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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2827

post #84781 of 93678
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim tressler View Post

Didn't ABC already give it the ax? as in no chance in coming back? http://www.deadline.com/2012/11/last-resort-666-park-ave-cancelled-abc/

Quoting from that deadline story: I hear the intention is for the series’ original 13-epispde orders to play out the way ABC did last season with Pan Am, which received a peculiar one-episode back order. Like was the case with Pan Am, ABC is not shutting the door on the shows completely, formally keeping them in consideration for next season. The shows are not being released, though it is highly unlikely that ABC would renew the dramas for a second season after not giving them a back order.

So yes, "Last Resort" is as good as dead (so were "Family Guy," the third season of "The Killing" and even "Dollhouse" after a very low-rated first season) but, officially, ABC hasn't uttered the 'C' word. Until they do (in May, when they announce the 2013-14 schedule), officially, I cannot call tonight's new and last episode of its initial 13-episode order a Series Finale. But, if ABC cancels "Don't Tell the B---- on Apt. 23" in May and then dumps unaired episodes of that show in the summer, the last of these can be correctly labeled a 'Series Finale.' I'm following the guidelines Fredfa set for "HOTP," but I can toss them out and call tonight's "Last Resort" episode a Series Finale if it'll make you happy. It would just be an incorrect assumption of a fact (official cancellation) that hasn't happened yet.
post #84782 of 93678
TV Sports/Business Notes
A Fox National Sports Net Would Make Sense, But Wouldn’t Ding ESPN: Analyst
By David Lieberman, Deadline.com - Jan. 24, 2013

Nomura Equity Research’s Michael Nathanson does a nice job this morning of laying out the likely business arrangements for News Corp’s still unannounced but widely expected plan to convert its Speed channel into a national network to be called Fox Sports 1, with Fuel to be rebranded as Fox Sports 2. Rupert Murdoch is betting on “what the company believes will be increasing value of live sports over the next couple of decades,” Nathanson says. Advertisers spent a record $13.3B on broadcast and cable sports last year, confident that viewers would watch them live — instead of recording the shows to zip past the commercials. News Corp’s sports initiatives also seem to make sense according to Nathanson’s calculations of pay TV fees: Speed and Fuel together collect about $300M a year. Under what the analyst calls his “blue sky scenario,” the company could see nearly $1.5B in additional revenue from cable and satellite companies (and, presumably, their customers) as Fox hikes their prices once the channels are rebranded.

But Disney execs don’t have to sweat: Even under the best of circumstances “News Corp. would barely be able to afford ESPN’s current NFL package,” Nathanson says. What’s more, “ESPN is well protected for many years thanks to both its long-term affiliate fee deals as well as its sports rights locked up well into the next decade.” What games could the Fox networks offer? Probably about 40 Major League Baseball games per year plus “college sports, NASCAR, [Fox's] current soccer rights (English Premier League and UEFA Champions League) and future FIFA World Cup rights, and UFC.” ESPN and Turner’s eight-year NBA package expires at the end of the 2015/2016 season, and Fox could bid aggressively. The NFL also might want to play ball with Fox, although Nathanson says that the league could just hang on to its TV rights considering the success that the NFL Network has had with its Thursday night games.

The bottom line: Although Fox Sports 1 could become a meaningful rival to ESPN in the next 10 years if it snags NBA or NFL rights, “given ESPN’s affiliate fee war chest, we believe Disney will be able to control its own destiny and renew whatever deals it sees the best returns going forward.”

http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/news-corp-fox-sports-espn/
post #84783 of 93678
TV Notes
Redesigned 'Project Runway' is ready for its close-up
By Olivia Barker, USA Today - Jan. 24, 2013

NEW YORK — Skeptics, be silenced, says Tim Gunn.

Even with Project Runway's overhaul — a new judge (Zac Posen instead of Michael Kors) and, more radically, a new format (team face-offs) — the show's mensch of a mentor says the new Season 11, premiering Thursday on Lifetime (9 p.m. ET/PT), is his favorite "ever."

Though he hasn't seen an episode, "all I know is the experience that I had doing it," says Gunn, looking his signature soigne self in a chalk-stripe navy suit and purple pocket square. He's amid a space as integral to the show as the Parsons workroom: Mood fabric store. When it came to taping, "I loved every second of it."

In large part because of the (controversial) team challenges. The season starts off with 16 contestants split into teams of eight, designing individual looks but presenting as a group. The weaker team — which may boast the strongest contestant — loses a designer. On the other hand, a lackluster designer might get carried along thanks to the strength of his or her team.

All of which creates "a lot of friction," says Gunn, who admits he had a "moment of pause" when he first heard the idea (host and judge Heidi Klum wasn't so keen, either). "But then I had unbridled enthusiasm."

The budget is divvied up by the team's treasurer. And Gunn's critiques are conducted en masse, which means "if they see something going awry with the design work of one of their teammates, they have a responsibility to speak up … because you don't want to be on the bottom."

For sure, the conceit adds up to entertaining reality TV. "What happens to one designer in particular is absolutely unbelievable," Gunn says. "She's really, really outstanding, but she's like the Flying Dutchman of doom. It's, like, wherever she goes, the team loses," even though she's not the contestant who's sent to clean up her space in the workroom.

But Gunn insists the approach also reflects fashion, well, reality. "The fans who are writing on my Facebook page saying this is so contrived? It's not. This is the way the industry works," he says. "Name a designer other than some newbie who's designing alone. No one is!"

Still, why tinker with a trusted TV formula? After 10 seasons, "we needed to do something different," Gunn says — especially after the relative unraveling of Season 10 itself. "It was the season of the grumpy Eastern Europeans." No. 11's crop is "more mature."

Some seasons, "it's magical and everything resonates so positively," he says. "And other times, it's just the chemistry. You could have individuals who are stellar, but as a group? Blech. It falls flat. And there's not much you can do about it except let it run its course."

The one change fans aren't grumpy about, Gunn says: Posen's presence. "People are so excited to have Zac on board." Including the contestants. "They never once asked me, 'What happened to Michael Kors?' " (Scheduling conflicts prevented his full participation, although he does return to judge the finale.)

"That's really cool," says Posen, who has served as a guest judge in the past. He's seated next to Gunn among bolts of brocade in a three-piece navy suit he made himself. A pearl and gold swan pin adorns his lapel. The pair, who have a chatty rapport that Posen says extends to his relationships with Klum and judge Nina Garcia (he's known both "for years"), stand out in dapper contrast to the lint-flecked, industrial-carpeted floor. They nerd out while fingering the rolls of jacquards and boucles, the stacks of ribbons and packages of zippers.

"You just have to get your hands into the fabric," Posen explains. "It tells you the story."

About that tangerine-tufted swirly mustard print that acts as a tablecloth in a corner? "This is unusual," says Gunn, the master of the kind critique.

"Very unusual," Posen concurs, more archly.

"Memorable!" says Gunn, rethinking his assessment slightly. ("I try to be positive.")

"Just because you're a fashion designer doesn't mean you're a good judge on Project Runway," Gunn says. "One of the exceptional qualities in Zac is he's able to leave his own aesthetic at the door ... as opposed to saying, 'Well, this is what I would have done.' "

"Obviously, there are things that you cringe," Posen says. But "you keep a poker face, which is hard for me. I make a million expressions a minute."

Dubious duds aside, "it's remarkable when you think about what they're able to achieve. I mean, I'm always in awe. Even when it's bad I'm in awe," says Gunn, laughing.

"It takes a certain kind of skill set. It's like fashion design improv," says Posen, who grew up wanting to be a song-and-dance man.

As he negotiates Mood's cramped but colorful aisles, Gunn is warmly greeted by employees with shouts of, "Hey, Tim!" It's his first time in the store since September, and lucky shopper-slash-fans aim their iPhone cameras at him and Posen.

"I might pee my pants," says one of them, Alison Fullerton, 34 and a park ranger. "I'm shaking. I'm not kidding." Another ogler is all of 13.

"It's always challenging to be sort of the new kid in school," says Posen, who concedes that the prospect of replacing Kors, the king of critical quips, was intimidating. "It's always nerve-wracking to take on somebody's role who has been very popular within the role."

But in TV, as in fashion, "change is good," Posen says.

Still, he brought the show's trademark one-liners to the runway. "I love being funny. It's part of it, without it getting mean, personal or snarky" — although cutting remarks about cutting and sewing "makes great TV, and I'm sure," he says, grinning, "it got pulled out of me at moments."

Posen isn't surprised that Runway has remained on while other competition reality shows have been booted off. "Popular culture is fascinated by craft and it's fascinated by process. And there's not a lot of exposing of it." Viewers "want to see creative people's expression through their hands and minds. I think that's really powerful and valuable."

"At its very core, (Runway) has an incredible integrity and seriousness of purpose," leavened by a relatively unproduced format, Gunn says. "It's as though we drop a little hand grenade and see where it goes."

No matter that only one winner — Christian Siriano, who guest judges this season — has exploded onto the fashion scene.

"I'm not even remotely surprised" by the lack of household names Runway has nurtured, Gunn says. "The show can only do so much for (the contestants). It cannot do more than what their own ambitions and resources allow them to do." Not to mention that a protracted economic downtown hasn't helped fledgling fashion folks navigate a notoriously fickle business.

But success isn't just defined by a Lincoln Center show. Season 2 champion Chloe Dao is happy in Houston, Gunn says. "She has a store that's three times the size than it was before she came on the show. She goes on QVC four times a year" to help fund her collections. "She has a career."

Which is an achievement, Posen says. In fashion, as in TV, "there is no guarantee."

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/01/23/tim-gunn-zac-posen-talk-project-runway-season-11-overhaul/1858869/
post #84784 of 93678
TV Review
‘King of the Nerds,’ what you’d expect
TBS reality challenge plays off all the accepted nerd stereotypes
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 24, 2013

.On reality TV, non-celebrities are often shoehorned — or shoehorn themselves —into a particular character type. This helps us viewers sort out large casts and saves us the trouble of dealing with the sort of nuances and variables that occur in real life and make people actually interesting.

So it should be no surprise that the 11 contestants on TBS’s new reality show “King of the Nerds,” which airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m., are stereotypical nerds. But everything about the show sticks to the pop-culture clichés.

The format of “King of the Nerds,” another reuse of the “Survivor” template, is equally unimaginative. The predictability gets tiresome, but the show is so silly and good-natured that viewers will tolerate it if it happens to be on.

The premiere episode, which aired last Thursday, opened with what is now a commonplace: The announcer said that whereas pencil-necked brainiacs used to be bullied, now, thanks to technology, “nerds rule the world.” The show is meant to pick a ruler for this new ruling class.

After meeting the hosts, the actors Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong, who starred in the 1984 comedy “Revenge of the Nerds,” 11 self-described geeks moved into a reality mansion called Nerdvana. It had been tricked out with video games and a product-placement wall stocked by an electronics chain.

The contestants, all in their 20s, were generally easier on the eyes than the average IT guy or “Star Wars” fan, but they otherwise fit the profile a little too well. Their jobs ranged from fantasy-game developer to grad student.

When Carradine and Armstrong told them that they would have to pick teams, as usually happens in a “Survivor” season premiere, they reacted poorly. Joshua, 24, who hosts a geek-themed web show, said, “We’re all of us reverting to elementary-school horror.”

They had a couple of hours to get acquainted and talk up their own skill sets: One said she’s a master gamer. Another claimed to know everything about Batman.

Sadly, when it came time to choose sides, the last one standing was the least conventionally attractive woman, Alana, a 26-year-old comic-book geek. But then Armstrong said, “There is nothing nerdier than not getting picked,” and told Alana that she was immune from elimination.

In the first competition, the teams picked one member to represent them in a game of chess, played on a giant board, with a woman dressed like a nerd fetish moving the oversized pieces. Alana, who volunteered the information that she was on her high school chess club, was chosen to advise her teammate, Hendrik. As usually happens on reality shows when someone claims expertise in a competition, their team lost.

The contestants are all outgoing — a non-nerdy trait that suggests that some of them may be ringers. They can be counted on to throw in a nerd-culture reference into most of their sound bites.

After picking a teammate, a neuroscience grad student named Brandon chanted a line from the classic horror film “Freaks”: “One of us! One of us!”

After her team was picked, a vlogger named Danielle shouted some gibberish that she claimed means “Victory or death!” in Orkish.

When the contestants try to repeat the usual reality-show boilerplate, the incongruity can be funny. After Alana learned she was immune for the week, she shouted to the camera, “I don’t have to go home, bitches!” Then she looked a little sad and ashamed.

But for the most part, the contestants talked and acted in expected ways as the competition unfolded predictably. The producers of “King of the Nerds” are going to have to step up their game, or viewers are going to pick them last.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/king-of-the-nerds-what-youd-expect/
post #84785 of 93678
TV/Business Notes
Cable channels are valuable real estate regardless of the tenant
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Jan. 23, 2013

To most TV viewers, cable networks are programming outlets.

To their owners, however, channels are real estate to be held onto regardless of what the tenants have done to the property.

That's the case with the Fox Soccer Channel. News Corp.'s Fox is considering turning the channel into an entertainment network similar to the company's FX channel. The names being kicked around include FX2 and FXX.

There are several reasons Fox is thinking about rebranding the channel, which is currently in nearly 50 million homes. For starters, its ratings are not great. On top of that, Fox Soccer recently lost rights to one of its marquee offerings -- the English Premiere League -- to Comcast's NBC Sports Network. Another sports channel, beIN Sports, has also stepped up with deep pockets for soccer.

Although Fox doesn't see a bright future for its channel, it does not want to close up shop and give up those 50 million homes and the nearly 20 cents a subscriber it gets each month from the cable and satellite operators that carry the channel. Shutting it down is not an option.

Now Fox has to persuade the cable and satellite distributors to let it give the channel a makeover. Typically, if a programmer wants to dramatically change the content on a channel, the pay-TV operator has the right to drop the service or at least renegotiate the distribution agreement.

News Corp. will seek to use its leverage as a programmer -- its properties include the Fox network, FX, Fox News, more than 20 regional sports networks and dozens of local TV stations -- to try to persuade cable and satellite operators to go along with its plans.

Here's the thing, though. Just as there are too many sports channels, there is hardly a shortage of entertainment outlets. If the folks in programming at News Corp. think they can create enough great content for a whole new channel, then how about just putting more original fare on FX?

After all, while FX is home to critical favorites such as "Justified" and "Sons of Anarchy," the majority of its programming is still movies and reruns. Fill that network up before trying to start another one.

Fox Soccer is not the only channel that News Corp. is overhauling. Its Speed Network will become Fox Sports 1 and Fuel, according to Sports Business Journal, will become Fox Sports 2. Both those channels are being developed to compete with Walt Disney's Co.'s ESPN franchise.

Locally, now that Fox's Prime Ticket channel will probably lose the Dodgers after the upcoming season, a case could be made for folding that channel into Fox Sports West, the company's other regional sports network here.

Instead, Fox Sports is likely to move some content from Fox Sports West to Prime Ticket to pad that network's lineup and keep those subscription fees coming.

It is up to distributors to try to draw a line in the sand and say no to channel squatters. But for now the leverage rests with big programmers. Ultimately, it is the customer who is getting stuck in bad real estate deals.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-fox-soccer-channel-20130121,0,7761794.story
post #84786 of 93678
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Sports/Business Notes
Time Warner Cable's split personality with TV sports
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Jan. 23, 2013

Few cable companies have been as vocal about the rising costs of sports programming as Time Warner Cable.

"What was a minor problem is turning into an astronomical problem," Time Warner Cable chief executive Glenn Britt told the Wall Street Journal just over a year ago. "The ultimate solution is to get that programming on some sort of smaller packaging scheme."

But Britt's words don't match up with Time Warner Cable's actions. As of late, few cable companies have been as instrumental in driving up sports costs as Time Warner Cable.

The latest example of Time Warner Cable's split personality is its tentative agreement with the Dodgers. The cable operator, which has over 2 million subscribers in the region, is finalizing a TV contract worth $7 billion to $8 billion that will run between 20 and 25 years. The Dodgers will get their own channel that Time Warner Cable will help manage and distribute.

The Dodgers currently are on Prime Ticket, a cable channel owned by Fox Sports, a unit of News Corp. Fox Sports wanted to keep the Dodgers but its offer topped out at around $6 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

For Time Warner Cable, the accord comes less than two years after it outbid another Fox channel -- Fox Sports West -- for the Lakers. That contract was for $3.6 billion for 20 years with an option for another five years.

Executives at Time Warner Cable have said the company was getting into the sports game as a defensive move. In short, it wanted to cut out the middle-man -- often Fox Sports -- and deal directly with the teams for content.

That has meant outbidding incumbents, having to create new sports channels and charging other pay-TV distributors a premium to carry them. The bulk of those costs ultimately get passed on to consumers.

While Time Warner Cable has taken some franchises away from Fox Sports in Los Angeles, in San Diego the strategy backfired. Fox held onto the rights to the Padres despite a big bid from Time Warner Cable. The end result: Fox raised the price of its sports channel there to cover the costs of its new deal, and Time Warner Cable refuses to carry the network.

"They do seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouth," said sports industry consultant Marc Ganis. "Time Warner Cable has at one moment railed against excessive rights fees being paid and in the next moment pays an exorbitant rights fee and demands a massive subscription fee."Ganis said Fox, which owns 21 regional sports networks and is launching a national service as well, has at least had a consistent strategy. Time Warner Cable, Ganis cracked, is "schizophrenic."

Britt has previously advocated that sports channels be sold separately from other programming so consumers who are not big fans don't get stuck with the bill. Ganis wonders if the Dodgers deal may lead to that.

"Is the Federal Communications Commission going to finally demand a la carte programming because Time Warner Cable persists in battling Fox?" he asked.

That is the greatest fear of the companies that own sports networks, because it would mean less subscription and advertising revenue. Wonder where Britt falls on the issue these days?

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-time-warner-cable-dodgers-20130123,0,387086.story
The not so sane part of the issue TWC San Diego vs. Fox Sports, is that they (TWC) are punishing part of the people of San Diego for something not under their control.

Viewers on Cox and ATT U-Verse now get the Fox Sports San Diego channel (which carries the Padres) so they get the games, but not the TWC patrons. It's a 'cutting your nose to spite your face' situation.

(I've been thinking for a while of switching from TWC because of this, but lately I don't watch that much TV anymore).
post #84787 of 93678
Misc. Notes
J.J. Abrams To Direct New ‘Star Wars’ Movie For Disney
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Jan. 24, 2013

Star Trek director J.J. Abrams will be helming the next Star Wars movie. “It’s done deal with J.J.,” a source with knowledge of the situation told Deadline today. Argo director Ben Affleck was also up for the gig, the source says. Abrams was courted heavily by producer Kathleen Kennedy to take the Star Wars job.

Expected in 2015, Episode VII will be the first new Star Wars movie since 2005′s Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. Michael Arndt is writing the script for the first installment of the relaunch of George Lucas’ franchise by Disney. The company bought Lucasfilm in October for $4 billion, with the Star Wars franchise the jewel in the crown. At the time, CEO Bob Iger said three more Star Wars films were in the pipeline.

Abrams’ other space-based franchise sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, comes out May 17. This weekend, the PGA will honor the Lost creator with its 2013 Norman Lear Award For Television. Abrams is repped by CAA and Oasis Media Group.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/j-j-abrams-to-direct-new-star-wars-movie-for-disney/
post #84788 of 93678
TV Notes
Brooke Shields Joins Lifetime's 'Army Wives'
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jan. 24, 2013

Lifetime's Army Wives reboot continues to add star power.

Golden Globe nominee Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) has joined the ranks of the drama as a recurring player, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Shields will play the brash and brilliant Air Force Col. Katherine "Kat" Young, who's a crack pilot who can hold her own in the boys club atmosphere of the military. She'll almost immediately clash with Army Gen. Michael Holden (Brian McNamara) in her new assignment at Joint Base Marshall. Never one to step away from a fight, Kat is a fierce advocate for the Air Force as she and Holden jockey for their respective branches at the highest levels of power on base. Only after their initial skirmishes does Holden learn of Kat's tragic past, discovering they have more in common than he thought.

The former Lipstick Jungle actress joins a swelling cast that includes actor-musician Jesse McCartney (Greek), who will have an 11-episode recurring arc and three new series regulars in Broadway alum Elle McLemore, Ashanti and Torrey DeVitto (The Vampire Diaries).

Army Wives, which was renewed in September, will return with a major shake-up for its seventh season with star Kim Delaney exiting the drama and co-star Sally Pressman recurring as the series will confront the aftermath of the deadly plane crash featured in its sixth-season finale.

Season 7 of Army Wives premieres March 10 at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.

Shields is repped by UTA and Untitled Entertainment.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/brooke-shields-lifetime-army-wives-season-7-415179
post #84789 of 93678
TV Notes
Sorry, Hate-Watchers: AMC Had Three Good Reasons to Un-Cancel The Killing
By Josef Adalian, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Jan. 24, 2013

Last week, AMC officially ordered a third season of The Killing, resurrecting a show it had declared canceled last summer. Second chances for misfit series aren't uncommon these days, though usually such resuscitations are conducted by another outlet (Buffy, Cougar Town, Southland) rather than the rare occasions when a show is revived by the network that first did the, er, killing (Family Guy). But while there had been rumors of a third season of The Killing since October, the AMC announcement was still somewhat surprising: The series didn't seem to possess the sort of impassioned fan base usually associated with such revivals and in fact had attracted a very loud hate-watching contingent. As Vulture commenter (and 30 Rock fan) "Moonvest" succinctly summed up, "So many beloved shows that fans fought so hard to bring back, and The Killing gets a second life? Veronica Mars fans must be rioting in the street right now." And yet, for better or worse, most network programming decisions are not determined by the consensus of Internet chat rooms and comments sections. Deciding which shows live or die — or live again — is often a complicated process, with a slew of factors at play. And in the case of The Killing, it turns out there are at least three reasons why AMC's un-cancellation of the show wasn't a totally bonkers idea.

1. Fox TV Studios, which owns and produces the show, made AMC an offer it couldn't refuse.
As much as networks like to talk about how much they love shows for their creative content, how much a show costs is always a major consideration in deciding whether or not it's renewed. Back when ER was the biggest thing on TV, NBC came close to not renewing it at one point because producer Warner Bros. Television wanted a gigantic increase in the price per episode that the Peacock paid them for it (the so-called "license fee"). Warner didn't get everything it wanted, but NBC mostly caved because ER was too important to lose. The Killing was sort of ER in reverse: AMC, with its smash hit The Walking Dead and successes such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men, didn't need The Killing to return — as its initial cancellation demonstrated. On the other hand, Fox TV Studios (FTVS) really wanted another season: According to industry insiders, The Killing has done very well for the studio in international markets, generating solid license fees from overseas broadcasters. (The show’s Danish inspiration is also a huge worldwide hit: Apparently gloomy, driven cops are the international language.) But without the platform of AMC (or another major cable network), FTVS wouldn't have any more episodes of The Killing to sell. It needed to keep the show alive, which may be why, within minutes of AMC's cancellation, FTVS had issued a statement flatly declaring its intention to "find another home for the show."

FTVS chief David Madden, deferring to AMC, declined to discuss just what happened between the cancellation announcement and the subsequent reversal. But two industry insiders familiar with the negotiations say it's actually pretty simple: FTVS, after failing to find a new cable home for The Killing, returned to AMC with an offer to license the show at a notably less expensive per-episode rate than what the network had paid for seasons one and two. (The two sides have kept a lid on just how much FTVS cut its price.) A show that AMC executives had deemed not worth saving at one price point suddenly became attractive again. While he wouldn't discuss financial details, AMC president and general manager Charlie Collier confirmed to Vulture that price was a factor in his decision to un-cancel the show. "We came to an arrangement that worked for both of us," he said. Collier maintains that AMC's initial statement announcing the cancellation of The Killing, which noted how "difficult" the decision was, wasn't an example of Hollywood-speak. "It really was a very hard decision," he said. "It was still a show we were passionate about. Even after we canceled it, we never really got it out of our system."

What about the reports suggesting that Netflix would play a crucial role in the salvation of The Killing, not unlike the way DirecTV helped keep Friday Night Lights alive? A person familiar with the situation says FTVS is still talking to Netflix about a deal for streaming rights to the show. But the fact that AMC and FTVS proceeded with production of season three without any guarantee of such an agreement simply underscores that strong international markets, not Netflix cash, is what prevented The Killing from a final burial. If and when a Netflix deal happens, it will simply add to the studio's profits on the show.

2. The ratings for The Killing weren't great, but they weren't awful either.
Even the most skilled PR spinner couldn't find a way to call The Killing a hit, either in its first or second season: It averaged around 2 million same-day viewers in season one, and after the season finale's alienating lack of closure, the audience fell by more than 20 percent in season two. When AMC executives originally decided to walk away from the series, that decline was no doubt one of the key factors in making the final call. (For the record, Collier told us the decision "was never about one single piece of data.") But here's the other side of the Nielsen equation: Once DVR playback over seven days is factored in, The Killing drew an average weekly audience of 2.3 million viewers in season two, according to Nielsen figures. And even without the DVR bump, the show still attracted 1.6 million each week. Compared to The Walking Dead's 10 million-plus weekly fan club, that's a pathetic number. Even compared to Mad Men, a critical masterpiece that has never been a Nielsen powerhouse and usually pulls in around 2.5 million same-day viewers, season two of The Killing fell short. But AMC (and other cable networks) have discovered it's very easy to pull in far fewer viewers than what The Killing earned last year. The network's Rubicon barely managed to cross 1 million viewers each week. FX's much-touted comedy Legit drew under 1 million with its debut last week. And in Breaking Bad’s third season, back in 2010, it had all the critical love in the world and still averaged fewer than 1.5 million same-day viewers many weeks, and never got above 2 million. (Its most recent batch of season-five episodes had grown to around 2.6 million viewers.) Bottom line: While the ratings for The Killing never bolstered the argument in favor of renewal, they weren't so bad as to preclude the idea altogether.

3. Because of the show's procedural format, AMC can try to attract new viewers to season three.
Viewers who've never seen highly serialized shows such as Mad Men or Breaking Bad are unlikely to watch the new seasons of either series unless they first decide to do some heavy marathoning of past episodes. But season three of The Killing will begin with an entirely new mystery (if the same key characters) and so won’t require viewers to have any prior familiarity; it will be just as accessible to newbies as to those diehards who stuck it out through the first two seasons. One of the chief selling points of Fox's dearly departed 24 was the fact that it hit the reset button every January, allowing the network to simultaneously take advantage of the show's previous buzz while also hyping each season as a brand-new adventure. While The Killing doesn't have the same "you gotta see this" energy, AMC will be able to push the idea that new viewers can jump in for a wholly original mystery. There's no guarantee audiences will buy this pitch, particularly if early critical reviews conclude The Killing's producers didn't learn from past mistakes. It's even possible that a big chunk of the season-two audience was made up of frustrated old viewers who only stuck around for closure on the Larsen murder and will now balk at the idea of signing up for another rain-soaked slog mystery. But there's also at least a shot that the reboot could end up pulling in bigger crowds. And here's something else that might help AMC woo fresh eyeballs: Series stars Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman are beginning to take on a higher profile outside of the show. Enos, currently in the tepid Gangster Squad, will also be seen in this summer's Brad Pitt blockbuster World War Z. Kinnaman, meanwhile, is in Terrence Malick's upcoming Knight of Cups, but, more visibly, he has been cast as the lead in next year's Robocop remake. If these movies turn the actors into even more recognizable faces, selling The Killing will be at least a little bit easier.

http://www.vulture.com/2013/01/why-amc-decided-to-bring-back-the-killing.html
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TV Notes
Ending 'Spartacus' is smart decision
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jan. 25, 2013

It's a busy few weeks in TV land, beginning tonight with the return of Starz's "Spartacus" for its final season and continuing Monday with the second season of the revived "Dallas" on TNT.

So long, 'Spartacus'

When Starz announced the new season of "Spartacus" -- the show's fourth edition, including a prequel season -- would be its last, it came as a surprise. "Spartacus" draws more viewers than any other series on the premium cable channel. Why would Starz end it so soon?

But in watching the first two episodes of this final season, that decision seems to be the right one.

"Spartacus: War of the Damned" (9 tonight, Starz) begins as Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) and his ranks of rebellious freed slaves swell, terrifying the Romans.

In years past, early episodes of a new season often focused on introducing Spartacus' new comrades. But with the Roman characters mostly killed off at the end of last season, "War of the Damned" spends its time introducing new Romans.

Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells) steps up to the plate as the Romans' new leadership in the battlefield, and his entitled son, Tiberius (Christian Antidormi), also wants to be involved in the war effort. Next week's episode introduces Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance), who also turns out to be a brat.

But the new Romans are no replacement for the original Romans of the series. "Spartacus" worked best when it was an ancient "Upstairs Downstairs" with the house of Battiatus as the "upstairs" component and the gladiator school as the "downstairs." With that element gone, the show has no natural home base and feels a bit unmoored.

That's why it feels like the right time for Spartacus to meet his fate.

In a teleconference with reporters last week, "Spartacus" creator Steven S. DeKnight said the show's writers knew before the end of the previous season, "Spartacus: Vengeance," that the upcoming "Spartacus: War of the Damned" would be the show's swan song.

"We had plenty of time to figure out where we were going to go," he said, acknowledging his initial plan was for the show to run five to seven seasons until he began researching the war years, which get repetitive. "Spartacus and his band of rebels didn't exactly have a dramatic three act structure to what they were doing. They were all over the place. ... When you read it, you really get the sense that there was no plan."

In addition, the story repeated itself as Romans attacked Spartacus and his crew and got defeated over and over.

"I really struggled with how to lay this out in an entertaining fashion for two or three more seasons without completely jettisoning history," Mr. DeKnight said. "I didn't want to completely turn my back on history and just make it fictional."

At the risk of spoiling the plot, students of history know the Spartacus story does not have a happy ending for the show's title character.

"I have a long history of ripping hearts out. So, yeah, it's a gut-wrenching finale," Mr. DeKnight said. "It is a beautiful, powerful, emotional ending. And the trick was, how do you end it? This was something we talked about before we shot the first episode of the series. Everybody knows how it ends. It would be like doing a movie about the Titanic and the Titanic doesn't sink. We wanted to [keep] as close to history as possible. So the challenge was, how do we have that ending but still make it a victory. And, you know, the last episode is called 'Victory' and it's a bit of an ironic title. Because it really explores how the rebels gained victory in defeat. And how, frankly, the Romans suffered defeat and victory."

'Dallas' returns

TNT's revival of "Dallas" resumes Monday at 9 p.m. with a two-hour season premiere that's bittersweet knowing the show's most valuable player, J.R. Ewing, will soon be gone. Actor Larry Hagman, who became inextricably linked with J.R., died in November, and his character will be killed off a few episodes into the new season.

Executive producer Cynthia Cidre, who developed the new "Dallas," has done her best to introduce new characters and stories, but J.R. remains the heart of the show and always gets the best lines.

"I came over to deliver some muffins to the pretty little secretaries," J.R. says during a visit to the new Ewing Energy offices in Monday's premiere. "Who could guess so many would turn out to be men. Where's the sport in that?"

At the end of the first season last summer, viewers learned, in a surprising, satisfying twist, that Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe) had been tricked into marrying the daughter of Ewing nemesis Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval). It turned out Rebecca Sutter (Julie Gonzalo) was actually Pamela Rebecca Barnes, daughter of Cliff and Afton.

The early part of the new season finds Christopher trying to get the marriage annulled while his cousin, John Ross (Josh Henderson), does his level best to undermine those efforts for his own selfish gain. As usual, J.R. gets to make the most entertaining observation about the whole scenario with a reference to Bobby's ex-wife, Christopher's mother, Pam.

"You're not the first Pam to fox your way into the hen house," J.R. says. "I'm one-for-one on flushing out Pamelas and I plan on being two-for-two."

It remains to be seen how "Dallas" will cope with the loss of its finest player. Some reports suggest J.R. will be murdered around episode seven, and "Dallas" will spend the remainder of its 15-episode second season playing out "Who killed J.R.?" aping the old "Who shot J.R.?" plot that gave the show its buzz back in the 1980s. If that's the direction "Dallas" heads, it's a smart move, a way to build buzz using nostalgia as the basis for a new mystery.

"Dallas" traffics in a lot of prime-time soap cliches -- pinched glances and slow, deliberate nods of approval abound. This visual language of a bygone TV era may seem foreign to young viewers. The show also confuses sometimes: When the real Becky Sutter arrives from Des Moines, Iowa, she inexplicably displays a Texas accent.

Monday's premiere introduces Judith Light ("Ugly Betty") as a new Ewing nemesis. She's caught up in a story involving Bobby's current wife, Anne (Brenda Strong).

And Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) gets her heart broken and threatens to lapse back into the alcohol addiction that plagued her through the first run of "Dallas." She gets support from a perhaps unlikely source, ex-husband J.R., in a scene that would seem to give some closure to that relationship before J.R.'s demise.

"If I can throw my weight around this town after all the crap I've pulled," he tells her, "you'll bounce back just fine."

No question about it: "Dallas" may or may not be able to bounce back, but it won't be the same once J.R. Ewing is in the grave.

'Edge' visits Pennsylvania

Travel Channel's "Edge of America" (9 p.m. Tuesday), hosted by Boston Globe arts writer Geoff Edgers, explores Pennsylvania in next week's episode, including a demolition derby in Hamburg, a Celtic festival in Bethlehem and Pittsburgh's Zombie Fest.

In the short Zombie segment, Mr. Edgers competes in "severed head shot put."

'The Choir' tunes up locally

Back in July 2010, BBC America premiered an imported reality show, "The Choir," which followed British choirmaster Gareth Malone as he traveled around England forming community choirs. Later this year cable's USA network will air its own version, with Mr. Malone traveling around the United States. At this month's Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., he said he stopped in Pittsburgh just before Christmas to form a new choir at Pittsburgh Brashear High School.

USA's version of "The Choir," including the Brashear episode, is expected to air this summer but no premiere date has been announced.

Channel surfing

AMC's "Mad Men" returns for its sixth season with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. April 7. ... Lifetime's "Army Wives" is back for its seventh season on March 10, the same day "The Client List" returns for its second season. ... ABC will delay the return of "Body of Proof" for two weeks to avoid premiering the show and then getting pre-empted the next week for the State of the Union address. "Proof" will debut its new season at 10 p.m. Feb. 19. ... ABC canceled "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" this week and will double-run "Happy Endings" on Tuesdays starting next week. ... TBS pulled the plug on freshman comedy "Wedding Band." ... Science Channel is moving its reruns of "Fringe" to 8 p.m. Friday beginning today. ... Pittsburgher Kenrick Cheong will be a contestant on CBS's "The Price Is Right" (11 a.m. weekdays, KDKA-TV) on Tuesday's episode. ... Variety reports "Girls" will be back for a third season, but HBO has not yet confirmed the renewal. ... Fox has canceled "Ben & Kate," replacing it with a double run of "Raising Hope" for several of the weeks before "Hell's Kitchen" takes over the 8-9 p.m. time slot on March 12. ... "Doctor Who" returns to BBC America with new episodes on March 30. ... MTV's "World of Jenks" is back for a second season at 11 p.m. March 4. ... During a set visit to NBC's "The Office" last week, executive producer Greg Daniels told me he's hoping to take some cast and crew to Scranton, the show's setting, to film scenes before the series ends in May, but no plans for a location shoot away from the show's Los Angeles soundstages have been finalized. ... Blind children share stories of how they perceive the world on "Nick News With Linda Ellerbee" (8 p.m. Monday, Nickelodeon). ... The Snipe family of Pittsburgh -- including Deyotta, Rich, Dianne, Erica and Aleshia -- will compete Tuesday on "Family Feud" (7 p.m. weeknights, WPCW).

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/tv-radio/tuned-in-ending-spartacus-is-smart-decision-671911/
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

ABC:
8PM - Last Man Standing
(R - Nov. 16)
8:30PM - Malibu County
(R - Nov. 9)
9PM - Shark Tank
(R - Sep. 21)
10PM - 20/20
(R)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Josh Bowman; Nicki Minaj performs)
12:35AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Undercover Boss: Oriental Trading Company
(R - Mar. 9)
9PM - CSI: NY
(R - Sep. 28)
10PM - Blue Bloods
(R - Sep. 28)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Bradley Cooper; comic Robert Klein; Soundgarden performs)
(R - Nov. 12)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (TV host Julie Chen; actress Angela Kinsey)
(R - Jan. 11)

NBC:
8PM - Betty White's Off Their Rocker
(R - Jan. 15)
8:30PM - Betty White's Off Their Rocker
(R - Jan. 15)
9PM - Dateline NBC (120 min.)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Robert De Niro; Sherri Shepherd; The Grascals perform)
12:37AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (David Duchovny; "Snooki'' Polizzi and Jenni "JWoww'' Farley; comic Nick Kroll; Eli Young Band performs)
(R - Jan. 11)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Katey Sagal; The Stepkids perform)
(R - Nov. 5)

FOX:
8PM - Kitchen Nightmares
9PM - The Following
(R - Jan. 21)

PBS:
(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week
8:30PM - Need to Know
9PM - Shakespeare Uncovered: Macbeth With Ethan Hawke (Series Premiere)
10PM - Shakespeare Uncovered: The Comedies With Joely Richardson

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

THE CW:
8PM - Nikita
9PM - The Carrie Diaries
(R - Jan. 21)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - Pasión Prohibida
9PM - La Patrona
10PM - Especial: El Final de Pablo Escobar (Special)

HBO:
10PM - Real Time with Bill Maher (GOPAC president David Avella; former Vt. Gov. Howard Dean; political strategist Kristen Soltis; House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi; Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.))

E!:
11PM - Chelsea Lately (Cyndi Lauper; Gary Valentine; Fortune Feimster; Ryan Stout)
(R - Jan. 10)

Edited by dad1153 - 1/25/13 at 9:50am
post #84792 of 93678
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

FOX:
8PM - Hell's Kitchen

It's Ramsay's other show, "Kitchen Nightmares" tonight.
post #84793 of 93678
Quote:
Originally Posted by RemyM View Post

It's Ramsay's other show, "Kitchen Nightmares" tonight.

And it's new too.
post #84794 of 93678
^^^ Fixed, thanks.

Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 25, 2013

DOCTOR WHO: THE SNOWMEN
BBC America, 8:00 p.m. ET

This is a repeat of the most recent Doctor Who Christmas special, but it’s worth a second look – or especially a first one, if you missed it over the holidays. The Doctor (Matt Smith), after what happened to his previous companions, is in a world-class funk. Or, in the case of this intergalactic fantasy series, a worlds-class funk. Either way, it takes something big to startle him out of his ennui. One thing: a potential new companion. The other: killer snowmen.

SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED
PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE:
This six-hour documentary series focuses on different aspects of different plays and genres of William Shakespeare. Two installments are shown each Friday, beginning with tonight’s double feature on Macbeth (hosted by Ethan Hawke) and The Comedies (hosted by Joely Richardson). The drawback is that these shows spend too much time on the hosts. The asset: Each hour presents tastes from previous TV and cinematic treatments of Shakespeare’s plays. And while most of the comedies get sadly short shrift in the second hour, there is indeed a gorgeous unscripted moment, when Richardson, on the set of the open-air Globe Theatre in London, interrupts herself to admire the beautiful snowfall. That’s some host time well spent: It is, indeed, a magical sight. Check local listings.

$
Cinemoi, 10:00 p.m. ET

First, look and see if you have Cinemoi on your cable or satellite service (DirecTV is its major home in the States right now.) It’s supposed to be a channel showing subtitled French films to U.S. audiences, but it shows a lot more than that. Here, for instance, it presents one of my favorite crime-caper films from the Seventies: 1971’s $, an American movie, filmed in Germany, starring Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. He plays a bank manager who plans an inside job to rob certain customers of their safe-deposit box holdings, and she plays his prostitute girlfriend who agrees to help. It’s a very stylish movie (Quincy Jones did the eclectic, exciting score), and it concludes with one of the longest, most inventive chase scenes on film.)

REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER
HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s episode, during a very interesting week for politics, is scheduled to include some very familiar politicians: Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi.

MERLIN
SyFy, 10:00 p.m. ET

This show isn’t good, really, but tonight’s guest-star turn is sort of noteworthy. It’s Janet Montgomery, making her third appearance in as many years as Princess Mithian. But since her most recent appearance, the British actress starred in an American TV series, sporting a very American accent, on the deservedly short-lived CBS drama Made in Jersey.


http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
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THURSDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Fox trots to another win with ‘Idol’
Night's top show draws a 5.1 in 18-49s, off 9 percent
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jan. 25, 2013

“American Idol” slid again last night, but it still powered Fox to an easy victory on a night littered with reruns.

“Idol” averaged a 5.1 adults 18-49 rating at 8 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, down 9 percent from a 5.6 last week.

Last night’s episode was only one hour, though, and last week’s was two hours, building to its top rating in the 9 p.m. hour. Compared to the 8 p.m. hour last week, “Idol” was down by 6 percent.

Compared to the same night last year, “Idol” was off 7 percent, from a 5.5.

“Idol” gave lead-out “Glee” a nice boost compared to its last original episode six weeks ago, which drew just a 2.0. Last night “Glee” improved 35 percent to a 2.7, finishing second in the timeslot behind ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (3.0).

The series finale of ABC’s “Last Resort,” a first-year drama that didn’t receive a full-season pickup, managed a 1.2 at 8 p.m., up 20 percent from last week.

The penultimate episode of “30 Rock,” which ends its run next week, drew a 1.4, up 8 percent from the previous week. It also aired at 8 p.m.

Fox led the night among 18-49s with a 3.9 average overnight rating and a 10 share. ABC and CBS tied for second at 2.0/5, Univision was fourth at 1.6/4, NBC fifth at 1.3/4, CW sixth at 1.0/3 and Telemundo seventh at 0.6/2.

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

Fox started the night in the lead with a 5.1 at 8 p.m. for “Idol,” followed by CBS with a 2.7 for repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men.” Univision was third with a 1.7 for “Por Ella Soy Eva,” NBC fourth with a 1.5 for “Rock” (1.4) and “Parks and Recreation” (1.7), CW fifth with a 1.3 for “The Vampire Diaries,” ABC sixth with a 1.2 for “Resort” and Telemundo seventh with a 0.6 for “Pasion Prohibida.”

ABC took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 3.0 for “Grey’s,” while Fox slid to second with a 2.7 for “Glee.” CBS was third with a 1.9 for a “Person of Interest” rerun, Univision fourth with a 1.8 for “Amores Verdaderos,” NBC fifth with a 1.6 for “The Office” (2.0) and “1600 Penn” (1.3), and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.7, CW for “Beauty and the Beast” and Telemundo for “La Patrona.”

At 10 p.m. ABC was first with a 1.8 for a repeat of “Scandal,” with CBS second with a 1.5 for an “Elementary” rerun. Univision was third with a 1.4 for “Amor Bravio,” and NBC and Telemundo tied for fourth at 0.8, NBC for “Rock Center with Brian Williams” and Telemundo for the penultimate episode of “Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal” (0.9) and “El Rostro de la Venganza” (0.6).

Fox also finished first for the night among households with a 6.4 average overnight rating and a 10 share. CBS was second at 5.9/9, ABC third at 4.4/7, NBC fourth at 2.4/4, Univision fifth at 2.1/3, CW sixth at 1.4/2 and Telemundo seventh at 0.8/1.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/fox-trots-to-another-win-with-idol/

* * * *

Nielsen Overnights (Daytime)
Te’o interview draws big crowd for ‘Katie’

For the second straight week, a much-hyped Thursday interview with a disgraced sports figure delivered huge, though not quite record, ratings.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s appearance yesterday on Katie Couric’s daytime syndicated talk show lifted “Katie” to its best number since its September debut.

The program averaged a 2.6 household rating, according to Nielsen metered-market ratings, its top show since premiering Sept. 10 of last year.

“Katie” rose 30 percent over its prior four-week average. And it took first place in its timeslot in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, the country’s top four TV markets.

The big numbers were no surprise considering the buzz around the appearance.

Te’o, a Heisman Trophy finalist who led Notre Dame to the national championship game, was making his first on-camera appearance since a Deadspin investigation revealed that the woman he’d claimed as his girlfriend was nothing but a hoax.

Te’o had said his girlfriend passed away from cancer last September, spurring his strong performance through an emotional and dominant season.

But according to Deadspin, Te’o’s girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed. As Te’o, who says he was not in on the hoax, told Couric, he never actually met Kekua; all their interactions were online or over the telephone.

An acquaintance of Te’o’s has reportedly admitted to being behind the hoax, a form of online trickery known as catfishing.

Te’o and his parents appeared on “Katie” Thursday to discuss the case. At the least, as Couric pointed out, Te’o has proven himself incredibly naïve.

Couric asked tough questions of the linebacker, who has declared for the upcoming NFL Draft, including inquiring whether he is gay. Some questioned whether Te’o was hiding his sexuality by taking part in the hoax.

The Couric interview aired just a week after Oprah Winfrey’s sit-down with Lance Armstrong, in which the cyclist admitted that he had doped after more than a decade of denials.

The interview drew 3.2 million total viewers on the Oprah Winfrey Network, the second-best total for any show on the two-year-old network.

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/teo-interview-draws-big-crowd-for-katie/
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TV Review
Swamp Pawn (CMT)
By Allison Keen, The Hollywood Reporter - Jan. 25, 2013

You only need to add "Amish," "gold" or "housewives" to the title of CMT's new six-part docu-series Swamp Pawn to make it the ultimate mash-up of other successful reality franchises. Pawn shows, of which there seem to be an infinite number (both Pawn Stars and Hardcore Pawn have their own spinoffs) have become a mainstay of programming, but somehow Swamp Pawn unexpectedly finds its own distinctive niche among the throng.

There's nothing flashy or groundbreaking in how the show is filmed, but Swamp Pawn is successful for two reasons: one, it has collected an extremely affable group of folk in Bayou Pigeon, Louisiana, a boggy and close-knit community whose main trade revolves around fishing. Rick Phillips, charming owner of Phillips Swamp Seafood, is the main focus of the series, as it is his pawn shop that serves as center stage for a host of colorful local characters.

In the nuances of Southern culture, there is an important divide between being a redneck and just being country. The denizens of Bayou Pigeon who we meet are of the latter kind: hard workers with melodious drawls and a general good nature, even when alligators begin to threaten their business. The business of the bayou is seafood, and Phillips, who is someone you would easily want to be friends with, does most of his trade in it.

The first episode introduces us to a fishing couple, Clayton and Joney Daley, both of whom have an undeniable love for the hard work they do. The Daleys sell their haul to Phillips, who moves the stock, sometimes through the aid of former hellion Brian "Shorty" Gomez and his docile father Coy. Shorty and Coy seem to have materialized directly from a Mark Twain short story, or maybe even Dickens transposed. Early in the episode Shorty's truck breaks down, and he finagles a way to get Phillips to front him the cash for a new one. "I should have seen that coming," Philips says with a genuine smile as Shorty swears up and down he'll pay him back before he knows it.

Despite the pawn in the title, as of the first episode there wasn't much of it. Phillips negotiates a few deals here and there, like Shorty's new truck as well as for a loggerhead turtle shell, but he doesn't fleece anyone. He's fair and probably let's a few things slide. "You gotta keep the peace" he says with a shrug, after having acquired the turtle shell for $175, after the initial offer of $150 and a sack of crawfish.

The second reason the series has promise, besides its great cast, is because it weaves in several narratives like a scripted show. A nemesis is introduced early in the premiere episode: an alligator nicknamed Slick, who discovered how to bite through expensive fish netting to chomp a few fish himself before the others escaped. The reduced haul for people like the Daleys as well as Phillips could put them all out of business, so they then turn to their famed alligator-hunting friend Clifford "Chachie Boy" Lagrange to hunt for Slick, for whom they all have both a healthy respect and hatred.

Suddenly, you realize you're caught up in the story -- will Chachie help them out? Can Slick be caught? Elsewhere, Shorty tells us he's looking to turn his life around and "go legit," and you wonder … will he? The fact that any docu-series with a name like Swamp Pawn can engender such tender and engaged feelings towards it and its cast of characters is certainly unexpected. But perhaps a paraphrase of something Coy says sums things up the best: "it'll sweet talk the pants right off ya."

SWAMP PEOPLE
The Bottom Line: A surprisingly tender and entertaining respite in Bayou Pigeon, Louisiana
Airdate: 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 (CMT)


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/swamp-pawn-tv-review-414991
post #84798 of 93678
TV Sports
CBS' Shannon Sharpe knows Harbaugh Super Bowl dilemma
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Jan. 25, 2013

With a sibling rivalry being the biggest Super Bowl storyline, CBS' Shannon Sharpe says he's glad he's not involved.

His brother Sterling, a star Green Bay Packers wide receiver who preceded Shannon in broadcasting and is now an analyst on the NFL Network, played against Shannon in two NFL games -- in 1990 and 1993. They split the games, Shannon playing for the Denver Broncos.

Shannon says those games weren't fun: "We didn't want to play each other. I didn't want my joy to be his disappointment. I could not have enjoyed that my joy would have come with his pain."

Shannon says their rivalry goes much farther: "I won the last time we played each other in basketball, which was in 1983. But I've still got bragging rights on that."

Asked about the idea of playing his brother in a Super Bowl, Shannon tells USA TODAY Sports that "I can't imagine doing that. It would have torn me apart."

As the storyline unfolds, he says it must be "very odd for their parents. They'll probably do all they can do to deflect this talk. But we've never seen anything like this before and we may never see it again."

P.S. Sharpe gained some notoriety for calling out New England coach Bill Belichick on-air for not doing a post-game interview after the Patriots lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday on CBS.

"I just said what a lot of people in the business were thinking," Sharpe said Thursday. "Now, it should be a non-issue. I haven't had any of my bosses say I was out of line. If I see something wrong, I'm going to talk about it."

Spice rack: The Golf Channel will add TV vet Ahmad Rashad to its Morning Drive show (weekdays, 7 a.m.) as a guest host. ... When seasons are shortened by work stoppages, pent-up consumer demand generally brings some small ratings pops when action returns. In addition to strong ratings on NBC over the weekend, consider that Comcast Chicago SportsNet drew 5.4% of area households for its Blackhawks opener Tuesday -- the net's highest-ever rating for a regular-season NHL game.

Michael Oher goes bowling: Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, whose adoption of Baltimore Raven Michael Oher was made famous in the film The Blind Side, say they already have 6-8 requests for TV appearances next week in New Orleans. But, says Sean, "We're kind of boring. Everybody makes us out to be interesting, but we can't fulfill that."

But, says Leigh Anne, the couple will continue what they've been doing during the playoffs during the Super Bowl: "We'll keep wearing the same underwear."

Super Bowl top five countdown: When it comes to watching NFL games, which are the most-rabid cities?

In season-long ratings, the city that tops the list doesn't even have an NFL team -- Milwaukee. But when it comes to Packers games, Milwaukee has the highest local ratings in the USA for NFL home-team games: Packers games averaged 46.6% of TV households in that TV market.

The next highest: New Orleans this season averaged 45.5% of local households for Saints games.

The other top-rated markets, in order, for watching their home teams: Pittsburgh (44.1%), Denver (37.2%), and New England (36.4%).

As rabid as these cities are for their teams, they don't match last season's viewing levels. Last year, New Orleans topped the league's local TV ratings with 51.1% of households, followed by Green Bay at 48.2%.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2013/01/24/espn-nfl-sterling-sharpe-cbs-rachel-nichols-big-ten-network/1862725/
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post #84800 of 93678
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!
ABC, 11:35 p.m. ET

Every night for years, almost without fail, Jimmy Kimmel has ended his show by apologizing to Matt Damon for being bumped – a running gag so long, and so effective, it’s a marathon-running gag. And tonight, now that Kimmel has moved to 11:35 p.m. ET, Damon finally has been booked on the show officially. He’s appeared in viral videos for the show, and appeared in other playful cameos, but this makes it official. Unless the monologue runs long, and Kimmel bumps him.

Excellent show last night. The role reversal was hilarious. If you missed it, watch for a repeat, as I'm sure that they will.
post #84801 of 93678
February 10 = zombies + cylons = cool !! biggrin.gif
post #84802 of 93678
This is just total awesomeness!!

BBC America To Air Classic Doctor Who Episodes In Order

http://nerdbastards.com/2013/01/24/bbc-america-to-air-classic-doctor-who-episodes-in-order/
post #84803 of 93678
The wording of the story at that Doctor Who link is a bit imprecise. From January to November, BBC America is airing one special each month featuring one of the 11 Doctors. Each 2-hour special will feature a full story from the appropriate Doctor. Doctors 1 to 7 each get a 4 x 25 minute story, while 8 presumably gets the 1996 movie (his only story), and 9 to 11 presumably each get a 2 x 45 minute story. As of now, BBC America has not said anything about airing all episodes of Doctor Who from the beginning in order, which is what that link implies.
post #84804 of 93678
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nayan View Post

This is just total awesomeness!!

BBC America To Air Classic Doctor Who Episodes In Order

http://nerdbastards.com/2013/01/24/bbc-america-to-air-classic-doctor-who-episodes-in-order/

Holy crap. Thanks for the heads up!

xnappo
post #84805 of 93678
Yeah that headline is a bit misleading. But if you've never seen the very early Doctor Who episodes they sure are worth a place on the DVR. My favorite old Dr. is Tom Baker. I loved his scarf! smile.gif
post #84806 of 93678
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nayan View Post

Yeah that headline is a bit misleading. But if you've never seen the very early Doctor Who episodes they sure are worth a place on the DVR. My favorite old Dr. is Tom Baker. I loved his scarf! smile.gif

Yeah - now after actually reading the article - not nearly as excited. Still I haven't seen much before Pertwee.

xnappo
post #84807 of 93678
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

If you missed it, watch for a repeat, as I'm sure that they will.
The Matt Damon Jimmy Kimmel episode will re-air in primetime on Tuesday 29 January at 10 ET.
post #84808 of 93678
New York Times article on sports costs on pay TV.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/business/media/all-viewers-pay-to-keep-tv-sports-fans-happy.html?ref=business&_r=0&pagewanted=all
Rising TV Fees Mean All Viewers Pay to Keep Sports Fans Happy
Michael Perez/Associated Press


For a glimpse of how out of control sports bidding wars have become, look no further than your cable television bill.

Time Warner Cable subscribers in Southern California will eventually see their monthly bills increase thanks to an impending $7 billion deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the most lucrative for any sports team in history. DirecTV, the country’s most popular satellite service, and Verizon FiOS have started adding a $2 to $3 monthly surcharge in markets like New York and Los Angeles to pay for regional sports networks.

Per-subscriber fees for sports networks keep going up: ESPN, the granddaddy of them all, passed the $5-a-month mark last year.

The eye-popping price tags have restarted debate about a topic near and dear to sports fans, fairness: many TV customers never watch the mightily expensive channels at all, yet almost all must pay. There was a shudder in the industry when John Malone, the business tycoon who helped create the modern-day cable system, said in November that “runaway sports rights” costs amounted to “a high tax on a lot of households that don’t have a lot of interest in sports.” The only short-term fix, he said, was government intervention.

The price increases reflect the leverage big sports leagues have as distributors like Time Warner Cable and programmers like ESPN desperately try to hang onto live programming in the age of the digital video recorder and the Internet.

Sports are the television industry’s bulwark against rapid technological change: while the companies fear cord-cutting by customers who can cobble together a diet of TV on the Internet, they rest a little easier knowing that former customers would be hard-pressed to find their favorite teams live online.

Pretty much everybody in the business agrees that the overall costs are outrageous. Nobody has an easy solution.

The latest example of this is likely to come on Monday when the Dodgers’ owners are expected to announce a 20- to 25-year deal to create a regional sports network with Time Warner Cable. The cost per subscriber in Southern California is likely to be between $4 and $5 a month, though Time Warner Cable will swallow some of the amount itself.

In assessing the impending Dodgers deal, Michael Nathanson, a media analyst at Nomura Securities, wondered earlier this week “if we have reached the top of the sports rights bubble.”

But while the price is steep, the alternative might have been worse; the other bidder, Fox Sports, could have turned around and charged Time Warner Cable even more per subscriber.

“When a team sees their rights fees, and therefore the costs to consumers, rise more than sixfold, as is rumored, for the exact same games that they got last season, that’s an unsustainable model,” said Dan York, who oversees DirecTV’s decisions to carry and not carry networks. Yet Mr. York said DirecTV hopes to continue to carry the Dodgers in the years to come.

As both he and his counterparts at Time Warner Cable know, the games are popular with a segment of its customer base.

News Corporation, knowing the same thing, acquired a 49 percent stake in the Yankees-branded YES Network for nearly $2 billion two months ago. News Corporation is planning a national rival to ESPN, tentatively named Fox Sports 1, joining other competitors like Comcast, which has the one-year-old NBC Sports Network, and CBS, which has the CBS Sports Network. The National Football League has its own network, which clawed its way onto all the major distributors’ channel lineups despite costing nearly $1 per subscriber per month. An increasing number of college conferences have their own television homes, as well.

For the most part, all of these networks are requirements, not options for cable customers. (Some distributors charge extra for special packages of sports channels for die-hard fans, but the big networks remain in the basic packages that most customers get.) Some games are hugely popular: On the high end of the ratings, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” averaged 21.4 million viewers this season. But Dodgers games, like those of many local teams, were lucky to garner 100,000 viewers on any given day.

But analysts and industry critics say that if anything ever causes distributors to try more of an “à la carte” model of pricing, it’s sports programming.

“The cable industry has done everything it can to bundle programming and force consumers to buy things they don’t want,” said Gene Kimmelman, a former Justice Department antitrust lawyer. “Finally, one piece of their bundle has become so expensive that it may finally force the cable industry to shift gears and split the bundle out of fear of pricing its own customers out of the market.”

Some executives at the distributors privately agree. They talk of a bubble caused by the high license fees commanded by college and professional leagues, and demanded by the networks that pay those fees. They say they want to keep costs down, and some have even threatened to drop low-rated channels from their lineups. But they continue to agree to pay more and more for sports.

Chris Bevilacqua, an investor and consultant who has spearheaded the creation of several college sports networks, said, “If consumers were that upset by the costs, they’d be dropping their cable subscriptions in droves.”

To date, that is not happening. Cable alternatives like Aereo (a service that streams broadcast networks via the Internet for a small monthly price) are sprouting up, but none are stealing share from the distributors that have been around for years.

What is more common are customers who lower their monthly bill, albeit temporarily, by leaping from one distributor to another. Verizon FiOS, perhaps testing the waters, announced a sports-free package of channels this week that is $15 cheaper than a similar package with sports.

Along with regional sports networks and the ESPNs of the world, sports costs are baked into the television industry through the deals that distributors make to carry local broadcasters’ television signals. If a distributor is not willing to pay what a CBS-affiliated station wants them to pay, for instance, its customers may miss out on the Super Bowl, which will be televised by CBS on Feb. 3.

There is nothing like a sports blackout to provoke the public. Time Warner Cable’s blackout of MSG Networks, which carries the Knicks, rankled thousands of customers last year; Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo eventually put pressure on both companies to make the deal that ended the blackout.

David Goodfriend, the chairman of the Sports Fan Coalition, said sports leagues were the root of the problem, because they “get exemptions from federal antitrust laws so they can legally collude and drive up prices for television coverage of the games.” The coalition wants reductions to what it calls “vast public subsidies.”

Washington regulators have not shown a special interest in the subject. When Mr. Malone, speaking to The Los Angeles Times, brought up government intervention in sports rights costs, he said that “usually markets have a way of correcting themselves.”
post #84809 of 93678
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnesia View Post

The Matt Damon Jimmy Kimmel episode will re-air in primetime on Tuesday 29 January at 10 ET.
Seconded, one seriously-funny episode. My favorite part: Andy Garcia as the new-and-improved Guillermo biggrin.gif (one of seemingly dozens of stars who dropped by). And gotta give props to Kimmel for having the balls to let other people be funny and basically play a version of straight man for an entire hour during his show. You won't see Letterman (who did this in his early formative years at NBC) or Leno cede the spotlight completely over to a guest, that's the stuff only Craig Ferguson has been able to pull off.
post #84810 of 93678
No political comments, please.

TV Notes
Fox News and Sarah Palin go their separate ways
By Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times - Jan. 25, 2013

Fans of Sarah Palin will have to look a little harder to find their favorite vice-presidential-candidate-turned-media-personality on the airwaves in 2013. After three years as a highly paid contributor on the network, Palin has officially parted ways with Fox News.

The news was first reported Friday by the political website Real Clear Politics, and was later confirmed by the New York Times. A Fox News representative was not available for comment.

It was not immediately clear whether the breakup was mutual.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed our association with Gov. Palin. We wish her the best in her future endeavors,” said Fox News executive Bill Shine in a statement to the New York Times.

Palin signed her deal with Fox in early 2010, not long after resigning as governor of Alaska. and was, for a while, one of the network’s most popular personalities. Her lucrative deal earned her $1 million a year, making her the highest-paid contributor on the channel. But as her star began to fade, rumors began to swirl that she was on the outs at Fox News.

Network chief Roger Ailes stoked the fires when he publicly claimed that he only hired Palin because “she was hot and got ratings” and said she had “no chance” at being elected president.

The spat heated up once again this August, when Palin took to her Facebook account to grumble about being shut out of the network’s coverage of the Republican National Convention. She has not appeared on Fox News since December.

No word yet on what Palin plans to do with the studio Fox built in her Wasilla, Alaska, home in 2010, but there’s little doubt the publicity-friendly family will find a use for it. Husband Todd competed on the NBC series “Stars Earn Stripes” last year, and daughter Bristol followed up the poorly received “Life’s a Tripp” with her second stint on “Dancing With the Stars.” The former governor also took a stab at nonpartisan morning television, guest-hosting “Today” in April.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-fox-news-contract-sarah-palin-20130125,0,454754.story
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