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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 159

post #4741 of 93700
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

HDTV Notes
TBS to Go High Def September 1st
All Commercials In HD or Widescreen
By Anthony Crupi MediaWeek June 26, 2007

Turner on Tuesday announced that it will launch a high-definition simulcast of TBS on Sept. 1.

. . . . . . .

To maintain consistency and avoid the diminished visual experience of pillaring, all commercials on TBS in HD will be presented in the widescreen format.

Turner launched an HD version of its flagship drama network, TNT, in May 2004.


Are they going to be like TNT and stretch everything that isn't 16:9 already? arrgghh.... a diminished visual experience is when you stretch a picture and distort it from it's actual aspect ratio, please don't do it like TNT does it, but it sounds like they may very well be going to do it.
post #4742 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Overnight Nielsens in the 18-49 Demo
Lushest finale for Univision's 'La Fea'
Steamy telenovela bumps big boys, winning 8 p.m.
By Toni Fitzgerald MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer Tuesday, June 26, 2007

La Fea Mas Bella had a beautiful ending. The finale of the Univision telenovela last night drew huge numbers, securing its place as one of the Spanish-language network's most popular programs ever.

Fea averaged a 2.9 adults 18-49 rating for its two-hour signoff starting at 8 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, bettering all the English-language networks in the timeslot. Fox was second in that span with a 2.8.

What's more, the cast reunion that followed on the talk show Cristina averaged a very strong 2.5, nearly winning its timeslot as well, just 0.1 behind a repeat of CBS's CSI: Miami.

The show, which like the American hit Ugly Betty is based on a popular Colombian telenovela about an ugly girl working in the world of high fashion, was even more impressive among 18-34s, where it averaged a 3.3 rating and finished 10 percent ahead of second-place Fox's 3.0.

Univision even tied for an extremely rare nightly victory with Fox among viewers 18-49 with a 2.8 average rating and an 8 share. CBS was third at 2.3/7, NBC fourth at 2.0/6, ABC fifth at 1.6/5 and CW sixth at 0.7/2.

Univision started the night in the lead with a 2.8 at 8 p.m. for the first of two hours of Bella. Fox was second with a 2.0 for an hour of Family Guy repeats, ABC third with a 1.9 for a Wife Swap rerun and CBS fourth with a 1.8 for two repeats of The New Adventures of Old Christine. That left NBC fifth with a 1.6 for a repeat of the Age of Love pilot and CW sixth with a 0.6 for repeats of Everybody Hates Chris and All of Us.

Fox took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 3.5 for Hell's Kitchen, with Univision second with a 3.0 for the second hour of Bella. CBS was third with a 2.5 for repeats of Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother, NBC fourth with a 2.2 for a new Age of Love, ABC fifth with a 1.2 for the finale of Ex-Wives Club and CW sixth with a 0.6 for repeats of Girlfriends and The Game.

At 10 p.m. CBS led with a 2.6 for a repeat of CSI: Miami, followed by Univision with a 2.5 for Cristina. NBC was third with a 2.2 for Science of Love: A Modern Dating Experiment and ABC fourth with a 1.7 for a repeat of Supernanny.

Among households, CBS led the night with a 5.2 average rating and a 9 share. NBC and Fox tied for second at 3.5/6, Univision and ABC tied for fourth at 3.1/5, and CW was sixth at 1.1/2.

post #4743 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Critic's Notes
I know what you watched this summer:
The good bets and not-so-guilty pleasures
From Maureen Ryan's Chicago Tribune blog The Watcher June 26, 2007

Summer viewing tends to be lighter - the tone of many shows is on the frothy side, and we viewers tend to watch less TV during the hotter months.

I can understand why. No Chicagoan wants to spend the icy winter months thinking, If only I'd spent more time last June inside the house, watching Age of Love' on NBC!

No, the summer months are for catching fireflies and kicking back, but even those engaged in lots of grilling and chilling occasionally want to enjoy something on the tube. A week or so ago, I asked readers what shows they're enjoying this summer, and they were kind enough to clue me in.

Many mentioned the manly Discovery reality show The Deadliest Catch, which I must admit, I haven't written about in two years. I apologize for that - it's clearly a viewer favorite. The show recently aired its third-season finale, but Discovery is airing repeats of the series, which follows brave fisherman in the Bering Sea (speaking of icy), for weeks to come.

Other summer must-sees that readers recommended (and I heartily agree): Entourage and Flight of the Conchords on HBO; The Closer on TNT; The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, which air fresh programming for much of the summer.

Readers also mentioned these shows, which I'm either not as familiar with or am more ambivalent about (I'll catch them if I can - if not, no big): The 4400 on USA; Kyle XY on ABC Family; Hex on BBC America; and Rescue Me on FX.

So You Think You Can Dance (Fox), The Next Food Network Star (Food Network) and the dependably fun Mythbusters (Discovery) also got a few mentions, as did USA's The Dead Zone, which I may return to at some point, but that show bored me to tears during much of its previous season.

Like many of you, I enjoyed Creature Comforts, which is why it's a shame CBS yanked the show from its schedule.

Many of you were also catching up with Friday Night Lights via Sunday repeats, but NBC has pulled those as well. NBC says "Friday Night Lights" repeats will return closer to the start of the show's second season, around the time that the Season 1 DVD boxed set comes out (that set will be released in late August or early September, according to the network).

(By the way, if that is a sign of what the Ben Silverman tenure will be like at NBC, I'm already deeply wary. In his first weeks on the job, Silverman, the brash new co-head of NBC Entertainment, has not only yanked FNL repeats, but he's commissioned an American version of a telenovela, the title of which translates as Without Breasts, There Is No Paradise. Sigh.)

OK, after that segue, back to our regularly scheduled programming. I'm also occasionally watching Meadowlands on Showtime, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Top Chef on Bravo and John From Cincinnati on HBO, as are some readers, but so far none of them are on my must-see list.

I'm not a rabid fan of Top Chef, but the later episodes tend to be better, so I'll probably tune in more regularly toward the end of the season. I'm also looking forward to appearances from Queer Eye's Ted Allen, who's joined the show as a judge.

As for shows that viewers are looking forward to, Psych (which returns to USA July 13) overwhelmingly tops that list (and the season premiere is a gem, by the way - Gus and Shawn compete in an American Idol-style competition. Are you ready for their rendition of A-ha's Take On Me? No, you're not.).

Readers are also anxiously awaiting the return of Eureka (Sci Fi, July 10), Monk (USA, July 13) and the third season of Doctor Who. (Sci Fi, July 6).

A few folks sheepishly said they're looking forward to Season 8 of Big Brother (July 5, CBS). One brave soul admitted to liking Fox's On the Lot. I tried it, but honestly, uuughhh.

As long as we're talking about what's coming up, I'd like to start the drumbeat of hype now for two excellent new series: The first one is Burn Notice, an enjoyable new USA Network spy show that premieres Thursday (I'll have a fuller review of this espionage gem in tomorrow's column).

But the real find of the summer so far is Holly Hunter's new TNT series, Saving Grace (UPDATE: TNT has changed the date of the "Saving Grace" premiere to July 23). The first two episodes of series, about a hard-living Oklahoma City cop who's visited by a tobacco-chewing angel, are excellent and left me wanting more, and as usual, Hunter gives a must-see performance.

I also have high hopes for July 24 premiere of Damages, the new series from FX which stars Glenn Close as a New York City attorney.

Speaking of waiting, I'm sorry to say that three months will pass before Showtime's excellent Dexter returns. The Miami-set series would have been a great addition to the summer schedule, but unfortunately Showtime has seen fit to schedule the show's second-season premiere on Sept. 30 - just as the broadcast networks are inundating us with new programs.

Showtime's decision is extraordinarily frustrating, and it would be a real shame if this excellent series fell through the cracks come fall.

OK, when it comes to worthy and semi-worthy summer programming, what did we miss? Any more suggestions?

post #4744 of 93700
Thread Starter 
TV Review
Burn Notice:
Keep a close eye on USA's hot new spy drama
By Jeff Pfeiffer Boston Herald Sunday, June 24, 2007

Over the years, there has been talk of doing a remake of The Prisoner, the classic 1960s British cult series about a resigned spy who is trapped in a mysterious village because he knows too much.

That talk can stop, since USA Network has effectively taken that premise - intentionally or otherwise - and turned it into the fun and thrilling comedy-drama series Burn Notice, premiering Thursday (9 PM ET/PT).

Jeffrey Donovan plays Michael Westen, a spy who, while in the midst of a dangerous mission, is suddenly and mysteriously given a burn notice.

For some reason, he has been fired and, since he knows too much, he is stripped of his credit cards, Social Security number - basically his entire identity - and trapped in a location where he is under constant surveillance by his former bosses and co-workers. However, Michael's prison is his hometown of Miami, where he is unable to even rent a car to get out and discover who burned him and why.

He also has to contend with his mother, Madeline (played by a delightful Sharon Gless), a hypochondriac who is constantly calling and asking if he is coming by for Christmas. Michael had never wanted to come home, but now he's stuck with family woes in addition to constantly trying to stay under the spy network radar.

Michael does have some help. He's got his only friend, former spy Sam (the always terrific Bruce Campbell), as well as his ex-lover, former IRA soldier Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar). And as he tries to determine who is responsible for his predicament, Michael funds his ongoing investigation by using his Special Ops experience to help those whom the police can't - or won't.

Donovan is terrific as Michael, displaying a calm, cool wit while trapped in his dire situation, a persona similar to his wry role in the short-lived series Touching Evil. From the first moment, you are on the side of this likable character. With the intertwining intrigues of Michael's search, along with his working to help those in need, there is plenty of action.

But the series doesn't rely on an overabundance of explosions and stunts. The characters always come first and they are all well realized. One in particular is Fiona. Anwar, while not a major presence in the pilot, displays such strength that one can believe her character was once a soldier.

Viewers will discover right away the good humor in the series, but that wasn't as apparent to Anwar until later on. I didn't realize it was as funny as it was. When I saw the pilot, I had a sudden panic thinking how I had been misguided. I didn't think I was playing a comedy, and then I spent the entire pilot laughing! It may have been inadvertently!

With its humor and engaging characters, Burn Notice will likely keep viewers trapped - willingly - week after week.

post #4745 of 93700
Great news about TBS, now if my cable company would start carrying it I would be very happy.
post #4746 of 93700
Thread Starter 
If you have TWC I would guess it is a slam dunk.

And with TBS having the rights to all Division Championship MLB games (with conflicts going to TNT HD) as well as the National League Championship Series, I would guess a lot of cable operators will sign on.

The MLB playoffs begin with three games scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3rd.

After baseball ends on TBS, the heavy schedule of sit coms also should make it a very attractive acquisition for cable operators
post #4747 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Washington Notes
TV Hammered In Violence Hearing
By John Eggerton Broadcasting & Cable 6/26/2007

"Cowardly, terrible, appalling, repulsive" were just some of the terms used by legislators to describe TV programmers and their violent TV programming during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday on the impact of media violence on kids. But many of those critics still weren't ready to start regulating it out of existence.

Virtually all of the Senators at the hearing agreed that there was much on TV that they did not want to watch and did not want their kids or grandkids to watch, but there was disagreement over whose responsibility it was to make sure they didn't.

There was no equivocation from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), who chaired the hearing. Rockefeller has tried to introduce legislation regulating TV violence before (as recently as the last Congress), and said at the hearing he would introduce it again, while repeatedly bashing TV and its executives as though they were Dan Aykroyd's Irwin Mainway SNL character out to sell bags-o-glass to unsuspecting kids..

Big Media companies are putting more emphasis on profits than the well-being of kids, he said, while hiding behind ineffective Band-Aids of voluntary action. Rockefeller said he expected broadcasters to argue for parental responsibility and content-control tools, which they did, but said that has not worked and the government was going to need to step in. He didn't seem to have a lot of takers on the committee.

Rockefeller also called the $300 million TV Boss ratings/V-chip education campaign that had been spearheaded by the late Jack Valenti "farcical" and a joke.

Rockefeller called the industry "cowardly" for putting the onus on parents to control their kids TV viewing, saying it was not always possible. Then, saying he wasn't sure if his colleagues knew how violent TV had become, aired a video montage--put together by the Parents Television Council--to demonstrate.

It was that video, which included a now-famous forced oral sex scene from FX's The Shield, that prompted the legislators to register their general disgust. The video was cut short after Rockefeller and company appeared to have had their fill.

Rockefeller said that every media CEO he has talked with "never fails to tell me how personally appalled they are by the violent content on TV" and say they would change it if they could. But he said they never explain why they won't change it. But Rockefeller had an answer, saying it was all about ratings and sweeps and advertisers.

The media's chief defender on the panel of witnesses, which also included Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori was noted attorney Lawrence Tribe, making his first appearance on the hill as a paid consultant--Rockefeller made sure to point that out--for the cable, broadcasting and movie industries.

But Tribe said he was speaking from the heart, not the wallet, and would not always be saying things the industry would agree with. Most notably for FX, at least, at one point he said that he thought the Shield oral sex scene was probably obscene, and thus subject to government censure. But Tribe said that he thought it was virtually impossible to come up with a definition of media violence that would pass court muster, and said that the government should be concentrating instead on improving the ratings system or viewer education.

Choosing a violent metaphor, Tribe said he did not feel it was in the interests of anyone's children or grandchilren to "sacrifice free speech on the altar of protecting children."

Tribe said that the problem was not the media, but parents who weren't controlling their kids' viewing, saying the government should be addressing that problem. That was a point that did not score with Rockefeller. Tribe also got a rise out of Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) when he talked of the censorship of Big Brother and of grandstanding on the issue. Dorgan took umbrage, saying that he did not think the committee was grandstanding by addressing the issue of protecting kids from TV content that researchers, including several on the panel, said harmed them. Dorgan also pointed out that broadcasters use the public airwaves and are licensed by the government, which he said made it the business of the committee to take up the issue of what they were showing on those airwaves.

Tribe clarified that he was not referring to grandstanding by the committee, and that censoring TV content would indeed smack of Big Brother.

Tribe also took a pragmatic view of an attempt to regulating violence, saying essentially it would be a waste of time and energy to come up with a violence regulation bill that would just be thrown out by the courts as unconstitutionally vague.

Rockefeller was the most vocal proponent of regulating media violence by far, but he was outnumbered by those who had reservations about regulating TV content.

Senator Ted Stevens, ranking Republican, raised the Constitutional problems of regulating violent conent and suggested education and parental control as the better approach. He also pointed out that there were many other outlets for violent content, including iPods and computers.

Senator John Sununu (R-NH) said that as "bothered or disappointed" as he and his colleagues might be by what they see on TV, "it is very difficult to solve or address with a rule, regulation or law....
Anytime you address the quality, form or content [of programming], he said, "you run into genuine, important First Amendment questions."

Sununu said perhaps there was something the FCC might do to better enforce existing standards, though he did not elaborate. Tribe threw out a challenge to the FCC, telling the legislators that they should ask the commission to come up with a defensible definition of TV violence if they think there is one out there. The commission in an April report to Congress on the issue essentially punted on coming up with that definition, saying Congress should do it.

Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ) was concerned about violence, but placed it in a wider context. while he said that TV programming was often vulgar and discouraging and opined of the "depravity" ruling our behavior, he said regulating that behavior didn't work. "We tried it once," he said. "It was called prohibition."

The key, he said, is finding out how to curb the appetite for such programming--check with the hotels and see what kind of movies people most download, he said--while not violating speech freedoms. He also said video games should be in the conversation about violence. The hearing focused almost entirely on TV.

But Lautenberg also asked the media to "please, please" do something to help curb that appetite for violence.

Lautenberg also said there was something hypocritical about allowing the media violence, but Pentagon does not allow media coverage of bodies returning to the U.S. at Dover, Del.

Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) said that government is not substitute for good parenting and that monitoring regimes could use improvement. He also raised the a la carte issue (FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was not there to raise the issue. He was scheduled to testify, but his infant son is still in the hospital).

Smith, taking an opposite tack form Martin's support of a la carte, said he was afraid mandating per-channel cable pricing would actually reduce the number of family-friendly children's offerings since some of them depend on the success of other channels they are bundled with.

post #4748 of 93700
Thread Starter 
TV Review
Shaq's Big Challenge
For kids struggling with obesity, the basketball star helps children fight battle of the bulge in this new ABC series
By Robert Lloyd Los Angeles Times Staff Writer June 26, 2007

"Life and death" is a phrase used loosely in popular culture like "I'm starving," it means something less than it says but "Shaq's Big Challenge" can lay some honest claim to it. Based on the British series "Unfit Kids" and hosted by basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, "Challenge" (which premieres tonight on ABC) attempts to bring six dangerously overweight middle-schoolers back from obesity.

It's a moving and sometimes funny series whose real drama manages to cut through the reality-TV show swaddling in which the producers makers also of "Wife Swap," "Junkyard Wars" and "Survival of the Richest" have wrapped it. It's as if they didn't quite trust the story they were telling or, just as likely, trust the viewers they were telling it to and so they decided to tell it twice as hard.

"Schools, families and even the government have done little to fight this crippling disease: Now one man has stepped forward to lead the fight," we're told. That O'Neal abetted by expert aides, including Dale Brown, his former coach from Louisiana State University, and Food Network chef Tyler Florence "has just six months to change the future and save a generation" has more to do with the hyperbole and time limits of makeover shows (the Joneses are arriving in two minutes and the shelves aren't done) than with actually tackling a problem.

It has also been decided to make this in part O'Neal's story: The man who has referred to himself as "the Almighty Conceitedness" finds that what he thought would be easy he is given to statements such as "Dr. O'Neal is here to rectify the situation" would actually be hard. No less frustrating for him is a complementary story line in which he campaigns to get physical education back into the schools.

"If we have enough money to send children to war, we should have enough money to send children to mandatory P.E.," says the man who has called himself "the Big Aristotle."

For all the show's artifice, it is full of true sad facts, and the kids (who range in age from 11 to 14 and in weight from 182 to 285 pounds) are only ever genuine. They're sweet and expressive and, with the usual caveats applying to kids their age, keenly perceptive and the way they support one another is beyond touching. (The show pretty much sets them up to fail before they succeed.)

And O'Neal is clearly sincere, even when called on to participate in some obviously arranged bit of business. (It helps, in a way, that he's a bad actor you can tell when he's being real.) Something of a kid himself he likes to slap his hand on the jamb as he ducks through a doorway and pretend that he hit his head and a self-proclaimed outsider, he's good with these young people; he feels their pain. They love him back.

While it's debatable how much widespread practical good will come from a summer replacement junior version of "The Biggest Loser," it may nevertheless be regarded as at least partial penance for commercial television's long-standing war on children. McDonald's uses a clown to sell its stuff, and O'Neal himself has shilled for Burger King (and other such purveyors of fats and sugars), although he quit selling junk food a few years back. You can't say as much for TV.

post #4749 of 93700
Thread Starter 
TV Review
Shaq's Big Challenge
Lighten Up, Overeaters. This 7-Foot Giant Is in Touch With His Inner Child.
By Virginia Heffernan The New York Times June 26, 2007

Like the JonBenet Ramsey murder case or Sudoku, the American obesity epidemic presents an absorbing challenge for active minds. Come on, let's just figure it out: Why are we all so fat?

We could posit that we're lazy pigs, which seems safe but dull, and then venture to propose that it's hormones in the beef, only to explore the overproduction of corn, early puberty, car culture, supersize-me culture and sugar shock. Then it's back to the lazy-pig theory. See? It's fun. If only all this vigorous speculation burned more calories.

Shaquille O'Neal, the 325-pound, 7-foot-1 center for the Miami Heat, takes on obesity in his own way on ABC tonight, but not to pontificate. Instead, on Shaq's Big Challenge, he recruits six fat Floridian middle schoolers kids who dip their pizza slices in melted butter, press fries into their cheeseburgers and play video games for hours at a time and tries to whip them into shape.

On the first episode of this reality series, he also swaggers around with the kids, giving them street credibility and making them bully-proof. One boy, James, points out a local football player who calls him fat.

Fatso? Mr. O'Neal asks.

Just fat, James says.

Mr. O'Neal introduces himself to this football player as James's new friend. There won't be any more trouble with that dude.

Watching this charming hero-giant, who has six children of his own, counsel boys and girls is a novelty on television. This 35-year-old N.B.A. champion is not a smarmy, fake-tough Dr. Phil figure; a prissy nutritionist; or a do-it-all-right reality-television model-actor. Instead he's a showboater, as into his own accomplishments and muscles as he is into his talents as a coach. He's also funny and flawed.

In this way he's not only a refreshing contrast to other life-coach types, but also a breath of fresh air in anti-obesity television (The Biggest Loser being the most visible example) because he never lapses into that Woman's Christian Temperance Union-style of sanctimony and smugness about losing weight that endeavors to turn obesity into a mortal sin.

Mr. O'Neal keeps his sense of humor and perspective here, while it sometimes seems that the others on the series doctors and food experts would not be so cruel and high-handed if they were treating murderers on death row. And these are simply fat kids.

Mr. O'Neal's off-the-cuff advice, too, is unconventional. He encourages one overweight boy to cultivate a sense of humor to attract girls. When teased about your size, he says, try this retort: Yeah, I got a big stomach, but tell your girl to come rub on it.

To Walter, who has had trouble with two bullies at school, Mr. O'Neal says, I want you to go punch both those boys right in the face.

And, flipping through an album of baby pictures with yet another boy, Mr. O'Neal says, Look at you crying.

Every baby cries, right? Chris says, hopefully.

I didn't cry, Mr. O'Neal says.

Nonetheless, and in spite of the worrying results of the children's medical tests (the boys and girls are all obese or morbidly obese), Mr. O'Neal says, In each kid I see a little of myself.

Maybe if we don't know the cause of the obesity epidemic, this, at least, is the beginning of a solution.

post #4750 of 93700
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Overnight Nielsens in the 18-49 Demo
Lushest finale for Univision's 'La Fea'
Steamy telenovela bumps big boys, winning 8 p.m.
By Toni Fitzgerald MediaLifeMagazine.com staff writer Tuesday, June 26, 2007

La Fea Mas Bella had a beautiful ending. The finale of the Univision telenovela last night drew huge numbers, securing its place as one of the Spanish-language network's most popular programs ever.

Fea averaged a 2.9 adults 18-49 rating for its two-hour signoff starting at 8 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, bettering all the English-language networks in the timeslot. Fox was second in that span with a 2.8.

Told you last Sunday this would happen. Between the all-repeat English schedule, depressed summer ratings and the popularity of this particular telenovela (not every telenovela becomes a blockbuster even in Spanish-speaking countries) it was the perfect storm for Univision to take over and win over the English network programs. Impressive!
post #4751 of 93700
Ratings down but his number's not up

NBC news anchor Brian Williams isn't worried that he's running second to ABC

Associated Press
June 26, 2007, 7:32AM

NEW YORK — One of the small indignities of a high-paying television job is rising after getting home from Texas at 3:05 a.m. for a conversation about why your ratings are going south.

Brian Williams dutifully does it, weary voice and all, even if he and NBC can't fully explain why after two years on top his Nightly News broadcast has suddenly been eclipsed by ABC and Charles Gibson.

Click the following link to read the complete Associated Press story at the Houston Chronicle web site:

post #4752 of 93700
PBS takes a new look at the Spanish conquest

New York Times
June 26, 2007, 6:21AM

Can a single 500-year-old skull change the way we think of the Spanish conquest? Can a TV show make us care? Yes and yes. In The Great Inca Rebellion, at 7 p.m. CT June 26 on PBS/Channel 8 (Note: Check your local listings), the estimable PBS documentary series Nova revisits the 16th-century siege of Lima, in which Spanish conquistadors decimated the Incas.

It was a continent-shifting moment, long mythologized as an instance of European brains and brawn overwhelming the native culture.

Then again, maybe not. Rebellion, serving up anthropology with a side dish of forensics, reconstructs a few skulls, a battle and, well, history. Call it CSI: Peru.

Back story: Spanish adventurers came to Peru in the early 1500s and established the settlement that is now Lima. Led by the adventurer Francisco Pizarro, they defeated the native Andean Indians, first by importing new diseases like smallpox, and then in an epic battle. A result: The great majority of people in South America speak Spanish today.

That's the story we've all been taught. But nothing is forever.

When recent construction in Lima uncovered a grave site full of bodies with interestingly damaged skulls, the anthropologists called in the forensics experts, who called in the historians. A remarkable tale unfolded.

By proving what weapons crushed the skulls of the dead warriors, experts discovered new alliances and uncovered a fact that the conquistadors had hoped to keep secret forever: They didn't defeat the Incas all by themselves, but with help from an alliance with warring Inca tribes.

The Spanish conquerors traditionally took out the chiefs of opposing armies first, to demoralize the enemy troops; here we see them taking out the chief of the Incas, and then the heads of many, many Incas.

The Spaniards used primitive muskets that made square holes in Incan skulls: Scientists have concluded that these were the first gunshot victims in the New World. The Incas used stone mallets to pound even bigger holes in enemy skulls.

The historians, anthropologists and forensic scientists studying the remains seem uniformly awed by the evident degree of violence. Some of them seem perhaps a little too enthusiastic about it.

post #4753 of 93700
Originally Posted by shuttermaker View Post

LMAO......Welcome to HOTP Mr. Marx

Hey ... I thought that was Roddenbery's thing ... evil reds everywhere.
post #4754 of 93700
Thread Starter 
I knew you would appreciate that posting, dad!

Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Told you last Sunday this would happen. Between the all-repeat English schedule, depressed summer ratings and the popularity of this particular telenovela (not every telenovela becomes a blockbuster even in Spanish-speaking countries) it was the perfect storm for Univision to take over and win over the English network programs. Impressive!
post #4755 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Weekly Cable Nielsen Notes
Disney Takes Top Honors
By Anne Becker Broadcasting & Cable 6/26/2007

Buoyed by its most-viewed day ever on June 22, Disney Channel topped the cable rankers for the week ending June 24, with an average 3.13 million total viewers in prime, according to Nielsen Media Research. Non-ad-supported Disney scored on Friday with the TV premiere of Spy Kids 3D: Game Over and a marathon of its original series Hannah Montana. The most watched, June 24 at 8:30 p.m., averaged a huge 7.38 million total viewers.

While TNT's record-breaking season three premiere of The Closer was the week's most-viewed program (8.81 million viewers June 18 at 9 p.m.), USA Network took second to Disney for the week overall with an average 2.66 million viewers in prime.

USA was helped, per usual, by strong performances from Monday night wrestling programming as well as weekend showings of The Pacifier. Its Starter Wife original series continues to post good, if dropping, numbers - 2.8 million viewers for the June 21 installment vs. 3.6 million, 3.9 million and 5.4 million in the three weeks prior.

TNT ranked third for the week with an average 2.5 million total viewers in prime. In addition to The Closer's premiere, TNT saw a boost from NASCAR racing on Sunday, the week's third most-viewed program with 6.52 million total viewers.

It was followed for the week by TBS with an average 1.93 million viewers in prime and Fox News with 1.65 million.Lifetime, whose June 24 episode of Army Wives drew 50,000 more viewers than the week before (3.89 million) ranked sixth for the week with 1.64 million.

Sci Fi, tenth in prime for the week, saw strong numbers for the June 22 finale of its Stargate SG-1 series. Of the 8 p.m. episode's average 2.25 million total viewers, 1.1 million of them were adults 18-49, which beat all other cable networks in the demo that hour. Spike also had reason to crow for the week - its June 23 season five finale of Ultimate Fighter outdrew all other broadcast and cable programming with men 18-34 (834,000) and men 18-49 (1.4 million).

post #4756 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Washington Notes
Rockefeller takes aim at TV violence
Senate fears First Amendment issues
By William Triplett Variety June 26, 2007

A key lawmaker determined to legislate against violent content trashed the television industry for engaging in a race to the bottom, dismissed a large-scale campaign to inform parents about blocking controls as farcical and called part of a Fox exec's testimony inordinately repulsive.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) netted little support among his committee colleagues, who, while expressing concern about violent content, also worried about doing violence to the First Amendment.

In a hearing Monday about the effects of media violence on children, members of the Senate Commerce Committee questioned experts on various sides of the issue and found essentially unanimous concern about the extent of violent imagery in media -- mainly TV -- and its potential to harm kids. But sharp differences emerged on what to do.

Frustrated after working on the issue for more than decade, including several failed attempts to pass violence-related legislation on it, Rockefeller promised to introduce a bill yet again, and I will continue to do so until something happens.

I fear that graphic violent programming has become so pervasive and has been shown to be so harmful, we are left with no choice but to have the government step in, Rockefeller said. To be blunt, the big media companies have placed a greater emphasis on their corporate short-term profits than on the long-term health and well-being of our children.

He accused the industry of hiding behind ineffective band-aids of voluntary measures, such as a $300 million campaign to inform parents about existing blocking technologies.

Rockefeller referred to the campaign as farcical and as Jack Valenti's gigantic joke. Valenti was spearheading the campaign until his recent death.

After Fox Broadcasting entertainment prexy Peter Liguori detailed the net's efforts to guard against inappropriate content airing as well as to ensure complete and accurate program ratings, Rockefeller later responded, To say that it's all a problem for parents is an inordinately repulsive statement.

The committee's ranking member, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), expressed concern about content but cautioned that Congress must tread softer than Rocke-feller would like because of Constitutional concerns. Other Republicans expressed similar sentiments, questioning the legitimacy of trying to address the issue at all through legislation.

Witnesses supporting Rockefeller included Parents Television Council topper Tim Winter; the American Psychological Assn.'s chief legislative affairs officer, Jeff McIntyre; and U. of Arizona communications professor Dale Kunkel.

Each cited increases in the amount of violence on TV and pointed to governmental studies showing a connection between TV violence and childhood aggres-sion.

Liguori, however, noted that these same studies failed to establish a causal link.

First Amendment expert and Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, hired as a consultant by major media, stated that in the absence of a causal link, any attempt to legislate against TV violence would not likely withstand court scrutiny.

It is not in the long-term interest of children to sacrifice free speech on the altar of protecting children, Tribe testified. We're better off empowering parents, he added, acknowledging that this isn't a total solution but it is the least intrusive.

Rockefeller rejected the suggestion, saying that just because crafting legislation that would withstand court scrutiny would be difficult, It's not an excuse to do nothing.

The ongoing controversy over media violence was renewed in the spring, when the FCC released a report saying that the government could regulate violent content in a way that upheld the First Amendment. But the report lacked specifics on how to do that, even failing to include -- though Congress requested it -- a working definition of excessive violence that could be used to justify legislation.

Moreover, the government's role as watchdog of the airwaves was recently reined in by a federal appeals court that ruled the FCC had overstepped its authority in citing Fox for indecency violations over fleeting expletives. Rockefeller has acknowledged that implications of the decision will make his attempt at legislating on violence more difficult.

FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin was skedded to appear before the committee but had to cancel because of a family emergency, Rockefeller said.

post #4757 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Washington Notes
Senator plans TV violence bill
By Brooks Boliek The Hollywood Reporter

WASHINGTON -- While a key senator accused media companies of cowardice on Tuesday, claiming that the TV business puts profits before the health of the nation's children, he appeared to lack the support needed for any new government curbs on content.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., attacked media companies for their choices and threatened them with legislation during a Commerce Committee hearing delving into the impact violent television content has on children.

"To be blunt, the big media companies have placed a greater emphasis on their corporate short-term profits than on the long-term health and well-being of our children," Rockefeller said.

Rockefeller did not introduce legislation aimed at reigning in content during the hearing, but said he intended to write and drop it into the hopper within the next few weeks.

"I fear that graphic violent programming has become so pervasive and has been shown to be so harmful, we are left with no choice but to have the government step in," he said.

Rockefeller may want to force a legislative solution, but other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle didn't want to go that far.

Pointing to the success of "The Sopranos," Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said that there was an appetite for that type of programming, and an attempt to regulate it was likely doomed.

"We tried to regulate behavior before," Lautenberg said. "It was called Prohibition. It didn't work because the public appetite was not there."

Lautenberg told the committee the nation's priorities are askew when pictures of soldiers' actual coffins were banned while trying to reign in fictional violence.

"If you see anything more violent than the war in Iraq and try to understand why we can't see flag-draped coffins coming in because we don't want to see the violence brought onto our society, then there is something terribly hypocritical about the whole thing," he said.

The panel's senior Republican, Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, also seemed unenthusiastic.

"I think we have to tread a lot softer than you indicate," Stevens said. "I'm fearful of going too far."

Peter Liguori, president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Co., told lawmakers that there was "no causal link" between television violence and violence in young people, an issue that has been hotly debated.

"Without a causal link, we cannot justify imposing content limits on our media," he said.

He told the committee that Fox and the other networks took great pains to ensure that shows with violent or sexually charged content were clearly labeled using "24" as an example.

"A show like '24' we want to make absolutely sure the public knows what it gets," he said.

But to Rockefeller, that was a dodge.

"We have the industry blaming parents for their lack of oversight of children's television viewing," he said. "This is cowardly. We have a responsibility to do better."

The hearing included a brief video montage of clips of graphic scenes of violence and rape played for the packed committee room and compiled by the Parents Television Council. Lautenberg asked Rockefeller to end the tape before it aired, saying the committee didn't need to see it. The clips shown included footage from FX's "The Shield" and "Rescue Me" and CBS' "NCIS."

FX Networks president and general manager John Landgraf issued a statement after the hearing saying the network stood by those shows, which were produced to air after 10 p.m. and rated TV-MA for mature audiences 17 and over.

"We respectfully submit that adults 17 and over should have access to these shows, which are among the most critically acclaimed in television," Landgraf said in the statement. "These shows have large audiences who appreciate the morally complex, difficult, adult themes they address."

Televised violence has become a hot-button issue recently as the FCC released a report urging action on the issue and laying out a number of options Congress could pursue if it were to write legislation.

Among the chief recommendations was one requiring the cable television industry to offer programs on a per-channel basis, something FCC chairman Kevin Martin has long supported. A so-called a la carte system would allow parents to avoid paying for and receiving channels that contain content they find objectionable. Martin was scheduled to testify, but Rockefeller said that Martin's newborn son had become ill and was hospitalized, forcing him to cancel his appearance.

Laurence Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard University representing a group called the "ad hoc media coalition" that includes the studios, broadcast and cable companies, cautioned the panel about pursuing legislation, urging them not to "sacrifice free speech on the altar of protecting children."

Rockefeller chaired the meeting at the request of regular Chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who was not present. Inouye, in previous statements, has expressed support for an anti-TV violence law.

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Thread Starter 
Cable Nielsen Notes
Stargate SG-1 Departs on Ratings High Note
By Mary McNamara in her MultiChannel News blog TV Crush June 26, 2007

Sci Fi Channel's Stargate SG-1 said farewell on a high note last Friday at 8pm. The series finale generated a respectable 1.7 HH rating, 1.2 million P25-54s, 1.1 million P18-49s, and 2.2 million total viewers P2+.

The show lifted SCI FI to the #1 spot in the 8pm hour for both P18-49s and P25-54 cable viewers, and delivered more P18-49s and P25-54s in the hour than ABC.

Overall, Stargate SG-1 was the #3 cable program for the day for P25-54 viewers. SG-1 also dumped viewers into Stargate Atlantis which followed at 9pm.

The season 3 finale of Stargate Atlantis delivered a higher-than-average 1.5 HH rating, 1.1 million P25-54s, 986,000 P18-49s and nearly 2 million total viewers P2+. In the 9pm hour, SCI FI ranked #2 in cable for P25-54s, trailing only TBS.

For the night, in 8pm-11pm prime, SCI FI was ranked #3 for P25-54s and P18-49s.

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Thread Starter 
TV Notes
McMahon to Apologize for Benoit Tribute
By James Hibberd Television Week June 26, 2007

WWE Chairman Vince McMahon will apologize for the three-hour USA Network tribute to pro wrestler Chris Benoit that aired Monday night, sources said.

The WWE and USA Network have received complaints about the tribute, which was hastily produced after Mr. Benoit, his wife and their son were found dead in their Georgia home Monday afternoon.

Authorities said Tuesday that Mr. Benoit strangled his wife and suffocated his son, then took his own life. But WWE and network officials were unaware of the circumstances of Mr. Benoit's death when the tribute was assembled, sources said.

The WWE canceled its regularly scheduled Monday Night RAW event on USA Network Monday night and aired the tribute in its place.

Mr. McMahon will address wrestling fans tonight (10 PM ET) on Sci Fi Channel's live Extreme Championship Wrestling event. He also plans to address speculation that Mr. Benoit's actions were the result of steroid use.

The WWE plans to resume its regular wrestling telecasts, which air on USA Network, Sci Fi Channel and the CW.

post #4760 of 93700
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

TV Notes
McMahon to Apologize for Benoit Tribute

What an idiot...
post #4761 of 93700
I just noticed in the guide that 'Men In Trees' is airing the pilot episode Thursday night at 10:01 following a repeat of GA. According to futoncritic, it looks like it's going to run the rest of the summer and they have it projected to air a new episode on Friday 9/28/07 at 8:00 pm. Sorry if this has been mentioned already.

post #4762 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Thanks for reminding me, rebkell. ABC announced this move a couple of weeks ago and I meant to mention it closer to the 28th.

But I forgot -- so thanks!
post #4763 of 93700
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

What an idiot...

No kidding - although, not exactly out of character.
post #4764 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Let's not let anything get in the way of Vince's show.

As I understand it, and I am not a WWE expert, Benoit's murdered wife had also appeared in various McMahon wrestling shows.
post #4765 of 93700
Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

No kidding - although, not exactly out of character.

And of course, USA Network is an NBC/Uni property, talk about a network just swirling the drain in the respectability department.

Isn't NBC the only net of the 5 majors that is not owned by a media-focused parent? Honest to gosh, GE should just sell it, maybe to somebody like a Malone...
post #4766 of 93700
Thread Starter 
And SciFi is another NBCU property, where Vince will apparently appear tonight.

Ahh, for the good old days when NBC News simply blew up trucks to get ratings!
post #4767 of 93700
Originally Posted by RussB View Post

Ratings down but his number's not up

NBC news anchor Brian Williams isn't worried that he's running second to ABC

Associated Press
June 26, 2007, 7:32AM

NEW YORK One of the small indignities of a high-paying television job is rising after getting home from Texas at 3:05 a.m. for a conversation about why your ratings are going south.

Brian Williams dutifully does it, weary voice and all, even if he and NBC can't fully explain why after two years on top his Nightly News broadcast has suddenly been eclipsed by ABC and Charles Gibson.

Click the following link to read the complete Associated Press story at the Houston Chronicle web site:


In Williams' defense, it's not his fault that NBCU 2.0 has turned sour the precarious reputation that NBC once had as a news gathering media entity. I mean, you can only do "To Catch a Predator" five or six times before that kind of high-class journalism starts to rub off on the rest of your organization.

It's kind of funny how ABC is owned by Disney and CBS is basically owned by Paramount, but it's also-ran Universal that has turned its news empire into a cheap shill for the company's entertainment division (although Katie Couric was a bold step in that direction for CBS).

I wonder how long it'll take before NBC realizes that the NBCU plan for synergy synergy synergy isn't workin' out so hot for NBC creatively or otherwise.
post #4768 of 93700
Thread Starter 
You would think that Mr. Immelt might have more than enough clues already.
post #4769 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Weekly Nielsen Notes
Big finale for Univision's 'Bella'
Fox extends win streak to 20 weeks
By Michael Schneider, John Dempsey Variety

¿Donde esta Univision? Beating its English-language rivals and dominating Monday night with the two-hour finale of megahit telenovela "La Fea Mas Bella."

The program -- translated as "The Prettiest Ugly Girl" -- averaged more than 9 million viewers on Monday and was followed up by a special edition of "El Show de Cristina" devoted to the "La Fea Mas Bella" phenomenon.

For the night, Univision beat the five major broadcast webs among all adults 18-49 (not just among Hispanic viewers) with a 3.0 rating/9 share. Net also won in adults 18-34.

A continuation of the "Betty La Fea" series (which was translated into the ABC series "Ugly Betty), "La Fea Mas Bella" ranks among Univision's most popular novelas of all time. The finale actually attracted more adults 18-34 than "Ugly Betty" did in key markets including Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, according to Univision.

Of course, as the English-language broadcast webs enter the summer doldrums, it's not as hard to show them up. Fox managed to win the week ended Sunday in adults 18-49 with a 2.2 rating/7 share despite slipping 12% vs. the same week last year.

Fox's win brings its streak up to 20 weeks -- the longest run atop the adults 18-49 competish since NBC's streak in 1998.

CBS, meanwhile, was tops with viewers -- averaging 7.1 million -- even though the Eye was down 6% vs. last year.

But NBC probably had the best week of anyone, as it managed the only total-viewers uptick (up 1% to 6.3 million) and was the only network that avoided double-digit drops in key demos.

Peacock was helped by "America's Got Talent," the top-rated show among adults 18-49 and viewers, as well as Matt Lauer's special "Dateline" interview with Princes William and Harry (the second most watched program of the week).

On the flip side, ABC had a rough week, coming in fifth place -- below Univision -- in adults 18-49, where it was down a hefty 30% from the previous year.

Rounding out the top five among adults 18-49 were Fox reality entries: two editions of "So You Think You Can Dance" as well as "Hell's Kitchen."

On the cable front, Disney Channel is coming off one of the best primetime weeks in its history, averaging 3.1 million total viewers for the seven days -- a gaudy 15% ahead of second-place USA.

Friday's cable premiere of "Spy Kids 3D: Game Over" harvested 4.8 million viewers for Disney, becoming the most-watched basic-cable movie in the second quarter. The Sunday primetime episode of "Hannah Montana" delivered 7.4 million viewers to become the highest-rated half-hour in the history of "Montana," already one of the net's bellwether series.

USA wound up second for the week in total primetime viewers overall on the strength of two hours of World Wrestling Entertainment's "Raw" and three runs of theatrical "The Pacifier" with Vin Diesel.

TNT came in a strong third in primetime on the strength of record auds for the season premiere of "The Closer" on June 18, while movies drove TBS into fourth place, aided by two primetime runs of "Tyler Perry's House of Payne." Fox News finished fifth, and Lifetime, basking in the success of rookie "Army Wives," charged into sixth.

post #4770 of 93700
Thread Starter 
Weekly Nielsen Notes
CBS wins in viewers amid demo gloom
By Paul J. Gough The Hollywood Reporter June 27, 2007

NEW YORK -- CBS and ABC last week fell to their lowest ratings in the adults 18-49 demographic since the late-1980s introduction of people meters.

It still was enough for CBS to win the week in viewership, while NBC and Fox -- the most successful last week with original reality -- tied in adults 18-49, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. NBC also had the top two shows for the week in the demo, "America's Got Talent" and "Dateline: NBC."

CBS and ABC are the second and third networks to reach historic lows in the ratings so far this summer, with NBC already having its worst week ever this month thanks to a particularly low-rated Stanley Cup Finals.

ABC suffered from the fact that there wouldn't be a sixth and seventh game of the NBA Finals as well as low ratings for its repeat serialized dramas and originals like "Fast Cars and Superstars." CBS had its own ratings woes with "Creature Comforts" and "Pirate Masters," its two originals. CBS probably will do better beginning next week with the three-times-a-week "Big Brother."

NBC got the week started Monday with wins in the demo and viewership, led by "Dateline NBC" (12.2 million, 4.1 rating/12 share in the adults 18-49 demographic), which featured Matt Lauer's interview with British princes Harry and William. NBC also was respectable with "Deal or No Deal" (12.1 million, 3.1/10), though not so much with its new reality entry "Age of Love" (6.9 million, 2.5/7), which lost a lot of ground in between the two heavyweights. Fox did respectable business with "Hell's Kitchen" (7.6 million, 2.5/7), giving it second place for the night.

NBC won again Tuesday thanks to "Talent" (12.5 million, 4.4/14), which gave it the best ratings since its 2006 premiere. NBC also won at 10 p.m. with a repeat "Law & Order: SVU" (9.5 million, 3.0/9). Wednesday went to Fox, with "So You Think You Can Dance" (9.2 million, 3.8/12) crushing all of the other originals, including ABC's "American Inventor" (6.1 million, 2.1/6), NBC's "Last Comic Standing" (6 million, 2.6/8) and ABC's drama "Traveler" (4.5 million, 1.6/5).

Fox made it two in a row with a victory Thursday thanks to "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" (9.2 million, 2.9/10) and "Think You Can Dance" (9 million, 3.4/11). ABC's troubles in repeat serialized drama were evident Thursday, with "Grey's Anatomy" averaging 3.5 million viewers and a 1.1/3 at 9 p.m. and 4.1 million viewers and a 1.4/4 at 10 p.m. "Grey's" was beaten at 10 p.m. by the canceled "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (4.4 million, 1.8/5).

It didn't get much better for ABC on Friday, when "Kyle XY" (2.8 million, 0.8/3) and "National Bingo Night" (3.4 million, 0.9/3) failed to generate much enthusiasm. It was hard for ABC on Sunday, too, with "Desperate Housewives" (3.2 million, 1.2/3) and "Brothers & Sisters" (2.7 million, 0.9/3) finding rough sledding. CBS, too, had trouble: Episodes of the usually formidable "Without a Trace" and "Cold Case" couldn't crack 1.6 ratings in the demo, and all three hours Sunday were under 8 million viewers. Fox won in the demo for the night thanks to a repeat "Family Guy" (4.6 million, 2.3/7).

In viewership, CBS (7.1 million, 1.7/5) led the way for the week, with NBC (6.3 million, 2.1/7) and Fox (5.3 million, 2.1/7) tying in adults 18-49, followed by ABC (4 million, 1.4/4), the CW (1.9 million, 0.7/2) and MyNetworkTV (880,000, 0.4/1).

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