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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 1341

post #40201 of 93852
Originally Posted by TMilner View Post

With regard to the monopolistic activities of cable/sat and nets, (ESPN, etc), my wife and I have been finding our viewing habits moving to watching more and more television series via Netflix on either DVD or ROKU. Except for the occasional local sporting event or weather channel on cable, we find ourselves perfectly happy with watching British series, PBS documentaries or relatively unpopular movies via Netflix. We have even supplanted that with watching a few episodes via websites.

I recommend each of you to give it a try.

I'd love to give it a try when all the college and pro sports are available for live streaming, and it's just as reliable as my cable service. In full HD, not that HD-lite crap.

Wake me when it's ready.
post #40202 of 93852
I was wondering if anyone else has caught Dan Patrick's radio show on DirecTv 101? I'm not a huge sports guy, but will catch shows like PTI if it's on.

Anyway, i think it's a cool use of the channel and the HD looks great.
post #40203 of 93852
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Summer sleeper: Fox wins Sunday
Averages a limp 1.8 in 18-49s with comedy reruns
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - August 24th, 2009

CBS had the top-rated show and NBC had the most glamorous lineup, but Fox won another slow summer Sunday night on the strength of its animated reruns.

Fox averaged a 1.8 adults 18-49 rating and a 5 share during primetime, according to Nielsen overnights, with No. 2 NBC at 1.5/5.

Though CBSÂ's ÂBig Brother 11Â had the nightÂ's best rating, averaging a 2.5 at 8 p.m., Fox had the most consistent schedule.

It peaked with a 2.4 for ÂFamily Guy at 9 p.m., but all of its cartoons from 8 to 10 managed at least a 1.9 rating.

NBCÂ's top show, the ÂMiss Universe Pageant, won its two-hour timeslot, though it finished behind Fox at 9. The beauty pageant averaged a 2.0 rating, marking the network's best rating in the timeslot since May and even to last year's pageant.

For the evening, CBS placed third at 1.5/4, ABC fourth at 1.4/4, Univision fifth at 0.6/2 and CW sixth at 0.5/1.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback. Seven-day DVR data wonÂ't be available for several weeks. Thirty-two percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

ABC led at 7 p.m. with a 1.6 for a repeat of ÂAmericaÂ's Funniest Home Videos, followed by CBS with a 1.2 for Â60 Minutes. Fox was third with a 1.1 for repeats of ÂTil Death and ÂAmerican Dad, NBC fourth with a 0.9 for ÂMerlin, Univision fifth with a 0.6 for ÂHora Pico and CW sixth with a 0.3 for the end of a ÂReaper rerun and the start of the movie ÂThe Silence of the Lambs.Â

At 8 p.m. CBS was first with a 2.5 for ÂBig Brother, with Fox second with a 2.1 for repeats of ÂThe Simpsons. ABC was third with a 1.5 for the summer finale of ÂWho Wants to be a Millionaire, NBC fourth with a 1.1 for more ÂMerlin, Univision fifth with a 0.6 for the first half of ¡Hazme ReÃ*r! Y Serás Millonario and CW sixth with a 0.4 for more ÂSilence of the Lambs.Â

Fox took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 2.1 for repeats of ÂFamily Guy and ÂAmerican Dad, while ABC moved to second with a 1.8 for ÂShark Tank. NBC was third with a 1.7 for the first half of ÂUniverse, CBS fourth with a 1.2 for ÂThere Goes the Neighborhood, Univision fifth with a 0.7 for more ÂMillonario and CW sixth with a 0.6 for its movie.

NBC took the lead at 10 p.m. with a 2.3 for ÂMiss Universe, followed by CBS with a 1.1 for a repeat of ÂCold Case. ABC was third with a 0.8 for ÂDefying Gravity and Univision fourth with a 0.6 for ÂQuien Tiene la Razon.Â

CBS led the night among households with a 3.7 average overnight rating and a 7 share. ABC was second at 3.4/6, NBC third at 2.9/5, Fox fourth at 2.2/4 and CW and Univision tied for fifth at 0.8/1.

post #40204 of 93852
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

DTV Notes
FCC Sued Over DTV Transition Info
Conservative group claims FCC violates FOIA

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/24/2009 2:00:00 AM EDT

Judicial Watch filed its first FOIA request in February. This followed a press report claiming a telecom adviser to President Obama's transition team stood to benefit from the delay of the transition; the delay, it was stated, would slow up Verizon's rollout of a new broadband network that would compete with existing service Clearwire.


Wow, and here I was naively thinking it had something to do with the transition being in the middle of winter and many were not prepared. But now I know that this adviser pulled the wool over everyone's eyes and got Congress to pass a bill just so he would benefit from a delay for Verizon.

A bit off topic, but I'm assuming they are referring to LTE. From what I've read Verizon is ahead of schedule and expects a rollout later this year. Clearwire's WiMax is up and running in a limited fashion, but their map doesn't indicate any large metropolitan areas. AT&T is talking about 2011 and TMO is still rolling out 3G. Considering that both 4G technologies are in their infancy I can't see how Verizon suffered a competitive disadvantage. By the time 4G becomes mainstream LTE will probably be supported by the two largest wireless carriers. IPhone4G.

In my opinion the redacted documents are a concern and I do agree with the use of the FOIA to get more information, even if it's by a group that I have little to agree with. OTH, isn't the DTV transition water under the bridge?
post #40205 of 93852
Thread Starter 
Sunday’s fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings (which include the total viewers and 18-49 demographic estimates in every half hour) have been posted near the top of Ratings News -- the second post in this thread.

post #40206 of 93852
Thread Starter 
Critic’s Notes
On The Air Tonight
Harrowing Ride North, New Egyptologist, 'Closer' Finale

By Roger Catlin, Hartford Courant TV Critic, in his “TV Eye” blog, August 24, 2009

Rebecca Cammisas' lyrical but occasionally brutal "Which Way Home" (HBO, 9 p.m.) follows a handful of the hundreds of children each year from Latin America who hop trains in Mexico in hopes of crossing the border into the United States.

For them, the U.S. is a land of promise and riches, often where a parent has gone before them to provide for their families. The unaccompanied child migrants, many just out of elementary school, take the harrowing and illegal rides northward, reveling in the freedom and adventure, but shaken by the random violence, easy deaths by train and other dangers along the way.

Camissa, whose previous film was "Sister Helen" for Cinemax, does a good job just keeping track of the selected children from Honduras, Guatemala, Salvador and Mexico, most of whom are thwarted in their dreams; some cease to have dreams altogether.

Relations with their parents seem to drive most of them and the kind aid of the Mexican humanitarian authorities contrast sharply with what they find if they reach the border and its barriers.

Dr. Kara Cooney makes an appealing archeology tour guide on the new series "Out of Egypt" (Discovery), Monday, 9 and 10 p.m.) in which the UCLA assistant professor of Egyptian art and architecture makes connections between ancient cultures from all over the globe. It's part of an all Egyptian night of programming, including Nefertiti Resurrected (Discovery, 6 p.m.) and "Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer" (Discovery, 8 and 11 p.m.).

A second season starts for "The Rachel Zoe Project" (Bravo, 10 p.m.) in which the stylist and her staff think they make or break stars by how they dress them for the red carpet.

It's the end of the line for the glorious first season of one of TV's best new series, "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime, Monday, 10:30 p.m.). It will be back.

A number of the summer cable dramas reach their finales this week including "The Closer" (TNT, 9 p.m.), for which Kevin Bacon returns to direct his wife, star Kyra Sedgwick. Also ending seasons: "Raising the Bar" (TNT, 10 p.m.), "Make It or Break It" (ABC Family, 9 p.m.).

Like most made for TV bands for kids "the Fresh Beat Band" (Nickelodeon, 10 a.m.) doesn't have much of a dark side.

It's the last stop for the "Great American Road Trip" (NBC, 8 p.m.) as well as "Dancing in the Dark" (ABC, 8 p.m.) which stacks two episodes together.

Frederic March gets the spotlight on Turner Classic Movies all Day, including a film previously unseen on the channel, the 1935 version of "Les Miserables" (8 p.m.). It's followed by “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (9:45 p.m.), “Anna Karenina" (11:45 p.m.), "Middle of the Night" (1:30 a.m.) and "Anthony Adverse" (3:30 a.m.). He's also seen in "Christopher Columbus" (3:30 p.m.) this afternoon,

In baseball Tigers at Angels (ESPN2, 10 p.m.).

In the Little League World Series its Germany Vs Mexico (ESPN2, noon), Japan vs. Venezuela (ESPN, 2 p.m.), Washington vs. Georgia (ESPN, 4 p.m.), Curaco vs. Saudi Arabia (ESPN2, 6 p.m.) and New York vs. Iowa (ESPN2, 8 p.m.).

There's some preseason Monday Night Football with Jets at Ravens (ESPN, 8 p.m.).

Late Talk
Charlie Rose:
Dolly Parton, Meryl Streep, and Helen Mirren
David Letterman: Anna Wintour, Mark Teixeira.
Conan O'Brien: Bill Maher, Nick Cannon, Kings of Leon.
Jimmy Kimmel: Sienna Miller, Dave Salmoni (rerun).
Jimmy Fallon: Kevin Connolly, Alexa Chung, Aimee Mann (rerun).
Craig Ferguson: Marion Cotilard, Michael Musto (rerun).
Carson Daly: McG, Snoop Dogg, Joel Madden, Keane (rerun).
Jon Stewart: Ed Helms (rerun).
Stephen Colbert: Gen. Raymond Odierno.

post #40207 of 93852
Thread Starter 
Technology Notes
Dish Gets RedZone;
DirecTV Improves DVR Software

By Scott Greczkowski in his MultiChannelNews blog “The Satellite Dish”, August 24, 2009

Dish Network has announced that it will carry the NFL’s new RedZone channel when it launches on September 13th. The new channel will be available to Dish Network customers subscribing to the Americas Top 200 package or higher plus subscribe to the $5.99 a month Multi Sports package.

The announcement was made today on a special Dish Network Retailer Chat by Dish Network Senior Vice President Ira Bahr.

The NFL RedZone channel promises to bring football fans every touchdown from every game.

In a press release from the NFL earlier this year the NFL sad that the “NFL RedZone is one of the most exciting new products for football fans since the invention of instant replay,”

The new channel will be made available to Dish customers in both stadard definition and high definition forums on channel 155.

DirecTV Upgrades HD DVR Software

An impressive software update started rolling out this weekend to DirecTV customers who have HR series DVR’s.

The new software has added long awaited and much requested features to the DirecTV line of MPEG4 High Definition DVR’s.

New feaures include the much requested “Doubleplay” feature. Doubleplay takes advantage of both tuners in the DirecTV DVR so that customers can enjoy two programs at the same time. Many customers refered to the Doubleplay feature as the “Dual Live Buffer” feature. To enable Doubleplay a customer presses the down arror on their remote, by doing this it enables the buffer from the second tuner. To switch back and forth between tuners a customer again presses the down arrow. The customers can now rewind up to 90 minutes back on both tuners. This is one feature a lot of DirecTV customers have been wanting on their DirecTV DVR’s.

Another new feature is “Live Extension.” The DirecTV DVR’s are smart and knows when events being shown are live events, these events include sporting events. When it detects that you want to record a live event it will ask you if you want to extend the recording beyond the scheduled time. The default extention time is 30 minutes, but customers can extending the recording time up to 3 hours to make sure they don’t miss a second of their live events.

Customer Care has been renamed the TVMail feature. DirecTV plans to use this feature in the future to notify customers of upcoming special events and programs.

DirecTV also added a new subtitling feature, subtitling is like closed captioning but instead of text with a black background when using subtitling viewes see a much more pleasant yellow test with no background on their screens.

All of the features of the new software were beta tested by consumers who are part of the DirecTV Cutting Edge Program. The DirecTV Cutting Edge program allows DirecTV customers to download beta software to their receivers every Friday and Saturday nights.

While beta testing might sound like fun to many, be warned that its not for everyone. If you use your DirecTV receiver all the time to record stuff and rely on it to do its job then the Cutting Edge program is not for you. The Cutting Edge software is beta software and because its beta it has bugs, meaning that your receiver might do strange things such as reboot often while watching TV, wipe all the DVR recordings from your receiver or even fail to record shows that you had timers set for. In other words if you want to beta test software just so you get first access to some of the exciting new features DirecTV is working on then chances are being a member of the Cutting Edge is not for you.

As much as I say I like Dish Network’s DVR’s better then DirecTV’s, I will be the first to admit I am blown away at the features DirecTV keeps adding to their DVR’s. In the Dish Network side of things when they have major new features usually you need to buy a new receiver to get those new features, but with DirecTV the engineers keep working hard to improve the receivers that are out there in the field.

DirecTV Cutting Edge members have helped DirecTV beta test and improve features like Double Play, Video On Demand, TV applications, The DirecTV iPhone application and many more exciting new features.

If you are interested in helping DirecTV improve their receivers and becoming part of the DirecTV Cutting Edge then check out the Cutting Edge forums found at DBSTalk.COM or SatelliteGuys.US.

post #40208 of 93852
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

[ New feaures include the much requested Doubleplay feature. Doubleplay takes advantage of both tuners in the DirecTV DVR so that customers can enjoy two programs at the same time. Many customers refered to the Doubleplay feature as the Dual Live Buffer feature. To enable Doubleplay a customer presses the down arror on their remote, by doing this it enables the buffer from the second tuner. To switch back and forth between tuners a customer again presses the down arrow. The customers can now rewind up to 90 minutes back on both tuners. This is one feature a lot of DirecTV customers have been wanting on their DirecTV DVR's.

I was completely blindsided by this. I thought it was almost certainly never going to happen, and now I read it may already be in production on my machines at home? Crazy.
post #40209 of 93852
Thread Starter 
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
Some Monday Cable First-Run, Prime-Time Options

(All shows are in HD unless noted as being in Standard Definition: SD)

A & E
8 Intervention (R)
9 Intervention
10 Hoarders

Animal Planet
8 Dogs 101 (R)
9 Monsters Inside Me: Sex Maniacs(R)
10 Animal Cops Phoenix: Harness of Horror

BBC Amnerica
8 Top Gear
9 Top Gear (R)
10 BBC World News America

10 Anderson Cooper 360 (two hours)

Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer
9 Out of Egypt: Flesh and Bone
10 Out of Egypt: Shape of the Gods

8 NFL Pre Season Football: New York Jets at Baltimore Raven

8 Little League Baseball: World Series Pool Play: Staten Island (N.Y.) vs. Urbandale (Iowa)
10 MLB: Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

8 The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Knocked Up, Who's There? (repeated at 10)
9Make It or Break It: All That Glitters

Unwrapped: Cereal Aisle (R)
9:30 Unwrapped: Sack Lunch(R)
10 Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Global Grub
10:30 Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Homestyle(R)

Fox News Channel
The O'Reilly Factor
9 Hannity
10 On the Record With Greta Van Susteren

9:30 The Haney Project: Charles Barkley (30 minutes)
10 Playing Lessons: Bubba Watson & Johnny Damon (30 minutes)

8 Ring of Honor Wrestling
9 Movie: Good Morning, Vietnam - A new DJ for a military radio station lands himself in hot water when he uses the airwaves to expose the truth surrounding the Vietnam War. Starring Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, and Bruno Kirby. Directed by Barry Levinson. (1987 - R)
1 a.m. NASA on HDNet - LIVE! - Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 Launch - Launch coverage from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Space shuttle Discovery will carry the Leonardo supply module to the International Space Station which includes the COLBERT treadmill, an exercise device named after comedian Stephen Colbert.

HD Net Movies
3:30 Lawrence Of Arabia PG - 1962 - Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn Director: David Lean
Universally recognized as one of the greatest films of all time, Lawrence of Arabia tells the epic true story of T.E. Lawrence, a British military officer who helped organize the Arabian revolt against the Turks.
7:Tom Horn R - 1980 - Steve McQueen, Linda Evans, Richard Farnsworth Director: William Wiard Based on the true story of Tom Horn, a former army scout who after being hired to help Wyoming cattlemen rid their lands of rustlers, was framed and charged with murder.
9 Spartacus PG-13 - 1960 - Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton Director: Stanley Kubrick
Kirk Douglas stars in Stanley Kubrick's epic masterpiece about a slave who fearlessly led a violent revolt against the Roman Empire..

5:45 Copying Beethoven A woman (Diane Kruger) develops a special bond with composer Ludwig van Beethoven (Ed Harris) while working as his copyist. Directed By: Agnieszka Holland 103min., Rated PG-13
7:50 Impromptu The female French novelist who goes by George Sand (Judy Davis) has liaisons with composer Frederic Chopin (Hugh Grant) and poet Alfred de Musset (Mandy Patinkin).Directed By: James Lapine109min., Rated PG-13
10 Sweet Land A German mail-order bride in 1920s Minnesota encounters suspicion and scorn when she arrives to marry a member of a Norwegian farming community. Elizabeth Reaser, Tim Guinee, Alan Cumming. Directed By: Ali Selim 110min., Rated PG
12 :10a.m. Bigger Than the Sky Despite his dismal audition, a man (Marcus Thomas) lands the lead role in a community-theater production of ``Cyrano de Bergerac.''
With John Corbett, Amy Smart. Directed By: Al Corley 106min., Rated PG-13

MLB Network
6 MLB Tonight (seven hours)

Countdown with Keith Olbermann
9 Rachel Maddow

National Geographic (NGC):
Egypt Unwrapped: The Scorpion King (R)
9 Secrets of the Druids (R)
10: HD Hooked: Caught Bare-Handed (R)

Glenn Martin, DDS: We've Created a Mobster

10: Weeds (30 minutes)
10:30 Nurse Jackie (30 minutes)

8 This Week In NASCAR
9 SuperCars Exposed: Mulholland Drive (R)
9:30 SuperCars Exposed: Exotics (R)
10 Barrett-Jackson 2009: The Auctions, Scottsdale Highlights (R)

8 Jon & Kate Plus 8 (R)
8:30 Jon & Kate Plus 8 (R)
9 Jon & Kate Plus 8
10 Cake Boss (R, 30 minutes)
10:30 Cake Boss (R, 30 minutes)

8 The Closer (R)
9 The Closer (season finale)
10 Raising The Bar (season finale)

8 Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: Uruguay (R)
9 Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: Greek Islands (R)
10 Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: Montana

9 WWE Monday Night Raw (two hours)

The Weather Channel
8 Storm Stories
9 Weather Center (two hours)
post #40210 of 93852
Thread Starter 
TV Notes
WWE's Vince McMahon wants to launch cable network

By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times staff writer, in the “The Company Town” blog, August 24, 2009

Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., wants to start its own cable network.

In an interview with Company Town, McMahon said he wants to launch the channel within the next two years and that he will pitch it as a network for the basic tier, which is the hardest one to get carriage on.

Launching a cable network is just the latest push in McMahon's effort to remake the WWE. For years, WWE programming was a tough sell to advertisers and families because of its raunchy nature and sexual innuendo. Now he's pushing a softer, gentler WWE. For more on his strategy, please read our story in today's Los Angeles Times.

Although this may not seem like the most ideal time to try to get a network off the ground, McMahon's WWE has a pretty strong track record that cable and satellite operators will find hard to ignore. Whatever one thinks of WWE content, it does attract a big audience. USA Network's "Raw," for example, averages 5.5 million viewers and all of the WWE's shows on broadcast and cable combined average 16 million viewers per week. WWE is also starting bringing in more blue chip advertisers, including AT&T, Pepisco and Procter & Gamble.

McMahon is also a force on pay-per-view. WWE does about 14 pay-per-view events annually that attract anywhere from 500,000 to 1.4 million buys. In other words, he has some juice with distributors. With a library of over 100,000 hours of programming, he's not lacking for content.

"We have a lot of clout that most people don't," McMahon said. While WWE wants its own network, McMahon said he has no plans to take "Raw" off of USA or move any of his other properties.

"It won't be a threat, it'll be an integration," he said, adding, "it's good for `RAW' to be on USA." Of course, McMahon also knows it will also help him in negotiations with his partners. "Having your own network allows you a lot of leverage."

post #40211 of 93852
Thread Starter 
Business Notes
Defying an Industry Trend, Warner Is Easily the Top Producer of TV Shows

By Brooks Barnes, The New York Times, August 24, 2009

LOS ANGELES — Three years ago, J. J. Abrams had to decide whether to keep making television shows for the Walt Disney Company or move to a new home base. A bidding war had broken out for him.

Mr. Abrams, credited with “Alias” and “Lost,” signed a rich television deal with Warner Brothers: up to $6 million a year in fees and overhead, and a big percentage of revenue from DVD and syndication sales. “It was the overwhelming enthusiasm and sense of support that intoxicated me,” Mr. Abrams said in an interview.

The wooing of Mr. Abrams epitomizes one reason Warner’s television unit is heading into the fall season with an astonishing 45 shows in production, easily making the company the No. 1 television supplier. As networks more blatantly favor internal suppliers, Warner, which is not aligned with a major network, has kept its batting average high by maintaining a deep bench of all-star producers.

The track record of the television division, officially called the Warner Brothers Television Group, is coming under increased scrutiny as its corporate parent, Time Warner, retools itself in both form and function. By shedding AOL and its cable infrastructure businesses, Time Warner is placing added weight on operations that have been relatively invisible, like TV production.

Hollywood’s attention, meanwhile, is starting to focus more intently on who will succeed Barry M. Meyer, who is expected to retire as chairman of the combined movie and television studio in 2011. Although there are several potential candidates, there is a precedent for plucking leaders from the lower-wattage arena of TV production: Mr. Meyer previously ran that side of the studio.

Running it now is Bruce Rosenblum, an ardently affable executive who has worked at the company for more than 20 years. While friends and colleagues say Mr. Rosenblum, 51, has made it clear he wants the top job, he declined to comment. Speaking generally, he said, “The success of the Warner Brothers Television Group isn’t a story about me or any individual on our executive team.”

Other significant players in the succession derby are considered to be Jeff Robinov, president of the Warner Brothers Pictures Group, and Kevin Tsujihara, president of the Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group. A Time Warner spokesman, Edward I. Adler, said, “Any such speculation about succession at Warner Brothers is premature.”

Few people in Hollywood, much less the average television viewer, realize the scope of Warner’s television studio. It starts with the talent deals.

The division’s prime-time stable includes producers like Jerry Bruckheimer (“Cold Case”), Chuck Lorre (“Two and a Half Men”), John Wells (“ER”), David E. Kelley (“Boston Legal”), Max Mutchnick (“Will & Grace”), Mike Fleiss (“The Bachelor”) and Josh Schwartz (“Gossip Girl”). Mr. Abrams is starting to deliver results with “Fringe,” which will return to Fox for a second season on Sept. 17.

The division also runs Warner Brothers Animation, the home of Looney Tunes, and a daytime unit called Telepictures Productions, which produces “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The People’s Court” and “Extra,” among others. “Our programming is relatable and upbeat — an antidote to the times,” said Hilary E. McLoughlin, president of Telepictures.

Warner Brothers Television is also home to TMZ.com, one of the most successful digital ventures in Hollywood, and a spin-off series.

The movie side gets the public spotlight — it is hard to compete for attention with $250 million film releases like “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” — but the television division has delivered 50 percent of Warner’s overall profit for the last five years on about $3.5 billion in revenue. Annual profit at the whole studio is about $10 billion.

The division has its share of problems.

Succession is an issue even in this corner of the Time Warner empire, especially among the ranks of executives who focus directly on creative matters. The studio is a co-owner with CBS of the tiny CW network, which is still losing money three years after the companies promised investors that it would be profitable. (The recession has not eased that task.)

The Big Four networks, meanwhile, complain that Warner, more than any of the other TV suppliers, overspends on pilots to secure orders and does not come through with the necessary weekly budgets to maintain that initial sizzle. It is one reason cited for the demise of Warner shows like “Pushing Daisies,” which ABC dumped after two seasons.

Studios typically sell shows to networks at a loss; the studio makes money by selling reruns after a lot of episodes are in the can (usually four seasons’ worth). International buyers are crucial.

The television business over all is also going through a brutal retrenchment, and Warner as the largest studio is particularly exposed. Because most TV programs attract smaller live audiences today than in years past, they also sell for smaller syndication fees, putting pressure on Warner’s hugely expensive talent deals. (The company said that Mr. Abrams’s contract is not representative of others.)

Hit situation comedies, for instance, have become more scarce. Warner has done better than most — it has “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” (also from Mr. Lorre) — but more typical for the business now is “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” a critically acclaimed series starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus that has been only a middling ratings performer.

Warner’s “Friends” sold into syndication for more than $4 million an episode in 1998; all told, “Old Christine,” just recently sold into syndication, will fetch a little over $1 million an episode.

“There’s an increased awareness that we have to be more proactive in managing costs,” Mr. Rosenblum said.

Still, analysts say the division’s success is stunning, particularly against the backdrop of the industry as a whole and the closer alignment of networks with internal studios.

Despite a desire at Disney for ABC to buy the bulk of its shows from the ABC Television Studio, for instance, Warner managed to sell six new programs to the network for the coming season, including a remake of the cult hit “V” from the 1980s. Mr. Rosenblum credited Warner’s independent status — creative giants like Mr. Abrams do not like being confined to one network buyer — as the primary reason.

“We’ve turned that disadvantage into an advantage,” he said.

Network buyers describe Warner’s selling style as brutal but open-minded. “They’ve been receptive to making certain accommodations, but historically have been tougher than everybody else,” said Nancy Tellem, president of the CBS Television Network Entertainment Group.

Mr. Rosenblum said, “We try not to kill people. It’s a small town, and we’re going to be negotiating with these executives and agents again and again.”

Warner has also expanded heavily into cheaper production for cable — the studio produces “The Closer” for TNT and “High School Reunion” for TV Land — and Mr. Rosenblum has been more aggressive than some rivals at embracing the digital arena.

Not all digital efforts have been slam dunks. TheWB.com, home to Web originals and reruns of older teenage-focused shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” is an undercapitalized misstep to some industry watchers. Others see it as a cheap way to keep that brand alive. The division’s MomLogic.com is struggling to catch up.

But TMZ.com is a hit. Harvey Levin, the founder of the celebrity news site, credits Mr. Rosenblum as part of the reason — because he left Mr. Levin alone.

“I don’t think TMZ would necessarily have happened in another part of the company,” Mr. Levin said. “We’ve been allowed to experiment and make mistakes, which is rare. Taking that leap of faith is incredibly hard for a lot of corporate managers.”

post #40212 of 93852
Thread Starter 
Technology Notes
USC at Ohio State game to be shown in 3-D
ESPN plans to have limited showings in Los Angeles; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; and Hurst Texas. No tickets will be for sale for any of the viewing sites.

By Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2009

ESPN announced today that the Sept. 12 USC at Ohio State football game will have a limited showing in 3-D.

The 3-D version will be available at the Galen Center in Los Angeles and the ESPN Zone at LA Live as well as at a single theater in Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn. (for ESPN invitees) and Hurst, Texas.

The Texas site, according to Anthony Bailey, ESPN's vice president for emerging technology, was chosen because ESPN would like to see how a 3-D broadcast would do in a place unaffiliated with either team playing.

According to Bailey the USC Alumni Assn. will control tickets for the Galen Center showing.

At the ESPN Zone, some patrons who are in the restaurant during the game will be randomly invited to an upstairs room where the game will be available in 3-D. There will be no tickets for sale for any of the viewing sites.

Last season the San Diego Chargers-Oakland Raiders game was broadcast in 3-D in a limited number of cities and by invitation only, and the Fox broadcast of the Bowl Championship Series national championship game between Florida and Oklahoma was shown in 3-D in more than 100 theaters across the country.

Bailey said ESPN would be using its own camera crews and production trucks and will have a separate announcing crew -- Mark Jones and Bob Davie will call the 3-D telecast while Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and reporter Lisa Salters will do the regular ESPN telecast.

ESPN has done "practice" 3-D telecasts in-house, Bailey said, and this latest 3-D experience will include the first use of stereoscopic graphics, which means even the yellow first-down line will be in 3-D.

"The goal of the production is to learn more," Bailey said. "We want to bring in people without charge and find out if they would want to watch more football this way."

post #40213 of 93852
I am going to watch the game in 3D---- inside the horseshoe.
post #40214 of 93852
Thread Starter 
How retro of you!

Let's hope the Bucks look better against SC this time.
post #40215 of 93852
Thread Starter 
Nielsen Notes
Second Mad Men episode averages 1.9 million viewers at 10pm

by Robert Seidman, TVByTheNumbers.com, August 24, 2009

Last night’s 10pm airing of Mad Men, the second episode of the third season averaged 1.9 million viewers between 9p-10:02 in preliminary numbers.

Sure, that’s down from last week’s stellar numbers for the premiere that drew 2.769 million (final numbers) but the trend is still Mad Men’s friend for now. Last year’s season two premiere drew 2.06 million in its initial airing, but the first airing of the second episode fell to 1.33 million, so give or take, season three’s second episode is up 45% versus the second episode of season two. AMC has to be happy with that.

The combination of the 10pm, 11pm and 1am airing averaged 2.9 million total viewers, with the 10pm episode averaging 934,000 adults 18-49. On the night, across all three airings 1.3 million of the viewers were 18-49.

post #40216 of 93852
Originally Posted by Skipdrive View Post

They've already dialed my speed back. The "turbo" option is the speed I used to have, but now it costs more. This is euphemistically called "giving the customer more choice". (DSL from the phone company is usually significantly slower, and typically the only other broadband option in areas without FIOS.) That's why I'm still married to TWC, in spite of how often they kick me in the teeth.

Tell me about it; sounds like frikkin' *t&t. I'm seriously thinking about giving them the boot and getting DSL from Com*. Anyways, back to television news....
post #40217 of 93852

8 Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer
9 Out of Egypt: Flesh and Bone
10 Out of Egypt: Shape of the Gods

This seems like a good time to mention this, so here I go.

I went to Junior High/High School/Sunday School with the host of Out of Eqypt. I was amazed with just how successful she has been in her career (although not surprised - she was plenty smart). But the one thing that actually made me feel a brief pang of professional jealously is that she was/is the hieroglyphs consultant for LOST.

post #40218 of 93852
The space shuttle launch might the last ever shuttle launch in total darkness.

This article has viewing instructions: http://www.space.com/spacewatch/0903...-spotting.html
post #40219 of 93852
Originally Posted by TMilner View Post

Maybe, cable cos will begin seeing a falloff in consumer demand due to these other entertainment avenues, and will be forced to find ways of lowering there package costs by grouping them by interest.

They are already paying attention and have no interest in lowering costs. That's why they are trialing TV Anywhere and bandwidth cap overcharges.
post #40220 of 93852
Thread Starter 
TV Notes
Space Shuttle Mission: STS-128

From NASA.gov, August 24, 2009

Tank Fueled; Countdown in Planned Hold

Discovery’s external tank has been loaded with about 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen during a flawless fueling process.

The launch of shuttle is on schedule for 1:36 a.m. EDT Tuesday morning.

Forecasters predict an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time. Discovery is headed to the International Space Station on this mission to add new hardware and experiment racks for the inside of the orbiting laboratory complex

(Note: those of you lucky enough to have access to HDNet will be able to see coverage beginning at 1 a.m. ET.)
post #40221 of 93852
Thread Starter 
TV Notes
‘Colbert Report’ Executive Producer Is Leaving the Show

By Bill Carter, The New York Times, in the Arts Beat blog, August 24, 2009

Comedy Central’s hit late-night show “The Colbert Report” announced Monday that the executive most closely associated with the show, Allison Silverman, is leaving her position as executive producer, effective immediately.

The move comes just as the show begins an unusually long vacation. It will not be back on the air for three weeks. No official reason was given for Ms. Silverman’s departure, nor was a replacement named. A Comedy Central spokeswoman said that with the series on hiatus no one was available to comment.

But one executive from the cable channel said Ms. Silverman herself had initiated the change because she was seeking a respite from the exhausting demands of the job.

In an official statement, Mr. Colbert said, “I am happy for my dear friend, but I will miss her.”

In her official comment, Ms. Silverman said, “For me, the only thing that could top working with Stephen Colbert would be having Stephen Colbert as a lifelong friend, and I am very excited to start that project.”

Ms. Silverman has been with the show since it began in October 2005, first as co-head writer. She became executive producer in 2007. Under Ms. Silverman “The Colbert Report” has been among the most honored shows on television, winning both an Emmy Award and a George Foster Peabody Award.

post #40222 of 93852
Thread Starter 
Summer Nielsen Notes
Summer Forecast: Cable Originals Click
By Wayne Friedman, MediaPost.com, Aug 24, 2009

With a couple of weeks to go, summer's TV viewing looks to be a rerun of the 2008-2009 regular TV season: Cable is up; broadcast is down; and CBS is holding its own. All ad-supported cable networks are up to a culminated 53.1 million viewers versus 50.0 million a year ago, from May 21 through August 14. Broadcast is down, in part, because of unfavorable comparisons to the Olympics of 2008.

But stripping the Olympics, NBC probably would have been down anyway, according to analysts. Even without the Olympics this year, ABC, Fox and CW are down all around 600,000 viewers each versus a year ago.

CBS was the only broadcast network to grow in overall average prime-time viewers to 6.65 million from 6.47 million a year ago. Fox is averaging 4.91 million from 5.70 million; ABC sunk to 4.75 million from 5.34 million. The CW is at 996,000 from its 1.65 million a year ago.

Concerning 18-49 viewers however, no broadcasters were spared. ABC is at 1.89 million viewers down from 2.28 million; CBS was slipped the least to 1.81 million from 1.93 million; NBC lost big chunks due to the Olympics, 1.82 million from 3.34 million; and CW went to 478,000 from 759,000. All ad supported cable meanwhile grew to average 21.6 million from 20.5 million among 18-49 viewers.

"For broadcast, there was a lack of new hits this summer," says Brad Adgate, senior vice president and corporate research director for Horizon Media. "Cable continues to have more original series. It's not just a handful of cable networks."

Two of the biggest summer shows continued to be NBC's "America's Got Talent," which is averaging a 3.5 rating/10 share for its Tuesday edition at 9 p.m., and a 2.9/9 for its Wednesday edition at 9 p.m. Through eight episodes of a year ago, "Talent" had a 3.4/10.

Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance?" took in a 3.1/10, so far, for its Thursday edition at 9 p.m. and a 3.0/10 for its Wednesday edition at 8 p.m. Last year, the show took in a 3.1/10 for Thursday and a 3.3/10 for Wednesday.

post #40223 of 93852
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Summer Nielsen Notes
Summer Forecast: Cable Originals Click
By Wayne Friedman, MediaPost.com, Aug 24, 2009

With a couple of weeks to go, summer's TV viewing looks to be a rerun of the 2008-2009 regular TV season: Cable is up; broadcast is down; and CBS is holding its own.

I don't think I've watched a single program on network this summer. I can't even remember the last time I checked their lineup.
post #40224 of 93852
I watched some CSI Miami, Big Bang and Law and Order repeats inasmuch I don't watch them during the year because of time constraints. But, that's it for the broadcasts.

Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

I don't think I've watched a single program on network this summer. I can't even remember the last time I checked their lineup.
post #40225 of 93852
Thread Starter 
That is probably why CBS has done some (comparatively) well this summer.

As usual, it generally repeats its best shows in their normal time periods so people who didn't see them in the winter can catch up -- and, hopefully for CBS -- continue to watch the new episodes in the fall.
post #40226 of 93852
Thread Starter 
TV Notes
Versus faces off against DirecTV
Sports cabler fighting over carriage fees

By Stuart Levine, Variety, August 24, 2009

Versus may be off DirecTV as of Sept. 1.

Comcast-owned sports cabler that has made strides recently with the NHL playoffs and Tour de France is in a fight with DirecTV over an increase in carriage fees.

According to research firm SNL Kagan, Versus earns about 18¢ per subscriber and is asking for more.

The net is available in 75 million homes, up from 62 million three years ago.

Versus says it's asking a fair market price for a network on the rise and is hoping a deal gets worked out by next week.

Net, which rebranded from Outdoor Life Network in 2006, carries college football and has three games featuring top-20 teams set for September. Versus carries five Pac-10 games and a handful of Big 12 and Mountain West contests.

Texas plays Wyoming on Sept. 12 and coverage of the NHL starts three weeks later.

In a statement Versus said: "Since our last deal with DirecTV, Versus has added many marquee properties and has become the fastest-growing sports cable network in the country. Despite this tremendous momentum, we are offering DirecTV the ability to carry Versus the same way it does today at the market price for the network. We continue to talk and are hopeful that we will reach an agreement."

Versus customers on DirecTV are seeing a crawl saying the channel may no longer be available beginning next Tuesday.

The cabler reupped last year to cover the Tour de France for five more years. Viewership was up 134% in the 18-49 demo from a year ago.

post #40227 of 93852
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

TV Notes
Versus faces off against DirecTV
Sports cabler fighting over carriage fees

By Stuart Levine, Variety, August 24, 2009

Versus says it's asking a fair market price for a network on the rise and is hoping a deal gets worked out by next week.

I wonder what the fair market price would be if the market wasn't controlled by the cartel?
post #40228 of 93852
What ever would DirecTV subs do without macroblocked Tour de France coverage, macroblocked coverage of largely insignificant games from the hockey playoffs, and (probably macroblocked) UFL football coverage?
post #40229 of 93852
Map of the shuttle launch viewing area:

Viewing Map: Weather permitting, a night launch of the space shuttle is typically visible from much of the East Coast. The most dramatic view is from inside the yellow circle. But within the red circle, skywatchers may see very bright, pulsating, fast-moving object that resembles the brightest stars in the sky from 3 to 8 minutes after launch. For viewers near the edges of the circles, however, the shuttle will hug the horizon, so an unobstructed view is needed. Credit: SPACE.com/Starry Night Software


Weather: heavy rain showers in progress, launch probability 40%


Next try: Wednesday morning liftoff at 1:10 a.m. EDT
post #40230 of 93852
Thread Starter 
Critic’s Notes
Conan: Standing Tall but Not Hitting Heights

By Tom Shales, Washington Post columnist, in his “Shales On TV” Column, Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One worrisome thing about "The Tonight Show" with Conan O'Brien is that the people who put it together don't appear to be worried. Maybe they're putting up a brave front or a happy face, but from the way they talk, you'd almost think the ratings were ducky.

When I dropped by during a recent trip to Los Angeles, life backstage at O'Brien's lavishly outfitted new studio reflected the standard pandemonium that comes with getting any TV show on the air. O'Brien flew by the greenroom with his tie untied and his shirt untucked, looking his boyish, pasty and anemic self. A happy sort of chaos prevailed in what might be called The Cone-Zone.

When I offered my congratulations, however, I got a more rueful than giddy smile. "I'm not sure congratulations are in order," he said, but good-naturedly. In fact, he is to be congratulated for how the show has been going -- it's nothing if not lively and laugh-packed -- but not, of course and alas, for how it's been doing in the ratings. After a walloping good start in June, the ratings plunged into the fruit cellar. Now, it's typical for O'Brien's NBC show to come in third, after CBS's "Late Show With David Letterman" and ABC's war-horsy "Nightline."

The situation is complicated by the fact that O'Brien has long been an admirer of the persnickety Letterman's; Dave even made an appearance on O'Brien's "Late Night" show long after Dave had gone to CBS. "Late Night" was, of course, Letterman's old stamping ground, and what influential stamping it was. Letterman's picture was posted on a wall of O'Brien's New York set, near late-night comedy gods Johnny Carson and Jack Paar.

Letterman "changed" when he went from 12:35 a.m. to 11:35 p.m., and O'Brien changed, too. He tidied up. The show is less bizarre-o, the comedy less eclectic and surreal. The props and costumes and even the graphics are slicker and have less of a homemade feel. Some of this is inevitable; there are many more viewers to please an hour earlier, and they are less likely to find self-mocking tackiness to be cute and amusing.

The obvious dilemma: You change too much, you're no longer Conan and you alienate your fan base. Change too little and older viewers may find the show too cuckoo and silly.

Anyone who's a fan of both comics, and it's easy to be just that, has a hard time deciding not only which to watch but also whom to root for. Both shows can succeed -- there are plenty of viewers to go around, and a great show will lure back expatriates who've wandered off to cable or to recordings they've made of prime-time shows they missed. Still, it's hard to conceive of any race without a loser.

If only they could take turns -- Letterman winning one week, O'Brien the next. NBC always says that O'Brien has the best demographics in late night, a solid following of viewers in the 18-to-34 range, but that's victory with an asterisk. Scorekeepers still like as many bodies as possible, even though in Madison Avenue's view if you're over 55, you might as well be dead.

Television, thou cruel mistress! O'Brien has just returned from a week's vacation during which, his producer Jeff Ross insists, little tinkering needed to be done and scant thought given to changes. That doesn't sound realistic, but the worst thing to do would be to go into panic mode (that's what network executives do). As Jay Leno himself recently noted, he had a rough time in the ratings during his first year as well, then went on to reign supreme for 16 years.

What, if anything, is Conan doing wrong? One of Leno's producers helped cure Leno's weak early ratings by warming him up -- that is, bringing the host and the studio audience physically closer to each other, and introducing the ridiculously corny gimmick of having Jay shake hands with a gaggle of pre-selected audience members while the rest of the crowd joined in a strangely mandatory standing ovation.

O'Brien might need warming up, too. He looks oddly lonely out on that enormous set with bandleader Max Weinberg and sidekick Andy Richter each so far away (though Johnny Carson wasn't much closer to Ed McMahon and Doc Severinsen).

Television is a matrix of symbols; maybe O'Brien's new surroundings are antithetical to comedy. NBC built O'Brien a kind of imperial palace on the soundstage of Universal, the movie studio owned by the network. To make the set look less vast and cold, a round, curtained "performance area" was installed in the middle. The circular space suggests the center ring at a circus and, indeed, an elephant looked at home there when trotted out for the punch line of a sketch not long ago.

Maybe there is too much prepared comedy on the show and not enough that is impromptu, or at least seemingly impromptu. O'Brien is a great ad-libber but seems to be clinging to scripts; late-night audiences still like to think the shows are live and spontaneous. In the old days, a Jack Paar monologue would be followed by a succession of guests who entertained the host as well as the audience by saying unexpected and witty things. Carson was rightly celebrated for the generous way he appreciated the work of other artists, especially comics, and it always appeared spontaneous.

O'Brien, however, apparently dislikes the unexpected. He wants interviews to go exactly as planned (and rehearsed, with a segment producer playing Conan's role) and he wants to interrupt often with jokes, ad-libbed and otherwise. This gives the unfortunate impression that he fears letting the spotlight drift away from him because he thinks it might not come back; that people will forget whose show it is.

Not so, as Carson, Paar, Steve Allen and Leno all knew. The host gets credit for funny things that his guests do; it's just the way of the talk-show world. The host can lend his audience to guests and, if strong enough as the central figure, need have no fears about getting them back.

Reviewing O'Brien's premiere in June, I deplored the absence of a topical monologue -- which means I will sound nuttily inconsistent by saying his monologue as it has evolved is too topical and, especially, too political. Carson seasoned the monologue with jokes about pop culture, entertainment, Hollywood gossip, the ying and yang and warp and woof of our daily mass-mediated lives, plus a few standards -- mother-in-law jokes, jokes about drunks, tweaks of NBC management. Every joke doesn't have to be torn from the headlines.

O'Brien is a master of self-deprecating humor and charmingly plays the classic boobus Americanus -- a vulgarian, even a bumpkin, given to inappropriate zeal and a kind of mock-caddishness that Bob Hope made a great comic's pose; the braggart who caves at the first sign of trouble, the self-styled ladies' man who's scared of sex. O'Brien plays it well. Even so, some of his taped comedy bits (man-on-the-street sketches shot around Hollywood) have seemed poorly timed and overlong.

For all the celebrated gorgeousness of O'Brien's set, it's situated on what is basically a quiet little corner of the Universal lot. It's tucked away. This might actually affect the tenor of the show. When O'Brien's "Late Night" originated from Rockefeller Center in New York, his show, like Letterman's, seemed to spring from the epicenter of urban excitement. Now O'Brien seems to be reporting in from some remote outpost; it's a place that no one will happen upon, so cameos from big-time stars seem unlikely.

O'Brien's guests have been less lustrous than Letterman's (an appearance by "American Idol's" Ryan Seacrest was an outright disaster), but show sources attribute that to the August celebrity drought and stars fleeing Los Angeles on vacation.

In one respect, O'Brien's worries are likely to get worse -- at least when Leno returns to TV in a nightly prime-time show at 10. Leno traditionally does a very good monologue and may chew up so much material that O'Brien will be left with mere scraps and bones to gnaw upon. There are those who think it was folly for NBC to oust Leno and move O'Brien in the first place, but the only alternative was to lose O'Brien to a competing network -- and pay him up to $45 million over the coming years.

For now, though, no one should be apoplectic about O'Brien's ratings. He's in much better shape than Leno was at the beginning, and Carson didn't really become the master of his domain -- in terms of asserting his own identity -- until a few years into his heroic three-decade run. There've already been enough wild, socko segments on the new "Tonight Show" to fill a 90-minute "Best of Conan" special. But there's still the nagging sensation that we aren't really seeing his best -- at least not yet.

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