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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2812

post #84331 of 93666
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

Yeah, but I'm sure they keep hearing "I'm tired of paying for channels I never watch." Pretty easy to quantify THAT. Cut the channels very few watch and (here's the key) pass the savings on to the rest of the subscribers (or belay rate increases). Pretty sure the end result of that approach will result in the lesser rate of attrition. And that's the goal, now. Growth ain't happening. So, stop the bleeding.
How long does one have to stay tuned in to a channel for it to be counted as "watched"? What do cable/satcos get by carrying a little watched channel? A piece of the advertising dollars? Or the ability to pad the cost that they pass on to subscribers? Or both?
post #84332 of 93666
WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #84333 of 93666
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
‘Chicago Fire’ sets series high on NBC
Averages a 2.4 in 18-49s, up 26 percent over most recent original
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 3, 2013

Never underestimate the value of running originals when the other networks are in repeats.

Airing against reruns on ABC and CBS and a two-hour special “Mobbed” on Fox, NBC was the easy winner last night, with 10 p.m. new drama “Chicago Fire” hitting a series high.

“Fire” was the night’s No. 1 show with a 2.4 in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen overnights, up 26 percent from its previous original on Dec. 19.

In fact, all four of NBC’s shows on the night saw gains from their last original episodes.

“Whitney” grew 29 percent, to a 1.8, at 8 p.m., its best rating since January of last year, while lead-out “Guys with Kids” drew a 1.7, up 21 percent.

At 9 p.m., “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” saw the biggest gain, improving by 31 percent to a season-high 2.1. In fact, it matched its best rating since Nov. 30, 2011.

The competition on the night was pretty weak. CBS and ABC had reruns from 8 to 10 p.m., though “Modern Family’s” repeat did draw a 2.1, tied for No. 2 on the night.

The “Mobbed” specials on Fox proved limp, drawing a 1.0 at 8 p.m. and a 1.1 at 9 p.m.

NBC was first for the night among 18-49s with a 2.1 average overnight rating and a 6 share. Univision was second at 1.6/4, ABC and CBS tied for third at 1.5/4, Fox was fifth at 1.1/3, and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth 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-six percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

At 8 p.m. NBC and Univision tied for first at 1.7, NBC for “Whitney” (1.8) and “Kids” (1.7) and Univision for “Por Ella Soy Eva.” ABC was third with a 1.5 for reruns of “The Middle” and “The Neighbors,” CBS fourth with a 1.4 for repeats of “Mike & Molly,” and Fox fifth with a 1.0 for “Mobbed.” The CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.5, CW for a repeat of “Arrow” and Telemundo for “Rosa Diamante.”

NBC took the lead by itself at 9 p.m. with a 2.1 for “SVU,” followed by Univision with a 1.8 for “Amores Verdaderos.” ABC was third with a 1.7 for repeats of “Modern Family” and “Suburgatory,” CBS fourth with a 1.6 for a “Criminal Minds” rerun, Fox fifth with a 1.1 for more “Mobbed,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “Corazon Valiente” and CW seventh with a 0.4 for a repeat of “Supernatural.”

At 10 p.m. NBC led with a 2.4 for “Fire,” with Univision second with a 1.4 for “Amor Bravio.” CBS was third with a 1.3 for a repeat of “CSI,” ABC fourth with a 1.1 for “Nashville” clip show and Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 for “Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal” (0.6) and “El Rostro de la Venganza” (0.5).

NBC also finished first for the night among households with a 4.4 average overnight rating and a 7 share. CBS was second at 4.2/7, ABC third at 3.1/5, Univision fourth at 2.0/3, Fox fifth at 1.8/3, CW sixth at 1.1/2 and Telemundo seventh at 0.7/1.

post #84334 of 93666
Glad to see Chicago Fire get some decent ratings. I was originally watching this show if there wasn't anything else on at the time, or when I remember to set the DVR. The show has definitely grown on me, and I now have this show set to record the series. It's also nice to see shots of Chicago.
post #84335 of 93666
We've had a backlog of Chicago Fire on the DVR and have been watching them during the holidays as there's not much else on. It has really grown on us. We just watched the Thanksgiving episode last night.
post #84336 of 93666
Originally Posted by Marty Milton View Post

Glad to see Chicago Fire get some decent ratings. I was originally watching this show if there wasn't anything else on at the time, or when I remember to set the DVR. The show has definitely grown on me, and I now have this show set to record the series. It's also nice to see shots of Chicago.
Yes, I used to watch Nashville and record Chicago Fire since they are in the same time slot. Now I record both and watch one "live." The one I watch "live" is Chicago Fire more often than not although I also still really like Nashville. I hate it when the networks put two good shows on opposite each other.
post #84337 of 93666
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

How long does one have to stay tuned in to a channel for it to be counted as "watched"? What do cable/satcos get by carrying a little watched channel? A piece of the advertising dollars? Or the ability to pad the cost that they pass on to subscribers? Or both?
I'm not sure if it's changed, but it used to be someone had to tune in for at least 15 minutes to be rated. Obviously, with boxes, the cable company could determine exactly who really is watching based on whatever metric they feel is fair to determine viewership.

As far as what they gain, often that is the local avail slots where the cable company can insert commercials they sell within their coverage area. Pretty much every cable channel has those slots, so if the cable company can make enough off those insert spots, they're more willing to pony up for a channel.

Obviously, though, the cost always gets passed on to the customer. Even further, they pass on anticipated costs that haven't occurred yet. In other words, they know a handful of channels are coming up for negotiations, so the rate goes up knowing they will cost more. It's like gas stations and gas - you're paying the cost of the gas they have to buy, not the gas already at the station.

The cable companies don't need to come to any agreement with any channel to raise prices - and they aren't going to lower the price if they drop a bunch of them.

Honestly, there aren't really many channels they can realistically drop without a blanket drop of all the channels from a particular content company. So, they'll pick on the likes of HDNet (AXSTV), G4 or other channels that don't have the long arm of a big media company to negotiate for them.

DirecTV only got away with playing chicken with Viacom because renewal came at a time when ratings were down on many of those channels and people were especially angry at prices. Plus, Viacom made the mistake of pulling their online content for everyone, even those who didn't have D* and angered enough people that they weren't going to have the support of the viewers. As a result, D* was able to leverage the "let 'em drop" attitude in their favor.
post #84338 of 93666
I suppose they also sell advertising time in bundles too, x$ for a slot on ch A if you buy a slot on ch B for y$.
post #84339 of 93666
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I suppose they also sell advertising time in bundles too, x$ for a slot on ch A if you buy a slot on ch B for y$.
Generally, entire tiers of channels are bundled and sold. I don't know of many cable companies that will sell local inserts on a single channel. I'm sure it's possible, but - just like with subscribers - they'd get a lot less money if they de-bundled. Or they'd charge so much that the bundle would be the better buy. For some systems, it's not technically feasable. We bought local inserts in one city where I worked. I caught an ad getting cut off and we requested a make-good. They told us they'd run the make good on ALL the channels because they had no way of scheduling spots on just one channel.
post #84340 of 93666
Thanks for the replies.
post #84341 of 93666
Business Notes
Current TV Said to Fetch $500 Million From Al Jazeera
By Alex Sherman & Christopher Palmeri, Bloomberg.com - Jan. 3, 2012

Current TV, the network co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, was sold for about $500 million to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based cable-news channel, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.

The price represents a multiple of the $71 million Gore and his partners paid in 2004, according to a 2008 regulatory filing, for the channel that became Current TV. Gore, chairman, and Joel Hyatt, co-founder and chief executive officer, announced the sale yesterday without providing financial terms.

While the purchase gives Al Jazeera access to the biggest U.S. pay-TV carriers for the first time, it will have to improve on Current TV’s viewership to have staying power. Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cable carrier, is dropping Current TV as it seeks to eliminate low-rated channels. The network averaged about 42,000 prime-time viewers last quarter, according to Horizon Media Inc.

“It’s a pretty risky deal for them,” said Derek Baine, an SNL Kagan cable analyst in Monterey, California. The $500 million price paid by Al Jazeera “sounds high.”

Current TV’s owners raised a total of $153 million including debt, according to a report yesterday from PrivCo, a New York-based researcher covering closely held companies.

Replacing Shows

While Al Jazeera’s English network, started in 2006, reaches 250 million households in 130 countries, the U.S. represents only a small fraction of that audience. Al Jazeera said it will replace Current TV’s shows with its own this year, doubling its U.S. staff to 300, with headquarters in New York.

“Current Media was built based on a few key goals: to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling,” Gore and Hyatt said in the statement. “Al Jazeera, like Current, believes that facts and truth lead to a better understanding of the world around us.”

In the U.S., Al Jazeera’s English-language network is carried on seven pay-TV providers, including small carriers such as Ohio’s Buckeye CableSystem and Vermont’s Burlington Telecom, according to its website. It reaches 4.7 million households, said Stan Collender, a spokesman for Al Jazeera with Qorvis Communications LLC.

Current TV will be available to more than 40 million U.S. homes after Time Warner Cable stops airing the channel, Al Jazeera said. It is carried by Comcast Corp., DirecTV and Dish Network Corp., the three largest U.S. pay-TV operators.

Higher Rate

Time Warner Cable, based in New York, will evaluate adding Al Jazeera, the company said in a statement. Its New York and Los Angeles systems offer content from the channel through agreements with local broadcasters.

Current TV’s prime-time audience in the fourth quarter of 2012 compares with an average of 896,000 for Time Warner Inc.’s CNN and 2.48 million for News Corp.’s Fox News, according to Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media Inc.

Time Warner Cable, which provides 12.3 million households with cable TV, pays about 12 cents a month for each Current TV subscriber, or $17.7 million a year, according to the media research firm SNL Kagan.

Since Fox News has about 60 times more viewers than Current TV, it would be getting $7.14 a month if it was paid at the same rate as its smaller competitor. It gets 94 cents a month. Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN gets the highest subscriber fees on cable TV, at $5.26 a month.

Time Warner Cable has been monitoring Current TV’s ratings for months, according to a person familiar with the situation. Their contract mandates the network stay above a Nielsen ratings threshold it has struggled to meet, the person said.

Low Ratings

Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said last month that his company would take a harder line on renewing channels with low ratings. Time Warner Cable’s programming costs have risen about 30 percent since 2008, leading to a 15 percent increase in cable-TV prices, Britt said at an investment conference. The trends are unsustainable because prices are rising too quickly for many people to afford, he said.

Current TV generated operating cash flow of $16.3 million on revenue of $108 million last year, according to SNL Kagan. Collender declined to comment on the price Al Jazeera paid for the network.

The Raine Group advised Current TV on the deal.

Current TV’s investors included funds controlled by Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle and San Francisco money manager Richard Blum, according to a 2008 Securities and Exchange Commission filing when the company unsuccessfully sought to sell stock to the public. Blum is married to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from San Francisco.

The owners introduced Current TV in 2005 after purchasing the network from Vivendi SA. The network, then called Newsworld International, ran programming from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

post #84342 of 93666
Legal Notes
Warner Bros TV Settles Some Of ‘Smallville’ Licensing Suit
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Jan. 3, 2012

Turns out a jury won’t be deciding whether Warner Bros Television owes the producers of Smallville $100 million in damages after all. A WBTV spokesman today confirmed to Deadline that the suit filed by Tollin/Robbins Productions has “been resolved.” No details of the settlement today were made public. However, Tollin/Robbins did file court paperwork Wednesday to dismiss its own claims in the case.

That doesn’t mean the suit is completely over. Smallville co-creators/writers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough are still pursuing their suit against WBTV with a trial date of June 10, 2013. In the initial suit, first filed in March 2010, Tollin/Robbins Productions along with Millar and Gough claimed WBTV signed low-balling licensing deals with the WB and later the CW that were nowhere near the requisite arms-length. They also alleged that the deals were not conducted with the good faith that they should have been. Because of these deals, the production company and producers claimed the show’s value was decreased and they were cheated out of millions in profits.

In September, Judge Michael Johnson cited a number of “triable issues” in the conflict of interest case. Smallville debuted on the WB Network on October 16, 2001. It ran until May 13, 2011, ending on the CW, which debuted in 2006 after the merger of the WB and CBS’ UPN.

post #84343 of 93666
Critic's Notes
The Self-Inflicted Debasing of Anderson Cooper (and His Credibility)
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 2, 2012

Conduct unbecoming of a news anchor has become virtually impossible to prove in the court of public opinion.

Lines have blurred to the point of obliteration at both the national and local level.

Time to insert a "But still." Because CNN's Anderson Cooper, the face of his network whenever a big story breaks, really has no business calling himself a serious journalist anymore.

For the sixth time on New Year's Eve, Cooper willingly shared a live platform in Times Square with comedian Kathy Griffin, whose mouth long has been a gaping exit wound. For starters, an international audience watched her tell him, "I'm gonna tickle your sack." This came after Cooper noted that some viewers were playing a drinking game in honor of "every time I giggle nervously."

He giggled continuously. And unfortunately, Cooper sounds a lot like Larry King when he does so. In other words, it's a pretty creepy giggle.

Griffin later ventured where no co-host has gone before after CNN reporter Gary Tuchman's live dispatch from Eastport, Maine. He told viewers about a longstanding New Year's Eve tradition in which denizens kiss a fake jumbo sardine after it's lowered from the top of a building as part of the countdown to midnight.

During the split-screen report, Griffin stooped to kiss Cooper's crotch area.

"Did you drop something?" he wondered.

"No," she said. "I was kissing your sardine." Furthermore, "I could do this all night long."

One could argue — but not convincingly — that Cooper has no control over what Griffin says or does. But he keeps putting himself in this position year after year with seemingly no regard as to how viewers might perceive him the next time he affixes a sober countenance to report from scenes of national tragedies or disasters.

Cooper's New Year's Eve dalliances with Griffin are akin to inviting Andrew Dice Clay to entertain at your seven-year-old's birthday party. And then wondering why he taught the kids how to drop f-bombs.

Even worse, Cooper invited Griffin back the next night for a live Jan. 1 segment on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360. That 's where the above "Anderson's and Kathy's Wild New Year's Eve" tagline came from. It also happened to be the night of the House's rather important "fiscal cliff" vote, in which Hurricane Sandy relief was left on the table. So leave it to Griffin to further soil the CNN "brand" with, "Now let me ask you this. 'Cause you're a newsman. Or you used to be."

Cooper of course giggled before Griffin asked him what impact the fiscal cliff vote would have on her Maserati.

Cooper's syndicated, oft-silly daytime talk show, Anderson Live, should have been enough of a carnival midway for him. It's being canceled after this season, though. One shouldn't forget that he's also the guy who hosted two cycles of the ABC "reality-competiton" series The Mole just before CNN brought him aboard in 2001. He's been quoted as saying, "I think the notion of a traditional anchor is fading away. The all-knowing, all-seeing person who speaks from on high."

Maybe so. And maybe all well and good to a point. But you still have to take the high ground when it comes to your image as a serious anchor-reporter. And there's simply no credible network anchor who would even think of subjecting himself to Kathy Griffin on multiple live New Year's Eve specials. Bad things happen — which he should have known by now.

Cooper will continue to be the face of CNN. And his new boss, former NBC chieftain Jeff Zucker, might actually encourage him to get even wackier in the interests of drawing attention to the ratings-challenged network. After all, various YouTube videos of Griffin smooching Cooper's crotch have already blasted well past 100,000 views. And CNN basically celebrated on Tuesday night by re-teaming them.

You might want to remember this the next time CNN also asks you to take Cooper seriously. Right now for me, that's no longer in the cards.

Instead I'd like to see Howard Kurtz question Cooper's New Year's Eve stint during a segment on CNN's Sunday morning Reliable Sources program. It would be a sure-fire topic if it were any other network's primary news anchor. Let's see what develops while you can see for yourself in the below video. [CLICK LINK]

post #84344 of 93666
TV Review
‘Downton Abbey,’ you just can’t feel guilty
Yes, it's a soap opera, but the PBS British drama is so well done
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 3, 2013

One wouldn’t normally associate the phrases “guilty pleasure” and “PBS period drama.” The network’s serialized dramas, which are usually British in theme and origin, tend to be based on classic literature or at least deal with high-minded subjects and themes.

That’s the secret of the “Masterpiece Classics” series “Downton Abbey,” the third season of which premieres this Sunday, Jan. 6, at 9 p.m. Chronicling the turbulent lives of a noble family and their servants in the early decades of the 20th century, it provides a convincing — and visually splendid — portrait of British society as it is being forever changed by history, from the sinking of the Titanic to the post-World War I struggle for Irish independence. As with most PBS offerings, we can therefore say to ourselves that the show must be good for us.

But more importantly, “Downton Abbey” lets us wallow in the soapy melodrama that sweeps up a varied assortment of regular characters, all played by actors who disappear into their roles in that egoless British way. Viewers who would never admit to caring whether Chuck and Blair got together on “Gossip Girl” can obsess shamelessly over whether Matthew and Lady Mary will make it to the church on time. The show is a guilt-free guilty pleasure.

As the season begins, it’s 1920, and Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew (Dan Stevens) are planning their wedding after the touching proposal that ended season 2. The Crawleys are struggling over the question of whether to invite Mary’s sister Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) and her Irish husband, Tom Branson (Allen Leech), the family’s former chauffeur.

Like the first two seasons, which zipped through seven years, the first five episodes of the new season are jam-packed with soapy action. But to describe the action precisely would set off a domino chain of spoilers, so we’ll try to keep this vague.

As usual, beneath the veneer of historical authenticity, the characters’ lives are implausibly dramatic. Each episode contains plot points that would seem over-the-top if they weren’t presented with such skillful acting and sharp dialogue.

The early episodes address these melodramatic questions, among others: Can love between a commoner and an aristocrat survive? Will he/she leave her/him at the altar? Could that lump be cancerous? What’s in that mysterious letter? Will a character inherit a windfall fortune? And even: Did someone slip him a mickey?

From the first episode, the main question has been whether Robert Crawley, the earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), will be able to keep his ancestral home, Downton Abbey. The issue of succession seemed settled at the end of season 2 when Matthew, the distant cousin who is the heir to the title and thus to the fortune brought to the family by Robert’s American wife, Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), proposed marriage to Mary.

Given the political and economic storms that the Crawleys have faced and will face, the question should be not whether the family will lose Downton but when. One of the great surprises of the series is that viewers who were certain that they couldn’t care less about the housing problems of wealthy English toffs found themselves caring so deeply.

The show gives a fair hearing to what was probably the aristocrats’ own justification for their lavish lifestyle: that they were creating employment opportunities. That’s certainly debatable, as is the show’s portrayal of the servants as generally content with the opportunities provided.

In “Downton,” the servants are just as concerned with their own pecking order as the snobs and aristocrats are with theirs. In fact, the character who is the most conservative regarding matters of hierarchy both upstairs and downstairs is the butler, Carson (Jim Carter).

Although some of the plot threads feel like unnecessary deviations — the story of the unjustly imprisoned former valet Bates (Brendan Coyle) springs to mind — viewers will be happy to see their favorite characters again. Even the rather drippy Isobel (Penelope Wilton), Matthew’s mother, is so well written and well played that she’s a welcome presence.

Violet, the dowager countess (Maggie Smith), is still a reliable source of arch observations, delivered with a lifetime of experience, both on the part of the character and of the actress. Fans will smile when the countess pauses and says, “Lie is so unmusical a word.”

But those same fans will be disappointed if they expect fireworks when Violet meets Cora’s wealthy American mother, Martha (Shirley MacLaine), who has come to England for the wedding. MacLaine’s scenes feel more like a celebrity cameo; she’s out of place in a cast that is so invested in their parts that it’s jarring when we see the actors in any other TV show or movie.

“Downton Abbey” is a self-contained world, one to which loyal viewers will be happy to return. New viewers are strongly encouraged to pay a visit.

post #84345 of 93666
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

Generally, entire tiers of channels are bundled and sold. I don't know of many cable companies that will sell local inserts on a single channel. I'm sure it's possible, but - just like with subscribers - they'd get a lot less money if they de-bundled. Or they'd charge so much that the bundle would be the better buy.

I think that really sums it up. Anyone who thinks a la carte would result in lower cable bills is living in Dreamland. Short of direct governmental regulation, it's silly to think they're going to do anything that might potentially reduce their profits. They're going to ride that wave until it finally peters out on the shore of the Internet.
post #84346 of 93666
That's the problem: the programming might cost you less, but they'll "fee" you to death. Authorization fees, custom access fees, etc, etc....

It's like dealing with banks: free checking isn't really free. If you don't keep a crap load of money in your account, you get hit with a "maintenence fee". If you use someone else's ATM, some banks charge you a fee in addition to the other bank's fee. I'm sure the banks are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of a cashless society so they can fee you every time you want to see your balance.

The fact is, the content companies and the cable companies want to keep making the money they make now and they'll always find a way. If it isn't through mult-channel service, it will be through streaming somehow. The internet won't save it. It will merely enable it. Once all those who are gang busters all over streaming come to depend on it, it, too will become another fee.

It's only free or cheap until you get hooked on the drug.

To expect otherwise is unrealistic.

You can say all you want about piracy going up, but there are still way more people out there that aren't smart enough to go that route - and it's getting worse in our increasingly "app for that" society. People can barely turn their computers on anymore if it doesn't have a "swipe to unlock" feature.

In the end, pay for easy wins because there are way more people who want it easy.

Just ask the BUD fans how well quality at low prices in return for a bit of effort has worked out for them. They'll point to the house next door with a pizza-sized dish on the roof and say "that's where my service went".
Edited by NetworkTV - 1/4/13 at 5:04am
post #84347 of 93666
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

I think that really sums it up. Anyone who thinks a la carte would result in lower cable bills is living in Dreamland. Short of direct governmental regulation, it's silly to think they're going to do anything that might potentially reduce their profits. They're going to ride that wave until it finally peters out on the shore of the Internet.
Which they ALSO control a chunk of. Already seeing higher fees for higher speeds and data caps. The end result will be the same money out of your pocket winding up in much the same pockets as now.
post #84348 of 93666
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

Which they ALSO control a chunk of. Already seeing higher fees for higher speeds and data caps. The end result will be the same money out of your pocket winding up in much the same pockets as now.
..and that's why E* wanted to get into the broadband business.
post #84349 of 93666
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - Last Man Standing
8:30PM - Malibu County
9PM - Shark Tank
10PM - 20/20
* * * *
11:35PM - Nightline (LIVE)
Midnight - Jimmy Kimmel Live (Mel Brooks; journalist Jake Tapper; Jason Aldean performs)
(R - Nov. 15)

8PM - Undercover Boss: Mood Media
10PM - Blue Bloods
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Tracy Morgan; sportscaster Marv Albert; Everest performs)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Craig visits Glamis Castle with author David Sedaris and reality-TV personality Ariel Tweto; The Imagineers perform)
(R - May 18)

8PM - Go On
(R - Oct. 9)
8:30PM - Go On
(R - Oct. 23)
9PM - Dateline NBC (120 min.)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Courteney Cox; talk show host Joy Behar; Youngblood Hawke performs)
12:37AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Bill Cosby; Tempestt Bledsoe; Grace Potter performs)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Author Diana Nyad; Chairlift performs; "Samsara.'')
(R - Sep. 27)

8PM - College Football, AT&T Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M (LIVE)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week
8:30PM - Need to Know (Season Premiere)
9PM - Great Performances: Paul Simon's Graceland Journey (120 min.)

8PM - Por Ella Soy Yo
9PM - Amores Verdaderos
10PM - Amor Bravio

8PM - Nikita
(R - Nov. 30)
9PM - Arrow
(R - Oct. 10)

8PM - Rosa Diamante
9PM - Corazón Valiente
10PM - Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal
10:30PM - El Rostro de la Venganza

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Dita Von Teese; Michael Yo; Jen Kirkman; Josh Wolf)
(R - Dec. 26)
post #84350 of 93666
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 4, 2012

AMC, 8:00 p.m. ET

Decades before The Hunger Games, this 1973 movie imagined a world in which people would fight to the death for the amusement of others. It was the final film completed by Bruce Lee, whose talent is on fierce, frenetic display in every action scene. Also on display and also worth mentioning: actress Ahna Capri, who plays the sexy secretary of the villainous island leader. She stopped acting seven years later – but her memory stayed with me long, long after that.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Three genre films directed by Jack Arnold are presented tonight on TCM, as a prime-time triple feature. After 1954’s Creature launches the three-movie salute, 1955’s Tarantula creeps in (and attempts to creep us out) at 9:30 p.m. ET, followed at 11 p.m. ET by that genre classic, 1957’s The Incredible Shrinking Man.

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

This 2012 documentary film, directed by Joe Berlinger, premiered on A&E, and was included in the deluxe Graceland 25th-anniversary box set. But if you didn’t catch it there, make sure to catch it here. It’s the behind-the-scenes story of Paul Simon’s biggest-selling album, the 1986 Graceland, for which he sought out South African rhythms – and musicians. Simon talks about the political fallout of going to South Africa to recruit and record, and stories about how he massaged the music tracks and wrote lyrics to fit. Simon usually is reluctant to talk about his lyric inspirations and procedures – but here, he’s both eloquent and honest, and his story about how the song “Graceland” came about is fascinating. So is the rest of this documentary, a worthy companion to the LP itself. In addition to rehearsal footage from the original recording and a recent reunion tour, it includes new interviews with the record’s musicians, as well as with Paul McCartney, David Byrne, Quincy Jones and others. The clip of Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, previewing “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” on Saturday Night Live, is called “the perfect moment” by producer Lorne Michaels – and he’s right. Check local listings.

IFC, 10:00 p.m. ET
Two episodes are shown back to back to launch the new season. The first is “Take Back MTV,” which imagines a movement to reclaim MTV from the current generation. (Sign me up.) And the second is called “Missionaries,” which features another appearance by recurring guest Jeff Goldblum. Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein star.

Syfy, 10:00 p.m. ET
The fifth and final season of this fantasy series begins, wrapping up the story with Arthur (Bradley James) as King, and with Morgana (Katie McGrath) still out to claim the throne for herself. And last season, she showed that Game of Thrones wasn’t the only show that could revive a dead heroine with help from a magic dragon.

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Technology Notes
Communications Satellites Made Legal for Export
By William J. Broad, The New York Times - Jan. 4, 2012

To the delight of American satellite makers, communications satellites — which orbit Earth to relay phone calls, link ships to shore and broadcast television programs — will become legal for civilian export under legislation that President Obama signed into law on Thursday.

Although the United States founded the industry, manufacturers were forced to pull back from international markets after a 1999 law categorized the satellites as weapons and restricted their export. At the time, Congress was fearful that selling satellites abroad could allow technology secrets to fall into the wrong hands.

The defense bill that President Obama signed will undo that step and let American companies sell communications satellites as civilian technology rather than as deadly arms. Among the beneficiaries will be companies like Boeing, Hughes and Space Systems/Loral.

“This is a tremendous assist for an industry that is inherently international,” said Patricia A. Cooper, president of the Satellite Industry Association, a business group in Washington. “It will ensure our place at the forefront of space.”

As a practical matter, communications satellites made their debut in 1964 and quickly became stars of the space age. The first craft, orbiting at 22,300 miles, relayed signals to the United States from Japan that let American television viewers watch live coverage of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

But the industry stumbled 13 years ago after Republicans in Congress pressed for a law that restricted communications satellite exports. The lawmakers praised it as a security precaution that would prevent China and other perceived foes from stealing technology secrets. Detractors saw it as a cynical ploy meant to discredit the Clinton administration and its policy of Chinese engagement.

That law put communications satellites on Washington’s list of export-controlled munitions: tools of war like tanks, bombs, missiles and equipment for making nuclear arms. Foreign companies took the opportunity to increase their satellite sales.

The new law gives Mr. Obama the authority to return communications satellites to their previous status as civilian technology. It retains provisions that restrict the export of satellites to nations like China and North Korea, and to sponsors of state terrorism like Iran.

Senator Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, who introduced a bill to change the policy on satellite exports and whose state is a space industry hub, said the measure offered satellite manufacturers a crucial lift.

“Companies across the country have been operating at a disadvantage due to these policies,” he said in a statement. “These reforms will give our businesses a chance to compete globally while still protecting our national security interests.”

The strict export controls arose from a political fight over satellite launchings by China, which in the 1980s began offering cheap rides into orbit on low-cost rockets. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, both Republicans, approved transfers of American spacecraft to Chinese rockets, as did President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

Starting in early 1998, a series of upsets brought the expanding trade to a halt. Two American satellite makers involved in the Chinese launchings, Hughes and Loral, were accused of giving China advice about making not only commercial rockets, but also military missiles.

Republicans, who controlled Congress at the time, argued that satellite exports could lead to a hemorrhage of secret materials and information, and said that China might already have stolen encryption secrets.

After the strict export rules took effect in 1999, the legal complications involved in selling communications satellites and components abroad contributed to a sharp decline in the American share of the market, from a dominating position to about 50 percent today.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. Obama said the rules had “unduly hampered the competitiveness of the domestic aerospace industry” and vowed to push for change.

Representative Howard L. Berman, Democrat of California, who for a decade helped lead the movement for change, said its culmination as law would help restore the nation’s competitiveness in the global satellite market.

“Treating commercial satellites and components as if they were lethal weapons, regardless of whether they’re going to friend or foe, has gravely harmed U.S. space manufacturers,” he said.

Mr. Berman added that the benefits extended beyond the manufacturers. The national security establishment relies on the companies and their technological skills to fulfill the government’s satellite needs and to develop spacecraft involved in a wide range of military missions.

“If they can’t compete in the international marketplace,” he said of the companies, “they can’t innovate and cannot survive.”

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No political comments, please.

TV/Business Notes
Al Jazeera's bid to expand U.S. audience may be a tough sell
By acquiring Current TV, the Qatar news service gains access to more than 40 million homes. But its reputation may keep Americans from tuning in, experts say.
By Joe Flint and Meg James, Los Angeles Times - Jan. 4, 2013

Al Jazeera has built a formidable presence around the globe, but the Qatar news service has struggled to establish itself in the United States.

With the acquisition of Current TV, a cable network available in more than 40 million homes, the media company could have the platform it needs to establish itself here and change perceptions about its editorial mission.

"Our commitment to the voice of the voiceless, bringing stories from underreported regions across the world and putting the human being at the center of our news agenda, is at the heart of what we do," Al Jazeera Director General Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said in a statement.

Current TV, founded by former Vice President Al Gore and legal entrepreneur Joel Hyatt, catered to viewers with liberal sensibilities. But it has had a very small audience.

Al Jazeera plans to give Current TV a significant makeover, rename the network Al Jazeera America and turn it into a news channel with a heavy focus on international coverage. The mix of news for Al Jazeera America will be 60% domestic and 40% international, said Stan Collender, a spokesman for the network.

Al Jazeera, which has deep pockets, said it will more than double Current TV's staff to more than 300 and plans to have 10 bureaus in the United States to complement its international reporting. Al Jazeera already has more than 80 bureaus and more than 400 reporters around the world.

Although only available on television in a handful of U.S. cities, Al Jazeera English has built a loyal following among decision makers in Washington. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told Gore that Al Jazeera is the only cable news network he watches, according to Hyatt. As part of the plans to build Al Jazeera America, the company will phase out Al Jazeera English service from U.S. TV and Internet.

Despite its reputation in Washington, Al Jazeera has struggled for more than a decade with charges that its coverage of global terrorism was either anti-American or even pro-Al Qaeda.

"The Bush administration framed Al Jazeera as a platform for terrorists, and that perception has not changed in the minds of average Americans who don't know much about Al Jazeera or that part of the world," said Mohammed el-Nawawy, a professor at the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, N.C., and author of "Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network That Is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism." "There continues to be a stigma surrounding the network."

Al Jazeera executives recognize the company has an image issue but counter that a bigger showcase for its work will solve that problem.

"We know there are some folks that don't like us," Collender said. "The best way for us to show that there is no bias is to get people to watch."

The ink on Al Jazeera's deal was barely dry when one large distributor, Time Warner Cable, said it would no longer carry Current TV or its replacement.

Time Warner Cable was able to drop Current TV from almost 10 million homes because of a clause in its distribution agreement that allowed it to end the deal in the event of an ownership change. Time Warner Cable has been threatening to drop Current TV and its small viewership for some time.

Time Warner Cable, which is not a part of media giant Time Warner Inc., released a statement saying, "We are keeping an open mind, and as the service develops, we will evaluate whether it makes sense, for our customers, to launch the network."

Other major distributors, including Comcast Corp. and DirecTV, both of which had small stakes in Current TV, are contractually obliged to continue carrying the channel.

Derek Baine, a cable television analyst with consulting firm SNL Kagan, predicts that Al Jazeera will continue to be a hard sell for pay TV distributors.

"They are going to continue to face resistance," Baine said. "There has been no interest on the part of distributors to carry Al Jazeera. They don't think American viewers will be interested in this type of news coverage."

Collender countered that Al Jazeera believes there is an appetite for serious news and added that the majority of coverage will be about America.

"We're not going to be doing the Kardashians," he said. "If people want that, there are other places to go."

Gore has agreed to remain as an advisor to Al Jazeera America, which also could help with the network's brand, el-Nawawy said.

"Average Americans will say Al Gore is not going to endorse a terrorist network," he said. "He may be boring, but he's not a terrorist."

post #84353 of 93666
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

Which they ALSO control a chunk of. Already seeing higher fees for higher speeds and data caps. The end result will be the same money out of your pocket winding up in much the same pockets as now.
And I'll say it again, I don't care if fewer channels cost me the same or more as long as my money goes to the channels I watch and not to feed the national sports habit. And I don't care if it's a wash. I don't want to support bloated player salaries or other's addictions in any way. I can vote with my dollars for almost every other commodity I buy, but the only way I can do that with cable is to drop it altogether.
post #84354 of 93666
This looks good....NBC has released a preview of the four episode documentary, produced by former HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg and NFL Films:

Four-Part NBC Sports Network Series to Look at the Business of the NFL

The National Football League didn't always dominate television sets and merchandise stands in America. Remember: Baseball reigned supreme in the U.S. sports hierarchy until only a few decades ago, and before that boxing was the nation's favorite sport.

What changed?

NBC Sports Network will be taking an in-depth look at how the NFL has stolen the hearts of American consumers in a four-part series, debuting Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET, entitled Star-Spangled Sundays.

"Episode I: Rise of a Colossus – Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. E.T.. ET. Deft handling of the new medium of television vaults the National Football League from America’s fourth most popular sport into a cultural and financial titan.

Episode II: Labor Pains – Tuesday, January 15 (Time TBD). NFL players and owners work to create labor peace in the NFL’s $9 billion industry.

Episode III: Brand NFL – Tuesday, January 22 (Time TBD). Riding a cultural and demographic tidal wave, the NFL turns professional football into a year-round, revenue-generating business and has become the most powerful brand in American sports.

Episode IV: Super Sunday – Tuesday, January 29 (Time TBD). The NFL transforms the Super Bowl into the biggest entertainment event on the American calendar."

post #84355 of 93666
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

And I'll say it again, I don't care if fewer channels cost me the same or more as long as my money goes to the channels I watch and not to feed the national sports habit. And I don't care if it's a wash. I don't want to support bloated player salaries or other's addictions in any way. I can vote with my dollars for almost every other commodity I buy, but the only way I can do that with cable is to drop it altogether.

As with music, I see no need for a middle man at all. I want an ethernet jack for internet and I just want to give my money straight to Bad Robot/Mutant Enemy for content.

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THURSDAY'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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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
CBS’s ‘Theory’ returns with a big bang
Hits another series high in total viewers, averaging 18.98M
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 4, 2013

The holiday break certainly didn’t derail “The Big Bang Theory’s” recent hot streak.

The CBS comedy set yet another series high among total viewers last night and tied a series best with adults 18-49.

“Bang” averaged 18.98 million total viewers and a 6.0 in 18-49s, according to Nielsen overnights, up 9 percent in the demo over its most recent original outing three weeks ago.

The anticipation over a new episode after several weeks off combined with the lackluster competition likely led to the series high.

ABC and NBC were in repeats last night, and Fox aired two episodes of the low-rated special “Mobbed.”

In fact, CBS’s entire lineup saw strong gains over their most recent episodes. “Two and a Half Men” also hit a season high with a 4.6, 12 percent better than its previous original.

The 9 p.m. drama “Person of Interest” matched a series high with a 3.4, up 17 percent, and “Elementary” grew 9 percent, tying its best rating since its premiere with a 2.5.

CBS led the night among 18-49s with a 3.7 average overnight rating and a 10 share. Univision was second at 1.7/4, Fox third at 1.1/3, ABC and NBC tied for fourth at 0.8/2, Telemundo sixth at 0.6/2 and CW seventh at 0.4/1.

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-six percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

CBS finished first during each hour, starting with a 5.3 at 8 p.m. for “Bang” (6.0) and “Men” (4.6). Univision was second with a 1.7 for “Por Ella Soy Eva,” Fox third with a 1.0 for “Mobbed,” NBC fourth with a 0.8 for repeats of “30 Rock” and “Up All Night,” ABC fifth with a 0.7 for a “Nashville” rerun, Telemundo sixth with a 0.7 for “Rosa Diamante” and CW seventh with a 0.4 for a repeat of “The Vampire Diaries.”

At 9 p.m. CBS led with a 3.4 for “Interest,” followed by Univision with a 1.8 for “Amores Verdaderos.” Fox was third with a 1.2 for “Mobbed,” NBC fourth with a 0.8 for reruns of “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” ABC fifth with a 0.7 for a “Scandal” rerun, Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “Corazon Valiente” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for a repeat of “Beauty and the Beast.”

CBS was first again at 10 p.m. with a 2.5 for “Elementary,” with Univision second with a 1.5 for “Amor Bravio.” ABC was third with a 0.9 for more “Scandal,” NBC fourth with a 0.8 for “Rock Center with Brian Williams” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 or “Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal” (0.7) and “El Rostro de la Venganza” (0.4).

Among households, CBS was first for the night with a 9.0 average overnight rating and a 14 share. ABC was second at 2.3/4, Univision third at 2.1/3, Fox fourth at 1.8/3, NBC fifth at 1.7/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.8/1 and CW seventh at 0.7/1.

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TV Notes
A+E Networks and Amazon Prime Reach Licensing Deal
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jan. 4, 2012

Pawn Stars" fans, rejoice; you'll now be able to catch Big Hoss and Chumley on Amazon Prime.

Amazon announced Friday that it has struck a licensing deal with A+E Networks to carry A&E, bio, History and Lifetime programs on its premium Prime Instant Video service. The deal includes prior seasons of programs such as "Pawn Stars," "Storage Wars" and "Dance Moms."

Amazon Prime, which allows subscribers to stream videos through a variety of gadgets, costs $79 a year.

The pact between Amazon and A+E Networks comes a few months after rival streaming service Netflix decided to drop all but about 300 hours of A+E programming. Netflix, which had been seeking exclusivity from A+E for its content, opted not to renew its agreement with the company.

Brad Beale, Amazon's director of digital video content acquisition, said that Amazon has more than doubled the amount of content for Amazon Prime customers.

“We remain focused on adding TV episodes and movies to Prime Instant Video that we think our customers will enjoy," Beale said. "A+E Networks has some of the most popular shows on television and we know our customers will love streaming the A+E content with Prime Instant Video.”

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Business Notes
Hulu CEO and CTO to Step Down
By Sam Thielman, AdWeek.com - Jan. 4, 2012

Well, it was pretty clear to most people that this was coming: Jason Kilar is leaving Hulu, presumably with a huge payout. The exec's exit package has been estimated at $100 million and Kilar's presumed departure whenever he wants to go was more or less a foregone conclusion since Variety obtained a leaked memo sent in July outlining a "transition plan for [a] new CEO."

From Kilar's memo to staff: "I’ve decided to depart Hulu in Q1. I am currently working with the board to ensure there is ample runway to manage this transition." Kilar goes on to say that the "decision to depart has been one of the toughest I’ve ever made," but doesn't elaborate. There are plenty of reasons for a talented CEO to leave a company so deeply beholden to three of its biggest content providers (Disney, News Corp. and NBCUniversal, which each own major stakes), though. First and foremost may be that when Providence Equity Partners cashed out its stake in the company last year, it left the door open for founders like Kilar to take a major payout and move on.

Hulu is in a strange position. On the one hand, it's managed by three fierce competitors, none of which is that crazy about the idea of cooperating with the others. On the other hand, it's the only service with a connected TV app component that streams day-of and day-after content from multiple broadcast networks. It's the only thing, in other words, that does a reasonable job of taking the place of your rabbit ears for a large number of consumers who haven't been able to receive broadcast television over the air since the digital changeover (well, besides the oft-litigated Aereo).

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TCA Winter Tour Notes
'Bates Motel' Using 'Psycho' as 'Inspiration' Rather Than an Homage
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 4, 2012

A&E isn't doing a mere Psycho prequel but instead a contemporary take inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock horror classic, producers said Friday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena.

Bates Motel explores the formative years of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and the teenager's relationship with his overbearing mother Norma (Vera Farmiga).

"We did not want to do an homage to Psycho, we wanted to take these characters and setup as inspiration," showrunner Carlton Cuse (Lost) told reporters. "The mythology that you think is what dictates the relationship between Norma and Norman is not what it's going to turn out to be."

The idea of the show, which A&E bypassed the pilot stage and picked up straight to series, will be how Norman becomes the guy depicted in the 1960 Hitchcock film. "This is a tragedy, it's a fantastic dramatic form," Cuse said. "We want the audience to fall in love with these characters, particularly Norman. That tension of knowing what their fate is and how they get there was something we thought was really telling."

The pilot unleashes two mysteries involving Norman and the titular hotel -- featuring an old notebook the teen stumbles upon that seems to tell a brutal story about a girl's torture as well as another woman chained up in what appears to be the basement of the building he and his mother buy -- will continue to be explored, but Cuse noted it won't be a Lost-type mythology.

"No polar bears, no smoke monsters -- just say no right off the top," Cuse said of the often frustrating mysteries on ABC's Lost. "There's no supernatural elements in play. We view this as a psychological thriller."

As for what to expect in the 10-episode serialized story, he said, "The murder and coverup of Keith in the pilot, the book in the pilot, and there's some other things that come up that I don't want to spoil."

Cuse rejected the notion that the Marion Crane character played by Janet Leigh in the Hitchcock film eventually would make her way into Bates Motel, noting that he "didn't think" she'd appear down the line in the series -- which he noted he envisions as having a beginning, middle and end. "There is an endpoint to this narrative, absolutely," he said.

Cuse said setting the story in the present day -- complete with iPhones -- allowed the writers the creative freedom to become liberated from the original film and avoid the baggage that comes with setting the story in the 1960s.

"We know he's a tragic figure," Cuse said. "I love Titanic and the idea that you're rooting for Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to survive despite the fact that you know they're not going to -- that's the feeling we're going for here. … The specific way in which their tragic fate plays out will be of our own invention."

Oscar nominee Farmiga (Up in the Air), meanwhile, noted she perceives the character as an "absolute train wreck" and was drawn to the "beautiful" love letter between a mother and her son. "She's strong and tall as an oak and fragile as a butterfly," she said.

For his part, Highmore said the story will challenge the audience as they debate the how and why Norman became a serial killer. "We all know where he's going to end up -- but is that because of his upbringing? Is it nature vs. nurture? Or is it because they moved to this dodgy town?" he pondered. "Or is it because of intimate relationship between Norma and Norman? If I had had the upbringing Norman had, would I have been slightly different? We all go a little mad sometimes."

Bates Motel premieres at 10 p.m. Monday, March 18.

Edited by dad1153 - 1/4/13 at 3:20pm
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