports rights also are changing these deals.
Yes. One of the things about sports is it's also one of the genres that actually really works cross-platform. You used to be able to write a contract on about 15 to 20 pages; now they're 150 to 200 pages. A negotiation used to take a couple of days; now there's a whole negotiation about windowing and digital rights. There's a lot of monetization in those rights. And it allows us to really enhance a brand like Bleacher Report.

There are lawsuits over this issue: Do you think college players should be able to share in the billions in TV revenue they help generate?
If they [rule] that college athletes should be paid, it has to be all college athletes: swimming, tennis, golf, volleyball. Everybody's focused on basketball and football. And yes, I do think there need to be changes. I was surprised to find out that scholarships are really only for one year — each year they renew. If they really wanted to commit to the players, shouldn't they do four-year scholarships?

But obviously it would affect TV deals.
It would. But this is not going to be decided over the next couple of days. This is a big, complicated issue. I can see both sides of the argument. How do you differentiate between the star and the 12th player on the bench?

You've hired a lot of the on-air talent for Turner Sports — Shaquille O'Neal, Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr, Ron Darling. What's the secret to dealing with talent?
(Laughs.) A lot of it depends on who their agent is. But I think reputation is very important, and the talent and agents do talk to each other about which companies are good to work for. And what I've heard is our reputation is very strong. It's [about] learning from the best. When you bring in somebody like Chris Webber or Grant Hill, who hadn't done [sportscasting] before, and they get to work with Marv Albert or Ernie Johnson or Kevin Harlan, it's pretty special.

O'Neal's sportscasting deal with Turner includes an entertainment component. He recently had a scripted pilot picked up by truTV. Are more athletes seeking these types of broader deals?
With Shaq, we knew his ambitions were far greater than just a studio show. And yes, more and more are going that way. The most important part is that it still has to be a good show; we're not going to greenlight a show that we don't believe is going to be successful just because we have an on-air deal with an athlete.

O'Neal's deal is up soon. I assume you want to keep him on Inside the NBA?
Yes. We'd love to have Shaq back. I think he'd like to come back. One of the things that most talent recognizes is that being on a weekly show and being relevant weekly is good for all your other businesses. If you have a national voice to the public, it helps in everything else you do.

Kobe Bryant will retire soon. Have you spoken with him about joining the network?
As far as I know, Kobe is still an active player. We believe Kobe is a big talent. He'd be great on-air in either a studio show or as an analyst.

Last year, Turner extended its deal with Conan O'Brien through 2018. His show is not a huge ratings hit. Is he still worth $12 million a year?
Well, I hope so since I renewed his deal! (Laughs.) While his ratings may not be as large as we would like, I still believe they're going to grow. I don't think we marketed Conan as well as we could as a company. Look at what he did in Cuba recently — those ratings were huge relative to what he has been delivering. So there's an opportunity to bring Conan back out into the community. Conan also has a huge social following and digital following. So it wasn't just about the television show; it was about all the other businesses that Conan will help us with. He's an identity for the brand, and I felt it was important for us to keep that identity.

Turner is putting more resources into scripted, but does the company have the stomach for the inevitable expensive failures?
Yeah, absolutely. I'm thrilled to have an executive of Kevin's caliber here. But even prior to that, it was a definite strategy of our company to focus on owning our own content because the metrics for success are changing. It's not just about ratings anymore; it's, what do we think we can do in international? What can we do in digital? If we don't own our own content, we can't play. One of the things Kevin has been educating me on is that you've got to find gaps in the marketplace. If you keep chasing the next zombie show, then you're chasing.

How involved are you in programming decisions?
Kevin's going to make the calls on the shows, just like Chris [Linn] will [at truTV] and Christina [Miller] will at Cartoon [Network]. But obviously I'm going to be involved in what the shows are, what the concept is.

In putting together your team, what feedback have you received from Hollywood about Turner brands?
A lot of them didn't know what Adult Swim was. I got comments like, "Well, you don't spend money for Adult Swim programming." So we launched an expensive show for Adult Swim, [Robert Smigel's] The Jack and Triumph Show. TNT was a good but safe place; TBS, great No. 1 network, but tons of acquired series.

Which is no way to build a network.
Not anymore. I want to ride Big Bang until no one's watching it anymore, but we now have to get into the original content business on TBS as well — and fast.

Levy's Championship Deals: Billions for Top-Level Sports Rights

NBA
Turner's share of a nine-year, $24 billion deal through the 2024-25 season, which also includes ESPN-ABC, amounts to $1.2 billion annually — a threefold increase from the previous pact. The deal calls for Turner's management of digital assets including NBA.com.

MLB
In 2012, Levy inked an eight-year deal with Major League Baseball worth $325 million annually. The pact, which extends through the 2021 season, includes TV Everywhere rights to stream games and other programming online and via mobile.

NCAA
In 2010, Levy and CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus orchestrated a $10.8 billion, 14-year deal for March Madness by which the companies share Final Four and championship games. Says Levy, "We always debate whether I called Sean or Sean called me."

PGA
Levy also extended Turner's rights to the PGA Championship tournament and the Grand Slam of Golf events through 2019 in a deal that has Turner's Cartoon Network Enterprises serving as the PGA's licensing agent in the expanding youth marketplace.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...s-money-783824
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TV Review
'Killing Jesus'
National Geographic movie more like a crime show than theology
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Mar. 26, 2014

It's long been a core element of Christian faith that Jesus was nailed to a cross.

“Killing Jesus” sets out to nail the perps.

...
That's not to suggest “Killing Jesus” is casual or irreverent in any way — just that many of the characters feel as if they could have stepped out of a modern-day action-adventure drama.

Why does Mary Magdalene have a loofah?
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If they do that then they just don't "get it". The whole "cable cutting" thing is getting away from paying "$100 and nothing to see." And they still don't understand millennials who don't watch "conventional TV" may even just like things in webisodes and few ads.

I think the telecom CEOs are really steamed because many of us have cut their TV services and we won't sign back up for it again regardless of all their carnival barking. I'm sure their long term projections were for TV remaining as viable revenue source.
Every now and then I'll get a telemarketer TRYING to get me to sign up for pay-TV. I'll pick up the phone and give them the "Two-Fingered Salute" (Press "Talk" and "Off' in quick succession. As for "Long Term Projections" that's a classic case of "Marketing Myopia". This isn't the first time something like this has happened. In the years after World War II Passenger Railroad and Shipping Lines IGNORED a newfangled way for passengers to travel, THE AIRPLANE. As flying by air got popular, the Passenger Railroad and Shipping lines suffered, with many going out of business. A CDO quoted "We thought we were in the railroad business when in fact we were in the transportation business" Just think, if these companies adjusted to using aircraft, Instead of Flying to a destination on airlines such as American, Delta, United and Southwest, we may instead have flown on airlines such as Santa Fe, Penn Central, Union Pacific and Cunard among others! <LOL>
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There's no way that the media companies are going to launch services and not keep at least some of their own content exclusive.

Eventually, you'll need 10 different services all at least $6-$8 a month to watch everything.
I'm not so sure about that. Let's see how Sling TV fares.
It could be that a lot of people would be willing to do without recording capabilities, even do without many on-demand choices, in exchange for being able to buy small packages of streaming channels.
The big problem is that the cable companies in many markets have a near monopoly on broadband internet, so they can increase the cost of internet service to compensate for declining revenue from their traditional cable TV packages.
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TV Notes
‘Coach’ Sequel Starring Craig T. Nelson Gets Series Order From NBC
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Mar. 26, 2015

“Coach” is getting ready to suit up again.

NBC has given a straight-to-series order for a follow-up to the ABC sitcom, with Craig T. Nelson once again set to play Hayden Fox.

The new offering picks up 18 years after the original series went off the air, with Nelson’s Fox in the present day and retired from coaching. However, he is called back to become assistant coach to his own grown son, who is the new head coach at an Ivy league school in Pennsylvania that is just starting up a new team.

Barry Kemp, who created the original series, will write and executive produce, with Nelson also executive producing.

Universal Television is producing the new offering, which has received an order for 13 episodes.

The original series, which also starred Shelley Fabares and Jerry Van Dyke, ran on ABC from 1989 to 1997. Aside from Nelson, no other casting has taken place on the multicamera project.

http://www.thewrap.com/coach-sequel-...rder-from-nbc/
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TV/Business Notes
Starz Rises To No. 2 Pay Cable Network In Subscribers
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Mar. 26, 2015

All major premium cable networks posted subscriber growth in the most recent fourth quarter of 2014, which also featured a different pecking order for the first time in years, with Starz (23.3 million subscribers) edging Showtime (22.8 million) to finish No.2 behind perennial leader HBO (31.4 million).

It’s been awhile since Starz has had a No.2 ranking — on a yearly basis, it last finished ahead of Showtime in 2008. Starz’s subscriber base dipped the following year, followed by a growth streak starting in 2010 when the network launched its first hit scripted series, Spartacus, and when the reins of the network were taken by Chris Albrecht. (Showtime has been in a continuous growth mode for a decade.)

Both HBO and Starz benefited from some promotions by distributors last year that boosted subscriber levels, though the quoted Q4 2014 subscriber numbers, as reported by SNL Kagan, only include paying subscribers provided by each individual pay cable network.

The margin between Starz and Showtime is small, and it is unclear how long the repositioning of the two networks will last. Nevertheless, the quarterly No. 2 finish for Starz is giving a boost of confidence to the pay cable channel which — like HBO, Showtime and now Cinemax — has been beefing up its original series slate.

http://deadline.com/2015/03/starz-no...14-1201399405/
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TV Notes
History’s ‘Vikings’ Renewed for Season 4
By Seth Kelley, Variety.com - Mar. 26, 2015

History has picked up a fourth season of “Vikings,” the network announced Thursday.

The series, created and written by Michael Hirst (“The Tudors”), has been a reliable ratings performer for History with an average of 4.3 million viewers in the first five episodes of season three, according to Live +3 ratings. Production for season four will begin this spring in Ireland.

“We are so proud of our immensely talented cast and crew led by Michael Hirst, whose intriguing storylines and pivotal arcs have the perfect balance of scope, smarts and bloodshed to keep our loyal fans watching and wanting more,” said Dirk Hoogstra, executive vice president and general manager of History and H2.

Five new episodes remain in the current season, which airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on History, with the season finale slated for April 23.

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/viki...ry-1201460697/
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TV Notes
NBC announces summer premiere dates for two new comedies, several reality shows
By Jennifer Maas, EW.com - Mar. 26, 2015

Former CSI star William Petersen is returning to television with a series regular role on the second season of the WGN America drama series Manhattan.

Created and written by Sam Shaw and directed by Thomas Schlamme, Manhattan is set against the backdrop of the mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb and follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families in Los Alamos. Petersen will play Col. Emmett Darrow, the enigmatic new ranking military officer at Los Alamos. A deeply religious and patriotic man, Darrow feels called by God to usher in the atomic future and to spread American values across the globe.

Produced by Lionsgate Television, Skydance Television and Tribune Studios, Manhattan will begin production on its second season in April in New Mexico for a 2015 debut on WGN America.

This marks Petersen’s first TV role since leaving the mothership CSI series in 2009 after 10 seasons. He joins returning Manhattan cast members John Benjamin Hickey, Olivia Williams, Daniel Stern, Ashley Zukerman, Rachel Brosnahan, Katja Herbers, Alexia Fast, Christopher Denham, Harry Lloyd and Michael Chernus.

The caliber of talent on WGNA series has been rising, with Christopher Meloni and Jurnee Smollett-Bell among the stars of the network’s upcoming Underground Railroad drama Underground, with Kanye West expected to be involved in music.

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/03/26...-reality-shows
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TV Notes
Best tube bets this weekend 3.27.15
The top draws on broadcast and cable and in sports
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 26, 2015

FRIDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: CW, “Hart of Dixie,” 8 p.m. Season finale.
Zoe makes a big decision before her baby arrives, and Lavon tries to make things right with Lemon.

Best bet on cable: Disney Channel, “Girl Meets World,” 8:30 p.m. Season finale. Cory allows Lucas to take Riley on a date, but he says Maya and Farkle have to go with.

Top online offering: CBS, “College Basketball,” 7 p.m. NCAA tournament doubleheader with UCLA versus Gonzaga and Utah versus Duke.

SATURDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: NBC, “Figure Skating,” 8 p.m.
Coverage of the ladies’ and ice dance competitions at the World Figure Skating Championships from Shanghai.

Best bet on cable: Nickelodeon, “Kids’ Choice Awards,” 8 p.m. The 28th annual event, hosted by Nick Jonas, with performances by Iggy Azalea and 5 Seconds of Summer.

Top sporting event: UniMás, ESPN2, “Soccer,” 9:30 p.m. International friendly between Mexico and Ecuador in Los Angeles.

SUNDAY

Best bet on broadcast
: PBS, “Call the Midwife,” 8 p.m.
The fourth season premiere, followed by the season premiere of “Mr. Selfridge.”

Best bet on cable: AMC, “The Walking Dead,” 9 p.m. Season finale. Daryl runs into trouble and the rest of the group still feels uncomfortable in their new home in the 90-minute season finale.

Top sporting event: CBS, “College Basketball,” 4:30 p.m. The last NCAA Tournament regional final of the weekend, setting up next weekend’s Final Four.


http://www.medialifemagazine.com/bes...end-3-27-3-29/
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Cristela
8:30PM - Cristela
9PM - Shark Tank
(R - Nov. 7)
10PM - 20/20
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Sean Penn; President Barack Obama; Earth, Wind & Fire performs)
(R - Mar. 12)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
7PM - 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament: UCLA vs. Gonzaga (LIVE)
9:30PM - 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Utah vs. Duke (LIVE)
* * *
12:35AM - Late Show with David Letterman (Norm MacDonald; Theo James)
(R - Mar. 18)
1:37AM - The Late Late Show with James Corden (Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell; Leon Bridges performs)
(R - Mar. 25)

NBC:
8PM - Grimm
9PM - Dateline NBC: The Charleston Affair (120 min.)
(R - Sep. 19, 2014)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Will Forte; musician Adam Horovitz; TV personality Jeremy Wade)
12:36AM - Late Night with Seth Myers (Keri Russell; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas); Smallpools performs)
(R - Mar. 16)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Political commentator Chris Hayes; Holy Wave performs; comic Helen Hong)
(R - Feb. 16)

FOX:
8PM - Movie: Grown Ups (2010)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week With Gwen Ifill
8:30PM - Charlie Rose This Week
9PM - Great Performances - Mark Morris Dance Group: L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato (120 min.)

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

THE CW:
8PM - Hart of Dixie (Season Finale)
9PM - iZombie
(R - Mar. 24)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - La Biblia
9PM - Tierra de Reyes
10PM - Dueños del Paraíso
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TV Sports
Viewers’ Choice: Meaningless Bowls Over Playoff Basketball
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Mar. 27, 2015

March Madness is huge, right? This year, the multiweek extravaganza has had its usual share of upsets, an exhilarated coach falling off his rolling chair after a victory and the presence of a dominant Kentucky team. Nearly 11.6 million brackets were submitted to ESPN.com’s annual contest. So what in college sports could be a bigger fan draw than the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament?

How about a bunch of bowl games? Yes, college football bowl games — nearly all of which had no meaning other than providing athletes with a postseason experience.

It is an imperfect comparison: a tournament with a natural direction of 68 teams reduced to a final pairing versus a bowl system that only this year introduced a four-team playoff to decide a national champion — the only instance in the history of bowl games when a winner advanced to the next level.

So it is worth noting that none of the 38 bowl games carried by the ESPN empire last season had fewer viewers than the 1.1 million who tuned in for the inaugural Camellia Bowl from Montgomery, Ala., while nine early-round N.C.A.A. tournament matchups generated audiences below that figure — Texas Southern-Arizona, a TNT telecast, was ranked last at 501,000 — based on the available data from 40 of the 48 games played before Thursday.

March Madness laid low by the likes of the Belk Bowl?

This is madness, I tell you, a subversion of the notion that the men’s tournament is the sine qua non of college sports. Or it could just be simple: No matter the excitement surrounding March Madness, the silly season of December-January bowls is an example of football’s popularity over basketball.

Consider this:

■ Iowa played two prime-time N.C.A.A. tournament games last week; each averaged a little more than two million viewers. But Iowa’s afternoon loss to Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl — a game with nothing at stake — attracted 4.1 million.

■ Wisconsin’s two victories last week generated between 2.7 million and 3.5 million viewers, but the Badgers’ overtime win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl was seen by 6.4 million.

■ The viewership for each of Louisville’s tournament games did not come close to the 6.4 million who watched the Cardinals lose to Georgia in, yes, the Belk Bowl.

■ Notre Dame’s win over Butler on Saturday night was seen by a more-than-respectable viewership of 3.9 million. But far more, 5.3 million, saw the Irish beat Louisiana State in the Music City Bowl in December.

Some of the viewership differences between the bowls and the tournament can be attributed to scheduling, matchups and networks carrying games. It’s easier to find an audience in prime time than in the afternoon. ESPN is more of a sports destination than truTV, which had some of the tournament’s least-watched games. ESPN made it easy for some of the bowls to be seen by wide audiences. Including the playoff games, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC carried 38 bowls last season. Seven were packed into New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Some universities that send teams to bowl games and the basketball tournament are historically stronger at football than basketball. Mississippi, which is known for its football team, drew an audience of 984,000 when it lost to Xavier in basketball last Thursday afternoon. But when Ole Miss was trampled by Texas Christian in the Peach Bowl, five million watched. On the flip side, North Carolina, with its five national titles in men’s basketball, had more viewers for its first two tournament games than it did when its football team lost to Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl.

Oregon is an illustration of the difference in attention a great football program receives over a less renowned but pretty good basketball team. The Ducks’ win over Florida State in the Rose Bowl was seen by a little more than 28 million viewers — an audience about eight times bigger than the one that tuned in for the basketball team’s loss to Wisconsin in prime time on Sunday.

After beating Texas Southern in front of a meager afternoon audience, Arizona demonstrated that having a better opponent in a better slot on a broadcast network could lead to an audience increase. Arizona drew 8.3 million viewers for its 73-58 win over Ohio State, a broadcast that began late Saturday afternoon on CBS. That total exceeded the 7.4 million who watched the Wildcats lose to Boise State on New Year’s Eve in the Fiesta Bowl.

And state bragging rights can turn into a television magnet for fans nationally. Take Wichita State’s 78-65 upset of Kansas that tipped off around 5 p.m. on Sunday. The game attracted 9.9 million viewers — the most for any tournament game, according to available data. Kansas, a state with a population of 2.9 million, cannot be responsible for all those viewers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/sp...elevision&_r=0
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TV Notes
Sling TV adds A&E, Lifetime, launches on Xbox One as Apple eyes battle in streaming TV market
By Alejandro Alba, New York Daily News - Mar. 26, 2015

Sling TV is upping the ante in the increasingly competitive Web TV market, adding more channels to its core streaming service and making its gaming console debut.

Dish announced Thursday that it's adding A&E Network channels to its $20 core Sling TV package. Those channels include A&E, History, H2 and Lifetime.

Two new $5 add-on packages will also be offered. “Lifestyle Extra” will include truTV, Cooking Channel, DIY and WE tv, with FYI and LMN. TruTV will also give subscribers additional access to March Madness games. The other add-on, “World News Extra,” will feature Bloomberg TV, HLN, Euro News, France 24, NDTV 24/7, News 18 and Russia Today.

All this content will also be available on the Xbox One, which is the first gaming console to be compatible with the streaming service.

Since its launch earlier this year, Sling TV has grown quickly. It has added AMC Network channels and EPIX movie channels, though it's still missing the major broadcast networks and it doesn't have HBO.

There may be hope yet for those who want to drop their cable subscription. Apple announced plans to enter the streaming market this fall with the release of a Web TV service to include 25 channels for $30 to $40.

The tech giant is currently in talks with broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and FOX to include their programming in the service, which would be available via Apple TV and all Apple OS devices. The Wall Street Journal reports that NBCUniversal is not currently included because of a tiff between Apple and Comcast Corp. — the parent company of NBCUniversal.

The Web TV service is expected to be officially announced in June and launch in September, according to WSJ.

Apple also recently announced a deal to offer HBO Now on Apple TV for $14.99 a month beginning in April.

Depending on how Apple prices its service, it could bring competition to Dish's Sling TV. If Apple offers everything Sling TV has, and more, for only $40, it may be able to succeed.

CBS, Nickelodeon and Showtime have also announced plans to sell their own Internet streaming services.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...icle-1.2152244
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HOTP Notes
New "HOTP" Thread Coming
By dad1153, AVSForum.com - Mar. 27, 2015



Yep, it's really happening. "Hot Off the Press II" goes to the big place in the sky this weekend, and a new thread stars from scratch. Son of the son of "HOTP"? "HOTP III"? Or just plain ol' "HOTP." Same colors, same letters, same sources, same loyal readers and contributors (fingers crossed!). We'll be doing the heavy lifting Saturday overnight. Two "HOTP" threads enter (the old "sticky" one and brand new one), only one comes out alive sometime early Sunday morning.

On behalf of good ol' Fredfa, Dr. Don, myself and every behind-the-scenes lever puller at AVS Forum, we thank each and everyone of you for reading, posting and/or commenting on "Hot Off The Press" since it's inception in 2004. Thanks for making this the longest-running, frequently-updated and most widely-read forum in AVS Forum's history.

Sincerely,
'dad1153'
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