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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2455

post #73621 of 93675
Critic's Notes
Real People, Fake Tans, True-ish Stories
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - November 7th, 2011

The most talked-about British television show of the last year is now freely available in the United States not that you'd know it. Previously visible only to those with all-region DVD or media players, The Only Way Is Essex has made its American premiere not on television but online at Hulu.com, a victory for Internet video in its guerrilla war against the TV industry.

Not that everyone would see the show's arrival here a kind of homecoming, given its roots in MTV reality spectacles like The Hills and Jersey Shore as a cultural milestone. The Only Way Is Essex (a play on the show's theme song, Yazz's 1988 dance anthem The Only Way Is Up) has been reviled in Britain as a pestilent example of depraved New World values and a leading indicator of the apocalypse.

Which didn't stop its second season this spring from exploding in Jersey Shore fashion, nearly doubling its audience on the ITV2 channel and reaching close to 1.9 million for the season finale in May. Apply a population-conversion factor (multiply by five), and that's better than any episode of Snooki & Company, which has topped out so far at 8.9 million.

The people also spoke at this year's British Academy Television Awards, the Baftas, where TOWIE (as the show is abbreviated) was not nominated in a single category but won the YouTube Audience Award over more respectable peers like Downton Abbey, Sherlock and The Killing.

So what is this monster, 26 episodes of which can now be streamed at Hulu? (A third season began in Britain in September.) In concept it's totally familiar: a reality show about a group of young party promoters, club managers, beauticians and glamour models in the wealthy, suburban precincts of southwestern Essex County, bordering London.

These blond Essex girls and their clean-cut boyfriends bear no resemblance to the goombah caricatures of Jersey Shore. They're more akin to the publicists and interns of The Hills and The City, except that some of them appear to have actual jobs. Yet they engage in the same Theater of Superficiality. Episode 1 features a woman being spray tanned; Episode 26 opens with a man being waxed. Cosmetics, tattoos, jewelry, clothes, cars and Champagne are the show's oxygen.

The popularity of the series certainly can be traced to the way it amps up the clichés of the American friendship-reality shows. But it also tones them down, presenting them more baldly while maintaining a higher level of decorum. Serial dating and cheating and breaking up take place at a breathless pace, with more clothes on and with actual sex kept off screen. The drunkenness and subsequent violence that are a selling point for Jersey Shore are largely absent. It's a shocker at the end of Season 2 when one of the main characters pushes her boyfriend into a swimming pool.

The real difference of Essex is stylistic, and it's quite striking. If it were on television, and you happened to tune in while channel surfing, you would not be able to tell right away, and perhaps not for several minutes, that you were watching a nonfiction show.

Dropping any pretense that the action has been accidentally captured on camera an opening title announces, the people are all real, although some of what they do has been set up purely for your entertainment Essex is staged, shot and lighted the way a drama series is, from the multiple camera angles to the too-good-to-be-true reaction shots to the choreographed entrances. No one wanders through a shot accidentally in Essex. Everything extraneous has been removed from the frame, just as in fictional filmmaking.

More centrally, the beach-house dodge ostentatiously creating an artificial environment within which you then pretend that what's happening is real is dispensed with. The characters in Essex enact normal lives, if wildly shallow and materialistic ones, in such an obviously artificial way that you find yourself not giving a moment's thought to what's real and what isn't. Which somehow makes it seem more authentic, rather than less.

That doesn't guarantee that it's entertaining, of course, but you probably know already whether it's the kind of show for you. During the spray tanning Amy the seductive cosmetician sees her friend Lauren's new tattoo the name Mark, right at the bikini line and asks, Is he going to get your name on his bits? If you laugh, as I did, you've passed the test. Or maybe you've failed. Either way, you'll probably enjoy the show.

post #73622 of 93675
Former heavyweight boxing champ Frazier dies
By CNN.com - November 7th, 2011

Former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier died Monday, after he was diagnosed with liver cancer, his family said in a statement.

Frazier was 67.

He fought fellow boxing legend Muhammad Ali three times, including the famous "Thrilla in Manila" fight in 1975.

"He's a true gentleman," personal and business manager Leslie Wolff said Saturday when confirming Frazier's illness. "Along with Muhammad Ali, (he is) one of the two most recognizable athletes in the world."

Fans and well-wishers were encouraged to post their thoughts and prayers on a Facebook page at joefrazierscorner.com.

"Thank you for being such a class act," read a Facebook post written before the champ's death. "I grew up watching boxing with my dad and you were at the top of our list of exceptional fighters who were also great people."

Frazier, nicknamed "Smokin' Joe," used his devastating left hook with impunity during his professional career, retiring in 1976 with a 32-4-1 record and staging one last comeback fight in 1981.

The son of a South Carolina sharecropper, Frazier boxed during the glory days of the heavyweight division, going up against greats George Foreman, Oscar Bonavena, Joe Bugner and Jimmy Ellis. He made his name by winning a gold medal for the United States at the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo.

But it was his three much-hyped fights against Ali that helped seal his legend.

Frazier bested Ali at 1971's "Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden. In the 15th round, Frazier landed perhaps the most famous left hook in history, catching Ali on the jaw and dropping the former champ for a four-count, according to Frazier's bio at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Frazier left the ring as the undisputed champ and handed Ali his first professional loss.

Ali won a 12-round decision in a January 1974 rematch, setting the stage for the classic "Thrilla in Manila" just outside the Philippine capital in 1975.

Ali took the early rounds, but Frazier rebounded before losing the last five rounds. By the end of the 14th, Frazier's eyes were nearly swollen shut, and his corner stopped the bout, according to the biography.

Later, Ali said, "It was the closest I've come to death."

Frazier was a two-time heavyweight champion for nearly three years until he lost in January 1973 to George Foreman.

He lived in Philadelphia, where he operated a boxing gym for many years.

"I don't mind working with the kids," Frazier told CNN's Don Lemon in 2009. "The kids is tomorrow. And if we don't do what we're supposed to do for them now, how are you going (to)expect them to carry on?"

Asked whether he was similar to Rocky Balboa, the title character in the "Rocky" series, Frazier replied, "Sure. I worked at the slaughterhouse. I'm the guy that ran in the streets of Philadelphia."

post #73623 of 93675
Originally Posted by scorpiontail60 View Post

Good riddance.


Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Starz Renews Spartacus' For Third Season
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - November 7th, 2011

@#$%ing AWESOME!
post #73624 of 93675
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
TUESDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are EDT. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - Last Man Standing
8:30PM - Man Up!
9PM - Dancing with the Stars: Results Show (LIVE)
10:01PM - In the Spotlight with Robin Robers: All Access Nashville (Special)
* * * *
11:30PM - Nightline (LIVE)
Midnight - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Mickey Rourke; "Dancing With the Stars" castoff; Wale performs)

9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
10PM - Unforgettable
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Robert Pattinson; photographer Annie Leibovitz)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Jennifer Tilly; author Lawrence Block)

8PM - The Biggest Loser (120 min.)
10PM - Parenthood
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Jason Segel; TV personality Kris Jenner; Lyle Lovett performs)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Director Michael Moore; Josh Charles; Chromeo performs)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Comic Dave Attell; "Resurrect Dead"; The Decemberists perform) SD

8PM - Glee
9:01PM - New Girl
9:31PM - Raising Hope

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Secrets of the Dead Japanese SuperSub (R - May. 5, 2010)
9PM - Frontline: Syria Undercover
10PM - Women, War & Peace

8PM - Una Familia con Suerte
9PM - La Fuerza del Destino
10PM - AquÃ* y Ahora

8PM - 90210
9PM - Ringer

8PM - Mi Corazón Insiste
9PM - Flor Salvaje
10PM - La Casa de Al Lado

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (President Bill Clinton)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Seth Meyers)

11PM - Conan (Julie Bowen; snowboarder Travis Rice; Maria Bamford performs)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (TBA)
post #73625 of 93675
TV Notes
Tuesday's TV Highlights: 'Raising Hope' on Fox
By Los Angeles Times' 'Show Tracker' Blog - November 7th, 2011


SMART ALECK: A 13-year-old (Camden Garcia) mocks Jimmy in front of Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) in a new Raising Hope at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.


Roll Tide/War Eagle:
This new documentary focuses on one of the biggest rivalries in college sports, Auburn vs. Alabama. With both schools winning national football championships the last two years, the rivalry has reached new heights (5 p.m. ESPN; 8 and 11 p.m. ESPN2).

Glee: With Artie (Kevin McHale) directing, the students prepare a production of the musical West Side Story, and Finn (Cory Monteith) meets with a college recruiter. Dot-Marie Jones, Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele also star in this new episode (8 p.m. Fox).

New Girl: Schmidt (Max Greenfield) tries to seal the deal with Cece (Hannah Simone), who's in the process of trying to convince Jess (Zooey Deschanel) that Nick (Jake Johnson) is interested in her in this new episode (9 p.m. Fox).

Frontline: The new episode Syria Undercover follows members of the Syrian opposition forced into hiding (9 p.m. KOCE).

Vietnam in HD: This new unscripted series, culled from thousands of hours of footage detailing every chapter of the Vietnam War, features first-person accounts from 13 people whose lives were forever changed by their wartime experiences. Michael C. Hall narrates the three-night documentary series, which features voice-overs by Edward Burns, Kevin Connolly, Jennifer Love Hewitt and others. Up first, Part 1: The Beginning (1964-1965); Search & Destroy (1966-1967) (9 p.m. History).

Women, War & Peace: The series concludes with War Redefined, in which leading thinkers, diplomats, and survivors of war and peacemaking challenge the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men's domain (10 p.m. KOCE).


In the Spotlight With Robin Roberts: All Access Nashville:
This new special goes behind the scenes with Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill and Keith Urban; Scotty McCreery (10 p.m. ABC).


Iris Johansen's The Killing Game:
Laura Prepon and Naomi Judd star in this new TV mystery (9 p.m. Lifetime).


The Carolina Hurricanes visit the New Jersey Devils (4:30 p.m. VS); the Nashville Predators visit the Kings (7:30 p.m. FSN).

post #73626 of 93675
TV Notes
Bryan Fuller's NBC Double: Daisies' Creator Has Two Projects Eyeing Series Orders
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - November 7th, 2011

Within the next month or so, Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller may have two series on NBC. He is behind two high-profile projects, The Munsters and Hannibal, both of them on a script-to-series track.

Fuller originally developed a reboot of the 1960s comedy series The Munsters last season and his was one of very few scripts new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt kept in play when he took over the network in January. Greenblatt rolled the project to get it redeveloped by his team. Fuller's new outline submitted in Septemer was received well (it was the talk of NBC's pre-Emmy party), and his draft was just delivered on Friday. Word is that NBC, which may pull the trigger on a series order as early as this week, envisions the new Munsters as a potential summer or event series. Like Fuller's previous series, Pushing Daisies, the project features striking visuals mixed with all the classic Munsters archetypes. Grandpa Sam Dracula is essentially Dracula who assembled Herman because no man was good enought for his daughter Lily, a sexy vamp. Lily's niece Marilyn the freak is actually normal and Lily and Herman's only child, Eddie, has his werewolf tendencies surface in puberty, forcing the family to relocate to their famous 1313 Mockingbird Lane address.

Separately, Fuller is writing Hannibal, a drama series for Gaumont International Television and producer Martha De Laurentiis, which NBC just bought preemptively. Fuller is writing the script about based on the iconic literary and film character Hannibal Lecter against a 13-episode commitment, meaning that the script will trigger a 13-episode series if NBC likes it. (NBC has a short window to decide upon receiving the draft, with a potential release triggering a penalty.) I hear the network first got interested in the project when Fuller mentioned it casually to the network's new entertainment president Jennifer Salke over drinks. A well-known foodie as evidenced by Pushing Daisies, I hear Fuller was attracted to the dark, sick side of Hannibal, who tends to feast on his victims.

In addition to the 2 NBC projects eyeing series pickups, Fuller is writing a live-action addaptation of Pinocchio, which is awating green light from Warner Bros., and has another high-profile feature gig in the works. Additionally, Fuller has 2 cable projects, which stem from his previous overall deal at NBCU, with Pushing Daisies alums Jim D. Gray and Lisa Joy. An adaptation of the classic novel Lotus Caves, which Fuller is co-writing with Gray, is in serious contention at Syfy, with Cary Granat's Granat Entertainment producing. And at USA, Fuller is supervising Joy on Mind Fields, which is produced by Howie Mandel. Outside of TV and film, WME-repped Fuller has his design/furniture business with art director/interior decorator Scott Roberts, Fuller+Roberts Co.

post #73627 of 93675
Legal Notes
Supreme Court Rejects NBCU Bid in 'Ghost Hunters' Rip-Off Case
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - November 7th, 2011

NBCUniversal failed to scare up a high-court victory in a case alleging it lifted the idea for the Syfy Channel series "Ghost Hunters."

According to court documents obtained by TheWrap, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a request from the conglomerate to review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on Montz v. Pilgrim Films & Television, a 2006 lawsuit alleging that NBCU stole the idea for the paranormal reality series.

The case, which was filed by parapsychologist Larry Montz and publicist Daena Smoller, was originally dismissed, but received a second chance from the Court of Appeals in California last year, when that court decided that the case had merit.

According to Montz and Smoller's suit, the pair pitched a series that would follow a team to allegedly haunted locations, where they would use equipment such as magnometers and infrared cameras to investigate reports of paranormal activity.

Montz and Smoller allege that they pitched the concept to several entertainment-business entities, including representatives of NBC and its subsidiary, the then-named Sci-Fi channel, from 1996 to 2003 with the intent of partnering on a series.

In 2006 -- two years after "Ghost Hunters" premiered -- the pair filed a complaint against Pilgrim Films & Television, which produces "Ghost Hunters," as well as NBC Universal and 10 other unnamed defendants in federal district court, alleging breach of implied contract, breach of confidence, copyright infringement and several other claims.

In its request for review, NBC argued that federal copyright law trumps state contract law. However, the Supreme Court rejected the request to review Monday.

In a statement provided to TheWrap, NBC expressed dismay over the court's decision, but remained confident that it would ultimately prevail.

"We are disappointed that the Supreme Court decided not to hear our challenge to the appeals court's ruling on the threshold legal issue of copyright preemption," the statement reads. "However, now that the lower court will begin to hear the actual facts, we are confident it will determine the case has no merit."

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

post #73628 of 93675
Legendary Comic Writer Hal Kanter, Creator of Landmark Series 'Julia,' Dies at 92
By Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter - November 7th, 2011

Hal Kanter, an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer who worked on the Oscars for more than three decades and created Julia, the landmark 1960s TV series starring Diahann Carroll, has died. He was 92.

Kanter, who also wrote and directed one Elvis Presley film and penned another, died Sunday of complications from pneumonia at Encino Hospital, his daughter, Donna Kanter, told the Los Angeles Times.

Beginning in 1952, a year before the broadcast moved from radio to television, Kanter wrote for the Oscar show for at least 33 years, the Times said. In 1991 and 1992, he was among the show writers who shared Emmys for outstanding writing in a variety or music program.

Kanter made TV history in 1968 when he created and produced Julia, starring Carroll as a widowed nurse and the mother of a young son. With the NBC series, Carroll became the first African-American actress to star in her own TV sitcom playing a character who was a professional woman rather than a domestic worker.

The series was not carried on some TV stations in the South its first couple of weeks. Eventually, the show became such a hit, they were forced to carry it," Kanter recalled in a 1997 interview with the Television Academy Foundation's Archive of American Television.

The show ran for three seasons.

Kanter also created the TV series Valentine's Day starring Tony Franciosa in the mid-1960s and The Jimmy Stewart Show in 1972. He was a writer and producer on Chico and the Man in 1976 and wrote and executive produced for All in the Family in 1975.

Kanter also shared an Emmy in 1955 for best written comedy material for his work on The George Gobel Show.

Among his film screenwriting credits are Bob Hope & Bing Crosby's Road to Bali (1952); Hope's Bachelor in Paradise (1961); Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis'' Money From Home (1953) and Artists and Models (1955); Pocket Full of Miracles (1961), starring Glenn Ford and Bette Davis; and Move Over, Darling (1963), starring Doris Day and James Garner.

Kanter wrote the screenplay and directed Presley in Loving You (1957), then penned Presley's Blue Hawaii (1961). He also co-wrote and directed Once Upon a Horse , starring Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.

A native of Savannah, Ga., Kanter received the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television from the WGA in 1989.

In addition to his daughter Donna, Kanter is survived by his wife of 70 years, writer Doris Kanter; his other daughters, Lisa and Abigail; his sister, Saralea; and a granddaughter.

post #73629 of 93675
TV Notes
For country fans, 'All Access Nashville'
Chatting up the stars on tomorrow night's 'Country Music Awards'
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - November 8th, 2011

ABC is promoting tonight's "In the Spotlight With Robin Roberts: All Access Nashville" as a country music fan's dream, featuring interviews with greats like Faith Hill and Keith Urban.

In reality the 10 p.m. special is just a one-hour promotion for tomorrow night's "Country Music Awards," which should draw the usual strong ratings for the network.

ABC has used the interview-specials-to-drive-ratings approach for years.

Barbara Walters' pre-Oscar special served the same purpose, whetting viewers' appetite with interviews in which nominees showed their "real sides," letting Walters into their houses and lives.

It's not a bad approach.

If nothing else, the constant commercials for the Roberts show during tonight's 9 p.m. results episode of "Dancing with the Stars" will reach a lot of viewers and remind them that the "CMAs" are coming up.

It's also a chance for ABC to boost its ratings in the 10 p.m. timeslot, where second-year drama "Body of Proof" has struggled after a decent start last year.

Though the show drew its best number in weeks last Tuesday, averaging a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, it finished behind CBS's "Unforgettable" (2.3) and NBC's "Parenthood" (2.2) in what's become one of broadcast's weakest timeslots.

post #73630 of 93675
Tech/Business Notes
Dish in Talks for Internet TV
Satellite-TV Provider Also Posts Higher Profit but Subscriber Losses
By Sam Schechner and Matt Jarzemsky, Wall Street Journal - November 8th, 2011

Dish Network Corp. has approached several media companies about the possibility of licensing their TV channels for use on a new pay-TV service to be delivered over the Internet, rather than over Dish's satellite system, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has raised the idea with multiple media companies as part of a broader effort to control rising programming costs. The programming wouldn't include sports channels in its most-basic tier of service, according to the people familiar with the discussions. Sports channels are among the most expensive for cable and satellite operators to carry.

In part, offering channels over the Internet could give Dish more flexibility to exclude channels whose existing contracts with Dish mandate that they appear on the satellite company's most-widely distributed tiers of service.

To save money, the Dish service could also include an antenna to pick up over-the-air broadcasts of major broadcast TV stations, rather than paying them subscription fees, as many cable and satellite companies now do, the people familiar with the discussions added.

The conversations around Dish's service are exploratory, and it is unclear whether Dish will actively seek to launch the service, said the people familiar with the talks. A spokesman for Dish declined to comment on whether the company is pursuing any such service.

Meanwhile, Dish reported on Monday that it lost more video subscribers than expected. Dish lost a net 111,000 subscribers, putting its customer base at 13.9 million as of Sept. 30. The results trailed those of rival DirecTV, which last week reported its best third-quarter subscriber growth in seven years, helped by a National Football League promotion.

At the same time Dish unveiled a one-time dividend of $2 a share and reported a profit of $319.1 million, or 71 cents a share, up from $245 million, or 55 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose 12% to $3.6 billion.

Dish's interest in a new Web-delivered programming service, which was reported by the New York Post, comes as various companies in the technology and media industries are exploring ways to put paid-TV on the Internet. Google Inc., for instance, is considering launching a paid-TV service in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., as part of a planned high-speed data network.

Last month, Dish itself launched a Blockbuster-brand video-streaming service, following its acquisition of the video-rental chain's assets. It also offers a suite of foreign channels to U.S. subscribers over the Internet.

Dish's new discussions about a broader Internet-based service are motivated in large by Mr. Ergen's desire to curb ever-growing bills it pays each month for the right to carry channelsespecially sports channels, say the people familiar with the conversations about the new service.

"Sports programming may be 20% of the viewing on a day-to-day basis, but it may be 50% of the cost that the consumer pays," Mr. Ergen said on a conference call Monday to discuss Dish's third-quarter results. "I think that there's a limit to where sports costs can go."

Mia Lamar contributed to this article.

post #73631 of 93675
TV Review
History's 'Vietnam in HD' Has Clarity of Purpose - and Pictures
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com - November 8th, 2011

History Channel thrived on combat in its formative years, offering heaping helpings of grainy war footage.

Sixteen years after its launch -- and now known simply as History -- it's back to the future with a digitally remastered, highly personalized look at armed conflict.

Vietnam In HD, followup to 2009's WWII In HD, devotes three nights and six hours to the sharply divisive war that also brought down a president [Lyndon B. Johnson, pictured below]. It has its own tagline: "It's not the war you know. It's the war they fought."

Premiering Tuesday 9-11 p.m. ET and continuing at the same time Wednesday-Thursday, Vietnam In HD is vivid and compelling without being intrinsically political. Ken Burns' twice-as-long Vietnam, announced in March and scheduled to premiere in 2016, assuredly will cover all of those angles. The History presentation mainly trains its sights and sounds on 13 survivors who purportedly "reveal the truth of Vietnam" with their accounts of how it was fought and what it took to make it out alive

The uncensored war footage, much of it shot by the soldiers themselves, is the product of "scouring the globe" for rare and in many cases previously unseen documentation, History says. It's impeccably edited into a narrative whole, with no shortage of graphic scenes or viewer warnings.

Only Tuesday's Part 1 was sent for review. It covers the years 1964-1967, mainly through the eyes of four combat survivors. Actors voice some of their recollections, while the real-life principals also are interviewed. It proves to be a very effective device, particularly when Blair Underwood's voice of young Army Platoon Sgt. Charles Brown is meshed with the now elderly survivor's do-or-die memories.

Underwood and Brown make the most of their respective duties, communicating both the ferocity of combat and the futility of taking a hill and then giving it right back. That's because Vietnam became a war where victory was measured "not by territory taken but by body count" in the words of narrator Michael C. Hall, who otherwise stars in Showtime's Dexter.

During the five-day battle for Hill 875, in which Brown called many of the shots, 115 U.S. soldiers were killed and another 253 wounded. Their mission was to kill every last one of the 6,000-some North Vietnamese hunkered down on this high ground. But the great majority of the enemy escaped before Hill 875 was taken -- and then soon relinquished, under orders to move on.

The real-life Brown still takes great pride in the fact that he and his fellow soldiers successfully fought their way to the top. He also notes that the Vietnam War had no Iwo Jimas or symbolic, enduring flag-plantings.

Another principal in Tuesday's opening chapter is former United Press International war correspondent Joe Galloway of Refugio, Tex. He's also the stage-setter. And Galloway, who went on to write the memoir We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young, is clearly not enamored of the idea that "The Greatest Generation" fought World War II.

"Those who fought every war since then were the best of their generation," Galloway says. "They went, they served, they sacrificed. And they fought like tigers. They were noble."

Galloway's other voice is actor Edward Burns, in a film that oddly enough also includes off-camera work by three former stars of HBO's Entourage -- Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly and Jerry Ferrara.

Vietnam In HD at times overdoes it with accompanying music intended to accentuate the drama at hand. But that's a relatively small quibble in a film that brings "The Living Room War" home in ways we haven't seen before.

Galloway, repeatedly in the midst of combat and carnage as a war correspondent, still can't shake the sight of a young soldier who died from friendly fire after an Air Force fighter jet dropped its napalm payload on the would-be enemy.

"Wife had a baby that week," he says, his voice breaking and his hands fidgeting. "He died two weeks later. That boy is my nightmare."

That first major Vietnam battle, in the Ia Drang Valley, otherwise was "won" during a war in which 16,250 U.S. soldiers had died by the end of 1967. Another telling number from the opening chapter: U.S. soldiers in Vietnam spent an average of 240 days a year in combat, compared to 10 for those who fought in WWII.

Wars of any kind are never a pretty picture, whatever the advances in clarity. But Vietnam In HD is an advance in the way these stories are told, with new generations exposed for the first time while their elders watch and learn anew.

Tuesday through Thursday from 9 to 11 p.m. on History

post #73632 of 93675
Critic's Notes
Fellow Americans: It's the Emergency Alert System (Don't freak!)
By Gary Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - November 7th, 2011

A program will be broadcast on television and radio Wednesday afternoon that you just can't miss.

Airing at 2 p.m., it will be one of the most-seen, best-heard events in broadcast history, right up there with the end of "M*A*S*H" and that phony moon landing back in the summer of 1969. If you are anywhere near a TV or radio, you will have no choice but to be part of the audience.

This "it" moment uniting us like Eyes and Ears But Not Hands Across America is -- dramatic pause here -- the first nationally synchronized test of the Emergency Alert System. (What, you were expecting maybe O.J. taking another closely monitored spin in an SUV?)

The EAS, known as the Emergency Broadcast System when we were all younger, has only been tested and used on a local basis up to now. But this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission intend to find out how well it might work if it were actually needed for an impromptu presidential address as we're being overrun by alien invaders, zombies or -- gasp! -- immigrants.

Damon Penn, whose title as FEMA assistant administrator of national continuity programs lends reassurance that we do in fact continue to be a nation, says Wednesday's run-through "is a step towards ensuring that the alert and warning community is prepared to deliver critical information that can help save lives and protect property."

So you'll spend three minutes at 2 p.m., viewing some kind of "This is a test" message, whether you are a child watching "The Garfield Show" on Cartoon Network, a young adult slacker spending the afternoon viewing "I Used to be Fat" on MTV or an old fogy watching "Bonanza" on TV Land.

Maybe some of that additional verbiage we're used to hearing will also be aired, like, "This is only a test. If this had been a real emergency blah blah blah." If you're like us, you tune all the ensuing stuff out, as though it were pre-flight instructions from airline attendants.

We're actually pretty sure that no matter how many cautions are issued about the nature of the test, someone somewhere's going to freak out like during the "War of the Worlds" radio program and imagine some cataclysm is upon us.

The call to a 911 dispatcher from an older woman in Clayton, Iowa, will go something like, "What's going on? Are the Russians coming? Is it OK to shoot on sight anyone approaching the front door, or should I ask questions first?"

* * * *

As a test, it would probably be more useful if we actually did it unannounced and with some pretense of a true national emergency. We all remember in school how unnaturally smoothly the fire drills went when the teachers instructed us beforehand, "Now, kids, there's going to be a fire drill today. We want you to march carefully in single file as you leave the building, just as we're sure you would if the flames were licking at your little tushes as you slowly walked."

So what would be wrong Wednesday with trotting out some presidential impersonator for a short little message like:

"The United States is under invasion from stink bugs, who have acquired special adaptive powers. They no longer sit patiently waiting for you to kill them. When squeezing in our windows now, it's actually to attempt to kill us! You should evacuate to your nearest fallout shelter. You do know where that is, don't you? Wait, what?"

Then FEMA and the FCC could more accurately assess how widely and quickly the message got out and whether the highway and transportation system was up to the task of handling the sudden, heavy traffic.

The intriguing truth is that the federal government has never once implemented the Emergency Broadcast System or Emergency Alert System -- not for President Kennedy's assassination, not for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, not for the Steelers' two Super Bowl losses, nor for anything equally important.

The chairman of the EAS National Advisory Committee explained after Sept. 11 that the immediate live media coverage of the plane hijackings was so pervasive there was no need for an official national alert. But that leaves the question of just when it will ever be used, and what purpose is served this Wednesday in inconveniencing the tens of millions of viewers turning to CMT at 2 p.m. to watch "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team."

Our guess is it will be activated when the zombies actually do walk the Earth. But by then, my friends, I am afraid it will be too late.

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Nielsen Notes
'Chuck': The lowest-rated show in primetime?
By Lynette Rice, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - November 7th, 2011

Oof, some ratings hit hard, and the ones for Chuck are no exception: The comedy's second episode earned a mere .9 rating/3 share on Friday, making it the least watched show of the night, according to final national ratings released today. The good news: Zachary Levi's beloved character (at least among TV critics) isn't THE lowest rated show on broadcast television. That distinction belongs to Nikita on the CW, which is averaging an anemic .7/3.
But it IS the lowest-rated show among the Big Four networks an unfortunate development since NBC went out on a limb by picking it up for a fifth and final season in the first place. (Friday's episode was even beat by a repeat of NCIS on USA. Yikes).

We know what you non-Chuck lovers are thinking: Why the heck is Levi and his crazy comrades still on the air? Ordering 13 more episodes couldn't have been the easiest decision for new NBC chief Robert Greenblatt last spring: The comedy from Warner Bros. TV was only averaging 5.6 million viewers and a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49. And you don't take a show that was doing fairly well on Mondays and move it to Fridays where it's sure to get no business.

But it's likely that Warner Bros. TV agreed to a license fee reduction for Chuck in exchange for getting the opportunity to make more episodes for syndication, where the studio can recoup its losses. So don't look for the remaining episodes of Chuck to go anywhere (at least, that's the update for now). That should be a relief to impatient TV fans, who think the networks are far too quick to pull the trigger on great (but low-rated) shows.


* * * *

Nielsen Notes
'Boss' ratings: Gee, maybe that renewal wasn't such a good idea

Kelsey Grammer may be doing some of the best work of his career on Starz' Boss but unfortunately, not a lot of folks are seeing it. The drama's original episode on Friday only averaged 268,000 viewers down 31% versus the week before, when it lured 391,000.

The show repeated at 10 and took in an additional 131,000, which is down 52% versus the week before when it averaged 274,000.

Starz has already renewed Boss for a second season before the first one started, a move that doesn't always turn out well. The drama stars Grammer as the surly mayor of Chicago who privately suffers from a debilitating neurological disorder. Stay tuned.

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TV Notes
The Duggars Are Expecting Baby Number 20
By Catherine Lawson, AOLTV.com - November 8th, 2011

Not even the threat of pre-eclampsia or premature birth can slow down Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar in their quest to expand their already huge family: They announced this morning on 'Today' (weekdays, 7AM ET on NBC) that they are expecting their 20th child together.

Telling Ann Curry that she's three and a half months pregnant, 45 year-old Michelle said "We're due in April and we're just thrilled!" Ever the joker, Jim Bob quipped "We don't know how it happened!" Michelle added, "We are so excited. I was not thinking that God would give us another one, and we are just so grateful." The couple had hinted last night on their blog that they'd be making a "special announcement" this morning, but many assumed it would be about another grandchild.

When Curry asked the question that most of us are thinking -- WHY?! -- Michelle said they live by the motto "There's always room for one more." Plus, as Jim Bob says, one kid just moved out to start his own family so there was space available in Casa Duggar.

Watch the happy couple's announcement after the jump. [CLICK LINK BELOW]

Viewers of the Duggars' reality show '19 Kid and Counting' on TLC will remember that Michelle's last pregnancy was fraught with dangerous medical issues and baby Josie had to be delivered over three months early. However, Michelle told 'Today' that she's been given the greenlight by doctors, has gotten over her morning sickness and is feeling just great.

The couple told Today Moms that their older children -- who range in age from 23 months to 23 years -- were astonished when they heard the news. They lined the kids up on the staircase for a photo and Jim Bob said, "Smile -- Mom's going to have another baby!"

Michelle laughed that "Their mouths dropped. They all looked at me to see if he was joking."

Although this is a huge number of pregnancies for one woman to undergo healthily, Michelle says she's in better shape than she has been for years. She's taking care of what she eats and she's been working out on an elliptical trainer for an hour a day.

She's also under the care of a high-risk pregnancy doctor who will be monitoring her for a re-occurence of the pre-eclampsia that she suffered from during both her second pregnancy and her last one. The condition -- which causes blood pressure to raise to dangerously high levels -- is the most common pregnancy complication and can strike randomly, although women who have had it before are at higher risk.

One big change for Michelle is that because she had an emergency c-section with Josie, this pregnancy will end with a planned c-section.

The couple wouldn't be drawn on whether this baby will be the last. We're betting that they'll just keep going for as long as they're physically capable.

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MONDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media INsight's Blog.
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Critic's Notes
High School, That Hilarious Minefield
By Mike Hale, The New York Times

While the big-four networks crow about the ratings for “New Girl” and “2 Broke Girls” and give full-season orders to unexceptional shows like “Up All Night,” here’s a tip: The smartest, freshest, most moving new sitcom of 2011 finished its first season in September. On MTV.

You can still catch up with “Awkward” pretty easily. All 12 episodes can be streamed, for now, at mtv.com, along with a batch of the usual video extras: Webisodes, cast interviews and so on. This month a Season 1 DVD will be available (for $17.99) from Amazon.com through the company’s CreateSpace on-demand service.

“Awkward” (which has been renewed for a second season next year) has a place in several strategies at MTV. It’s part of the network’s semistealth move — under the cover of reality hits like “Jersey Shore” and “16 and Pregnant” — into fictional programming. That campaign has had some spectacular failures, like “Skins,” but also some notable successes (“Teen Wolf,” in addition to “Awkward”), and it continues. “I Just Want My Pants Back,” a scripted comedy produced by Doug Liman and set among people in their 20s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, will begin early next year.

More important, “Awkward” is MTV’s answer to the high-school-girl dramas and comedies on ABC Family and CW, the networks that have dominated the market for female teenage angst. But while it has a strong surface similarity to a gamut of shows from “Gossip Girl” to “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” to “10 Things I Hate About You,” it’s consistently more inventive, less predictable and just plain funnier.

One difference could be seen in the opening minutes of the pilot episode, when the Everygirl heroine, a shy soon-to-be-sophomore named Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards), happily lost her virginity in a summer-camp broom closet. The question of whether and when to have sex, with all the moralizing that usually entails, was not going to provide the narrative fuel for the show. Drama would come from all the subsequent questions, primarily the much more complicated and important one of whether it was more than just sex — a quandary the show’s creator and principal writer, Lauren Iungerich, adroitly stretched across most of the first season.

Ms. Iungerich, clearly a television maker to watch, came more or less out of nowhere: production work, unproduced pilots, a script for “10 Things I Hate About You” and a quirky Web series, “My Two Fans,” about a single woman with two full-time male “fans” who live with her, get her ready for dates and accompany her to job interviews. (They’re somewhere between gay friends and imaginary friends.)

Perhaps worried about making a quick impact with her first TV show, Ms. Iungerich loaded Jenna with crises in the pilot. In addition to first sex (with her school’s No. 1 hottie) there was an anonymous “carefrontation” letter pointing out all her faults and a slapstick bathroom accident that everyone assumed was a cry-for-help suicide attempt.

Things settled down after that, though, as Jenna and her friends — the hilariously blunt Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) and the bespectacled but gorgeous Asian nerd, Ming (Jessica Lu) — did weekly battle with boyfriends, cheerleaders, parents and a spectacularly clueless guidance counselor (the excellent Desi Lydic).

“Awkward” is about the same things as all teen comedies — humiliation, lust, social climbing, friendship — and Ms. Iungerich populates it with stock characters. The adults are more immature and self-absorbed than the children; the boys are clumsy and unexpectedly sweet; the pretty girls are mean (until they’re not). In the tradition of Carrie’s column in “Sex and the City,” Jenna’s blog is a vehicle for Ms. Rickards to narrate the show, a device you could find either comforting or trite.

But the types almost always stop short of stereotype, and situations and characters develop in unexpected ways. The meanest of the mean girls (and she’s a doozy, cleverly played by Molly Tarlov) is also the heaviest, a head cheerleader with rich parents and body-image issues who never goes soft, at least in Season 1. Jenna’s romantic dilemma, meanwhile, evolves into a choice not between the bad boy and the boring stiff but between two reasonably complex, entirely believable nice guys. The most interesting character in the show — one written almost entirely by women — is a boy, the sensitive stud Matty McKibben (Beau Mirchoff), whose less obvious awkwardness harmonizes with Jenna’s perpetual embarrassment.

Not all of Ms. Iungerich’s ideas work; one unfortunate tic is a tendency to use Asian faces and accents for easy, unbecoming humor. (This stands out in part because of the shortage of significant black or Latino characters.) But the great majority of the time the jokes are sharp, and the language and stories feel authentic. Behavior stays within normal human limits, and Jenna doesn’t get easy outs; the school doesn’t burn down, no crazy aunts come to visit. (Nor are there vampires or murder conspiracies.)

In an interview included with the DVD set Ms. Iungerich calls herself “a product of John Hughes,” and she shares his ability to heighten and find the humor in teenage life without stretching it beyond recognition. A primary achievement in “Awkward” — one that may turn off some viewers — is to make a show that’s as drenched in sex as any on TV but that doesn’t feel smutty or lewd. This is what teenagers think about, after all. Though most of them probably aren’t clever enough, as Christmas approaches, to muse, “I needed to tell Tamara that I had given Matty the gift of my vagi.”

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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
'Men' leads surging CBS to a Monday win
Network's sitcoms all rise from last week's season lows
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - November 8th, 2011

For the first time this season, "Two and a Half Men" saw a week-to-week gain.

The sitcom, from which Charlie Sheen was famously fired earlier this year and replaced by Ashton Kutcher, was once again the No. 1 program among adults 18-49 on broadcast Monday night.

"Men" averaged a 5.1 rating in the 9 p.m. timeslot, according to Nielsen overnights, up 9 percent over a 4.2 last week.

"Men" had declined each week prior to this after debuting to a stunning 10.7 rating back in September.

In fact, CBS's entire comedy lineup rose versus their season lows last Monday, which was Halloween and saw understandably low ratings as many people went trick or treating rather than watching TV.

"How I Met Your Mother," "2 Broke Girls" and "Mike & Molly" were all up over last week.

So was ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," which matched its best rating in the previous six weeks with a 3.3 from 8 to 10 p.m.

On the strength of its sitcoms, CBS led the night among 18-49s with a 4.0 average overnight rating and a 10 share. ABC was second at 3.1/8, Fox third at 2.7/6, Univision and NBC tied for fourth at 1.3/3, CW was sixth at 0.6/1 and Telemundo seventh at 0.5/1.

As a reminder, all ratings are based on live-plus-same-day DVR playback, which includes shows replayed before 3 a.m. the night before. Seven-day DVR data won’t be available for several weeks. Forty-two percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

At 8 p.m. CBS was first with a 4.4 for "Mother" (4.4) and "Broke" (4.5), followed by ABC with a 3.3 for "Stars." Fox was third with a 2.6 for "Terra Nova," Univision fourth with a 1.6 for "Una Familia Con Suerte," NBC fifth with a 1.5 for "The Sing Off," CW sixth with a 0.6 for "Gossip Girl" and Telemundo seventh with a 0.5 for "Mi Corazon Insiste."

CBS was first again at 9 p.m. with a 4.6 for "Men" (5.1) and "Molly" (4.2), while ABC remained second with a 3.4 for more "Stars." Fox was third with a 2.7 for "House," Univision fourth with a 1.5 for "La Fuerza del Destino," NBC fifth with a 1.4 for another hour of "Sing Off," CW sixth with a 0.6 for "Hart of Dixie" and Telemundo seventh with a 0.5 for "Flor Salvaje."

At 10 p.m. CBS led with a 3.0 for "Hawaii Five-0," with ABC second with a 2.5 for "Castle." NBC was third with a 1.0 for week two of "Rock Center with Brian Williams," even to last week's debut, Univision fourth with a 0.8 for "Don Francisco Presenta" and Telemundo fifth with a 0.6 for "La Casa de al Lado."

CBS was first for the night among households with a 10.4 average overnight rating and a 16 share. CBS was second at 7.1/11, Fox third at 4.5/7, NBC fourth at 2.6/4, Univision fifth at 1.7/3, CW sixth at 0.9/1 and Telemundo seventh at 0.7/1.

post #73638 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Nielsen Notes
'Chuck': The lowest-rated show in primetime?

But it's likely that Warner Bros. TV agreed to a license fee reduction for Chuck in exchange for getting the opportunity to make more episodes for syndication, where the studio can recoup its losses.

My wife and I are huge Chuck fans from day 1 and will be sad to see it go. However the chances are slim and none that Chuck is going to do well in syndication.
post #73639 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Review
Fellow Americans: It's the Emergency Alert System (Don't freak!)
... So you'll spend three minutes at 2 p.m., viewing some kind of "This is a test" message...

More like sixty seconds. The NAB got it cut down from three minutes out of fear people WOULD freak... driving into buildings, jumping off of bridges or vice versa. There's probably going to be enough panic even with sixty seconds.

We re-cut our promos to specify sixty seconds. Though I'm betting every single television station with a local news department will manage to find the people who didn't get the memo and went nuts. Look for their interviews to be all over the evening news.
post #73640 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Nielsen Notes
'Chuck': The lowest-rated show in primetime?
But it’s likely that Warner Bros. TV agreed to a license fee reduction for Chuck in exchange for getting the opportunity to make more episodes for syndication, where the studio can recoup its losses.

Originally Posted by kingpcgeek View Post

My wife and I are huge Chuck fans from day 1 and will be sad to see it go. However the chances are slim and none that Chuck is going to do well in syndication.

You never know - look what happened to Star Trek back in the day?

While I feel for fans of CHUCK, this story gives this FRINGE fan a little extra glimmer of hope that my fave SciFi show may actually get a 5th and likely final season (JJ Abrams said back in S1 that he hoped FRINGE would pull a full 5 season arc). It's pulling somewhat better numbers than CHUCK - on a Friday night, no less.
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Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

More like sixty seconds. The NAB got it cut down from three minutes out of fear people WOULD freak... driving into buildings, jumping off of bridges or vice versa. There's probably going to be enough panic even with sixty seconds.

We re-cut our promos to specify sixty seconds. Though I'm betting every single television station with a local news department will manage to find the people who didn't get the memo and went nuts. Look for their interviews to be all over the evening news.

Where is Orson Welles when we need him?
post #73642 of 93675
Originally Posted by kingpcgeek View Post

My wife and I are huge Chuck fans from day 1 and will be sad to see it go.

I thought he was a grocery store clerk. How many episodes can you wring from, "Cleanup on aisle three?"
post #73643 of 93675
Critic's Notes
Jackson Doctor Trial Fails to Ignite Audience Interest
By David Carr, The New York Times' 'Media Decoder' Blog - November 8th, 2011

In a bit of anticlimax, Dr. Conrad Murray was found guilty late in the day on Monday of involuntary manslaughter two-and-a-half years after the death of Michael Jackson. Networks broke in for live coverage, cable networks hit the hyperdrive button and pundits played Ping-Pong with the verdict deep into the night, but audiences seem to shrug. Ratings on the verdict coverage are not known yet, but The Hollywood Reporter said during the trial that the case failed to ignite audience interest on HLN, CNN’s sibling networked that had promised wall-to-wall coverage.

Although the trial produced salacious pictures and audio of the King of Pop, the ratings at HLN paled in comparison to those during the Casey Anthony trial in June. Ratings during the first few weeks of the trial were up a mere 2 percent over the same period a year ago, while the Anthony trial goosed ratings more than 80 percent. How come?

A few things were at work here. The Murray trial, while certainly featuring moments of drama, especially given the presence of the Jackson family during much of the proceedings, lacked the empathy-churning spectacle of a tot who disappeared and was found dead months later. Audiences tuned into the Anthony trial to root for or against the 22-year-old mother, and even though Dr. Murray was found to be criminally liable in the death of Mr. Jackson, anybody familiar with the singer’s life and death knew there was plenty of blame to go around. (Perhaps the feeling of a letdown had something to do with the fact that Nancy Grace, the avenging, imprecise angel of justice on HLN, was busy working on her tango Monday night rather than cranking out invective and certainty after the verdict was announced).

In some ways, Michael Jackson died a slow death right before all of us. He willingly submitted to disfiguring serial plastic surgery, his addictions were well known, and he often appeared unwell. The jury found that Mr. Murray played a role in his death, but like so many moneyed celebrities, he was indulged and enabled by a legion of people.

That does not mean that his death was not a tragedy and that the loss to the culture was not significant, only that after the shock of his death wore off, the lurid facts of his final days were of a piece with where life had taken him. He was the man in the mirror whose reflection disappeared by turns, and perhaps we hesitated to tune in lest we all feel a bit complicit.

post #73644 of 93675
Originally Posted by Jon J View Post

I thought he was a grocery store clerk. How many episodes can you wring from, "Cleanup on aisle three?"

Actually he was a computer repair nerd at the Buy More (Best Buy) that accidentally uploads the Intersect (entire merged database of the CIA and the NSA) into his brain. He then becomes a super spy that has a super hot CIA handler and a grumpy NSA handler. Throw in some quirky characters at home and in the Buy More, some really great guest stars (Timothy Dalton being one of the best) and its really good popcorn fare.
post #73645 of 93675
TV Sports
Fox TV debut key to UFC growth
By Robert Klempko and Sergio Non, USA Today - November 8th, 2011

The Ultimate Fighting Championship stands at a crossroads.

This weekend it will air live in prime time on Fox for the first time as part of a long-term deal with a major television network. Once labeled "human cockfighting" by Sen. John McCain, the UFC brand of fighting — a mix of boxing, wrestling and a host of martial arts disciplines — has been refined by rule changes and rising production standards in its 18 years.

Coming amid plateauing pay-per-view sales, a dearth of superstar fighters and varied public perception, UFC's new TV partnership — under which Fox pays the promotion $100 million annually for seven years — could determine if mixed martial arts can make the leap to mainstream sport. The deal technically starts in 2012, but the companies decided to add Saturday's show as a prelude.

"Has any other sport risen as fast as UFC? I think most people would say no," says Paul Swangard, director of the sports marketing center at the University of Oregon. "They created a compelling piece of content, and they found a core audience that couldn't get enough of it.

"The next phase is broader distribution of their product and the Foxes of the world embracing it. … So this is an important period in seeing how much more runway they really have."

Of the last 100 UFC title fights, 42 were decided by punches, knees, slams and kicks; 31 went to the judges' decision; and 19 ended in chokes, ankle locks and neck cranks, according to FightMetric, the official statistics provider of the UFC.

Fighters often say the diversity of styles is what makes mixed martial arts appealing.

"The sport unites all kinds of people from all kinds of fighting backgrounds," says UFC heavyweight Junior Dos Santos, who Saturday challenges champion Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1 in Anaheim, Calif. "It doesn't matter if they're great stand-up fighters or great ground fighters. …They all have an equal shot to come in and to do well."

But the myriad of violent ways a fight can end isn't popular with everyone. Lawmakers in New York — the first state to ban MMA— maintain their 14-year-old prohibition on the sport because many consider it too violent. In the late 1990s, McCain backed a crusade against "no-holds-barred" fighting, leading more than 30 states to ban the activity and causing cable TV providers to drop UFC programming.

Longtime referee John McCarthy, who is slated to work the Velasquez-Dos Santos bout on Saturday, remembers the public-relations difficulties encountered by UFC's original owner, Semaphore Entertainment Group.

"There was so many things that happened at the very beginning that you look at and you go, 'That was really stupid,' " McCarthy says. "Campbell McLaren, who was part of (SEG), he actually said on Good Morning America, 'You could win by tapout, you could win by knockout or you could win by death.' Just comments like that set everything in motion to give problems to the sport."

Although the phrase "There Are No Rules!" graced a UFC poster in 1994, the promotion added several of them in the latter half of the 1990s to counter critics. UFC toned down its most violent rhetoric, and industry officials persuaded New Jersey to start regulating the sport in 2000, leading to the state's adoption of unified MMA rules the following year. Nevada followed soon after.

Lorenzo Fertitta, brother Frank and their friend Dana White bought UFC in 2001, got it back on cable TV and started courting additional states to sanction mixed martial arts. The promotion in 2005 premiered its reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, which next year moves from Spike TV to FX.

"I think when it was repackaged and presented as a real sport, and when we focused on the athleticism and competing against each other and not the violence, I think it was more accepted by the general public," says Lorenzo Fertitta, who owns 40.5% of Zuffa, parent company of UFC.

Even McCain eventually gave MMA's promoters credit for improving the sport.

"It is not human cockfighting anymore," he told National Public Radio in 2007. "They haven't made me a fan, but they have made progress."

Forty-five states sanction the sport today, but it is outlawed in Connecticut, Vermont and New York (Alaska and Wyoming do not have athletic commissions). A Siena College Research Institute poll in September showed New Yorkers opposed sanctioning MMA 48% to 39%.

"It just doesn't seem to me an activity of a civilized society," says Ronald Canestrari, majority leader of the New York State Assembly.

Yet the UFC has made its debut in several cities this year, including the nation's capital.

"The number one positive is the revenue side," says Washington D.C. councilmember Michael Brown, former executive director of the city's boxing and wrestling commission. "I understand that there are negatives to it too. It's brutal, it's tough to watch for some people, but it's also sport and you have a choice.

"That's the beautiful thing about America."

Sponsor success

UFC's popularity among young men became undeniable in 2006. That year the UFC generated $220 million in U.S. pay-per-view sales, compared to $177 million for HBO boxing and $131 million for WWE, according to SNL Kagan, a media analysis group. Four years later, the UFC's pay-per-view draw nearly doubled to $411 million.

"Five years ago you'd look at the UFC and say, 'This is just kind of glorified pro wrestling,' " says Bob Dorfman, executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising, a San Francisco-based firm. "But then you look at what's happened with the pay-per-views, and you can't deny that it's bringing in the male 18-34 demographic."

The men who make up the core of UFC's audience draw advertisers such as Bud Light, Miller Lite and Burger King. Each planted its flag on the UFC in the last four years. In 2007, Harley-Davidson was one of the first major brands to enter the cage.

"There's a certain attitudinal fit that works very well for our brand, " says Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president of Harley-Davidson. "It's very real."

A company such as Harley-Davidson, which lacks the budget to advertise heavily in some major sports, can find value in UFC's niche audience.

"These smaller sports properties gather that community and harness the power of it better than a lot of sports, and that's what the advertisers are looking for," Swangard says. "With a sport that's growing, its all about giving the consumer some feeling that you're helping their sport be successful."

Moving to Fox also brings the "power of the promo," Dorfman says. Velasquez appeared Oct. 30 on Fox's NFL pregame show, the highest-rated midday show for pro football.

"You watch the World Series on Fox, and it's all about advertising their other shows," Dorfman says. "You've got the cast from Glee sitting there in the front row. That's what Fox brings to the table.They can cross-promote and make the UFC more legitimate than it already is."

The bottom line, says Dorfman, is getting more and different eyes on the product.

"This is an 80% male audience," Dorfman says. "But it comes over to Fox and the opportunity is there to broaden the demographic. That's definitely a good thing."

Dana White, UFC's brash president and lead promoter, acknowledges the weight of the moment.

"The next two years are the most important two years for this company and this sport," he said in October. "All the ducks are in a row, we've got this thing dialed in, We know what we're doing … and we're going to (expletive) nail this in the next two years."

White, who owns 9% of Zuffa, is part commissioner, part hype-man and part pundit, calling out fighters who under-perform and putting his foot in his mouth on a rare occasions, such as a 2009 incident in which he used a homophobic slur in a video tirade directed at a reporter. He later apologized.

Fertitta doesn't believe that White's unvarnished rhetoric necessarily limits UFC's appeal. Even if it does, the Zuffa president's approach resonates with the sport's core audience, Fertitta says.

"Dana's the only guy that gives you the straight answer, tells you what he's thinking," Fertitta says. "At times, maybe that doesn't sit well with people, but he is who he is. I think from a fan perspective, they appreciate that."

Changing cards, stars

UFC moves to Fox as pay-per-view numbers have dipped, according to trade publication The Wrestling Observer. Some say tapering pay-per-view sales can be explained in part by injuries to popular fighters forcing last-minute changes.

"All the card changes were the key reason," says Dave Meltzer, Observer editor and founder. "The matches that we all wanted to see, none of them happened this year."

Some point to a lack of iconic fighters. Two of the sport's most recognizable faces, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture, retired within the past year. Others, such as Tito Ortiz, have fallen far from their peak and no longer fight frequently.

"There aren't a lot of big, marketable stars right now," Dorfman says. "A guy like Mike Tyson can really bring in more people who may not really take the sport seriously."

While there are no UFC athletes on the scale of Tyson in the USA, several fighters are stars abroad, such as middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who headlined UFC 134 on Aug. 27 in Rio de Janeiro. It was UFC's second event in his native Brazil.

"They've got some pretty strong international ambitions," Swangard says. "If you can get into China or India or other parts of the world where the sport culture is still in its infancy and you can win some share there, you only stand to benefit."

This weekend's headliners can help UFC in Central or South America. Velasquez, son of a migrant worker, speaks Spanish fluently and has done promotional work for his employer in Mexico. Dos Santos lives in Brazil, which Fertitta thinks could become UFC's second-largest market quickly. Saturday's show will also be UFC's debut on Globo, Brazil's largest TV network.

Its growing international reach is evident on Twitter, where Brazilians carry the most followers among fighters.

Zuffa this month awarded $5,000 bonuses for most followers and biggest percentage growth in followers to Silva; former heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira; middleweight contender Demian Maia; welterweight Paulo Thiago; and Strikeforce 145-pound women's titleholder Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos -- all Brazilians. It's a departure from the norm of pro sports leagues, many of which enforce penalties for breaking newly-established rules of social media.

"These guys have been progressive, always trying to be ahead of the game," says Erik Qualman, author of the upcoming book Digital Leader: 5 simple keys to Success and Influence. "In time, all these sports will realize, of course you want that connection with the fan. In the end its going to funnel more money into their pockets."

Fertitta envisions the shares of UFC revenue eventually shifting from 90% domestic and 10% international to 50-50.

"At some point there's going to be a cap (to growth)," Fertitta says. "Even the NFL is trying to figure out different sources of revenue and how to grow; they're having problems selling tickets and all these other things. So there's always a cap to everything; you've just got to manage around that.

"In our case, though, we're still in our infancy. We still have a lot of room to grow."

Contributing: Michael Heistand

* * * *


In 2008, Fox Sports chairman David Hill said of mixed martial arts, “What’s totally abhorrent about it — I’ve said this to people running it — is that one guy will be down and the other one can keep hitting him.”

Now, says Hill: “The sport has gone from a niche to an international powerhouse. I’ve never seen anything go from zero to hero in so short a time.”

The deal:

* Fox will carry four events annually, with six events on cable channel FX and four fights on Fuel TV.

* UFC says it will taper its pay-per-view schedule from 16 events in 2011 to 14 events in 2012, opting for a bigger Fox presence.

* UFC will continue to control production of event action, with Fox controlling prefight and postfight coverage.

* Only Saturday’s main event, Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos, will air live on television.

-- By Mike Heistand, Robert Klemko and Sergio Non.

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Washington Notes
Obama Vows To Veto Bill Blocking Net Neutrality Rules
By David Lieberman, Deadline.com - November 8th, 2011

This would be just the third veto Barack Obama has made, but the White House says today that he’ll go there if the Senate on Thursday endorses a bill to upend the FCC’s net neutrality rules. The resolution to scrap the regulations — which are due to take effect on November 20 — is similar to one that the House passed in April.

The Senate vote could be close: Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s bill has 42 cosponsors. Supporters include Maine Republican Olympia Snowe who favors net neutrality but says the issue should be decided by Congress — not the FCC. In today’s “Statement of Administration Policy,” the White House says that “the open Internet enables entrepreneurs to create new services without fear of undue discrimination by network providers.” For example, Comcast wouldn’t be able to favor transmissions over its broadband lines for a service it likes, such as Hulu, over those of a rival such as Netflix.

The administration says that disapproval of net neutrality would “threaten the very foundations of innovation in the Internet economy and the democratic spirit that has made the Internet a force for social progress around the world.” If the Senate passes the bill, then the administration statement says “his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the Resolution.” Even if Obama stops a congressional effort to overturn the rules, the FCC will have to defend them in court from a challenge brought by Verizon. The phone company says the FCC doesn’t have the authority to set rules for the Internet.

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By Alex Sherman - Nov 8, 2011

Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), the second- largest U.S. cable-television provider, is considering bidding for the rights to broadcast Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Time Warner Cable wants a long-term deal similar to the contract it signed with the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team this year, said the person, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. Time Warner Cable would likely add the Dodgers games to its regional sports network that will begin broadcasting Lakers games for the 2012-2013 season, the person said.

After the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy in June, the team began fighting in court with baseball Commissioner Bud Selig over how to finance operations. Last week, team owner Frank McCourt agreed to sell the team and the media rights to future games, ending the dispute with Selig.

The Dodgers' TV rights through 2013 are currently owned by News Corp.'s Fox, which broadcasts games on its regional sports network. Fox has said it also holds exclusive rights until November 2012 to negotiate a new deal with the team.

Auctioning the TV rights separately before November 2012 would violate the existing contract and expose the Dodgers to a claim for damages, Fox, MLB and lower-ranking creditors said separately in court papers filed in recent weeks.

The Dodgers will file an amended media-rights procurement motion with the bankruptcy court in the near future, explaining how a sale process would work, according to Robert Siegfried, a spokesman for the Dodgers.

Alex Dudley, a spokesman for New York-based Time Warner Cable, declined to comment.

Dodgers Bankruptcy
On Nov. 2, News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said the company doesn't plan to buy the team. The Dodgers may sell for $1 billion, sports bankers including Gordon Saint- Denis, president of Katonah, New York-based Major League Sports Consulting LLC, said after the team entered bankruptcy.

Fox Sports attempted to lock up the Dodgers' TV rights in June, offering McCourt a 17-year deal valued at about $3 billion. Selig rejected the deal on grounds that it wasn't in the best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers or the league. Rejecting the deal caused the team to declare bankruptcy, McCourt said in court papers filed in June.

Time Warner Cable rose 0.3 percent to $62.40 at the close in New York. The shares have fallen 5.5 percent this year. News Corp. (NWSA) rose 1.6 percent to $17.22 and has gained 18 percent this year.

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Sal Galatioto, president of GSP Capital, and Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick talk about potential bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise. Major League Baseball and the Dodgers agreed to a court-supervised sale of the team, four months after the six-time World Series champions filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Galatioto and Soshnick speak with Deirdre Bolton on Bloomberg Television's "Money Moves." (Source: Bloomberg) http://www.bloomberg.com/video/79661610/

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Review
History's 'Vietnam in HD' Has Clarity of Purpose - and Pictures
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com - November 8th, 2011

Wars of any kind are never a pretty picture, whatever the advances in clarity. But Vietnam In HD is an advance in the way these stories are told, with new generations exposed for the first time while their elders watch and learn anew.

Tuesday through Thursday from 9 to 11 p.m. on History

And all the footage was stretched.

I guess grisly war footage is acceptable as long as it fills the screen. Keeping it at 4:3 would be too much for the general public.
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Tech/Business Notes
Bloomberg TV's iPad app goes against the grain
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - November 8th, 2011

A few weeks ago, business news conglomerate Bloomberg LP quietly launched a service that allows iPad owners to watch its Bloomberg TV cable channel live on the tablet device.

Though that is hardly an earth-shattering development several cable networks have similar apps for tablet devices or make their channels available live online Bloomberg is taking a radically different approach. Unlike other networks, which require that those who want to watch their programming already be subscribers to a multichannel video program distributor (that's industry-speak for a cable or satellite operator), Bloomberg makes no such requirement.

That move flies in the face of standard operating procedure in the media industry and likely won't win Bloomberg many friends among the big cable and satellite companies that carry the channel. That's because distributors don't like programmers who give their subscribers any incentive to cut the cord.

According to SNL Kagan, Bloomberg charges distributors a monthly license fee of seven cents per subscriber to carry the channel. That may not sound like much money, but Bloomberg is in 70 million homes so those pennies add up to millions of dollars.

Although Bloomberg TV is widely distributed, it is still at a ratings disadvantage compared with its chief rival CNBC. This move may win it some points with its core followers and with those who feel that any information made available online (including newspapers) should be free even if the same content is sold on other platforms such as television and print.

"Bloomberg TV is a global network our Bloomberg TV+ app is part of our strategy to increase awareness of our product and drive viewers around the world to Bloomberg Television on cable and satellite," a Bloomberg spokeswoman said.

Bloomberg's decision to give its channel away on a potentially competing platform to cable and satellite also comes at a time when it is in an ugly fight at the Federal Communications Commission with Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator and owner of CNBC.

At issue is where Comcast places Bloomberg on its cable systems in relation to what channel CNBC is on. Bloomberg has argued that the conditions that the FCC put on Comcast in return for approval of its merger with NBCUniversal require the cable company to place its channel in the same neighborhood as CNBC.

Comcast has argued that is not the case and that if it did what Bloomberg wanted then "millions of customers will be subject to disruption and confusion required by massive channel realignments across the country, all to benefit an already-thriving, $30-billion media company."

The Bloomberg iPad app could become part of the debate with Comcast, which may argue to the FCC that a channel that is giving itself away to consumers with iPads certainly doesn't need special treatment from the government.

At the same time, Bloomberg might fire back that its struggles to get the same treatment business ratings champ CNBC gets from distributors has led it to give its service away.

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TV Sports
Bob Costas Will Host Show on NBC Sports Network
By Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - November 8th, 2011

The NBC Sports Group's overhaul of the Versus network will continue next year with Bob Costas hosting a monthly interview show and quarterly town hall meetings similar to the ones he held during the years worked at HBO Sports.

I loved every minute I spent at HBO and I was very proud of the work we did there but until NBC expressed interest in this type of programming, there was no other place to do it, Costas said in an interview on Tuesday. By the time his shows appear on Versus, the network will have a new name: the NBC Sports Network.

The first town hall meeting will be shown on the Thursday night before the Super Bowl, which NBC is carrying. The meetings will attempt to, in a lively way, address for the most part substantive issues, sometimes they'll be a celebration of aspects of sports, he said. Some will be more humorous than others, but the balance will be journalistic.

The interview program, Costas Tonight, will start in the spring. For lack of a better description, he said, it will be like a Larry King-Piers Morgan format.

The idea of working on NBC's cable side was first broached by Dick Ebersol, the former longtime chairman of NBC Sports, who resigned earlier this year, Costas said.

Ebersol, in turn, suggested the idea to Mark Lazarus, who succeeded Ebersol as the chairman of the NBC Sports Group.

Costas said that none of his shows will focus entirely on baseball as a courtesy to his other employer, the MLB Network.

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