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Hot Off The Press! The Latest Television News and Info - Page 46  

post #1351 of 25503
Thread Starter 
FCC's Powell Calls for Clear Timeline in Digital TV Transition
By Matt Hicks eWEEK

LAS VEGASIn television's transition to digital, there's a missing link: a firm date for when broadcasters must completely switch from analog to digital broadcasts.

That link needs to be found this year in order to end uncertainty in the TV market about when digital will fully arrive, said Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, during a talk Thursday at the International Consumer Electronics Show here.

Current federal law requires a transition to digital broadcasts by the end of 2006, but only if 85 percent of homes can view digital programming. The law's caveats make the date uncertain because there are no metrics for determining what counts as a home with digital access, Powell said.

"This problem has been avoided for years because 2006 looked far away, and I think we have to tackle this problem no matter what and no matter who does it," Powell said.

The lack of a definite transition date leaves consumers particularly confused, Powell said. Retail salespeople often tell consumers that the digital switchover is far off, leading some consumers to buy analog sets over digital ones.

Still, the transition is well under way for the consumer electronics makers. Consumers are buying high-definition TVs at a higher rate than Powell expected.

"People are selling their second mortgage to buy high-definition televisions," he joked. "I think the future is bright."

Digital TV was one of a range of issues Powell addressed during an on-stage discussion with Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. Powell also commented on such issues as digital-content copyrights, the fairness of broadcast decency rules, cable competition and broadband penetration.

When it comes to broadband, Powell said he wants every U.S. home on broadband connections by 2010 and for speeds of 100M bps to become the norm. Getting there will require more than just access, Powell said.

"We have to be prepared to step up the speed and step it up rapidly and combine it with compelling applications to give consumers a reason to step to the next level," Powell said.
post #1352 of 25503
Thread Starter 
[ Fast National ratings for Friday, Jan. 7, 2005
CBS Edges NBC to Win Friday

(zap2it.com)--Thanks to "JAG" and a "Cold Case" rerun, CBS pulled out a narrow ratings win over NBC on Friday.

Household Rating/Share
CBS 6.5/11
NBC 6.4/11
ABC 5.2/9
Fox 3.0/5
WB 2.0/3
UPN 1.2/2

Adults 18-49:
ABC 2.7
NBC 2.7
CBS 2.1
Fox 1.9
WB 1.3
UPN 0.6

At 8 PM, "Dateline" won the hour for NBC with a 6.8/12. "Joan of Arcadia," 5.6/10, put CBS in second. ABC was right behind, averaging 5.5/10 with two episodes of "8 Simple Rules." FOX aired the movie "Black Knight" to finish fourth. "What I Like About You," 1.8/3, and "Grounded for Life," 1.7/3, were fifth for The WB. UPN trailed with a rerun of "Star Trek: Enterprise."

At 9 PM, CBS moved in front with "JAG," the night's top-rated show with a 7.1/12. "Third Watch," 6.1/10, was second for NBC. ABC stayed in third with "Hope & Faith," 5.8/10, and "Less Than Perfect," 4.5/8. FOX's movie held onto fourth with a 3.1/5. Repeats of "Reba" and "Blue Collar TV" kept The WB in fifth, ahead of UPN's "Road to Stardom" rerun.

At 10 PM, "Cold Case," 6.8/12, kept CBS in front. "Medical Investigation" posted a 6.5/12 for NBC, while "20/20" came in at 5.1/9 for ABC.

Ratings information is taken from fast national data. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change.
post #1353 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Blurred Reception for HDTV
Enhanced-definition TVs are a step down from high definition.
The image disparity isn't clear to some, but the price is.

By David Colker Los Angeles Times Staff Writer January 8, 2005

Glendale retiree Michael Thai loves to watch movies broadcast in high-definition format on his wide-screen plasma TV.

"It gives me the same feeling I get at the cinema," Thai said.

That's a problem for many in the consumer electronics industry because Thai's television is not a genuine HDTV. It's an enhanced-definition television, or EDTV a step down from the high-definition standards set by the industry. And it sells for far less.

Thai's set, a Panasonic made by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., cost him $2,499 at Costco. A comparable HDTV set from Panasonic would have cost him nearly $2,000 more.

After more than a decade of development and promotion, consumers are finally embracing digital TV in large numbers. But rather than buying full-fledged high-definition sets, many are choosing enhanced definition, getting similar benefits for much less money.

Digital television delivers images with far greater clarity and sharpness than is possible with traditional analog technology. But digital TVs come in three flavors, all of which can receive HDTV signals.

At the top is true HDTV, which displays at least 720 vertical lines of picture data and constantly refreshes the image. Next is EDTV, which displays 480 vertical lines and an image that is less sharp. Both are generally available as large flat-screen plasma models.

The lowest grade of digital television is standard definition. This format also displays 480 lines, but refreshes only half of those lines at a time, which diminishes the image further.

HDTV was the star of the group when digital television was introduced in the late 1990s but was so expensive that advertisements for futuristic-looking, flat-panel sets were mostly aimed at the wealthy.

That changed in late 2002, when computer maker Gateway Inc. brought out a 42-inch plasma television an enhanced-definition model for just under $3,000.

"That changed the consumer electronics world," said industry analyst Richard Doherty of Envisioneering Group Inc. "It turned out that $3,000 was the price point at which people would start buying."

Other manufacturers followed with similar sets at the breakthrough price and lower. Name brands stuck to their more expensive HDTVs for a while, but last year even Sony Corp. added an EDTV model to its plasma lineup in the face of lower-priced competition.

"It was more of a defensive than an offensive move," said Mike Fidler, senior vice president of Sony's home-marketing division. "Our focus is still HD, but it was important for us to have an ED product to showcase."

Paris-based Thomson is going a step further. At this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company announced that its RCA brand this year would introduce a standard-definition line of digital TVs that will sell for as little as $300.

But for now, it's enhanced definition that is riding high, especially in the plasma format. In the third quarter of 2004, 54% of all plasma sets shipped worldwide were 42-inch EDTVs, according to research firm Displaysearch. It is even more popular in the United States, where in November nearly two-thirds of plasma sets sold were EDTVs, according to figures compiled by NPD Group, a sales and marketing information company.

Therein lies the problem for manufacturers: Will consumers remain satisfied with enhanced-definition television or move up to HDTV as more high-definition programming is available?

High-definition programming is commonly used in broadcast television, particularly for sports events and nighttime dramas and comedies. High-definition content also is available on cable and satellite channels, though it remains a small proportion of all programming.

As more HD programming is added, some industry analysts believe, the popularity of enhanced-definition television will fade. Under a federal mandate, television stations must convert to digital broadcasting by 2007 in all areas where at least 85% of households have digital sets.

In time, "the benefits of an HDTV will be apparent," said Tim Bajarin, president of technology consultant Creative Strategies.

But others believe that consumers will always want choice among the different grades of digital television.

Working to the advantage of EDTV is the fact that regular programming looks much better in enhanced definition than on a conventional analog set, so consumers used to old-fashioned TV are immediately wowed. And DVDs look essentially the same in enhanced definition as in true high definition.

The most convincing argument for EDTV could turn out to be that given a bit of distance, it's not easy to tell an EDTV image from one on an HDTV set, even if the program being viewed is digital.

Pete Putman, who does electronics product testing and spoke about digital TV at the Las Vegas show, said the proper viewing distance for a 42-inch screen was about 10 feet.

"If you parade in 50 people to look at properly calibrated HDTV and EDTV sets, side by side, at that distance, I'm not sure that even a couple of them could tell the difference," Putman said.

With larger plasma sets, the difference in image sharpness is noticeable, he acknowledged. But 42 inches is a highly popular screen size for digital sets among U.S. consumers.

And at that size, EDTV plasma sets also have the same design appeal and prestige factor as HDTV models.

"When the power is off, nobody knows it's an EDTV," analyst Doherty said.

At a Best Buy Inc. store in Los Angeles, Virginia Perez of Echo Park stopped to look at four adjacent big-screen sets all about 40-inch models on display. "They are so beautiful," Perez, 37, said to her husband.

She didn't realize that two of them were HDTVs and the other two were EDTVs until a sales clerk pointed that out. Confusion over the formats may come back to haunt retailers that don't make the distinction apparent to buyers, Doherty said.

"There are sellers out there who are biting their nails, worried that people will see a football game on their neighbor's full-fledged HDTV and wonder why theirs is not as good," he said.

Moving close to the sets, Perez could see the EDTV image was a bit blurred. She pointed to a Sony HDTV model priced at $4,299 about $2,000 more than the Panasonic EDTV displayed above it. "I want that one," she said, laughing, "someday," as she and her husband walked off.

Thai, a 67-year-old retired medical equipment designer, did his homework and knew the difference between formats before buying. He specifically sought out an EDTV because of the price and image quality.

He said he might move up to HDTV in about 10 years.

"I think that would be the right time," he said. "By then there will be a lot more HD shows.

"But for right now, I just can't believe how good 'Lord of the Rings' looks on my TV."

post #1354 of 25503
Thread Starter 
WhatÂ's ahead in Primetime?TV
Network Shows in Play
By Jim Finkle Broadcasting & Cable,1/10/2005

Development season is in full swing. HereÂ's a sneak peek at some of the contenders the six broadcast networks are considering for the 2005-06 prime time season.
 Jerry Bruckheimer (CSI, Amazing Race) is working on E-Ring, a Pentagon drama for NBC, and an untitled drama about mismatched lawyers for The WB.
 John Wells (ER, The West Wing) is developing The Evidence for ABC: two cops schooled in forensic evidence.
 Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (thirtysomething, Once and Again) are developing 1/4life for ABC, about a group of twentysomethings.
 Frank Langley (Cops) is mixing reality with fiction in Hollywood Vice.
 David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, Ally McBeal) has a med-school drama for The WB called HalleyÂ's Comet.
 Fox is bending time (similar to 24) with Reunion. Each episode covers a year in the life of a group of friends.
The list of signed comedies is relatively short and also dominated by familiar names. ABC has at least three of them:
 Emilio Estevez heads a sitcom from Mad About You writer Danny Jacobson.
 Freddie Prinze Jr. is being pitched as a man plagued by women who drive him crazy.
 An unnamed show casts Melissa Etheridge as a gay women living with her male best friend.
Fox projects include a Good Morning, Vietnam-type show set in Baghdad and Peep Show, a Carsey-Werner take on a British comedy Ã* la The Odd Couple.
NBC is looking at a pilot with Happy DaysÂ' vet Scott Baio as a middle-age man who gets a younger roomate.
CBS is quiet on development but is signed to do a medical drama with exec producer/writer Peter Ocko.
post #1355 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Golden Globes Preview
Expect the Unexpected: But count on Desperate Housewives to win something
By Deborah Starr Seibel Broadcasting & Cable 1/10/2005

Handicapping the Golden Globes is like throwing darts at a dartboard while blindfolded. That is because you really can't get into their heads, say TV Guide's resident critic (and B&C contributor) Matt Roush.

The heads he is referring to are the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a merry band of foreign journalists who like to give a good party, reward creative underdogs and bedevil the expectations of the Hollywood community.

Known for throwing sliders and curveballs, the HFPA goes its own way. Asked to handicap the Golden Globes, Phil Rosenthal, the TV critic for the Chicago Sun-Times cracked, They're already pretty handicapped as it is. Somehow they've become known as a precursor for the Emmys. Well, they got the pre part right, but I don't know about the rest.

In fact, though, sometimes the Globes voters seem more savvy than the Emmy crowd.

They're a weird assortment of people, says Newsday chief TV critic Noel Holston. Who knows who these people are?

In Hollywood, though, Holston agrees, the awards announce you're hot stuff. But he's unsure exactly how the Globes got their sizzle. I guess they're important because everybody chooses to believe they're important, he says. And they're on TV.

Wisteria Lane's Night?
Not everyone's that cynical. You can feel a rhythm and a wave that starts to build as these kinds of accolades come in, says Erwin More, a talent agent at William Morris. It is absolutely an assist in helping build momentum around a career.

The Jan. 16 NBC telecast may be special for Desperate Housewives, the breakout ABC hit, which is nominated for Best Comedy Series. Also, three of the five nominees for Best Actress (Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman) are from the show; Nicollette Sheridan is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

Desperate Housewives is even competing against the Golden Globes show itself on the Sunday schedule.

The heavy dose of Desperate is the most interesting wrinkle this year and a windfall for ABC. It sure doesn't hurt, says Kevin Brockman, senior vice president for entertainment communications for the Disney/ABC Television Group.

The other TV categories don't have such momentous storylines.

In the Best Actor in a Drama category, nominations go to FX's Michael Chiklis (The Shield), Denis Leary (Rescue Me) and Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck), along with Ian McShane from HBO's Deadwood and James Spader from ABC's Boston Legal.

Not a bad list, says Roush, but he grouses, The fact that Martin Sheen [The West Wing] and James Gandolfini [The Sopranos] aren't nominated in that category is just a riot. He's betting on McShane, who was inexplicably passed over at the Emmys last year and has the most scenery-chewing part. I mean, good grief, what villain has had more outrageous lines than what he's had in Deadwood?

As for Best Drama, the Globes are all about buzz, glamour and possibly qualitywhich is not an imperative, Roush says. With that in mind, his choice is the other ABC water-cooler favorite, Lost, which had to beat Fox's 24, HBO's Deadwood and The Sopranos, and FX's Nip/Tuck. The Sopranos had one of its best years, but does that matter? wonders Roush. If it doesn't, then Lost will win.

Jason Bateman Is Due
Among the comedies, here comes Desperate Housewives. It is competing against Fox's Arrested Development, HBO's Entourage and Sex and the City, and NBC's Will & Grace. I think Desperate Housewives is going to trump everything, says Roush.

In fact, a lot of people think the same way, but Rosenthal and Holston point out the Globes sometimes surprise viewers. Last year, it picked BBC America's The Office as the best situation comedy. Most of the nation had never heard of it.

Frankly, [Globe voters] often make better picks than the Emmys, Holston says.

As for Best Actress in a Comedy, Roush is betting that Desperate star Cross, the Martha Stewart clone gone haywire, will win. There's something so completely original about what she's doing: deep, dark and really twisted. Rosenthal takes a slightly more cynical view of the nominations. The thing about the Golden Globes is they like to pick pretty women. By that measure, he picks any actress from Desperate Housewives: They're tailor-made for the Golden Globes.

Rosenthal also notes that only one major female cast member from Housewives wasn't nominated: the tarty Eva Longoriawho, it was widely reported, missed a Golden Globes luncheon for personal reasons and feels she was snubbed as a result.

In the Best Actor in a Comedy realm, Roush thinks it's time for Jason Bateman of Fox's Arrested Development. He calls him the heart and soul of that show. Rosenthal agrees: For that show to work on any level, you have to have someone who sees how weird his family is, and he conveys that perfectly. But, he adds, the winner could be Larry David (HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm), too: He's our inner *******.

Among actresses in a drama: Jennifer Garner's star power [ABC's Alias] could get her a Globe, says Roush, but I'm thinking that Christine Lahti represents the kind of low-rated, quality show [The WB's Jack & Bobby] that the Globes have recognized before. By Rosenthal's rules, Garner's cuter, but if you're talking acting, Edie Falco wins.

It should all make for an interesting evening where anything can happenand often does (especially with Robin Williams getting a special award this year.) What I love about the Globes, says Roush, is their willingness to go off the charts.
post #1356 of 25503
Thread Starter 
A new bad, busy day ahead on '24'
By Maureen Ryan Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Spoiler alert: Jack Bauer is about to have another really, really bad day, one with nary a bathroom break nor even time to munch a PowerBar.

But wait, you already knew that. If you've seen the program before, you know that every season of "24" covers one 24-hour period; each episode takes place during one hour of counter-terrorism agent Bauer's (Kiefer Sutherland) really bad day.

At the start of this fourth season, we get four hours of Bauer's life over two days: "24" airs from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, and from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday as well (the show's regular time slot going forward is 8 p.m. Mondays).

Despite the fact that the audience knows the show's time-sensitive ground rules in advance, 24" usually manages to keep viewers firmly planted on, or at least near, the edge of their seats. And this season is no different; the expected kidnappings, gunfights and cliffhangers keep the pace moving quickly during the show's first four hours.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
There are one or two disturbing signs that the writers are already reaching for not-quite-credible plot complications that recall the infamous cougar standoff of Season 2 and the someone-brought-a-baby-to-work distraction of Season 3. A disturbed family member of a CTU staffer lurks mostly off-screen, which is, all things considered, probably the best place for her.

But the thing about "24" is that nobody really knows what's going to happen next (not even, it would seem at times, the writers). So who knows, the writers might actually pull off the wacky-relative subplot that loiters near the edges of the program's more enjoyable story lines.

Because the "24" formula is by now so familiar, the producers of the show have done their best this time to shake up things up for Bauer. As the fourth season begins, Bauer has been fired by the Los Angeles Counter-Terrorism Unit and has taken a less dangerous job as a Department of Defense adviser, where his riskiest move has been starting a clandestine affair with the secretary of defense's daughter.

As longtime watchers of the series know, the course of true love rarely runs smooth, especially for the woman in Bauer's life. It's not giving too much away to say that before long, bad things happen to Bauer's new girlfriend, Audrey Raines ("Third Watch's" Kim Raver), and her father, Secretary of Defense James Heller (a feisty and entertaining William Devane), at the hands of a shadowy Middle Eastern faction led by Shohreh Aghdashloo and a highly effective Nestor Serrano.

That terrorist element is certainly familiar from past seasons of "24," as are Bauer's rule-breaking ways. Despite the fact that he's no longer on CTU's staff, Bauer's soon in the thick of the agency's interrogations and field operations, ignoring rules, shouting orders and breaking out that velvety, magnetic Sutherland voice at strategic moments along the way.

Bauer is, as "24" watchers know, willing to do whatever it takes to take down the terrorist cell, but this time around he's not getting much support back at the ranch -- er, back at CTU, where there are almost no familiar staffers in sight. That's right, no more Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth) and no more Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), who were the heart and soul of recent seasons. Let's hope the rumors of Bernard's return later this season are true; the new crowd isn't nearly as likable as the old crew -- but then again, that seems to be by design.

One welcome holdover is the disarmingly blunt tech wizard Chloe O'Brian, who's wonderfully underplayed by Mary Lynn Rajskub. O'Brian is surrounded by newbies who don't much like or care about our man Bauer, and the most hostile Bauer basher of all is the new CTU head, Erin Driscoll (a rather wooden Alberta Watson), who'd rather arrest Bauer than take his advice.

Yes, this time Jack has to battle the bad guys and his own government in order to save the world. And all he's got as backup is someone from tech support.

Talk about a bad day.
post #1357 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Guest lineup for the Sunday TV news shows:
ABC's ``This Week'' -- Secretary of State Colin Powell; former Rep. Tim Roemer, D-Ind.; actor Don Cheadle.
CBS' ``Face the Nation'' -- UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy; Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert Blackman; former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski; former Mideast envoy Dennis Ross.
NBC's ``Meet the Press'' -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.
CNN's ``Late Edition'' -- Sens. John Sununu, R-N.H., Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Jon Corzine, D-N.J.; Palestinian Cabinet minister Nabil Shaath; Israeli Vice Premier Ehud Olmert; UNICEF's Bellamy; American Red Cross President Marty Evans; Dr. David Nabarro, head of crisis operations for the World Health Organization.
``Fox News Sunday'' -- Powell; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.

post #1358 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Is There An After Life for Dead Like Me?
The New York Post
'DEAD Like Me," recently canned by Showtime, could find a new home on The WB.

MGM, which produced the series has approached WB execs to see if they'd be interested in airing the show, according to TV Guide Online which says no decision has been made.

If the show did move to The WB, changes in its format would be necessary, since its cable version included nudity and profanity.

Ellen Muth and Mandy Patinkin starred in the series, which centers around a girl who's killed by a flying toilet seat and becomes part of a team of grim reapers.

Their job? To spare souls the agony of death.
post #1359 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Toshiba Describes Shifts In DTV Market
By Greg Tarr TWICE.com

LAS VEGAS - Shift happens. That was the summary of the digital television market for 2004 and 2005 by Toshiba America Consumer Products TV marketing VP Scott Ramirez, who predicted industry sales of rear-projection and CRT direct-view televisions moving more and more toward flat-panel models in key screen sizes this year.

Ramirez said that over 7 million DTV units were sold by the industry in 2004, and over 10 million units are expected to be sold in 2005. Over half of 2004 DTV sales were rear-projection models, he said. But flat-panel models showed signs of significant growth ahead.

The 40- to 47-inch screen size segment in 2005 probably will start shifting to flat-panel as prices continue to come down, he said, adding that flat-panel TV sales should see 75 percent to 100 percent growth in 2005, to 4.9 million units.

Within the flat-panel TV mix, LCD will represent the bulk of sales in the 37W-inch and under screen sizes, while plasma will dominate the 42W-inch and 50W-inch screen size segments.

Forty-two-inch is where the unit volume will be, but I've yet to pay my mortgage on unit volume, Ramirez said. The wide-screen sizes are becoming more and more important in terms of dollar volume. Today, 35 to 40 percent of all LCD units are widescreen, and 65 percent of the dollars are already widescreen. That is going to continue to grow.

In plasma, EDTV models are showing significant growth, due to aggressive price moves in 2005, he said.

The rear-projection TV category saw 6 percent growth in sales to 3.6 million units in 2004, but within that category was seen a fast shift to microdisplay models, which grew from 1.3 to 1.4 million units to 2.5 million units [in 2005], Ramirez said.

Ramirez forecast sales of 1.5 million digital big-screen direct-view CRT televisions in 2005, with 90 percent of the mix shifting to widescreen 16:9 models.

In 2004, digital direct-view TV sales were up 41 percent, and 16:9 models were up 107 percent, Ramirez said. The only digital direct-view category that was down from last year featured 4:3 aspect ratios, Ramirez said.

Other digital TV categories seeing growth were digital-projection TV, which was up 49 percent; fully integrated DTV, which was up 230 percent; LCD TV, which was up 216 percent; and plasma TV, which was up 163 percent. Overall, digital TV sales were up over 81 percent, Ramirez said.

What was good for the industry was better for Toshiba, he added.

At Toshiba, we support every category, so what ever grows, we grow, Ramirez said. Between January and November 2004 we were the number two TV company in the United States, out growing the industry in almost every category.

For 2005, Toshiba will continue to market direct-view CRT televisions, including a line of super thin models that are one-third thinner than conventional models.

In LCD and plasma TV, Toshiba will take an aggressive position by introducing more models and bigger screen sizes in 2005, Ramirez said.

In early 2006, the company will bring the world's first Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display (SED) flat-panel televisions, through its joint venture factory with Canon.

Ramirez called SED the ultimate combination of the old and the new, meaning the technology offers the picture quality benefits of CRT displays and the hang-on-the-wall form factor of plasma or LCD TVs.

SED will offer 1080p resolution with pixel-by-pixel addressing, an 8,600:1 contrast ratio, a 1 millisecond response time, and high-speed processing with one- to two-thirds less power consumption than other flat panel technologies.

Toshiba will launch SED with 50W-inch screen sizes, Ramirez said, as the Ferrari of flat-panel televisions, meaning the company will at first derive a premium price point for the technology compared to plasma and LCD TVs. The following year, a high volume factory will go online, which Ramirez said will enable SED to go head-to-head in price with LCD and plasma models.

Ramirez predicted SED will revolutionize the flat-panel industry.
post #1360 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Another TV icon (Ampex videotape) fades away
Golden era of American technology ends:
Quantegy shuts down analog tape facility

Beyond The Headlines broadcastengineering.com Jan 9, 2005 8:00 AM

Some 250 employees of Quantegy, one of the last of the major analog tape manufacturers, got a post Christmas surprise when they returned to work last week.

No Trespassing signs had been erected and security passwords were changed at the Quantegy plant in Opelika, AL.

"Quantegy has ceased operations pending restructuring. This is due to financial issues that have plagued the industry and the company for some time. All employees were laid off pending further notice a brief press release issued by the company said.

The Opelika plant, once employed some 1800 workers, recently filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

End of an era

The plant closing may be the end of a glorious era in American recording technology. Quantegy made what was once Ampex-brand recording tape. The Ampex company name is forever tied to development of American recording technology and to its music.

The story began in World War II. In 1945, after capturing several German Magnetophon tape recorders from Radio Luxembourg, the American Signal Corps recorded a speech by General Dwight Eisenhower to be played to the people of occupied Germany.

Due to a shortage of recording tape, the speech had to be recorded on a reel of used German tape. Unfortunately, due to a problem with the German tape recorder, the tape was not completely erased and the voice of Adolph Hitler was intermittently heard along with Eisenhower's voice. This caused a great deal of fear and confusion among the German people and obviously a great deal of embarrassment for the Allied Signal Corps.

General Eisenhower issued an immediate order that no more captured German tapes were to be used. and assigned Major John Herbert Orr to develop an American magnetic tape manufacturing facility.

Major Orr located a German scientist, Dr. Karl Pfleumer, who gave him a basic formula for magnetic tape. Within two weeks, Major Orr had managed to manufacture his first reels of usable audiotape.

After returning to his home in Opelika, AL, after the war, Orr set up a magnetic tape manufacturing facility and soon began marketing his own tape under the IRISH brand name. Orr continued his manufacturing operation and in 1959 Orradio Industries became part of the Ampex Corporation.

Ampex, founded by Alexander M. Poniatoff, had been developing audio tape recorders since the end of WWII starting with their model 200. The company's first sales of the Model 200 were to Bing Crosby Enterprises and the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). In 1956, Ampex announced an historic breakthrough: the first practical video tape recorder.

Shortly after this introduction, Poniatoff and Orr entered into negotiations and in 1959 Orradio Industries became the Ampex Magnetic Tape Division of Ampex Corporation. After a long partnership, the company divested itself of its media division and the Ampex Recording Media Corporation was put up for sale. The sale was completed in November of 1995 and the recording media pioneer became Quantegy.

Quantegy had the number one market share worldwide in professional audio mastering tape products. More albums went gold on Quantegy audiotape than all other brands combined.

post #1361 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Fast National ratings for Saturday, Jan. 8
ABC Plays Wild Card for Saturday Romp

(zap2it.com)--The final NFL game on ABC this season dominated Saturday's ratings, beating the combined total for its competition (of course, because the game aired live coast to coast, those numbers will change some in the final nationals).

Overall Prime Time Ratings/Share
ABC 14.1/24
Fox 4.6/8
CBS 4.1/7
NBC 3.2/5

Adults 18-49
ABC 8.8
Fox 2.9
NBC 1.8
CBS 1.6

At 8 PM, The wild-card playoff game between the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers posted a 15.3/26 for ABC. Two episodes of "Cops" averaged 4.5/8 for FOX. NBC took third with a showing of the Sci Fi Channel movie "Battlestar Galactica." The premiere of "The Will" on CBS made little noise with a 2.8/5.
At 9 PM, ABC stayed in front with a 13.7/23 for its NFL coverage. "America's Most Wanted" kept FOX in second with a 4.7/8. CBS moved up to third with the last half-hour of "The Will" and an abbreviated "48 Hours Mystery." NBC's movie came in at 3.1/5 for the hour.
At 10 PM, the Jets-Chargers game scored a 13.3/23. CBS got a 6.1/10 from a new "48 Hours," while "Battlestar Galactica" concluded with a 3.3/6 for NBC.

Ratings information is taken from fast national data. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change, especially in the case of live telecasts.
post #1362 of 25503
Thread Starter 
The NAB's view of the DTV transition
Broadcasters Will Pave DTV Path
By Eddie Fritts president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters

LAS VEGAS Looking for evidence that local broadcasters are delivering on the digital promise and charting the course toward the next generation of television? Then head to Chicago, Baltimore, Seattle or San Diego, where every station in the market is now broadcasting in digital. Ditto for Charlotte, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Memphis. The same goes for Columbus, Jacksonville, Raleigh-Durham, Dayton, Louisville and Knoxville.

In fact, 57 out of 210 local television markets now have fully completed the transition to digital and high-definition TV. Some 1,400 stations are on air in DTV, from Boston to Bangor, from Miami to Meridian, Mississippi.

Moreover, 90 percent of all U.S. television households are located in markets where broadcasters are airing five or more DTV signals. More than 71 percent of homes are in markets with eight or more broadcasters sending digital and high definition signals.

The remarkable progress made by broadcasters has come at enormous expense. It is estimated that local stations will collectively spend $16 billion to complete the transition to digital and high-definition television, with no assurance that a single penny of that investment will every be recovered.

Trust me $16 billion is a considerable expense for an industry that relies on advertising as our sole source of revenue.

Unlike our cable and satellite competitors, over-the-air broadcasters provide our programming free of charge to the end user. That financial burden falls hardest on small market stations, where a weak economy and competitive challenges have already taken a toll.

Despite those financial hardships, our industry understands that digital is our future. Broadcasters cannot remain an analog player in a digital world, and that's why the visionary leaders in local television are embracing this new technology.

NAB as an institution has taken a leadership role in digital and high-definition television.

We were the first trade association to embrace FCC Chairman Powell's voluntary DTV initiative several years ago. We supported the DTV tuner mandate requiring a phase-in of fully integrated TV receivers ensuring that consumers have access to free, over-the-air programming.

We encouraged the broadcast networks to beef up HDTV programming, and they responded with an impressive array of both primetime entertainment and sports programming.

On virtually every day of the week, viewers can watch HDTV programming offered by broadcasters. And in sports, broadcasters have taken a leadership role with high-profile HDTV offerings that include the Olympics, Monday Night Football, the Masters golf tournament, the NCAA finals and the Super Bowl.

The NAB has also promoted digital and high-definition television through our Web site and through our support for CheckHD.com.

Moreover, local stations across the country continue to air the NAB-produced 30-second commercial (DTV It's Like Being There) that highlights the unique benefits of digital.

Enormous progress has been made on the journey to digital, and we are now on the cusp of completing a technological transformation in television that skeptics never dreamed possible.

It will come as no surprise the NAB continues to believe that DTV cable carriage rules are central to a successful conclusion of this journey. The premise is simple: that television viewers have a right to expect that cable gatekeepers won't block access to program streams offered by free, over-the-air broadcasters. Five words sum it up: All free bits must flow.

NAB looks forward to working with Congress and the FCC in the coming year to establish rules that bring the DTV transition to a successful conclusion. An orderly transition and one that takes into account the tens of millions of Americans who still rely solely on over-the-air TV viewing or who have broadcast-only sets in cable and satellite homes will be one of our top priorities in 2005.

post #1363 of 25503
Thread Starter 
HD TV's bright tech future
(And prices to fall dramatically, too)
By Benny Evangelista, Matthew Yi, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writers Sunday, January 9, 2005

Las Vegas -- Some of the biggest oohs and aahs at this year's Consumer Electronics Show went to a 71-inch plasma TV screen that LG Electronics is selling for $75,000. And Samsung wowed the crowds with a prototype 102-inch plasma that doesn't even carry a price tag yet. But average consumers who don't want to take out a home loan to buy a TV should find solace in the fact that there were far more smaller-screen digital television monitors on display this year than ever before.

That's because analysts believe that increased production of new digital TVs -- whether they use plasma, liquid-crystal display, digital-light processing or old-fashioned cathode-ray tube technologies -- coupled with the switch from analog to digital broadcasts, including high-definition TV programming, should lead to lower prices. "We are seeing dramatic price declines in LCD, plasma and in all these new technologies," said Riddhi Patel, an analyst for iSuppli Corp., a research firm. "The price declines are coming from all categories."

For example, while the average price of LCD TVs measuring 42 inches or larger is about $8,000, Patel said she expects that to fall to just $1,500 by 2008.

She added that the price declines will probably make larger screens more accessible. For example, in 2004, the most popular sizes of TVs ranged from 27 to 35 inches. This year, she expects the range to be between 30 and 42 inches.

There were thousands of new products and technologies on display last week at the show, the annual gathering that provides retailers, analysts and journalists with an idea of what to expect on shelves in the coming years. More than 120,000 people went to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the show, which wraps up today.

But TV and the technologies related to it remained the key focus of major electronics- and computer-makers. The show drew hundreds of TV manufacturers, from the best-known brand names like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp to lesser-known brands like Westinghouse and Proton.

Even Palo Alto computer-maker Hewlett-Packard unveiled 17 models of flat- screen LCD televisions and digital-TV projectors.

The manufacturers are betting that 2005 will be a key year in the nation's switch from analog to digital television broadcasting, especially as more programs become available in the sharp resolution format that digital high-definition TV provides.

And digital TVs are more suited to display a host of video technologies and services that are emerging. One such technology generating buzz among computer companies, telecommunications firms and consumer electronics giants at CES is digital-video programming that comes over the Internet and is displayed on a TV monitor.

The Federal Communications Commission has set the end of 2006 as the deadline for TV broadcasters to switch from analog to digital, although there is "absolute ambiguity and infinity'' about whether or even how U.S. broadcasters can meet that deadline, FCC Chairman Michael Powell told an audience at the show.

Powell said he knows how popular HDTVs are, even though they are expensive, because he often eavesdrops on customers at electronics stores. "People are selling their second mortgage to buy high-definition televisions, '' Powell said.

Consumers also are confused about what type of TV to buy.

The traditional television uses a large vacuum tube. Projection televisions use different technologies, such as Texas Instruments' DLP, to project light on the screen. The LCD panels are bigger cousins of the flat- panel computer screens. A plasma display uses charged gas that illuminates pixels on the screen.

Each technology has strengths and weaknesses. Some experts say old- fashioned TVs provide a better high-definition picture than their more- expensive cousins.

At the show, TV manufacturers showed they are having similar debates over which type of digital TV technology will win. Yoshi Yamada, chairman and chief executive of Panasonic Corp. of North America, said 2005 will be a milestone year for plasma TVs. His firm has expanded its manufacturing facilities and can now produce up to 150,000 plasma screens a month. That capacity will increase to about 2 million a year starting in March 2006, he said.

"We are a plasma TV company,'' Yamada said. "Panasonic is convinced that plasma will be the big winner in high-definition TV."

That kind of volume would surely mean the price of plasma TVs should come down, said Richard Doherty, an analyst at the industry research firm Envisioneering Group. According iSuppli, the average price of a plasma TV in 2004 was $3,342, but the firm expects the price to fall by 23 percent this year and 25 percent in 2006.

"Plasma is changing from niche to commodity, and these kinds of investments don't come easily," he said, referring to Panasonic's manufacturing expansions.

Still, Panasonic isn't giving up on other high-definition TV technologies. This year, it plans to start selling new LCD as well as rear-projection DLP television sets that will be as big as 61 inches.

Sony, on the other hand, believes in LCD technology, although the company will sell both LCDs and plasmas this year.

"We believe LCD is the way of the future," said Dick Komiyama, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics Inc.

Sony, which entered the flat panel-TV market after its competitors did, is placing some big bets. Last year, Sony and its South Korean rival Samsung spent about $1.8 billion to build an LCD panel factory in South Korea as a joint venture.

Royal Philips Electronics in the Netherlands and LG Electronics, another South Korean firm, also have created a joint venture to build their own LCD plant.

Komiyama wouldn't say how many flat panels will be produced from its joint venture with Samsung, but said he expects the number to easily exceed Panasonic's 2 million plasma screens per year.

"Ultimately, the consumer will decide" between LCD and plasma, Komiyama said.

The increased number of LCD TVs may start a bloodbath among manufacturers, but create a buyer's market for consumers, said Dave Arland, spokesman for TTE Corp., the owner of the RCA electronics brand.

TTE was formed when TV-maker TCL of China and French electronics giant Thomson merged last year.

Thomson stopped selling plasma TVs in the United States last year, but the new TTE Corp. is hedging its bets with other TV technologies. At the electronics show, TTE unveiled 11 DLP monitors, including a thin 6.85-inch model priced at $5,000. The company also introduced seven LCD models and 10 CRT rear-projection HDTVs.

TTE also introduced a $300 27-inch digital TV set that displays a standard-definition picture at a higher resolution than a comparable analog set.

That model is designed to lower the cost for people who want to buy a digital TV, Arland said.

Samsung is also placing multiple bets. In its 2005 lineup, the South Korean firm will offer 20 projection models, which include DLP, 18 LCD models, 10 plasmas and 12 CRTs. The lineup is 50 percent bigger than last year.

"The horse race has been set in motion,'' said Ross Rubin, consumer electronics analyst for the NPD Group.
post #1364 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Murdoch buying out Fox shareholders
Will Buy Rest of Fox Shares in $7 Billion Deal
By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN and GERALDINE FABRIKANT The New York Times January 10, 2005

Rupert Murdoch, consolidating his global media empire in the United States, is expected to announce today that he will buy out the shareholders of his Fox properties for about $7 billion, executives involved in the deal said last night. The deal would solidify Mr. Murdoch's control over some of the nation's most valuable media assets like the Fox broadcast network and the DirecTV satellite service and help simplify the complicated structure of his far-flung company, the News Corporation, which includes newspapers, television, film and satellite assets around the globe.

It also puts Mr. Murdoch in a better position to leverage his full ownership of the Fox Entertainment Group for future deals.

The transaction, which the board of News Corporation approved last night, would also make Mr. Murdoch's company an even more formidable media power in the United States. Mr. Murdoch, who gave up his Australian citizenship 19 years ago to become a United States citizen, recently reincorporated News Corporation in the United States and shifted its primary stock listing to the New York Stock Exchange from the Australian exchange.

"The move underscores the simplification process: Mr. Murdoch's drive to make News Corporation a simpler and more shareholder-friendly U.S. company," said Mario Gabelli, chief investment officer of Gabelli Asset Management, whose fund owns shares of both News Corporation and Fox Entertainment.

The move to bring Fox Entertainment back inside the fold of News Corporation also gives Mr. Murdoch more flexibility to wield his deal-making muscle in the United States, where he used to have to rely on the often faltering stock price of his Fox subsidiary as leverage for deals.

"This makes it easier for News Corp. to do deals. It simplifies the structure and gives it full control over the deal making process," said Harold L. Vogel, an entertainment analyst.

The timing of the transaction raises questions about the status of Mr. Murdoch's feud with John C. Malone, the chairman of Liberty Media, who raised his company's investment in the News Corporation to 17 percent in November behind the back of Mr. Murdoch, who owns a 30 percent voting stake.

Only a week later, News Corporation introduced a plan to thwart would-be hostile bidders and keep Mr. Murdoch in control of the company, which he plans to turn over to his sons: Lachlan, now deputy chief operating officer, and James, chief executive of British Sky Broadcasting, Mr. Murdoch's satellite TV company in Britain.

"The timing is confusing because we had expected Mr. Murdoch to complete a transaction with Mr. Malone before buying in Fox," said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at Fulcrum Global Partners. A spokesman for News Corporation declined to comment.
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Thread Starter 
Everyone has waiver trouble with DBS
Veteran actor William Devane brings his no-nonsense, tough-guy skills to '24.' (Now, if he can just get Fox to let him watch the show)
Now that he's a costar on the show, Devane said he's eager to watch "24" but sheepishly admits that he can't get Fox at his ranch.
"I don't get cable," he said with a flash of his blue eyes. "I am on DirecTV, and you have to apply to get the network package."
Devane continued with a mock sigh: "DirecTV has to get permission from the local affiliates to allow you to do so. That's one of the things I have to do this week go to the Fox affiliate down there and introduce myself and say, 'I am on your most famous show. Do you think you can allow me to see it?' "

By Susan King Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Jan 10 2005

The executive producer of Fox's thrill ride of a series, "24," knew exactly who he wanted to play the stalwart and no-nonsense U.S. secretary of Defense veteran character actor William Devane.

"He is almost an American archetype," said Joel Surnow. "The serious, tough, silver fox guy that you can see really in charge and in command."

Devane's performances in two seminal TV movies of the 1970s "The Missiles of October" and "Fear on Trial," in just those sorts of roles earned him Emmy nominations. But he's probably best known to TV audiences most recently as the deliciously vile Greg Sumner on the CBS prime-time soap "Knots Landing."

What Surnow didn't know was that the actor had never seen "24," the espionage- and conspiracy-driven saga of a war against terrorism being waged on U.S. soil. In fact, Devane doesn't watch much TV at all.

"I like to watch real people on television," said the fit 64-year-old grandfather of two. "I watch C-SPAN and 'Booknotes.' I find that stuff really interesting."

He chuckled when he recalled what Surnow told him after learning of his unfamiliarity with the series. "He said, 'Let me tell you. I make just as much if you are watching or not,' " Devane said.

With the fourth season of "24," which began Sunday evening with a special two-hour premiere, the series moves to Mondays at 9 p.m. from Tuesdays at 9 p.m., opposite heavy competition from CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Two and a Half Men" as well as NBC's "Las Vegas" and ABC's "The Bachelorette."

Although "24" saw a dip in the ratings last year, it placed No. 43 among all prime-time viewers and No. 31 in the important 18-49 demographic, the most coveted by advertisers. Changes in the show from the addition of new faces and a new set have been designed with an eye to expanding that audience. (The next two episodes of the series air tonight, beginning at 8.)

Devane enters the cast as Secretary of Defense James Heller, who is about to return to Washington from Los Angeles but decides to take a side trip on the way to the airport to visit his estranged son. From there, he and his daughter and aide, Audrey (Kim Raver), are kidnapped by Middle Eastern terrorists.

It's 18 months since agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) saved the world from a deadly virus unleashed by terrorists. President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) decided not to run for reelection after the death of his Lady Macbeth of a wife. Also absent from this season at least so far is Bauer's daughter, Kim, who had been placed in one hair-raising predicament after another.

Bauer, booted out of the Counter Terrorist Unit after the end of last season, has kicked his heroin habit and is working for Heller. Bauer also happens to be having a secret affair with Audrey.

Some of the more compelling moments in the early episodes this season are the emotional scenes between Heller and Audrey after their kidnapping. Devane said he and Raver immediately felt an on-screen connection as father and daughter.

"It is like we have been dancing together all of our lives," Devane said.

Raver agreed.

"Our first day [on set], we were bound and gagged and thrown in the back of a van together, so it was like 'nice meeting you' and then you were rolling around in the back of the van blindfolded. ... We bonded [immediately]."

Despite critical acclaim in its first season, "24" struggled on the network and was greeted with a bit of a surprise when it was renewed. Many wondered how the series' concept the entire season of "24" is set in a single day, with each hourlong episode covering a 60-minute period of time would work in its sophomore year.

Not only have the producers and writers come up with an edge-of-your-seat plotline with each subsequent season, but the show has also become the network's most popular hourlong dramatic series.

Fox Home Entertainment has released all three seasons on DVD. There's also a "24Inside" web cast similar in format to a talk show that features interviews with cast and crew as well as discussions in front of a studio audience.

The series has set a standard in its taut scripts and flashy, fast-paced editing "24" has won an Emmy for its editing for the last three years and sophisticated use of the split screen, allowing viewers to witness several scenes simultaneously, a device that helps build the suspense.

The jump-cutting and use of split screens recall the visual style of Norman Jewison's 1968 romantic caper film, "The Thomas Crown Affair."

"We felt we could take a '60s idea [of the split screen] and make it new so it wasn't 'The Thomas Crown Affair,' " said Surnow. "They used a lot of split screen in the '60s, and it was for effect. But for us, we are trying to sell an idea that there are a lot of things happening, and the split screens work beautifully."

During its first three seasons, the series was preempted for special episodes of "American Idol," plus specials and even tryouts for limited series. This season, however, "24" will air without any preemptions.

Viewers often complain that it's difficult to catch up with a continuing drama if they miss an episode, but Surnow doesn't believe that's an issue with "24."

Still, the writers are aware of the need to keep the show accessible to viewers, particularly those who may not have seen it. Surnow said the episodes are often "retrofitted" even after they have been shot and edited, usually to add material that foreshadows a plot point in an upcoming installment.

"We pretty much have an accurate sense of how much we can stuff into a show and handle the last act ...," he said. "It has to be very finely crafted."

Although Devane ended his run with "Knots Landing" in 1993, he has continued to work in both movies and television, appearing in such films as "Space Cowboys" and "Hollow Man" and as a regular on two short-lived series: the NBC sitcom "The Michael Richards Show" and the ABC drama "The Monroes."

Devane also is a playwright and director he just directed a new play for the Actors Studio at Sunset Millennium.

Returning to a weekly dramatic series has been anything but a grind for Devane.

"I only work a day or two a week. It's very similar to 'Knots Landing,' " said Devane, who lives on a horse ranch in Thermal, a community east of Palm Springs. His son manages a local restaurant that he owns.

Devane said strangers still come up to talk to him about "Knots Landing." "People just loved that show. I get a lot of 'I used to watch it with my mother,' " he said over lunch in Hollywood.

He's happy that networks have realized audiences want to see hourlong dramas like "24" and this season's two new blockbusters, ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost."

Now that he's a costar on the show, Devane said he's eager to watch "24" but sheepishly admits that he can't get Fox at his ranch.

"I don't get cable," he said with a flash of his blue eyes. "I am on DirecTV, and you have to apply to get the network package."

Devane continued with a mock sigh: "DirecTV has to get permission from the local affiliates to allow you to do so. That's one of the things I have to do this week go to the Fox affiliate down there and introduce myself and say, 'I am on your most famous show. Do you think you can allow me to see it?' "
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Thread Starter 
New American Idol Rules
Show kicks off Jan. 18th in HD
By DAN AQUILANTE The New York Post

'In America, you have a saying," says Ken Warwick, the British executive producer of "American Idol": "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

But that doesn't mean the hit Fox series, which kicks off its fourth season Jan. 18, can't be tweaked.

The challenge, of course, is to keep the show fresh - without alienating one of the most loyal fan bases in television history.

Neither the network nor the show's production company acknowledge any friction, but the TV gossip show "Extra" reported that the network was so resistant to any changes in the "Idol" format that four producers stormed off the set in early November.

Warwick dismissed that report. "We'd never consider changing the show radically," he says. Yet, he adds, "we can't help but try to fix the show up slightly. If there's something we think didn't work one year, we have to figure out how to make it better in the future. We run these things past Fox, sometimes they go for them, sometimes they don't."

That said, which tweaks caused the squeaks?

"Some were semi-cosmetic," Warwick says. "We're going to have a new set of graphics and a new set."

More substantive changes are in the format.

"Idol" fans know the show is divided into three distinct parts: auditions, workshops and the straight-up talent competition at the end.

"If the series was just one of these elements," says Warwick, "it would have a very short shelf life."

Of those three sections, the middle segment is where viewers can expect the biggest shakeup.

"In the workshops, out of the thousands who auditioned, we're down to 32 contestant," he says.

"In the first week, you could get two kids make it to the finals and the other six are gone, never to be seen again. The next week the kid who is the best singer of that new group might not be as good as the third best singer from the first week, who had already been eliminated. It wasn't fair."

Instead, Warwick says, "in the middle series there'll be three shows a week - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We'll take 12 girls and 12 boys. On the Tuesday you'll see just the girls, and the audience votes. Wednesday will be the boys and Thursday's show will feature the results where the bottom two contestants [of each group] are eliminated. This means that the talent is judged together and the kids who are the best singers stick around longer. This is a fairer way."

This year, the audition section's been extended from four to five weeks.

"Yes, elimination is heartbreaking for some of these kids," Warwick says.

"And then," he adds, "there was William Hung" - the best worst singer to hit America, as anyone who's heard him sing "She Bangs" can attest.

One of the problems at this year's auditions was the Hung factor. "We had a number of contestants trying to be the next William Hung," Warwick says. "We could spot them a mile off."

These William-wannabes will be featured in a film clip that will air during the initial audition performances. "We're calling it 'Meet the Fakers,'" he says.

He also that there was a very strong likelihood that guest judges would be dropped from the show.

Warwick praised director Quentin Tarantino's tenure, saying that if all guest judges were as knowledgeable as he was, "there would be no question about continuing that aspect of the show."

But a smart TV producer never burns a bridge.

"If Stevie Wonder or Paul McCartney wanted to get on a show," he says, "we'd find the room."

What's changing:
Rule 1:
Workshops divided into girls and boys
Rule 2:
Cracking down on William Hung wannabes
Rule 3:
No more guest judges
Rule 4:
New graphics and set
post #1367 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Selected People's Choice Award winners

Presented, sadly, in SD only on CBS (shame, shame), Sunday night in Pasadena, CA
Television comedy series: Will & Grace
Television drama series: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
New television comedy series: Joey
New television drama series: Desperate Housewives
Female television star: Marg Helgenberger
Male television star: Matt LeBlanc
Late night talk show host: David Letterman
Reality show 24/7: Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica
Reality show competition: American Idol
Reality show makeover: Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Drama motion picture: The Passion of the Christ
Motion picture: Fahrenheit 9/11
post #1368 of 25503
Thread Starter 
More Views of CES
Waiting for a TV Technology to Inherit the Future
By Rob Pegoraro The Washington Post Sunday, January 9, 2005; Page F07

LAS VEGAS -- It seems like a long time since the days when we had only one kind of TV set to shop for (excepting those lucky folks rich enough to afford projection screens).

The trusty old cathode-ray tube, however, has been on the endangered-species list for some time. And its place in the electronic ecosystem is not about to be filled by any one successor.

Instead, most of the companies exhibiting at the International CES (short for Consumer Electronics Show) are spreading their efforts across competing technologies, each with its own quirks for consumers to grasp. That's the bad news: The never-ending arguments over the virtues of plasma vs. LCD or digital light processing (DLP) vs. rear-projection LCD are still simmering.

But here's the good news: Even if the industry can't pick a channel and stay with it, it has learned to make some of these sets fit into ordinary budgets. You can pick up a big-screen high-definition set without paying more than a monthly mortgage bill -- before long, for less than the average rent check.

If you don't need a mammoth screen, things are better yet. At the low end of the scale, a 27-inch RCA set, digital tuner included, will sell for $300 late this spring. Although its screen is no sharper than a conventional analog set's, that digital tuner means it can pull in all the broadcasts that are supposed to replace analog TV in the next few years.

Meanwhile, the small, mostly obscure Asian firms that have been consistently dragging down the prices of name-brand products have continued to chisel away at costs. The $2,500 that bought a 17-inch LCD two years ago and a 30-inch display last summer may well buy a 37-inch display this summer.

Behind all these numbers lies a basic question: How close is digital TV to becoming, for lack of a better phrase, a normal product? How long until digital sets become like digital cameras -- what you buy when you go into the store, without making a conscious decision to spend a little more for the next big thing?

Opinions on this vary. Said Panasonic chief executive Yoshi Yamada: "To me, it's not an early adopter product anymore at all. It's consumers in general . . . next year market share is really going to skyrocket."

But John Taylor, LG Electronics vice president for public affairs, suggested that tipping point has not been reached yet. "We're about halfway down that curve," he said, adding that he expects by this time next year most sets sold in the United States will be digital. (I should note that we had this discussion just after inspecting a 71-inch plasma set that sells for $75,000.)

That transition must happen -- and not just because the government plans to auction off a chunk of the airwaves now used to broadcast analog TV. Every time the electronics business has given birth to a new type of product, from DVD players to cordless phones, it has eventually become a cheap, commodity item with tiny profit margins. Few people in the business relish that conclusion, but it must happen if the product will find a home in the mass market.

Unless, that is, the industry gets stuck in a senseless format war that scares away customers. Remember VHS vs. Beta? That same miserable experience is getting a replay this year as two camps of companies ready successors to the DVD.

On one side, a wide range of manufacturers, including Sony, Panasonic, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Philips, and a few major studios back a format called Blu-Ray. On the other, a wide range of movie studios and a few smaller manufacturers (Toshiba, RCA and others) support one called HD DVD.

Both of these high-capacity discs should bring HDTV's crystal-clear picture and surround sound to movie releases as well as home recordings. The differences, in a nutshell: Blu-Ray offers more space, while HD DVD appears to be cheaper to make.

Andy Parsons, a senior vice president at Blu-Ray supporter Pioneer Electronics, predicted that the "sheer might" of the hardware manufacturers lined up behind Blu-Ray would leave no room for HD DVD to survive: "How can it? I can't really resolve that in my mind."

Jodi Reilly, assistant vice president at Toshiba's digital audio/video group, noted the range of titles already scheduled for release on HD DVD, including "The Matrix," "Apollo 13" and "Austin Powers." "The software ultimately drives the hardware," she said.

After hearing these arguments, I can come to only one conclusion: Customers should not have to think like venture capitalists when they go shopping. Compared with this mess, DVD as we know it looks fine.

Living with technology, or trying to? E-mail Rob Pegoraro at rob@twp.com.
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Thread Starter 
TV's A La Carte Fights Continue
By Doug Halonen TVWeek.com January 10, 2005

In an effort to bring the battle over off-color programming to the cable TV industry, the watchdog Parents Television Council is planning to lobby vigorously this year for a la carte legislation that would give consumers the right to choose and pay for only the cable programming they want in their homes.

"This is going to be the next indecency fight," Lara Mahaney, PTC director of corporate and entertainment affairs, said in an interview last week. "There is definitely a rising tide of anger among consumers who simply want to get the Disney Channel and they're forced to pay for and accept the likes of MTV and FX into their homes."

In a report late last year, the Federal Communications Commission panned a la carte, arguing that forcing cable operators to ax basic tiers to allow consumers to pay for only the programming they select would result in higher prices for most consumers and less consumer choice.

Many in the industry were hoping that the FCC report-coming on the heels of other government and industry-sponsored studies that came to a similar conclusion-would be the final word on the subject, slamming the door on initiatives that could otherwise force them to fundamentally restructure the way they do business.

"The cable industry announced an initiative last year under which cable companies agreed to provide free channel-blocking technology to customers who wish to prevent specific channels from entering their home, which is a far better solution than government regulation driving up prices while reducing choice and diversity in media," said Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

But according to Ms. Mahaney, PTC-which is credited for kicking up much of the fuss about indecent broadcasting last year-the FCC report and other studies fall short because they give short shrift to PTC's central concern: That requiring consumers to subscribe to the packages of programming offered in basic tiers forces them to subsidize programming they might find objectionable.

"In my household, I know we would be willing to pay $2 a month more not to get FX and MTV," Ms. Mahaney said. "[The cable TV industry is] wanting [a la carte] to be dead," Ms. Mahaney added. "It's not dead among consumers."

At any rate, in an action alert on the group's Web site, www. parentstv.org, PTC is already urging its members to write lawmakers and the FCC to support a la carte. It has also posted a PTC study that documents off-color incidents gleaned from basic cable channels.

"To say that cable television is in the sewer would be an insult to sewage," the Web site says.

The FCC report said that the only consumers likely to see their cable bills reduced under a mandatory a la carte regime would be those subscribing to fewer than nine channels. Consumers who purchase at least nine networks are apt to experience an increase, according to the FCC. Those who buy 17 channels-the number watched by the average cable consumer-likely would see their bills rise by 14 percent to 30 percent a month, the FCC said.

Also on the indecency front, leading lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expected to introduce legislation to beef up the penalties for broadcast indecency later this month.

Leading the charge in the House will be Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who, according to a spokesman, is planning to re-introduce a measure that was approved in a 391-22 vote by the House of Representatives last March.

Among other things, the House legislation would raise the cap for broadcast indecency fines from $32,500 to $500,000 per incident. In addition, it would establish a "three-strikes-and-you're-out" policy under which broadcasters with three indecency violations could lose their licenses. It would also require the FCC to act on indecency complaints within six months of their filing. Yet another provision would make clear that on-air talent and network originators of offensive programming-not only the station licensee-are subject to the fines.

A spokesman said that Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who has been leading the indecency charge in the Senate, is also expected to introduce crackdown legislation but had yet to decide what provisions to include.

Broadcast indecency legislation failed to win Senate approval last year, largely because it had been amended to include a controversial provision that would have barred the FCC from relaxing media ownership rules.

But Ms. Mahaney said PTC will actively discourage similar amendments to the legislation this time around, improving the prospects for the anti-indecency measure's passage.
post #1370 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Sports Ratings Notes
USA Today--ABC's two NFL games Saturday were each decided by the last play. But drama doesn't necessarily translate into dramatic rating hikes. In preliminary overnight ratings based on the usual 55 TV markets used for overnights, except for Indianapolis and Dayton, Ohio St. Louis-Seattle drew 16% of TV households, up 4% from last year's comparable game. The Jets' win drew 17%, up 3%.
During the NHL lockout, ESPN2 is averaging 0.4% of U.S. cable TV households with replacement programming, including college basketball, that otherwise wouldn't be on TV. That's a tiny rating. But that's double what NHL games drew. Graveyards are full of irreplaceable men.
post #1371 of 25503
TRIO Dropped from DirecTV

NBCU is receiving emails from viewers with questions and concerns about TRIO being dropped by DirecTV. They have set up an email account to respond to these queries. Please forward any notes about TRIO to trioupdate@triotv.com.
post #1372 of 25503
Porn Business Driving DVD Technology

By Ben Berkowitz | January 9, 2005

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - As goes pornography, so goes technology. The concept may seem odd, but history has proven the adult entertainment industry to be one of the key drivers of any new technology in home entertainment. Pornography customers have been some of the first to buy home video machines, DVD players and subscribe to high-speed Internet.

One of the next big issues in which pornographers could play a deciding role is the future of high-definition DVDs.

The multi-billion-dollar industry releases about 11,000 titles on DVD each year, giving it tremendous power to sway the battle between two groups of studios and technology companies competing to set standards for the next generation.

"It's sort of like the buzz around the campfire," said Peter Warren, DVD editor at industry bible Adult Video News.

One side of the divide is a standard called Blu-ray backed by consumer electronics heavyweights like Sony Corp. <6758.T>, Philips Electronics and Thomson and movie studios Fox and Disney. Blu-ray offers storage up to 50 gigabytes, enough for nine hours of high-definition content.

On the other side of the fight is HD-DVD, which has much the same structure as current DVDs and, backers say, is cheaper and easier to manufacture as a result. Supporters of the disc format and its 30 gigabyte capacity include companies like NEC <6701.T>, Toshiba Corp. <6502.T> and Warner Home Video.

Adult film producers want the higher quality picture as well as extra space for creative expression -- like giving viewers choice of camera angles.

Pornographers weighed in on the coming battle last week at the industry's Adult Entertainment Expo, which ran parallel with the largest U.S. technology fair, the Consumer Electronics Show, and had many of the same technologies -- sometimes a generation ahead.

Sentiment about the format rivalry varies, depending largely on the size of porn producer.

Smaller outfits seem to prefer HD-DVD for its lower cost, while larger outfits tend toward Blu-ray for the capacity.

"We're kind of riding it out a little further to see where the trend goes," said Jackie Ramos, an executive in the DVD division at leading porn producer Wicked Pictures. But if he had to choose, Ramos said, "Blu-ray technology sounds pretty attractive."

Paul Hesky, chief operating officer of Multimedia Pictures Inc., one of the smaller groups, disagreed.

"Most of the DVD manufacturers in my business do not want the Blu-ray format because it requires new capital investment," he said, adding, "I know for sure one format or the other will be out (on the market) by this time next year."

Others say they want to see what consumers prefer.

Adult Video News's Warren said HD-DVD production would be a "fraction of a fraction of the price" of Blu-ray, but that the latter format could not be dismissed.

"Blu-ray is going to be very expensive for anyone to do but it is going to be a player," he said.

Blu-ray supporters, however, argue that the increased cost of its processes are negligible.

Hollywood has begun lining up on both sides of the battle as they have watched the growth of DVDs slow. They will want a new standard in place soon, to accelerate again.

Many are watching the porn industry to see what happens.

"That whole business has driven technology adoption of several platforms," said one major studio executive. "A better, more intense experience is a good thing for porn."
post #1373 of 25503
Thread Starter 
(From Marc Berman's Programming Insider column Monday, Jan. 10, 2005, at Mediaweek.com)
Primetime Ratings: Sunday 1/09/05
Metered Market Ratings
(Note: The following ratings exclude the Miami, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Raleigh, Richmond and Dayton markets.)

Household Rating/Share
Fox: 13.1/18
ABC: 11.5/17
CBS: 8.7/13
NBC: 8.1/12
WB: 2.3/ 3
Percent Change From the Year-Ago Evening (Sunday 1/11/04):
ABC: +98
NBC: + 4
CBS: -13
Fox: -22
WB: -36

Fast Affiliate Ratings

Total Viewers:
Fox: 18.06 million
ABC: 17.47
CBS: 11.87
NBC: 10.90
WB: 2.71

Adults 18-49:
Fox: 7.4/17
ABC: 7.2/17
CBS and NBC: 3.3/ 8 each
WB: 1.2/ 3

Yesterday's Winners:
NFL Football Overrun (Fox)
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC)
Cold Case (CBS)
24 (Fox)
Desperate Housewives (ABC)
Crossing Jordan (NBC)

Yesterday's Losers:
American Dreams (NBC)
The 31st Annual People's Choice Awards (CBS)

Ratings Breakdown:
Although ABC normally dominates Sunday thanks to that little show called Desperate Housewives, the winning tide turned to Fox's favor courtesy of the NFL Football (NFC Wildcard Playoff: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers) primetime over-run (#1, 24.1/36; Viewers: #1, 27.79 million; A18-49: #1, 11.1/29 at 7 p.m.), followed by the approximate 30-minute post game (#1: 19.0/27; Viewers: #1, 21.18 million; A18-49: #1, 8.8/22 at 7:30 p.m.), and the two-hour fourth-season premiere/preview of 24 (#2, 10.5/15; Viewers: #2, 14.85 million; A18-49: #2, 6.1/14 from 8-10 p.m.). As a reminder, total viewers and adults 18-49 are based on the fast affiliate ratings.

ABC's Desperate Housewives, meanwhile, remained the top-rated show of the evening with a 17.8/24 in the overnights, 25.16 million viewers and a 11.2/24 among adults 18-49 at 9 p.m. Comparably, that was an increase over winning lead-in Extreme Makeover (#1: 11.5/15; Viewers: #1, 19.98 million; A18-49: #1, 8.6/20) of 55 percent in the overnights, 5.18 million viewers and 30 percent among 18-49. At 10 p.m., although Boston Legal perked up to a solid 10.8/17 in the overnights (#2), 14.65 million viewers (#2) and a first-place 5.6/14 among adults 18-49, retention out of Desperate Housewives of just 61 percent in the overnights, 58 percent in total viewers and 50 percent among adults 18-49 keeps it off the winner's listing.

Sticking with ABC, veteran America's Funniest Home Videos opened fourth in the overnights (5.7/ 8), but No. 3 in total viewers (10.11 million), and adults 18-49 (3.3/ 8) at 7 p.m.

Although The People's Choice Awards is normally a respectable performer for CBS, opposite Desperate Housewives and 24, the 31st annual celebration sunk to a record-low 7.2/10 in households, 9.86 million viewers and a 3.3/ 8 among adults 18-49 from 9-11 p.m. Earlier in the evening, although 60 Minutes (#2: 9.1/14; Viewers: #2, 12.13 million; A18-49: #3, 2.6/ 7) was below-average opposite football, Cold Case moved up to a typically potent 11.2/16 in the overnights (#2), 15.62 million viewers (#2) and a 3.8/ 9 among adults 18-49 (#2) at 8 p.m.

Over at NBC, not only did the once dominant Law & Order: Criminal Intent (#3: 9.6/13; Viewers: #3, 13.25 million; A18-49: #3, 4.0/ 9) lose to Desperate Housewives, it couldn't even beat the second half of Fox's two-hour 24. Regardless, growth out of the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged American Dreams (#4, 5.4/ 8; Viewers: #4, 7.03 million; A18-49: #4, 2.2/ 5) was still 78 percent in the overnights, 6.22 million viewers and 82 percent among adults 18-49. Better news for NBC on Sunday remains Crossing Jordan, which shared leadership at 10 p.m. with ABC's Boston Legal at a first-place finish in the overnights (11.1/17) and total viewers (15.26 million), and a second-place return among adults 18-49 (5.0/12). At 7 p.m., Dateline scored a typically uneventful 6.4/ 9 in the overnights (#3), with million viewers (#4) and a among adults 18-49 ().

On the WB, a repeat of the soon-to-relocate Steve Harvey's Big Time (#5: 1.9/ 3; A18-49: #5, .0/ 2) led into an also distant last-place finish for repeat theatrical There's Something About Mary (2.4/ 3; A18-49: 1/3 3).

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

On the Air Tonight:
Primetime Programming Options

Monday 1/10/05

Extreme Makeover Home Edition: How'd They Do That?,
The Bachelorette (new day, two-hour season premiere)

Still Standing (R),
Listen Up (R),
Everybody Loves Raymond (R),
Two and a Half Men (R),
CSI: Miami (R)

Fear Factor,
Las Vegas,

24 (two-hours)

One on One (R),
Half and Half (R), Girlfriends (R),
Second Time Around

The 10th Annual Critics Choice Awards

TV Tidbits:
Notes of Interest

Buena Vista Television Update:
Buena Vista's The Tony Danza Show has been renewed for 2005-06 in over 90 markets representing approximately 60 percent of the country, including the ABC station group. In addition, the syndicator will be announcing renewals for Live with Regis and Kelly and the underrated Who Wants to Be a Millionaire through the 2008-09 season.

Reader Feedback Forum:


"After reading the comments about the season premiere of Alias, I am just surprised at how disappointed they were. What more do these Alias fans want -- a continuation of a storyline that went off-track from its original premise with a predictable and futile route last season? Even still, the show didn't diminish that dramatically.

Thank goodness J.J. Abrams has, in some sense, started over again. Alias is well paced and the action is tremendous. I read somewhere that he wanted to return the show back to its roots and I can't say I blame him. Perhaps this decision may extend the premise of the show even further. I hope the readers that e-mailed you will give the show a chance to develop even further before getting all down on
it. Maybe they, too, were still reeling from last season.
-D.P., Bronx, N.Y.

"I read your January 7th edition of The Programming Insider and was astounded at the negative feedback received after the fourth-season premiere of Alias. If you hadn't heard before, Alias suffered through an uneven third season that lost some of its loyal fan base. With the fourth-season premiere, creator J.J. Abrams has entirely re-invented the show once again, a necessary step to getting it back on track.

I found the premiere to be exciting, well written, and taking a wide turn for the better. If the show continues on the path set up by the new season, I think Alias will once again be reigning champion on my favorite television shows list (which, by the way, is currently topped by Lost)."
-A.M., Fallston, MD

The P.I.:
Based on a recent conversation I had with J.J. Abrams, it's full steam ahead for Alias in a format that will be somewhat more self-contained and easier to follow.

post #1374 of 25503
Thread Starter 
CBS Ousts 4 For Bush Guard Story
CBS.comNEW YORK, Jan. 10, 2005

Four CBS News employees, including three executives, have been ousted for their role in preparing and reporting a disputed story about President Bush's National Guard service.

The action was prompted by the report of an independent panel that concluded that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece. The panel also said CBS News had compounded that failure with a rigid and blind defense of the 60 Minutes Wednesday report.

Asked to resign were Senior Vice President Betsy West, who supervised CBS News primetime programs; 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard; and Howard's deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy. The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was terminated.

The correspondent on the story, CBS News anchor Dan Rather, is stepping down as anchor of CBS Evening News.

We deeply regret the disservice this flawed 60 Minutes Wednesday report did to the American public, which has a right to count on CBS News for fairness and accuracy, said CBS President Leslie Moonves.

The panel said a "myopic zeal" to be the first news organization to broadcast a groundbreaking story about Mr. Bush's National Guard service was a key factor in explaining why CBS News had produced a story that was neither fair nor accurate and did not meet the organization's internal standards.

The report said at least four factors that some observers described as a journalistic Perfect Storm had contributed to the decision to broadcast a piece that was seriously flawed.

"The combination of a new 60 Minutes Wednesday management team, great deference given to a highly respected producer and the network's news anchor, competitive pressures, and a zealous belief in the truth of the segment seem to have led many to disregard some fundamental journalistic principles," the report said.

The piece was aired during a tight and hotly contested presidential race between Mr. Bush and Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry. The timing of the story prompted charges of political bias against CBS News.

While the panel found that some actions taken by CBS News encouraged such suspicions, the Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the segment or its content.

The story, which aired last Sept. 8, relied on four documents allegedly written by one of Mr. Bush's Texas Air National Guard commanders in the early 1970s, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who is now dead. Questions about the authenticity of the documents were raised almost immediately.

Some critics said the documents were most probably forgeries prepared on a modern word processer. Other critics questioned whether Killian would have - or could have - written them.

The documents suggested that Mr. Bush disobeyed an order to appear for a physical exam, and that friends of the Bush family tried to sugar coat his Guard service.

After a stubborn 12-day defense of the story, CBS News conceded that it could not confirm the authenticity of the documents and asked former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press President Louis Boccardi to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.

Their findings were contained in a 224-page report made public on Monday. While the panel said it was not prepared to brand the Killian documents as an outright forgery, it raised serious questions about their authenticity and the way CBS News handled them.

The panel identified 10 serious defects in the preparation and reporting of the story that included failure to obtain clear authentication of the documents or to investigate controversial background of the source of the purported documents, retired Texas National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett.

The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was also faulted for calling Joe Lockhart, a senior official in the John Kerry campaign, prior to the airing of the piece, and offering to put Burkett in touch with him. The panel called Mapes' action a clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias.

The panel noted that the Guard segment was rushed on the air only three days after 60 Minutes Wednesday had obtained some of the documents from Burkett and that preparation of the piece was supervised by a new management team of executive producer Howard and senior broadcast producer Murphy.

A key factor in the decision to broadcast the piece was a telephone conversation between Mapes and Maj. Gen. Bobby Hodges, Killian's commanding officer during the period in question. Mapes told the panel Hodges confirmed the content of the four documents after she read them to him over the phone.

Hodges, however, denied doing so. He also told the panel he had given Mapes information that should have raised warning flags about the documents, including his belief that Killian had never ordered anyone, including Mr. Bush, to take a physical.

Hodges said that when he finally saw the documents after the Sept. 8 broadcast, he concluded they were bogus and told Rather and Mapes of his opinion on Sept. 10.

This alleged confirmation by Major General Hodges started to march 60 Minutes Wednesday into dangerous and ultimately unsustainable territory: the notion that since the content of the documents was felt to be true, demonstrating the authenticity of the documents became less important.

Mapes' telephone conversation with Hodges was part of a vetting process that the panel concluded was wholly inadequate, largely because it had to be done so quickly. The key executives vetting the piece were West, Howard, and Murphy.

After rushing the piece to air, the panel said, CBS News compounded the error by blindly defending the story. In doing so, the news organization missed opportunities to set the record straight.

The panel finds that once serious questions were raised, the defense of the segment became more rigid and emphatic, and that virtually no attempt was made to determine whether the questions raised had merit, the report concluded.

The panel believes a turning point came on Sept. 10, when CBS News President Andrew Heyward ordered West to review the opinions of document examiners who had seen the disputed documents and the confidential sources supporting the story.

But no such investigation was undertaken at that time.

Had this directive been followed promptly, the panel does not believe that 60 Minutes Wednesday would have publicly defended the segment for another 10 days, the report said.

The panel made a number of recommendations for changes, including:
Appoint a senior Standards and Practices Executive, reporting directly to the President of CBS News, who would review all investigative reporting, use of confidential sources and authentication of documents. Personnel should feel comfortable going to this person confidentially and without fear of reprisal, with questions or concerns about particular reports.
Foster an atmosphere in which competitive pressure is not allowed to prompt airing of reports before all investigation and vetting is done.
Allow senior management to know the names of confidential sources as well as all relevant background about the person needed to make news judgments.
Appoint a separate team, led by someone not involved in the original reporting, to look into any news report that is challenged.

The full report can be found at http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/co...CBS_Report.pdf
post #1375 of 25503
Thread Starter 
WB Readies Summerland Return
By DON KAPLAN [B}New York Post[/b]

IN the dead of winter, the WB network is welcom ing back its only hit new drama of the season, "Summerland."

The show, which aired briefly last summer, is about a California fashion designer (Lori Loughlin) who inherits her sister's country bumpkin kids after their parents are killed. But it has unexpectedly become the most important new show of the 2004-05 season for the network.

Buzz surrounding the series is being fueled further by the sudden pop-music fame of one of its stars, Jesse McCartney, 17, who plays angst-ridden teen Bradin Westerly, one of the three Kansas kids who find themselves suddenly orphaned and living in southern California.

"I think they actually kind of played off of each other," says McCartney of the popularity surrounding "Summerland" and his debut album "Beautiful Soul." Since his record debuted last fall, it's sold more than 260,000 copies and is topping the airplay rotation on Z100.

"Having the show on the air before the record came out was huge," he says. "It was almost a free promotion for the album. It got my face out there and let people know who I am.

"Now people can put a face with the name because they've seen the show," says McCartney, who grew up along the Hudson River in the village of Ardsley, N.Y., and moved to Los Angeles about eight months ago to work.

"With the album doing pretty good, those who see me on TV or hear me singing on the radio can say, 'Isn't that the kid from "Summerland?" ' " he says. "It's kind of like they both feed off of each other let's just say it's very cool."

"I'm thrilled," laughs "Summerland" executive producer Remi Aubuchon. "I hope it helps Jesse's singing career, too, but it really helps our show."

Aubuchon says that McCartney wasn't cast because of his pop-idol potential. "But we knew there was something special about him."

"Summerland" is hugely important to the WB for another reason: The network's two other major new dramas this season, "The Mountain" and "Jack & Bobby," flopped, turning the success of "Summerland" into one of the lone new bright spots on the youth-skewing network's aging schedule.

The network is re-airing the series' short first season just 13 episodes starting Jan. 16. The new season debuts on Feb. 28.

"I think it was a huge surprise to the network that we did as well as we did last summer," says Aubuchon. "Now I'm starting to believe that the audience was ready for a show like ours, and you can see with the success of 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Lost' that people were looking for more character-driven dramas, and I think we were actually the first to pop out like that."
post #1376 of 25503
LAX HD (3 unaired episodes; first of which will air Saturday Jan. 15) -the 1/15 and 1/22 airings were pulled.

Also, you accidently put the word "Eyes" for The Mountain and Second Time Around.
post #1377 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for your eagle eye, f44.
Changes made.
post #1378 of 25503
Thread Starter 
The Mary Mapes statement on her firing by CBS is here:
post #1379 of 25503

Big Man on Campus should go under non-hd shows in ratings trouble (although its ending soon), or you should get rid of the category since it hasn't been updated in a while. If you do keep it, The Will on CBS should go under there.

For Grounded For Life, the way you wrote it seems like no episodes are airing until 1/28.

The Apprentice 3 January 20 (9PM ET?) -no ? needed. It will regularly air at 9pm, first two episodes will be 90 and 80 minutes, respectively, and will start at 8:30pm ET though.

For Bernie Mac, on 1/14 only, the 8:30pm episode is new as well and not a rerun.

Survivor is called Survivor: Palau.

Star Trek: Enterprise and Veronica Mars should go under HD Shows in Ratings trouble.

My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss has (unaired episodes). Amount not known.
post #1380 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Thanks again, f44.
I have incorporated almost all your suggestions!
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