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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2824

post #84691 of 93800
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Edited by dad1153 - 1/26/13 at 11:01pm
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 20, 2013

KING
BET, 10:30 a.m. ET

This 1978 miniseries is being repeated, quite appropriately, by BET to acknowledge Martin Luther King Day, which is tomorrow. But when this NBC drama first was televised, it was timely, too: Its telecast marked 10th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and it drew a very esteemed roster of talent to the project. Abby Mann, who wrote Judgment at Nuremberg for Playhouse 90, wrote and directed the miniseries. And what a cast: Paul Winfield plays King, Cicely Tyson is his wife Coretta, Ossie Davis plays King’s father, and other cast members, playing famous historical figures, include Dick Anthony Williams as Malcolm X, Cliff de Young as Robert Kennedy, Howard E. Rollins, Jr. as Andrew Young, and Tony Bennett as… himself.

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS VS. ATLANTA FALCONS
Fox, 3:00 p.m. ET

So far in these playoffs, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick already has shattered one record, running for more yards (181) than any QB in history. But the Falcons are strong on defense, so this could be a very interesting matchup – especially since Falcons QB Matt Smith gains a lot of yards, too, but in the air.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: BALTIMORE RAVENS VS. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
CBS, 6:30 p.m. ET

When these teams last faced each other, early in the season, the Ravens fought back from a 13-point deficit to win by a single point, 31-30, kicking the winning field goal as time expired. Patriots QB Tom Brady has the experience, and adaptability, for this rematch, but Ravens QB Joe Flacco is no slouch. So far this postseason, his quarterback rating is 120.

MASTERPIECE CLASSIC: "DOWNTON ABBEY"
PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

This is a very strong episode – one that demonstrates why this third season of Downton Abbey is its best yet. When current events in the outside world intrude upon the inhabitants, workers and guests at the Abbey, they do so in more subtle ways this year – as when the Irish civil war sparks a very emotional and volatile debate at dinner. But the personal stories continue to dominate, as when, in this week’s installment, Bates’ prison term begins to worry Anna, because she stops hearing from him as regularly as before. Check local listings.

GIRLS
HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Season 2 continues to demonstrate strength, by deepening as well as redefining its characters as well as their relationships. Tonight, Hannah (Lena Dunham) has a conversation with her new boyfriend, Sandy (Donald Glover), that makes each of them question, and defend, why they’re together. It’s a great scene, and a memorable conversation – and just one of many in tonight’s installment.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
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TV Notes
Condoleezza Rice, Taylor Branch on ‘Face the Nation’; Eva Longoria on ‘This Week’
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel's 'TV Guy' Blog

White House senior adviser David Plouffe will be a guest on ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’ “Face the Nation,” CNN’s “State of the Union” and “Fox News Sunday.”

The guest lineup this Sunday morning:

“Fox News Sunday” also welcomes Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who is vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. The program starts at 10 a.m. on WOFL-Channel 35. The panel will be Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Juan Williams and Liz Marlantes of The Christian Science Monitor.

CBS’ “Face the Nation” also talks to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Dee Dee Myers of Vanity Fair, Bob Woodward of The Washington Post and Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal. The program starts at 10:30 a.m. on WKMG-Channel 6. Assessing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy will be Taylor Branch, author of “The King Years”; Joe Califano, former secretary of Health, Education and Welfare; and Dr. James Peterson of Lehigh University. The program also interviews the Castro twins: Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, and Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio.

“State of the Union” starts at 9 a.m. on CNN. The other guests are Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Don Baer, former speechwriter for President Clinton; Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.; Susan Page of USA Today; and CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein.

ABC’s “This Week” welcomes Eva Longoria, who is co-chair of the Presidential Inauguration Committee and executive producer of Latino Inaugural 2013. The program starts at 11 a.m. on WFTV-Channel 9. The roundtable will be George Will and Cokie Roberts of ABC; political strategist Matthew Dowd; Jennifer Granholm, host of Current TV’s “War Room” and former Michigan governor; and Rick Santorum, former Republican presidential candidate and chair of Patriot Voices.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” talks to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Schumer is chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The program starts at 9 a.m. on WESH-Channel 2. The panel will be NBC’s Tom Brokaw, Richard Engel and Chuck Todd; David Axelrod of the Obama campaign; MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough; and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_tv_tvblog/2013/01/condoleezza-rice-taylor-branch-on-face-the-nation-eva-longoria-on-this-week.html
post #84694 of 93800
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Well this is not good as I believe DirecTV is charging extra(above and beyond the regular sports channel packs) for the TWC Lakers channel so I'm assuming they'll do the same for this channel.
It would not be a new channel, they would use the existing channel to show the Dodgers in the summer while the Lakers are off.
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TV Notes
Katie Coutic To Interview On-Camera Manti Te’o And His Parents Over Girlfriend Hoax
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadine.com - Jan. 20, 2013

The second “big get” interview in as many weeks has landed outside of the broadcast networks’ news division, once the go-to place for most figures at the center of a controversy. Katie Couric will conduct the first on-camera interview with Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o and his parents since the story of Te’o tragic girlfriend was exposed as a fraud. (He athlete did an off-camera interview with ESPN on Friday).

The interview will air Thursday on Couric’s syndicated talk show. Previews for the chat will air on ABC News platforms, Good Morning America, World News and Nightline.

Earlier this week, disgraced cyclist admitted to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on her cable network OWN.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/katie-coutic-to-interview-on-camera-manti-teo-and-his-parents-over-girlfriend-hoax/
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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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TV Notes
'Fringe' ratings up for finale: How the show survived
By James Hibberd, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Jan. 19, 2013

The final episode of Fringe delivered the drama’s biggest audience of the season.

Sure, it still wasn’t very much. The two-hour series closer had only 3.2 million viewers and a 1.0 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, on par with its fourth season finale.

But that’s part of the Fringe story — a show Fox liked enough to keep on the air long past its ratings expiration date. In fact, Fox’s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly has previous cited Fringe has the network’s make-up gift to the sci-fi community. Granted, one of his predecessors killed Firefly, but Fox let this fan-favorite play out. “Fringe has been a point of pride,” the executive once said. “I share the passion for the show the fans have. I love that Fox, after letting down genre fans over the years [came through with Fringe].”

There were, of course, other considerations for the show’s unusual longevity — a drama series surviving on a major broadcast network with a CW-sized overnight rating is no easy trick. Fox has really struggled on Fridays and needed to have something pulling a stable number, the show gained rather significantly from DVR playback (often gaining more than 60 percent), there’s a valuable relationship at stake with the show’s influential executive producer team (including J.J. Abrams), and the network was able to successfully make renewal deals with studio Warner Bros., which really wanted Fringe to hit that key five-season benchmark that helps sell a show into syndication (Science Channel picked up the rights to Fringe last year).

And creatively, Fringe was just a cool show that fans and critics felt passionately about. Sometimes, that makes a real difference. EW’s Ken Tucker gave last night’s finale a rave, saying Fringe “fulfilled nearly every promise it made to its audience over the course of five seasons. It remained true to its core values: the primacy of family, the sacredness of trust, the joy of a good joke, the exhilaration of intellectual inquiry, and the jolting power of love.”

http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/01/19/fringe-series-finale-ratings/

* * * *

Maureen Ryan's 'Fringe' Finale Review: The Pleasures And Pain Of A Show That Created Its Own Fate
Edited by dad1153 - 1/20/13 at 12:28pm
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TV Notes
'Pawn Stars'' Rick Harrison to wed, with Chumlee as ring bearer
By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times - Jan. 18, 2013

A whole new plotline may be coming to "Pawn Stars": Rick is getting married.

Rick Harrison, star of History's hit reality show, will wed his fiancee Deanna Burditt on July 21 in Laguna Beach, according to People magazine.

"It will be a lot of friends and family," Harrison told the magazine. "It started off with about 40 people and it's well over 100 people now. You know how those things go."

The most special part? The ring bearer will be none other than Chumlee, Harrison's ne'er-do-well employee who frequently upstages everyone else on "Pawn Stars," which revolves around the deal-making at a family-owned pawn shop in downtown Las Vegas.

"I just had no idea there was so much involved," Harrison said of the wedding plans.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-pawn-stars-rick-harrison-to-wed-with-chumlee-as-ring-bearer-20130117,0,7605188.story
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Profile
Mike White Would Like to Make You Squirm
By David A. Keeps, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Jan. 20, 2013

Hiding under a cap that declares LIFE’S RAD, Mike White sits in a Los Angeles café, biting his nails and perusing the menu’s vegan options. “Hey, man,” says the 42-year-old Pasadena native, rather dudelike, when I arrive. He speaks with the endearing crackle of a postpubescent boy, but as a writer-director-actor-producer, White’s honed a deeply resonant voice, sharply attuned to the mortifying horror of becoming an adult.

Over the past fifteen years, he’s delivered a memorable array of earnestly embarrassing ****-ups. After writing for Dawson’s Creek and Freaks and Geeks, he helped broaden then-neighbor Jack Black’s blunderbuss appeal with the scripts for School of Rock and Nacho Libre. White had a Sundance hit in the dark 2000 comedy Chuck and Buck, in which he played, as he puts it, a “lost, gay predator ******.” People walked out of the first screening, and he left the theater thinking he was going to vomit, but the experience emboldened him.

“I’m attracted to polarizing characters who upend the civility of life,” says White, now the co-creator and showrunner of HBO’s Enlightened (Sundays at 9:30 p.m.), a satire about New Age idealism and corporate espionage. The series, currently in its second season, continues to preach White’s gospel—Blessed are the awkward, for they shall teach us grace—but this year the plot thickens, with even more cringe-inducing developments. “It’s not that I get off on making people squirm, but it’s good for them,” he says. “The purpose of making people feel uncomfortable is to play with their preconceptions. Everybody deserves compassion. We’re all imperfect. I’m a weird guy. I’m practically albino. What about me isn’t weird?”

Consider the evidence: White is the son of Lyla, former executive director at the Pasadena Playhouse, and Mel, a preacher and past ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. “He would mix pop culture into his theology, and write sermons like ‘The Scriptures According to Maude,’ ” White says of his dad. In 1994, Mel came out of the closet and became a gay activist. “It rocked my world for sure, but it made sense,” remembers White, who had a childhood obsession with Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? “It fit a narrative that I was already intrigued by—the secret lives people live behind closed doors.”

Mel’s disclosure stole Mike’s thunder. “For me, being not straight was weird, but it was also fun to be different,” says White, who shares his Santa Monica home with French bulldogs Ginger and Tootsie and is currently in a relationship with a fellow named Josh. “I like the idea that everybody has to grapple with sexuality. Maybe I want to problematize it, because being different forces you to be free of conventional expectations.”

White unleashed himself at Wesleyan University, which provided “culture and sophisticated Jewish kids from New York,” he says dreamily. “I still think of heaven as a liberal-arts school. They had to drag me out of there.” Ironically, his first writing job upon returning to L.A. was “a stupid college-party movie, Dead Man on Campus, and early on the director said, ‘I don’t want you on the set.’ ” Henceforth, White wrote scripts with characters he could play. “Acting is a challenge and a potential embarrassment,” he says, “but it’s a way to participate without being sent back to your cave to write.”

Though he’s modest about his performances, White has come to embody a type—gawky, geeky, and socially inept—in over a dozen roles, including the aptly named Ned Schneebly in School of Rock. In Enlightened, he plays Tyler, a computer nerd so seemingly insignificant that White can’t even recall if he gave the character a last name. The role is given greater heft this season with the introduction of a love interest, played by Molly Shannon. The characters’ consummation is consummate: Fumblingly shy, White appears in a doorway stripped down to tighty-whities. “I didn’t want to be in my underwear,” he says, “but after seeing Lena Dunham’s nooks and crannies, I had to put it out there.”

But Enlightened is more autobiographical than graphic. In the pilot, protagonist Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) comes unglued and is packed off to rehab. White himself suffered a nervous breakdown as a showrunner on his 2004 Fox comedy Cracking Up. And he sees some of his father in Dern’s messiah-martyr character. “I haven’t really parsed this until just now,” he says. “But my dad wanted what Amy wants—to be good, and to be seen as being good.”

White, too, has grappled with self-realization. He once underwent thrice-weekly sessions with a Freudian analyst but quit when the therapist refused to disclose why a nun was lying on a coffee table in the reception area. “The unexamined life was preferable,” he says. In the wake of the 2008 Writers Guild strike, he made an audition tape for reality-competition show The Amazing Race. “I wanted an adventure,” he says, “like running a 6K through Siberia in my underwear and boots, being chased by a dwarf.” He and his father competed as a team in 2009 and in a 2011 all-star edition.

“The way I live my life is eccentric,” says White. “I can just float around. I know what it’s like to feel like everyone else got invited to a party and you didn’t, but I never felt loneliness, and I don’t even think I understand what that is. I’ll always be the guy on the outside looking in.”

White is currently adapting Santa Wars, about a battle within a union of mall Santa Clauses, from a “This American Life” segment, and recently produced the forthcoming horror flick Magic Magic by Sebastián Silva, the gay Chilean who directed the 2009 art-house hit The Maid. “I am never going to write the story about the guy with the wife and kids.” In fact, the only little feet White has heard at home were the sound of the rats he recently discovered in his kitchen. “I found a humane way to catch them,” he says, grinning impishly. “Then I drive over to the rich part of Santa Monica and let them go.”

http://www.vulture.com/2013/01/showrunner-mike-white-on-enlightened.html
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TV/Business Notes
A Drama’s Streaming Premiere
By Brian Stelter, The New York Times - Jan. 20, 2013

Early in the new Netflix series “House of Cards” the narrator and card player Representative Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, looks straight into the camera and tells viewers: “Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value.”

Underwood is speaking at a presidential inauguration, just outside the Capitol in Washington. As viewers observe the swearing-in he asks in a delicious Southern drawl, “Centuries from now, when people watch this footage, who will they see smiling just at the edge of the frame?” Then Underwood comes into frame again. He’s just a few rows away from the president. He gives the camera a casual wave.

Underwood, having been spurned in his bid to become secretary of state, is on a quest for power that’s just as suspenseful as anything on television. But his story will unspool not on TV but on Netflix, the streaming video service that is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in original programming. Its plan for showing “House of Cards,” an adaptation of a 1990 BBC mini-series set in Parliament, will itself be a departure from the usual broadcast approach. On Feb. 1 all 13 episodes will be available at once, an acknowledgment that many of its subscribers like to watch shows in marathon sessions.

Another 13 episodes are already in production. Odds are, then, that viewers are going to spend quite a while inside Underwood’s head as he tricks, coerces and sometimes intimidates his opponents. “He makes you complicit in an odd way,” said David Fincher, the acclaimed filmmaker who directed the first episode of the new series.

This is accomplished by having Mr. Spacey break the fourth wall, or address the audience directly. The original “House of Cards” did it too.

“I loved the idea of being intimately part of the thought process of this lead character, because he could take you aside and explain to you what he was doing and why he was doing it and where it was headed,” Mr. Fincher said.

He and the other producers won’t reveal exactly where their modern-day “Macbeth” ends up, though a shot at the presidency isn’t a bad guess. The characters introduced in the first two episodes include Representative Peter Russo, a pawn for Underwood, played by Corey Stoll (Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris”); Linda Vasquez, the president’s chief of staff, played by Sakina Jaffrey; and Underwood’s conniving wife, Claire, played by Robin Wright. “In politics there’s ambition, desire, lust, betrayal — all the same kinds of things we exhibit and experience in our own everyday lives,” said Beau Willimon, the show runner. Mr. Fincher, Mr. Willimon and many of the other players — all basically television novices — were brought together by Media Rights Capital, an independent studio that had optioned the rights to “House of Cards” thanks to an intern who recommended it to Mordecai Wiczyk, the studio’s co-founder.

Mr. Fincher was finishing “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” when he was introduced to the BBC mini-series by an agent. “David said, ‘I’d love to executive-produce this, and I’d like to bring Eric Roth with me,’ ” Mr. Wiczyk recalled. “Generally speaking, when you get that phone call, you just say yes. Which I did.”

Mr. Roth had written the screenplay for “Benjamin Button.” Next, Mr. Fincher said, they had to “find a writer who would do the due diligence to transplant parliamentary politics to Washington.” Enter Mr. Willimon, who had written the play “Farragut North” and turned it into the film “The Ides of March.” After watching the BBC mini-series, he said, “I saw tons of great opportunities to make it our own, to make it contemporary, to broaden its scope and deepen its story.” It’s a “reinvention,” he added, not a mere remake.

By the time Mr. Willimon completed the pilot in early 2011, Mr. Spacey’s agent had started asking about the project. (Artistic director of the Old Vic theater in London, “Kevin is an Anglophile,” Mr. Wiczyk said.) The actor was part of the package Media Rights Capital brought to HBO, Showtime, AMC and other possible television buyers.

But before the studio met with any of them it put out a feeler to Netflix, thinking that fast-growing service might bid for the rights to repeat the show after a television premiere. The Netflix chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, a fan of the original, did what Netflix executives tend to do: He looked at the data. He found that Mr. Spacey and Mr. Fincher’s films were pretty popular among subscribers to Netflix’s streaming service. So were the films and TV shows in the category Netflix called “political thrillers.” And if that wasn’t enough evidence that a “House of Cards” reboot would fare well, there was this: The DVDs of the original mini-series were popular among subscribers to the company’s DVD-by-mail service.

Mr. Sarandos also sized up the project qualitatively. “It looked incredibly promising,” he said, “kind of the perfect storm of material and talent.”

He wanted exclusive rights to the show — a jaw-dropper at the time, since Netflix wasn’t in the exclusives business yet. His $100 million commitment to license 26 episodes, two seasons, sight unseen clinched the deal.

Since the deal was struck in March 2011 Netflix has taken a couple of tentative steps into original programming, picking up overseas shows that had never been seen in the United States before. But “House of Cards” is the first show that can be called made for Netflix. It’s also the first to be considered, by those that do such considering, as prestigious as the programs on HBO and other top-tier cable channels. Netflix plans to have premieres of several other original shows this year, including a new season of the canceled Fox comedy “Arrested Development”; “Hemlock Grove,” a horror series produced by Eli Roth; a comedy, “Orange Is the New Black,” from the “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan; and another called “Derek” from Ricky Gervais.

For “House of Cards” what was almost as important as the two-season commitment was Netflix’s promise of zero interference. “We’re placing our faith in you,” Mr. Sarandos told Mr. Fincher and the other producers.

Mr. Willimon said that he and his writing staff wrote drafts of all 13 episodes of the first season before filming commenced on a soundstage outside Baltimore last April — in contrast to most television shows that have a much more compressed timetable. What is compressed, in this case, is the release of the first season.

“We approached this creatively as a 13-hour movie,” said Mr. Willimon, who eschewed cliffhangers at the ends of some episodes because, well, he could. “Knowing we had two full seasons in advance, I didn’t feel the pressure to sell the end of each episode with superficial cliffhangers or shock tactics in order to keep coming back, in order to jack up the ratings week to week,” he said. “I hope our version of a cliffhanger is compelling, sophisticated characters and complex storytelling.”

Since the series is set in Washington, some viewers will surely wonder if the characters are stand-ins for a real political animals. “Yeah, people will be tempted to think that it’s a real-life portrayal of life in D.C.,” Mr. Sarandos said. “It’s not at all. It’s a piece of fiction that is incredible. It’s not an attempt to portray the nastiness of Washington. It’s an attempt to portray the nastiness of mankind.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/arts/television/house-of-cards-arrives-as-a-netflix-series.html?ref=technology
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TV Review
'The Following' (Fox)
By Brian Lowry, Variety

"The Following" is extremely well done, terrifically cinematic and, from a political standpoint, terribly ill timed -- not just featuring a charismatic serial killer and his equally homicidal cult-like followers, but in later episodes including an uncomfortable subplot involving a child. Still, if you're going to play on (or near) cable turf -- and that appears to be the goal -- there's no pulling punches, and exec producer Kevin Williamson delivers a full-throttle ride that, four episodes in, proves twisty, unpredictable and tense. Weighing those assets against the unrelenting grimness, the series deserves its own loyal following, despite qualms about its durability.

Add episodic TV to Kevin Bacon's list of degrees. He plays former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who tracked down a Hannibal Lecter-like killer, a charming literary professor named Joe Carroll (a perfectly cast James Purefoy), with an inordinate fondness for Edgar Allan Poe. When Carroll escapes, Hardy is enlisted to help find him, though it gives little away to say Carroll's reach extends well beyond his cell, thanks to the messianic devotion of his followers.

In addition to the other agents who aren't quite sure what to make of the taciturn Hardy, there's Carroll's ex-wife ("Justified's" Natalie Zea), whose presence complicates matters in intriguing ways. Much of that is doled out through judicious flashbacks, filling in backstories for hunter, prey and other side characters in this gritty melodrama.

Perhaps foremost in a long list of serial-killer cinema, "The Following" brings to mind "Manhunter," Michael Mann's crisp 1986 movie that introduced the Lecter character to the screen before "Silence of the Lambs" moved him front and center. (Given the similarities, whether the resemblance bodes well for NBC's "Hannibal," directly inspired from novelist Thomas Harris' creation, remains to be seen.)

As with most entries in this genre, life is almost absurdly cheap -- and given the timing, perhaps too cheap. Still, about all Fox can do with the show at this point is slap a disclaimer on it, make clear this is very edgy stuff and hope the program finds the right audience, in sufficient numbers.

Based on the promos, the network clearly sees Bacon as the principal draw, and he's fine as the world-weary investigator. Still, Purefoy -- whose mixture of charm and malevolence dates back to "Rome" for stateside viewers -- steals virtually every scene he's in as the brilliant psychopath, whose ability to seduce, even through prison bars, is a pivotal aspect of the plot.

As tightly constructed as the early episodes are, a skeptic will no doubt ask how this premise can be sustained beyond its initial season, much less forevermore, and it's a fair question -- especially since the detectives often seem to be several moves behind the bad guys in the opening chapters. Darkness has its place, but outright bleakness can be a tough sell, especially for mass consumption.

Despite such reservations, Williamson's creation (directed by Marcos Siega) is so cleverly executed there's a desire to cut the show some slack, prepare some Fava beans to accompany a nice Chianti, and see just how far the producers can take this conceit -- letting the chips fall where they may. So for now, "Following," lead on.

THE FOLLOWING
Fox, Mon. Jan. 21, 9 p.m.


http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117948989/
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Nielsen Overnights
NHL Coverage Starts Strong On NBC
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jan. 20, 2013

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and ratings go higher. The much delayed start of the NHL season over protracted negotiations between players and the league scored for NBC. Yesterday’s two-game regional coverage on the network (Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers) posted a 2.0 overnight rating from 3:30-6:15 PM ET.

That was the highest overnight rating for regular-season coverage on any network in more than a decade and the highest overnight for regular-season coverage on NBC since its recent coverage of the league began in 2006, up 67% vs. last year’s 2011-12 regular-season average.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/nfl-coverage-starts-strong-on-nbc/

* * * *

Nielsen Overnights
‘SNL’ Ratings On Par In Return To Originals

In its first new show in more than a month, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, with host Jennifer Lawrence and musical guest The Lumineers, last night drew 4.9/12 in the metered-market households and a 2.8/12 among adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with Local People Meters.

That was roughly on par with SNL‘s last original before the break, the holiday edition with host Martin Short and musical guest Paul McCartney (+Nirvana), which posted a 5.1/12 in households and a 2.8/12 in 18-49 on December 15.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/snl-ratings-on-par-in-return-to-originals/
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TV Notes
Barbara Walters Hospitalized After Fall
By Jane Kellogg, The Hollywood Reporter - Jan. 20, 2013

In Washington to cover President Barack Obama's inauguration, veteran ABC journalist Barbara Walters lost her footing and fell on a stair Saturday night while at the D.C. home of British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott.

Westmacott was hosting a tea and champagne party at his residence, when the cohost of The View, 83, fell while leaving and cut her forehead.

“Out of an abundance of caution, she went to the hospital to have her cut tended to, have a full examination and remains there for observation," said Jeffrey W. Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, in a statement. "Barbara is alert (and telling everyone what to do), which we all take as a very positive sign."

Walters will not be contributing to ABC's coverage of the inauguration Monday, according to TV Newser, and may be off the air for several days while she recovers.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/barbara-walters-hospitalized-fall-414008
post #84704 of 93800
Technology Notes
New search tool will test Zuckerberg's balancing act
By John Shinal, USA Today - Jan. 20, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — When the value of a social-media business depends on content that consumers give it for free, disappointing users is a sure route to oblivion.

Just ask Myspace and Friendster.

That's why Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has to balance the need for Facebook revenue growth against the quality of the Facebook user experience every time the company rolls out a major new feature.

But that high-wire act may prove just a warm-up to the complicated challenge Zuckerberg has created for himself and his team, now that Facebook has launched a search service.

It's not just that he's taken direct aim at Google, a company with a 12-year head start on search technology and an income statement whose revenue and profit dwarf those of Facebook.

But Zuckerberg has also just launched a service which, if it succeeds as hoped, will likely change the Facebook user experience more than any other feature has.

That's because search is one of the Internet's killer apps, alongside e-mail, e-commerce, digital entertainment and free voice calls (the last of which Facebook also rolled out last week). Internet users conduct billions of searches a day via services from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft. If Facebook's search app produces helpful results, users will use it. A lot.

Yet if it does, Facebook is almost certain to allow online marketers to start advertising on its search results, just as the company does with its Timeline and News Feed features.

Zuckerberg said at the search event last week that those are the "three pillars" of Facebook, and it would be naive to think the company doesn't have a plan to make money from this new third pillar, just as it does for its other two.

But here's the thing: Once users' own profiles and pictures start popping up in the search results of people they don't know — which will be true for all users who allow their content to be viewed by "friends of friends," or the public at large — the experience will make clear an uncomfortable truth about the social network.

That is, even though users feel that they own their profiles and pages, every photo and piece of text they've ever posted on them belong to Facebook.

Facebook even "owns" the knowledge of your interests, which you express every time you click on a "Like" button.

Another thing that will soon become clear to search users is that the Facebook community is made up not just of consumers but also businesses, organizations and celebrities — all with a product to sell or brand to promote — and all with Fan pages on Facebook.

They're the ones that began putting ads in your Facebook News Feed last year.

After last week, it's easy to imagine that any corporation or small business or musician or artist or non-profit — or any other entity you've ever "Liked" on Facebook, or even commented on — will someday have an opportunity to place an ad on your search results, just as they do on Google's.

As in the past, Zuckerberg's challenge will be to walk the high wire — providing enough value to advertisers to compete with Google, balanced against the need to protect both the quality and uniqueness of the Facebook experience.

Like a Flying Wallenda, he's already got years of experience in leaning this way, then that, and his experience continues apace.

Last year, Facebook tried to implement a facial-recognition technology across the globe, then dialed it back in September after European regulators said it broke their privacy rules.

Last month, Facebook told users of its Instagram unit that the pictures they post could be made available to advertisers, which was another way of saying that from now on, they really belong to Facebook, which bought the website last summer for $1 billion. After an uproar, Facebook relented and delayed implementation of those changes — until last week, when its new search feature buried that news.

Clearly, we now know why Zuckerberg was so keen to snap up the site with the great photo-sharing technology: The ability to search images, as well as text and video, will be an important part of Facebook search, especially good for use in online dating applications, which already exist on Facebook.

With its new image and text search service, the company will be giving users a very big push toward the edge of the privacy comfort zone.

That's not to say users won't get used to it. On the contrary, Zuckerberg's record of successfully managing previous product rollouts is why his company was sold to the public last May for $100 billion. As of Friday, its market cap was $64.3 billion.

But it will take all of his high-wire skills if the new search function is going to be adopted widely enough to compete with search rivals, and in turn help Facebook grow revenue fast enough to justify its rich valuation.

John Shinal has covered tech and financial markets for 15 years at Bloomberg Businessweek, San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch, Wall Street Journal Digital Network and others.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/01/20/facebook-instagram-google-myspace-friendster-mark-zuckerberg/1841411/
post #84705 of 93800
Critic's Notes
Beware — serial killers loose on broadcast TV
The CW's 'Cult' and Fox's 'The Following' are new network television shows about murderers. There's reason to be concerned about the trend.
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times - Jan. 19, 2013

In an alarming bit of synchronicity, or what some might call a lack of cultural imagination, two new series premiering on network television nearly within a month will revolve around serial killings, and serial killings by proxy: "Cult," which begins Feb. 19 on the CW, and the similarly titled "The Following," which starts Monday on Fox. BBC America's period procedural "Ripper Street," meanwhile, began its eight-episode run Saturday not with the Jack but a murderer — if such a comparative may be allowed — even more distasteful. And NBC has "Hannibal," concerning the early days of Thomas Harris' cannibal killer, on its docket for a date to be announced.

This is nothing new. We are in Season 8 of CBS' "Criminal Minds," a weekly cavalcade of just such intricately devised horrors whose viewership has hovered pretty consistently between 12 million and 14 million, with its ranking improving as the overall size of the broadcast audience has shrunk; it is a palpable hit. And there is "Dexter," on Showtime, whose protagonist serially murders serial murderers.

At the recent Television Critics Assn. press conclave in Pasadena, where TV violence was a hot subject in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler and NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt — a Showtime executive when "Dexter" was born — were called on to defend their series.

Each stood behind the product. Greenblatt defended "Dexter" by saying it isn't as violent as "Criminal Minds." Tassler defended "Criminal Minds" as something meant for adults, and a show she likes. (Former star Mandy Patinkin, by contrast, told New York magazine awhile back that the series was "the biggest public mistake I ever made.... I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year.")

What is it about these characters that bothers me so?

They are supposed to bother us, of course, on the way to providing some sort of entertainment. (Perhaps it's the "entertainment" that's my problem.) Partly, it's that in spite of all the pathologies and florid particulars with which their creators dress them and the complicated manners of killing they devise for them, they are tediously alike. Partly it is that, being deviant, they have nothing much to tell us about ourselves or the world — there may be more serial killers about than we think, but there are fewer than we imagine — and partly it's the way that they are glamorized.

I understand that terror has its uses and am not averse to a bit of frightful catharsis; too much decorum in our shared fantasies can be as unhealthful as too little. Nor do I believe that, in a general way, violence in entertainment makes violent people; indeed, some studies have suggested quite the opposite. (A 2010 study from Texas A&M suggested, for instance, that "violent games reduce depression and hostile feelings in players through mood management.")

But it does create violence in the culture, in the social air we commonly breathe, and objections to it should not be dismissed merely because it can't be tied to a particular real-world act or because most of us are smart enough to tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

I recognize, as well, that great art has been made on this theme: "M," "Monsieur Verdoux," "The Night of the Hunter," "Peeping Tom," "Badlands" (a murder-spree story, technically), even that comedy chestnut "Arsenic and Old Lace." There is violence in Homer and Shakespeare, and, Lord knows, there is violence in the Bible — both the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament and the feel-His-pain torments of the New. Dante was a great inventor of tortures. But we are talking about somewhat lower horizons here.

In most popular fictions, the serial killer is often not just smart but brilliant: almost psychically sensitive to their opponents and prey, able to play the game 10 moves ahead. These figures are self-styled übermenschen (they are usually menschen), typically with an "artistic" bent. "He didn't just eviscerate 14 female students," Kevin Bacon's reactivated FBI agent says of James Purefoy's Poe-obsessed serial killer (and leader of serial killers) in "The Following," "he was making art."

Created by Kevin Williamson ("Scream," "Dawson's Creek"), "The Following," in which an imprisoned serial killer marshals an army of like-minded murderers, multiplying the effect, does seem to represent some sort of watershed for network TV. Its survival relies on the survival of its villain and, therefore, the continued failure of its hero, and an unending stream of variations on the central ritual — the stalking, the torture, the killing. ("Cult," a kind of meta-series about a show-within-the-show called "Cult," feels somewhat less gruesome for being more mysterious.) The success of "Criminal Minds" notwithstanding, and the many hands that had to sign contracts and checks to bring it to life, it strikes me as an odd, sad plan for a television show, at least in the framework of network broadcast TV.

As I never tire of pointing out, broadcast is not cable. It legally requires accountability, and not only to the stockholders and profit-takers of the large corporations that squat there and treat the frequencies they have been merely licensed to use as their actual property. When something airs there, it's as if it were being projected in a public square, and it is weak to argue that you can just avoid that square if you don't like it, when it is your square as much as anyone's.

The oft-heard claim from broadcasters that they need to be able to compete with cable, where things can be darker and more explicit, is weak. Their profits are not the people's concern; indeed, all the responsibility lies with the broadcasters, who are mandated to serve the public good, which is not exactly the same as giving the people what they want.

I don't mean to suggest any kind of censorship, only a plea for the self-reflection that money tends to crowd out. And just as we should be able to discuss the gun problem without their makers and admirers digging in their feet like obstreperous children, we should be able to talk about violent entertainments without their makers and admirers suggesting that their 1st Amendment rights or the sanctity of their first-person-shooter video games, their Dario Argento and "Saw" DVDs, is under attack.

For the generations who grew up on Freddie and Jason and Leatherface and the slasher films from whose conventions Williamson fashioned "Scream," and those who grew up on Quentin Tarantino's hyperbolic remakes of an even earlier generation's bloody fun, this may all seem a tempest in a teapot made from a human skull. There have been national panics before, after all, over this sort of thing — horror comics were once thought to signal the end of civilization, which was more or less functioning when last seen. We find amusingly quaint the terrors of olden days.

Every passing season sets a new level of tolerance for such things. Is raising that bar a worthwhile pursuit? Exactly what sort of glory attaches to being the person who topped "The Human Centipede"?

"Stop me before I kill again," goes the familiar phrase. It isn't likely, but it's worth a thought.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-serial-killers-tv-cult-the-following-20130120,0,1098257.story
post #84706 of 93800
TV Notes
HBO Plans New WWII Miniseries From Spielberg, Hanks - This Time About Air Force
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Jan. 18, 2013

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are developing a third World War II miniseries for HBO, this time focusing on the air war.

While "Band of Brothers" covered the war on land and "The Pacific" the sea, the untitled new project will look at the officers and enlisted men who served in the Eighth Air Force against Germany. Based in England, the men of the "Mighty Eighth" faced harsh physical, psychological and moral challenges.

The story will be based in part on Donald L. Miller's “Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany," though other books may provide source material as well, HBO said.

Hanks and Spielberg will executive produce, along with Gary Goetzman. The production companies are Playtone and Amblin Television.

"Band of Brothers" won six Emmys, including Outstanding Miniseries, in 2002. "The Pacific" win eight Emmys, including, again, Outstanding Miniseries, in 2010.

http://www.thewrap.com/tv/column-post/hbo-plans-new-wwii-miniseries-spielberg-hanks-time-about-air-force-73736
post #84707 of 93800
Critic's Notes
Disturbing ‘Following’ debuts; also ‘Private Practice’ ends, ‘Spartacus’ returns
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel's 'TV Guy' Blog - Jan. 20, 2013

The main TV highlight this week: “The Following” arrives on Fox.

TV needs another serial-killer drama the way Bill Gates needs more money.

Yet “The Following,” a brutal drama debuting at 9 p.m. Monday, jolts a tired genre. This extremely grim and adult thriller has three valuable players. Creator Kevin Williamson knows how to tell a sprawling mystery yet slip in the shocks to keep viewers riveted.

“The Following” has two powerful stars: Kevin Bacon brings a haggard intensity to former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who’s left shattered by his dealings with serial killer Joe Carroll. As the controlling Carroll, James Purefoy (“Rome”) shifts easily between charm and menace.

The series focuses on Carroll’s scary ability to mesmerize pathetic followers. Yet “The Following” balances that pack of loons with Hardy’s determined colleagues. The standout: Annie Parisse, who comes aboard as an FBI specialist in episode two.

Fox has endured a rough season so far, but “The Following” is a chilling step in the right direction. Keep in mind this warning, though: This horrifying show is not for the squeamish or the young.

Also this week:

“Private Practice,” the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff that never matched the original, wraps up after six seasons at 10 p.m. Tuesday on ABC. The show will give fans a big wedding for Addison (Kate Walsh) and a return visit by Broadway star Audra McDonald as Dr. Naomi Bennett.

“White Collar,” the USA drama, returns at 10 p.m. Tuesday with an episode that sends Neal undercover to thwart a kingpin in the Irish Mob.

ABC rolls out the two-hour premiere of “The Taste” at 8 p.m. Tuesday. This cooking contest seems to owe a debt to “The Voice,” because the judges are doing blind tastings. Those judges include Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson.

PBS’ “Nature” premieres the three-part “Life Stories” at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The program salutes filmmaker David Attenborough’s remarkable 60-year career.

“Project Runway” begins its 11th season at 9 p.m. Thursday on Lifetime. This time around, the contestants work as teams. The guest judges this season include Susan Sarandon and Bette Midler.

“Spartacus: War of the Damned” returnsat 9 p.m. Friday on Starz for the final season of the gladiator drama. You know how it’s going to end, from history and the Kirk Douglas movie, but Liam McIntyre is compelling as Spartacus.

Adam Levine hosts “Saturday Night Live” at 11:30 p.m. Saturday on NBC, and that news should please fans of “The Voice.” Kendrick Lamar is the musical guest.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_tv_tvblog/2013/01/disturbing-following-debuts-also-private-practice-ends-spartacus-returns.html
post #84708 of 93800
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRatPatrol View Post


It would not be a new channel, they would use the existing channel to show the Dodgers in the summer while the Lakers are off.

 

Good thing the Dodgers aren't playing now, because Laker fans would probably not be seeing their team as much.

 

I never really see them play, but it's been my understanding that the Lakers have been "off" all season.

post #84709 of 93800
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
HBO Plans New WWII Miniseries From Spielberg, Hanks - This Time About Air Force
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Jan. 18, 2013

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are developing a third World War II miniseries for HBO, this time focusing on the air war.

While "Band of Brothers" covered the war on land and "The Pacific" the sea, the untitled new project will look at the officers and enlisted men who served in the Eighth Air Force against Germany. Based in England, the men of the "Mighty Eighth" faced harsh physical, psychological and moral challenges.

The story will be based in part on Donald L. Miller's “Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany," though other books may provide source material as well, HBO said.

Hanks and Spielberg will executive produce, along with Gary Goetzman. The production companies are Playtone and Amblin Television.

"Band of Brothers" won six Emmys, including Outstanding Miniseries, in 2002. "The Pacific" win eight Emmys, including, again, Outstanding Miniseries, in 2010.

http://www.thewrap.com/tv/column-post/hbo-plans-new-wwii-miniseries-spielberg-hanks-time-about-air-force-73736

Tim Molloy should have done a little investigative work before writing that article. The Air Corps, a part of the US Army, became the Air Force, a separate branch in 1947. The war was over then. That said, as an Air Force veteran, I'll be watching....
post #84710 of 93800
TV Sports
NFL Network increasing Super Bowl coverage to 140 hours
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Jan. 20, 2013

In case anybody still had doubts about this, let's end them right now: There can never be enough Super Bowl coverage.

Consider that the league's NFL Network is scheduled to announce Tuesday sweeping increases in its on-air Super Bowl TV tonnage.

That will include a 10 1/2-hour pregame show, which along with a 3 1/2-hour post-game show, means NFLN will have 14 hours of game-day coverage -- up two hours over last year. Contractually, NFLN must end its Super Bowl about an hour before kickoff, as CBS airs the game. (NFLN will just show stats on an otherwise blank screen during the game.)

But NFLN executive producer Eric Weinberger told USA TODAY Sports Sunday that the aptly-named First on the Field pregame show starting at 7 a.m. ET could still grow in future years: "Maybe there'll be a day when we go on at 6 in the morning."

NFLN is upping the ante on its saturation coverage from throughout the week. When the channel covered the 2004 Super Bowl, its first one after going on-air in November 2003, it had a total of just 11 hours of coverage and 100 people working on production. This year, it will have 140 hours -- up 41% from last year -- 425 people and 11 sets in New Orleans, up from nine on-site sets last year. And it will deploy 35 on-air staffers, up from 30 last year.

NFLN's expansion comes at a time when on-site Super Bowl coverage from various networks is also expanding dramatically. CBS, which has never used its CBS Sports Network for on-site Super Bowl coverage, will use that cable channel for more than 50 hours of live coverage from New Orleans, including having its game announcers on a CBSSN post-game show. The NBC Sports Network cable channel, after airing just a handful of hours from last year's Super Bowl when NBC broadcast the game, will have more than 20 live hours from New Orleans. And ESPN, which pioneered the idea of showing up at events it wasn't airing and staging hours of on-air yak, will have more than 120 hours of live TV and radio programming from New Orleans.

So what is there to cover that justifies all this air time?

"We've taken press conference and turned them into compelling coverage," Weinberger said.

NFLN, year-round, has made shows out of things no one had thought of as made-for-TV -- who knew that draft prospects doing standing broad jumps at the NFL Combine should be TV programming? -- and from the Super Bowl next month it will air, well, just about everything. Like the press conferences of the halftime entertainment. (This year, the singer is Beyonce Knowles.)

"Other than the (NFL) Commissioner's conference, that's the second most-attended press conference of the week," Weinberger said.

Steve Bornstein, Chief Executive Officer of NFLN since January 2003, says the biggest concern when the channel launched was "whether a 12-month per year NFL-focused service would be viable." Since then, the channel has gone from reaching 12 million cable/satellite TV households to 72 million. But while Bornstein didn't specify to USA TODAY Sports exactly what kind NFL programming can still be added to the channel, he said "we certainly think we haven't reached the apex of the arc. ... Anything that's football is of interest to us. Do I see us doing college football spring games? Potentially."

This season NFLN increased its Thursday prime-time games from eight games to 13, with ratings up 8% from a year ago to 4.6% U.S. households. With that in mind, could the NFL sell the TV rights to those games to another network?

"We're constantly exploring options," said Bornstein, who was ESPN's CEO before coming to NFLN. "Nothing has been determined except they'll be 13 games on the NFL Network next season."

In the near-term, the idea is to be a vacuum cleaner in New Orleans. Says Weinberger: "If someone is talking about the Super Bowl at the Super Bowl, we're not going to miss it."

Spice rack: HBO's latest Real Sports, debuting Tuesday (10 p.m. ET), will feature Houston Rockets first-round draft pick Royce White discussing why he hasn't yet played for the team -- in part because he has anxiety about traveling by air. The power forward, in what's billed as his first TV interview since he he was suspended this month for failing to meet the demands of his contracts, discusses his anxieties generally. On the show, White says if he were to play in the NBA without the "safety measures" needed for his mental health, "I would be risking my health. I would be risking my life. What comes along when mental health goes untreated. Alcohol abuse. Marijuana abuse. Suicidal behavior." ... NBC opened its NHL coverage Saturday with regionalized coverage of Pittsburgh-Philadelphia/Chicago-Los Angeles -- that was added to its lockout-adjusted TV schedule. As shown in various sports with seasons shortened due to labor squabbles, the pent-up viewer demand often leads to heightened TV ratings. That coverage drew a 2.0 overnight rating, translating to 2% of the TV households in the 56 urban markets measured for overnights. That might not sound like much. But it's the highest NHL regular-season overnight, excluding Winter Classic games, on any network since 2002. ... Fox's Troy Aikman Sunday said of Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez that he's "hoping he comes back" rather than retiring. But here's an easy prediction: If the future Hall of Famer does retire, he'll have his pick of TV jobs. ... Bizarre, but funny. Fox pregame comedian Rob Riggle Sunday had a skit in which he sort of played former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in a press conference. How's this for how far NFL TV pregame shows have come: Riggle's character, in a reference to Notre Dame's Manti Te'o: "Fake girlfriend? I've been there. And she was hot!"

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2013/01/20/nfl-network-super-bowl-nhl-espn-fox/1849489/
post #84711 of 93800
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY 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 - The Bachelor (120 min.)
10:01PM - Castle
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Ryan Gosling; Brad Paisley performs)
(R - Jan. 9)
12:35AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - How I Met Your Mother
8:30PM - The Big Bang Theory
(R - Oct. 25)
9PM - 2 Broke Girls
9:30PM - Mike & Molly
10PM - Hawaii Five-0
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Jamie Foxx; TV host Julie Chen; DIIV performs)
(R - Dec. 13)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Kristen Stewart; author Sloane Crosley; ventriloquist Terry Fator performs)
(R - Dec. 10)

NBC:
8PM - The Biggest Loser (120 min.)
10:01PM - Deception
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Sally Field; comic Michael Kosta; Lord Huron performs)
(R - Nov. 8)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; reality-TV star NeNe Leakes; T.I. performs)
(R - Jan. 3)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Sports journalist Dave Zirin; entrepreneur Bre Pettis; The Jezabels perform)
(R - Dec. 13)

FOX:
8PM - Bones
9PM - The Following (Series Premiere)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Corps Christi
9PM - Market Warriors
10PM - Independent Lens: Beauty Is Embarrassing (90 min.)

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

THE CW:
8PM - The Carrie Diaries
9PM - 90210

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Rosa Diamante (Series Finale)
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 (Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates)

TBS:
11PM - Conan (Timothy Olyphant; Busy Philipps; Coheed and Cambria)

E!:
11PM - Chelsea Lately (Gael Garcia Bernal; John Caparulo; Annie Lederman; Ben Gleib)
post #84712 of 93800
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 21, 2012

OBAMA INAUGURATION COVERAGE
Various Networks, Check local listings

To watch President Obama’s public inauguration to begin his second term (the private one was held yesterday), tune in, starting at 7 a.m. ET, to any of the broadcast or cable morning shows. It’ll be the big topic, and include expanded live coverage. C-SPAN begins coverage an hour earlier, and CNN plans coverage most of the day and night, covering inaugural balls and other related events.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Last week, the closing seconds teased us with the actual occurrence of the title – if only for a second, and if all we saw of her was from the rear, as she was playing a guitar onstage. But at least it’s a start, and moves the plot forward, however incrementally. Meanwhile, Ted seems intent on moving backwards, by dating a girl so young, she asks him if he fought in Vietnam. She’s played by Ashley Benson, who plays Hanna on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars.

REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER
HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

I liked hearing Martin Short so much on this first Real Time of 2013, which premiered live on Friday, that I thought it was worth pointing out in this repeat telecast. Especially on such a slow night.

THE FOLLOWING
Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
Kevin Bacon stars in this bold, intriguing but very violent new series, playing a former FBI agent who’s called in to help recapture a serial killer obsessed with the works of Edgar Allen Poe. One thing this series is guaranteed to do? Quoth the critic: Neverbore. For a full review, see Bianculli’s Blog.

INDEPENDENT LENS: "BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING"
PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

If you liked American Splendor, the quirky, original film biography of quirky, original comic-book writer Harvey Pekar, chances are you’ll like this, too. Beauty is Embarrassing is a close, inventive look at artist Wayne White, whose works have enlivened everything from Peter Gabriel videos to Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Part of this feature is an autobiographical comic strip, narrated by White himself, telling how he met his future wife. It’s a charming study of a Tennessee wild child who left town, but never conformed – and never completely grew up. Check local listings. Check local listings.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
post #84713 of 93800
Business/Technology Notes
Mixed Response to Comcast in Expanding Net Access
By Amy Chozick, The New York Times - Jan. 21, 2012

CHICAGO — At the cramped downtown office of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, a line of older residents waited to apply for a federal program that helps pay for heat and other utilities. On the walls, next to posters advertising Head Start and other public services, hung posters for something called Internet Essentials.

“Is the Internet on your back to school list?” read one leaflet being handed out along with information about the Women, Infants and Children program, a Health Department initiative that offers nutritional and breast-feeding support to low-income families.

Internet Essentials is not a government program, although that would be difficult to tell from the poster. Instead, it is a two-year-old program run by Comcast, the country’s largest Internet and cable provider, meant to bring affordable broadband to low-income homes.

Any family that qualifies for the National School Lunch Program is eligible for Internet service at home for $9.95 a month. The families also receive a voucher from Comcast to buy a computer for as little as $150.

The program is not charity: Comcast started Internet Essentials in order to satisfy a regulatory requirement to provide Internet access to the poor, which also happens to be one of the few remaining areas for growth for cable companies across the country. More than 100,000 households in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and other major markets have signed up for Internet Essentials.

But as the program gains popularity, the company has come under criticism, accused of overreaching in its interactions with local communities — handing out brochures with the company logo during parent-teacher nights at public schools, for instance, or enlisting teachers and pastors to spread the word to students and congregations.

“A company like Comcast doesn’t do it out of the goodness of their heart,” said Joe Karaganis, vice president of the American Assembly, a nonprofit public affairs forum affiliated with Columbia University.

The Obama administration has been pushing private-public partnerships as a way to make high-speed home Internet access available to the 100 million Americans who lack it.

The digital divide has traditionally been regarded as one between urban and rural areas of the United States. But only about 7 percent of households without broadband are in rural areas without the necessary infrastructure; the bulk of the rest are low-income families who cannot afford the monthly bill, or do not feel it is a necessity, according to government statistics.

“The broadband divide is a real threat to the American dream,” Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said in an interview. “The costs of digital exclusion are getting higher and higher.”

Comcast set up shop in Chicago in May 2011, a few months after its $13.75 billion takeover of NBC Universal. As part of its approval for the deal, the F.C.C. required the company to devise a plan to make broadband available to the poor. Comcast reluctantly agreed, according to a person involved in the merger who could not speak publicly about private conversations. A Comcast spokesman said the company had volunteered the plan. Broadband subscriptions represent the main driver of Comcast’s $55.8 billion in annual revenue. The company and its competitors have largely reached saturation among households that can afford high-speed Internet. That leaves the poor as one of the industry’s main areas of growth.

“In the long, long run, yes, I hope we’re creating future Comcast customers,” said David L. Cohen, executive vice president of the Comcast Corporation. He added: “There’s no bait and switch here. This is a community investment.”

Before he became Comcast’s chief lobbyist and the overseer of Internet Essentials, Mr. Cohen was a prominent Democratic political consultant and aide to Edward G. Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor.

He regularly consults with local political leaders, including his friend Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, who has assisted Mr. Cohen in making the city an important market for Internet Essentials. Comcast has made donations to Mr. Emanuel’s campaigns in the past. The company spent $12.4 million on lobbying last year and contributed $4.8 million to mostly Democratic candidates.

On Saturday, the United States Conference of Mayors gave Comcast and Mr. Emanuel an award for the Internet Essentials collaboration.

Rather than sell Internet Essentials in its normal bundle, Comcast has established a separate sales team that works directly with community leaders. The company has enlisted hundreds of Internet Essentials volunteers who spread the word about the program.

One of those volunteers is Gale Woods, who, after a long shift at Walmart, used to walk her son, Austin, more than a mile to the public library so he could get access to a computer to do his homework.

The situation was not ideal, but Ms. Woods could not afford a computer, much less the monthly Internet fee. Then she heard Mayor Emanuel talking about Internet Essentials during a news conference for $10 a month, less than one-fourth what the service typically costs.

“I thought, wow, that’s a deal,” Ms. Woods, 47, said in the living room of her apartment on the city’s South Side. “It’s usually at least $40 just for the basics.”

After using the service for over a year, Ms. Woods serves as a volunteer. She tells neighbors in her Bronzeville apartment complex how to sign up and drops off brochures at the library.

As she talked about the benefits of having the Internet at home, including sending out résumés and taking classes at Northeastern Illinois University, 10-year-old Austin gently interrupted his mother. “It’s pretty slow, Mom, I have to load it three times,” he said. (Internet Essentials provides broadband with speeds of 3 megabits per second, compared with the 12 megabits per second that many higher-priced packages provide.)

At Morton High School in Cicero, a heavily Hispanic suburb of Chicago, teenagers wearing uniforms of khaki pants and white-collared shirts flooded the hallways. Near an honor roll poster and a mural of the ancient Aztecs, Michael Kuzniewski, superintendent of J. Sterling Morton High School District (known among students as “Dr. K”) said nearly 90 percent of the school’s 3,600 students qualified for the federal lunch program, making it a prime target for Internet Essentials.

Comcast sets up kiosks at open houses, handing out Internet Essentials brochures to parents. Teachers and counselors send students home with brochures. Dr. Kuzniewski said private companies approach them almost daily on ideas “to save public education,” helping him develop a healthy sense of skepticism. But when he realized how deeply a lack of broadband access put Cicero’s students at a disadvantage, any doubts he had about Internet Essentials were erased.

“We just saw them falling further and further behind,” he said.

But many advocacy groups argue that broadband has become so crucial to success in school and the work force that it should be treated like a public utility paid in part by government subsidies.

Broadband service is “a natural monopoly” controlled by a handful of private companies, said Mr. Karaganis, of the American Assembly, adding that Internet Essentials gave Comcast access to people in community settings where it could use the lure of low prices to tap into a new consumer base.

Comcast said an intimate grass-roots approach was necessary to explain to low-income customers why they need the Internet and that the monthly price cannot increase for at least three years. Skepticism about the Web often tops affordability as an obstacle to getting broadband into poor and immigrant households, the company said. “When a child comes home with information about the school lunch program, we want an Internet Essentials brochure in that packet,” said Cathy Avgiris, executive vice president and general manager of Comcast Cable’s communications and data services.

Marsha Belcher, director of marketing and resource development at the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, said that her office’s relationship with Comcast was “a matter of trust.” She added, “All of our staffers have worked with Comcast volunteers. If they want to sign up for triple play, they can, but we trust Comcast when they say they won’t be pitched” costly packages of phone, cable and Internet services.

In September the F.C.C. helped set up Connect2Compete, an independent nonprofit group that compiles pledges from Internet and software companies to get computers and Internet access to the underserved. Connect2Compete serves as a middleman between communities and companies. Comcast’s major competitors, including Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and others, have signed on to offer discounted broadband to low-income customers through Connect2Compete.

That setup is intended to create a buffer between corporations and communities to avoid the kind of murky territory that private-public partnerships like Internet Essentials must navigate, said Zach Leverenz, chief executive at Connect2Compete.

“It’s important to have a trusted intermediary,” he said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/21/business/media/comcast-internet-essentials-brings-access-to-low-income-homes.html?ref=technology
post #84714 of 93800
TV Review
A Stab in the Dark
By Amy Chozick, Wall Street Journal

You've seen the slasher movies. Now get ready for slasher network TV.

Fox's new series "The Following" is both better and worse than those movies where a procession of young people get killed so reliably and gorily that the audience laughs after it screams. For one thing, there's no comic relief in "The Following"—and most of its young people are not victims but instead are the perpetrators of horrific crimes, mainly carried out with knives and after prolonged mental or physical torture of their victims. Another difference is that mainstream slasher movies don't generally deal with the cutting up of puppies or depict the dying yelps of blood-soaked German shepherds.

Make no mistake, it's pretty clear that this series was designed to reel in the prized youth demographic. Why else would a news release from the producers—creator Kevin Williamson and director Marcos Siega—stoop to describe star Kevin Bacon as, (sic) "f-ing awesome"?

True, "The Following" does have a solid cast. Mr. Bacon plays a former FBI agent who sacrificed his career and health in order to catch a serial killer of 14 women. Now the killer—played to chillingly charming perfection by the British actor James Purefoy—is in prison. From there, though, he has collected a small army of devotees on the outside who are prepared to keep on murdering for him. As the followers go into action with their ice picks and glittering blades and gasoline and matches, Mr. Bacon's character and an FBI cult expert played by Annie Parisse begin a race against time while the body count mounts.

There is some suspense here, even if it is mainly because the violence when it comes is so swift and sickening. But the show still feels slack. Is it a case of a serial-killer cliché too far?

Underneath the blood, this is meant to be a psychological drama in which the imprisoned murderer Joe Carroll (Mr. Purefoy) is masterminding bloodshed above all to engage and mentally torture the man who caught him, Ryan Hardy (Mr. Bacon). Hardy does look really down most of the time, but this may be less due to acting than to the fact that Mr. Bacon's face is so skinny now that weariness may be all that registers there. Tired too are the themes of psychos toying with cops and recruiting proxies. Ever see the movie "Copycat"? Clint Eastwood's ex-FBI agent in the movie "Blood Work" has a transplanted heart for a metaphor. Mr. Bacon's ex-FBI agent has a pacemaker as his. And so on.

What is more exclusive to "The Following" is the plot device involving Edgar Allan Poe, whose works and romantic view of death are depicted as a religion for the psychotic misfits who flock to do the serial killer's bidding. The Poe theme is a pretty much a dud, though. Painting the word Nevermore in blood? Please. The FBI cult expert Debra Parker (Ms. Parisse) says it all when she describes the cult's Poe mantra as "The only way to truly live is to kill—or some crap like that." Exactly.

"The Following" has been criticized in some quarters for bad timing—as if TV violence is tasteless only in the wake of Sandy Hook—or for not being as tautly written as graphic cable fare like "Dexter." Yet once again, the words of Agent Parker are the ultimate guide to what's really going on here, when she says that the people who flock to a serial killer reflect "the pathology of today's Internet-techno-bred minds" and "a new vacancy in our humanity."

"The Following" is itself an example of that, where numbed souls seeking a gore-porn fix can come to be further desensitized. And ye shall known them as "The Viewers."

THE FOLLOWING
Mondays, 9 p.m. on Fox


* * * *

Thank goodness for Paul Williams. The quintessential songwriter of the 1970-80s is 72 now, and the documentary about him, "Paul Williams Still Alive," was made by a man who had assumed his childhood idol was long dead. But even if he were, many of the ballads Mr. Williams composed in his heyday are so lovely or evocative—"We've only just begun . . . ," now try to stop humming it—that hearing them again in this film is balm for the serial-killed senses.

Even better, and possibly because it happened partly by accident, director Stephen Kessler has created a Portrait of the Artist like no other in the genre. Much of the footage shows nothing more eventful than Mr. Williams savoring plates of his beloved squid, practicing his golf swing or giving an interview in a dim hallway to someone from Channel 99 after performing his old hits in a nowhere town. And yet the gems, when they come, begin to form the chain of such a tender story.

It is rooted, as so many are, in sorrows. Born small and then stunted, he believes, by growth hormones, Mr. Williams was first urged to perform—Mr. Kessler tells us—when "Dad would drink and make his son sing 'Danny Boy.'" Separated from both parents at age 13, Mr. Williams grew up to write many songs reflecting his own defining sense of isolation. At the pinnacle of his fame and acclaim—including an Academy Award for Barbra Streisand's hit "Evergreen," some 50 appearances on Johnny Carson and guest roles on top TV series—Mr. Williams tumbled into the vortex of drugs and booze that was the 1980s.

When Mr. Kessler caught up with him a few years ago, Mr. Williams had been sober for more than two decades, and was not the exposure hound he once was—hence the deceptively mundane surface of the film, where the theft of underwear and Splenda from Mr. Williams's luggage constitutes an event. More lively is the touring gig in the Philippines, where there's a cover band on every corner and Mr. Williams is bigger than a rock god. But he doesn't seem to need the adoration, and in the end it is Mr. Kessler who has the revelation. "When Paul had everything he was miserable, and now he had a lot less and he was kinda happy." The golf, his wife, that squid.

Although there is much that is painful, funny and touching in this film (first seen in 2011 at the Toronto International Film Festival), a burning question is left unasked: After the outpouring of the '70s—"Rainbow Connection," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "Just an Old Fashioned Love Song"—what happened to the music?

PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE
Thursday 7:30 p.m. Showtime


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323468604578247452025976978.html
post #84715 of 93800
Critic's Notes
Who Am I? The Heroes of Our Minds
By Wray Herbert, HuffingtonPost.com

One of my guilty pleasures is the TV show Ice Road Truckers, which tells the stories of the heavy haulers who deliver vital supplies to remote Arctic territories of Alaska and Canada. In just two months each year, these truckers make more than 10,000 runs over hundreds of miles of frozen lakes, known as ice roads. We get to share in the treacherous drives -- and just as important, the personal travails -- of the veteran Hugh "The Polar Bear" Rowland, the brash tattooed Rick Yemm, the cold-hating rookie T.J. Wilcox, and former school bus driver and motocross champ Lisa Kelly, one of the rare women to break into this man's world.

I'm not alone in this fascination. Millions of viewers have tuned into every episode of Ice Road Truckers since its premiere in 2007. And if hazardous driving is not your cup of Joe, how about Ax Men or Dance Moms, Chef School or Bikini Barbershop, Sister Wives or Biggest Loser? Reality TV dominates small-screen viewing these days. Viewers have literally hundreds of choices in vicarious viewing every day, 24 hours a day. And so what if they're not exactly real.

What explains this trend? Well, it's in part simple economics. These shows are cheap to make. But it's more than that. There is something compelling about people's stories, something that taps into a deep human need for narrative. The pull of Deadliest Catch and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo can really be traced back to ancient story telling traditions, which exist in every world culture. We see parts of ourselves in these modern-day folk tales, just as we construct stories about our own personal realities.

Psychological scientists have in recent years begun to examine this deep human yearning for story -- in particular our need to create a coherent narrative identity. They have been using narrative identity as both an indicator of psychological health and a possible tool for enhancing well-being. Much of this work has been done by Northwestern University's Dan McAdams and Western Washington University's Kate McLean, who describe their and others' research in a forthcoming issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

We all construct a coherent narrative identity, according to the emerging theory, from the accumulated particulars of our autobiographies as well as our envisioned goals. We internalize this story over time, and use it to convey to ourselves and others who we are, where we came from, and where we think we're heading. Consider the example of redemption. McAdams and other scientists have been asking people to narrate scenes and extended stories from their past, and then they code the accounts for key ideas like redemption and self-determination and community. They have found that people who include themes of redemption in their stories -- a marked transition from bad to good -- are less focused on themselves and more focused on community and the future. They're more mature emotionally.

This is just one example of how people make narrative sense of the suffering in their lives. Others have studied how people narrate life challenges, such as a painful divorce or a child's illness, and they have found that those who produce detailed accounts of loss are better adapted psychologically. Their narratives often strike themes of growth and learning and transformation. Importantly, the stories of the well-adapted have endings, positive resolutions of bad experiences.

Psychotherapy is largely about personal narratives. Therapists help their clients to "re-story" their lives by finding more positive narratives for unhappy experiences. Indeed, when scientists asked former psychotherapy patients to describe how they remembered their therapeutic experience, the healthier ones told heroic stories, tales in which they bravely battled their symptoms and emerged victorious. This narrative theme of personal control was also and by far the best predictor of therapeutic success: As patients' stories increasingly emphasized self-determination, these patients' symptoms abated and their health improved. The stories themselves created an identity that was mature and well-adjusted.

Wray Herbert is the author, 'On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits.' His blogs -- "Full Frontal Psychology" and "We're Only Human" -- appear regularly in The Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/who-am-i-the-heroes-of-ou_b_2497839.html?utm_hp_ref=tv&ir=TV
post #84716 of 93800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastslappy View Post

if you had cable AND a DVR then you wouldn't have this problem biggrin.gif

How is having cable and a DVR going to make networks show less repeats and less reality shows?
post #84717 of 93800
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Review
A Stab in the Dark
By Amy Chozick, Wall Street Journal

You've seen the slasher movies. Now get ready for slasher network TV.

Fox's new series "The Following" is both better and worse than those movies where a procession of young people get killed so reliably and gorily that the audience laughs after it screams. For one thing, there's no comic relief in "The Following"—and most of its young people are not victims but instead are the perpetrators of horrific crimes, mainly carried out with knives and after prolonged mental or physical torture of their victims. Another difference is that mainstream slasher movies don't generally deal with the cutting up of puppies or depict the dying yelps of blood-soaked German shepherds.

Make no mistake, it's pretty clear that this series was designed to reel in the prized youth demographic. Why else would a news release from the producers—creator Kevin Williamson and director Marcos Siega—stoop to describe star Kevin Bacon as, (sic) "f-ing awesome"?

True, "The Following" does have a solid cast. Mr. Bacon plays a former FBI agent who sacrificed his career and health in order to catch a serial killer of 14 women. Now the killer—played to chillingly charming perfection by the British actor James Purefoy—is in prison. From there, though, he has collected a small army of devotees on the outside who are prepared to keep on murdering for him. As the followers go into action with their ice picks and glittering blades and gasoline and matches, Mr. Bacon's character and an FBI cult expert played by Annie Parisse begin a race against time while the body count mounts.

There is some suspense here, even if it is mainly because the violence when it comes is so swift and sickening. But the show still feels slack. Is it a case of a serial-killer cliché too far?

Underneath the blood, this is meant to be a psychological drama in which the imprisoned murderer Joe Carroll (Mr. Purefoy) is masterminding bloodshed above all to engage and mentally torture the man who caught him, Ryan Hardy (Mr. Bacon). Hardy does look really down most of the time, but this may be less due to acting than to the fact that Mr. Bacon's face is so skinny now that weariness may be all that registers there. Tired too are the themes of psychos toying with cops and recruiting proxies. Ever see the movie "Copycat"? Clint Eastwood's ex-FBI agent in the movie "Blood Work" has a transplanted heart for a metaphor. Mr. Bacon's ex-FBI agent has a pacemaker as his. And so on.

What is more exclusive to "The Following" is the plot device involving Edgar Allan Poe, whose works and romantic view of death are depicted as a religion for the psychotic misfits who flock to do the serial killer's bidding. The Poe theme is a pretty much a dud, though. Painting the word Nevermore in blood? Please. The FBI cult expert Debra Parker (Ms. Parisse) says it all when she describes the cult's Poe mantra as "The only way to truly live is to kill—or some crap like that." Exactly.

"The Following" has been criticized in some quarters for bad timing—as if TV violence is tasteless only in the wake of Sandy Hook—or for not being as tautly written as graphic cable fare like "Dexter." Yet once again, the words of Agent Parker are the ultimate guide to what's really going on here, when she says that the people who flock to a serial killer reflect "the pathology of today's Internet-techno-bred minds" and "a new vacancy in our humanity."

"The Following" is itself an example of that, where numbed souls seeking a gore-porn fix can come to be further desensitized. And ye shall known them as "The Viewers."

THE FOLLOWING
Mondays, 9 p.m. on Fox


* * * *

Thank goodness for Paul Williams. The quintessential songwriter of the 1970-80s is 72 now, and the documentary about him, "Paul Williams Still Alive," was made by a man who had assumed his childhood idol was long dead. But even if he were, many of the ballads Mr. Williams composed in his heyday are so lovely or evocative—"We've only just begun . . . ," now try to stop humming it—that hearing them again in this film is balm for the serial-killed senses.

Even better, and possibly because it happened partly by accident, director Stephen Kessler has created a Portrait of the Artist like no other in the genre. Much of the footage shows nothing more eventful than Mr. Williams savoring plates of his beloved squid, practicing his golf swing or giving an interview in a dim hallway to someone from Channel 99 after performing his old hits in a nowhere town. And yet the gems, when they come, begin to form the chain of such a tender story.

It is rooted, as so many are, in sorrows. Born small and then stunted, he believes, by growth hormones, Mr. Williams was first urged to perform—Mr. Kessler tells us—when "Dad would drink and make his son sing 'Danny Boy.'" Separated from both parents at age 13, Mr. Williams grew up to write many songs reflecting his own defining sense of isolation. At the pinnacle of his fame and acclaim—including an Academy Award for Barbra Streisand's hit "Evergreen," some 50 appearances on Johnny Carson and guest roles on top TV series—Mr. Williams tumbled into the vortex of drugs and booze that was the 1980s.

When Mr. Kessler caught up with him a few years ago, Mr. Williams had been sober for more than two decades, and was not the exposure hound he once was—hence the deceptively mundane surface of the film, where the theft of underwear and Splenda from Mr. Williams's luggage constitutes an event. More lively is the touring gig in the Philippines, where there's a cover band on every corner and Mr. Williams is bigger than a rock god. But he doesn't seem to need the adoration, and in the end it is Mr. Kessler who has the revelation. "When Paul had everything he was miserable, and now he had a lot less and he was kinda happy." The golf, his wife, that squid.

Although there is much that is painful, funny and touching in this film (first seen in 2011 at the Toronto International Film Festival), a burning question is left unasked: After the outpouring of the '70s—"Rainbow Connection," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "Just an Old Fashioned Love Song"—what happened to the music?

PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE
Thursday 7:30 p.m. Showtime


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323468604578247452025976978.html

After the Shootings in Connecticut and New York they talk about reducing Violence on TV, then they put out trash such as this. Holy Hypocrisy Batman! mad.gif
post #84718 of 93800
Quote:
Originally Posted by borntocoast View Post

After the Shootings in Connecticut and New York they talk about reducing Violence on TV, then they put out trash such as this. Holy Hypocrisy Batman!
Who's "they"? It would only be hypocrisy if the producers or network execs talked about reducing violence on TV (which AFAIK had nothing to do with the killer's actions)
post #84719 of 93800
TV Notes
Audio post industry not entirely on board with CALM Act
The creative part of the commercial industry has balked at having any elements of their ads regulated by the government.

By Michael Grotticellit, Broadcast Engineering Jan 21, 2013

Now that the CALM Act is mandate and enforcement has theoretically begun, the “perceived loudness” of advertising spots on television should be generally acceptable to most viewers. Getting there, however, has been far from easy at this point.

For the most part, stations have spent the effort (and money) to implement safeguards that ensure proper audio levels, as mandated in the CALM Act. As a recent example, Fisher Communications' 13 local stations are now deploying Monitor IQ audio measurement technology from Digital Nirvana. Monitor IQ provides Web-based, HD/SD channel monitoring, logging, compliance and diagnostics/QC, as well as archiving of content recordings for up to 90 days.

Lee Wood, regional director of engineering for Fisher Communications (in Seattle, WA) said the stations will use Monitor IQ for regulatory compliance and loudness monitoring of its off-air HD and SD DTV channels.

So, monitoring the outgoing program stream is critical. But what about the content coming into a station? Station engineers have said that the audio levels of the original commercial spots and other content being ingested on a daily basis are all over the spectrum. Indeed, there are probably as many ways of monitoring and adjusting audio levels as there are professional mixers tasked with doing it. That breeds confusion. Add to that the general perception across the advertising community that loudness is really someone else’s issue, namely the local stations and cable TV outlets that distribute it, and you begin to see broadcasters’ concern. They are the ones that risk being fined by the FCC, not the original content creator.

After speaking with companies that deliver ads electronically to stations — in the form of a digital file — you get the impression that there is still much work to be done to get all of those involved with mixing the original piece to readily comply with the law and provide content that does not have to be adjusted at the station before broadcast.

Creative community resisting CALM

“The audio post houses don’t seem to have their hands around this yet,” said Wayne Dykes, CEO of SpotGenie, a digital advertising delivery service in Atlanta, GA. “We get spots quite frequently that are not compliant with the CALM Act, and we either try to auto-fix them ourselves or, if time permits, we kick it back. But if we’re up against an airdate, we have to fix it ourselves, which brings up a number of creative issues.”

Indeed, the creative part of the commercial industry has balked at having any elements of their ads regulated by the government. Before President Obama signed the CALM Act into law (in 2010), the ad community lobbied against mandated audio levels. Apparently, creatives are not good at adhering to rules.

“I know the deadline has come and past for the CALM Act to be enforced, but we still see some people dragging their heels and not doing anything differently,” Dykes said. “You have to remember that the audio post house is trying to impress their client in the mixing suite, so the higher level is key to a good listening experience. Once the client approves the spot, the post house feels its job is done and sends it along down the chain for someone else to worry about.”

Passing the buck appears to be the prevailing strategy, since the FCC has stated that the entity that delivers the spot is the one that will be fined if viewers complain. If professional mixers are following the -10db spec that the industry has always adhered to, it can easily be fixed to comply with the -24 LKFS spec mandated as part of the CALM Act. Yet Dykes said he regularly sees local and national spot audio levels a lot higher than that.

“I think producers are starting to understand that if their levels are way out of spec, someone along the broadcast chain is going to squash that audio to make it compliant, and that compromises the integrity of that ad,” said Robert Haskitt, chief marketing officer at Extreme Reach, a spot deliver and measurement company in New York City. “No one wants to risk a fine by the government. So, what we would prefer is to have a conversation with a broadcaster to make sure everyone’s goals are met. We never want to miss an air date because the audio level is too high.”

Extreme Reach regularly works with more than 1000 post-production houses around the country and finds audio levels are all over the place. At this point, Haskitt said, most are compliant, but 15 to 20 percent need some type of audio fix. Some ads go directly from an editor’s workstation at a post house to a cloud-based server operated by Extreme Reach and then on to the final broadcast outlet. This can happen within minutes. Other times, an ad has to be remixed, which takes extra time and money.

Automated spot checks are key

“When it comes to audio levels, our spec is based on the CALM Act,” Haskitt said. “Up until the last year, we have been monitoring peak levels and reporting if they exceeded a certain level. The CALM Act is more about the average level across commercials [LKFS]. As everyone has been trying to work on ways to keep content compliant, we have been able to implement automated spec checks to make sure the audio level meet the spec of -24 LKFS (that is, Loudness, K-weighted, relative to Full Scale, a loudness standard designed to enable normalization of audio levels for the delivery of broadcast TV and other video). If it does not, Extreme Reach will try to fix it on a minor level (within +/- 2db). If it falls out of that spec, our system can adjust it, but if it’s nowhere close, we push it back to the post house for additional mixing. We don't want to step in someone’s creative vision, so it’s a good policy to let the post house fix it before it is broadcast.”

SpotGenie also works with thousands of post houses (and serves ads to some 3000 broadcast and cable outlets) and can fix minor problems automatically with transcoding technology like Rhozet’s Carbon Coder and Telestream’s FlipFactory. The company uses proprietary software to QC all files as they come into its facility and alert them to problems with either the video or audio levels.

“Either we fix it or the station does,” Haskitt said. “However, in applying these auto fixes, we have seen cases where it definitely affects the original mix.”

They recently had a client that advertised during the BCS college national championship game. The client heard its spots on-air during the ESPN broadcast and called Extreme Reach to complain. They said the mix sounded differently than it had in the studio. Haskitt said they explained that this is common after a spot goes through the broadcast chain. The client wound up spending the time and money to remix the spots because they felt it didn’t meet its creative goals.

Achieving creative goals while remaining compliant with the law

“Not everyone is willing to do that,” SpotGenie’s Dykes said. “If the audio mixers don't do it right, they think the broadcaster will fix it. So, that’s why I think the audio post industry has to do a better job of educating its members about how to achieve your creative goals while also remaining compliant with the law.”

SpotGenie also has a sister audio post-production company called Acoustic Music, in Atlanta, so Dykes sees what’s happen in the mixing suite firsthand. He said there’s still work to be done.

“I don't think that many audio engineers that mix commercials have gotten as serious about the issue as they should,” he said. “There was never a law before. Now the CALM Act, combined with the risk that a spot will get kicked back by the client, are good reasons to pay attention to the final mix levels. I think it will work itself out and everyone will eventually become compliant. The audio mixers also need to understand that if an audio level needs to be compressed, it’s better for the post house to do it than the broadcaster (who does not have as much invested in that spot). The CALM Act has allowed audio mixers to have more control over the final listening experience because now the exact spec they should mix to. If they don't mix to that spec, their spot might be compromised down the line.”

The biggest hurdle is reaching industry consensus, in spite of the law. Commercials are produced from different sources with different workflows and wide-ranging creative decision makers. The methods of mixing are equally diverse. Getting everyone to understand the importance of compliance at the creative level is key. Broadcasters have done (and continue to do) their part.

“Different advertisers have different perspectives,” Extreme Reach’s Haskitt said. “We’ve heard some advertisers saying they don't want to be regulated as far as how the ad runs. As we all can surmise, advertisers love their spots to run hot [loud]. Other advertisers understand that the audience gets annoyed when a spot is too loud, and so that viewer either turns down the audio level or walks away from the TV. Theses are two scenarios that advertisers fear the most. So, many feel that if you want your spot to be seen, you should make it compatible with what the government has decided viewers can tolerate. It’s really that simple.”

[URL=http://]broadcastengineering.com/processing/audio-post-industry-not-entirely-board-calm-act[/URL]
post #84720 of 93800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnesia View Post

Who's "they"? It would only be hypocrisy if the producers or network execs talked about reducing violence on TV (which AFAIK had nothing to do with the killer's actions)

DOH! redface.gif

I'm talking about Hollywood!
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