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fredfa's Avatar fredfa 01:21 AM 02-18-2008
dad, no need to take personal potshots.

I am sure the young man had plenty of help.

fredfa's Avatar fredfa 02:32 AM 02-18-2008
TV Notes
‘Smackdown’ Cuts Contenders to Two
Flagship WWE Show Looking for Post-CW Home
By Chris Pursell, Television Week,

World Wrestling Entertainment, seeking a new home for “Smackdown” when the show departs The CW network, has narrowed its suitors down to two, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

Barring last-minute bidding by a third party, MyNetworkTV and Tribune Broadcasting are vying for the wrestling show.

MyNetworkTV would bring the program back to the former UPN affiliates that once had the property.

Tribune has a number of options for where it could put “Smackdown,” including Superstation WGN. Tribune was a surprise entry in the bidding, with most pundits expecting NBC to be one of the last bidders standing.

Both MyNet and Tribune have been undergoing soul-searching in the past year, adding executives to fine-tune their business structures. With The CW’s decision to drop “Smackdown” from its lineup earlier this month, both companies are looking toward the WWE product as a means to incorporate an instant brand—and built-in audiences—into their lineups.

WWE’s shows, and “Smackdown” in particular, have a history as brand builders for the outlets that carry them. WWE’s “Raw” helped pull viewers to USA originally, then helped relaunch SpikeTV before returning to USA last year. The series currently earns around 4.5 million viewers on the channel.

In the late 1990s, “Smackdown” averaged more than 7 million viewers as a series that helped anchor UPN, providing some much-needed viewers for the struggling network. As part of The CW’s lineup, the series has earned closer to 5 million viewers per week. That makes it one of the network’s most popular shows, although it brought in different audiences than other series in the outlet’s lineup.

“Since the CW’s exclusive negotiation period ran out as of … Jan. 31, we have been contacted and have been in negotiations with other networks,” WWE executives said in an earlier statement. Its final appearance on The CW will be Sept. 12.

WWE declined to comment for this story. Tribune and MyNet are both undergoing changes. Tribune tapped the knowledge and experience of Fox Television Network president Ed Wilson several weeks ago, hiring him away to oversee the Tribune Broadcast Group as president. Now he oversees the company’s 23 stations as well as Superstation WGN, Tribune Entertainment and WGN Radio.

In recent months, Tribune, under the guidance of new owner Sam Zell, has streamlined operations, including shuttering its television syndication distribution business.

Should Tribune add “Smackdown” to its roster, likely for WGN, the move would present a potent quick strike for Mr. Wilson just days after taking the position.

Mr. Wilson would not comment on the company’s interest in the show.

As for MyNet, the network has been quietly building audiences with series such as “Celebrity Expose,” “Paradise Hotel” and “Jail.” It has been working to flesh out its programming roster, most recently ordering 13 episodes of “Under One Roof,” a new half-hour comedy from C to the B Productions and Qtopia Entertainment. That series, starring Flavor Flav, is scheduled to debut this spring and marks the channel’s initial foray into first-run sitcoms.

MyNet President Greg Meidel, who was tapped for the position early last year, has revamped the network after its initial incarnation as an outlet exclusively featuring English-language telenovelas. That experiment failed to find audiences, and MyNet shifted to a combination of reality shows, second-run movies and celebrity-driven news specials. The network added scripted fare to development in October.

The addition of “Smackdown” to MyNet would return the brand to a number of stations that originally aired the show when it was part of UPN. A company representative would not comment on the status of negotiations.

Following the expiration of The CW’s exclusive negotiating period on Jan. 31, the WWE announced The CW would stop carrying “WWE Smackdown” in September.

A WWE representative did not return calls seeking comment.
joblo's Avatar joblo 04:03 AM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

(HD Shows in red)
Masterpiece: Pride and Prejudice PBS (two-hours, check local listings)

Pride and Prejudice is not HD. It's a six hour BBC/A&E miniseries from 1995.

It does have a 2008 intro by Gillian Anderson, and PBS has graciously added flowery lower thirds - literally, flower petals float onto the screen - to remind viewers four or five times an hour that this is part of The Complete Jane Austen on PBS Masterpiece.

Concludes next Sunday.
homcom's Avatar homcom 07:34 AM 02-18-2008
Streaming HD
NBA All-Star Report: ESPN360 unveils HD plans
Feb 17, 2008 - 10:17:38 AM
By Ken Kerschbaumer

ESPN360, ESPN's streaming video service available through DSL providers like AT&T and Verizon as well as select cable operators, is bringing HD content to the small screen. Based on the same technology sister company ABC uses for its HD streaming service the offering requires changes to the encoding workflow and will give viewers improved resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio.

John Zehr, ESPN360 senior vice president, digital media production, says HD streaming requires encoding at 13 bitrates instead of just seven for SD. They span from 50 kbps to 2.5 Mbps and the system automatically chooses the most suitable bitrate for a quality experience, taking into account the broadband speed available and the processing power of the computer on the other end.

The first even to be streamed in HD will be an NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns. A wide variety of future ESPN HD events are expected to be available, including college basketball and football games.

While it's debatable whether true HD quality video can be delivered over 2.5 Mbps there is no question that it will be sharper and clearer than current SD streams. The 16:9 aspect ratio makes it a big win for users because they can see a better view of the field of play, says Zehr. We are really at the point where video streaming is no longer a novelty.

This is all about long-tail content, adds John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. Eventually we want ESPN360 to have 100% exclusive content.

© Copyright 2006-2007 sportsvideogroup
DoubleDAZ's Avatar DoubleDAZ 09:07 AM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

I rarely speak ill of any TV show, EJ, but it is very hard for me to disagree with what you say.

I might be the only one, but I didn't think it was that bad. Granted, my expectations were pretty darned low, especially after the BW disaster, and it certainly didn't live up the the original, KITT voice and all. I suffered through it and will give it another shot before tuning out. I'd already read somewhere that the "pilot movie" was not very good anyway, so hopefully an actual series episode will be better? And I blame the actiing more than the writing. I was a bit surprised by the car stuff though, I had expected worse. I really wanted them to use something besides a retro Mustang, but I actually like some of the retro models. The chase scene up the mountain road was pretty pathetic and I think Steve McQueen would have been embarrassed with that.

Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

dad, no need to take personal potshots.

I am sure the young man had plenty of help.

Ditto here! I certainly couldn't do the job, good or bad, so I have nothing but admiration for those who can (except when they strike ). They didn't hit the mark on this one, but there is more to the whole thing than the writing. Replace the cast in something we think is great and see what happens. Sometimes a script is just a script and delivery is everything. Plus, I think the whole idea of redoing past hits is dumb in this day and age, the generation gap is just too large.
jim tressler's Avatar jim tressler 09:28 AM 02-18-2008
Knight Rider - I liked it too.. so daz, it might just be me and you
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 09:35 AM 02-18-2008
TV Notes
Ready or Not, Here Comes DTV
All-Digital TV Arrives Feb. 18, 2009, but Many Fear the Worst
(This week’s B&C Cover Story)
By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable Washington Bureau Chief, 2/18/2008

How far has the federal campaign for the digital-TV transition gone? The National Telecommunications and Information Administration considered deploying the Boy Scouts of America to help inform over-the-air analog TV viewers that they could lose their TV picture at 12:01 a.m. Feb. 18, 2009, just one year from today, unless they get a converter box, a new TV, or are already hooked up to cable or satellite.

Converter-box retailers held talks with Boy Scout organizations about coming up with a DTV-transition merit badge for helping some older ladies and gentlemen cross the digital divide, although the plan may be scrapped over concerns about sending scouts into strangers' homes. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission is talking to the Meals on Wheels Association of America about delivering DTV education along with food.

But while the Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared,” “Beware” is a message getting a lot of traction in Washington these days. Consumer groups and others are concerned that viewers are not being told about potential cut-off dates and that viewers aren't getting the transition information and technical help they will need.

Nervous legislators and regulators fear that they will be the target of consumer (read: voter) backlash. Broadcasters are concerned that new unlicensed wireless devices will interfere with those beautiful new pictures. And some cable programmers are suing in federal court because they're concerned that they'll be kicked off the dial in some markets because of capacity issues caused by government mandates.

Markey: 'more needs to be done'

The transition from analog to digital television has been decades in the making and has seen a number of deadlines come and go, but the Feb. 18, 2009, hard date has to stick. Virtually all broadcasters are simulcasting a digital signal, some have already gone all-digital, and the FCC is auctioning a chunk of the analog spectrum TV stations now use. It's already counting nearly $20 billion in bids from various telecommunications companies.

“We have an auction going on right now selling off those airwaves,” FCC commissioner Robert McDowell said recently. “Once they are sold, we'd better clear them, or else our customers will be very angry if we can't deliver the goods.” Broadcasters are also concerned about meeting construction deadlines and clearing up interference issues.

“Public interest in the converter-box-coupon program is off to a brisk start,” Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told B&C. At press time, about 2.4 million people had applied for 4.7 million coupons. But Markey said “more needs to be done” to make sure the transition goes “as smoothly as possible.” For one thing, he wants the NTIA to allow consumers to reapply for DTV converter-box coupons, which expire after 90 days, if they don't get to use them in that time frame. Markey and 20 colleagues sent a letter to acting NTIA chief Meredith Atwell Baker last week requesting the change, saying that it was legal and good for consumers. She said she would look into it and that the NTIA would try to be flexible on the issue. Reapplying would allow those who get the first round of coupons in late February to wait until EchoStar Communications' new $39.99 box becomes more widely available this summer. (The Consumer Electronics Association estimated that 13 million households get TV over the air.)

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who also signed the letter, agreed that the transition needs more work. He said in advance of Markey's DTV-transition hearing last week that he was not confident that anybody -- government, broadcasters, retailers or other stakeholders -- was taking “all the necessary steps.”

There was a marathon hearing in the House last week on the status of the transition that focused on low-power, converter boxes and DTV-coverage issues. Democrats in control of both Houses and on the FCC have expressed concern that the effort is not well coordinated.

“I would depict current efforts, taken as a whole, as lacking the successful ingredients of anything resembling a seamless DTV transition,” FCC commissioner Michael Copps told B&C. What would make him breathe easier? “A coordinated, private-public sector partnership with a unified message for consumers and some trial runs in different types of media markets.” His fellow Democrat on the FCC, Jonathan Adelstein, shared that concern and has called, so far without success, for a DTV coordinating task force. That call was renewed last week by Dingell and his opposite number on the Senate side, Commerce Committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). The pair went straight to the top, asking President Bush to create the task force ASAP.

Republican commissioners see it quite differently. McDowell told B&C he is “optimistic” about the progress to date. “The FCC released rules to guide broadcasters through the technical work of the transition,” he said. “We are also working to ensure that over-the-air viewers understand the practical steps they must take. If industry and government continue to work together, a smooth and seamless transition will become a reality.”

The NTIA has also taken issue with the “lack of coordination” criticism by Democrats, arguing that what doesn't exist is an overarching “command and control operation” that could lack flexibility.

One anomaly in the ambitious DTV-transition deadline is that millions of viewers will be getting analog signals for years afterward. And a bill was introduced last week that would allow stations on the Mexican border to continue broadcasting in analog for five years past the transition to supply emergency information and news to border viewers slow to make the switch. That's because low-power stations and translators, which relay a full-power signal to remote areas, are not on the same timetable. The FCC gave the smaller, shallower-pocketed stations longer to make the switch, setting no hard date -- an issue legislators focused attention on in last week's hearings.

The Community Broadcasters Association noted that while some 1,750 full-power TV stations have to go digital in 2009, the other 80% of TV stations -- 2,794 low-power stations and 4,418 translators serving millions of viewers -- don't.

CBA president Ron Bruno last week said the fact that the DTV-to-analog converter boxes were not allowed to contain analog tuners, and that only four of 37 NTIA-certified boxes even pass through an analog signal, could mean bankruptcy for the low-power industry. As Bruno told legislators, “We need help,” which he said should include mandating that all converters have analog tuners.

Coincidentally, many low-powers are in urban and remote locations that are also home to the minority and ethnic populations that are more likely to be analog-only viewers. And many low-power stations do not have must-carry rights -- they are more reliant on over-the-air viewing.

And low-power doesn't mean low-impact. Greg Herman, former president of the CBA, owns 15 low-power and class-A stations in Oregon, including the Telemundo and TeleFutura affiliates in the Portland market -- the first Spanish-language broadcaster in the market, he said.

Herman said the converter-box issue is “huge” because none of the three Spanish-language stations in the market is full power. He added that a “tremendously large” percentage of Spanish-language programming is on low-power stations, with no requirement to transmit in digital. He estimated that there are only five or six digital LPTV stations in the country, saying, “Folks are still looking at it. They don't have any immediate plans to go digital.”

But it isn't only low-power broadcasters who are concerned. FCC chairman Kevin Martin is proposing a number of moves to help them. He wants the other commissioners to go along with a plan, scheduled for a Feb. 25 vote, that would set a hard date of 2012 for low-powers to convert to DTV. It can't be earlier, he said, because the $65 million Congress has allocated to help some of them make the transition doesn't become available until 2010, although the NTIA is pushing Congress to release the money this year.

Martin is asking cable and satellite companies to voluntarily carry low-powers during the switch, but he is also proposing giving 600 or so low-powers a fast track to full-power status and cable must-carry rights, much to the chagrin of cable operators. Herman, by contrast, praised the chairman: “Chairman Martin has been very helpful and really legitimately wants to help solve this problem.”

The National Association of Broadcasters board of directors created a task force on the issue and asked DTV-converter-box manufacturers to start making new boxes that pass through an analog signal, and Martin has said that he is meeting with manufacturers, as well.

Looking for a 'low-power' fix

Baker is also looking for a low-power fix. “We have also told manufacturers that we will expedite the recertification of their next version of the converter boxes if they include the analog pass-through feature,” she said. She is confident that there will be more such boxes available by the time the coupons become widely available.

While Feb. 18, 2009, is the switch, Feb. 18, 2008, is turning into a red-letter day, too. That is when the NTIA said it will start processing the coupons that will help viewers pay for a converter box. Those viewers will start getting them in late February or early March.

Money has been a contentious issue when it comes to the DTV-education campaign. Democratic legislators and FCC commissioners continued to point out that Britain spent more than $1 billion on an education and outreach campaign for a population of a little over 60 million, including a lot of hands-on instruction and personal visits.

By contrast, Congress set aside only $5 million for the NTIA's education campaign and no money for the FCC, although it has since gotten $2.5 million for fiscal-year 2008. And just two weeks ago, the Bush administration proposed giving the FCC another $20 million for FY 2009, although it won't get that money until fall 2008 and several legislators said last week that it still didn't sound like enough.

The NTIA is looking to leverage that $5 million through widespread voluntary efforts, like those of the DTV Coalition, and through government partners including the Veterans Administration and Department of Agriculture, as well as groups that can reach out to the communities with the largest analog-only populations. Those have been identified as elderly, economically disadvantaged, rural, minority and disabled viewers.

That is where help from scouting groups could come in handy. Best Buy senior vice president Michael Vitelli told B&C that the company has had preliminary discussions with both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts about coming up with a community service project to help older people or others who might not be able to set up the boxes. “I don't know if it came from us or the NTIA first,” he added, “but it is a great idea.”

Among the other creative proposals: adding DTV-transition information on grocery-store receipts; distributing it to VA hospitals, where the audience is often lower-income, minority, disabled and heavy TV consumers; putting posters in post offices and motor-vehicle bureaus; and the FCC's proposed Meals on Wheels outreach.

Broadcasters have committed to their own wide-ranging education campaign, including traveling demonstrations -- a truck shaped like a TV -- a speakers' bureau and public-service announcements. But under pressure from congressional Democrats, Martin proposed requiring broadcasters to carry a minimum number of PSAs, including in primetime.

And while the transition is primarily broadcast, cable operators have also joined in the effort for the sake of good corporate citizenship, said National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow. In addition, Martin wants operators to carry low-power stations during the transition; the FCC in September required cable operators to carry TV stations in both digital and analog for three years after the transition if that's what it takes to deliver a viewable TV signal to its subscribers.

Two weeks ago, a group of programmers led by C-SPAN and Discovery Communications took those rules to court, saying that the government was picking favorites, favoring broadcasters over cable channels that might have to be bumped to make room for them. While the NCTA said it is committed to that carriage whether or not the courts overturn the rule, smaller operators with greater capacity constraints supported the suit. Broadcasters, backing Martin, said that suit could prove another impediment to the DTV transition.

Meanwhile, broadcasters are seeing red over so-called white spaces. David Donovan, president of the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), which lobbies on broadcaster spectrum issues in Washington, has been helping to lead the fight against an initiative, led by computer companies, to allow unlicensed wireless devices such as laptops and spectrum-sensing radios to operate in the spaces between DTV channels.

The FCC proposed the sharing scheme and began testing the devices earlier this year, only to find that they did indeed interfere with TV broadcasts. But one of the devices being tested was faulty, according to the big computer companies pushing for their use, and the FCC is currently retesting them.

Donovan said allowing them could be a “huge problem” for consumers. “If you are trying to use a personal and portable device with a small antenna, no matter how good the device is, the antenna won't be sensitive enough,” he added. “It will conclude that channels are vacant when they are, in fact, occupied.” Computer companies like Google and Microsoft have countered that the argument is a red herring and that broadcasters are simply trying to protect their turf.

Just last week, the NAB was touting a report that one of the devices had “failed” in the second round of testing, as well. Donovan wasn't surprised by the report. Microsoft withdrew a device the last time around, he said, and it has withdrawn one of two in this round of testing: “It appears these devices just aren't ready for primetime.”

Hold the phone, said Microsoft, which countered that it was a power problem, not a sensing problem, and that the FCC was still testing an “electronically identical device” that was working fine.

A study released last week by market research firm Centris claimed that there are huge gaps in DTV coverage that the FCC has not taken into account. Centris said the DTV-education campaign needs to explain the need for antennas to over-the-air viewers and that unless the FCC finds the gaps and lets viewers know about them, there are going to be 1) frustrated consumers left in the dark; 2) returns of converter boxes and sets; and 3) those dreaded complaints to government officials and stations.

If that is true, broadcasters and legislators could be in a heap of trouble. Pressed about the study last week during a House hearing, Martin conceded that some 5% of viewers might need new antennas or could lose access to some channels, but that they were in the fringes beyond a station's FCC coverage area.

MSTV, which vetted the study, concluded that it was not based on real-world signal-strength measurements and did not provide a “realistic assessment” of DTV coverage. “They don't really understand the analysis we did,” said Barry Goodstadt, senior VP for Centris.

As for the Feb. 18, 2009, deadline, Donovan believes that the industry will be able to meet it. “The real issue is how long it takes for the commission to process requests and make decisions in time for stations to buy equipment,” he said. “We have our fingers crossed.”
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 09:47 AM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I might be the only one, but I didn't think it was that bad. Granted, my expectations were pretty darned low, especially after the BW disaster, and it certainly didn't live up the the original, KITT voice and all. I suffered through it and will give it another shot before tuning out. I'd already read somewhere that the "pilot movie" was not very good anyway, so hopefully an actual series episode will be better? And I blame the actiing more than the writing. I was a bit surprised by the car stuff though, I had expected worse. I really wanted them to use something besides a retro Mustang, but I actually like some of the retro models. The chase scene up the mountain road was pretty pathetic and I think Steve McQueen would have been embarrassed with that.

It's a matter of expectations. The original "KR" was a family-friendly, harmeless dumb 8PM show that NBC was using to fill a time slot. It had good-enough ratings to last four seasons but that's about it. The fortunes of NBC weren't riding on "KR" back in the 80's, when the network (courtesy of programming wunderkid Brandon Tartikoff) was flush with hit/critically acclaimed shows like "Cosby," "A-Team," "Hill Street Blues," "Cheers," etc. It wasn't until it became a wordwide hit and a syndication staple that "KR" got the respect it deserved, if not for being a good show (it was cheesy as hell) at least for having the elements in place to sell a pretty laughable premise. There was genuine chemistry between the actors (especially the voice of KITT), and for all the s*** he takes the Hoff took his role as Michael Knight both seriously but also tongue-in-cheek enough to let the audience know he was in on it. I also bought all the "KR" DVD Box Sets and even when the cheese gets thick a handful of episodes (particularly the classics involving Goliath, Michael's evil twin and KARR) stand out as bonafide classics.

Now we're in 2008, when creative ideas and the network TV business are in such creative/financial turmoil that old ideas revived and cheap-to-make reality shows are considered not only acceptable but strong-enough to build a franchise around. Unlike the 80's, when NBC could afford to toss "KR" at 8PM one night a week and forget about it until its ratings got too low four years later, the new "Knight Rider" and a revival of "American Gladiators" are hyped as important-enough to air on Sunday night (the most watched night of television besides Thursday). In the current TV enviromnent the new "KR" (both the premise and its execution based on last night's movie) might thrive on a niche station like MyNetwork, Spike TV or Sci-Fi Channel. On NBC in 2008 though, a new "KR" that's just as badly-acted and cheesy as the original was in 1982 is just not going to fly. Then again, NBC has tried twice in one season to get away with it (first "Bionic Woman" and now with "KR") and it isn't ashamed to be the home of such abominations like "The Biggest Loser" and "Las Vegas."
Iteki's Avatar Iteki 10:16 AM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

and it isn't ashamed to be the home of such abominations like "The Biggest Loser" and "Las Vegas."

WHOOOOOAAA! Back off Las Vegas! :-) Yes, it's a silly show, but my wife and I really love the characters and they never take themselves seriously. It was a tongue-in-cheek 'drama' from the get go.

I wasn't sure they'd make the transition from Caan to Selleck, but they've done very well.

DoubleDAZ's Avatar DoubleDAZ 10:17 AM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

and "Las Vegas."

I happen to like Las Vegas. Not for the scripts, etc., but for the cast and fun, I'll watch almost anything with either James Caan or Tom Selleck.

As for cheesy KR, you're right about what we should demand at this point in time, but that is true for more than just KR and some of the others that are hits. I'll still give it another shot and see, but even if it still fails to deliver, I won't demean the writing when I believe there is more to the delivery.
rustycruiser's Avatar rustycruiser 10:38 AM 02-18-2008
Personally, I was not a fan of the new Knight Rider. But I also realize that I am not the arbiter of good taste, and wouldn't be surprised if the American viewing public loved the show, and it was a hit. This would be in step with my recent track record, where every new show that I have loved ends up getting canceled.

fredfa's Avatar fredfa 10:47 AM 02-18-2008
TV Notes
Sinclair Counts Retrans Rewards
Station Group’s Cash-For-Consent Push Pays Off In 2007, With More Gains Forecast
By Mike Farrell, Multichannel News, 2/18/2008

Sinclair Broadcast Group hit the retransmission-consent jackpot in 2007, reporting $59 million in revenue from cable, satellite and telco TV operators, a 23% increase over previous estimates.

Sinclair, one of the more aggressive broadcast station groups pursuing cash for permission to retransmit TV stations, had previously estimated that it would haul in $48 million in retrans revenue in 2007. On a conference call with analysts earlier this month, Sinclair CEO David Smith said that he expects revenue from retransmission consent to climb to $67.3 million in 2008, a 14.2% increase over the previous year.

Sinclair owns or operates about 58 television stations in 35 markets across the country, affiliates of the Fox broadcast network, NBC, ABC, CBS, The CW and MyNetwork TV.

Net broadcast revenue for the period for the Washington, D.C.-based broadcaster was down 2.1% to $165.7 million, but operating income rose 23.2% to $47 million from $38.2 million in the prior year. In a research note, JP Morgan broadcast analyst John Blackledge noted that the broadcast revenue results exceeded his projections — he predicted sales of $162 million for the quarter — and come in the face of a $19 million decline in political advertising.

Sinclair has been far and away the most successful broadcaster in extracting cash for retransmission consent and has had very public battles with midsized cable operators such as Mediacom Communications and Suddenlink Communications. Earlier in the year, Sinclair estimated that it would generate about $48 million in retransmission consent revenue in 2007, an 89% increase over the $25.4 million in retrans revenue the company tallied in 2006.

For the quarter, retransmission consent revenue was $16 million, a 130% increase over the prior year.

“Though most of the big contract signings are behind it, rate increases should continue to drive growth,” Blackledge wrote in his report. He estimated that retrans revenue in 2008 would be about $66 million, a 12% increase over 2007.

Sinclair’s success in increasing its retransmision revenue bodes well for other larger programming groups — LIN TV and Hearst-Argyle Television all were on track to exceed their estimates for retrans cash in 2007. Both are slated to release their fourth-quarter results at the end of the month.

Hearst-Argyle, which estimated it would generate between $18 million and $20 million in retrans revenue in 2007, is on pace to bring in about $22 million in retrans cash for the year. LIN TV, which recently got into a brouhaha with Cable One in New Mexico didn’t give guidance for 2007, but based on its third quarter numbers is on track to double its retrans take for the year to $14.4 million, from $7.2 million in 2006. The dispute was resolved in late January.

LIN also is in the middle of a retransmission-consent fight with Suddenlink Communications in Albuquerque, N.M. and Austin, Texas.

Suddenlink dropped the two stations — an NBC and CBS affiliate — on Dec. 31, after their retrans agreements expired. LIN said it wants a cut of the cash that Suddenlink charges its customers to receive its stations.

In January, Suddenlink signed a deal with Temple, Texas, NBC affiliate KCEN-TV to take the place of the LIN TV NBC affiliate, KXAN-TV.

Nexstar Broadcasting, which was one of the pioneers in insisting on cash for retransmission consent, is the only large publicly traded station group that doesn’t appear to be slated for a big increase in 2007. According to Nexstar’s third quarter financial reports, the Irving, Texas-based station group generated $8.7 million of retrans revenue for the first nine months of the year. Of that total, about $4.5 million was generated in the third quarter. At that pace, Nexstar is on track to take in about $13.2 million in retrans revenue for the year, slightly behind the $13.7 million generated in 2006.

Nexstar spent part of the year winding through a sales process — it put itself on the block in May, hiring Goldman Sachs as financial adviser — before pulling the plug in August because of a weak debt market.

While that may have affected Nexstar’s pursuit of retrans cash in 2007, that is expected to change in 2008 and 2009. Nexstar CEO Perry Sook said in the broadcaster’s third-quarter conference call in November that it expects retransmission-consent revenue to increase at least 30% in those two years, mainly because many of its deals come up for renewal in that time frame.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 11:47 AM 02-18-2008
I would say there is a very good chance we'll be seeing more of "Knight Rider".

It gained viewers in each half hour, was #1 in the 18-49 in three of its four half hours (and a very close #2 in the fourth) and beat the combined 18-49 numbers of "Dexter" and "Brothers & Sisters" at 10:30.

Go check for yourself:

Sunday's fast affiliate prime-time ratings (which include the 18-49 demographic estimates) have been posted near the top of Ratings News -- the second post in this thread.
DrLar's Avatar DrLar 11:58 AM 02-18-2008
If you add up American gladiations from both 7:00 and 8:00 timeslots, wouldn't it make it at least number two? (as far as I know it was only 1 hour)

7:00 p.m.

NBC – American Gladiators (season finale)
Viewers: 5.24 million (#4)
A18-49: 2.0/ 6 (#3)

7:30 p.m.
NBC – American Gladiators (season finale)
Viewers: 6.94 million (#3)
A18-49: 2.9/ 8 (#2)

8:00 p.m.
NBC – American Gladiators (season finale)
Viewers: 7.88 million (#2)
A18-49: 3.3/ 8 (#3)

8:30 p.m.
NBC – American Gladiators
Viewers: 9.13 (#2) million (#2)
A18-49: 3.8/ 9 (#2)
URFloorMatt's Avatar URFloorMatt 12:17 PM 02-18-2008
The writing for the KR movie wasn't great, but it was the acting that really turned this into a disaster. Especially the "new" Mike.
SnakeEyes's Avatar SnakeEyes 12:40 PM 02-18-2008
My only complaint with KR was that KITT felt cold and detached from characters, it felt a computer. KITT's voice in the old series was more human like.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 12:51 PM 02-18-2008
Actually, DrLar, "Gladiators" last night was a two-hour season finale.

(Don't worry, though, it will be back fairly soon.)

Amazingly, NBC grew its total auidience and it's 18-49 viewership through every single half hour of Sunday night.

That is an extremely rare feat.
CPanther95's Avatar CPanther95 12:54 PM 02-18-2008
A two hour season finale that took a mere 20 minutes to watch. Thank God for DVRs.
Iteki's Avatar Iteki 01:12 PM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by SnakeEyes View Post

My only complaint with KR was that KITT felt cold and detached from characters, it felt a computer. KITT's voice in the old series was more human like.

The original voice cast for KITT was the guy from Arrested Development (forgot his name)...but in a weird twist he was forced to quit by General Motors. He does voiceover work for their commercials and has a clause that he can't promote other car brands. As the new KITT is a Ford....OOPS! Didn't he or his agent read his contract?!?

Val Kilmer replaced him at the last minute...not exactly known for emoting...
wdkerbow's Avatar wdkerbow 01:16 PM 02-18-2008
^^ That would be Mr. Amy Poehler.... er... Will Arnett.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 01:17 PM 02-18-2008
TV Notes
Monday Night’s Original Episodes
(Aside from prime-time network programs, this is simply an eclectic and highly personal sampling of what is new and available on TV tonight. Feel free to post additions you think other readers might enjoy.)
(HD Shows in red)

Prison Break Fox (season finale)
Antiques Road Show: San Antonio PBS (Check local listings)
Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann ABC (season finale)
Deal or No Deal NBC
Celebrity Expose MNTV
Inside The Vietnam War National Geographic Channel (three hours)
The Fairly Odd Parents Nik

8:30 PM ET/PT
Welcome To The Captain CBS (30 minutes)

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Fox
American Experience: Kit Carson PBS (90 minutes; check local listings)
My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad NBC (season premiere)
Paradise Hotel 2 MNTV
Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious CW
(season premiere)

9:30 PM ET/PT
The New Adventures of Old Christine CBS (30 minutes)

October Road ABC
Medium NBC
Making The Band 4 MTV

fredfa's Avatar fredfa 01:35 PM 02-18-2008
February Nielsen Sweep Notes
FOX Primacy Unquestioned After 18 Days of the 2008 February Sweep:

(Posted by Dumont at Marc Berman's Programming Insider blog)

After 18 days of the February Sweep, FOX sits atop all the other networks with a dominant first place in all key measures. The mammoth FOX lead over its rivals has been fueled by the enormous, record-breaking Super Bowl numbers, the powerhouse American Idol numbers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and reliable ratings strength on every other night.

In the young audience A18-49 demo that advertisers crave and seek to place their ads within, FOX has the most nightly wins, having beaten the other networks on 11 out of 18 nights so far (one tie), followed by NBC with four nightly wins (one NBC win was a tie with FOX).

After 18 days, ABC holds a tiny 0.01 advantage over NBC for second place in the A18-49 demo. In the households measure, CBS has a firm grip on second place in households, while NBC and ABC are tied for third. In viewership, NBC has pulled into third place while ABC trails in fourth.

After 18 days, FOX and MyNetworkTV are both showing solid double-digit improvement over their numbers from last year. All the remaining networks are showing significant double-digit year-over-year declines, with NBC showing the least year-over-year slippage (-12% in demo, -12% in households, and -9% in viewers) while CBS, who were last year's Super Bowl broadcaster, is faring worst (-60% in demo, -47% in households, -53% in viewers) due to its large proportion of encore programming as a result of the writers strike.

After 18 days, the six networks are showing smaller-than-expected (given the strike and increased use of DVR's) year-over-year erosion: the young adult demo down by -11%, households are down by -11% on a year-over-year basis, while viewership is down by -8% year-over-year.

                                        nights  nights
18-49   web     demo    demo    %       won     won
Rank    web     2008    2007    chg     2008    2007
1       FOX     7.25    4.22    72%     11      8
2       ABC     2.50    3.53    -29%    3       4
3       NBC     2.49    2.82    -12%    4       
4       CBS     2.25    5.70    -60%    1       6
5       CW      0.86    1.33    -36%           
6       MNT*    0.47    0.27    75%            
        total   15.82   17.87   -11%    19      18                                        

                                        nights  nights
HH      web     HH      HH      HH      won     won
rank    web     2008    2007    chg     2008    2007
1       FOX     9.9     6.1     62%     10      5
2       CBS     5.4     10.2    -47%    4       11
3       NBC     4.7     5.4     -12%    3       1
3       ABC     4.7     6.0     -22%    3       2
5       CW      1.5     2.2     -30%           
6       MNT*    0.8     0.5     51%            
        total   26.9    30.3    -11%    20      19  
                                        nights  nights
viewers web     viewers viewers viewers won     won
rank    web     2008    2007    chg     2008    2007
1       FOX     18.798  10.288  83%     9       5
2       CBS     8.214   17.490  -53%    3       11
3       NBC     7.534   8.307   -9%     3       
4       ABC     7.400   9.405   -21%    3       2
5       CW      2.321   3.361   -31%           
6       MNT*    1.232   0.787   57%            
        total   45.50   49.64   -8%     18      18
* MyNetworkTV for first 15 nights only.

This years and last years numbers are based upon final Nielsen numbers, except for Friday, Saturday and Sunday data from this past weekend which are based on FAST national numbers.
dad1153's Avatar dad1153 01:57 PM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Amazingly, NBC grew its total auidience and it's 18-49 viewership through every single half hour of Sunday night.

That is an extremely rare feat.

Not when you start from the very bottom (excluding The CW's ratings which at this point have to be considered underground ), which is where the first half-hour of "AG" was at 7:00PM.
joblo's Avatar joblo 03:04 PM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

TV Notes
Sinclair Counts Retrans Rewards
Station Group's Cash-For-Consent Push Pays Off In 2007, With More Gains Forecast
By Mike Farrell, Multichannel News, 2/18/2008

Sinclair Broadcast Group hit the retransmission-consent jackpot in 2007, reporting $59 million in revenue from cable, satellite and telco TV operators, a 23% increase over previous estimates.


Or in other words, Sinclair legally extorted $59 million from subscription viewers for so-called free TV.
NetworkTV's Avatar NetworkTV 03:21 PM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by SnakeEyes View Post

My only complaint with KR was that KITT felt cold and detached from characters, it felt a computer. KITT's voice in the old series was more human like.

Of course, one has to remember that we saw the orginal KITT for at least 20 minutes of show time before he even spoke - and caused Michael Knight to drive right off the road when he did.
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 03:27 PM 02-18-2008
The Business of Television
The End of the Strike...and the Road Ahead
With writers' strike over, networks race to salvage the season and search for new ways to do business
By Ben Grossman, Broadcasting & Cable, 2/18/2008 (Additional reporting by Anne Becker and Marisa Guthrie)

When the Writers Guild of America brass recommended on Feb. 10 that members vote to end the 100-day-long strike, it snapped the television industry back to work.

Networks and studios scrambled to salvage what they could of the 2007-08 television season, and at the same time rushed to figure out how to develop and plan for the fall of 2008 despite the late start.

The new deal, approved by 93% of the voting membership on the night of Feb. 12, raises the pay for writers and compensates them for shows aired over the Internet and portable devices. The agreement, comparable to the deal struck by the Directors Guild of America last month, was outlined to union members over the previous weekend at meetings in Los Angeles and New York. It gives writers pay increases of up to 3.5% a year. In the third year, the writers get 2% of the advertising sales received by networks for shows streamed on the Internet.

The industry won't know for a while which side got the better deal. But in retrospect, most everyone agrees that the imbroglio should be a lesson to remember when negotiations come up again in three years.

For now, the TV writers and the networks are forced to scramble to prove themselves to advertisers in May to keep the $9 billion in upfront money flowing into broadcast network coffers. More important, they'll have to prove themselves to viewers, including those who strayed from TV altogether during the hiatus of big shows.

How the Deal Was Done

The WGA went on strike Nov. 5 but talks to end the walkout broke down in December. A script of how the strike would play out began to come together by early January. Some even mentioned mid-February as the most likely time to bring the drama to an end. The predictions came based on how long it would take for the AMPTP and the Directors Guild of America to get their deal done (it was completed Jan. 17), coupled with the fact that Feb. 15 would allow for the Oscars to go on as planned. Mid-February would also allow networks to bring back many of their shows for a late-season push, and a development season, albeit abbreviated, to take place leading to an upfront selling season.

Both sides acknowledge the timing was right, but it also took a re-shuffling of the personalities involved. AMPTP chief Nick Counter and WGA West Executive Director David Young had been working on a deal since July 2007, an icy relationship that bred little progress.

But recently, when Disney’s Bob Iger and News Corp.’s Peter Chernin got involved directly for the companies and the WGA brought on attorney Alan Wertheimer to represent them, strong stances on several issues began to soften.

Much of the framework for the final agreement was hammered out at a Feb. 1 meeting at the Luxe Hotel in Los Angeles.

Both Sides Claim Victory

In Hollywood, image is everything, so of course each side made enough room for the other to claim victory.

Once the DGA deal was done, the WGA could not look like it was bullied into taking the same deal. It was important that many believed—whether true or not—that the DGA deal wouldn’t have been done so quickly and the directors wouldn’t have obtained gains in their contract without the writers’ strike.

The WGA deal built on the DGA deal, and both sides had their wins. For the WGA, it got a flat-rate residual ($1,200 per hour) for shows streamed online during the first two years of the deal, but the real win was a precedent-setting 2% of revenue in the third year of the deal.

The WGA also got jurisdiction for shows created for the Web, and doubled the residual rate for projects sold through online.

The media companies shot down the WGA demand for jurisdiction over reality and animation, which WGA West leader Patric Verrone called “personally heartbreaking.” The companies also held onto a lengthy promotional window to stream shows online before residuals to writers kick in.

Salvaging the Season

Once word began to spread in early February that a deal was imminent, the networks quietly began preparing to ramp up production on hit shows such as CSI, Grey’s Anatomy and The Office.

Last week, networks began selecting exactly which shows would return this season for five to eight episodes, which would return next season and which ones would never come back.

Many big hits aren’t coming back this season due to creative or other challenges. Heavily serialized shows like Fox’s 24 and NBC’s Heroes won’t be back on the schedule this season. There are also many less-watched shows that the networks won’t bother ramping back up until next season (like NBC’s Friday Night Lights and CBS’s Cane), if at all.

Networks also are considering airing originals past the traditional May close to the season. “Now it’s going to be a whole lot of what do we have, how many can we get and how can we build some sort of a schedule through the rest of the season and maybe into the summer,” one network programming executive said the week before the deal was cut.

August will force creative decisions from the networks, with NBC set to air the Olympics from Beijing. The network will inevitably begin programming right out of the Games to leverage their promotional power. Other networks, such as Fox, that are accustomed to launching shows before the September rush will have to decide how they want to counter-program.

Network executives say they expect some networks to air originals into June, and then step aside in July and most of August as usual.

Cable Takes a Hit As Well

But even bleeding originals into June steps on the real estate now owned by cable, which runs many of its big hitters over the summer.

The cable nets that rely on scripted series were obviously hurt most by the strike. But had the strike dragged on much longer, many wouldn’t have had time to get their pricey scripted shows written and on TV by the summer months and could’ve been robbed of ad dollars.

Most scripted cable summer shows had to push off production—some, like TNT’s The Closer and Saving Grace, by just a few weeks; others, like Lifetime’s Army Wives, for months. Other high-profile delayed shows include USA’s Starter Wife; FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Damages and Rescue Me; and Sci Fi Channel’s Eureka.

With some hustling to make up for lost time, TNT, Lifetime and others are putting their series into production immediately and aiming for premieres this summer, if a week or two late.

Other networks like HBO decided to hold off on shows they’d been eying for summer, such as Entourage, Big Love and new vampire series True Blood. The network will use the summer to run its Marines miniseries Generation Kill, which was ready before the strike.

Many other networks had similar strike-induced plan Bs ready. ABC Family, for one, acquired a Canadian comedy, Sophie, to run if it wasn’t able to produce shows of its own. The network will now likely have enough time to get supernatural drama Middleman, the front-runner of four pilots it’s considering, on TV for summer. It’s also sitting on six scripts it bought from 7th Heaven creator Brenda Hampton, and may ready those or its Samurai Girl pilot for summer as well.

A few, like Showtime, were not affected. One of its series, Weeds, was able to begin production with a waiver for its studio, Lionsgate.

Development Season Sprint

With months of the annual development cycle lost to the strike, the networks will now launch into a mad scramble to find new product. Not only is there less time, but there are fewer scripts to choose from after ABC, CBS, The CW and Fox collectively dumped about 100 scripts in January.

The shortened development season will lead the networks to order far fewer pilots, which is where they say they want to take development anyway. Networks would like to try and develop shows more through cheaper presentations (mini-pilots of varying length) or just order series off scripts or formats.

For instance, a well-produced pilot such as Pushing Daisies or Heroes runs upward of $7 million. A presentation can cost a quarter of the price. And it’s long been known that a series seldom looks like its pilot due to the time and money put into that initial episode.

The networks are also looking at other English-speaking territories to adapt scripted shows, which makes it easier to order straight to series, as NBC did with Kath & Kim from Australia and CBS with the Canadian Flashpoint.

But especially in a hurried environment, sticking to a new and more responsible way of doing things is easier said than done. “I can already feel the resistance to trying to do things the new way,” says one network chief.

Being Upfront With Advertisers

Once the networks decide which shows will air, they’ll promote them relentlessly in the upfront selling season, which despite all the hand-wringing over waste and cost, won’t look that different from years past. The networks will cobble together fall schedules of new and returning shows, and advertisers—as guilty of inertia as TV execs—will probably spend at pre-strike levels (more than $9 billion in the upfront) once again.

“We haven’t lost confidence in network television to build reach,” says Shari Anne Brill, senior VP and director of programming at Carat. “And when those shows come back, people will be there.”

Some networks are already vowing to trim upfront costs. NBC has likely nixed the traditional Radio City show, though a senior executive said a road show to advertisers around the country may not save that much money. CBS said last Thursday it will still present its upfront in May at Carnegie Hall. Fox, ABC and The CW will hold upfronts, though the presentations could be scaled back.

Last season, networks began offering TV shows free online with unskippable commercials. They are likely to do even more of that next season, and are working with advertisers to find ways to incorporate messages that go beyond embedded pre-roll and post-roll.

“You know you’re engaging the person who is looking at [the commercial message] on a one-to-one basis, especially if they can’t fast-forward through it,” says Aaron Cohen, chief media negotiating officer at Horizon.

Actors Next?

As the television world returns to normalcy, there is one question on most everyone’s mind: What will happen with the Screen Actors Guild agreement? The contract for SAG, which stood alongside the WGA in its walkout, is up on June 30.
DrLar's Avatar DrLar 03:43 PM 02-18-2008
No, not the actors also? what's next? the Stage Hand Strike?
DrLar's Avatar DrLar 03:44 PM 02-18-2008
Milestone Post 15000!!!!
fredfa's Avatar fredfa 03:44 PM 02-18-2008
TV Review
Strike Aftermath:
Pilot Delay Won't Stall May Upfront
By John Consoli, MediaWeek, February 18, 2009

Post strike, network TV faces some serious issues with production and distribution as well as coming up with ways to stop audience erosion. But the upfront is not one of them, media buyers said last week.

Despite a seriously delayed production process for new pilots next season, expect all the networks to be open for upfront business during the week of May 12-15. That includes NBC, which will probably not present at its usual Radio City Music Hall venue this year, but instead plans to hold some type of meeting for agencies and advertisers.

Since the networks will not have much in the way of new show clips, expect the May presentations to be more sales-focused. Attendees should expect to hear more detailed discussions about commercial ratings and how advertisers can twin TV and nontraditional media assets into more productive ad buys.

The upfront process was questioned publicly last month by NBC Universal president and CEO Jeff Zucker, who said the broadcast networks can “no longer spend millions putting on upfront presentations that are really aimed at half a dozen influential media buyers.”

Each network spends between $2 million and $5 million on their upfront presentation and cocktail party, with NBC on the high side.

“If we do scrap the big presentation, we will be committed to going to every one of the major advertising agencies, in person, and every one of the major advertisers, to explain our schedule, explain the rationale and deliver episodes,” Zucker said.

NBC is expected to announce next week how it will replace its traditional upfront presentation on May 12 with a more austere event, which one source familiar with the network’s plans said will take a “more creative customer-focused approach.” Another source likened it to NBC’s recent NBC Everywhere presentation, which showed buyers what the network has to offer in nontraditional, out-of-home platforms.

Media buyers said elimination of the upfront gathering would have been a mistake for the networks, and that even the postpresentation cocktail parties have some merit. “The upfront presentations are a good thing for network television,” said John Swift, executive vp and managing director of media activation at PHD. “It is a high-profile event that puts network television at the center of public attention for an entire week. Why would they give that up?”

Added Tim Spengler, president of Initiative USA: “There’s something to be said for gathering all the clients and agency executives together at the same time in New York to discuss the new programming and strategies of each network. To take away the presentations would be an opportunity lost for the networks.” Looking ahead to May, the network sales chiefs seemed to agree.

“We’re going to hold our upfront presentation as scheduled on May 13 at Lincoln Center,” said Mike Shaw, ABC Network sales president. “We may not have any pilot clips to show, but we feel good about what we are doing and the ratings for our shows in fourth quarter. And we want to tell advertisers about our plans for the fall and beyond.”

CBS will hold its upfront at its usual Carnegie Hall venue on May 14, while Fox will host its confab on May 15 at City Center, with a cocktail party following at Wolman Rink in Central Park. The CW is expected to host at its usual venue, the theater at Madison Square Garden.

Shaw said ABC might not hold its traditional mega-cocktail party in the tent outside Lincoln Center, but it will have some sort of scaled-down venue for top-level media buyers and advertisers to meet with network sales executives following the presentation. Ed Gentner, senior vp and director of national broadcast at MediaVest, said the postpresentation parties can be a place where advertisers in town for the events can meet network sales executives for some in-person dialogue.

And regarding the presentations themselves, Gentner said, “Maybe they have had too much fanfare and need to become less glitzy and more informational. But I understand why many believe it is important to get everyone in the same room to focus on broadcast television.”

The dearth of new programming to show media buyers in May means a lot of upfront buying will be sight unseen. ABC’s Shaw believes this will not present problems in putting together ad packages.

“If you look at the way the upfront process works, there are always a certain number of midseason shows that haven’t been completed or locked in,” Shaw said. “Programs are always canceled or moved during the season, we have to replace them, and that alters upfront packages. So these conversations will not be that different because pilots are not ready and won’t go on until midseason.”

Shaw estimates that even with new shows not ready to be shown during the upfront, about 85 percent of all of ABC’s gross rating points will be identified.

“Our fourth-quarter schedule will be 98 percent locked in,” Shaw said. “And as always, advertisers will be able to get money back if shows are cancelled, and we will work with advertisers if shows are shifted,” he said.

“We worked with advertisers all during the strike to make sure they got the gross rating points they bought in the upfront. We even went out of sale for a while to insure they got their makegoods. We’re going to work with them in this upfront too.”
VisionOn's Avatar VisionOn 03:52 PM 02-18-2008
Originally Posted by DrLar View Post

Milestone Post 15000!!!!

by celebrating your own post it doesn't count.
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