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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2821

post #84601 of 93720
Nielsen Notes (Syndication)
'Family Feud' Celebrates New Year With Season-High 5.1
'Live!' leads talkers for third week in a row
By Paige Albiniak, Broadcasting & Cable - Jan. 15, 2013

Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud started 2013 off with a bang, finally breaking through the 5.0 barrier to hit a 5.1 in the week ended Jan. 6.

The typically slow week of repeats also was good for magazines, which saw ratings improve across the board on news of Kim Kardashian's pregnancy, and for Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael, which was the top talker for the third week in a row.

Family Feud increased 11% from the prior week to hit a new season-high 5.1. CTD's game leader, Wheel of Fortune, inched up 3% to a 6.9. CTD's Jeopardy! upticked 2% to a 6.0. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was the only game to lose ground, declining 4% to a 2.4 amid news that longtime host Meredith Vieira will depart the program after this season. NBCU's newbie Baggage zipped ahead 9% to a 1.2.

In access, five of the seven magazines clocked double-digit increases. CTD's leader, ET, grew 16% from the prior week to a 3.6. CTD's Inside Edition was up 12% to a 2.9. Warner Bros.' TMZ improved 6% to a 1.8. NBCUniversal's Access Hollywood had the largest gain in the group, advancing 21% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Extra jumped 15% to a 1.5.

CTD's The Insider, in the last week before its rebrand as omg! Insider, came in last among the vets at a 1.4. But the show's new version, which launched on Jan. 7, climbed 6% in households and 20% among women 25-54 in its first week in the metered markets in the week ending Jan. 13, compared to the show's prior four-week averages. On WCBS New York at 7 p.m., omg! Insider climbed 13% in households to a 3.1 rating/6 in households and improved 43% to a 2.0/6 among women 25-54 in its first week on WCBS at 7 p.m.

Twentieth's freshman Dish Nation rose 13% to a 0.9.

Live! led the talk shows for the third consecutive week, although the show, which aired mostly repackaged episodes, slipped 7% compared to the prior week. Live! also was tops in the key women 25-54 demo with a 1.6.

CTD's Dr. Phil climbed 13% to a second-place 2.6. Warner Bros.' Ellen added 10% to a 2.3, tying Sony Pictures Television's Dr. Oz, which improved 5% for the week. NBCU's Maury dipped 8% to a 2.2.

CTD's Rachael Ray took a 6% breather to a 1.6 after three straight weeks of increases. NBCU's Steve Wilkos fell back 6% from the series high it set the week before to a 1.5. CTD's The Doctors held firm at a 1.4, tying NBCU's Jerry Springer, which dropped 7% to a 1.4. Warner Bros.' Anderson Live climbed 9% to a 1.2, while Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams weakened 8% to a 1.1, followed by Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle, which was flat at a 0.5.

Among talk's newcomers, Disney-ABC's Katie clocked its strongest ratings since mid-November, growing 6% for the week to a 1.9, even though the show was in repeats for the week. Most syndicated shows broke the low-rated New Year's Day out of their weekly ratings average; Katie also broke out New Year's Eve.

NBCU's Steve Harvey pushed ahead 8% to a 1.4 after its return for a second season was confirmed. CTD's Jeff Probst was steady at a 0.8. Twentieth's Ricki Lake remained at a 0.7, while NBCU's Trisha Goddard gave back 20% to a 0.4.

CTD's Judge Judy led daytime where many shows were in reruns for most or all of the holiday week. Her honor was up 14% from the prior week to a 6.6. CTD's Judge Joe Brown, a distant second, improved 4% to a 2.4. Warner Bros.' People's Court added 5% to a 2.0. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis and Twentieth's Judge Alex each were flat at a 1.6 and 1.4, respectively. Twentieth's Divorce Court climbed 8% to a 1.4, tying Judge Alex. Entertainment Studios' America's Court, Justice for All and We the People all were flat at a 0.8, 0.5 and 0.2, respectively.

Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory heated up 9% to a 7.4, topping the syndication leader board. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men was up 6% to a 5.3. Twentieth's Family Guy and How I Met Your Mother were flat at a 3.6 and 3.1, respectively. Twentieth's King of the Hill declined 4% to a 2.2, tying SPT's Seinfeld and Warner Bros.' Friends, both of which were flat at a 2.2, while CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond dropped 13% to a 2.0.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/491361-Syndication_Ratings_Family_Feud_Celebrates_New_Year_With_Season_High_5_1.php
post #84602 of 93720
TV Notes
News Corp. may convert Fox Soccer into entertainment network
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Jan. 15, 2013

News Corp. is considering revamping its Fox Soccer cable channel into a general entertainment network, according to people briefed on the matter.

The plans are in a preliminary stage and are not definite, these people said.

With News Corp. planning to convert its Speed channel into a national sports cable network later this year and Fox Soccer recently losing some marquee events to rival outlets, the long-term viability of the network is uncertain. The remaining Fox Soccer fare could easily find its home on Fox Sports 1, which is the tentative name of the new national network.

The idea floating around News Corp. is to turn Fox Soccer into a sister channel of FX, its popular channel behind such critically acclaimed shows as "Justified" and "Sons of Anarchy." The new network may even be called FX2.

Because Fox Soccer is in almost 50 million homes, News Corp. does not want to lose that valuable real estate. However, going ahead as a soccer-only channel is unlikely given that it recently lost the rights to the English Premiere League to Comcast's NBC Sports Network.

Another upstart sports channel, beIN Sports, has also been aggressively going after soccer rights. beIn is operated by Al Jazeera, which is backed by the government of Qatar. In other words, beIN Sports has some deep pockets.

The challenge for News Corp. with Fox Soccer will be convincing cable and satellite distributors to let it rebrand the channel. Such a move may be met with resistance because many big pay-TV distributors are looking to cut costs and drop under-performing channels.

Typically, contracts between pay-TV distributors and networks can be voided if the network plans to make substantial programming changes. That's what happened earlier this month when Time Warner Cable said it would no longer carry Current TV after it was sold to Al Jazeera, which announced a new programming strategy.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-fox-soccer-entertainment-network-20130115,0,1751598.story
post #84603 of 93720
TV Notes
Real-World Killings Pressure TV Fiction
By Bill Carter, The New York Times - Jan. 14, 2013

LOS ANGELES — When Kevin Reilly, the chairman for entertainment at the Fox network, commissioned an ambitious thriller series called “The Following,” about a Hannibal Lecter-like serial killer who inspires a legion of deranged followers, his intention was to challenge the cable business, not the culture.

Now, in the wake of the horrific shooting of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., Mr. Reilly knows he cannot avoid questions about the propriety of putting that kind of content on television in an atmosphere of heightened sensitivity about violence.

“The timing is not great,” Mr. Reilly said in an interview here during the semiannual press tour where networks discuss new programs. “The show does not deserve to be the poster child for our society.”

But if the persistent questioning of Mr. Reilly and other executives by reporters who cover the television business is any indication, the issue of extreme violence on screen and its potential impact has become a thicket programmers cannot avoid.

“I don’t think there’s anyone on this planet whose life hasn’t been changed and/or affected by the recent course of events,” said Nina Tassler, the president of CBS Entertainment. But, she argued, “nothing that is on the air is inappropriate.”

CBS has more programming involving murders than any other network, but, Ms. Tassler said, the network justifies the level of carnage by assuring that “the bad guys are brought to justice.” In response to criticism of a specific CBS show, “Criminal Minds,” which features a serial killer every week, she said she would not allow her 14-year-old child to watch that show because “it’s an adult show.”

Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment (which has a show about a young Hannibal Lecter coming up), said, “There are a lot of parameters in broadcast television that we think about, not only as a company that has responsibilities to the F.C.C., but as people who have families.”

Debates about television violence have waxed and waned for more than 50 years, sometimes surrounding shows, like “The Rifleman” and “Kojak,” that now seem tame. The increasing appeal of cable series, however, has changed the stakes. In 2001 Bob Wright, chairman of NBC at the time, wrote a memo pointing out an especially violent episode of “The Sopranos” on HBO and questioning whether “there was a lesson” for network shows in the popularity and acceptance of that level of violence.

Cable series have become more violent and more popular in the years since. The six highest-rated dramas on cable in the past year were “The Walking Dead,” “Hatfields & McCoys,” “True Blood,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “American Horror Story,” and “Game of Thrones.” All contain high levels of violence.

In an interview Mr. Reilly cited those shows and others, saying: “You look at the top scripted shows on cable, and they are all pretty heavy duty. These are not some small cultural little things that people like. The top drama on television now is a show where people get their heads blown off at point-blank range.”

The show Mr. Reilly referred to, AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” is not the most-watched drama on television, but it does rank first among viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 — the audience that executives want to reach most because advertisers pay the most for them. (Over all the most popular drama is CBS’s “NCIS,” which, like virtually every CBS drama, features at least one murder every week.)

On “The Walking Dead” a group of survivors from a dystopian upheaval are compelled to kill hosts of zombies in every episode. Sometimes those zombies are children.

Mr. Reilly said the challenge for a network programmer is to compete with that kind of show on cable, which has never been held to the same strictures over content, while trying to maintain sensitivity to cultural standards, something still expected more of companies with broadcast licenses. The outcry over the shootings in Connecticut and elsewhere is clearly complicating that effort.

“Had the incident in Connecticut not occurred, I think everybody would be saying ‘The Following’ is a great show, and you’re taking on cable at their own game,” Mr. Reilly said. He noted that AMC’s “Breaking Bad” is now among the most praised shows on television, but it is unquestionably dark and violent.

“If you are going to be in this genre,” he said, “the bar is set at the level of shows like ‘Breaking Bad.’ You can’t come in lower and succeed.”

The violence in “The Following” is occasionally graphic and disturbing: A woman stabs herself in the eye; a man goes through a street setting strangers on fire. Kevin Williamson, the show’s creator, said in one of the press sessions that he was disturbed by the Newtown incident and the earlier mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

“We sit in the writers’ room after that happened, and we just, sort of, we’re all traumatized by it,” Mr. Williamson said. “It reaches a moment where that just gets too real, and it’s very disturbing.” But he added: “I’m writing fiction. I’m just a storyteller.”

John Landgraf, the president of FX, which programs hit dramas based on some level of violence like “America Horror Story” and “Justified,” stressed a distinction between what he called “third-person entertainment” and “first-person entertainment.” The former describes the passive viewing of scripted dramas; the latter describes participatory entertainment, like video games, where shooting and mayhem are personally inflicted on characters.

He explicitly tied the prevalence of violence in the United States to the availability of guns, noting that television viewers in Britain watch the same shows as Americans and play the same video games, but that the country has drastically lower murder rates.

“We should be looking at ourselves, but I think we have to look at what is most substantially responsible for this kind of violence,” Mr. Landgraf said. “One way to look at that is by looking at the rate at which it takes place in our country and other countries that don’t have access to those kinds of 100-round, 30-round assault-weapon guns.”

He did not apologize, however, for the emphasis on life-or-death drama in FX’s shows.

“We’re mammals,” he said. “Our greatest fear is death, and if you want to rivet people, you’re going to tend to hover around questions of life and death because that’s the thing that rivets our attention most naturally.”

The Fox network has no intention of backing away from “The Following,” which stands as its most important show of a dismal season. Mr. Reilly plans to build his prime-time schedule partly around the show, perhaps using it exactly as AMC has been using “The Walking Dead,” in a pair of eight-episode bursts twice a season.

“Most viewers compartmentalize,” Mr. Reilly said. “It’s apples and oranges in their lives. It’s entertainment vs. real life, fact and fiction. If you’re not crazy, you have a very easy time to separate the two, if you’re not a delusional human being — which is, thankfully, the vast majority of people in the world.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/arts/television/real-violence-puts-pressure-on-tv-fiction.html?ref=television
post #84604 of 93720
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

(quoting Tim Kenneally on TheWrap.com)

"Drop Dead Diva" has been dropped.

The series has been canceled by Lifetime after four seasons, the last of which ended in September.
That's a relief.  Season 4 ended on such an absurdity that I hesitated to imagine where it would go from there, but I knew I'd be unable to resist watching the train wreck.
post #84605 of 93720
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
The 'ever-evolving' 'American Idol' returns
By Bill Keveney, USA Today - Jan. 16, 2013

PASADENA, Calif. — American Idol's new judging panel sits down together and — surprise! — a civil conversation breaks out.

"What did you think? We were going to come in with boxing gloves?" jokes Nicki Minaj, whose recorded tirade against fellow newcomer Mariah Carey has generated media heat as Season 12 of the Fox singing competition kicks off Wednesday with the New York auditions (8 ET/PT).

My least favorite time of the year when my TV is monopolized by this show. Guess that's payback for all the NASCAR races watch. biggrin.gif
post #84606 of 93720
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Real-World Killings Pressure TV Fiction
By Bill Carter, The New York Times - Jan. 14, 2013

Cable series have become more violent and more popular in the years since. The six highest-rated dramas on cable in the past year were “The Walking Dead,” “Hatfields & McCoys,” “True Blood,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “American Horror Story,” and “Game of Thrones.” All contain high levels of violence.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/arts/television/real-violence-puts-pressure-on-tv-fiction.html?ref=television
Let's break this down:

The Walking Dead: a show about zombies - which we all know exist....
Hatfields & McCoys: A show about historical figures - which really did the bulk of what was portayed.
True Blood: a show about vampires - which we all know exist...
Sons of Anarchy: a show about a biker gang, which is about the only show here that could be seen as glorifying anything antisocial.
American Horror Story: a show about....well it's an F'ed up show that has ghosts, the devil and insane people. Perhaps if any nuts are watching, it will scare them straight.
Game of Thrones: a show about various kinds of fantasy characters...well, you get the idea.

I'm sure that if Falling Skies weren't in hiatus right now, someone would bring up all the violence against those aliens....
post #84607 of 93720
I dont get how those are the highest 6 dramas.

Game of Thrones season 2 finale is their only ep to ever hit 4 milllion viewers meanwhile The Closer season avg was 8.5 milllion & Falling Skies was 5.5 million.
post #84608 of 93720
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcowboy7 View Post

I dont get how those are the highest 6 dramas.

Game of Thrones season 2 finale is their only ep to ever hit 4 milllion viewers meanwhile The Closer season avg was 8.5 milllion & Falling Skies was 5.5 million.
Maybe they're simply the top 6 shows where people kill things? It's kind of like claiming games are violent by picking titles with violent names...

Further, it should be pointed out that a couple of those shows appear on premium channels, along side rated R movies and other content you specifically have to subscribe to.

Of course, this all completely igores that these shows are properly rated and meant for adults.
post #84609 of 93720
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 16, 2013

AMERICAN IDOL
Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
This is the Season 12 opener for Idol, which tries to keep itself vibrant by introducing new judges (Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, along with the show’s last surviving original judge, Randy Jackson) and, of course, new controversies. This year, the buzz is supposed to be that the ladies really don’t get along – but the real drama, for this show, would be if there were no offstage drama to hype interest.

MODERN FAMILY
ABC, 9:00 p.m. ET

In tonight’s new episode, Gloria and Jay – mostly Gloria (Sofia Vergara) – throw Manny a surprise party for his 12th birthday. What could go wrong? A lot, on this show. And it will.

INSIDE THE NFL
Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

Are you kidding? After last weekend’s postseason games – two of them, anyway – Wednesday-night quarterbacking with this gang will be as much fun as looking forward to this weekend’s games.

NASHVILLE
ABC, 10:00 p.m. ET

Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) and Rayna (Connie Britton) prepare to perform their first joint arena concert – but first, there’s some publicity to do (pictured). And, behind the scenes, some papers to serve.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM
FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

You might have thought – I certainly did – that the rebooted Season 2 of this series was about as strange as it could get, what with its odd assortment of Nazis, alien visitations, satanic possessions and serial-killing Santas. But last week, after a cruelly administered mega-dose of electroshock therapy, Judy (Jessica Lange) reacted to the playing of the record “The Name Game” in the ward by hallucinating a happy hullabaloo, leading the other patients in a merry song and dance sequence. How Singing Detective can you get? And this week, with the series about to end, what’s next? And who’s still alive? Only one thing is for sure: Anything can happen. Anything.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
post #84610 of 93720
TUESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #84611 of 93720
TV Review
‘The Kroll Show,’ about half and half
Comedy Central sketch comedy hits its target often enough
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 16, 2013

When satire fails, it’s usually because the satirist failed to come up with the right approach to his target. Less commonly, satire fails because we in the audience can’t figure out what the target is.

That happens too often in Comedy Central’s half-successful new sketch comedy “The Kroll Show.” Some of the segments are simply puzzling. But enough of them hit their marks to make the show worth checking out.

Premiering tonight at 10:30, “The Kroll Show” stars the performer and writer Nick Kroll, who takes center stage in all of the sketches. He has a knack for caricature that usually makes his characters recognizable.

In the premiere episode, Kroll plays one of two airheaded publicists named Liz who are the stars of a reality show called “PubLIZity.” The sketch nails the clichés of this kind of show, including the fake crisis (will the cupcakes arrive in time for the dog cancer benefit?) and the pointless side trip (the less responsible Liz, played by the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Jenny Slate, takes her bulldog to a canine plastic surgeon, Dr. Armond, also played by Kroll).

In another sketch that works, Kroll mocks the smug political correctness of Canadian TV shows like “Degrassi High” through a parody show called “Wheels, Ontario.” He plays the new kid in a high school in which everyone else is in a wheelchair. He’s immediately nicknamed Legs.

A girl who befriends him says, “I’m late for marriage-equality class. Peace oot!” When she confesses that she’s pregnant, he says, “At least our national health system covers abortion. Not like the States, you know?”

But the point of a sketch called “Sex in the City, for Dudes” is hard to discern. A group of about eight guys go to a bar, where they talk at cross purposes and try to split the check, then they go to a basketball court and spend the whole time looking at their phones. It’s even unclear whether the choice of “in” rather than “and” in the title is supposed to mean something or is just a typo on the part of graphics department.

Perhaps sensing that the sketch will fall flat, Kroll keeps cutting to one or more of the guys shouting, “Sex in the City, for Dudes!” into the camera.

An infomercial for something called the San Diego Diet flails around with no discernible point.

In the second episode provided for review, the high point is a sketch about two young rich idiots, one old money and one new, who travel to Tijuana when they run out of drugs. After a dealer lures them into his van, intending to take them hostage, Kroll’s character says, “So, cool, this is like a courtesy shuttle?”

A reality-show parody about Dr. Armond’s home life is about half successful: the characters of his disrespectful, lazy son and spoiled wife are stale.

A commercial about a franchise called Chikk Klub features a series of dudes saying they love its sandwiches despite the fact that the chain is racist and homophobic. “My brother’s gay,” Kroll’s character says, “so I don’t eat Chikk Klub in front of him, just like I ask him not to kiss his boyfriend in front of my chicken sandwich.”

That’s a funny take on the Chick-Fil-A controversy, but for some reason, Chikk Klub is then presented as the sponsor of a series of brief segments in which various winners get doused with Gatorade.

The Monty Python guys, among others, have proved that comedy can be purely absurd, but Kroll’s misfires seem poorly aimed, not random. Since this type of humor is more subjective than most, viewers should give the show a try. One man’s WTF is another’s LOL.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/the-kroll-show-about-half-and-half/
post #84612 of 93720
Critic's Notes
The Nine Forgotten Gems of the WB and UPN
By Margaret Lyons, TheWrap.com - Jan. 16, 2013

The Carrie Diaries premiered to weak ratings on the CW Monday night, possibly entering itself into the canon of CW shows destined to be forgotten. But don't fret too hard, Carrie — that's actually part of a noble tradition, passed down from the UPN and WB. Indeed, lots of great shows toiled in obscurity on those networks, some for many years! And we're not talking about your Buffy or Gilmore Girls or Felicity — those shows both enjoyed enormous critical attention during their runs and continue to rightly occupy prime portions of pop real estate. But there are other shows that seem never to come up, that don't get endlessly dissected or lovingly detailed on Wikipedia, shows that deserved more recognition back in the day and deserve it still now. This list only includes shows that aired on the WB or UPN, not shows that were CW-only. Ah, nostalgia.

1. Nowhere Man, 1995, UPN
Bruce Greenwood starred as a photojournalist whose identity disappears all around him: Suddenly no one recognizes him, and every piece of evidence that he's ever existed is gone. If Nowhere had aired in the Lost era of TV mystery shows, we'd still be wading through tweets theorizing about it. As it is, it's not on Netflix or Amazon, and even the DVDs are out of print.

2. Grosse Pointe, 2001, WB
Darren Star's satirical teen soap about the cast of an earnest teen soap lasted just one season, but it's aged incredibly well and deserves a renewed round of consideration — especially given our insatiable appetite for behind-the-scenes gossip for teen shows in particular. (Glee. We're talking about Glee.) Put this show on Netflix Instant already.

3. Popular, 1999, WB
Speaking of teen soaps, Popular! Ryan Murphy might have three shows on TV at this very moment, but Murhpy's Ur-text will always be Popular.

4. Girlfriends, 2000, UPN
One of the many casualties of the 2007–08 writers strike, Girlfriends never got the finale it deserved (even though its spinoff, The Game, is still on BET). The show is just plain funny, but it flew under most critics' radars for its entire run.

5. Everwood, 2002, WB
Emily VanCamp is the star of Revenge. Chris Pratt is a fan favorite on Parks and Recreation. Sarah Drew makes April bearable on Grey's Anatomy. But no one talks about how they were all on one of the greatest family dramas ever, Everwood! It has all the weeping of Parenthood and the earnestness of an ABC Family show, with a little bit of small-town folksiness thrown in.

6. Roswell, 1999, WB
Like Buffy, Roswell moved from the WB to UPN after low ratings doomed it in its initial home. Unlike Buffy, it seems like no one cares about Roswell, even though the shows both used supernatural elements as a metaphor for the alienation of adolescence. Roswell isn't as witty as Buffy (is anything?), but it was created by Friday Night Lights' Jason Katims, so it's full of feelings.

7. Jake 2.0, 2004, UPN
There was a time when the nerdosphere could not stop talking about Chuck, the show about a geek who gets special powers thanks to some government computer thingie. But what about Jake 2.0, a show about a geek who gets special powers thanks to some government computer thingie? Jake was sharp and funny and exactly the kind of show you expect to be canceled almost immediately, which it was.

8. The Jamie Foxx Show, 1996, WB
The show ran for five seasons and was rerun on BET for years, but most current profiles of Jamie Foxx barely acknowledge that he had his own sitcom for 100 episodes. Guess what? He was great in it.

9. Young Americans, 2000, WB
A Dawson's Creek spinoff with Ian Somerhalder, Charlie Hunnam, and Katherine Moenning should have been superhot. Boarding school! Gender bending! Unbelievably obnoxious product placement! We still can't believe this show didn't catch on.

http://www.vulture.com/2013/01/nine-forgotten-gems-of-the-wb-and-upn.html
post #84613 of 93720
Critic's Notes
Andrew Nice Clay: Jim Jefferies Shows His Heart, Crudely
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 16, 2013

FX has explored the poetics of bad behavior with varying results, finding brilliant heights with Louie, and decidedly unimpressive returns with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Now it's upping, or lowering, the ante with the self-described misanthropic comic Jim Jefferies in Legit.

The series, which premieres Thursday, January 17 at 10:30 p.m. ET, rolls out one character (literally) who's terminally ill and in a wheelchair, as the prime target and subject of a lot jokes. But as low as the comedy sinks, it occasionally hits some surprise tender spots.

The gates of TV sitcom taste opened wide with Archie Bunker's mouth on CBS's All in the Family in 1971. That show, and the same network's M*A*S*H, which followed the next year, rightly opened up television sitcom boundaries that, up to that point, were pretty much out of step with a rapidly changing country.

Since then, it's been somewhat of a race to the bottom. For each series like Fox's The Simpsons (1989 and still going) or Chris Elliot's Get A Life (1990-92), both of which dwelled in the profane to find higher ground, there seem to been even more attempts of late to produce the most offensive material imaginable -- misguided efforts such as Brickleberry, Comedy Central's current idiotic animated venture. (Brickleberry is produced by Daniel Tosh, star of that channel's Tosh.0. He's the so-called brave comic who made news last year with some rape material he thought he'd try out at an L.A. comedy club.)

And now enter Australian stand-up comic Jefferies, presumably (hopefully) playing a hyped-up version of himself and his stage act. The TV Jim, at least, has a predilection for the low-played inappropriate public comments, prostitutes, and liberal doses of pot and alcohol.

In an unexpected turn, "TV Jim" decides to make his mom (who's still down under in Australia) happy: He resolves to stop loafing around and getting high, and pledges to go "legit."

He starts by doing a good turn for his roommate Steve (Dan Bakkedahl, top, middle) by visiting Steve's brother Billy (D.J. Qualls, below right and in the foreground in the photo at top). Billy, who suffers from late-stage muscular dystrophy, is a parpalegic confined to a wheelchair, living at a care facility.

There are startling jokes about Billy's condition, mostly by Jefferies, but with Steve and Billy eventually joining in. (What else is there to do but laugh at death? In Legit, Seems like nothing else.)

In the pilot, Jefferies offers to take Billy, a 32-year-old virgin, to a brothel. Brother Steve adamantly protests, "It will kill him!" "Well, he's going to die soon anyway," muses Jeffries. "This is a good way for him to go. OK, sure, I'll have to answer a few questions..." Whether you find this approach funny, offensive or simply moronic depends on your definition of comedy, and your personal boundaries about what's smart and what's not.

One big difference between Legit and Louie is that Jeffries, complete with hangdog looks and stubbly beard, keeps the fourth wall intact. Unlike Louie, we don't see him in his comedy work -- at least not in the first three episodes, which were sent or preview. And either through craft or verité, you get the sense that he is all that he sells himself to be: an underachieving lout with nothing nice to say, and an entertainer who may not be playing a part after all.

Without that palpable sense of risk and crudity, Legit would just be another Men Behaving Badly (specifically, the 1996-97 NBC remake of the 1992 British series): cartoonish poster-board bad boys reveling in all manners of politically incorrect bad taste. And in Hollywood style, they rise above and do the right thing, although it is soooo against their nature.

Jeffries does have his epiphanies. The road trip he takes with Steve and Billy in the premiere episode is completely, unexpectedly endearing, and full of compassion.

Then there are the recurring refrains of Jim's adolescent and irresponsible relationship with women — those of whom might find the entire venture just too childish to bother. In the third episode, Jeffries, in his put-on, non-accented "American '50s dad" voice, gives Steve and Billy advice about dating. "Women date men on death row because they know where they are every minute of the day, and that makes them feel secure. But what women really want are your soul, Billy. And sparkly things. And plants."

And so, like a snake true to its nature, Jefferies sheds the beautiful moments, just in case we thought he had made any real progress. This is his brand, after all, and the series can't veer very far from the misbehaving depths he trolls. Otherwise, there is no show about his redemption.

Soon enough, it's back to doing bong hits and nodding off to a Toddlers and Tiaras marathon.

That's where Jefferies lives, and that's where we meet and hang with him, on his own terms — a gutter poet at home napping in the middle of the day, with a little something tender to contribute once in a while.

He walks the walk so well, it's almost like he wrote the book. Or at least the comedy act.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogPostDetails.aspx?postId=4083
post #84614 of 93720
Nielsen Overnights
‘NCIS’ Hits Season High, ‘Go On’ Up, ‘Hart Of Dixie’ Flat
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Jan. 16, 2013

Tuesday’s primetime saw another season high for CBS’ NCIS (3.8/11). With its second-largest viewership ever, the police procedural pulled in 22.34 million viewers last night. That tops last week’s season-high of 21.1 million for the long-running series, though it falls short of the record 22.87 million who watched on February 1, 2011. NCIS also saw its best rating in the adults 18-49 demo since its Season 10 premiere on September 25, growing 9% from last week’s show. NCIS: LA (2.7/7), meanwhile, was down from last week’s season high.; its 17.48 million viewers marked the series’ second-highest viewership of its season It also was down 10% week-over-week in the demo. At 10 PM, Vegas (1.6/4) drew 11.05 million viewers, topping the time slot. For the night, CBS won in total viewers (16.957 million) and the demo.

Back from its winter break, the CW’s Hart Of Dixie (0.6/2) was flat with its last original December 11. Emily Owens M.D. (0.3/1) also was even with last week’s original episode.

NBC’s double shot of Betty White’s Off Their Rockers dipped a bit Tuesday from last week’s season debut. The 8 PM airing (1.4/4) of the senior-citizen-starring hidden camera series and the 8:30 PM broadcast (1.8/5) were down 7% and 5%, respectively. After last week’s season low, Go On (1.7/4) was up 13% from its winter break return. The New Normal (1.3/3) was not so fortunate: The Ryan Murphy-produced series was flat with last week’s show and tied for its season low. Parenthood (1.9/5) was also even with its January 8 show.

Fox’s Tuesday comedy block was back last night for its second week of new shows this year. Raising Hope (1.6/5) slipped 6% from last week. Ben And Kate (1.1/3) was also down from its January 8 show, dipping 8%. New Girl (1.9/5) was also down slightly, falling 5% from it last show a week ago. Ending the night for Fox, The Mindy Project (1.5/4) was flat with last week’s show.

ABC aired Modern Family (1.6/5) and Suburgatory (1.0/3) repeats. A new Happy Endings (1.3/3) followed, down 7% from last Tuesday’s show. Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt 23 (1.1/3) was flat with its January 8 show, the third Tuesday in a row with no movement for the comedy. In its second-to-last episode, Private Practice (1.2/3) edged up 7% from last week’s show.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/ratings-rat-race-ncis-hits-new-season-high-go-on-up-hart-of-dixie-flat/
post #84615 of 93720
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Review
‘The Kroll Show,’ about half and half
Comedy Central sketch comedy hits its target often enough
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 16, 2013

Kroll was on Best Week Ever which coincidentally comes back from cancellation with "all new" eps on VH1 this Friday night.

& why is it always "all new" not just "new"....what does the "all" really add ?

Its like when they say someone is "much maligned"....theyre never just "maligned" its either "much maligned" or they just arent "maligned" at all.
post #84616 of 93720
TV Notes
Who gains more, Lance Armstrong or Oprah Winfrey?
By Erik Brady and Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Jan. 16, 2013

The media buildup to Oprah Winfrey's interview with Lance Armstrong is growing so large it's difficult to tell which of the two stands to benefit more.

Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse, thinks it's Winfrey.

"This shows she still gets the big interview," Thompson told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. "A lot of people are going to find, for the first time, where OWN is on their cable box. And that's very important for a fledgling channel."

There is much to gain for Armstrong, as well. "For Lance, it will appear he's starting the road to punishment and redemption because it'll look like he's paying a price," Thompson said. "But Oprah seems an Earth Mother type, so it's a safe way to go."

The Armstrong interview will run Thursday and Friday at 9 p.m. ET, one night more than planned, on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Winfrey's low-rated cable channel seems certain to get a big boost from high interest in what the stripped seven-time Tour de France winner has to say after years of denying that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

Winfrey, appearing on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, said it was the biggest interview of her career. That's saying a lot, given that her popular syndicated show boasted many blockbuster interviews over its 25-year run -- including one with Michael Jackson in 1993, when Jackson hadn't granted an interview in 14 years.

David Walsh, who chased the Lance Armstrong doping story vigorously for years, is among those anxious to see the interview, but the chief sportswriter for the London Sunday Times is taking a wait-and-see approach.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogPostDetails.aspx?postId=4083
post #84617 of 93720
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
The Nine Forgotten Gems of the WB and UPN
By Margaret Lyons, TheWrap.com - Jan. 16, 2013

1. Nowhere Man, 1995, UPN
Bruce Greenwood starred as a photojournalist whose identity disappears all around him: Suddenly no one recognizes him, and every piece of evidence that he's ever existed is gone. If Nowhere had aired in the Lost era of TV mystery shows, we'd still be wading through tweets theorizing about it. As it is, it's not on Netflix or Amazon, and even the DVDs are out of print.

http://www.vulture.com/2013/01/nine-forgotten-gems-of-the-wb-and-upn.html

I'm happy to say that I had a small part in promoting this series. At the time the series was on the air, Disney did not have a website promoting their shows. Larry Hertzog found my website and sent me e-mail. That resulted in my getting to borrow the BTS photos that were taken of the pilot and have them scanned and put up on my website. He also contributed quite a few entries for the website. Because I was also on the UPN mail list (secretly by one of the press staff members), I also received materials for the website, as this UPN employee believed in the future of the internet. I even contributed some material for the DVD release, including those BTS photos.

Unfortunately, Larry is no longer with us.

Here is the link the the Nowhere Man web page.
post #84618 of 93720
Obituary
Conrad Bain of 'Diff'rent Strokes' dies; co-stars' tragedies 'painful'
By Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times - Jan. 16, 2013

Conrad Bain, the actor who played a white millionaire who adopted two African American boys on the NBC comedy "Diff'rent Strokes," has died. He was 89.

Bain's daughter Jennifer said Bain died of natural causes in Livermore, where he had been moved to a nursing home a few years ago.

"Diff'rent Strokes," which started its run on NBC in 1978 and ended in 1986 on ABC, was popular mainly due to young co-star Gary Coleman, who played the mischievous Arnold Jackson, one of the two sons adopted by Bain's character, the patient widower Phillip Drummond. Drummond was the regular straight man to the wisecracking Arnold.

In interviews, Bain said he was discovered by producer Norman Lear, who cast him as conservative neighbor Dr. Arthur Harmon in "Maude," the comedy about an outspoken liberal that premiered in 1972. Before that, he had been a journeyman actor for two decades, appearing in the original Broadway production of Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" and off-Broadway in Jose Quintero's revival of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh."

"I thought 'The Iceman Cometh' was a total bomb," Bain said in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "We opened on a Tuesday and I told my wife we could make a date for Friday. I guess I was too close to the forest to see the trees."

Bain at that time was uncomfortable talking about the various personal tragedies that had befallen his three "Diff'rent Strokes" co-stars: Coleman, Dana Plato and Todd Bridges.

(Coleman, whose legal and health woes were the stuff of tabloid fodder, died after a brain hemorrhage in 2010. Plato died in 1999 after an apparent drug overdose. Bridges, the sole surviving member of the trio, would later say that sexual abuse in his childhood drove him into a spiral of drug addiction; in 2012, he supported California legislation he hoped would protect child actors from sexual predators.)

"It's painful," he said. "It is really painful. It leaves you with such a helpless feeling. I have been asked to go on all these talk shows and I just think the continued public discussion ... I can't bear the thought. I love them all."

In 1991, he appeared at the Pasadena Playhouse in a production of A.R. Gurney's "The Dining Room," playing various roles from a dying father to a a senile old man to a 5-year-old child.

"Somebody said to me, 'You were the father of all those children on 'Diff'rent Strokes' and now you are playing the children.'"
In addition to his daughter Jennifer, Bain is survived by sons Mark and Kent.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-different-strokes-conrad-bain-dies-20130116,0,5895179.story
post #84619 of 93720
Winter TCA Tour Notes
Ending 'The Office': No Steve Carell, and Someone's Getting Fired
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Jan. 16, 2013

"The Office" is likely to close without a return appearance by Steve Carell's Michael Scott, creator Greg Daniels says. But Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak are expected back for the end of the show, and the final episodes will include someone in the Dunder Mifflin office getting fired.

"Steve is very much of the opinion that the 'goodbye Michael' episode and the story arc that we did leading up to it was his goodbye to the fans and to the show, and that the stuff we're doing this season is the goodbye that the rest of the show gets to have," Daniels said at a Television Critics Association panel on Wednesday.

"So at the moment we don't have any plans for him to come back," Daniels added. "There's still a lot of good things that we have planned for the rest of the goodbyes."

Not all of those goodbyes will take place in the two-part finale of the show. Daniels said the series will resolve with a story involving the documentary crew that has been chronicling life at a typical Scranton, Pa., office for the last nine seasons.

"If you look at how many characters there are here, and you think that it'll be our 200th half hour when we do the finale, I don't think we're planning on packing everything into the last episode. I would encourage people, if you are waiting for the end of "The Office" to re-tune in, I would start doing it right away," Daniels said.

Daniels adapted "The Office" from the U.K. series of the same name, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. He said the British series was ripe for adaptation because it felt like a toy that "still had some play in it" when it ended after just two short seasons and a Christmas special.

Now he is putting the toy away.

"There's an episode tomorrow night that is very good, and then the one after that is really what I would say is the beginning of the end, where we start to break down what's going on with this documentary and see behind the scenes and who's involved," he said.

Daniels said eighteen of the show's final 24 episodes are written. In the fifteenth episode, he said, someone will be fired. He declined to say whether the person being fired is a longtime cast member or a new one.

"Someone is fired. I will hint at that," he said. "There's drama and someone has to get fired."

The firing episode is expected to air Feb. 14.

Daniels declined to give any hints about how the series could end, but told TheWrap his favorite TV show ending is the conclusion of "Newhart."

"Newhart" famously ended with Bob Newhart's character from his previous series, "The Bob Newhart Show," waking up with his wife from that series, played by Suzanne Pleshette, and saying he had a strange dream.

It turns out he has dreamed the events of "Newhart."

So... no chance "The Office" will end with Carell waking up from a dream?

"No, it's been done," he said. "You've got to figure out another thing."

http://www.thewrap.com/tv/column-post/ending-office-no-steve-carell-and-someones-getting-fired-73416
post #84620 of 93720
TV Notes
'Alphas' cancelled by Syfy
By James Hibberd, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Jan. 16, 2013

Say goodbye to Syfy’s Alphas.

The network has decided to not renew the show, about a group of people with various superhuman abilities, for a third round. The axing isn’t too surprising since Alpha‘s second season debut last summer only delivered 1.7 million viewers, which was down significantly from its series debut the prior year. Syfy tried switching showrunners between the show’s first and second season in hopes of improving the numbers. Guess none of the Alphas team had the power to conjure up Nielsen ratings.

Syfy released this statement: “Syfy has decided not to renew Alphas for a third season. We’ve been proud to present this entertaining, high-quality series for two seasons and to work with an incredible ensemble of talented actors, producers and creatives as well as our partners at BermanBraun Television. We’d like to thank the show’s dedicated regular viewers for their tremendous support.”

http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/01/16/alphas-cancelled/
post #84621 of 93720
Winter TCA Tour Notes
NBC’s ‘The New Normal’ Cast & Producers On Show’s Gay Themes
By The Deadline.com - Jan. 16, 2013

Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

John Stamos dropped by a TCA panel discussion today for NBC‘s The New Normal held on the set at Paramount featuring the cast and executive producer Ali Adler (co-creator with Ryan Murphy). Stamos is guesting in an episode in which he plays a character of ambiguous sexual orientation (to explore the fallacy of “gay-dar”). Stamos was asked to compare today’s TV sitcom world — which can accommodate the “new normal” of a gay couple who are expectant parents via a surrogate — to his days on Full House. “It was three men living together in San Francisco raising a couple of kids. It’s the same thing,” Stamos quipped.

Ellen Barkin, who portrays the bigoted mother of the pregnant surrogate (Georgia King), said she was not surprised by the controversy surrounding the show (a Utah TV station has refused to air it). “It’s part of the reason why many of us got involved in the show, it was saying something that is not always said in a sitcom,” she said. Barkin last summer told Deadline she believes an affiliate has the right to ban something, but considers it censorship.

Joked Stamos with mock-smugness of the TV station ban: “They did get Full House. Cast members pointed out that fans in that market are viewing the show online.

Cast member Andrew Rannells said he has been gratified by the fact that so many young viewers have gravitated to New Normal. He attributed the phenomenon to audiences coming to the show from Murphy’s popular Glee.

Adler said she is gratified that examining gay issues has won praise from GLAAD but episode topics are “sometimes just life’s issues.” An upcoming episode, she said, will explore the topic of breastfeeding, which is “hard for two men to accomplish.”

http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/the-new-normal-nbc-ellen-barkin-ryan-murphy-gay-tca/
post #84622 of 93720
Business Notes
CBS to spin off billboard business
By Meg James, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Jan. 16, 2013

CBS Corp. is taking out a billboard to say it no longer wants to be in the billboard business.

On Wednesday, the broadcasting giant announced that it was selling its European and Asian outdoor sign business, which includes a contract with the London Underground, and converting its U.S.-based billboard unit into a real estate investment trust or REIT.

For several years, potential buyers have kicked the tires of CBS' sign business — which generates about $1.8 billion in annual revenue — but apparently did not offer a price acceptable to CBS.

For the first nine months of 2012, the unit generated more than $82 million in operating income, according to CBS' financial filings.

An advantage of converting the U.S. outdoor unit into a REIT is that it allows new investors to come in and potentially enjoy higher returns. REIT rules require that 90% of a trust's taxable income be distributed to shareholders, which could make the business more attractive to investors.

“We believe the moves we are announcing today will unlock the tremendous value of these unique quality assets,” said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. chief executive, in a statement. “We have studied the benefits of converting our Americas operations into a REIT, and we are increasingly enthusiastic that this transaction — as well as the sale of our business in Europe and Asia — will achieve significant value for our shareholders.”

CBS said it would submit a request for a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service this quarter. If the IRS approves its request, then CBS could complete the REIT conversion in 2014.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-cbs-to-spin-off-billboard-business-20130116,0,3931283.story
post #84623 of 93720
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
THURSDAY 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)

ABC:
8PM - Last Resort
9PM - Grey's Anatomy
10:02PM - Scandal
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Mark Wahlberg; Jennifer Lopez; Science Bob Pflugfelder)
12:35AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - The Big Bang Theory
(R - Oct. 18)
8:31PM - Two and a Half Men
(R - Oct. 4)
9:01PM - Person of Interest
(R - Sep. 27)
10:01PM - Elementary
(R - Nov. 8)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Jeremy Renner; animal expert Jack Hanna)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Julia Stiles; comic Tom Cotter)

NBC:
8PM - 30 Rock
8:30PM - Parks and Recreation
9PM - The Office
9:30PM - 1600 Penn
10PM - Rock Center with Brian Williams
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Naomi Watts; journalist Richard Engel; Train performs)
12:37AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Arnold Schwarzenegger; Maggie Q; Michael Kiwanuka performs)
1:36AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (Common; author Dallas Clayton; Desaparecidos perform)
(R - Dec. 17)

FOX:
8PM - American Idol (120 min.)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour
9PM - Frontline: Inside Obama's Presidency
(R - Jan. 15)
10PM - Antiques Roadshow: Corpus Christi
(R - Jan. 14)

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

THE CW:
8PM - The Vampire Diaries
9PM - The Carrie Diaries
(R - Jan. 14)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Rosa Salvaje
9PM - La Patrona
10PM - Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal
10:30PM - El Rostro de la Venganza

COMEDY CENTRAL:
11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Lena Dunham)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Author Akhil Reed Amar)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Martin Short; David Boreanaz; Jake Bugg)

E!:
11PM - Chelsea Lately (T.I.; Jeff Wild; Jen Kirkman; Mo Mandel)

FX:
11PM - Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell (Season Premiere)
post #84624 of 93720
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 17, 2013

AMERICAN IDOL
Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE: Part 2 of 2.
The second half of premiere week arrives tonight, with the focus on the worst, more than the best, auditioning talents. This season, that may end up applying to the new judges as well – but in these early rounds, which are taped and heavily edited, don’t expect to see anything that the Idol producers don’t want to be shown.

30 ROCK
NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

When the cats are away, the mice will play… on live television. In this case, the cats are Jack (Alec Baldwin) and Liz (Tina Fey), who take a trip to Florida to settle the estate of Jack’s mom. And the mice are Jenna and Tracy (Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan), who get to run their show without any pesky producer or network executive around to tell them no.

OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER: LANCE ARMSTRONG
OWN, 9:00 p.m. ET

Without a doubt, this is Oprah Winfrey’s most newsworthy, attention-getting interview “get since she launched her own cable network. Tonight, boiled down from a lengthy interview she taped earlier this week, Winfrey interviews Lance Armstrong. What he’ll say here – how much he’ll admit, and take responsibility for, regarding his doping while bicycle racing as a professional – isn’t yet known. Nor is viewer reaction, which may or may not elicit the sort of sympathetic response Armstrong presumably is seeking.

ARCHER
FX, 10:00 p.m. ET
SEASON PREMIERE:
Tonight’s episode begins with a knowing wink: Secret agent Archer, whose voice is provided by H. Jon Benjamin, is seen living a different life as Bob, the owner of Bob’s Burgers. Bob’s Burgers, of course, is another prime-time animated sitcom – and another one in which the title character is voiced by Benjamin. So it all makes sense – until it gets very bloody, at least for a cartoon. Welcome back, Archer.

LEGIT
FX, 10:30 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
FX’s newest comedy series stars, and is co-created by, Australian standup comic Jim Jefferies, whose character here voices some outrageous, intentionally provocative viewpoints – yet, at times, allows some warm sensitivity to shine through. For a full review, see Eric Gould’s The Cold Light Reader.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/

* * * *

Critic's Notes
The Spy Who Bugged Me: Archer is a Dummy, But Still Funny
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 17, 2013

According to FX press descriptions, secret agent Sterling Archer is a dashing rake, a top field operative and "a colossal tool." It's hard not to disagree. As lucky as he is in getting out of a jam, he's equally inept (more like an egotistical ass) when it comes to doing the right thing by his fellow agents — and even his own mother.

Not that this is new territory for Archer or us, but it continues to work. The show's fourth season (which begins Thursday, January 17 at 10 p.m. ET) has a familiar ring to it, with Archer and his pals at ISIS (the International Secret Intelligence Service) doing everything they can to outflank the enemy while undercutting each other like a dysfunctional group of 8 year olds.

Archer, (brilliantly voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) is still given to the juvenile rants of that aforementioned demographic. And the series hasn't ventured outside of its successful formula of a bitter, bungling covert gang that can't shoot straight yet somehow backs into victory each week.

Not that it needs to. Why mess with a show that made a few Top Ten lists in 2012? Archer stands alongside Family Guy and South Park as one of the top adult cartoons, one that is smart, quick, and an equal opportunity offender.

No cow is too sacred or out of range of the ISIS gunsights as they attack subjects ranging from gender and sexual orientation to affirmative action and everyday common decency. (ISIS might as well be a haven for the Freudian id unleashed.)

Series creator Adam Reed (Sealab 2021) also has more than a few film homages left in the arsenal, too. Season four picks up with Archer suffering amnesia, and he's now taken up with a new family and tending a short-order grill (left) à la Viggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence (2005). Similarly left with no memory of his former life of intrigue, thugs from his past arrive for payback. Later, in Episode 3, (January 31) he crawls through ductwork to escape (out of his own headquarters that he, duh, accidentally exploded) Bruce Willis-style (in Die Hard).

This season's first four episodes find Archer also confronting an old friend from his ISIS training days (Timothy Olyphant from FX's Justified), his childhood fear of robots and his new stepfather (Ron Liebman, Kaz, The Sporanos) who may not be the retiring Jewish car dealer he seems to be.

Series regulars Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell and Judy Greer are still in tow, as the espionage gang more set on personal gain than on keeping the Free World safe. Jessica Walter, as Sterling's domineering mother, Malory, and impatient head of ISIS, is also still dishing out plenty of mommy issues for Archer to absorb. Archer can quickly dispense with counter-intelligence thugs who are out to kill him, but he still can't quite seem to outstep his familial problems.

The series sports one of the better main title sequences going, hyping its James Bond-styled brand with silhouetted female agents and sixties bongos knocking out the sex and danger themes.

Archer can also still claim one of the best animation styles around these days. Born from the old Johnny Quest-style of illustration-realism, it has an extra layer of irony-steeped art direction with a mash-up of high rolling interiors and arcane technology that feels like '70s discounts out of Radio Shack.

Those anachronistic tools are appropriate, as the human ones at ISIS are as about as up-to-date in their in their interpersonal skills — and their ability to behave like adults.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogPostDetails.aspx?postId=4074
Edited by dad1153 - 1/17/13 at 9:17am
post #84625 of 93720
TV Notes
A Show Makes Friends and History
‘Scandal’ on ABC Is Breaking Barriers
By Tanzina Vega, The New York Times - Jan. 17, 2013

“Scandal,” now in its second season, has been a success for ABC. Last week the show had 3.52 million viewers aged 18 to 49 and 8.4 million total viewers. Among the group aged 18 to 34 it typically ranks first in its 10 p.m. Thursday time slot. A political thriller set in Washington, “Scandal” has attracted some inside-the-beltway fans like the political strategists Donna Brazile and Roland S. Martin, who have both tweeted about the show.

The show’s other sweet spot — one that network executives seem less eager to discuss — is its success among African-American audiences. According to Nielsen “Scandal” is the highest rated scripted drama among African-Americans, with 10.1 percent of black households, or an average of 1.8 million viewers, tuning in during the first half of the season.

One reason for that success is the casting of Kerry Washington, who became the first African-American female lead in a network drama in almost 40 years. (The first was Diahann Carroll starring as a widowed single mother working as a nurse in the 1968 series “Julia.” A second show, “Get Christie Love,” starring Theresa Graves as an undercover cop, had its debut in 1974.)

Her casting has prompted discussion among academics and fans of the show about whether “Scandal” represents a new era of postracial television, in which cast members are ethnically diverse but are not defined by their race or ethnicity.

“There’s an audience of African-Americans who just want to see themselves in a good story, not necessarily a race-specific show,” said Joan Morgan, a fan of the series and the author of “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost,” a book about black women and feminism today. “It’s not about this being a black show,” Ms. Morgan said. “It’s about seeing the show where black women and other women are represented less about race and more about who they are.”

“Scandal” follows the twists and turns of Olivia Pope, a political fixer played by Ms. Washington, and her team of lawyers, hackers and political insiders. The character is loosely based on the real Washington operative Judy Smith, a former member of the George H. W. Bush White House and well-known crisis manager who has represented, among others, Monica Lewinsky and Michael Vick. (Ms. Smith is a co-executive producer on the show). Olivia is also having an affair with the president of the United States, Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III, played by Tony Goldwyn.

Asked whether she felt any pressure being in this unusual position, Ms. Washington said the pressure was on the audience more than on the cast and crew. She said in an e-mail: “The question was: Are audiences ready to have the stories that we tell on television to be more inclusive? Are we ready for our protagonists to represent people of all different genders and ethnicities?”

“I think the success of the show speaks to how we have become more inclusive as a society because the fans of the show span all different races and ages and genders,” she wrote. “It’s very exciting.” For Dr. Brittney Cooper, co-founder of Crunk Feminist Collective and assistant professor of women’s studies at Rutgers University, the subtleties of Ms. Washington’s character, Olivia Pope, make her most attractive.

“The few black women we’ve seen in prime-time roles in scripted shows, they have to be morally above scrutiny, and she’s not,” Dr. Cooper said. In addition to her relationship with the president, Ms. Washington’s character has defended the reputations of dictators, executives and politicians.

“She’s the most complex black female lead we’ve ever seen in prime time,” Dr. Cooper said. “You’re not getting an archetype, you’re not getting a stereotype, you’re getting a fully fledged human being,” she said.

Shonda Rhimes, the executive producer and creator of the show declined repeated requests for an interview, and representatives for the show seem less interested in talking about the subject of race and “Scandal.” While excited about the show’s success among African-American audiences, they were eager to point out the show’s success among all audiences.

Ms. Rhimes also created “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice,” shows that have also prominently featured ethnically diverse casts and interracial relationships. One of the few instances in which race was directly addressed by the characters in “Scandal” was an exchange between Olivia and Fitz, as the president is known. Olivia, discussing their relationship, tells him, “I’m feeling a little Sally Hemings-Thomas Jefferson about all this.” Later Fitz confronts Olivia and tells her that the comment was “below the belt.”

“You’re playing the race card on the fact that I’m in love with you,” he says.

Twitter and Facebook lit up with reaction. “Rhimes is so smart.” said Dr. Kaila Story, who holds the Audre Lorde chair in race, class, gender and sexuality studies at the University of Louisville. She said the producer wanted to make clear this was a very different kind of relationship. “The whole institution of enslavement in and of itself does not engender a romantic relationship,” Dr. Story said.

Social media was part of the show’s strategy from the beginning. During broadcasts cast members live-tweet about each episode. “The fans look forward to joining the cast each week so they can ‘watch together’ and talk about the show while it’s on,” Marla Provencio, the executive vice president for marketing and the chief marketing officer at the ABC Entertainment Group, wrote in an e-mail.

The network’s efforts seem to have paid off. The show has a healthy number of people tweeting during the broadcast, and virtual “Scandal” parties have sprung up on Facebook so friends can watch and comment together. The last episode of the show before its hiatus in December generated 2,838 tweets per minute and a total of 157,601 tweets.

“I can connect with my sister in Houston, my friends who are living across the country, everybody who is watching the show,” said Diane Johnson a vice president in Washington for Ketchum, a public relations company, and an avid fan of the show who was invited to a virtual Facebook party. “It enhances the entertainment factor for me.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/arts/television/scandal-on-abc-is-breaking-barriers.html?ref=media&_r=0
post #84626 of 93720
TV Review
Jim Jefferies tries to go 'Legit' in warm new FX comedy
Australian comic helps out a disabled friend
By Alan Sepinwall, HitFix.com - Jan. 16, 2013

"Change is good, you know?" comedian Jim Jefferies announces early in his new FX series "Legit," which debuts Thursday night at 10:30. "Can't keep going on like this. I think I'd like to have kids."

Jim sounds sincere as he explains this to his friend Steve (Dan Bakkedahl), but quickly adds that he doesn't want to get married — that, in an ideal world, he would meet a woman, get her pregnant, and she would stick around long enough to get the baby through the sleepless nights/dirty diaper phase before conveniently dying.

"That would really be best for everyone," he explains to a horrified Steve, who tries to work around his friend's narcissism by suggesting, "My therapist says if you want to get out of your head, you do something nice for someone else."

"Legit" is the story of a selfish pig who decides to do something nice for someone else, but it's not a fairy tale. Jim does the right things, but inevitably for the wrong reasons, and always with a twisted logic that makes it hard to see any of his actions as entirely generous.

Steve, you see, has a younger brother named Billy (DJ Qualls) with a severe case of muscular dystrophy. He's confined to a motorized wheelchair and is capable of very limited movement: he can manipulate a computer mouse, but needs you to put his hand on it, and his only way to "leave the room" if he's mad at you is to turn his head. Steve likes Billy but finds the nursing home he lives in too depressing to visit. But Steve drags him along one day, and Billy sees in Jim an opportunity to get out of the home, visit a brothel, and finally lose his virginity.

Before Billy can even finish the request, an enthusiastic Jim interrupts to say, "Yes! I was put on Earth to make this happen!"

This is "Legit" in sick, funny microcosm. Jim really does want to help Billy, but he's also excited by the very idea of being part of such an event, and begins recognizing that there are advantages to being publicly associated with a disabled friend. — When Steve learns that his parents were told about the excursion by Jim, Jim boasts, "I've been telling everyone!"

Jim and Steve not only take Billy to a whorehouse, but eventually liberate him from the home altogether and install him in their apartment, hoping to give him the kind of fun life that his condition has largely deprived him of for 32 years — and if Jim gets some fringe benefits out of the deal (like being able to check out the women Billy video chats with), then so much the better.

In addition to playing a fictionalized version of himself, Jefferies is also a writer and executive producer on "Legit" (along with Peter O'Fallon and Rick Cleveland), and the show feels very tonally similar to FX's "Wilfred" — and not just because fellow Australians Jefferies and Jason Gann could pass for brothers. Both are comedies in the sense that they're a half-hour long and at times capable of explosive, raunchy humor, but they're more interested in watching their main characters learn how to be men. There are good jokes (particularly in the premiere, the first of three episodes I've seen), but the show is dominated by an unexpected feeling of warmth and generosity. Jim really does want to help Billy, and to be a better person, even if his intentions are always undercut by his approach and ego.

Jefferies, a more popular comic in real life than he is on the show, has a cocky, scruffy appeal — imagine Ricky Gervais as a David Brent who was sometimes capable of being as charming as he thought he was — and he works well with Bakkedahl and Qualls. And Billy is a great role for Qualls, who's been bouncing around showbiz since "Road Trip," an odd duck Hollywood never knows quite what to do with, even though everyone knows they want to do something with him. Jim is the protagonist, but Billy is more than just his charity project. He has needs and desires and flaws, and he really does like Jim beyond seeing him as a useful tool.

By design, "Legit" isn't as consistently funny as some other FX comedies like "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," but it nicely occupies that border between comedy and drama that have become home to both "Wilfred" and "Louie." It's a charming series that feels like it has a lot of potential for growth, and not just because its main character has nowhere to go but up.

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-jim-jefferies-tries-to-go-legit-in-warm-new-fx-comedy
post #84627 of 93720
TV Notes
USA Network Entering Late-Night Game
By Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 17, 2013

USA Network is in very early stages of developing a late-night talk show from Will Ferrell's Gary Sanchez Productions, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The project, currently untitled, would be in the vein of morning talk shows but would air at 12:01 a.m., as TV Guide first reported. If it moves forward, it would mark USA's first foray into the crowded late-night game, which already includes the likes of Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien and Jon Stewart.

The Big Bang Theory's Rob Cohen and NTSF: SD: SUV's Owen Burke will executive produce the project.

This marks USA's desire to expand its focus from scripted dramas to comedies and reality programming. Later this year, the cable network will roll out unscripted series The Moment with Kurt Warner and The Choir. USA's Modern Family acquisition will help serve as a launch pad for upcoming comedy pilots, including Paging Dr. Freed and Sirens.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/usa-network-entering-late-night-412982
Edited by dad1153 - 1/17/13 at 9:17am
post #84628 of 93720
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 #84629 of 93720
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
‘American Idol’ Posts Lowest-Rated In-Season Premiere, Down 19% From Last Year
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jan. 17, 2013

The complete revamp of the judging panel with Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban could not stop the ratings decline for Fox’s American Idol. The series’ 12th season last night opened with a 6.0 rating among adults 18-49, down 19% from the 11th Season premiere last January, and 17.8 million total viewers, down also 19%. It was Idol‘s lowest-rated in-season premiere. Still, the singing competition’s debut ranks as one of the highest-rated entertainment telecasts this season and No.1 among fellow unscripted series. The two-hour opener gave Fox the highest-rated night with entertainment programming of any network so far this season and outrated the ABC, CBS and NBC combined by 11%.

Idol has been on a downswing ever since the meteoric highs of Season 6, which opened with 15.8 18-49 rating and 37.4 million viewers. The only time the show was able to stem the ratings erosion since then was with the first big judging panel makeover in 2010 when the Season 10 premiere with new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler posted a 11.8 in 18-49, up a smidgen from Season 9′s 11.7.

Elsewhere, ABC somewhat puzzling scheduled its big Pritchett baby episode of Modern Family, in which Gloria gives birth, against the Idol season debut. The hit comedy (4.8/11), which had been building towards the birth since last season’s finale, was down 9% from last week. The entire ABC comedy block was pushed down by Idol. The Middle (2.3/7) was down 4% from last week, Neighbors (1.9/5) down 10%, and Suburgatory (2.4/6) down 8%. But at 10 PM, Nashville (2.2/6) perked up, up 5% for its best 18-49 rating since the series premiere.

On CBS, following an NCIS repeat (1.1/3), Criminal Minds (2.8/7) was down 10% from its last original five weeks ago but posted its largest audience of the season (12.5 million). Not facing Idol, CSI (2.3/6) was up 5% from five weeks ago and edged Nashville for the No.1 spot at 10 PM. The CW’s lineup also returned after a long winter break. Arrow held steady in total viewers (3.1 million) and was up a tenth in A18-49 (1.1/3) from its last fresh episode in mid-December. Supernatural also was on par in total viewers (2.1 million) and in A18-49 (0.9/2) and up slightly in 18-34 (0.9/3). NBC stayed out of contention with repeats.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/ratings-rat-race-american-idol-posts-lowest-rated-in-season-premiere-down-19-from-last-year/
post #84630 of 93720
TV Notes
Steven Bochco 'Killing'-style drama pilot ordered at TNT
By James Hibberd, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Jan. 16, 2013

Crime drama pioneer Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues) is edging closer to getting a new police procedural on the air.

Bochco’s Murder in the First has just received a pilot order from TNT. Set in San Francisco, the murder mystery shares something in common with AMC’s The Killing — following season-long cases rather than a crime-of-the-week format.

If greenlit to series, the first season will follow two seemingly unrelated high profile murder cases. The story will begin with the crimes, then take us through the police investigation, arrest and trial . Characters include two SFPD homicide inspectors, a Silicon Valley wunderkind who is a celebrated CEO of a cutting-edge tech firm and a prime suspect, a defense attorney and prosecutors. As the series unfolds, the investigations and prosecutions will “provide viewers with a window into the soul of modern justice in an increasingly complex world.”

Bochco is teaming with writer Eric Lodal (Lawless) on the show. And for those wondering: No, the show is not related to the 1995 Kevin Bacon movie with the same title.

http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/01/16/steven-bochco-murder-in-the-first/
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