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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2406

post #72151 of 93852
No political comments, please!

Nielsen Notes (Cable)
MSNBC Is Close to Falling to Third Place in Cable News Ratings
By Bill Carter, The New York Times - September 27th, 2011

How badly has MSNBC been hurt by the loss of Keith Olbermann? Enough, apparently, to be on the verge of falling back into third place among the cable news networks.

The ratings results for the month of September show that CNN, long relegated to third place in the prime-time cable news competition, is edging its way back up, while MSNBC is moving in the other direction.

For the month, CNN averaged 257,000 viewers in prime time in the category that counts most to the networks viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 because that is where the advertising money goes for news programming. MSNBC was just barely ahead with 269,000 viewers. (Neither approached the leader, Fox News, with 526,000).

Both CNN and MSNBC had one especially strong night because of the Republican presidential debates. With those excluded, however, CNN beat MSNBC, 219,000 to 207,000. A year ago, when Mr. Olbermann still occupied the 8 p.m. hour, MSNBC edged CNN by 83,000 viewers, with 256,000 viewers for MSNBC to 173,000 for CNN.

The change in the September ratings was most noticeable at 8 p.m., where CNN has moved its best-known host, Anderson Cooper. The network's performance during that hour has improved by 38 percent over last year, growing to 215,000 viewers from 156,000.

On MSNBC, meanwhile, Lawrence O'Donnell has lost 100,000 viewers from the numbers Mr. Olbermann posted last September, with 185,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 age group, a drop of 35 percent. (Bill O'Reilly on Fox, as always, dwarfs his competitors with about three times as many viewers, 611,000.)

More ominously, the falloff for Mr. O'Donnell seems to be affecting MSNBC's biggest name, Rachel Maddow. Her audience dropped 15 percent this year, to 245,000 from 289,000. She still beats Piers Morgan on CNN in the 9 p.m. hour, but his show has improved 18 percent over Larry King's ratings last year, with 193,000 viewers to Mr. King's 164,000.

MSNBC executives endured a contentious parting with Mr. Olbermann last January. Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, had a succinct answer to the question of whether the network is feeling the impact of Mr. Olbermann's departure: No.

He added, I'm confident that we will increase our ratings as politics become the dominant story over the next year.

Mr. Olbermann is now on the air head-to-head against Mr. O'Donnell. The channel he appears on, Current TV, is not in the league of either CNN or MSNBC in terms of national profile, and his audience totals do not approach any of the other 8 p.m. competitors.

Mr. Olbermann averaged just over 50,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 measure in September, or less than 20 percent of what he attracted on MSNBC. Still, many of those 50,000 may have previously been viewers of MSNBC and Mr. O'Donnell was 30,000 viewers behind Mr. Cooper in September.

Some industry analysts said the loss of viewers for MSNBC may have to do with strategic changes the network made in recent years.

MSNBC may be rediscovering the downside of partisan news, said Chris Daly, a professor of journalism at Boston University. That is, the size of your audience is essentially cajoled by the size of the electorate that already agrees with you.

Mr. Cooper is being compared at 8 p.m. against what was hardly a powerhouse CNN entry last year Rick's List, which featured Rick Sanchez, who was subsequently fired. But Mr. Cooper's move to 8, which was questioned by some critics, seems to be paying off for CNN. He has made the network much more competitive in that time slot while not losing any momentum for the second show he hosts at 10 p.m.

Ken Jautz, the head of CNN's domestic news operation, said the network had been making changes to several hours of our programming in order to grow CNN's audience during both breaking news and nonbreaking news periods. The fact that our prime-time audience increased this month by 49 percent is certainly gratifying.

The replay of Anderson Cooper 360, which includes news updates but mostly material from the 8 p.m. show, remains CNN's strongest hour, with 274,000 viewers, well ahead of The Ed Show on MSNBC with 200,000 (though both also are well behind Greta Van Susteren on Fox, who had 415,000.)

post #72152 of 93852
HDTV/Critic's Notes
Changing Channels: HI to H2, HD to Velocity
By Diane Werts, TVWorthWatching.com - September 26th, 2011

Are you ready for some new networks? Well, actually, old networks, reinventing themselves in search of new viewers.

History International is now H2. And next week, Discovery's HD Theater becomes Velocity.

HI hasn't actually been "international" for awhile now, unless you think Secret Missions of the Civil War has a global focus. But it's probably now more "history" than ever -- certainly more than its elder sibling, currently called simply History, which whiles away its hours (and hours and hours) with reality shows like Pawn Stars and Ice Road Truckers.

Execs say they're ramping up H2's original productions to offer "a deeper perspective" on the past. So of course the big showcase for that is History of the World in 2 Hours (Sunday 9-11 p.m. ET on H2; encoring Thursday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET on History).

So much for depth.

But H2 is also picking up premiere episodes of longtime History favorite Modern Marvels (Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on H2), as well as The Universe (Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on H2). So we're hoping for the best out of what might otherwise seem a disappointing decision to move another niche channel toward the mainstream.

(H2 repositioned itself on Monday. Here's the H2 schedule.)

HD Theater pretty much had to change, of course, since its mission of showcasing high-def content for the Discovery-owned channels has since been superceded by Discovery HD, Animal Planet HD, et al. Ah, for those early days of high-def -- way back five years ago -- when just airing the static camera and nature sounds of Sunrise Earth was enough to make it all worthwhile.

The channel's mission has also been superceded by more overt commercial concerns: Velocity is aiming squarely at the "underserved" upscale demo of men making $150,000 or more. Because, you know, there just aren't enough homes on the tube for commercials pitching pricy Porsches, Mercedes and investment firms. (Otherwise known as "golf advertisers.")

Excuse my snark, but this move (taking place next Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. ET) seems as money-mindedly pandering as ABC's new product-placement-friendly daytime cheerleader The Chew. The Velocity hype is full of verbal testosterone injections like "turbocharged" and "high-stakes."

Initial Velocity promos are mostly automotive, with the occasional turn toward that other hard-to-find TV genre -- poker.

Is there no Speed channel? Are there no poker games on a dozen other channels? And I know I haven't seen anything like Velocity's Tech Toys anywhere else since, I dunno, yesterday.

Myself, I'm eagerly awaiting that splashy new downscale channel that just has to show up any week now. Give me some demolition derby and lawn mower races! And some international offerings, too. Like sumo. Now we're talkin'...


* * * *

P.S.: if anybody knows of a sports channel available in the East Coast (NYC market in particular) that regularly shows Badminton TV matches, especially those from SouthEast Asia, I'd really appreciate it. PM me if you know.
post #72153 of 93852
TV Notes
Ashley Rickards is poised and polished off-camera compared to 'Awkward' character Jenna on MTV show
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - September 27th, 2011

If you ran into Ashley Rickards, odds are you would not immediately think, "Jenna Hamilton!" - even though Rickards plays Jenna on MTV's hit teen drama "Awkward," which wraps up a well-received first season with an hour-long episode Tuesday night at 11.

It's a visual thing. Where Jenna has spent most of the first season looking somewhat plain, Rickards is anything but.

She looks, well, sophisticated. She may be just 19, four years older than Jenna, but she's a grownup. She looks like she belongs in the TV world, while Jenna looks like she belongs in high school, which is where most people belong when they're 15.

So even though Rickards has made Jenna one of summer's most likable and interesting new characters, she doesn't mind acknowledging the contrast.

"One of the things I do as an actress is think back to when I was 15," she says. "But Jenna has nothing to do with my life. I have no right to impose my experiences on Jenna. She's very different."

True, that. By the time the real-life Rickards was 15, she had graduated from high school and was starting a TV and film career that would notably include a season as Samantha on "One Tree Hill."

She was also a serious competitive equestrian - which requires time that her acting career at the moment doesn't permit.

"I love horses," she says. "I competed for a long time. I'm not doing it now, but hopefully I'll do it again."

Jenna, in contrast, has spent the first season of "Awkward" in a much more traditional way - trying to fit into high school without becoming an object of ridicule. That quest wasn't helped at the beginning by an accident that left her in an outlandish arm cast and started rumors she had botched a suicide attempt.

She does not respond to this unwanted attention, however, by sinking into a corner. When Jenna gets an idea what she wants, she goes for it.

"It's about resilience," says Rickards. "It's asking yourself, 'Am I a helpless victim?' She's not."

By season's end, she has been nominated for Formal Princess at the all-important Winter Formal.

More intriguing, two of the most desirable boys in school are interested in her - a significant development in part because "Awkward" is more explicit than many other teen shows in discussing and portraying sexuality.

Since this is high school, Jenna also hits setbacks, some of them sexual. She tosses a party that jeopardizes friendships and she makes assumptions that turn out to be premature.

So it's a year with a lot of drama. Which makes sense, since it's a TV show. But by year's end, Jenna has shown umistakable growth from the plain girl in the shadows.

"In the pilot, that's who she is," says Rickards. "By the eighth episode, when she gets a makeover, it's not an identity crisis. That's who she's become. You have to be yourself.

"She gets knocked down a lot. But she'll always get right back up."

One-hour season finale tonight at 11PM on MTV

post #72154 of 93852
MONDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman’s Media INsight's Blog.
post #72155 of 93852
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
CBS's 'Men' dips but still dominates Monday
Sitcom averages a 7.2 18-49 rating in week two
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - September 27th, 2011

No surprise, CBS's "Two and a Half Men" was down significantly from last week's series record. But the show still drew huge ratings last night.

"Men" averaged a 7.2 adults 18-49 rating at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, down from a 10.7 for last week's season premiere.

It averaged 20 million total viewers, down from 28.7 million last week.

But those dropoffs were expected. Last week the show killed off former lead actor Charlie Sheen and introduced a new lead, Ashton Kutcher, in the most anticipated half-hour of the fall season.

Last night was a better indicator of where "Men's" ratings will be this season, and it has to be very encouraging for CBS. The sitcom was not only the top show of the night but also up 50 percent over "Men's" rating the second week of last season.

"Men" once again headlined what's looking like a very strong Monday night lineup.

Every half-hour timeslot from 8 to 10 p.m. saw gains over last year. The 8 p.m. "How I Met Your Mother" averaged a 4.4, and lead-out "2 Broke Girls," which aired behind "Men" last week, drew a 4.5 in its regular timeslot, a very good rating although far below last week's 7.1 debut.

"Men" lead-out "Mike & Molly" premiered to a series-high 4.9 at 9:30 p.m., and CBS easily won the night.

Meanwhile, Fox's much-hyped premiere of the new dinosaur drama "Terra Nova" debuted to a solid but unremarkable 3.0 rating from 8 to 10 p.m. The show's numbers were steady during each half hour, always a good sign for a new program.

NBC, on the other hand, had a rough night. "The Sing Off," which had been a short-run show in December the past two years, slid to a series-low 1.7 from 8 to 10 p.m., and lead-out "The Playboy Club" dipped 19 percent from last week's disappointing premiere to a 1.3. It's definitely a candidate for cancellation.

ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" also lost some bite. The hit show, which has been criticized for its weak crop of contestants this season, slid to a 3.3 rating, down 18 percent from last week's debut.

The evening's other series premiere, the CW's "Hart of Dixie," posted okay numbers against tough competition at 9 p.m. The show averaged 1.9 million total viewers, building on lead-in "Gossip Girl" by a third, and had the CW's biggest audience in the timeslot in almost a year as the network tries to expand beyond its traditional women 18-34 base demographic.

CBS finished first for the night among 18-49s with a 4.6 average overnight rating and an 11 share. ABC was second at 3.1/8, Fox third at 3.0/7, Univision fourth at 1.7/4, NBC fifth at 1.5/4, CW sixth at 0.8/2 and Telemundo seventh at 0.5/1.

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

CBS was first during each hour of the night, beginning with a 4.5 at 8 p.m. for "Mother" (4.4) and "Broke" (4.5), with ABC second with a 3.1 for "Stars." Fox was third with a 3.0 for "Nova," Univision fourth with a 1.9 for "Teresa," NBC fifth with a 1.7 for "Sing," CW sixth with a 0.8 for "Gossip" and Telemundo seventh with a 0.4 for "Mi Corazon Insiste."

At 9 p.m. CBS led with a 6.0 for "Men" (7.2) and "Molly" (4.9), followed again by ABC with a 3.4 for more "Stars." Fox was third with a 3.1 for another hour of "Nova," Univision fourth with a 2.0 for "La Fuerza del Destino," NBC fifth with a 1.6 for more "Sing," CW sixth with a 0.8 for "Dixie" and Telemundo seventh with a 0.6 for "Flor Salvaje."

CBS was first again at 10 p.m. with a 3.3 for "Hawaii Five-0," while ABC remained second with a 2.9 for "Castle." Univision and NBC tied for third at 1.3, Univision for "Don Francisco Presenta" and NBC for "Playboy," with Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 for "La Casa de al Lado."

ABC led the night among households with a 9.7 average overnight rating and a 14 share. CBS was second at 8.0/12, Fox third at 5.4/8, NBC fourth at 2.7/4, Univision fifth at 2.2/3, CW sixth at 1.2/2 and Telemundo seventh at 0.7/1.

post #72156 of 93852
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

History International is now H2. And next week, Discovery's HD Theater becomes Velocity.

HI hasn't actually been "international" for awhile now, unless you think Secret Missions of the Civil War has a global focus. But it's probably now more "history" than ever -- certainly more than its elder sibling, currently called simply History, which whiles away its hours (and hours and hours) with reality shows like Pawn Stars and Ice Road Truckers.

But H2 is also picking up premiere episodes of longtime History favorite Modern Marvels (Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on H2), as well as The Universe (Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on H2). So we're hoping for the best out of what might otherwise seem a disappointing decision to move another niche channel toward the mainstream.

Agree that HI turned into what the History channel was (and should've stayed as, IMO, because it's just 'reality' crap now), but I'm just glad to hear that they're making some new Modern Marvels again. We love that show.
post #72157 of 93852
TV Notes
FX's John Landgraf is pushing the cable network to new highs
He has shepherded in several edgy, scripted shows such as 'Sons of Anarchy' and created an in-house production unit. Revenues and viewership have jumped.
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times - September 27th, 2011

When John Landgraf joined FX as head of entertainment, he smugly figured he'd landed in the catbird seat. After all, the News Corp.-owned cable network had two hit dramas on the air and a hot prospect about to premiere.

It quickly dawned on him that he could easily fall on his face. "I'm the schmuck who's supposed to replace 'The Shield,' 'Nip/Tuck' and 'Rescue Me,'" Landgraf recalled thinking when he was hired in January 2004. Not only was Landgraf going to have to develop FX's next set of hits, he was also going to have to find a way to make money from them.

Although the shows he inherited delivered solid ratings and were adored by critics, they were very expensive. The costs kept rising the longer they were on the air, as cast and crew demanded bigger raises. But because FX bought rights to these series from other producers rather than owning them, the network did not participate in rerun or DVD sales. Therefore, FX didn't have much leverage when it came to negotiating deals to keep the shows on its network.

"You've got to figure out how to pay for it," said Landgraf, who devised a way to change that equation to his network's financial advantage. He created FX Productions, an in-house unit that now produces or co-produces seven FX shows, meaning the company shares in any profits and has more control over costs.

Landgraf, who has since been promoted to president and general manager, appears to be sitting pretty. He has shepherded new and more financially sound shows including the gritty drama "Sons of Anarchy" and Elmore Leonard-inspired "Justified" as well as dark comedies "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Louie" and "Wilfred."

Landgraf's strategy has been to have a healthy mix of low-cost comedies and big-budget dramas — each of which turn traditional genres on their heads.

Although most cable networks have looser standards than broadcast television when it comes to content, FX takes it to the next level in terms of coarse language, sex, nudity and tone. "Sons of Anarchy," "Louie" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" are about the dark underside of American life. Even lighter fare such as "Wilfred" (about a guy and a pot-smoking dog) and "The League" (about a group of crude friends obsessed with fantasy football) are more quirky than conventional.

Not lacking in confidence, Landgraf says most of the shows on rival networks "don't aspire to be deep, complicated, penetrating character studies.… I think we've found a way to remain distinctive."

Next week, FX takes what might be its biggest gamble with "American Horror Story," a sexually charged thriller from "Glee" and "Nip/Tuck" creator Ryan Murphy that premieres Oct. 5. The original series, which FX does not own, is one of the network's more costly shows. It stars Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton as troubled married couple whose move to L.A. is complicated by the haunted house they inhabit.

Under Landgraf, FX's prime-time audience has grown 55%. According to Nielsen, this year FX is averaging almost 1.5 million viewers a night, an 18% jump over last year. Among the coveted demographic of adults ages 18 to 49, skewing more toward males, FX has just over 800,000 prime-time viewers, an improvement of 17%.

The network is also financially stronger. Advertising revenue at FX in 2011 will hit nearly $521 million, compared with $325 million five years ago, and operating revenue is expected to top $1 billion for the first time, according to SNL Kagan, an industry consulting firm.

Landgraf "has a fantastic combination of creative skills and business skills," said Peter Rice, chairman of entertainment at Fox Networks Group, to whom Landgraf reports. "That sort of right-brain left-brain combination is unusual, and he has it spades."

Although FX still trails its chief rivals USA and TNT in terms of viewers, it is closing the gap. The season premiere of "Sons of Anarchy," about a motorcycle gang, set a ratings record. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" is off to its best start in seven seasons. Emmy-nominated "Louie," starring stand-up comedian Louis C.K. as a depressed, divorced dad, saw its viewership increase 26% this summer.

"FX has made a mark by raising the bar for original scripted programming," said Mike Rosen, a media buyer for Starcom.

Not everything Landgraf touches becomes a hit. Two recent efforts — dramas "Terriers," about two offbeat private investigators, and "Lights Out," about a heavyweight fighter, were each canceled after just one season. "The conclusion I came to was both those shows were not conceptually original enough," Landgraf said.

Landgraf, 49, initially resisted joining FX when he was first approached for the job to succeed Kevin Reilly, who is now entertainment chief at Fox Broadcasting. A previous stint as a programming executive at NBC had left a bad taste in his mouth.

"I was very leery about going back to work in a corporate setting," Landgraf said. "There was just an awful lot of stunningly mediocre programming that was fostered [at NBC] there at that time. I sort of thought that's what the corporate environment bred — it was about product more than creativity."

When Landgraf left NBC to become president of Jersey Television, a unit of actor Danny DeVito's Jersey Films, he found a new kind of irritation: meddling network executives interfering with the creative process.

"I was pretty frustrated at that point," he recalled. "I had my fill of network television from both sides."

What changed his mind was watching "The Shield," a drama about a corrupt cop, and "Nip/Tuck," about a pair of Miami plastic surgeons — one an amoral womanizer and the other a family man. "I was just astonished," he said. FX was doing "exactly the kind of work I wanted to and that we'd been trying to do at Jersey with little success."

Landgraf's former FX boss Peter Liguroi said of the executive, "He has an utter gag reflex for mediocrity."

Landgraf may give his producers creative leeway, but by no means is he hands off. "I read every draft of every episode of every series produced at FX," he said.

What he doesn't do is nitpick every little detail in a script.

"I have had pilots at other networks where the notes are about trying to do what they think is commercial," Ryan Murphy said. "John stands by his show creators."

"Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter, no shrinking violet himself, said Landgraf's "not a guy who stands on the table and says, 'I am king and I know everything.'"

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TV/Business Notes
NJ Gov. Chris Christie Vetoes 'Jersey Shore' Tax Break
By Kimberly Potts, TheWrap.com - September 27th, 2011

Snooki, The Situation and J-Woww will still find a way to get their GTL on, no doubt, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says they'll have to do it without taxpayer help.

Christie has announced his decision to veto a tax credit, nicknamed the "Snooki subsidy," that would have given MTV's hit reality series "Jersey Shore" a $420,000 tax break for filming in Seaside Heights.

"I have no interest in policing the content of such projects," Christie said in a letter to New Jersey Economic Development Authority exec Caren Franzini. "However, as chief executive, I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens."

Christie, who tweeted a link to the letter he sent to Franzini on Monday, decided to let stand tax credits for other entertainment projects filmed in New Jersey, reported NJ.com. They included the Kyra Sedgwick family dramedy film "Chlorine" and a series of live wrestling shows.

post #72159 of 93852
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
FX's John Landgraf is pushing the cable network to new highs
He has shepherded in several edgy, scripted shows such as 'Sons of Anarchy' and created an in-house production unit. Revenues and viewership have jumped.
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times - September 27th, 2011


Mr. John Landgraf is awesome. FX has really stepped above over the past couple of years.

Only if NBC had somebody like John
post #72160 of 93852
TV Notes
For HLN, Trial of Jackson's Doctor Is a Chance for More Saturation Coverage
By Brian Stelter, The New York Times' 'Media Decoder' Blog - September 27th, 2011

Having found a successful formula during the trial of Casey Anthony last spring, the cable channel HLN is re-orienting its daytime schedule for its next big trial, that of Conrad Murray, the doctor accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson in 2009.

On Tuesday morning HLN had a countdown clock to 11:45 a.m. Eastern time, when opening arguments started in the trial. What happened in the last five minutes of Michael Jackson's life? Today we could start to get some answers, the morning anchor, Robin Meade, said during one of her many previews of the channel's coverage.

HLN says it will deliver gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Murray trial, just as it did during the Anthony trial. And it's going a step further for this one, replacing its usual crew of daytime anchors with legal news veterans. The channel's plans amount to almost-around-the-clock coverage.

But one HLN anchor won't be as visible this time: Nancy Grace, who almost single-handedly made the death of Casey Anthony's daughter Caylee into nationwide news, and appeared frequently on HLN during the trial. Ms. Grace is competing on ABC's Dancing With the Stars this fall, limiting her time on HLN. She will still host her 8 p.m. show on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Many now view HLN as the new trial network of record, having replaced Court TV, which was converted to a reality TV channel called truTV a few years ago. truTV, which is owned by the same company as HLN, Time Warner, still has some trial coverage during the day, but it seems content to let HLN bill itself as America's television destination for coverage of the Murray trial. HLN and truTV share some resources and hosts, like Ryan Smith, who appears on both.

Starting Tuesday, Vinnie Politan, a former lawyer and Court TV anchor who stood out during HLN's coverage of the Anthony trial, will anchor each weekday from 11 a.m. when the day's proceedings will usually start in Los Angeles to 3 p.m. Eastern. Mr. Smith and Jane Velez-Mitchell, an evening HLN anchor and longtime Jackson watcher, will take over at 3 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m.

The proceedings are expected to wrap up around 7 p.m. Eastern each day. But, copying the Anthony coverage formula, all of HLN's evening shows will focus on the Murray trial. The line-up stays the same, with Ms. Velez-Mitchell at 7, Ms. Grace at 8, Dr. Drew Pinsky at 9, Joy Behar at 10, and the entertainment hour Showbiz Tonight at 11.

There will be cross-pollination as well with CNN, the more sober news sister of HLN. On Tuesday night CNN's chief medical expert, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, will appear on Dr. Pinsky's show. HLN hopes that the Murray trial, which involves issues of medicine and addiction, will draw attention to Dr. Pinsky's show, which was introduced six months ago. Dr. Pinsky is better known for VH1's Celebrity Rehab.

An HLN spokeswoman said its usual daytime anchors will be back after the trial. But with its coverage of both the Anthony trial and the Murray trial, the channel is clearly signaling a programming strategy for the future. The Anthony trial brought a record audience; when the not-guilty verdict was read on July 5, HLN had the single highest viewership in its 29-year history.

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TV Sports
Ratings: Alabama-Arkansas sees steep drop
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - September 27th, 2011

Alabama was No. 2 in USA TODAY's college football coaches poll heading into Saturday's game vs. Arkansas, which was 12th. Yet that CBS game drew a 2.6 overnight, down 52% from those teams playing on CBS on the same weekend in 2010. Maybe rankings are key to ratings: Last year Arkansas was 11th and Alabama first.

Fox's Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears game Sunday topped the NFL weekend TV ratings with a 15.8 overnight, while NBC's Sunday night managed to draw a 13.2 overnight for the woeful Indianapolis Colts losing a close game to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fox's 15.8, which translates into 15.8% of households in the 56 urban markets measured for overnights, was up 11% from comparable NFL TV coverage last year that featured the Colts and Denver Broncos. NBC's 13.2 was up 1% from last year's comparable coverage of the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.

But NFL ratings weren't up across the board. CBS' single-game coverage, which included the Buffalo Bills upsetting the New England Patriots in game that went to just 8% of U.S. households, was off 11% from last year, and Fox's early-game coverage was down 9%.

FYI: NFL Network will have a condensed replay of Pats-Bills Tuesday (8 p.m. ET) followed by a Jets-Oakland Raiders replay (9:30 p.m. ET).

post #72162 of 93852
Originally Posted by Young C View Post

Mr. John Landgraf is awesome. FX has really stepped above over the past couple of years.

Only if NBC had somebody like John

NBC does have someone like Landgraf at the helm: Robert Greenblatt, the man that made Showtime into the powerhouse of original shows ("Dexter," "Tudors," "Californication," "Weeds," etc.) that at one time challenged HBO for premium cable supremacy. What works for cable doesn't necessarily work on broadcast though, so if Landgraf and Greenblatt were to trade places at the helm of NBC I'm sure John would be in the same world of hurt Robert is in right now.
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Nielsen Overnights (Analysis)
Ratings: CBS Comedies Have a Great Night
By Josef Adalian, New York Magazine - September 27th, 2011

Tuned In

So remember when everyone was saying the network sitcom was dead? Never mind. CBS powered through another Monday with strong performances from all of its comedies. Week two of the post-Sheen era of Two and a Half Men, while down about 35 percent versus its debut, was still a monster: 20 million people tuned in and the series earned a 7.2 rating in adults 18 to 49. But the best news for CBS was earlier in the night: How I Met Your Mother (10.5 million, 4.4 demo) demolished everything in sight with viewers under 50, while 2 Broke Girls (11.6 million, 4.5 demo) debuted in its regular time slot with numbers about 40 percent above what Rules of Engagement earned in the same slot last year. The continued curiosity about Men, plus an Emmy win and Bridesmaids exposure, helped Mike & Molly attract its biggest audience ever (14 million); it earned a 4.9 in the demo.

Then there's Terra Nova, which could just as easily have been in the "tuned out" category of this column, given how well many industry insiders figured it would perform in its debut. Still, 9 million viewers and a 3 demo rating represent substantial audience tune-in these days, and the fact that audience levels stayed steady during the two-hour debut is a good sign. The show's real test comes over the next two weeks, as viewers decide whether they liked what they saw. Meanwhile, the CW, which had a tough premiere week, had to be happy that Gossip Girl returned in decent shape: The show was up 22 percent, to a 1.1. rating, in the net's target of adults 18 to 34 versus its May season finale (though it was still down from its September 2010 season premiere).

As for CW's new Hart of Dixie, which followed at 9 p.m., it did a not-great 0.8 in adults 18-34 opposite intense competition, but matched Gossip in adults 18-49.

Tuned Out

Dead Bunny Hopping! The Playboy Club, which fell nearly 20 percent to a 1.3 rating with viewers under 50 and just 3.9 million viewers. It can't last much longer in this time slot; the only question is whether new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt will try the show elsewhere on his schedule. He can probably be patient with The Sing-Off however; its 1.7 demo rating from 8 to 10 p.m. is weak but not disastrous, particularly given all the hype surrounding the other Monday-night shows. Speaking of hype: Whatever buzz there is about Dancing With the Stars isn't helping its ratings. Monday's episode fell to a 3.3 demo rating, the show's lowest-rated episode ever in the category (it still averaged a solid 16 million viewers overall, No. 2 for the night behind Men).

Crunching the Numbers

So last week, Fox had its best fall launch ever, winning premiere week for the first time, and yet most industry insiders were preoccupied buzzing about why The X Factor wasn't even bigger. Now comes Terra Nova, which didn't die on arrival (like The Playboy Club last week, or Lone Star last year), but also had Tinseltown prophets predicting much bigger things. And why not: When you decide to spend $15 million or more on a pilot, reshoot and tinker with said pilot several times, and then pound the existence of said pilot into the public's head for months on end, it's not unreasonable for outsiders to assume you think you've got the potential for a big hit on your hands. And while Nova is by no means a flop, it's also hard to see it turning into a dino-mighty smash hit.

Still, if the show maintains its premiere week numbers — and that's not easy; most well-hyped shows fall in week two — Fox will have perhaps found a solid addition to its schedule (although it may have to start digitally inserting sponsors' names on the backs of the dinosaurs in order to turn a profit on the show). Of course, skeptics might ask: If "solid" is all the network wanted, couldn't it have developed a good medical or legal drama to stick behind House, for a lot less money? Perhaps. But as the network's track record recently with the likes of The Good Guys and The Chicago Code demonstrates, going for cost effective doesn't always make sense at Fox, either.

It should also be noted that network dramas are struggling big-time this season. While Revenge, Pan Am, and Person of Interest all did better than Nova, they only outperformed it by a bit. What's more, all those shows debuted behind existing hits; Fox's newbie was expected (not unreasonably) to be a self-starter. Also: Pam Am producer Sony recently told the New York Times it spent $10 million shooting the pilot, so it's not as if rivals were tight on the purse strings this fall. Even established hours are limping: CBS has poured millions into rebooting Hawaii Five-0, and while the show is a success, it's nowhere near the next CSI or even Criminal Minds. Terra Nova may not have debuted to raptor-ous numbers, but in 2011, it has plenty of company on the bummer train.

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TV Notes
Yes, Anna Kournikova can relate
She got as much attention in tennis for her willowy blond looks as for her playing ability. The new trainer for 'The Biggest Loser' says that intense scrutiny will help her when working with the show's obese contestants
By Rene Lynch, Los Angeles Times - September 26th, 2011

Anna Kournikova is the new trainer for this season of "The Biggest Loser."
(Photo: Mel Melcon, L.A. Times)

What does Anna Kournikova know about losing weight?

Some saw her as a curious choice to help replace outgoing trainer Jillian Michaels when Season 12 of "The Biggest Loser" returned to Tuesdays on NBC. But the 30-year-old says she has plenty in common with the morbidly obese contestants on the weight-loss reality show.

"I know what it's like to be judged, dissected, picked apart for all of my life," said the Russian-born tennis player who was arguably more famous for her willowy blond looks than for her court prowess. "It was so painful. I was just a kid at the time. I was being judged over here for being too pretty, or over there for not looking good enough. And God forbid I gained a pound. I heard about it. And then I was being criticized for not being a good enough tennis player and yet I knew — I knew — I was giving it everything I had."

The hyper-attention over her physical appearance — which made her one of the most sought-after celebrity images online three years in a row — triggered painful feelings of unworthiness, Kournikova said. Her personal battle with self-image taught her to quiet her inner critic — a lesson she's poised to help this season's contestants learn.

"At the end of the day, we know it's not just about calories and exercise," Kournikova said, taking a break from shooting and folding herself into one of the chairs in the living room set at the ranch. "The challenge here is how do you change your life? If you don't change who you are on the inside, the changes on the outside won't last. A lot of these people have just lost their sparkle for life and I have to help them figure out how to get it back."

Like many reality shows last week, "The Biggest Loser" got off to a rough start. Ratings for the premiere in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic dropped more than 20% compared with the previous season. (ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" fell more than a third compared with its opener last fall.)

Kournikova joins "Biggest Loser" veteran Bob Harper and another new trainer, Dolvett Quince, who counts Justin Bieber among his personal clients. The training shake-up comes as the series attempts to shift the focus away from calories and workouts to overall health and wellness, said executive producer Todd Lubin.

He said he'd been mulling over possible roles for Kournikova after she proved popular with viewers during a guest stint several seasons ago. At that time, she led them through drills and a made-up game on the tennis court to encourage contestants to keep workouts fresh and less like, well, work.

"That was an important message," Lubin said. "Working out doesn't have to happen in a gym, it can be at a park, playing with your family, and that's what we want to get at more. How to incorporate health and fitness into your everyday life."

Harper said Kournikova brings with her the spirit of a champion and the drive that comes with being a professional athlete. "When you are a pro, you don't just get to say, 'I don't feel like working out today.' You don't have that luxury. Anna will be able to help [the contestants] find that ability, that inner strength, to fight through whatever is standing in their way."

Much like she did in her earlier appearance on the show, Kournikova said she wants to impart a love of fitness and healthy eating to the competitors as well. "Taking care of yourself, and watching what you eat isn't a punishment," she said. "You don't want to go to the gym? Don't go. But do something else."

She said being part of a team will also play to her strength. Although she peaked at No. 8 in singles on the women's tennis tour and never won a singles title, she excelled in doubles — reaching that coveted No. 1 slot and winning two Grand Slam titles.

"I'm very proud of that," she said. "I'm also very proud of reaching [No. 8], not many people get to say that. For me, it was an achievement."

Wearing a powder blue workout jacket and black workout pants, Kournikova said she's well aware that some people are critical of her new role. But she long ago stopped caring what anyone else thinks.

That disregard for judgment is something she wants to pass on to contestants so that they will be able to withstand the pressures of everyday life once they leave the protected environment of the show.

"If you lose at tennis, it only means the other opponent was better on that day," she said. "It doesn't mean you're a bad person, or you're not worthy. You have to have that sense of self, and give yourself the gift of saying, 'I don't care what anyone else thinks. Did I try my hardest? Did I do my best? Then I only care about what I think.'"

Tuesdays from 8-10PM on NBC

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TV Review
'Suburgatory' (ABC)
Out of the City, Into the Fire
By Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times - September 27th, 2011

As you’re wincing your way through “Suburgatory,” an unpalatable sitcom that has its premiere on ABC on Wednesday night, ponder the question that no studio executives apparently did: Who is the audience for this show?

The series begins with a tenuous premise, uses it to leap to an inaccurate dichotomy and supports that with tired, unfunny stereotypes. Jeremy Sisto, apparently a little too eager for work after “Law & Order” ended, plays George Altman, a single father who, we’re told in the setup, moves himself and his 16-year-old daughter to the suburbs from Manhattan after finding condoms in her dresser drawer.

What makes him think the suburbs are free of condom-using teenagers, which they most certainly aren’t, remains unclear. But apparently he does, and so does his irritating daughter, Tessa (Jane Levy).

“Goodbye, Washington Square Park,” she says, describing the relocation. “Goodbye, sexually active classmates.” Such is what passes for humor on this show: quips that leave a sour taste.

And what do this chemistry-free father and daughter find in the suburbs? Caricatures lifted from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Adults and teenagers are uniformly vacuous and catty. Their main interest seems to be speculating about whether Tessa is a lesbian, a joke (if you can call it that in an age when teenagers kill themselves over Facebook rumors) that is run into the ground in the pilot. Oh, and the adult women all want to bed George.

The show, created by Emily Kapnek, who has worked on “Hung” and “Parks and Recreation,” has a supporting cast full of people who have been in much better comedies than this, like Cheryl Hines of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Ana Gasteyer of “Saturday Night Live” and Alan Tudyk.

Despite those ingredients, the premise never really has a chance, at least in the pilot, because although the script seems to have a specific (though erroneous) idea of what constitutes a suburban teenager, it doesn’t bother to delineate Tessa’s contrasting persona. Is she a bohemian sort of city teenager? An overprivileged one? A hangin’-out-in-the-’hood type?

Perhaps this isn’t made clear because the people behind this show don’t know any more about urban teenagers than they do about suburban ones. If they did, they’d realize that at least in the New York area, the differences among young people have far more to do with their economic status than with their residence. Where do suburban teenagers in these parts spend half their time? In New York, of course.

The real problem with this series, though, is that it’s hard to figure out who is supposed to be watching it. The setup — single parent, cheeky kid — feels Disneyish, but what comes out of these characters’ mouths isn’t anything Disney-endorsing parents would want their tweeners hearing. In addition to the condom discussion, the pilot features Tessa advising one of her new acquaintances that a pair of short-shorts will show her vagina.

Yet it’s hard to imagine older teenagers watching “Suburgatory” either, because if there’s one thing kids in that age group are good at, it’s spotting phoniness. They should be quick to peg this as a series made by people who don’t know much about how teenagers really live.

Perhaps, then, the show is for parents with a teenager like Tessa, who will be watching, hoping to glean child-rearing insights? Nah; if you have a kid that annoying in your house, why would you want one on your television too?

ABC, Wednesday nights at 8:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 7:30, Central time.

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

NBC does have someone like Landgraf at the helm: Robert Greenblatt, the man that made Showtime into the powerhouse of original shows ("Dexter," "Tudors," "Californication," "Weeds," etc.) that at one time challenged HBO for premium cable supremacy. What works for cable doesn't necessarily work on broadcast though, so if Landgraf and Greenblatt were to trade places at the helm of NBC I'm sure John would be in the same world of hurt Robert is in right now.

Oh that's right. Showtime is awesome indeed.
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Tech/Business Notes
Hollywood downloads a post-DVD future
The movie studio business model is poised for its biggest shift in years as Hollywood turns to Internet delivery as the only way to boost home entertainment revenues
By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times - September 25th, 2011

Whoa, hold on boys!

Dont' count your chicken's before their hatched. Your season premiers are still laying too manny eggs.

You're still better racing to the bottom of the barrel than you are in racing to the top.
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Sports
Ratings: Alabama-Arkansas sees steep drop
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - September 27th, 2011

Alabama was No. 2 in USA TODAY's college football coaches poll heading into Saturday's game vs. Arkansas, which was 12th. Yet that CBS game drew a 2.6 overnight, down 52% from those teams playing on CBS on the same weekend in 2010. Maybe rankings are key to ratings: Last year Arkansas was 11th and Alabama first.

It could have something to do with fans getting tired of Verne "makes too many mistakes" Lundquist. That game also went against the Oklahoma State-Texas A&M game that was a much better game.
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Originally Posted by MRM4 View Post

That game also went against the Oklahoma State-Texas A&M game that was a much better game.

Yep #7 Oklahoma State/#8 Texas A&M got a 3.7.
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Originally Posted by Joe3 View Post

Your season premiers are still laying too manny eggs.

I can't believe how much I agree with this sentiment and I assume it's not directed only at this season's crop of new shows.

As you all know, I record almost all the dramatic series, 2/hr for the 3 hrs of network primetime and as many others on cablenets (Life, TNT, Syfy, FX, USA) as I can. So far this season, the only premieres I've been satisfied with were NCIS, Castle, Criminal Minds, Hawaii Five-O, and my top was CSI:NY, but I haven't watched yesterday's yet. The biggest disappointment has been The Mentalist, one of my Top 5 favorite shows.

EDIT: Oh, I'm back to watching CSI and thought Ted did okay.
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10:53 AM PDT 9/27/2011 by Gregg Kilday , Pamela McClintock

UPDATED: In the consolidation, Paramount Intl. President Andrew Cripps has been asked to move from London to L.A., while Megan Colligan becomes president of domestic marketing and distribution as Jim Tharp prepares to retire.

In a sweeping reorganization of its theatrical marketing and distribution divisions as well as its home entertainment units, Paramount Pictures announced a round of executive promotions Tuesday as well as the retirement of Jim Tharp, who will step down as president of its domestic theatrical distribution in June.

"This new structure will allow us to more effectively take advantage of worldwide opportunities, adjusting to the changing marketplace and propel us forward on a unified, global basis. Our internal operations can now be more closely alligned with our strategic operations at our Los Angeles headquarters," Paramount chairman Brad Grey said.

In restructuring its home entertainment and licensing divisions, the studio has upped Dennis Maguire, who had been serving as president of worldwide home entertainment, to head the new post of president, worldwide home entertainment, reporting to vice chairman Rob Moore.

Hal Richardson, currently president, worldwide television distribution, will take on the role of president, home media distribution, reporting to Maguire.

The studio is also centralizing its worldwide theatrical marketing operations in Los Angeles, and has promoted Josh Greenstein, its co-president of domestic marketing to chief marketing officer. Megan Colligan, who also had been serving as co-president of domestic marketing, has been promoted to president, domestic marketing and distribution and will oversee all domestic theatrical distribution and marketing for the studio. (Greenstein and Colligan are credited for innovative campaigns that make Paramount's marketing operation one of the strongest in town.)

In another key change, Paramount Pictures International president Andrew Cripps, now based in London, has been asked to move to Los Angeles. The widely respected executive hasn't yet made a decision. If he does relocate, he will keep the same title and continue to report to Moore.

Greenstein and Colligan will continue to report to Moore. Colligan will also report to Greenstein on marketing.

With Hollywood studios making so much of their money overseas--a tentpole can earn 65 percent to 75 percent of its grosses at the international box office--Moore said he wants Cripps "to be here with us in the Los Angeles office."

Added Moore in an interview with THR: "This is about looking at our organization, looking at our business, and how it's evolving--not how it was 25 years ago. It's hard, it's disruptive, but when we get through it, we will have an organization that is aligned and streamlined.

Tharp, who joined Paramount from DreamWorks and who is the existing president of domestic theatrical distribution, will retire in June 2012. Until then, Tharp will assist Moore and Colligan in transition to the new reporting structure. Tharp's retirement had been rumored for some time.

In a company email, Grey said, "Jim's retirment next summer marks an end of an era. I want to personally thanks him for his many years of service and accomplishments, and for being a real friend to all of us at Paramount Pictures."

Don Harris, who has served as executive vp of sales, is being promoted to president, domestic theatrical distribution, and will assume Tharp's day-to-day responsibilities, reporting to Colligan.

It is unusual to combine marketing and distribution under one title. Moore said Colligan has played a key role in coming up with unique distribution strategies for such hits as Paranormal Activity and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.

In other moves, Paramount Digital Entertainment will be folded into other divisions of the studio. Amy Powell, executive vp, interactive entertainment, will add the creation of content for digital and online games to her current responsibilities. LeeAnne Stables, executive vp, worldwide marketing partnerships, will assume responsibility for licensing of traditional video games. Both Powell and Stables will continue to report to Colligan.

Tom Lesinski, president of PDE, will be departing the studio. Lesinksi, Grey said, "was instrumental in helping us break new ground in the digital arena and we wish him great success in the future."

The reorganization doesn't appear to have resulted in widespread layoffs. The Digital Entertainment group was impacted the most.

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Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald in "Footloose" (photo: Paramount)

Paramount Pictures wants people to “cut (Foot)loose” in theaters two weeks before the film opens.

The studio announced Tuesday that on Friday, the film will screen for free in 26 markets nationwide. Fans can reserve their spots in the screenings in their markets at www.FootlooseFriday.com .

Following the screenings the studio urges fans to tweet their reactions using the hashtag #Footloose to join the conversation.

Written and directed by Craig Brewer, “Footloose” is a remake of the 1984 dance hit starring Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow.

The new version of “Footloose” stars Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid.

“Footloose” opens Oct. 14 in theaters nationwide.

– Tim Lammers http://criticschoice.com/headlines/?p=3678
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NEW YORK | Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:09pm EDT

(Reuters) - Cable operators are privately working on a plan to force programmers to unbundle their networks and allow customers to subscribe to channels on an individual basis.

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I don't know, it's hard to trust a story by someone named Yinka Adegoke.
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TV Notes
Starz Renews New Series Boss' For Second Season Before Premiere
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - September 27th, 2011

Starz has ordered a second 10-episode season of upcoming drama Boss ahead of the series' October 21 premiere. A couple of years ago, the network did the same with its flagship series Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Boss, from Lionsgate TV, stars Kelsey Grammer as a ruthless Chicago mayor who has a secret that threatens to topple him. Boss was created by feature writer Farhad Safinia (Apocalypto), with Gus Van Sant making his TV debut directing the first episode. Production on Season 2 is slated to begin in early 2012. Starz originally picked up Boss straight-to-series by Starz last year. The first time we read Farhad's script, we knew we had to make Boss, the pay cable network's president and CEO Chris Albrecht said. With each episode, the story grew richer, and the cast continues to turn in breakthrough performances.

There has been buzz about former Frasier star Grammer's performance, which has been compared to those of other sitcom leading men who have transitioned to playing dark characters on cable dramas like Breaking Bads Bryan Cranston and The Shields Michael Chiklis. Co-starring opposite Grammer on Boss are Connie Nielsen, Jeff Hephner, Hannah Ware, Kathleen Robertson and Troy Garity. It's nice to get this vote of confidence, Grammer said. Good thinking, I love this show. Grammer executive produces Boss with Safinia, Van Sant, Brian Sher, Stella Bulochnikov, Richard Levine and Lyn Greene. It is kind of ironic that Hephner is getting a second-season renewal for the show that he booked shortly after he was let go from The Playboy Club where he had been cast as the lead on the same day Playboys second-week ratings took a dive, spelling a certain cancellation for the NBC period drama.

Here is a trailer for Boss [CLICK LINK BELOW]:

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TV Notes
Andy Rooney Ends '60 Minutes' Commentary
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - September 27th, 2011

Starting next week, fans of curmudgeonly observations on contemporary topics will have to look elsewhere for their fix.

Andy Rooney is stepping down from his regular duties as end-of-episode commentator on "60 Minutes," CBS announced Tuesday.

Rooney, 92,had presided over the "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" since 1978.

Rooney will officially announce his retirement from the segment on Sunday's "60 Minutes," which will mark his 1,097th essay for the weekly program. Rooney's announcement will be preceded by a segment in which Rooney will look back at his career in an interview with "60 Minutes" anchor Morley Safer.

Rooney has been a contribution to the show since its inception in 1968.

A World War II Army veteran who flew in America's first bombing raid over Germany, Rooney began his career with CBS in 1949, as a writer for "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts," moving on to write for "The Garry Moore Show" from 1959 to 1962. His relationship with "60 Minutes" began with a short-lived segment called Ipso and Facto.

Rooney's essays for "60 Minutes" began in July 1978, with a piece reflecting on the reporting of traffic fatalities on Independence Day weekend, and became a regular fixture that fall. At first alternating weeks with James J. Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander, Rooney was given the end-of-show segment in the fall of 1979.

In his "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" segment, Rooney typically came across as ornery in his critiques of modern trends and developments -- though he laced his cranky observations with a dose of humor.

There's nobody like Andy and there never will be. He'll hate hearing this, but he's an American original, "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager said of Rooney in the network's announcement. His contributions to '60 Minutes' are immeasurable; he's also a great friend."

Fager also hinted that Rooney will contribute to the series irregularly.

"It's harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on '60 Minutes' when the urge hits him, Fager said.

In addition to his television work, Rooney has penned 16 books, including "The Fortunes of War," "And More by Andy Rooney," "Common Nonsense" and "Not That You Asked"

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Nielsen Overnights
ABC's 'The Chew' Off to Decent Start
By Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - September 27th, 2011

ABC launched its All My Children replacement, lifestyle series The Chew, on Monday to 2.5 million total viewers. Though the programs do not air in the same time periods, to offer a bit of comparison, The Chew posted a larger opener than the 2.2 million who tuned in to the first episode of CBS' The Talk last year.

The Chew, co-hosted by Clinton Kelly, Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall and Daphne Oz, outrated The Talk's premiere in three key demos: women 18-34 (167,000 vs. 158,000), women 18-49 (590,000 vs. 568,000) and women 25-54 (732,000 vs. 672,000).

The Chew, largely focusing on food, lifestyle and nutrition, outperformed All My Children's season average from 2010-11 in total viewers (2.5 million vs. 2.4) and the women 18-49 demographic (0.9 rating vs. 0.8). Final numbers for the All My Children series finale will not be available until later this week.

During the summer Television Critics Assoc. press tour in early August, the hosts and producer of The Chew defended their show to a roomful of reporters.

"We hope that [soap fans] enjoy our show," said executive producer Gordon Elliot. "We were asked to come adn join the daytime lineup because the daytime tastes have changed. Really we're just [filling] a need that was already there. We would love the soap fans to share a little bit of us."

Kelly, who also co-hosts TLC's What Not to Wear, said, "People tune in to soaps because they feel the casts are their friends. ... We can't be soap operas but we can be a group of people you can hang out with."

All My Children ended its run on ABC on Friday, Sept. 23 and Prospect Park announced Tuesday that it will launch online in January. One Life to Live is slated to say farewell early next year.


* * * *

TV Notes
'All My Children' Launching Online in January
By Lesley Godberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - September 27th, 2011

All My Children fans will only have to wait three short months for new episodes of the now online soap opera.

Prospect Park announced Tuesday that The Online Network, its Internet-based platform, will launch in January with original programming including new episodes of All My Children and One Life To Live.

As part of its January bow, TOLN will feature first-run programming including longform content and lifestyle shows, with reality, scripted comedy and drama offerings added at a later date.

We are creating TOLN to conveniently deliver fans of quality television longform programming anytime and anywhere, Prospect Park's Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinez said Tuesday in announcing the news. With broadband availability in 70 percent of U.S. households and the proliferation of Internet-enabled televisions, DVRs and wireless devices, ultimately we believe that online distribution provides the best platform to access 30- and 60-minute entertainment content. The viewer response to the shows we have licensed has been tremendous, and we have much more in development to appeal to a broad audience base.

Prospect Park announced in July that it would continue production on the long-running ABC soaps AMC and OLTL following their final episodes on broadcast television.

Soap fans can watch starting in January at www.TOLN.com, which currently asks visitors to sign up for updates.

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TV/Business Notes
FX's movie strategy part of winning approach
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - September 27th, 2011

While other cable networks gobble up reruns of hit dramas such as "NCIS" and "The Mentalist" for their prime-time lineups, FX bets big on movies to fill the parts of its schedule not occupied by its original comedies and dramas.

Over the last few years, News Corp.'s FX has opened up its wallet to buy just about every blockbuster out there. It seems as though a week doesn't go by without FX snatching the basic-cable rights to some box office smash. Its recent acquisitions include "The Hangover II" and "Horrible Bosses."

FX's movie strategy seems to go against conventional wisdom. After all, by the time a movie hits a cable network, its already been on HBO or Starz or some other pay channel as well as available on DVD and Netflix.

But movies are delivering solid ratings for FX and also allow the network to offer product that will attract more female viewers, as many of its original shows skew male.

The movies also provide a haven for advertisers who might be wary of some of the more risque shows on the cable channel.

"There are certain advertisers that fit better in the 'Twilight' saga than 'Sons of Anarchy,'" said media buyer Mike Rosen of Starcom.

Buying box-office smashes is just one part of FX's strategy. The network has made a name for itself with its gritty dramas, including "Sons of Anarchy" and "Justified," and dark comedies "Louie" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." For FX President John Landgraf, it's about standing out, not fitting in.

"The broadest channel has a tendency to be the blandest channel," Landgraf said of his competitors. "I think we've found a way to remain distinctive while getting bigger."

For more on Landgraf's programming strategy, please see the story in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times (AVS Forum version here).

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TV Review
ABC's 'Suburgatory' a smart new comedy
High school anthropology in the vein of 'Mean Girls,' 'Clueless,' et al
By Alan Sepinwall, The New York Times - September 27th, 2011

There's a rich tradition on the big and small screen of the high school girl as amateur anthropologist: Molly Ringwald in "Sixteen Candles," Winona Ryder in "Heathers," Alicia Silverstone in "Clueless," Lindsay Lohan in "Mean Girls," Claire Danes in "My So-Called Life," and on and on and on. (Long before she was dissecting the Manhattan singles scene, Sarah Jessica Parker was trying to bring a peaceful accord between the jocks, the popular girls, the nerds and the New Wave kids on "Square Pegs," after all.) If high school is life in miniature, then it needs some kind of wry, clever observer to figure it all out, whether she's an insider (Silverstone), an outsider (Ringwald) or an outsider pretending to be an insider (Lohan).

To that reliably funny tradition we can add Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, the smart, sarcastic heroine of ABC's winning new comedy "Suburgatory," which debuts tomorrow night at 8:30.

Tessa's a city girl, Manhattan born and bred. But after her mother skips out on the family, and a box of condoms is discovered in Tessa's bedroom, her father George (Jeremy Sisto, who was one of the "Clueless" teenagers many moons ago) decides that she needs a calmer, more nurturing environment and packs their lives up to move to the suburbs.

Tessa takes one look at the overly-tanned, waxed and enhanced moms (and in many cases daughters) roaming the well-paved streets in their identical SUVs and notes, "Pretty ironic that a box full of rubbers landed me in a town full of plastic."

The pilot episode, written by former "Parks and Recreation" writer Emily Kapnek, takes a very broad view of suburbia-as-horror-film. All the women look alike, they all consume nothing but sugar-free Red Bull, and when George visits his friend Noah (Alan Tudyk) at a posh country club, they witness a woman so focused on texting that she falls into the pool - and keeps right on texting. ("Good news is," Noah explains, "because of the implants, nobody drowns.")

Some of this is very funny, some of it seems a bit too specific to the suburbs around Los Angeles, and some doesn't do the intended job of differentiating the city from the suburbs. (I've seen plenty of idiots walk into people, things and parked cars while texting in the city.) But Kapnek's script, and the direction by Michael Fresco (which makes the unnamed town look not too different from the town in "Edward Scissorhands") establish a very clear, smart voice for both the show and for Tessa, who narrates her own adventures.

In the pilot, in fact, the sharpest exchanges aren't between Tessa and her new "buddy" (and clearly not friend) Dalia (Carly Chaikin), or between Tessa and Dalia's prom queen mom Dallas (Cheryl Hines from "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), but simply Tessa and her dad interacting. Tessa points to the cat clock on the wall of her new bedroom as proof that she doesn't belong in this place, and George optimistically suggests, "What if you are a cat clock kind of girl and you just don't know it yet?" Later, when he gives her an old-fashioned bicycle to help navigate the sprawling neighborhood, she feigns enthusiasm and says, "Yeah, I can keep my adult undergarments in the wicker basket!"

The trick with this kind of story - whether it's a self-contained movie or an ongoing series - is to find layers beneath the obvious. The Plastics in "Mean Girls" turn out to be more complicated than Lohan assumes at first, while "My So-Called Life" was often about how the people from different cliques kept challenging Danes' assumptions about them. "Suburgatory" can't stay in the same satirical key week after week, with Tessa sarcastically pointing out the phoniness of everything and everyone around her. But I don't expect it to. There's enough sincerity lurking convincingly beneath the snark, and Levy is so good in both aggressive and vulnerable modes, that I have faith the show will find a way to humanize Tessa's new environment while still bringing the laughs.

And on that front, the highest compliment I can pay "Suburgatory" is to say this: it is one of the few comedy pilots I can remember where I laughed more the second time I watched it than the first. The comedy of surprise is (relatively) easy; comedy where you already know what the joke is but find it funny anyway because of the confidence and shape of the delivery is much harder, and much more likely to yield good results in the long term. Tessa can't wait to get out of this place, but I'm eager to settle into "Suburgatory" for a while.

Wednesday at 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC

post #72180 of 93852
Technology/Business Notes
Guess Who Made The Highest Bid For Hulu
By Matt Rosoff and Nicholas Carlson, BusinessInsider.com - September 27th, 2011

Remember how a group of bidders was circling around Hulu a couple weeks ago? Whatever happened with that?

Two sources tell us that satellite TV provider Dish was the highest bidder, coming in around $1.9 billion. It beat out both Amazon and Yahoo.

Google bid much more something in the range of $4 billion. But that bid came with special conditions, as has been previously reported Google wanted more content for a longer period of time, and perhaps other concessions as well.

Rumor has it that Larry Page personally flew down to Los Angeles to make Google's case.

Hulu's owners are still deciding what to do. They were hoping for a higher bid, and were disappointed that no company would offer more than $2 billion with the conditions they set.

But the bidders all figured out pretty quickly that the TV companies who own Hulu now want to phase out free ad-supported content completely. So as soon as the current set of Hulu contracts expire in a couple of years, it would be back to the negotiating table.

Dish was probably willing to bid more because, as we previously reported, it was also interested in Hulu's back-end technology not just the content.

What happens next is anybody's guess, but Dish or Google will probably end up with the prize. Unless Hulu's owners change their minds and reopen the bidding with a more lenient set of conditions. Or decide not to sell at all.

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