or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › HDTV › HDTV Programming › Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 1004

post #30091 of 93817
Thread Starter 
TV Notes
'Bees' big at NAACP Image Awards
'Secret' wins best film, writer, supporting actor
By N’Neka Hite, Variety, February 12, 2009

"The Secret Life of Bees" had a sweet night, taking the top honors for motion picture, best writer and best supporting actor, Thursday at the 40th annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine in Los Angeles.

Helmer Gina Prince-Bythewood was named outstanding director for "Bees" while Columbus Short nabbed supporting actor in the pic.

"Slumdog Millionaire" kept the winning streak going with outstanding indie pic.

Will Smith and Rosario Dawson got kudos for best actor and actress in "Seven Pounds."

Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson got the nod for best supporting actress in a motion pic for "Benjamin Button."

Jenny Lumet won outstanding writing for "Rachel Getting Married."

"Grey's Anatomy" got best drama, while "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" won for best comedy series.

Jennifer Hudson had a huge night and serenaded Muhammad Ali as he was honored with the Presidents Award. Hudson won outstanding new artist, outstanding duo, group or collaboration for "I'm His Only Woman" featuring Fantasia and best album for "Jennifer Hudson."

Beyonce was named top recording artist female, and Jamie Foxx won for best male artist, both of them beating out Chris Brown and Rihanna who were noticeably absent

Russell Simmons brought both daughters Aoki and Ming Lee on stage as he accepted the Vanguard Award for his groundbreaking work in social

Sean "Diddy" Combs won for outstanding actor in a television movie for "A Raisin in the Sun" which gathered three image awards.

Performances by will.i.am, Seal and Beyonce preceded a musical finale from Stevie Wonder who closed the evening performing with hosts Halle Berry and Tyler Perry, as the audience waived American flags in celebration of the orgs 100-year anniversary.

Other Winners

Actor in a daytime drama series: Bryton McClure, "The Young and the Restless."

Actress in a daytime drama series: Debbie Morgan, "All my Children"

News/Information-Series or Special: "In Conversation with Michelle Obama Interview"

Talk series: "The View"

Reality series: "American Idol"

Variety-series or special: "UNCF An Evening of Stars: Tribute to Smokey Robinson"

Children's program: "Dora the Explorer"

Performance in a youth/children's program-series or special: Keke Palmer, "True Jackson"

Documentary: "The Black List"

Directing in a drama series: Ernest Dickerson, "Lincoln Heights"

Directing in a comedy series: Kevin Sullivan, "30 Rock"

Writing in a comedy series: Erica D. Montolfo, "The Game"

Jazz artist: Natalie Cole, "Still Unforgettable"

Gospel artist-traditional or contemporary: Mary, Mary

World Music Album: Cheryl Keyes, "Let Me Take You There"

Music Video: "Yes We Can," Will.i.am

Song: "Yes We Can," Will i. am

Literary work-fiction: "In the Night of the Heat: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel," Blair Underwood,

Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes

Literary work-non-fiction: "Letter to My Daughter," Maya Angelou

Literary work-debut author: "Barack, Race and the Media: Drawing My Own Conclusion," David Glenn Brown

Literary work-biography/autobiography: "The Legs Are the Last To Go," Diahann Carroll

Literary work-instructional: "32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business," Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Literary work-poetry: "Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebrate of Poetry With a Beat," Nikki Giovanni

Literary work-children: "Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope," Nikki Grimes

Literary work-youth/teens: "Letters to a Young Sister: Define Your Destiny," Hill Harper

post #30092 of 93817
Thread Starter 
TV Review
Fox's new show is its own worst enemy
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY

If Joss Whedon can't build a show around a blank slate, perhaps we should just agree no one can.

With a résumé that stretches from the classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer to what may be the best original work ever done for the Web, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, there's no doubt Whedon ranks among our greatest writers. He seems incapable of doing anything boring or ordinary, and Fox's Dollhouse — a complex sci-fi drama about a secret agency that replaces people's personalities with made-to-order imprints — is no exception.

Unfortunately, he's expending his considerable talents on an empty-vessel premise that probably couldn't support a series even were it more adroitly cast, or didn't resemble the already dismissed My Own Worst Enemy. The result is a show that his most devoted fans will debate and embrace, and a mass audience just won't get.

The vessel is Eliza Dushku as Echo, who lives with the other "actives" in a spa-like "dollhouse" where they wait for a geek genius (Fran Kranz, more annoying than amusing) to implant them. She has a handler on her side (Harry Lennix), an FBI agent on her trail (Tahmoh Penikett), and a growing problem: Her memories keep messing up her implants.

Dushku can be an appealing performer, but she's not a particularly versatile one, and versatility is what's required here. Too often she either falls back on the hard, damaged vixen act she used as Buffy's Faith or reverts to a childlike trance that's too dull to carry us

Whedon's gift for the unexpected is unabated, but he seems to have forgotten what he taught us in Buffy: We'll accept the "how" of a fantasy if we believe the "why" — if the motivations make sense. Here you can't imagine why anyone would go to all this trouble to create a "perfect" safecracker when perfectly good ones are available for a lot less.

We love you, Joss, but please, build something else.

post #30093 of 93817
Thread Starter 
TV Review
A big disappointment
By Tim Goodman, San Francisco Chronicle TV Columnist

Joss Whedon is one of television's most talented visionaries, but his latest series - the highly anticipated midseason drama "Dollhouse" - is a major disappointment.

It looks as if Fox was onto something when it wanted the pilot reworked and maybe onto something bigger when it shifted the series to Friday nights, hardly the spot for a heavyweight these days. On the plus side, being out of the limelight might allow the troubled "Dollhouse" to grow. After Friday's lackluster pilot, it certainly has room to do so.

But judging from two additional episodes - one a step forward, the other a step back to the underwhelming quality of the pilot - it could be that Whedon has invested too much hope in his muse, Eliza Dushku, the star of "Dollhouse." It could also be that the premise is too flawed for anyone to elevate.

Here's Fox's description of the series: " 'Dollhouse' focuses on Echo (Dushku), a member of a highly illegal and underground group of individuals ('Actives') who have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas. Hired by the wealthy, powerful and connected, the Actives don't just perform their hired roles, they wholly become - with mind, personality and physiology - whomever the client wants or needs them to be. ... After each engagement, Echo returns to the mysterious Dollhouse where her thoughts, feelings, experiences and knowledge are erased. Or are they?"

OK, then. Ambitious, yes. Implausibly hokey, yes. But Whedon was able to make "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" into a slice of genius, plus he turned Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog into an Internet sensation during the Writers Guild of America strike. You have to give the man room to work.

But "Dollhouse" doesn't work, on numerous levels - starting with Dushku. She's not a sufficiently compelling actress to pull off the various personas she's given. What's worse, "Dollhouse" wants the "dolls" to be childlike and unencumbered by thought when they're not on assignment. This doe-eyed, vacant state does not suit Dushku. She mainly walks around bemusedly, looking wan.

Issues of identity

The bigger picture - which "Dollhouse" doesn't really illustrate in the three episodes sent to critics - is that issues of identity are in play: how the Actives came to volunteer for the Dollhouse experiment in the first place and what they - specifically Echo - might be recalling from memories they're not supposed to have access to. Whedon may be after something bigger, but none of it seems especially compelling.

What the series does achieve, ever so slowly, is a much-needed bigger mystery than what's up with Echo. We learn, for example, that one of the Actives did something he shouldn't have; it seems the programming code, or "art," as its young creator, Topher (Fran Kranz), calls it, has some bugs. That's also why Echo is holding on to memories. Faulty code can be interesting (at least Fox better hope it becomes more so). And there could very well be a heretofore unknown rival to the Dollhouse - always good for drama.

The super-secret Dollhouse is fronted by Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams), who reports to unseen handlers. Stoic Boyd Langton (Harry Lennix) is assigned to be Echo's handler and protector. He's likable right off the bat, and his rising curiosity about the ultimate goal of the Dollhouse adds a small layer of interest. So, too, does FBI Agent Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett), whose relentless pursuit to prove the existence and real story behind the Dollhouse makes him the FBI's running joke - but he adds much-needed gravitas to life outside the Dollhouse. Laurence Dominic (Reed Diamond) plays the head of security at the Dollhouse. "The dolls in their infantile state disgust him," according to Fox - and that's a sentiment that many viewers are likely to share, which brings us to the fundamental flaw of the series.

Who cares?

Why care about the Actives at all? When they're on assignment, it's not as if they're real people. They're programmed robots, essentially, doing a job, playing a role. Once they're "wiped," and they fall into that aforementioned infantile state where they loll around doing yoga and babbling, they're pretty and vacant but not exactly enthralling. Echo's backstory barely unfolds after three episodes, and that's asking for more patience than the average viewer may have. There's barely a trace of Whedon's wonderful sense of humor, and when it does come, from the boy scientist character Topher, it makes you think of him as less scientist and more boy, hardly the believable architect of this life-altering technology.

And then there's Dushku the muse - the actress who inspired the series Whedon built around her. Obviously he sees something in her. But will viewers? That's a lot of faith.

Here's hoping "Dollhouse" improves significantly or else Fox is going to wipe it clean for next season.

post #30094 of 93817
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Thanks for your discretion, Dave.

Nah, it wasn't really anything like that. We just decided to take a political discussion off-line, since it is inappropriate in this thread.

Maybe others should follow suit.
post #30095 of 93817
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Thanks for your discretion, Dave.

Your welcome, Fred. It wasn't a disagreement or anything, I just wanted some clarification and didn't want to continue the discussion in this thread, or get a bunch of arguments going. The sad fact is this is one of the few threads where we can discuss some political things without it turning personal. Of course, that's because you nip it in the bud pretty quickly.

And, even though I don't agree with a lot of folks here politically, I do value their opinions and very often have some worthy discussions off-line.
post #30096 of 93817
Thread Starter 
That is what I was referring to, and I appreciate it from both of you.

Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

Nah, it wasn't really anything like that. We just decided to take a political discussion off-line, since it is inappropriate in this thread.

Maybe others should follow suit.
post #30097 of 93817
Thread Starter 
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
Friday’s Network Prime-Time Programming Options

(Reminder: If you are recording these programs, check your network listings for precise start/end times. For PBS, please double check your local listings.)

Wife Swap
9 Supernanny
10 20/20: Diane Sawyer’s “A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains” HD

Ghost Whisperer HD
9 Flashpoint (R) HD
10 Numbers HD

Howie Do It
Howie Do It (R)
Friday Night Lights HD
Dateline NBC

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles HD
Dollhouse (series premiere) HD

Washington Week
Bill Moyers Journal

The CW:
Everybody Hates Chris (R) HD
8:30 The Game (R) HD
9 13: Fear Is Real

8 WWE: Friday Night Smackdown! (two hours) HD

MNTV HD Schedule is from jimboy’s
post #30098 of 93817
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

HDTV Notes
Sunday's 'Simpsons' Goes HD, Updates Title Sequence
By Josef Adalian, TV Week - February 12, 2009

The producers of "South Park" recently announced their Comedy Central series would go HD starting with its 13th season, which bows March 11.

havent HD "South Park" episodes aired already....i saw a show a few weeks ago & it wasnt "stretched" so unless it was "zoomed" it was HD.

edit: yes comedy has aired HD eps already.
post #30099 of 93817
This is really funny. Like Letterman himself hasn't had odd behavior himself. The guy's own bitterness and negativity drove me away from his show. That being said it was pretty funny. :-)

Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

TV Notes
Late Show' Marred By Bizarre Phoenix Interview
Actor's Disturbing Behavior Leaves Letterman Scratching His Head, Audience Wondering What Just Happened
Dave: "Joaquin, I'm Sorry You Couldn't Be Here Tonight"

NEW YORK (CBS) ― If you thought Joaquin Phoenix was bizarre before, his behavior during an interview on the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Wednesday didn't do much to dispel the notion that the actor, at times, isn't all there.

In by far one of the weirdest interviews Letterman has ever conducted, Phoenix appeared detached, aloof and at times irritated during a seven-minute sit-down that had the audience rolling and Letterman searching for some way to get meaningful answers.

Was it all possibly a put-on by the talented actor? Not likely. It's hard to imagine anyone going in front of a national television audience and purposely making himself look that bad. But then again, Hollywood is Hollywood. One never knows.

Phoenix came out dressed in all black, with long hair, a shaggy beard and wearing dark shades, sort of like a Blue Brothers get-up on steroids.

Letterman started out by saying it had been three years since Phoenix had been on the program. The veteran host started in playfully on the actor's beard, asked if it was comfortable or itchy. Phoenix seemed completely aloof and unaware that Letterman was even talking to him. Letterman asked if the beard was comfortable.

"I'm okay with it, but now you're making me feel weird about it," Phoenix said.

Letterman then joked that he can't possibly be the first person to make him feel weird about it, to which the 34-year-old star of such films as "Gladiator" and "Signs," said, "No, I guess not."

Phoenix scratched the left side of his face and Letterman pointed out that's what he was referring to. Is the beard uncomfortable? Phoenix said the scratching was just a nervous tick.

Letterman then lauded Phoenix for his new movie, "Two Lovers," that he stars in alongside Academy Award winner Gwyneth Paltrow. Phoenix, however, seemed completely detached, like he didn't realize Letterman was speaking to him.

"Oh yeah, Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw," Phoenix said after a long pause and adjusting his shades.

Letterman told Phoenix he loved the movie and his acting. Phoenix just replied, "Thank you."

At that point the audience was beginning to catch on that something just wasn't right with the entire interview. Laughter began to dictate Dave's questions. Phoenix, however, seemed unfazed by the whole thing, lost in whatever world he was currently occupying.

After a long pause, Letterman, clearly puzzled by Phoenix's lack of focus in the interview, got in one of the best zingers of the conversation.

"So what can you tell me about your days with the Unabomber?"

Phoenix just stared into space.

Later, Letterman said he hoped after Phoenix took some time off from acting, as he had said he plans to do to pursue a music career, he would reconsider and return to the big screen because, Letterman said, Phoenix is one of the best actors in Hollywood.

Phoenix didn't reply, even as the audience members encouraged him with cheers and applause.

Letterman continued his prodding and asked Phoenix what he plans on doing while taking a sabbatical from acting.

"Well, I've been working on my music," he said through a stutter.

Letterman then praised Phoenix for his work in the Academy Award-nominated flick "Walk The Line" and asked if that style of music is something Phoenix wants to pursue.

"No, no I do more of hip-hop music," he replied.

The audience snickered and Phoenix looked generally surprised and said, "What is that, a joke?" He then looked at Letterman and said, "What do you have them on? What do you gas them up with?"

Phoenix later uttered a simple "yes" when asked if it was fun to act alongside "Two Lovers" co-star Isabella Rossellini.

Letterman then asked Phoenix if he has any fun stories to tell the audience. Again, Phoenix looked lost, as if he didn't understand the question.

Letterman asked the actor to keep the "Late Show" in mind when his new hip-hop career takes off because "we want to be there."

"Well, I'd love to come on this show and perform," Phoenix said, setting the stage for some of the most uncomfortable moments of the interview.

Letterman quickly responded, "You know that seems unlikely," to huge laughs.

Phoenix tried to say he's seen some of the other guests perform, as if to say if you'd give them the chance why not me? But Letterman quickly segued into something else.

"I'll keep you in our Rolodex," Letterman said to huge laughs.

Letterman, as he customarily does with guests on his show, asked Phoenix to help set up the clip he was about to show. Phoenix had no idea and took exception to Paul Shaffer's laughing. "Are you ------ kidding? Are you serious with that maniacal laughter? I don't know what the clip is."

Letterman explained it was a clip with Paltrow, to which Phoenix said, "You're doing fine." Letterman fired back, "That's high praise, coming from you."

That response clearly irked Phoenix, who tried to get an explanation from Letterman for his sarcasm. The host said, "Relax. We're having fun."

"I'll come to your house and chew gum," Letterman added.

Phoenix took the gum out of his mouth and put it under Letterman's desk.

Letterman closed the interview by saying, "Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight."

Phoenix smiled a bit, looked down and said, "He's funny. He's a funny dude."

See the entire bizarre segment here:

post #30100 of 93817
Originally Posted by rebkell View Post

It's just not my thing, I probably watched 2/3 of season 1, just couldn't get into it. I've tried a couple of times to get into it, but just didn't work for me, it was the same for Friday Night Lights, everybody raved about it, but I just never could really get into it.

The same situation for me.... I tried to watch both shows, but I couldn't get into either of them.
post #30101 of 93817
Thread Starter 
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
Some Friday Basic Cable HD First-Run, Prime-Time Options

Animal Planet
AMC Storymakers HD

Animal Planet
Jockeys HD

Wedding Day Disasters HD

Discovery Channel
Adrenaline: Rush Hour HD

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at West Virginia HD

Battlestar Galactica HD

NASCAR:Camping World Truck Series: Daytona 250 (2 ½ hours) HD

The Learning Channel
What Not To Wear HD

Monk HD
Psych HD
post #30102 of 93817
"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" on Cartoon Network HD FYI:

2 "NEW" episodes tonite....9:00pm et episode & an extra 9:30pm et episode as well.
post #30103 of 93817
Thread Starter 
How did the return of "Survivor" do?
We get the first hints with Thursday's
metered market over night prime-time ratings - which, along with Media Week Analyst Marc Berman's view of what they mean -- have been posted at the top of Ratings News -- the second post in this thread.
post #30104 of 93817
Thread Starter 
The Business of Television
Worries grow that Peter Chernin won't stay on as Rupert Murdoch's No. 2
For months, the News Corp. president and his boss have been locked in talks over a new contract. Insiders and Wall Street wonder what's keeping them.
By Meg James and Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2009

Rupert Murdoch has returned from Australia, where he celebrated his mother's 100th birthday. Now the mogul faces another important date.

The contract for Murdoch's chief lieutenant, News Corp. President Peter Chernin, expires June 30, and the two executives have been locked in negotiations for months. They haven't struck a deal, and concern is mounting inside the company, and on Wall Street, that Chernin will not renew.

Fueling the speculation is Murdoch's arrival this week in Los Angeles for an extensive review of the West Coast operations of News Corp., which include the Fox network, movie studio and cable channels. Murdoch spent much of the last year in New York immersed in his purchase of Dow Jones & Co. and putting his imprimatur on the Wall Street Journal.

Some Fox executives worry that Chernin, who has been key to the company's smooth operations, might leave News Corp. at a difficult time. The stock closed Thursday at $7.24 -- off 65% from its 52-week high. Last week News Corp. reported a $6.4-billion loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31, much of it owing to asset write-downs.

Chernin has been tight-lipped about his plans. Some analysts view the situation -- and the domino effect in management his departure could trigger -- with alarm.

"While Chernin has not signaled his intent, we fear the longer time goes by, the less likely he is to renew his contract," Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield wrote in a recent report. "Chernin's departure would raise significant investor concern and could lead to other management changes at News Corp."

Chernin and Murdoch declined to comment.

The succession question has been a long-standing issue at News Corp. The 77-year-old Murdoch is fond of saying that his mum's longevity -- Dame Elisabeth celebrated her birthday Sunday with 600 friends -- bodes well for his own prospects of remaining at the helm for many more years.

Some on Wall Street question whether Murdoch's children are ready to manage a company that took in $33 billion in revenue last fiscal year.

A week ago, during a conference call with analysts to discuss earnings, Chernin played a less prominent role than he had in the past. Murdoch dominated the call, fielding questions about the entertainment properties that have long been Chernin's specialty.

Then there was the prickly question about his contract.

During November's earnings call, when Murdoch and Chernin were asked to characterize the negotiations, Chernin called them "constructive." Murdoch jumped in: "I would characterize them as constructive and friendly."

But last week, the same question prompted a measured response. "Peter and I are continuing our conversations, and they're private and that is all there is to it," Murdoch said. "Nothing more for me to say and we won't take any further questions on that. It is a confidential matter."

Chernin remained silent.

People close to Chernin said it would be a leap to tie Murdoch's visit to Chernin's tenure.

Murdoch's tour through Los Angeles is part of a strategic review of the company's businesses that takes place every three years, according to people familiar with the situation who did not want to be identified discussing the sensitive subject. They said that the chief executive is typically involved in long-range planning.

Chernin, 57, has been known to take negotiations down to the wire. His last contract renewal, in July 2004, was announced three days before the agreement took effect.

post #30105 of 93817
Thread Starter 
Television Review
Joss Whedon's show seems too empty.
A group of people who have had their memories erased, led by Eliza Dushku's Echo, can be hired to do just about any task. But there's no emotional connection.
By MARY McNAMARA, Los Angeles Times Television Critic, February 13, 2009

To say there has been anticipatory buzz surrounding Joss Whedon's return to television with Fox's Dollhouse is like saying octo-mom has gotten some media attention. The moment Whedon announced the project, fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly" began their internal countdown. When bad things began to happen -- the network wanted so many changes in the pilot that Whedon chucked it and began again from scratch -- the buzz only got louder.

But although buzz can indicate an excited crowd on the brink of satiation, it can also serve as a warning that you're about to get stung.

If you sense a pause at this moment, it's me taking a break to wring my hands and brush away a tear. But no amount of fondness or admiration for Whedon and his work can disguise the fact that "Dollhouse," which premieres tonight, is beyond disappointing. Overcrowded with plotlines, high-tech gimmicks and ambition yet empty of emotional connection and purpose, "Dollhouse" tries so hard to be so many things it winds up being nothing much at all.


  • STORY:
Countdown to 'Dollhouse'

For 'Dollhouse' on Fox, the set is one of the stars

More Related:
·'Dollhouse': Eliza Dushku puts her faith in Joss Whedon

·Countdown to 'Dollhouse': Joss Whedon on women (and sex!)

·Countdown to 'Dollhouse': Exclusive photos

It would be nice to blame the network and all those dreaded notes, but of the three episodes Fox made available, the pilot is the strongest. Here we meet Echo (Eliza Dushku) and the people who have created her. Echo is an "active," one of a cadre of incredibly good looking young people who are part of a sleek action-brothel where the super-rich and semi-deranged can rent people capable of just about anything. Need a partner for kinky sex, white-water rafting or kidnapping negotiation? Meetcha at the Dollhouse.

Echo and her pals are able to perform such disparate tasks because their memories have been wiped away, leaving them as blank slates onto which other memories, and therefore personalities and abilities, can be downloaded.

You can see why Whedon was drawn to the conceit. It provides a nice action-adventure A plot -- in the pilot it's Echo, programmed to be an ace negotiator, helping a father whose daughter has been kidnapped -- along with, potentially, a lot of larger questions about identity and the nature of reality. A sort of "Alias" meets "Bourne" by way of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" with a lot of lovely "dolls" milling about, often naked.

A show like this is built on being maddening and mysterious. But "Dollhouse" takes it to a noticeably pleased-with-itself extreme. Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams) is the madam of the house, and she's so icy and buttoned up she seems to be experiencing full-body Botox. We watch as she offers to get the woman Echo used to be out of some kind of trouble (Murder? Bad credit rating? It's unclear) in exchange for sucking all the memories out of her head, and we have to wonder: At what point did something like that sound good?

Then there's the blank-stare thing. Between gigs, the actives are memory-free. (They each emerge from their wipe-downs with the line "Was I asleep?," which someone in Fox marketing apparently already envisions on a T-shirt.) So how come everyone knows how to swim and hold a fork and do tai chi? And what about all that mixed-gender nudity? Are we saying libido is strictly a product of memory?

Unfortunately these are the kind of thoughts you have watching more than one episode of "Dollhouse," if only to avoid the larger, more disturbing questions. Like who thought Dushku was up to the formidable task of portraying several different people per episode? (Hint: It takes more than a different hairstyle and glasses.) Or why the wisecracking, memory-wipe geek played by Fran Kranz seems to have wandered in from another, more lighthearted show? (His name is Topher, for cryingoutloud). Or why we don't get an episode or two to just get used to the whole Dollhouse concept before it's front-loading it with two "enemies," one an FBI agent determined to find this legendary Dollhouse, the other a Doll Gone Wild.

But these are all surmountable problems of any science/fantasy show. The real problem with "Dollhouse" is that everyone involved was so caught up with its concept, complications and set design that they forgot to build the viewer a point of entry.

Echo is the natural choice, except that she's a non-person, which makes it a little hard to get attached. Despite its spa-like setting and occasional desire to save kidnapped children, the Dollhouse is just plain creepy, a moral half-step above the organ-harvesting joint in "Coma." It would be easy to root for the FBI agent except that Tahmoh Penikett plays him so teeth-gritted dull. Echo's handler Boyd (Harry Lennix) is the closest thing to human the show has. He at least sees Echo as a person rather than a robot. But though he raises all the necessary moral and ethical questions, he still takes the paycheck.

That leaves Doll Gone Wild, whoever that may be. And, of course, all of us Whedon fans who are hoping against hope that he somehow manages to pull all this together and make us care a little less about his return and a little more about the show that brought him back.

post #30106 of 93817
Dollhouse is surely being hammered, let us watch it first, perhaps we can prove them wrong..
post #30107 of 93817
Originally Posted by DrLar View Post

Dollhouse is surely being hammered, let us watch it first, perhaps we can prove them wrong..

its on "fiday nite" network tv....doesnt that tell us all we need to know.
post #30108 of 93817
Thread Starter 
Television Review
“Buffy” Creator Back With Mind-Erasing Fun
By Linda Stasi, New York Post TV Critic, February 13, 2009
(three stars out of four)

DID you ever have a really great date, and then the person inexplicably disappeared, never returned your phone calls and even blocked you from his/her email list like you were a freaking stalker?

Well, hey, don't feel bad. Maybe it's not you, after all. Maybe you didn't misread the signs, you don't have cat breath and didn't talk with your mouth full. OK, you did that, but that didn't cause the full-frontal rejection. Maybe you had the world's greatest date with an "Active."

I know this now because I just watched Fox's new, much-hyped show "Dollhouse," from the guy who brought you "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel." And unlike the aforementioned ideal date that went south, I'm not in love, but I am intrigued.

The show, like many, many others that came before, centers around a highly secret, "highly illegal underground group" that does highly secret, highly illegal things. Like all the others, this rogue group of elite karate-techies is being hunted by the feds.

What's different here is that the group has a group - great looking women who were in such trouble that the only option out was opting out of real life. And they don't care about the good of humankind.

These women, called "Actives" have their memories wiped out and then continually imprinted with other memories that will serve them well on each "engagement." Actives, like the Marines, are all that they can be - even if they have no idea of who they are while they're being all that. They can be hired out as prostitutes, girlfriends, hostage negotiators and, yes, world class killers.

The most active Active is Echo, played by Eliza Dushku. Right off, let me tell you that Echo is no "Alias." Or, at least, Dushku is no Garner. She just doesn't have the on-screen charisma.

It's off to a slow-start tonight. Echo is hired to be a great girlfriend, then returns to the mysterious "Dollhouse" to be reprogrammed into a hostage negotiator.

But it's next week when Echo is reprogrammed and hired out as a mountain-climbing, cross-bow-shooting prostitute, that things get really good.

Keeping the Stepford Assassin going is her handler Boyd (Harry Lennix); the capo di tutti capi, Adelle (Olivia Williams); the techie, Topher (Fran Kranz); and, of course, the handsome agent who's trying to track them down, Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett).

Good, dirty fun.

post #30109 of 93817
As badly as Dollhouse is being hammered, it may be that the critics are bringing about a self-fulfilling prophesy.
post #30110 of 93817
Thread Starter 
Television Review
Deserves To Be Condemned
By Tom Shales, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, February 13, 2009

Few situation comedies are as nakedly nutty as Fox's newest drama, which goes to show you how topsy and turvy pop culture is becoming. If "Dollhouse," a pretentious and risible jumble premiering tonight on that most quixotic of national networks, were a piece of music, it would have to be some sort of funky-junky, hip-hop, rinky-tinky, ragtime madrigal.

If that sounds like a mish-mash of mumbo jumbo, good, because so is the show.

Slices of mumbo don't come much more jumbo than this new entry from producer Joss Whedon; it's enough to make one long for the days when TV dramas were criticized for being too pat, too predictable, too much like one another. Whedon, who directed the pilot, certainly dressed it up stylishly, but I'll take simple coherence over fancy-pants trappings any day. After all, this is television, not an art-house cinema in Greenwich Village.

The premise is admittedly intriguing, though it has a familiar ring to it. A tough, nimble, high-stakes secret agent named Echo is an "Active" in a hush-hush outfit of domestic do-gooders known as the Dollhouse, which might be a very tenuous homage to everybody's favorite mad romantic Norwegian, Henrik Ibsen. Echo has a honey of an identity crisis: Every night when she's zippered into her cozy little mummylike chamber for sleep, her memory bank is wiped clean and she'll start the next day with no idea of who the devil she might be.

This particular form of torture makes her an ideal secret agent, it seems, although the precise benefits of her condition are not very impressive at first blush -- or 13th. It does make Echo an ultimate existentialist, a woman whose past is a mystery even to herself but doesn't do much complaining about this awkward condition.

The show is a two-stream drama in which Echo jumps through hoops to complete her latest assignment -- freeing a cute little girl from the clutches of some filthy rotten old kidnapers, for instance -- while in the B story, Echo follows clues that may point the way to her real name and personality and parents. It's not so much a plot as a blueprint; Whedon tries to offset the tidiness with some wild flourishes, like a scene in which we see, according to my notes, "barefoot babes in high-tech beds!"

At times, the drama suggests a collaboration between David Lynch and Michael Mann, but not in a good way (if a "good way" would be possible between those two macabre cutups). Oh, Quentin Tarantino's influence seems apparent, too, especially in a bathroom scene. A man standing at a urinal is understandably displeased to feel the barrel of a handgun pressed against the back of his neck.

Man with gun: "Dollhouse. Say it."

Man at urinal: "Dollhouse."

Man with gun: "Say it again."

They could keep on like this all night. It begins to play like a Flomax commercial, actually. Although this scene is harmlessly audacious, the producers and director get carried way away in the second episode, the camera languishing over shots of naked, nubile bodies scarred by slices and other gruesome wounds. It's way too explicit (probably worth an R rating if this were a theatrical film) and self-consciously congratulatory.

Eliza Dushku, veteran of another Whedon series, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," plays Echo; would she like to be praised for doing a darn fine job of playing an empty outline of a human being? She does contribute some ruffles and flourishes designed to fill in those gaping gaps and fill in a blank canvas, but it's awfully hard to play a character who barely exists -- and harder still to inspire much concern or interest in the audience.

Others in the cast rise to adequacy or beyond, but the decor is so outlandish that the actors really have to fight it more than just act upon it. Naturally, the secret headquarters of the Dollhouse is a fabulous layout worthy of a James Bond villain (albeit one who buys some of his furniture at Ikea). Echo's apartment is similarly snazzy -- very shiny and sleek.

Dollhouse is apparently a private or semi-private enterprise, which deprives us of an obvious prescription: Cut off its funding and shut the thing down so that Little Miss Echo can find out who she is and go home again. All the bogus hocus-pocus about wiped memories and forgotten identities and running around after strange shadows in the dark (or in the light, as the case may be) simply isn't worth the trouble, and just the money spent on interior decorating could probably keep the National Gallery of Art lit up for a month.

post #30111 of 93817
Thread Starter 
Television Review
Directions: Brainwash, Rinse, Repeat
By Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times, February 13, 2009

Women create life by giving birth. Men fantasize about creating life — preferably female, sexy and low-maintenance — out of scrap metal and computer chips.

The yen may be childish, but it’s deeply rooted. Pygmalion carved his ideal woman out of ivory, and Henry Higgins remade Eliza Doolittle in a social experiment, not a laboratory, but it’s the same kind of D.I.Y. wish fulfillment. Science fiction supplied the technology, and popular culture took care of the rest.

Movies like “The Stepford Wives” and “Blade Runner” took nonmortal makeovers seriously. In the mid-1960s television mostly played it for laughs, mining the comic appeal of men taming paranormal women on “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie,” sitcoms which for some reason popped up just after Betty Friedan published her 1963 call to arms, “The Feminine Mystique.”

There is a particular erotic charge to fembots of course. A man-made version of a witch or a genie is supposedly a surer thing; they still come with special powers, but Silicon Valley programming can remove tiresome reflexes like “no” and “we never talk anymore.”

In 1964 Bob Cummings began teaching a mechanical Julie Newmar feminine wiles in “My Living Doll.” On Friday, Fox is unveiling “Dollhouse,” by Joss Whedon, the creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly.” Mr. Whedon’s latest series refits the formula to suit an ethos in which the body is infinitely perfectible and the mind ever malleable: scientists take a real woman and brainwash her into thinking like a robot.

The “Buffy” alumna Eliza Dushku plays Echo, a troubled young woman who is pressured by a shadowy corporation to donate her body to fringe science: lab workers imprint Echo with a new personality. After she completes an assignment — and her tasks range from escort service to kidnapping negotiation — the scientists swipe her brain, removing the invented persona and erasing any memories of the experience. (That’s a whole other fantasy: the permanent, untraceable roofie.)

Echo, presumably so named because she can only repeat her programmers’ words, is not alone — there are several other buff, beautiful women (and at least one man) who, in their downtime, roam like robots around a remote, secret location that looks like a New Age spa. The boss of the Dollhouse, as the company is known, is Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams), an attractive but icy taskmaster who promises her rich clients that their every need will be met with a crisp British dominatrix lilt.

Echo doesn’t know it — or anything else for that matter, since she is a blank slate — but she has a champion on the outside: an F.B.I. agent, Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett), who suspects there is something unsound going on at the Dollhouse and is intent on investigating, even though his superiors pay no attention to his hunches.

Viewers may also have trouble maintaining interest in the perils of Echo, even if Agent Ballard can help salvage some of her memory banks. “Dollhouse” has an amusing premise, but the universe it inhabits in the early episodes is thin and bland. The sinister corporation behind the Dollhouse is ill-defined, and the show’s main characters are one-dimensional, including the real-life dolls. The plot lacks the metaphoric allusions and richly imagined contexts that enliven other science-fiction series like “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Battlestar Galactica.”

Preternatural events are only as interesting as the human predicaments that bracket and complement them. Though based on the two “Terminator” movies, “Sarah Connor” finds its voice in the juxtaposition of John Connor’s efforts to fit in at high school while trying to save the world from Armageddon. (The heroes of “Heroes,” in contrast, seem to have given up any attempt at daily routine.) Similarly the labors of John’s mother, Sarah, are Herculean, yet they also serve as bleak metaphors for the struggles of a single mom.

“Battlestar Galactica” has a similar apocalyptic vision, and it too weaves classic human conflicts into a broader, more fanciful canvas. Its central premise — war between humans and rebel robots — is founded on moral ambiguity. The enemy Cylons are a robot race created as slaves that rebelled and founded their own civilization and monotheistic theology. (Their god commands them to destroy the pagan human race.) Some Cylons think they are human, and some of the humans fear they may be Cylons. And almost everybody has an uneasy conscience.

Even the soulless cyborgs of “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” have more spark than Ms. Dushku’s Echo. The actress is sexy, but as a Stepford problem solver she has little to offer besides her fit physique. She is no match for Summer Glau of “Chronicles,” who plays Cameron, the rebel robot who is aligned with John Connor and embellishes the robot’s blank stares with a sulky overlay.

“Dollhouse” is fun to watch, but it could and should have a more compelling story to tell. Science fiction works best when the fiction is as inventive as the science.

post #30112 of 93817
Thread Starter 
Television Review
Bottom Line: Joss Whedon's latest mind-blower (literally) is fascinating but tricky to embrace.
By Ray Richmond, The Hollywood Reporter

As someone who is not a member of the cult of Joss Whedon, the sense of excitement and anticipation greeting a new series from the mastermind of stylistic method drama falls for me more under the category of curiosity. I appreciated the artistic ambition of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" and the metaphorical depth of "Firefly" but never really hooked onto any of them.

Now arrives "Dollhouse," which might be seen as a futuristic merging of "Buffy," "Charlie's Angels" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," though in this context the latter would be more like "perpetual conflict of the repeatedly rebooted brain."

In the early episodes of this much-hyped new Fox drama, it's easy to see the high aspiration and grand potential of the series but far more difficult to develop any sort of attachment to either the conceit or its enchanting young star and co-producer, Eliza Dushku. The show carries with it an antiseptic quality that keeps our heroine sealed off in an emotional bubble as she takes on new personas every week by dint of the premise. It's good for helping Dushku exercise her acting chops, but not so good for forming a tight audience connection since we never really know who she is.

Dushku, who played Faith on "Buffy" and "Angel" and also starred in the short-lived 2003 Fox drama "Tru Calling," heads up the high-concept "Dollhouse" as a woman who has had her personality wiped clean as a consequence of taking a job with an underground organization that imprints new personas onto its fetching "Actives" to serve the needs of its wealthy clientele. Her character, Echo, has her head regularly cleansed of persona and memory by the Dollhouse's resident wisecracking brainiac Topher (Fran Kranz) and gets led from assignment to assignment by handler Boyd (Harry Lennix).

In the opener, Echo dons glasses and blazer to help rescue a kidnapped 12-year-old girl, only to have a technical flaw nearly derail things. In subsequent weeks, we'll see Echo get programmed with the mindset and persona of everything from assassins to prostitutes, and slowly the memories of her actual past begin to filter back as the Feds give chase.

Although Whedon infuses "Dollhouse" with an impressively detailed story line and social structure as well as nifty production values, the show lacks something for viewers to grab onto. Having a personality-shifting protagonist makes for a rooting challenge and, at its core, a disappointingly soulless exercise.

On the other hand, Whedon knows how to build a story like few others, and Dushku is an uncommonly talented performer who breathes vibrant life into the ever-evolving blank canvas scheme. So this could definitely turn into something special over time, if the Friday night ratings can justify the patience.

post #30113 of 93817
Was going to post Shales comments, glad you did. What I find with Shales is that whatever he dislikes, which is everything, I usually enjoy. I hope Dollhouse does well.
post #30114 of 93817
Thread Starter 
The Business of Television
Fox TV's Gamble:
Fewer Ads in a Break, but Costing More.
By Brian Stelter, The New York Times, February 13, 2009

Eight minutes into Fringe on Tuesday, right after a man suffocated on a city street, the hour's first commercial was prefaced by a reminder that the drama would return in 60 seconds.

Sure enough, after ads for Listerine and the BlackBerry Curve, the paranormal investigations resumed on Fox.

Fringe, which had its premiere in September, was the first test of Fox's fewer-commercials strategy, which the network calls Remote-Free TV. Each episode of Fringe includes about 10 minutes of commercials, four to six minutes fewer than the typical hourlong show.

Fox has charged movie studios, wireless companies and retailers a premium price for commercials on the program to partly compensate Fox for a lighter commercial load.

On Friday, the format will be extended to a second Fox drama, Dollhouse, which stars Eliza Dushku as a secret agent who becomes aware that her memory has been repeatedly erased.

But has the commercial format worked? Fox says the shorter commercial breaks keep viewers more engaged and improve brand recall for advertisers. Viewers are also less likely to change the channel or fast-forward past the ads but not to the degree that Fox would have liked. Perhaps more important, the network does not appear to be recouping all the costs of the experiment. It is unclear whether Remote-Free TV will be back next season.

For decades, programmers have shown fondness for fewer commercial interruptions, especially for specials or other event-style shows. Many of these have had a single sponsor. The network evening newscasts have had occasional single-sponsor days and weeks, with one long commercial halfway through the half-hour program.

The Fox format is different. It includes several advertisers in each hour but limits the total number of commercials. When Fox pitched the strategy to advertisers last May, Peter Liguori, the Fox entertainment chairman, said that fewer commercials would present fewer reasons for viewers to to grab the remote and change the channel. Mr. Liguori said the format could potentially redefine the viewing experience.

Some advertisers have lauded Fox for taking a step toward reducing commercial clutter. But others have expressed skepticism that companies experience sufficient benefits in exchange for the premium price that is being charged.

Fox has received 40 to 50 percent premiums for the advertising sold for Fringe, according to executives and media buyers. Advertising Age, in its annual survey of TV ad pricing, found last fall that an average 30-second commercial on Fringe cost $343,000, making it the most expensive show on Tuesdays by far, even surpassing its highly rated fall lead-in, House.

Jon Nesvig, the president of sales for Fox Broadcasting, said last week that the format has worked reasonably well for Fringe.

It is commonly accepted, he said, that the first position in a commercial pod is the most effective one for advertisers. The second most effective position is the last commercial before the program resumes. Presumably viewers who are changing the channel, fast-forwarding the digital video recorder or taking a break are exposed to the bookends of the commercial break.

By shortening the commercial breaks, you basically have all first and last positions and you have lower clutter, Mr. Nesvig said. With less clutter, there's better recall, and that's what part of the objective is.

He said the commercial orders for Fringe have been full all along, owing in part to the support of movie companies like Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers and Universal. Other advertisers have included American Express, Apple, Verizon Wireless and Wal-Mart.

Last fall Nielsen IAG, an ad research company, analyzed the effect of fewer commercials and found that brand recall was 22 percent higher for Fringe than for prime time's most involving dramas.

Shorter breaks are also resulting in somewhat less skipping of commercials, according to Nielsen.

It's better than other shows, Mr. Nesvig said, but it hasn't been as great as we were hoping.

For Fox to break even on the format, the premium pricing for the ads has to outweigh the revenue that is lost by showing fewer commercials. Asked whether that was happening, Mr. Nesvig said the jury is still out on the economics.

Regardless, Mr. Nesvig calls the changes to the commercial load on Fringe successful.

Even if it wasn't an absolutely positive financial success, it was definitely a worthwhile experiment and something that I am glad we have attempted and will continue to work on, he said.

Dollhouse will have its premiere in the Friday 9 p.m. time slot, generally not one of the most popular times of the week for viewers or advertisers. Mr. Nesvig said that Fox is surprisingly well-stocked Monday through Thursday this spring, giving the network an opportunity to extend that beachhead into Friday night. And he hopes the Remote-Free TV format will act as a hook, creating appointment viewing on a night that consumers are more likely to go out with friends or see a movie.

Dollhouse may be a somewhat harder sell to advertisers, in part because of the Friday night slot. We'll still have some movie companies on Friday night, but not nearly as many as on Tuesday, Mr. Nesvig said.

In describing the pricing for the premium spots, he compared the dramas to the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is obviously not hard to sell in and of itself, he said. It's hard to sell at $3 million a unit. (NBC announced it had sold the last 30-second positions for this month's game one day before kickoff.) Similarly, spots would sell more swiftly if we went out and sold Fringe' for a 10 or 15 percent premium, he said.

Mr. Nesvig suggested that Fox would be in a better position to sell premium ad time in the coming upfront advertising season. The Remote-Free TV plan was presented to media buyers last May without much preparation, he said. Regardless of whether the format returns next season, Fox executives say the experiments with the number of commercials shown in its programs will continue.

There will be ongoing attempts to keep commercial viewing as high as possible, Mr. Nesvig said, adding, It behooves all of us to keep changing the model.

post #30115 of 93817
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

As badly as Dollhouse is being hammered, it may be that the critics are bringing about a self-fulfilling prophesy.

My thoughts exactly, they're already decreasing the people that will tune in to the shows with the barrage of negative reviews, personally I never pay any attention to the reviews, other than just to find out what the show is about, other than that, I really don't care what they have to say, it's immaterial what their opinion is to me, but a lot of people use reviews to determine whether they will check something out.
post #30116 of 93817
Thread Starter 
TV Sports
No rest for weary
Riders will get breaks, but TV crew will be on the go for Tour of California
By John Maffei, (San Diego) North County Times media columnist
(Note: All times are Pacific)

The riders will get a chance to rest.

But the crew covering on the fourth annual Tour of California on Versus will be sleep deprived over the race's nine days, starting with Saturday's Prologue in Sacramento to the final Rancho Bernardo-to-Escondido stage on Feb. 22.

Versus, which is available in 73 million homes across the country, has 42 1/2 hours of live and same-day cycling coverage planned for the 750-mile race.

The majority of the live coverage is at 2 p.m. with replays at 8 p.m.

But the race, which rolls from Davis to Santa Rosa, Sausalito to Santa Cruz, Visalia to Paso Robles, Santa Clarita to Pasadena and Rancho Bernardo to Escondido, presents problems for Versus producer Joel Felicio.

"For baseball or football in stadiums, the camera positions are set up far in advance," Felicio said. "The crew goes in ahead of the event and tests out camera positions.

"In cycling, there is no set up. The crew is on the move every day.

"We're up late the night before preparing highlights and features. And we're up early to prepare for that day's stage.

"There are so many good restaurants in California, so much good food. But we usually end up eating gas-station sandwiches on the way to the next stage."

Felicio will have eight cameras available to him ---- two in helicopters, four on motorcycles and two fixed cameras at the finish line of each stage.

The ground shots are fed to the helicopters and all the shots are beamed to the production truck where Felicio and his crew are stationed.

"The helicopters are up for five hours, but not all at one time," Felicio said. "They have to refuel and we often run into restricted air space.

"In theory, we always have one helicopter in the air, but that's in theory."

Felicio is a veteran of the Tour de France, a race that gets first-class, worldwide coverage.

That hasn't been the case for the first three Tour of California races.

That will change this year.

"To my knowledge, this is the first live American cycling event on TV," Felicio said. "So we're going to do everything we can to do it well."

There are things TV can't control, however.

Weather is one of those.

Snow on the peaks or a storm that would limit the ability of the helicopters to fly would be a major setback.

"The race people have the ability to revise the course in case of weather," Felicio said. "In that case, they can go to Plan B. Then we have to adjust, too."

The race announcers, including Paul Sherwen ---- who has been called "the undisputed voice of cycling" ---- call the race from the production truck.

"We call the race off what we see on our monitors," Sherwen said. "But we have access to the referees radio, so we hear all that is going on.

"We really don't get to check out the course, except for maybe the last 30 miles or so.

"Sadly, we don't get to see much of California because we're up early to set up, call the race, then pack up and drive to the next stage, usually in the dark."

With people like Felicio and Sherwen working the race, viewers won't be in the dark.

"I've been doing cycling since 1997 and the Tour de France since 2001," Felicio said. "My crew lives, breathes and eats cycling.

"I was into baseball and there are a lot of similarities between baseball and cycling.

"People think both sports are slow, but not if you present it well.

"The difference is baseball will have some exciting, last-minute finishes once in a while. In cycling, most stages come down to the last 100 meters, and we'll have it all covered."

More cycling

< With Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer and dozens of other top riders included in the 140-man field, Sherwen said, "This is the best field for a U.S. race since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta."

"Even without Lance, this would be a good race," Sherwen said. "It has been increasing in popularity over the years. The races like California, so word of mouth has brought in a really good field.

"This used to be kind of a Northern California race, ending in the L.A. area.

"Now it includes San Diego and there are some difficult climbs on the final state. So I'm looking forward to a dramatic finish."

< To augment the race coverage, Felicio plans features on Armstrong, Landis and Mark Cavendish, among others. "We need to tell good stories in addition to covering the race," Felicio said. "We want to peek into their lives, build up the characters. We want to introduce the personalities into the race, explain a little about the strategies ---- drafting, the team concept. We have to do more than just give a great visual of the race, although that's a big key."

All-Star scoop

TNT is the destination for this weekend's NBA All-Star coverage.

The game tips off at 5:30 p.m. Sunday from Phoenix with Marv Albert Doug Collins and Reggie Miller the announcers. The pregame show starts a 5 p.m.

The game, however, is the culmination of nine hours of coverage leading up to Sunday.

Tonight at 6, it's the Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam, featuring rookies like Brook Lopez, O.J. Mayo and Greg Oden against sophomores like Kevin Durant and Al Horford.

Saturday's coverage starts at 2 p.m. with Durant, Mayo and Joe Johnson playing a game of H.O.R.S.E. Following that, it's NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Theater (a review of past contests), Shooting Stars (a shooting competition featuring NBA and WNBA players), Skills Challenge (players running through an obstacle course) and 3-point Shootout (featuring Mike Bibby, Daequan Cook, Danny Granger, Jason Kapono, Rashard Lewis and Roger Mason). The evening concludes with the Slam Dunk contest, featuring Rudy Fernandez, Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson and J.R. Smith.

< ESPN has the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at 4 p.m. today. Celebrities scheduled to play include Chris Tucker, Terrell Owens, Zachary Levi, Donald Faison, James Denton and Michael Rapaport as well as basketball players Clyde Drexler, Dominique Wilkins, Dan Majerle, Rick Fox, Lisa Leslie, Kara Lawson and members of the Harlem Globetrotters.

< According to "Sports Business Daily", TNT plans to bring Charles Barkley back to its NBA studio show soon after Sunday's All-Star Game. Barkley has been on a leave of absence after a Dec. 31 arrest where he was accused of drunken driving. Barkley has been with TNT since 2000.

College hoops

< Arizona, with former La Costa Canyon High Star Chase Budinger, hosts UCLA in a 10 a.m. game Saturday on CBS. USC is at Arizona State at 7 p.m. Sunday on FSN.

< ESPNU announced the game for its "BracketBusters" games to be played Feb. 20 and 21. USD, which was on the original schedule, has been dropped.

There are two games Feb. 20 and 11 on Feb. 21, starting at 8 a.m. and ending with George Mason at Creighton at 6:30 p.m.

< The surging San Diego State women's team is at Wyoming for a 1 p.m. game Sunday on the mtn.

Calling all cars

< The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series goes full throttle this weekend with Fox's coverage of the Daytona 500. Fox, which has the first 13 races of the NASCAR season, will use Mike Joy as its race announcer along with analysts Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond.

< TNT has the middle six races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series while ESPN/ABC has the final 17 races.

< ESPN2 has flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Camping World 300 at Daytona at 9 a.m. Saturday. Dr. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree are the lead announcers. ESPN2 is the home of the Nationwide Series with selected races on ESPN and ABC.

Ratings game

Proving that football is king, last Sunday's NFL Pro Bowl on NBC drew a 5.8 rating with 4.5 million viewers while the titanic Lakers-Cavaliers NBA game on ABC did a 5.0 rating with 3.8 million viewers. The Pro Bowl was down 16 percent from last year while the NBA game was up 72 percent from last year's Lakers-Magic game in the same time slot.

< The PGA Tour's Buick Open from Torrey Pines last week, drew a 2.1 rating with 1.6 million viewers on CBS. Without Tiger Woods, that rating was down 54 percent from last year.

< Proving that Notre Dame has lost its national magic, last Saturday's Notre Dame-UCLA men's college basketball game on CBS did an 0.8 rating with 616,000 viewers. That's down 50 percent from last year's Boston College-Duke game in the same time slot.

Around the dial

< Looking for something different Sunday? How about the the Red Bull Snowscrappers at 2 p.m. on NBC, a snowboard competition where 16 professionals, including North County's Shaun White, Pat Moore and Travis Rice, compete along the New York City skyline with $100,000 prize money at stake.

< CBS' coverage of the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, includes 17th-tee interviews Saturday by Gary McCord with celebrities like Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Justin Timberlake, Huey Lewis, Bill Murray, Ray Romano, Kevin James, George Lopez, Greg Kinnear, Andy Garcia and Chris O'Donnell. The network's coverage starts at noon Saturday and Sunday.

< CBS has coverage of the AMA Supercross Series from Qualcomm Stadium at 9 a.m. Sunday with the 250cc race. SPEED has the 125cc race at 3 p.m. Sunday.

< The Golf Channel and the LPGA Tour have agreed to a 10-year partnership that will make the network the exclusive cable home of the women's pro tour beginning in 2010.

post #30117 of 93817
Thread Starter 
Cable Nielsen Notes
‘Top Chef’ Still Cooking; UNC-Duke Hot, too
By Sergioa Ibarra, TVWeek

Bravo’s “Top Chef” reigned supreme among cable shows Wednesday night, taking the top spot and matching its previous season high.

At 10 p.m., “Chef” scored a 1.8 rating/5 share among adults 18-49 and drew 3.3 million viewers, according to national ratings from Nielsen Media Research. The cooking competition series matched last week’s season high in the demo. In households, the show scored a tie for No. 1 with a 2.1/4.

ESPN’s presentation of a college basketball matchup between the University of North Carolina and Duke tied with “Chef” among households, posting a 1.4/4 in the demo and 3.3 million viewers. Starting at 9 p.m., last night’s game doubled the ratings from last week’s telecast of the game between Duke and Clemson. The network’s coverage of the game Wednesday tied for the second highest-rated show in the demo for all of cable.

Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” returned to TBS with ratings similar to where it left off. At 10 p.m. the show posted a 1.2/3 (3 million) and at 10:30 p.m. it bumped up to 1.4/4 (3.3 million). Compared with the last original telecasts on Dec. 10 at those times, last night’s episodes were down 14% and flat, respectively. The network tied the No. 2 and the No. 5 shows for the night.

On Comedy Central, new series “Important Things With Demetri Martin” opened with a 1.3/4 (2.4 million) in the 10:30 p.m. slot. The show improved 108% from its “South Park” lead-in and outperformed the last series to debut in the slot (“Chocolate News”) by 8%.

post #30118 of 93817
Well, early reviews for Fringe and The Mentalist were not encouraging, and those turned out to be solid hits, and must-see shows. Hopefully, Dollhouse will turn out to be another one.
post #30119 of 93817
Thread Starter 
TV Review
Who Does She Think She Is?
By James Poniewozik, TIME Magazine TV critic

Echo (Eliza Dushku) has an endlessly challenging job. On one assignment, she might play a hostage negotiator; on another, a midwife; on still another, a woman in love. Then she gets chauffeured to a treatment at a spalike facility filled with warm light and blond wood. It's a little like being a Hollywood actress on location.

But not exactly. Echo's "engagements"--ranging from deadly capers to prostitution--are real. That spa treatment is a sometimes painful process in which her personality and all memory of her missions are erased. And her luxury digs, called the Dollhouse, are the headquarters of a secret illegal business where she and other blank-canvas "actives" are programmed with new personalities to do hush-hush jobs for the superrich. (See the top 10 TV series of 2008.)

Writer-producer Joss Whedon has played with the conventions of monster stories (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel), space sagas (Firefly) and comic books (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog). Now, with Dollhouse (Fox, Fridays, 9 p.m. E.T.), he tries dystopian sci-fi. Echo is not a slave, technically; she goes to the Dollhouse after having run into unspecified trouble as an idealistic college grad named Caroline. The deal: if she becomes an active, the company makes her problem go away--along with all her memories. The threads running through this ambitious serial: Who was she? And what is she?

A Real Doll

You may have a few other questions, most of them beginning, Why? Why would zillionaires rent human-bot experts and escorts from a high-tech flesh peddler when they could hire the real thing? Why would someone develop an amazing technology and find no more remunerative application for it than an illegal outfit that seems exorbitant to maintain and nearly impossible to conceal? And why--as eventually develops--would someone begin an equally elaborate counterconspiracy to sabotage the group?

Whedon evidently thinks these are valid questions. He addresses them, not always persuasively, through FBI agent Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett of Battlestar Galactica), who's determined to sniff out the Dollhouse. His bosses are skeptical that it even exists, let alone why anyone would patronize it. "If you have everything," Ballard explains, "you want something else. Something more extreme, something more specific. Something perfect."

But all is not perfect at the Dollhouse. Echo has begun to recover memories, and the actives show a tendency to occasionally go haywire. It turns out that human memory is like an analog cassette tape: overwrite it too many times, and you start to hear the ghosts of old voices. Actives are meant to be clean slates, with no messy human baggage. But as preamnesia Echo notes, "You ever try cleaning an actual slate? You can always see what was on it before."

Multiple Personalities

Just as curious, and ethically intriguing, is what gets written on that slate. For each job, an active is overwritten with a customized composite of the minds and memories of actual people. (Between tasks, the actives are creepily affectless tabulae rasae--like children or especially pretty, dumb actors.) Some of those people, like the voices on an old laugh track, are now dead. Which raises questions: What does it mean to be alive? What is the Dollhouse's obligation to the people whose memories it "resurrects"? Is Echo herself, Caroline or the sum of her borrowed parts?

Echo has a different assignment each episode--the three sent for review are a hostage case, a wilderness adventure and a heist caper--which makes Dollhouse a kind of drama-school exercise for Whedon and Dushku. The genre-hopping Whedon is up to the task; his hostage-negotiation story would make a crisp pilot for a CBS procedural. And he unsettlingly conveys the actives' experience of living a constantly interrupted dream. ("Did I fall asleep?" they ask after each treatment.) But Dushku, memorable as the bad-girl Faith in Buffy, isn't much of a chameleon. She's passably callow as Caroline and nicely eerie as the doll-like "blank" Echo, but she doesn't transform with each personality, Ã* la Toni Collette in United States of Tara.

It's a problem, because Whedon has set a challenging goal. Whereas his past series had ready-made good-vs.-evil setups, Dollhouse is morally nebulous. Sometimes we're rooting for Ballard to bust the Dollhouse, sometimes we're rooting for Echo's handlers and protectors in the organization that pimps her out. (Harry Lennix is sympathetic as her conflicted bodyguard, and Fran Kranz amusingly skeevy as the in-house tech geek.) Pulling this off means getting the audience to connect with a lead who is not, in the usual sense, a person, which may be more than Echo--or Dushku--can manage.

What keeps Dollhouse interesting is its ideas about memory and the self. But while it's haunting, cerebral and gorgeous, it's also a little cold, though the flashes of humor help. ("We have a situation," one character reports. "The kind you need to shoot at.") Like its actives, it's a marvelous piece of engineering. But I hope it develops a personality of its own.

post #30120 of 93817
Thread Starter 
18-49 Overnight Nielsen Notes
ABC scores big with second crossover
Network averages 4.6 in 18-49s for the night
By Toni Fitzgerald, MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer, Feb 13, 2009

The doctors of “Grey’s Anatomy” may be showing up more often on “Private Practice.” For the second straight week “Practice” hit a series high, airing part two of a crossover episode with lead-in “Grey’s.”

“Practice” averaged a 5.8 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, tying last week’s series high and retaining 98 percent of “Grey’s” 5.9 lead-in, the best ever for a show following the hit medical drama.

“Practice” more than doubled the No. 2 show in the 10 p.m. hour, CBS’s “Eleventh Hour” at 2.7.

And the strong twosome helped ABC to No. 1 on the night despite the premiere of CBS’s “Survivor” generating solid ratings at 8 p.m.

The big question going forward is whether “Practice” now has some momentum to perform well in the 10 p.m. slot without any “Grey’s” docs guesting. ABC has moved more than half a dozen shows through the slot the past two and a half years searching for a show capable of holding its lead-in.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Twenty-eight percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

ABC led the night among 18-49s with a 4.6 average overnight rating and a 12 share. CBS was second at 4.0/11, NBC third at 3.1/8, Univision fourth at 1.8/5, Fox fifth at 1.4/4 and CW sixth at 0.9/2.

CBS started the night in the lead with a 4.4 at 8 p.m. for “Survivor,” with NBC second with a 2.5 for “My Name is Earl” (2.6) and “Kath & Kim” (2.4). ABC was third with a 2.3 for “Ugly Betty,” Univision fourth with a 1.7 for “Cuidado con el Angel,” Fox fifth with a 1.4 for the first hour of the “NAACP Image Awards” and CW sixth with a 0.9 for a repeat of “Smallville.”

At 9 p.m. ABC took the lead with a 5.9 for “Grey’s,” while CBS slid to second with a 4.9 for “CSI.” NBC was third with a 4.2 for “The Office” (4.6) and “30 Rock” (3.8, its best rating since November), Univision fourth with a 2.1 for “Fuego en la Sangre,” Fox fifth with a 1.4 for more “Image Awards” and CW sixth with a 0.8 for a “Supernatural” rerun.

ABC led again at 10 p.m. with a 5.8 for “Practice,” followed again by CBS with a 2.7 for “Hour.” NBC was third with a 2.6 for “ER” and Univision fourth with a 1.4 for “Rosa de Guadalupe.”

CBS was first for the night among households with an 8.6 average overnight rating and a 14 share. ABC was second at 7.9/13, NBC third at 4.4/7, Fox fourth at 2.6/4, Univision fifth at 2.0/3 and CW sixth at 1.4/2.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: HDTV Programming
AVS › AVS Forum › HDTV › HDTV Programming › Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information