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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2814

post #84391 of 93726
Winter TCA Tour Notes
BBC America acquires 'Broadchurch' featuring David Tennant
By Daniel Fienberg, HitFix.com - Jan. 5, 2012

BBC America has acquired the eight-part drama ""Broadchurch," featuring "Doctor Who" favorite David Tennant as part of its ensemble.

Chris Chibnall ("Law & Order: UK") created the project, which James Strong ("Downton Abbey") serving as director for the first, second, seventh and eighth episodes.

The drama focuses on the impact of the murder of a young boy on a British seaside town. Olivia Colman plays local Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller, with Tennant playing the newly arrived Detective Investigator. The cast also includes Vicky McClure, Arthur Darvill, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan and Will Mellor.

The project was ordered by ITV in the summer.

"'Broadchurch' focuses on a small British community which finds itself at the eye of a storm. In the wake of one boy’s death, the residents of Broadchurch come under scrutiny and suspicion," Chibnall states. "It’s a story of scale and intimacy, as the lives of the characters are laid bare."

Adds executive producer Jane Featherstone, "We’re proud to have cast an outstanding array of Britain’s finest performers to appear in 'Broadchurch.' The drama is a snapshot of modern Britain. Its community represents a microcosm of life as we know it with the character of Ellie part of the fabric of Broad! church. She’s lived amidst the people in this coastal town all her life so when the fabric begins to tear it’s Ellie who will feel the impact the hardest."

BBC America will premiere "Broadchurch" as part of its Dramaville block later in 2013.

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TV Notes
Sarah Michelle Gellar Plotting TV Return – and There's a Buffy Connection!
By Michael Ausiello, TVLine.com - Jan. 5, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Michelle Gellar may be back on the small screen next fall as the star of a new half-hour comedy, TVLine has learned exclusively.

The potential (and currently untitled) series, which is being developed at 20th Century Fox TV (home of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), chronicles the hijinks parents get into while their kids are not at home.

Gellar would play the wife/mother.

The actress — who attempted a TV comeback last year with The CW’s now-cancelled Ringer — became interested in the project after reading the Shepard Boucher-penned spec script. (Boucher’s credits include serving as a staff writer on the TBS comedy Men at Work.)

The project will be shopped to the major networks in the coming weeks.

David Hemingson (How I Met Your Mother, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23) and Margaret Riley (Love and Other Drugs) are attached as exec producers.

A 20th rep declined to comment for this story.

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
Comedy Central Orders 'Drunk History' Series, More 'Workaholics'
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Jan. 5, 2012

Comedy Central has ordered a fourth and fifth season of "Workahollics" and will make the web show "Drunk History" a series, the network announced Saturday.

“Drunk History” is a weekly, half-hour series in which A-list talent act out historical reenactments described by inebriated storytellers. The series is produced by Gary Sanchez Productions and executive produced by creator and star Derek Waters, writer-director Jeremy Konner, and Gary Sanchez Productions’ Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Chris Henchy and Owen Burke.

Past episodes have aired on McKay and Ferrell's site Funny or Die, and a “Drunk History” short produced for the HBO series “Funny or Die Presents,” starring Ferrell as Abraham Lincoln and Don Cheadle as Frederick Douglass (pictured) won the Jury Prize for Best American Short Film at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

The Comedy Central series is set to premiere eight episodes this summer.

Comedy Central also ordered 13 episodes for each new season of "Workaholics," the hit series from Blake Anderson, Adam Devine, Anders Holm and Kyle Newacheck.

Over its third season summer run, “Workaholics” averaged 2 million total viewers. New episodes will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 10/9c.

Comedy Central made the announcement at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

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Critic's Notes
Try to believe in the new TV season
Believability is a constant theme of discussions about 'Homeland' and other shows. If you go looking for trouble there, you'll find it.
By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times - Jan. 4, 2012

For a television critic, the beginning of any new season is a bit like the first days of school, a time of unbroken bindings, neatly ordered notebooks and tantalizing blank pages. Surely this year will be different — every class and teacher, no matter how quirky, will be interesting.

After a certain age, optimism of any sort requires a willful disregard of reality. But for those of us who believe storytelling is humanity's greatest achievement, the muscles used to suspend disbelief are the most important ones we have.

To accept that animals talk and aliens exist, that mobsters can have kind hearts, that extraordinary medical care professionals hide drug addictions; that crimes can be solved in the nick of time; that families, no matter how dysfunctional, really do love each other, requires a strength created by both desire and repetition.

By the end of each television season, however, viewers often find these muscles strained, or utterly exhausted. Season finales, particularly of those shows that we feel passionate about, inevitably disappoint, and the blame often falls on the level of "believability."

Last month, for example, Showtime's "Homeland" was raked over the coals for its extensive reliance on dramatic license. But believability is the pendulum that swings over every show. It plagues even the biggest hits, from "MASH" to "The Sopranos," from the detail-oriented "Mad Men" to that Golden Gate of suspension technology, "Lost."

Social media have turned the measure of believability in plot, tone and character continuity into a national obsession. It's fun to deconstruct any story, and at times it can be quite effective — will we ever forget "The West Wing's" Jed Bartlet's point-by-point takedown of Old Testament law?

Watching shows with the intention of tearing them apart — a process made famously popular with films on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" — is one of the reasons soap operas lasted as long as they did. Now such collective captive criticism has a new name — "hate watching" — and a new target — reality shows and, apparently, "Smash."

But hole-picking for its own sake is a perilous habit. There are few stories of any genre that are impervious, and our ability to suspend disbelief is just as important to the survival of our imaginations as the ozone layer is to the planet. Belief is also highly subjective.

For me, the turnings of plot and character on "Homeland" were no more far-fetched than those on "Downton Abbey," where the servants act more like houseguests. Or those on "Mad Men," where Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Peggy carried a baby to term without knowing she was pregnant.
Or even those on "The Good Wife," where there was a Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Kalinda-in-bondage subplot.

The relationship between the storyteller and audience is always a bargain made with a wink and a nod: If you create people, places, plots and themes that move me, I will overlook the tricks you employ by doing so — the letters that tragically go astray, the bad guys who can't shoot straight, the good guys who never miss, the successful jump by Butch and Sundance into a river full of rocks.

Only when the pain of suspending my disbelief is consistently stronger than the pleasure of hearing the story will I abandon hope and lay out my laundry list of complaints.

Of all the genres, including the ever-more-popular fixation of novel series, television requires the deepest commitment between artist and audience because it seeks to create the longest relationship: 22 or more episodes on network, more than a dozen on cable, year after year.

As we approach this new spate of shows, in which there are many that will require some serious disbelief suspension — Norman Bates' troubled youth in "Bates Motel," a Poe-fixated serial killer in "The Following," whatever the "world's greatest mystery" is in "Zero Hour," suburban spies in "The Americans" — optimism is crucial, but so are realistic expectations.

There isn't a show on the air that hasn't strained credulity, not a story told that hasn't depended on some extraordinary bit of luck or fate or convenient timing. That is why we tell stories — to increase our understanding of reality through the impossible.

If a story doesn't fail now and then, it isn't trying hard enough — and if we can't forgive those failings now and then, then neither are we.

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Critic's Notes
Completely Justified
By Lisa Steinberg, HuffingtonPost.com

I'll admit it, when Justified first came out on television, I didn't watch it. When Friday Night Lights came out on television, I also didn't watch that. When Hot In Cleveland first began airing, I didn't watch that. After countless friends and family buzzed loudly about these shows, I knew I was sorely missing out. Slowly and surely I decided to see what all of the hype was about for each show and checked out a copy of each respective season one DVD at my local library. When I checked out Friday Night Lights, I quickly devoured season one and craved for the rest. After laughing hysterically through the first season of Hot In Cleveland, I couldn't wait to engulf myself in the rest. As soon I began watching Justified I kicked myself hard for not watching sooner. I was utterly and completely hooked, and you will be too when you watch this rollercoaster ride filled with drama and chaos. Every minute of this high-octane FX Network show had my blood pumping and it has continued to do so episode after episode, season after season.

Take one look at Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens and you'll see a lot of what it is about this show that's really appealing for women. Beyond the rugged good looks, any viewer (man or woman) would be sucked into the gripping drama; genius acting talents, and gritty writing that make Justified such an unmissable show! Olyphant and the show's writers amp up the thrills and tension every episode. When we last left Raylan in Season 3, he faced off against nasty, dirty politics, a mysterious ringleader who went by the name of Limehouse, plus an ambitious gangster spawning from the underbelly of Motor City. Raylan may live by the law, but he's also prone to spontaneity, so you just never know what he's got up his sleeve, or what's coming his way!

Justified is a show that packs a major punch with a never-ending set of twists and turns. You never know who you can trust, especially family and friends! Even though Raylan has always had a complicated and strained relationship with his family, he has never turned a blind eye to them or anyone else that may be in need or may require protection. The law is there to protect and serve, and that's exactly what Raylan does, no matter the day or time. Heartbreaks and heartaches are aplenty in Justified and they are all a part of the cruel and torturous storylines that keep fans transfixed to this compelling and uncompromising program. You can't miss an aching moment of this breathtaking dance between right and wrong that every character is plagued by continually.

Beyond Olyphant as a standout is the phenomenal support he gets from the seemingly effortless performances by Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder and Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder. These two powerhouse actors are double trouble and are a huge part of what makes Justified click so well. The chemistry and camaraderie they have with Olyphant feels like fire and ice. They smolder when on screen together and feel like a well-crafted puzzle that has been put together. It's an incredible chess match that this group plays and you never know what move they are going to make next. The entire cast truly goes above and beyond and you can see it in every slight facial or body movement, look of the eye, and tip of the hat. Out of the box recurring stars like Margo Martindale in Season Two as well as Neal McDonough and Mykelti Williams in Season Three amps up and intensify the thrills and chill that shock viewers whenever they tune in.

Jan. 8 at 10 p.m. marks the return of this no-nonsense show and fans have been waiting impatiently for its return for Season Four. This season Raylan picks up a cold case that's over thirty years in the making. This seedy riddle that Raylan will have to unravel goes back to his boyfriend and trickles into his criminal father's dirty dealings. Meanwhile, Boyd Crowder starts to feel his grip on Harlan loosening due to a Pentecostal preacher who both has a panache and penchant for theatrics as well as quite the knack for meant pulsation, which may rival that of Boyd's! Raylan, as usual, has more than his work cut out for him, but lucky for fans of Justified, he is always up for a challenge!

Watch one episode of Justified and you will instantly fall in love with the outstanding cast, crisp, sharp, and gripping writing, and the Southern charm it exudes. Tight chemistry with storylines guaranteed to suck you in; you can't match or beat programming like this! No nonsense, unapologetic and raw, Justified is a show that will keep you in a perpetual tailspin with heart pounding on edge drama that will have you locked in and loaded every time you tune in. With Season Four on the cusp of premiering, you're going to want to become well acquainted with Justified, or reacquainted with it, so you are sitting as pretty as Raylan Givens on Jan. 8.

Lisa Steinberg is Editor In Chief of Starry Constellation Magazine.

post #84396 of 93726
Winter TCA Tour Notes
Moss, Hunter head to New Zealand for mystery
By Gary Levin, USA Today - Jan. 5, 2012

It's a far cry from Mad Men's ambitious copywriter Peggy.

Elisabeth Moss plays a hardened detective in Top of the Lake, a new miniseries due March 18, Mondays at 9 ET/P on the Sundance Channel.

The project, from Oscar winner writer-director Jane Campion (The Piano), concerns the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl who's five months pregnant. Her search involves contending with the girl's father, a drug lord (Peter Mullan), and GJ, a "guru" at a women's camp played by a gray-haired Holly Hunter. The project marks a reteaming of Hunter with Campion, who is obviously smitten with New Zealand, where this project was also filmed last year.

"It was 20 years ago that we did The Piano, and we kept up a wonderful friendship," Hunter says. "She called me with this one … and you can't say no to Jane."

For Moss, the transition was abrupt: "I finished season of Mad Men (last January) and left five days later" for a remote mountain range.

post #84397 of 93726
Washington/Technology Notes
On Google, F.T.C. Set Rules of War Over Patents
By Steve Lohr, The New York Times - Jan. 5, 2012

The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust investigation of Google focused mainly on the company’s lucrative search business, while its inquiry into the tech giant’s handling of patents seemed an afterthought.

Yet even as Google made only a few voluntary promises on search, it agreed to a legal settlement on patents that Jon Leibowitz, the commission chairman, called a “landmark enforcement action” that applies to huge high-tech markets like smartphones and tablet computers.

The commission action by no means spells the end of the smartphone patent wars, a global conflict in which major corporations including Apple, Samsung and Google have spent billions amassing patent portfolios and then suing and countersuing one another in courts around the world. But legal experts say Google’s settlement with the F.T.C. signals progress in clarifying the rules of engagement in high-tech patent battles, and thus could ease them.

“The agreement represents a significant stride forward in reducing the confusion and uncertainty that currently surrounds how these patents can be used,” said Colleen Chien, a patent expert at the Santa Clara University School of Law.

The commission’s settlement with Google, announced on Thursday, focused on patents covering communications and data transmission technologies that are crucial for the basic operation of smartphones and tablets — what are known as standard-essential patents. (There are many other patents in mobile devices, covering physical design and software features.) The legal gamesmanship of the epic smartphone patent battles, according to economists and technology experts, consumes time and investment that could be better used to develop new products. In his comments on Thursday, Mr. Leibowitz pointed to those concerns. “Today’s commission action,” he said, “will also relieve companies of some of the costly and inefficient burden of hoarding patents for purely defensive purposes, savings that we hope can be invested in job-creating research and development.”

Under the settlement, Google agreed to license its standard-essential patents to other companies on “fair and reasonable” terms. It also agreed not to seek court injunctions to halt the shipment of smartphones, tablets and other devices that use its standard patents.

The issue arose from Google’s $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility, announced in 2011 and completed last year. Google acquired Motorola partly to defend itself and the smartphone makers that use its Android software after rivals had already loaded up on patents.

With the acquisition, Google picked up 17,000 patents, including many relating to wireless devices that Motorola, a pioneer in the wireless phone business, had pledged to license on reasonable terms. Those commitments were made to technology standards organizations, intended to assure that basic technical innovations are widely available, stimulating growth in the industry.

Over the years, according to Mr. Leibowitz, companies took Motorola at its word and developed products assuming they could routinely license Motorola’s patents. But Motorola later refused to license its standard-essential patents and sought court injunctions to stop shipment of rival products.

“After Google purchased Motorola,” Mr. Leibowitz said, “it continued these same abusive practices.”

In recent months, the F.T.C. has issued position papers and filed friend-of-the-court briefs, opposing the motions for injunctions using standard patents. The Justice Department and European regulators have echoed the commission’s stance.

“Regulators around the world have become increasingly sensitive to just how important technical standards and standards-setting bodies are to the modern system of economic innovation,” said Josh Lerner, an economist at Harvard Business School.

The threat of court injunctions to stop shipment of products, economists say, is the factor that drives up the cost of patent wars. Because an injunction could be devastating, companies will pay dearly to remove that risk, settling with a plaintiff or spending on patents to build a defensive arsenal.

Some courts have recently resisted granting injunctions based on standard patents. Google’s settlement with the F.T.C., said Carl Shapiro, a former chief economist in the Justice Department’s antitrust division, “helps solidify the move to stop injunctions in standard-essential patent cases, which is great.”

Dr. Shapiro, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said that courts had also been more hesitant recently to grant injunctions in cases that did not involve standard patents. In suits involving smartphones and tablets — amalgams of hardware, software and telecommunications technologies covered by many thousands of patents — judges are sometimes less likely to halt the shipment of a device based on a few infringing patents.

Last month, for example, Lucy Koh, a Federal District Court judge in San Jose, Calif., denied Apple’s motion for an injunction against Samsung products. In August, a jury in that court found that Samsung products infringed on a handful of Apple design and software patents, and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.

Judge Koh declined to grant Apple’s motion for injunction, essentially saying that Apple’s claim was outweighed by the public interest in keeping Samsung shipments flowing. Apple is appealing the ruling.

“The courts seem to be moving toward taking a dimmer view of injunctions generally,” Dr. Shapiro said. “That’s a big deal.”

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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)

7PM - Once Upon A Time
(R - Dec. 12)
8PM - Onc Upon A Time
9PM - Revenge
10PM - Happy Endings
10:30PM - Don't Trust the B_____ on Apt. 23

7PM - 60 Minutes
8PM - Person of Interest
(R - Mar. 29)
9PM - The Good Wife
10PM - The Mentalist

7PM - Dateline NBC (Time Slot Premiere, 120 min.)
9PM - The Biggest Loser (Season Premiere, 120 min.)

7PM - NFL Football, NFC Wild-Card Game: Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins (from 4:30PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - Fox NFL Postgame (LIVE)
8PM - The Simpsons
8:30PM - Bob's Burgers
9PM - Family Guy
9:30PM - America's Dad

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Secrets of Highclere Castle
9PM - Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Season Premiere, 120 min.)

7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - La Rosa de Guadalupe (120 min.)
10PM - Sal y Pimienta

6PM - Fútbol Mexicano Primera División: Chivas de Guadalajara vs. Deportivo Toluca FC (LIVE)
8PM - Movie: Transformers (2007)
post #84399 of 93726
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 6, 2012

CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET

CBS gets to televise its first postseason pro football game of 2013, with the 11-5 Colts facing the 10-6 Ravens, who enjoy home-field advantage. The Colts have an emotional advantage of their own, though: coach Chuck Pagano, who returned to the sidelines last week after spending most of the season being treated for leukemia.

Fox, 4:30 p.m. ET

This is Fox’s first postseason pro football game of the year, with the 10-6 Redskins hosting the 11-5 Seahawks. It’s a QB battle to watch: the Seahawks have rookie Russell Wilson, who ended the season with a quarterback rating of 100, and the Redskins have Robert Griffin III, who has electrified fans and impressed sportswriters all season.

CBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

For the first new Good Wife of the New Year, there’s some especially good news: Michael J. Fox returns in his recurring role of wily attorney Louis Canning.

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET
Season 3 begins tonight, and it’s the best season yet for this hit period drama series. Shirley MacLaine joins the cast in a much-publicized introductory appearance, but don’t expect her character to stick around for long. For more details, see my review in Bianculli’s Blog, and Ed Bark’s review in Uncle Barky’s Bytes. Check local listings.

OWN, 9:00 p.m. ET

Given their curious joint histories – first as famous feuders, then, finally, as fast (though superficial) friends – this new edition of Oprah Winfrey’s profile series, focusing on the late-night TV host who spent years making fun of her, should be pretty interesting. Especially so, since Letterman rarely sits still for this sort of thing – and even then, isn’t likely to take it seriously throughout. But be prepared, because Winfrey does get him to open up about some very private matters.

Edited by dad1153 - 1/5/13 at 10:38pm
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TV Notes
Sunday morning: Sen. Ted Cruz on ‘Fox News Sunday’; Sen. Angus King on ‘Meet the Press’
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel's 'TV Guy' Blog

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be the most popular guest Sunday morning. The Kentucky Republican will visit NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CBS’ “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week.”

But the Sunday morning schedule offers a chance to see new faces in Washington. The guest list:

“Meet the Press” offers freshman Sen. Angus King, the Maine Independent, as part of a panel. The others in that discussion will be former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.; Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.; Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard; and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. “Meet the Press” airs at 9 a.m. on WESH-Channel 2. In an exclusive interview, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles talk about the national debt.

CNN’s “State of the Union” talks to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. The program starts at 9 a.m. and noon. Other guests are Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. A panel on the fiscal cliff and gun control brings together Neera Tanden, president & CEO, Center for American Progress; Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal; Dana Bash of CNN; and Jackie Calmes of The New York Times.

“Fox News Sunday” welcomes freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who will talk about the future of the Republican Party. John Roberts will sub for moderator Chris Wallace on the program, which can be seen at 10 a.m. on WOFL-Channel 35. Other guests are Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. The panel will be Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Nina Easton of Fortune and Charles Lane of The Washington Post.

“Face the Nation” talks to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. The program starts at 10:30 a.m. on WKMG-Channel 6. The program will offer several panel discussions. The guests include Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.; Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.; Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn.; and Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. A panel on the economy features David Sanger of The New York Times and Rana Foroohar of Time magazine.

“This Week” talks to Sen Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas; and Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. The program starts at 11 a.m. on WFTV-Channel 9. The panel will be George Will, Gwen Ifill of PBS’ “Washington Week,” Jonathan Karl of ABC, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Greta Van Susteren of Fox News Channel.


* * * *

Nielsen Notes (Cable)
Fox News ranks first in cable news for 11th year

Eleven was a big number for Fox News Channel in 2012.

It finished the year as the most-watched cable news channel for the 11th year in a row, and Fox News had the 11 most-seen programs in cable news.

“The O’Reilly Factor” was the top show with an average 2.959 million viewers. The next four programs were “Hannity” with 2.281 million viewers, “Special Report With Bret Baier” with 1.947 million, “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren” with 1.846 million and “The Five” with 1.834 million.

How popular is Fox News? It ranked third in prime time among all basic cable channels. Only USA and ESPN scored bigger audiences. MSNBC was No. 19 in that count, and CNN placed 29th.

Among cable news channels, Fox News averaged 2.043 million viewers in prime time and easily beat MSNBC’s 905,000 and CNN’s 677,000. But MSNBC could tout that its audience was up 17 percent while Fox News’s grew 9 percent and CNN was down 2 percent.

In the 25-to-54 age group, which is most important to news advertisers, Fox News Channel averaged 423,000 viewers in prime time to MSNBC’s 287,000 and CNN’s 222,000. Fox News was down 1 percent from the year before while CNN was flat and MSNBC was up 19 percent.

CNN highlighted that it was up 5 percent in Monday-Friday prime time in the 25-to-54 age group. And CNN trumpeted that the fourth quarter of 2012 was its best in prime time with the 25-to-54 age group since the first quarter of 2009.

The most popular programs in the 25-to-54 age group were on Fox News: “The O’Reilly Factor” with 572,000 viewers, “Hannity” with 497,000; “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren” with 406,000; “Fox Report with Shepard Smith” with 387,000; and “Special Report With Bret Baier” also with 387,000.

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TCA Winter Tour's Notes
Chris Albrecht Touts Starz’s Independence, Original Programming Rampup
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jan. 5, 2012

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht gave a brief state of the network at the opening of Starz‘s portion of TCA’s press tour. He addressed the company’s pending spinoff from Liberty Media. “This month Starz will become an independent company separate from Liberty Media with yours truly as CEO of a private company,” he said. “It is daunting and exciting. For this room what it means is we will now be in charge of our own balance sheet, and be able to accelerate our rampup into original programming.” The importance of original programming is even greater for Starz now as it faces the 2016 departure of its top supplier of theatrical movies, Disney, which recently inked a deal with Netflix. “The first thing I would say is, there was every opportunity for us to make the deal or not make it,” Albrecht said after the session about the negotiations with Disney. “And the reason we chose to not make it is, Disney movies are not the future of Starz, and to dramatically increase the amount of money we’re paying for movies right now didn’t really seem to be the prudent way to commit Starz’ financial resources. Originals are an essential part of our future.”

This year, Starz is launching three new original drama series, Davis S. Goyer’s Da Vinci’s Demons, which was presented to critics today ahead of its April 12 premiere; limited series The White Queen, a 10-episode limited series based on the best-selling historical novels by Philippa Gregory; and the Michael Bay-produced Black Sails. Albrecht announced that production has begun in Cape Town, South Africa on Black Sails, which takes place 20 years prior to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island, with Neil Marshall (The Descent) directing the first episode. The straight-to-series, eight-episode first season of the gritty pirate adventure centers about the tales of Captain Flint and his men will air in 2014. There is still no movement on two dramas that had been given series straight-to-series orders before most of those rolling out this year, Marco Polo, which has faced issues in its attempt to film in China, and Noir, an adaptation of the anime series. “We just can’t get that creatively to a place where everybody feels good about it,” Albrecht said about Noir after the session. “I would never say that there is no chance, but it’s a little more frustrating as time goes on.”

Albrecht also addressed some of the projects Starz has in development as part of its shift to more originals. He mentioned Crime from William Monahan Turf, about the birth of hip-hop; and Power, exec produced by 50 Cent. Albrecht said that Incursion, the sci-fi drama from Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight, continues to be in active development and “creature development.” He also made a prediction for 2013 that “there will be the rapid acceleration of our Starz and Encore play authenticated platforms in terms of their distribution.”

Diane Haithman contributed to this report.


* * * *

TCA Winter Tour's Notes
Starz’ ‘Magic City’ Heads For Havana, Chicago With James Caan
By The Deadline.com Team - Jan. 5, 2012

Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Season 2 of Starz’ Magic City will expand the action to Havana, Cuba and Chicago, and adds to the cast Godfather veteran James Caan as the mob boss overseeing Ben “The Butcher” Diamond. Show creator/writer/director Mitch Glazer calls the canvas “bigger and yet more intimate than last season.”

And at today’s TCA panel on Starz, Caan talked about why he took the role, at first joking that he was in line to take over a square on Hollywood Squares when Glazer called. More seriously, he said it was the quality of the material. But when asked whether doing another mob role after Godfather represented coming full circle in his career, Caan said: “I’m not Anthony Quinn just yet. The truth is that I care very much about what I do, I try to maintain a little bit of integrity. I had the pleasure of watching [the show] beforehand, it was just well-written, beautifully shot, and I thought it would be fun in a creative way and it was. I really didn’t have any specific reason other than that it was good.” Watch a trailer for the new season below.

Cast member Danny Huston commented on his Golden Globe nomination for supporting actor for portraying mobster Ben Diamond, saying: “I hope it will bring more attention to the show.”

post #84402 of 93726
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

9PM - Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Season Premiere, 120 min.)
Why do they list this show as "Masterpiece Classic" and not just "Downton Abbey"? If you do a search for "Downton Abbey" nothing comes up.
post #84403 of 93726
TCA Winter Tour Notes
Cher Signs Development Deal With Logo
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 5, 2012

Cher could be headed back to TV.

More than 40 years after The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour premiered, Logo took the opportunity of Saturday's presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour to announce that the iconic singer, actress, writer and producer has signed a development deal with the LGBT-skewing network. Terms of the deal were being kept under wraps until a later date.

There were few details at the time of the announcement, but network senior vp original programming Brent Zacky said that she's collaborating with comedian Ron Zimmerman for a pilot script set in early 1960s Hollywood.

Zimmerman has been romantically linked to Cher in recent years and counts Shake It Up! and 'Til Death among his most recent TV writing credits.

"We read some of the stuff that Cher and Ron had written and it was really terrific," Zacky told The Hollwyood Reporter, noting it was yet to be decided if Cher would have an on-camera role in the project, which is in development. "We came up with an idea set in Hollywood in the early '60s and we're very excited to see how we get through the process. The deal is brand-new and we're just getting started on the project."

The pact has been In the works for a few months with the network passing on a previous pitch from Cher and Zimmerman, and instead opting for the Hollywood period drama, which Zacky noted proved a better fit for the network.

The Cher scripted development project comes as the network is pushing hard into original scripted efforts. Should the Cher project move to series, it would join a roster of original programming that has included Exes and Ohs, Noah's Arc and Sordid Lives, among others.

"We're very carefully and hopefully diligently taking a few shots in this arena and we'll see how it pans out. We're certainly excited to be in business with an icon like Cher and Ron, who is a terrific writer."

The development exec added that the network is open to doing more than the Hollywood drama with the iconic personality, including unscripted.

Logo, which has had Zacky heading up originals for about a year and a half, has thus far focused on unscripted productions and aquiring on-brand scripted efforts. The network recently bought the rights to air OUTtv's DTLA and also recently acquired syndicated repeats of Nip/Tuck, Bewitched and will soon air episodes of Golden Girls.


* * * *

TCA Winter Tour Notes
Chris Hardwick Touts 'Nerdist' Talk Show, Shares Best 'Singled Out' Memory
By Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 5, 2012

Chris Hardwick touted his BBC America talker based on his popular Nerdist website and podcasts, but it was an unexpected look back at his early '90s days that was truly the highlight.

Near the end of the Television Critics Association's winter press tour session Saturday afternoon, Hardwick -- also host of AMC's The Talking Dead -- summed up his time co-hosting the MTV dating show Singled Out with a revealing anecdote.

"Day one of the first show we're taping," Hardwick began, everyone is "rushing around" and nervous. "We're wating for [co-host] Jenny [McCarthy] ... After about 15 minutes this shock of blonde hair [appears]." She had clogged her toilet on the first day and spent that time figuring out how to fix it before asking if someone had a plunger. "That really encapsulates what Singled Out was like," he said.

(Later in the afternoon, McCarthy countered Hardwick's story by offering her own. According to the new VH1 late-night host, she shared that the evening before an early taping, she burned her hotel down -- literally.)

But on to the Nerdist series, which will be in the form of a comedy/variety talk show. For Hardwick, the landscape has shifted dramatically for "nerdy" content making its way into the pop culture conversation.

"You could never pitch nerd culture shows 10-15 years ago," he said.

Nerdist has already aired several themed specials on BBC America, with guests like Kunal Nayyar, David Tennant, Simon Pegg and Nathan Fillion, and Hardwick noted that "theming" each of those broadcasts gave it a spine and gave "the show a jumping off point." He hopes to do the same with the new series. Some topics he says may be possible themes include special effects, '80s comedies and sci-fi.

Nerdist is like "a Snuggie for your brain," Hardwick said of his intentions.

He hopes to spotlight some of his favorite stand-up comics/comedians, as he believes there isn't much space for it on television at the moment. Some names that were thrown out included Paul F. Tompkins, Garfunkel & Oates and Natasha Leggero.

Nerdist premieres its 10-episode season in the spring on BBC America.

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Originally Posted by TheRatPatrol View Post

Why do they list this show as "Masterpiece Classic" and not just "Downton Abbey"? If you do a search for "Downton Abbey" nothing comes up.

"Masterpiece Classic" is the umbrella name for PBS's programming block on Sunday nights for their best British import drama shows. Basically PBS wants you to carry over the quality perception of "Downton Abbey" (by far their highest-rated and critically-acclaimed 'MC' show) into the months when they're showing "Sherlock," "Wallender," etc.
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
David S. Goyer: How Batman and Leonardo Da Vinci Are Alike
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Jan. 5, 2012

"Dark Knight" trilogy cowriter David S. Goyer turns his imagination to Leonardo Da Vinci in the upcoming Starz series "Da Vinci's Demons." But Goyer says the guardian of Gotham and genius of the Italian Renaissance have quite a bit in common.

"He's kind of superhero-y," Goyer said of the artist and inventor at the Television Critics Association on Saturday. "There are so many tall tales about him. People have said that aside from Christ he's the most recognzied historical figure in the world. So in that regard my approach was not dissimilar to adapting Batman or Superman. Obviously we did a lot more historical research."

Goyer (pictured), who also wrote the upcoming Superman adaptation "Man of Steel," says Da Vinci and Bruce Wayne have several specific traits in common.

"There are some parallells to Batman. He had big father issues -- missing parent," Goyer said. "Both had these kind of formative, horrific incidents where they were trapped in caves, or in Batman's case a well. There's one Da Vinci wrote about in some journals, when he was 13, where something happened in a cave. We don't know what exactly happened. He sketched it and he said sort of that something horridic happened to him in a cave and that's something that we explore in this show."

The Starz series portrays Da Vinci, whose birth out of wedlock limits his career prospects, using his art to gain royal family recognitition. But he also demonstrates a superheroic gift for designing ahead-of-their-time gliders and machine guns.

"I also thought it was interesting that Bob Kane, the creator of Batman, originally based... Batman's cape on da Vinci's glider. So the two figures have always been kind of inextricably linked," Goyer said.

"Da Vinci's Demons" premieres Friday, April 12.

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NHL, Union Reach Tentative Agreement

By Chris Kuc Chicago Tribune
7:07 a.m. CST, January 6, 2013

The NHL and players association reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement early Sunday morning, ending the lockout that began Sept. 15.

After a marathon session in New York, league commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr announced the deal.

"We have to dot a lot of the I's and cross a lot of T's," Bettman told reporters in New York. "There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon."

There will be a ratification process and the league Board of Governors and player will have to officially approve the new CBA, which reportedly will run 10 years.

"Any process like this in the system we have is difficult," Fehr told reporters. "We have the framework of a deal. We have to do the legal work ... and we'll get back to what we used to call business as usual just as fast as we can."

The final push during talks which lasted 16 hours was led by a federal mediator that helped the sides bridge the final gap on several key issues, including contract terms, salary cap and pensions.

Details on when the season will begin and how many games each team will play haven't been announced, but it is possible a 48-50-game schedule could begin Jan. 19 or even a few days sooner.


The strange part about this story is that I had to go through and correct the spelling mistakes. One would think the Chicago Tribune's writers and editors would have spellcheck turned on.
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Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

NHL, Union Reach Tentative Agreement
By Chris Kuc Chicago Tribune
7:07 a.m. CST, January 6, 2013

This is awesome! I've been jonesing for some hockey and I'm glad they finally came to an agreement.
post #84408 of 93726
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

The strange part about this story is that I had to go through and correct the spelling mistakes. One would think the Chicago Tribune's writers and editors would have spellcheck turned on.

Doc, have kept up with your local newspapers? Poor spelling, misleading headlines, missing information and generally non-existent editing is par for the course. Instead of improving their product to retain or gain readers, newspapers have dumbed down and cut back, thus losing even more customers.
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SATURDAY'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
Green Bay Packers' Wild Card Victory Pulls Huge Saturday Ratings for NBC
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 6, 2012

Sunday Night Football may be over, but NBC managed to notch one more pigskin ratings victory in the post-season.

The wild card game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings concluded the network's NFL coverage last night, with fast national ratings giving the game a huge primetime draw of 26 million viewers.

In the key demo of adults 18-49, preliminary returns give the game a 9.2 rating among adults 18-49.

All other post-season NFL games will air on Fox or CBS prior to the latter network's Feb. 3 broadcast of the Super Bowl.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Fox aired a new episode of Cops (0.8 adults rating) and continued its burn-off of The Mob Doctor, which pulled a 0.6 rating in the demo.

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
'Community' could 'absolutely' get 5th season
By James Hibberd, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Jan. 6, 2012

With all the changes on Community this past year, is the cult fav on its final stretch?

Not necessarily. NBC’s entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told reporters Sunday that the modestly rated comedy could “absolutely” get a fifth season. “Absolutely,” he said. “We’re always hopeful for a show to continue. And we co-own it. I’d love nothing more than to see it continue.”

Community‘s showrunner Dan Harmon stepped down last year and co-star Chevy Chase is on his way out (Chase will appear in all but two episodes this season). “Actors come and go on a lot of shows and this is a big ensemble,” Greenblatt said of Chase’s exit. “I don’t think that’s going to be a big negative about the future of the show.”

Greenblatt added that fans will see basically the same show during the upcoming fourth season which gets underway next month. “You’re going to see relatively the same show you’ve seen before and I hope that’s a good thing,” he said. “Maybe there’s a little more heart built into it, but we didn’t fundamentally change it.”

The executive was also asked whether Steve Carell might return for a cameo in the series finale of The Office. “I’m hopeful but I don’t think he will. He left in the way that he wanted that character to leave and I think he and [executive producer] Greg Daniels have talked about it. There’s a little Hail Mary pass on a cameo. But I think the decision is he’ll go out without compromising his exit.”

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Winter TCA Tour Notes
New shows for kids, coming soon to your TV screen
By Will Pfeifer, USA Today - Jan. 6, 2012

With the new year comes some new TV shows for kids. PBS, Disney and Nickelodeon ready an engaging cast of characters to entertain and inform your youngsters — from a huggable monster family to a talking snake. Here's an early look:

Sofia the First

For little girls who happen to love princesses. It's the story of Sofia, an average Latina girl who becomes a princess when her mother marries a king. (Fans of Modern Family might also want to tune in; Ariel Winter, a star of that show, is the voice of Sofia. Tim Gunn and Wayne Brady also provide voices.) Besides depicting the fantasy of a new life in a castle, Sofia the First teaches viewers that all children, not just princesses, are special.

The animated movie Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess debuted in November. The Disney Junior/Disney Channel series starts Jan. 11.

Henry Hugglemonster

For young children who love monsters and kids who've read the books on which this show is based (by Irish author Niamh Sharkey). In sharing the humorous adventures of Henry's monstrous (but nice!) family, the show provides its young viewers with opportunities to learn how families interact and about their place in their own family, even if it isn't made up of lovable monsters. Premieres this spring on Disney Junior.

Wild Kratts: Lost at Sea

For kids 6 to 8 with an interest in science, animals or life under the sea. This hour-long special features two new episodes with an undersea theme. Using animation, humor and actual science, the Kratt brothers (Chris and Martin) try to decode the language of the dolphins and shrink to explore a coral reef. Premieres Jan. 21 on PBS Kids.

Sanjay and Craig

The story of a boy and his talking snake who "dedicated their lives to becoming the coolest, most rebellious dudes in the neighborhood" should appeal to all boys who want to be cool, even if they don't hang out with a talking snake. This show provides pure silly entertainment. The animated series debuts in 2013 on Nickelodeon, date to be determined.

Dinosaur Train: Submarine

The special episode of Dinosaur Train features submarines and dinosaurs. What pre-schooler wouldn't watch that? The one-hour show includes four stories that combine science with fun. Premieres Feb. 18 on PBS Kids.

Wendell & Vinnie

For tweens and older kids who were fans of iCarly. Here Jerry Trainor (from iCarly) plays Vinnie, a "goofball uncle" who becomes guardian to his straitlaced 12-year-old nephew, Wendell (Buddy Handleson). Parents might also find a few laughs — it co-stars Nicole Sullivan of King of Queens and was written by Frasier writer Jay Kogen. There are no great life lessons or educational tidbits, just wacky comedy in the popular iCarly vein. Premieres this spring on Nick at Nite.

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Originally Posted by mhufnagel View Post

Doc, have kept up with your local newspapers? Poor spelling, misleading headlines, missing information and generally non-existent editing is par for the course. Instead of improving their product to retain or gain readers, newspapers have dumbed down and cut back, thus losing even more customers.

If you read the article on this page about Justified, the author used the word "boyfriend", when I bet she meant to use "boyhood". This is either an auto-correct error, or there's more to Raylan then we currently know.
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Winter TCA Tour Notes
NBC Chief Says Ratings Strategy Worked, Talks Newtown Shootings, Notes Aging CW Audience
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Jan. 6, 2012

A year to the day after he had to announce that his network had had "a really bad fall," NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt returned to the Television Critics Association winter press tour Sunday to talk about NBC's rise to TV's top-rated network this season.

He also answered questions about how NBC is responding to the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., and to note that his network's audience is getting younger even as those of others -- including the youth-targeted CW -- are aging.

As Greenblatt noted, NBC was the only network to grow in both the key 18-49 demographic and total viewers this fall, and was the top-rated network in the demo. It was still No. 2 to CBS in total viewers.

But NBC gained largely on the strength of Sunday Night Football -- which is ending for the season -- and "The Voice," which is leaving the airwaves until the spring. Greenblatt conceded, as he has before, that NBC will have a harder road without them. But for now, he took the opportunity to point say that NBC's strategy under his watch seems to have worked.

That strategy called for using the Summer Olympics to promote NBC's fall lineup, premiering fall shows earlier, and using "The Voice," the network's biggest hit, as a ratings weapons.

"The Voice" has given NBC huge gains on Mondays and Tuesdays, and helped launch the new hit "Revolution" -- though "Revolution," like "The Voice," is also taking a midseason break. It will be back in March.

NBC isn't just improving in the ratings, Greenblatt said: It's average audience age is also getting younger. That's important because the 18-49 demo is prized by advertisers.

NBC's median age is 48.4 years, down from 49. CBS is at 56.4, ABC is at 53.2 and Fox is at 45.6, he said. The network's audience getting younger is important because advertisers most cherish viewers who are 18-49.

"Even the CW is up to 41.2, which is almost four years higher than it was last season," he said. "Did anyone think that the network once known for its teenage profile would have a median age of 41?"

More to come...

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TV Notes
'The Biggest Loser' tackles childhood obesity in a new season
The trainers of NBC's 'Biggest Loser' say they aim to give families a wake-up call with the addition of teens to the weight-loss reality show.
By Rene Lynch, Los Angeles Times - Jan. 4, 2012

When America meets the three youngest "competitors" ever to be on "The Biggest Loser," trainer Dolvett Quince hopes it will inspire the country to turn off the TV — and get moving.

NBC's weight-loss reality show kicks off Season 14 on Sunday with its biggest twist yet: the addition of three teenagers — two 13-year-olds and a 16-year-old. They appear wise beyond their years, in part because of the hardships they have endured.

Have a box of Kleenex handy when freckle-faced Biingo says, "My weight just holds me back so much" in sports and Lindsay watches from the sidelines as her school gymnastics team practices and says quietly, "Girls laugh at me because of my weight."

Quince, taking a break from training at the start of the new season, choked back emotion and paused to collect himself while talking about the sense of shame these youngsters feel about themselves, and the millions of other young Americans they represent.

"I want every parent in America to see this show and say, 'That's it!' And turn off the TV and then go run around with their kids," Quince said. "If that happens, then we've done our job."

Not everyone agrees. Adding children to a show known for driving contestants to tears with punishing workouts and food temptations has been met with criticism. Won't this open the children to ridicule? Is it putting too much pressure on the youngsters? Could it set them up for an eating disorder later in life?

"Biggest Loser" executive producer Lisa Hennessy asks that viewers reserve judgment until after the Sunday and Monday episodes that open a new season of a show that has seen ratings sag of late. She said "The Biggest Loser" decided to take the risky step of bringing children onboard in part because it felt hypocritical not to: Here was a prime-time TV show encouraging health and fitness among adults, and completely ignoring kids even as childhood obesity rates soared.

The network quietly held an "obesity summit" involving childhood obesity experts to decide how to move forward, she said. Among the ways the game is being changed to accommodate the teens, who are dubbed show "ambassadors": They won't step on a scale, they won't face elimination, and they won't be put on a drastic, low-calorie diet. Instead, they will be immersed in a food-and-fitness regimen overseen by a childhood obesity expert that puts the emphasis on functional fitness and making sound food choices, Hennessy said.

"We're not exploiting the kids, we are helping the kids," she said. "The fans will not be disappointed."

If the first episode is any indication, the youngsters will be largely sequestered from the rest of the competitors. All three trainers — including the returning Jillian Michaels — bypass the traditional gym workouts as they guide the kids through laughter-inducing obstacle courses, drills and games. The goal isn't burning calories as much as it is flat-out fun. Adults watching at home will probably get jealous.

The teenagers won't live at the ranch, but will return on occasion and — at least in the first challenge — will be incorporated in a clever way that puts the kids in charge. ("Telling the grown-ups what to do was really fun!" Lindsay says.)

Trainer Bob Harper said he couldn't have imagined tackling the touchy subject of childhood obesity when the show started 14 seasons ago. But he said that ignoring the problem is no longer an option. He said he hopes parents with obese children will learn how to start a family dialogue about health and wellness.

"If one person in the family has a problem with weight, then the whole family has a problem," he said. "The whole family needs to tackle it together in a positive way."

Michaels said the decision to tackle childhood obesity is what compelled her to return to the show this season. As a new mom of two, she said, she is more cognizant than ever of the growing epidemic.

The third teenager joining the cast, 16-year-old college-bound Sunny, said she welcomed the intervention of adults to help her address her problem with stress eating. She said she understands why parents might feel uncomfortable talking to a child about his or her weight. But, she said, adults should give kids more credit.

"It's not like we don't know we're overweight," she said. "We just don't know what to do about it."

Until joining the show, Sunny said, the issue of her weight was a charged topic — one that was never addressed. That silence, however, was deafening. It only made her feel more isolated from her thinner classmates.

"Nobody wants to go there," Sunny says in Sunday night's episode. "And I think it's time we went there."

'The Biggest Loser'
Where: NBC
When: 9 p.m. Sunday; 8 p.m. Monday

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TCA Winter Tour Notes
'1600 Penn' Taking Political Cues From 'The West Wing'
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 6, 2012

NBC may have two political comedies when 1600 Penn joins Parks and Recreation on the Thursday block this week, but the former's creators insist that they are two decidedly different entities.

Cameos from the likes of Joe Biden, John McCain, Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe, as seen on this season of Parks, won't have any place on the sitcom about a fictional first family starring Bill Pullman, Jenna Elfman and Josh Gad.

"Our show exists in an alternative political universe," said pilot director and EP Jason Winer at the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour on Saturday. "If Joe Biden came on, it would be like a snake eating its own tail."

Instead of booking anyone from inside the beltway, Winer notes 1600 Penn is taking cues from a NBC series from the past.

"We adopt a similar role as The West Wing," he added. "[We acknowledge] that history existed up until a certain point, but then we don't mention anything else. We don't mention anything after [Jimmy] Carter."

The exact date that the world of 1600 Penn diverges from U.S. history probably happened some time after Carter, but the comment did earn Winer a few laughs.

As for West Wing realism, co-creator Jon Lovett promised that his three-year tenure as a speechwriter for President Obama will balance the levity.

"My experience may give us a way to ground this show and these stories about the family," he said. "We definitely have some fun with the press in the briefing room."

Enter the notable cameos. The EPs listed off names of real journalists, most of them from NBCUniversal properties, already booked to appear -- Mika Brzezinski, Savannah Guthrie, Joe Scarborough, Chuck Todd and Larry King among them.


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TCA Winter Tour Notes
NBC's Bob Greenblatt: 'Munsters' a Good Idea, May Try Again
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 6, 2012

NBC may not be done with the Munsters.

After the network ultimately passed on Bryan Fuller's high-concept Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane -- airing the Eddie Izzard, Portia de Rossi and Jerry O'Connell take as a Halloween special -- NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told The Hollywood Reporter that he isn't opposed to revisiting the iconic series.

"This show run again? Maybe, I hadn't thought about it," he told THR about the potential to see Fuller's version air next Halloween as a one-off special. "I'm not saying we won't maybe try another version of The Munsters again, it's a good idea, we just have to figure out how to get it right."

Greenblatt said Fuller's version, which was produced as an hourlong dramatic interpretation of the 1960s CBS sitcom, didn't creatively work, despite what he called a great cast.

"It's a very tricky tone to strike because we tried to make it not just a sitcom and a silly old-fashioned one at that; we turned it into an hour, which automatically has more dramatic weight than a half-hour," he said. "It's hard to calibrate how much weirdness vs. supernatural vs. family story and I think we just didn't get the mix right."

The pilot, which THR sources said NBC spent a whopping $10 million on, endured a long, tortured history at NBC. The reboot was originally launched before Greenblattboarded the network in early 2011, but he redeveloped it extensively.

Fuller officially announced NBC was passing on Mockingbird on Dec. 27. "I tweet with a heavy heart. NBC not moving forward with #MockingbirdLane. From producers and cast, thank you all for enthusiasm and support."

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TCA Winter Tour Notes
‘Revolution’s J.J. Abrams & Eric Kripke On Making “Adjustments”
By The Deadline.com Team - Jan. 6, 2012

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

The question of whether the audience will return to NBC‘s apocalyptic first-year sci-fi drama Revolution when it comes back on March 25 from a four-month layoff took center stage during the series’ TCA morning session. NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt earlier this morning expressed confidence that the absence of new episodes since November 26 wouldn’t hurt the show. In fact exec producers J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke maintained that they welcomed the break to avoid diluting viewers’ attention with reruns and give them uninterrupted fresh product for nine consecutive weeks upon Revolution‘s return. “When we were doing Lost, that (kind of scheduling) helped us enormously,” Abrams said. “So when the idea came up for Revolution I was really relieved. I thought, and still think, that it will get us to a place where it will be the best possible way for the viewer to watch the show.” Kripke agreed, pointing out that this kind of broadcast plan already seems to work pretty well as a model for cable originals. “It also supplied us a natural break point between the season’s first half and second half,” he said, “and the second half sort of lives as its own continuous piece.”

Having so much time off also allowed the production team to “really take a breath, look at what we’d done, really analyze it, and make adjustments,” Kripke added. “Usually, you’re in such triage from beginning to end.” Having the luxury to step back and assess the first half without having to scramble to shoot the season’s second half also afforded the Revolution team the time to assess some of the show’s weaknesses. “We learned that we did a lot of things right,” Kripke said, “but we also saw that we could pick up the pace of the stunning revelations. Maybe the pace of the shocking surprises was a little too slow during the first half.” Kripke also came to view the show through a classic television prism this morning, dubbing it “The Waltons with swords.”

You can watch a 2nd season preview below: [CLICK LINK]


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TCA Winter Tour Notes
‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Cast Touts Series’ Integrity

Donald Trump was, sadly, nowhere in sight this morning as NBC kicked off the broadcast portion of the TCA winter press tour. So it was left to the actual castmates of NBC’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice to supply the eye-popping commentary, which Penn Jillette was more than happy to oblige at the outset. In response to a question about why he would participate in an unscripted endeavor that might qualify for an episode of his previous Showtime series Bull****, he maintained that in fact Celebrity All-Star Apprentice is “the most honest show I’ve ever heard about in reality.” Seriously? “That’s the stunning thing that blows people’s minds,” Jillette continued. “Celebrity Apprentice has more integrity and is the most straightforward show I’ve ever seen…I have never seen or heard an example of disingenuous editing or anything being done out of context.” When this claim didn’t elicit gasps in the room, he continued, “The story that’s told on Celebrity Apprentice seems to be the story that could be told if you were there. I was really amazed by that, and honesty is perhaps as important to me as anything else. So I was thrilled to go back and trust the editors and the producers.” Jillette added that in a genre often generously described as being at least partially scripted, he stressed that the celebs on the show are not playing a role and are encouraged instead to be themselves. “It’s no different than being in life. It’s exactly the same.”

That alleged honesty was at least present during the breakfast panel in the comments made by Gary Busey. He admitted that the reason he wanted to participate in the series was “I didn’t have anything else to do.” He also referred to his worst enemy as being himself. And cast member Lil Jon agreed with Jillette when he said of the show, “We go through real things and real situations. What you see is what really happens.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean the participants come away from the experience with profound life lessons, according to Trace Adkins. He broke up the room when he noted, “I don’t think I learned anything doing this show that I’d use anywhere else. (Pause) No s***.”


* * * *

No political comments, please.

TCA Winter Tour Notes
Bob Greenblatt: NBC May Act On ‘Apprentice’ Star Donald Trump If He “Says Or Does Things That Cross The Line”
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jan. 6, 2012

The Apprentice star Donald Trump was a constant lighting rod for controversy during the recent presidential campaign with his birther obsession and outrageous comments and Twitter rants against everyone from President Obama and the GOP to Rosie O’Donnell. With all that baggage, is NBC sticking with Trump and has the net asked him to tone his rhetoric down? “We live in this country where you can say anything you want as long as you are not harming other people,” NBC chief Bob Greenblatt said during the NBC TCA executive session. “He has his political belief system but I really don’t think what he’s doing in his personal life is going to corrupt what he’s doing on the show.”

However, “if he becomes somehow hurtful and says or does things that cross a line, we would figure out what to do with that.” Added NBC’s head of reality Paul Telegdy, who oversees The Apprentice, “It just comes with the Donald Trump territory, he keeps a lot of publicists very very busy.” NBC already played a role in protecting America from even more Trump in the public space. “We talked him out of running for president, wasn’t’ that good enough?,” Greenblatt said.

Edited by dad1153 - 1/6/13 at 3:12pm
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TV Review
Long Island Murder Mystery
By Sohrab Ahmari, Wall Street Journal - Jan. 4, 2012

New York's Long Island provides a fine setting for "Deception," NBC's addictive new whodunit. "That slender, riotous island," as F. Scott Fitzgerald's narrator describes it in "The Great Gatsby," appears here as a moody landscape dotted by old-money mansions, menacing and lonely. This is a mostly fantastical Long Island, where, we are asked to imagine, the cream of the 1% lives and hides its awful secrets.

We enter this world through the eyes of an outsider, police officer Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good). When the pretty, troubled socialite Vivian Bowers turns up dead in a New York City hotel room, her face bruised and her limbs twisted grotesquely, the authorities have reason to suspect foul play. There are rumors of disputes among the heirs to the Bowers estate's $10-billion fortune and accusations of stock manipulation at the pharmaceutical company the family controls.

Joanna, it turns out, grew up in the Bowers mansion while her mother worked as a servant there. It's a plot point that, to their credit, the show's creators don't exploit for social sermonizing—so far, anyway. We learn through a series of artful if too frequent flashbacks that Vivian was Joanna's childhood best friend, but the two grew distant as the teenage Vivian was drawn inexorably toward drug abuse. That personal history leads FBI agent Will Moreno (Laz Alonso), Joanna's former lover, to persuade her to crash Vivian's funeral wearing a wire.

Joanna isn't exactly embraced by the Bowers family upon her return to their estate 17 years after she left it. But the family's seemingly warmhearted patriarch (Victor Garber) invites her to stay while the family recovers from the trauma of the murder, and even offers her a job at his company.

"Deception" establishes its noir setup effortlessly, no small thanks to Joanna, the police officer at the center of this drama, played affectingly by Ms. Good. She's a woman of character—earthy and tough—caught in the Bowers's maze of conspiracies and hidden agendas. Joanna gradually gets close to the members of Vivian's family, but each tense interaction only reveals another layer of duplicity she has to pierce to get to the bottom of Vivian's murder. The price of a wrong move, it's clear, could be death—her own.

The rest of the cast is also impressive in portrayals of the Bowerses, characters who elicit both sympathy and revulsion. Most of the family members are plausible suspects. Did one or the other one want to knock Vivian off for her share of the inheritance? Or was the whole family determined to silence her before she could blow the whistle on a promising but dangerous new cancer drug the family company has developed? The Bowers clan has its attractive sides too, and it isn't hard to see Joanna losing herself in their decadent universe.

Both the show's female protagonist and its Long Island setting are bound to invite comparisons to ABC's "Revenge," in which an astoundingly wealthy young woman risks her life and fortune to take down another shady Hamptons clan. Both suffer, to be sure, from the humorlessness endemic to the noir-soap genre. "Deception" is further hampered by slow pacing—just how many scenes portraying family members tussling with reporters or punching photographers are needed to establish this clan's notoriety?

Even so, "Deception" scores a point or two higher than the estimable "Revenge" in some regards. The atmosphere is darker, the story less outlandish, if only slightly, and Ms. Good's heroine boasts an attractively firm moral center. How that center will hold through the twists and turns of the plot is the question—the one most likely to draw viewers in and keep them.

Begins Monday, Jan. 7 at 10 p.m. on NBC

post #84419 of 93726
Originally Posted by mhufnagel View Post

Doc, have kept up with your local newspapers? Poor spelling, misleading headlines, missing information and generally non-existent editing is par for the course. Instead of improving their product to retain or gain readers, newspapers have dumbed down and cut back, thus losing even more customers.

That's for sure. Our local paper ran a story about the power company running one new underground distribution line between two substations. The headline indicated that they planned to bury ALL of our power lines.
post #84420 of 93726
TCA Winter Tour Notes
'Smash' producers: They read your hate tweets!
By Lynette Rice, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Jan. 6, 2012

Yep, the Smash producers read all of your hate tweets, all of those angry diatribes about certain plot points or, more specifically, Debra Messing’s interminable scarves from season one. And apparently, they took the criticism to heart.

“As it unfolded over the first season, I read the love-hate, and I hope I was objective enough to say that it made sense,” said Smash Executive Producer Neil Meron, who was joined at the Television Critics Tour Sunday with actors Megan Hilty (Ivy), Katherine McPhee (Karen), Anjelica Huston (Eileen) and others, along with the drama’s new showrunner Josh Safran. “First seasons of shows need time to find themselves, to lock into what they are, especially with a show like Smash. There are so many moving parts to figure out the mechanism. It’s a fantastic machine. When certain moments worked in season one, I dare anybody to say what could be better.”

“We followed what a lot of people were saying about the show,” added Executive Producer Craig Zadan. “We felt certain things were going off kilter. We would read about them in the press, or in blogs, or in tweets, and it reinforced the feelings we had and things we would have [change] anyway if we were lucky enough to come back for season two. Boy, wouldn’t it be great to adjust those things! A lot of the [tweets] reinforced our own instincts about the show.”

Despite prodding from reporters, the producers wouldn’t single out specifics about what went wrong in season one (other than Messing’s scarves). But then, Safran — who replaced Theresa Rebeck – wouldn’t cop to changing much in the new season that begins Feb. 5 with a two-hour episode. “I don’t think its changed that much. It’s still the same Smash, just bigger with more music.”

Speaking of which, NBC and Columbia Records will release a soundtrack for the in-show musical “Bombshell” on Feb. 12. But don’t assume that means a real Broadway musical is in the works. “When we watch Bombshell moments, we think wouldn’t that be great on Broadway? But that’s where we leave it,” Meron said. “Our first priority is to make the show. It will inspire more conversation, but have we done anything about it? No.”


* * * *

TCA Winter Tour Notes
'Fringe' series finale will be 'incredibly emotional'
By James Hibberd, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Jan. 6, 2012

What does Fringe executive producer J.J. Abrams think of the upcoming series finale?

Abrams was taking questions from reporters following a TV press tour panel in Pasadena on Sunday for NBC’s Revolution. The writer-producer-director says he hasn’t yet watched last Fringe episode (the cut just came in), but he had high praise based on the script for the Fox cult favorite. “It will be great,” Abrams says of the Jan. 18 episode. “I mean, the script is unbelievable. I think it will be incredibly emotional.”

He then added, a bit jokingly: “If it’s not satisfying, I don’t know what satisfying is.”

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