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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 1053

post #31561 of 93675
Critic's Notes
Interactive TV? How about focus on the plot?
By Tim Goodman, San Francisco Chronicle - March 11, 2009

It's hard to ignore something called the TV of Tomorrow Show, especially when it comes to San Francisco for two days. See the future - now. I'm very interested in the TV of Tomorrow, partly because the TV of Today is so bad. Maybe they have some answers, these people.

So I made a pledge to at least pop in and out of sessions held Tuesday and today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. But first I wanted to check out what they'd be talking about in the sessions - a more efficient way to kill off "According to Jim," perhaps?

As it turns out, much of the discussion planned was about targeted advertising - or how to use "multiplatforms" to get the word out. That word being someone's slogan, is my guess. There's an element of data mining at play here that is bound to prick up the ears of certain people who already don't trust Comcast, or TiVo or Google or any set-top box they can't quite figure out. If interactivity is the core of the future - and this convention was sponsored by InteractiveTV Today - part of the process is bound to involve finding out about those people on the other end taking polls and voting on things they see on their television.

Now, I'm wary of data sharing or mining or peeking or whatever you want to call it, but not to the point of being paranoid. I understand that if a company is going to hone its advertising to specific target audiences it needs to know a little about them. Besides, I'm not naive enough to think that TiVo doesn't already know what I'm wearing to work.

And yet, I'm a content guy. Two days of chatter about "the ecosystem of screens" - meaning my TV, my Internet, my iPhone, etc. - needs to have some element on how to make Fox sitcoms funnier or a way to digitally erase the entire management structure of NBC. Anything short of that and I'm bored.

Then I hit on a trend at the TV of Tomorrow Show that just might impact content. And even if you consider yourself a Luddite, this may ultimately affect you as well. All television viewers are coming into or going out of "the demo" - different age demographics, such as 18-34, 18-49, 25-54, etc. You can sell advertising at a higher rate if you pull a better number in the coveted 18-34 demo, which is precisely the audience that is using social networking and interactive tools the most.

One of the TV of Tomorrow ideas is that new technology will vastly increase what is being touted as "social TV" - the ability to chat with other viewers through your television as a show airs, to click on elements of the show as it plays (buy what the cast is wearing, vote on whether you like a character, get a menu for the meal being cooked, etc.).

The technology is here. How to apply it or how content providers like the networks and cable channels will allow it to be applied are the issues in play.

Now, I see that and I think, "television just got dumber." Storytellers - from Aaron Sorkin to David Simon to Tina Fey - must be cringing. Or assuming a defensive crouch. If people aren't following the narrative flow, you've lost them. You've lost the ability to tell complicated stories. Your perfectly written - and paced - jokes may fall flat. Why?

Because people are multitasking. Remember when television was derided as a passive experience? Well, that might have been a negative when it came to vapid sitcoms and rote dramas. But anyone who watched "The Wire" or listened to the banter on "The West Wing" had to be alert. Those shows didn't pander. There's no pandering on "30 Rock," just as there wasn't on "Arrested Development."

Now, anyone who has dealt with a high school or college student knows that they multitask while watching television all the time.

A Nielsen study found that 31 percent of people watch TV while they're also surfing the Web. That number is probably 90 percent in college. Now, this idea of social TV may not force HBO or Showtime to dumb down their content, but what happens when a really great network drama or a sophisticated comedy proves too - wait for it - demanding to watch? The buzz dies. People flip the channel. The shows go away and the networks stop making series that actually demand your attention.

I don't see the upside there.

Now, an argument could be made that TV series such as "Lost," which have both intense fan loyalty and a con-joined life online (so many clues on the show are deciphered and discussed there), might actually benefit from increased interactivity. To which I say - um, have you tried to follow the plot on "Lost" lately? If you've got time to diddle online while it airs, and still understand the quantum physics and magical realism, then you're too smart for the room.

I don't know what the TV of Tomorrow Show will ultimately say about the future. The killer app may be a better way to sell soap. But if technology ends up dumbing down television - giving us a diversion from our escapism - then some higher power (or bookstore) better save us.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...DDS916C3R0.DTL
post #31562 of 93675
The Business of Television
Former NBC exec to join Chernin?
By Dawn Chemielewski, Los Angeles Times - March 11, 2009

Katherine Pope, the former head of Universal Media Studios, is talking with Peter Chernin about joining the outgoing News Corp. executive when he launches his new production company.

Pope, who as head of NBC's television studio helped shephard such shows as "Heroes" and "30 Rock," was one of three top programming executives who were outsted last year following a rocky fall season for the broadcast network.

Industry sources say Pope has been in discussions with Chernin, who announced that he would leave News Corp. when his contract ends in June, concluding more than a dozen years as the entertainment giant's chief operating officer.

Chernin's contract guarantees him a six-year motion picture and television production deal, under which Fox is obligated to green-light at least two movies a year -- at his discretion.

Chernin did not respond to an e-mail request for information. Pope could not be reached for comment.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/ente...-nbc-univ.html
post #31563 of 93675
DTV Notes
McDowell in Texas Pushing Digital Awareness Campaign

By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable 3/11/2009 9:21:37 AM MT

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell is in Texas to help boost awareness of the digital transition.

McDowell was scheduled to be in McCallen and Laredo, both Texas, March 10 and 12 as part of the FCC's effort to reach out to DTV at-risk markets, particularly those with at least 100,000 households who rely on over-the-air analog TV reception.

McDowell spoke at the University of Texas Tuesday and was slated to speak at Laredo City Hall Wednesday.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...s_Campaign.php
post #31564 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

The Business of Television
Former NBC exec to join Chernin?
By Dawn Chemielewski, Los Angeles Times - March 11, 2009

Katherine Pope, the former head of Universal Media Studios, is talking with Peter Chernin about joining the outgoing News Corp. executive when he launches his new production company.

Pope, who as head of NBC's television studio helped shephard such shows as "Heroes" and "30 Rock," was one of three top programming executives who were outsted last year following a rocky fall season for the broadcast network.

Industry sources say Pope has been in discussions with Chernin, who announced that he would leave News Corp. when his contract ends in June, concluding more than a dozen years as the entertainment giant's chief operating officer.

Chernin's contract guarantees him a six-year motion picture and television production deal, under which Fox is obligated to green-light at least two movies a year -- at his discretion.

Chernin did not respond to an e-mail request for information. Pope could not be reached for comment.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/ente...-nbc-univ.html

Wow. What a sweet-heart deal.
post #31565 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyF View Post

Couple of points about this: 1. This wasn't an all of a sudden decision on Fox's part to move the Idol results show back an hour, they do it every year, and it was announced months ago. 2. Why would Fox competing with Lost be "nasty?" It's business, of course they want to challenge the competitor's bigger shows. That said, I agree with your point about the Idol results shows being a waste of time, in fact, I'm pretty much out of Idol completely this season, and I love Lost.

Easy fix to the AI quandry in my house. I could give a crap if the show was cancelled tomorrow, but the missus & the kids like the singing.

1- We never watch the show until the final 12 - now 13 - are performing for votes. Have zero interest in the "mocking the mentally ill" audition process episodes or the Hollywood elimination rounds - which reek the most of "reality TV".

2 - DVR all the way. By FF-ing past ads, fake "after the break" drama, "personal moments" and anytime a judge NOT named Simon Cowell is giving their opinion - well, an hour long AI just got dumped down to about 10-15 minutes...max! And all the meat is still present. Wife then will spend the next 30 minutes or so speed redialing for her fave that week. And all of this occurs the same night of broadcast, of course.

3 - Skip results shows entirely. Here on the west coast, AI results are up online @ several news outlets by 7:00pm PST.
post #31566 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahard View Post

Wow. What a sweet-heart deal.

Fox seems to always be the beneficiary of Ben Silverman's presence at NBC. First Kevin Reilly gets the boot (winds up co-running Fox) and now Pope gets to run Chernin's new production company (which benefits Fox if they turn out any hits).
post #31567 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by steverobertson View Post

Here is some great news for FNL

http://tv.ign.com/articles/960/960827p1.html

Sorry did not see earlier post

Thanks Steve. Has a huge fan, I sure hope they can come to some sort of agreement. There is plenty more good storytelling to tell in Dillon, TX.
post #31568 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro J View Post

Thanks Steve. Has a huge fan, I sure hope they can come to some sort of agreement. There is plenty more good storytelling to tell in Dillon, TX.

Did you watch on D* or are you now watching on NBC? I have seen the whole season and thought it was the best so far.
post #31569 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Exclusive: 'Friday Night Lights' close to scoring a renewal?
By Michael Ausiello, EW.com - March 10, 2009

It's not quite a touchdown yet, but at least they're near the end zone.

Sources confirm to me exclusively that NBC is engaged in active talks with DirecTV to extend their unique shared-window experiment with Friday Night Lights. But there's a catch -- and it's a good one. According to an insider close to the negotiations, DTV and NBC might only seal the deal if they can get - holy Connie Britton Taylor! -- a two-season pickup.


See that name in the byline? That means this is gossip and speculation, not fact. Don't get your hopes up until he names actual people involved in making these claims.

"Sources confirm to me?" "According to an insider?"
For all anyone knows Ausiello heard this from the brother of a guy who knows someone who works in the green room on NBC who overheard someone on the phone talking about how he just picked up two seasons of FNL on DVD.
post #31570 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

See that name in the byline? That means this is gossip and speculation, not fact. Don't get your hopes up until he names actual people involved in making these claims.

"Sources confirm to me?" "According to an insider?"
For all anyone knows Ausiello heard this from the brother of a guy who knows someone who works in the green room on NBC who overheard someone on the phone talking about how he just picked up two seasons of FNL on DVD.

Connie is a no brainer 2 more years of her would be just fine by me
post #31571 of 93675
TV Notes
Exclusive: 'Trace,' 'Case' knocking at death's door?
By Michael Ausiello, EW.com - March 10, 2009

It's time to update your bubble show scorecard.

Multiple sources confirm that cost-conscious CBS has informed the producers of Without a Trace and Cold Case that the long-running procedurals are facing possible cancellation come May.

"They no longer have the type of ratings that justify the massive overhead," points out an Eye source, who adds that the Trace and Case bean counters at Warner Bros. are looking for ways to trim costs and avoid getting the axe. That includes convincing the casts of both shows to take salary cuts -- or at the very least forfeit their annual raises. (As I reported last month, CBS is implementing a similar salary freeze at most of its in-house dramas.)

But even if new figures can be negotiated, the insider stresses that "it's not a given that either show will be back." Reps for CBS and Warner Bros. declined to comment for this story.

On the bright side, at least we don't have to worry about perennial bubble candidate-turned-hit How I Met Your Mother this year! At least I don't think we do. We better not.

http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2009/03/...ive-witho.html
post #31572 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Exclusive: 'Trace,' 'Case' knocking at death's door?
By Michael Ausiello, EW.com - March 10, 2009

It's time to update your bubble show scorecard.

Multiple sources confirm that cost-conscious CBS has informed the producers of Without a Trace and Cold Case that the long-running procedurals are facing possible cancellation come May.

"They no longer have the type of ratings that justify the massive overhead," points out an Eye source, who adds that the Trace and Case bean counters at Warner Bros. are looking for ways to trim costs and avoid getting the axe. That includes convincing the casts of both shows to take salary cuts -- or at the very least forfeit their annual raises. (As I reported last month, CBS is implementing a similar salary freeze at most of its in-house dramas.)

But even if new figures can be negotiated, the insider stresses that "it's not a given that either show will be back." Reps for CBS and Warner Bros. declined to comment for this story.

On the bright side, at least we don't have to worry about perennial bubble candidate-turned-hit How I Met Your Mother this year! At least I don't think we do. We better not.

http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2009/03/...ive-witho.html

This is not good news I really like both shows and hope they can work things out.
post #31573 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by steverobertson View Post

This is not good news I really like both shows and hope they can work things out.

I still enjoy Cold Case although I usually only get to it after several days of sitting on the DVR. With Trace, I've dozed off while watching it, plus, it doesn't seem to be on with any regularity anymore, I couldn't even tell you what night of the week it's on.
post #31574 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

See that name in the byline? That means this is gossip and speculation, not fact. Don't get your hopes up until he names actual people involved in making these claims.

"Sources confirm to me?" "According to an insider?"
For all anyone knows Ausiello heard this from the brother of a guy who knows someone who works in the green room on NBC who overheard someone on the phone talking about how he just picked up two seasons of FNL on DVD.

I think Fred has trained us "HOTP" readers well about being at least cynical about the gossip that Ausiello passes on as 'exclusives' VisionON. Ditto for Nikki Finke. That said even a broken clock is right twice a day, and to his credit Ausiello has broken a few stories that turned out to be accurate. I just post them here and let each of us judge whether there's any validity to the 'exclusive' until its either confirmed or denies.
post #31575 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

That said even a broken clock is right twice a day

what about when we changed the clocks this past weekend....if a clock was broke at 2:18 it was only right once on sunday as there was no 2:18am only a 2:18pm.

EDIT: also, 6 months from now it would be right 3 x in 1 day.
post #31576 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I still enjoy Cold Case although I usually only get to it after several days of sitting on the DVR. With Trace, I've dozed off while watching it, plus, it doesn't seem to be on with any regularity anymore, I couldn't even tell you what night of the week it's on.

I do the same with Cold Case and as i am watching I say to myself I really enjoy it why do I wait. Without a Trace I really like and if this it I will miss Poppy and Miss Sanchez. I loveed the little kiss they laid on each other a couple of years ago
post #31577 of 93675
CHANGES COMING AT FOX NFL

ESPN isn't the only network that has parted ways with a certain member of its NFL contingency for next season.

We're hearing that FOX is engaged in a relatively significant shuffling of its pro football television production, with changes coming among the ranks of play-by-play announcers, analysts, and producers.

Apparently, the moves arise more from a desire to shake things up than from considerations of the economy.

If FOX really wants to shake things up, they'll consider hiring a certain former ESPN employee.

It just might be the best way to debacle the competition.

http://www.profootballtalk.com/2009/...coming-at-fox/
post #31578 of 93675
TV Notes
Prince books four-night Leno gig
Planning slew of album-related events in L.A
By David J. Prince, Billboard - March 11, 2009

Prince will perform on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" three nights in a row, March 25-27, as he builds anticipation for the March 29 release of two new albums, "LOtUSFLOW3R" and "MPLSoUND." Prince will perform a fourth night on the "Tonight Show," May 28th, in celebration of the end of Leno's run as host of the show.

Both CDs, along with a third by new artist Bria Valente, will be available as a three disc set exclusively through Target for a price of $11.98.

The "Tonight Show" performances are part of a larger roll-out for the CD package in Los Angeles. In an email message sent to fans who signed up for updates on lotusflow3r.com, Prince wrote, 'From the 24th on, there will b a slew of NPG-related events happening around electric LAlaland.. we don't want 2 give away all the details yet, but b prepared 2 get yo groove on, numerous ways 4 numerous days. We know $ is tite but the adventures will b worth ur while! Stay 2ned 2 this outtaspacestation."

As previously reported, Prince is just the latest music legend to release new music exclusively through a major retailer. AC/DC and the Eagles were among the acts who sold millions of CDs through their partnership with Wal-Mart.

He's also the latest artist to promote new music with a multi-night run on a late night talk show. Last week, U2 performed five nights in a row on the "Late Show with David Letterman" as the band mounted a full court press for its newly released "No Line On The Horizon" disc and upcoming world tour. The White Stripes and the Strokes both did multiple nights of performances on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...2f72d965fc453b
post #31579 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcowboy7 View Post

CHANGES COMING AT FOX NFL

ESPN isn't the only network that has parted ways with a certain member of its NFL contingency for next season.

We're hearing that FOX is engaged in a relatively significant shuffling of its pro football television production, with changes coming among the ranks of play-by-play announcers, analysts, and producers.

Apparently, the moves arise more from a desire to shake things up than from considerations of the economy.

If FOX really wants to shake things up, they'll consider hiring a certain former ESPN employee.

It just might be the best way to debacle the competition.

http://www.profootballtalk.com/2009/...coming-at-fox/

Any clues as to who might be gone?
post #31580 of 93675
Shuttle Launch postponed till tomorrow:

The STS-119 launch was scrubbed at 2:37 p.m. EDT due to a hydrogen leak in a Liquid Hydrogen vent line between the shuttle and the external tank. The launch team is currently beginning the process of draining the external fuel tank.

We'll turn around for launch attempt tomorrow at 8:54 p.m. EDT.


ps- stevrob - i have no idea.
post #31581 of 93675
Critic's Review
'The Chopping Block' (NBC)
Preparing a Fresh Batch of Chefs
By Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times - March 11, 2009

The restaurant kitchen is the last refuge of bad temper.

Plant managers who berate workers risk harassment charges, professors who grade too harshly face retribution from anonymous student reviews, and haughty magazine editors who bully their assistants are hit with tell-all tales like The Devil Wears Prada. Even movie stars are no longer allowed to be divas, as Christian Bale recently learned.

But when a celebrity chef screams obscenities or throws dishes at an errant sous-chef, his victim meekly replies, Yes, chef. And that atavistic ritual of apprenticeship is one of the great lures of cooking contests like Hell's Kitchen and Top Chef.

Pressure, spats and last-minute team effort are integral to all reality competitions. Haute cuisine also offers the kind of despotic rule and cringing servility that is no longer tolerated even in Marine Corps basic training on Parris Island. Yes, chef is the new Sir, yes sir.

The Chopping Block, a new cooking reality show on NBC, would seem to offer an even more gratifying tableau of kitchen tyranny: the star is Marco Pierre White, the fierce, foulmouthed and most terrible of the enfant-terrible chefs who transformed British restaurant cuisine in the 1990s.

Mr. White, who has his own books, TV shows and restaurants, is as well known in Britain as his former protégé, Gordon Ramsay, host of Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares on Fox. Over here, however, Mr. White is the Chuck Berry of swashbuckling cuisine a pioneer too often eclipsed by the Mick Jaggers of the cooking world like Mr. Ramsay, Mario Batali and even Jamie Oliver.

And to add piquancy, Mr. White and Mr. Ramsay, once allies, are no longer friends.

NBC gives Mr. White a flattering showcase: one of the awe-struck contestants says, It's like he invented food, almost. But The Chopping Block doesn't really invite viewers to compare the cooking techniques and management styles of the two rival chefs.

Mostly, it is a contrast of two networks' differing sensibilities. Hell's Kitchen has all the hallmarks of a Fox reality show back-stabbing contestants, fast-action camera shots and an entertainingly histrionic star.

The NBC competition has a more grandiloquent look and moralizing tone, with the kind of mawkish flashbacks and weepy soliloquies found on The Biggest Loser. And surprisingly, Mr. White does not cook on the show or even shout profanities or call his assistants bozo. Once in a while he enters the kitchen and offers some instruction. (Why not just buy great produce and serve it simply?) Mostly he sits in a leather armchair, wagging a finger as he adjudicates with magisterial poise and stern detachment a more donnish version of Donald Trump on The Apprentice.

Mr. White takes a more stately stance than Mr. Ramsay, but his disapproval, often expressed with a mere tsk, tsk, tsk, is just as crushing. If there was ever a moment that your soul could be pierced by someone's eyes, one contestant says after Mr. White frowns at his scallop dish, that was it.

In some ways the sober, earnest tone of The Chopping Block is better suited to these recessionary times. The two teams of 16 contestants are made up of pairs married couples, siblings, mothers and daughters and they all have hard-luck stories and financial hurdles that lend a virtuous streak to their quests to open restaurants in New York. The contestants on the fifth season of Hell's Kitchen are not nearly as poignant; they smoke and swear incessantly, and the prize is a job as executive chef in the Borgata casino and hotel in Atlantic City.

No cooking competition relies entirely on cooking to keep audiences entertained. Each team on The Chopping Block is assigned to restore an abandoned restaurant. (Location scouting wasn't a challenge given the number of restaurant closings in New York.) On opening night Corby Kummer, food critic for The Atlantic, comes in anonymously. After one of the contestants serving tables suggests a red wine, Mr. Kummer goes Anton Ego on him, noting the waiter's mispronunciation and hissing to his companions, It's claret, not claré. Reality competitions, at least the good ones, like Project Runway and even America's Next Top Model, have a hypnotizing effect there is something compelling about strangers thrown together in a difficult joint purpose: it's jury duty without all the talking.

But cooking shows have a tougher trick to pull off: audiences live through all the tension and tumult of vegetable chopping and sautéing, but never get to sample the results. Unlike viewers who can see the clothes on Project Runway, the audience for The Chopping Block has to take a judge's word on the soufflé.

Not everyone dreams of opening a fusion bistro or perfecting a vol-au-vent, but many feel that they had a tougher time learning their trade than younger, mollycoddled and overly entitled upstarts. And for those, The Chopping Block cuts just right.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/ar...ref=television
post #31582 of 93675
Nielsen Overnights
Tuesday ratings: 'Idol' and 'Loser' make gains
From James Hibberd's Hollywood Reporter 'Live Feed' Blog - March 11, 2009

Moving into the Top 12... Top 13, Fox's Tuesday edition of "American Idol" climbed a couple notches in the ratings this week. The two-hour "Idol" (25.3 million viewers, 9.2 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and 24 share) squared off against a two-hour episode of NBC's "The Biggest Loser" (9.3 million, 3.8/10), which also went up slightly.

Fox won the night, followed by NBC, which also aired an hour-winning "Law & Order: SVU" (11 million, 3.6/10) at 10 p.m. CBS was third with repeats. ABC placed fourth with "Homeland Security: USA" (5.1 million, 1.4/4), repeats and "Primetime: What Would You Do?" (5.1 million, 1.9/5).

Over on the CW, "Reaper" (2.2 million, 0.8/2) dropped 11% its second week.

http://www.thrfeed.com/2009/03/tuesd...ke-gains-.html
post #31583 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by steverobertson View Post

Did you watch on D* or are you now watching on NBC? I have seen the whole season and thought it was the best so far.

I watched on D* and I agree that this season was awesome. Really really loved the season finale (hopefully not series finale).
post #31584 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcowboy7 View Post

CHANGES COMING AT FOX NFL
We’re hearing that FOX is engaged in a relatively significant shuffling of its pro football television production, with changes coming among the ranks of play-by-play announcers, analysts, and producers.

Apparently, the moves arise more from a desire to shake things up than from considerations of the economy.

Please, please let this extend to the horrid pre-game show. That thing needed to be taken out and shot a couple of seasons ago. James Brown was the smartest guy in the building - he knew when to leave.
post #31585 of 93675
TV Notes
CBS Orders 4 More Scripts for ‘Mother,’
Boosting Likelihood of Renewal

By Josef Adalian, TV Week - March 11, 2009

CBS is giving “How I Met Your Mother” a big vote of confidence, ordering four additional scripts of the Monday night hit.

The scripts are for the 2009-10 season, and the early order is designed to give producers a head start on planning the show’s fifth year. While technically not the same as an early renewal, the script order makes it a virtual certainty that “HIMYM” will be back next fall.

CBS has previously kept “HIMYM” fans and producers on pins and needles regarding renewals, often waiting until May before giving the show the greenlight for another season. But given the penny-pinching ethos at all the networks these days, it’s hard to imagine CBS executives spending money on four scripts of a show it doesn’t plan to bring back.

Helping the case for “HIMYM”: The show is having a stellar season in the ratings, adding 33% more viewers compared with last season, according to Nielsen. It’s now the third most-watched comedy in TV among adults 18-49, behind only “Two and a Half Men” and “The Office.”

“HIMYM’s” success is part of an overall Monday night comedy surge for CBS.

News of the “HIMYM” script orders comes as CBS and Warner Bros. continue discussions over multiseason pickups for “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory.” The studio also is hoping to get another season for “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” which is just a couple dozen episodes away from being syndication-worthy.

http://www.tvweek.com/news/2009/03/c...cripts_for.php
post #31586 of 93675
MLS Cup to ESPN

The MLS Cup (soccer) is just the latest in a litany of championship sporting events making the move from broadcast to cable.

The 2009 MLS Cup will air on ESPN, marking the first time ever the event has aired on cable. Previously, the game aired on ABC. The MLS Cup will take place on Sunday, November 22 at 8:30 PM ET, opposite Sunday Night Football on NBC.

The MLS Cup is in good company. Starting in 2010, the third and final rounds of the British Open will air on cable, and the BCS National Championship Game will move to cable starting in 2011. Additionally, Game 3 and a potential series-clinching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals will air on Versus starting this season.

The move figures to only drive the ratings for the event even lower. Last year's MLS Cup drew a mere 0.6/1 final rating on ABC, tied as the lowest rating ever for the event.

http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...-on-cable.html
post #31587 of 93675
TV Notes
Fallon is starting to make it through the 'Night'
By Robert Bianco, USA Today - March 11, 2009


Improvement noted: Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore yuk it up on NBC's Late Night.

One week in, Jimmy Fallon is already having a better Late Night.

Not a great one, mind you. The writing on his NBC talk show Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (12:30 a.m. ET/PT) remains undistinguished and his hosting style unsettled, which means despite a Monday show that was easily his best so far, the road ahead is likely to be a bumpy one.

Still, if it's not yet a good Night, it at least seems to be moving in that direction — and quickly enough to make you think it might actually get there.

Granted, it isn't always easy to watch what is, in effect, Fallon's on-the-job training. But what he currently lacks in skill and ease, he makes up for in affability and enthusiasm. Fallon's appeal is built on a boyish, earnest eagerness that separates him from edgier comedians and should wear better in the long run.

You may not care if he succeeds, but you don't leave the show hoping he'll fail — and that's a threshold many hosts never reach.

Being inoffensive, however, is not enough. At the moment, his show has no point of view and precious little personality. Indeed, for a show that touts its connection to the brave new social-network world, Late Night looks an awful lot like The Tonight Show — and the Johnny Carson one at that.

Would that the monologues reminded us of Carson, as well. Perhaps because he knows they're terrible, Fallon delivers them like the most desperate of amateur stand-ups, panicking when a line doesn't work and babbling on when one does.

Too many of the jokes aren't funny, and too many don't suit his personality — so much so that he even paused to apologize after a mean, tasteless joke that linked Rihanna to Oprah's weight problems. You can sell a line you think may fall flat; you shouldn't even try to sell one you think is unfair.

Nor are the bits and sketches much of an improvement. True, Monday's debate between faux "history nerds" planted in the audience was fairly amusing, especially compared with such lows as having people lick inanimate objects for $10.

But it played like something out of an SNL opening monologue — and if there's one thing Late Night doesn't need, it's another allusion to another show.

A talk show, of course, leans on talk, and he's beginning to show needed improvement. Last week, he generally either froze up or got so carried away that he shut us out of the conversation instead of drawing us in.

But he was completely charming Monday with Amanda Peet, letting her talk rather than talking over her and using a well-done green-screen gimmick to showcase her good-sport appeal.

Yet in some ways, his best moment was his gadget-geek binge with Engadget.com's Joshua Topolsky, who let Fallon play with a yet-to-be-released cellphone.

He needs to learn a little critical distance, if only to stop such segments from looking like paid product placements. Even so, it worked so well, he might want to consider making Topolsky, or someone like him, his own gadget version of Jack Hanna.

Fallon is obviously struggling to find his way, and for some time to come, his show is likely to reflect that struggle. Yet while he's no match for Conan O'Brien at the end of his run and may never be, he's further along than O'Brien was at the beginning, and that's a decent start.

You shouldn't purposely stay up late to see Late Night, but if you are up, you shouldn't avoid it. That's better than anyone watching the first Night had any reason to expect.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/televis...te-night_N.htm
post #31588 of 93675
The Business of Television
Upfronts 2009: Cablers Bullish As Upfront Talk Heats Up
But questions abound regarding economy's impact on selling season
By Marisa Guthrie, Broadcasting & Cable - March 11, 2009

With the upfront selling season quickly approaching and the economy showing no signs of a turnaround, tension is beginning to mount. While it's too early for even the most bombastic prognosticators to start throwing out their best upfront guesses, the chatter has begun about how negotiations will shake out in an economic maelstrom.

How big the total marketplace is remains a significant uncertainty heading into the upfront, says John Rash, senior VP and director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun. And the blustering is already beginning from all sides, especially the cable networks.

As broadcast networks continue to lose audience share, cable execs say they have an improved negotiating position because cable offers better value than broadcast.

For many years, advertisers have been paying more for broadcast networks that have lower ratings, more for less, says David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting Sales and Turner Sports. Can that continue in these challenging economic times?

Last year's upfront market posted CPM (cost per thousand) increases between 5% and 10%. This year, some observers are predicting that overall price decreases may be on the table.

It is not going to be pleasant for suppliers; everybody is starting to posture, says Peter Knobloch, president of media services outfit R.J. Palmer. The cards aren't stacked in their favor. I'm not looking to piss anybody off; we're going to be looking at negatives.

Ad-supported cable has continued to stake out increasing market share with original series, especially dramas. So AMC executives hope the effusive critical praise, and Emmys, for Mad Men and Breaking Bad may actually pay real dividends.

We go into these meetings, and [buyers] know our product and like it, says Bill Rosolie, the network's ad sales chief. We have good product on the air.

The cratering automotive and financial services industries have meant that some networks, including male-targeted channels such as ESPN, have been hit harder than others. But none have been immune from above-average option taking in the first-quarter scatter market.

However, some of those declines were offset by a flurry of business for March, which indicates that marketers, after hunkering down in the first two months of the quarter, had cash to spend in the third.

For instance, National Geographic Channel has virtually sold out its inventory for March. And WE, seeing packaged goods and beauty products holding steady, had its busiest week of the quarter last week and continues to book business in the final weeks of the first quarter.

For us to be booking March in March, it shows you what is happening, says WE ad sales executive Scott Collins. But the positive thing is advertisers are continuing to spend. I would not say [packaged goods] is recession-proof, but it has been the least affected.

Spending down to the wire

But the late spending is also strategic. Network executives are hoping that deep second-quarter options don't necessarily reflect cuts to marketing budgets, but rather opportunistic deployment of dollars.

They're not cutting money; they're sitting on money, posits one cable executive. They want to have the flexibility to spend in the market. Second-quarter scatter is also a setup for the upfront, and if the agencies can make it feel softer, they'll feel like they're in a position to push for the upfront.

Still, how much money flows into the upfront is the major uncertainty everyone is talking about. The packaged-goods sector may be strong, notes Aaron Cohen, chief media negotiating officer for Horizon Media, but virtually everything else is in a wait-and-see what next week's business is going to be.

There may be one silver lining in the gray economic outlook: Desperate times have historically incited innovations in the business. Cablevision announced last week that it is expanding its addressable advertising capabilities to 500,000 homes in the New York area. The technology allows advertisers to deliver commercials targeted to consumers' demographic data. The deployment follows an 18-month trial in 100,000 homes. Addressable advertising has long been the Holy Grail for the industry, but implementation has come in baby steps.

One of the transforming things in our industry right now is the impact of research, says Henry Schleiff, president and CEO of Crown Media Holdings, which owns Hallmark Channel. If someone's marketing budget is cut in half and they've got to move product, they have to know the best way to do that.

Claire Atkinson contributed to this report.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...k_Heats_Up.php
post #31589 of 93675
TV Notes
'ER' vets visit County General -- will Clooney stop by too?
From Maureen Ryan's Chicago Tribune 'The Watcher' Blog - March 11, 2009

In the clips below, former "ER" cast members Eriq La Salle, Noah Wyle and Julianna Margulies can be seen revisiting their old stomping grounds at County General Hospital. Various veterans of the show, including Anthony Edwards earlier this season, have been stopping by "ER" as the show approaches its series finale April 2.

The Sun-Sentinel's Tom Jicha wonders (http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/tv/200...-thursday.html) -- is Thursday's episode the one in which the show's most famous alum, George Clooney, will appear as well? His return to the show has been an open secret for weeks. And Margulies did say it was fun working with him again, so they apparently shared at least one scene.

However, NBC's press site says that "many ER alums" will be in the finale. The summary for the final episode says that "old friends from County General" will come to show their support when Dr. Carter (Wyle) opens a medical facility for the underprivileged in that last episode. (By the way, Alexis Bledel from "Gilmore Girls" and Ernest Borgnine guest star in the finale as well.)

But media speculation has centered on Thursday's episode as being the one featuring Clooney's return. In fact, Korbi Ghosh from Zap2it.com reports that we will indeed see Clooney on Thursday (http://blog.zap2it.com/korbitv/2009/...-tomorrow.html).

http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....r-clooney.html
post #31590 of 93675
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcowboy7 View Post

MLS Cup to ESPN

The MLS Cup (soccer) is just the latest in a litany of championship sporting events making the move from broadcast to cable.

The 2009 MLS Cup will air on ESPN, marking the first time ever the event has aired on cable. Previously, the game aired on ABC. The MLS Cup will take place on Sunday, November 22 at 8:30 PM ET, opposite Sunday Night Football on NBC.

The MLS Cup is in good company. Starting in 2010, the third and final rounds of the British Open will air on cable, and the BCS National Championship Game will move to cable starting in 2011. Additionally, Game 3 and a potential series-clinching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals will air on Versus starting this season.

The move figures to only drive the ratings for the event even lower. Last year's MLS Cup drew a mere 0.6/1 final rating on ABC, tied as the lowest rating ever for the event.

http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...-on-cable.html

Or maybe the ratings will stay exactly the same as people who actually want to see it will seek it out on a network that can afford to air a lower rated event.
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