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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2838

post #85111 of 93727
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
TUESDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - The Taste
9PM - State of the Union 2013 (90 min., LIVE)
10:30PM - Modern Family
(R - Dec. 12)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Jessica Alba; chef Bobby Flay; Ellie Goulding performs)
12:35AM - Nightline

8PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Sep. 25)
9PM - State of the Union 2013 (90 min., LIVE)
10:30PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Oct. 1)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Bruce Willis; 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model Kate Upton; Little Big Town performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Ted Danson; Teresa Palmer)

8PM - Betty White's Off Their Rockers
8:30PM - Betty White's Off Their Rockers
9PM - State of the Union 2013 (120 min., LIVE)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Charles Barkley; free-throw shooter Bob Fisher; Jewel performs)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Josh Duhamel; Craig Robinson; chef Christina Tosi; Boyd Tinsley performs with The Roots)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Nick Kroll; Twitter co-founder Biz Stone; Vacationer performs)

8PM - Raising Hope
(R - Oct. 23)
8:30PM - New Girl
(R - Oct. 23)
9PM - State of the Union 2013 (90 min., LIVE)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Frontline: Cliffhanger
9PM - John D. Rockefeller: American Experience (120 min.)

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

8PM - Movie: When in Rome (2010)

8PM - Pasión Prohibida
9PM - La Patrona
10PM - El Rostro de la Venganza

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Former MLB player and author Mike Piazza)
11:31PM - The Colbert Show (Editor Roger Hodge)

11PM - Conan (Bill Maher; Celeste Anderson of "King of the Nerds"; Jackie Kashian)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Jenny McCarthy; Dan Levyl Diablo Cody; Ross Mathews)
post #85112 of 93727
Critic's Notes
Star Wars, Avengers, and TV’s Lost Generation: How Small-Screen Visionaries are Transforming Hollywood
By Graeme McMillan, Time.com

The starting point for any directorial career that involves running a billion-dollar movie franchise just might be running a TV series. It is the path taken by two directors—J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon, both pushing 50—who, between them, have been handed the keys to such valuable (and storied) properties as Star Wars, Star Trek, and the Marvel Comics universe.

For Abrams, it was his experience as the co-creator and producer (and occasional director) of shows such as Alias and Lost that, in 2004, caught the attention of Mission: Impossible star and producer Tom Cruise—and launched his career as movie director (and, later, movie-franchise savior).

Whedon, too, made a name for himself in television—creating shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly—before becoming a movie director with Serenity, the big-screen sequel to his cult-fave Firefly. (Both also had success as screenwriters; Abrams’ credits include Regarding Henry and Armageddon, and Whedon writing for movies as varied as Toy Story, Alien Resurrection and the original Buffy).

But Whedon’s route to the big-screen big leagues was somewhat more circuitous, with Serenity essentially flopping, and Dollhouse, his return to series television, following suit after two short, confused, seasons. His Avengers hiring seemed something of a risk—a decision many saw as a combination of Marvel’s tendency to choose lesser-known (read: cheaper) talent for their projects and Whedon’s good relationship with the company’s comic-book arm, for whom he’d written a best-selling X-Men storyline. It was, it turned out, a gamble that paid off very, very handsomely.

So was it those years of working in genre television that gave Whedon and Abrams the Right Stuff? That convinced studio suits to hand them the keys to some important—culturally and financially—movie franchises? (After all, it the was the immense perceived value of Star Wars that led Disney spent $4 billion to buy Lucasfilm in the first place.) And more importantly for movie execs currently casting around, looking for their own J.Js and Josses: Is their rise to prominence a repeatable phenomenon—and if it is, who should they be eyeing up for future stardom?

The idea that making television is just like making movies, only shorter, is a common, if flawed, comparison. Outside of the differing scales of production, the two have different narrative needs, with movies generally moving towards an emotional resolution faster than television. Of course, that’s not necessarily the case with the kind of franchise genre movies we’re beginning to see take over the summer box office. And it’s with genre powerhouses like Star Wars and Star Trek that you find movies being treated with the same open-ended, interconnectedness of television or comic books. Such reliance on continuity requires audiences to view and have some familiarity with every installment—a concept that has gained even more complexity with Marvel Studio’s ever-expanding Avengers franchise. In these cases, movies, like TV, must have episodic storytelling working towards a larger goal.

Who better to guide these projects, then, that those who have proven themselves adept at the task on television? Looking to TV showrunners to take on the responsibility of leading a movie franchise makes a lot of sense: the role of a showrunner in television parallels that of a movie director, in that both have a level of control over the finished product in a way that goes beyond the official definition of their job title, from guiding the overall direction and tone of the project to managing a budget. That kind of experience would be valuable on genre projects, which often involve stories where imagination often clashes with practical considerations. In that respect, then, showrunners for genre television have earned a particular brand of credibility.

Another factor: Fan base. For whatever reason, genre fandom is far more interested in the nuts-and-bolts of favorite shows than mainstream fare. While few who enjoyed Cheers or Friends could tell you their respective showrunners, there’s something about genre programming where the identity of the creator or lead EP is can often be the subject of discussion as to how it affects the show itself. Choosing the right figure from genre television for your movie could mean being able to immediately have an engaged and vocal fanbase for your project with very little effort.

So who out there might be the next J.J. Abrams or Joss Whedon? It’s hard to say—there aren’t really any currently-airing genre TV series that have the same kind of cultural impact as Buffy or Lost. And without that level of awareness, we’re unlikely to see any current show runners rise to the name-recognition level of either of those two creators. Still, here are a few talents who should be added to some Rolodexes:

Eric Kripke
The creator of the CW’s Supernatural—the closest thing to Buffy on air these days (Sorry, Grimm)—and NBC’s Revolution, Kripke has demonstrated a way with a high concept and eager embrace of (and a willingness to play with) genre tropes and cliches that places him close to Abrams. He may not yet have the smooth execution of Abrams’ work—Supernatural veers close to pantomime a little too often, and Revolution‘s pacing has been remarkably uneven so far—but if someone is looking for the next Abrams, then Kripke is a pretty good place to start.

Josh Friedman
Friedman represents the greatest deviation from the Whedon/Abrams formula in that he’s only run one show: the short-lived Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. But, as anyone who watched Chronicles already knows, he excels at finding new approaches to familiar concepts—and those lucky enough to have seen his pilot for Fox adapting the comic series Locke & Key can also attest to an ability to pare down complicated genre concepts to find the emotional core inside—skills necessary to take on a movie series based on a well-known property.

Kevin Williamson
Williamson has been a Hot Young Thing in Hollywood before, having helmed movies like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Faculty back in the 1990s. These days, he’s found success on TV with The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle and The Following. Possessing the pop-culture awareness and eagerness to go in for the kill (reminiscent of Whedon), it’d be interesting to see what Williamson could do if given the keys to a major name franchise.

Ron Moore
That Moore has essentially all but disappeared following the cancellation of his Battlestar Galactica spin-off Caprica feels like one of those strange mistakes of genre as a whole. From his early days on the Star Trek shows —he worked on The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager—through aliens-among-us series Roswell, HBO’s Carnivale and eventually BSG, Moore has shown himself to be an intelligent writer who likes to play with genre ingredients while trying to say something about the world we live in today. For the last few years, he’s been stuck developing shows that fail to materialize, echoing Whedon’s time in limbo. Perhaps what he really needs is for an existing movie series to bring him on to play with toys that just need a little bit of attention. We know he can do that…

Josh Schwartz
He tends to hide his genre light under a bushel these days, more known for Gossip Girl and, now, The Carrie Diaries than Chuck or The O.C., but Schwartz is exactly the kind of hyper-aware television wunderkind—The O.C. made him the youngest showrunner of a network series in U.S. television history—that Abrams and, to a lesser extent, Whedon were, at their televisual peaks. He has teased moves into movies—at one point, he was to write Fox’s X-Men: First Class, as well as write and direct a new adaptation of Bright Lights, Big City—but has yet to make that big leap. Perhaps all he needs is the right reason… Do you think he’d be interested in Thundercats, maybe…?

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TV Notes
TV networks' new tactic: Make a long series short
By Bill Keveney, USA Today - Feb. 12, 2013

Broadcast TV is hoping good things come in smaller packages.

Over the next three weeks, ABC is launching two series, Zero Hour (Thursday, 8 ET/PT) and Red Widow (March 3, 9 ET/PT), that are scheduled to last 13 and eight episodes, respectively, without any plan this season to expand to the 22 episodes that is standard for a successful show.

Fox has scheduled 15 episodes of The Following, which is off to a solid start, based on star Kevin Bacon's wishes to do a smaller number of episodes, as is common in cable TV. And CBS this summer plans Under the Dome, a 13-episode miniseries based on a Stephen King novel that promises a satisfying ending but could return in success.

Broadcast networks are hardly abandoning the traditional financial structure of a new show order, which calls for an initial 13 episodes, followed, if ratings are high enough, by a back order of nine or more that helps amortize costs and builds toward the roughly 100 episodes needed for syndication. However, they are considering shorter orders, which are more common in a cable world less dependent on syndication, in cases where that is best for the material or the talent.

Shorter initial runs made sense for the two ABC dramas, both from a late-season scheduling standpoint and a creative one, says Channing Dungey, ABC's senior vice president of drama development. ABC is committed to serialized dramas, which tend not to repeat as well, and that means more series are needed to fill a full-season schedule.

The new ABC dramas plan to solve their initial mysteries in the first season, which could appeal to time-strapped viewers who want to know they will get answers quickly before committing to a program.

Zero Hour, which follows a reporter (Anthony Edwards) trying to get to the bottom of a Da Vinci Code-style mystery as he pursues his kidnapped wife, could come back with an annual, self-contained story along the lines of 24. Red Widow tells the story of a stay-at-home mom trying to protect her three children as she is suddenly thrust into the criminal underworld after her husband's murder.

"With Zero Hour and Red Widow, in each case the narrative is going to wrap up within the course of this first handful of episodes. The stories ... we felt fit very neatly into a shorter order," Dungey says. "That doesn't mean that the following season we couldn't decide to come up with a story that has a longer narrative and arc."

Edwards, a veteran of ER's longer seasons, says he would prefer the smaller episode order if Zero Hour moves forward, and executive producer Zack Estrin says a shorter season allows the action to move at a faster pace.

ABC had mixed results last season with its shorter-order dramas. The River, a horror tale that resolved its initial mystery over eight episodes, did not survive for a second season, but Scandal, which opened with seven, is now on a full-season schedule and is one of TV's most-buzzed-about shows. One of ABC's 12 drama pilots, Reckless, is designed for a 13-episode season, which could attract bigger-name actors who might not want to commit to a potential 22 episodes.

For Scandal, seven episodes "felt like the exact right amount of time to draw viewers into the world, introduce the characters and then give a satisfying conclusion at the end of the season. And now this season, it's running the full 22," Dungey says.

In a rapidly changing media age, broadcast networks should consider different ways of programming, including shorter orders, but their basic financial model isn't likely to change, says David Scardino, entertainment specialist at advertising firm RPA. Self-contained, season-long stories, which have worked for cable shows such as Justified, could get more broadcast network attention, he says.

"If short orders keep the creative people happier, I would be looking at that," he says. But "from an economic standpoint, it just makes sense that the more episodes over which you can amortize the production costs, the cheaper per episode that show becomes."

If any of these shorter-run shows are popular, it's likely to lead to a longer life. That's the nature of television, as King said in a video presentation to TV critics in January. "It's very exciting to see the idea of taking the book and possibly expanding it, because that's what TV is for. TV is an expansive medium."

post #85114 of 93727
TV/Business Notes
Sony Pictures Renews Pay TV Carriage Deal With Starz
By David Lieberman, Deadline.com - Feb. 11, 2013

This is a big deal for Starz, which you can see in the 7.8% jump in its shares in early trading this morning: Sony could be the only major studio providing recent hit movies to the premium network after 2016, when Disney moves its new releases to Netflix. The deal negotiated by Sony Pictures TV will keep the studio’s movies on Starz through 2021; the previous deal would have expired in 2016. Many analysts feared that without Sony, Starz would have to struggle to produce original shows to fill its schedule. And Starz’s market valuation likely would have plummeted if it lost Sony; Liberty Media spun off Starz last month. Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible observed a few weeks ago that “Sony is the only major studio Pay TV deal that anyone can hope to secure this decade.” And Barclays’ Chris Merwin noted that “other bidders, particularly Netflix and Amazon, could make competitive offers” to land Sony.

There’s no mention of financial terms in today’s release, although in an SEC filing Starz CEO Chris Albrecht says the terms “are consistent with other recent agreements between traditional premium TV networks and major Hollywood studios.” Merwin notes this morning that Universal and Fox are believed to have renewed with HBO for about $250M a year, while estimates put Netflix’s outlays for Disney at as much as $350M. But we’re told that Starz will pay Sony about $2B over the five-year extension. If that’s true then it’s just about what Wible had forecast and about twice what he figures Starz currently pays.

Here’s today’s release: [CLICK LINK BELOW]

post #85115 of 93727
Originally Posted by TheRatPatrol View Post

Should they cancel making all movies as well?

Only the crappy ones. biggrin.gif
post #85116 of 93727
TV Notes
'Storage Wars': Mark Balelo Commits Suicide (Report)
By The Hollywood Reporter Staff - Feb. 11, 2013

Storage Wars castmember Mark Balelo committed suicide Monday, TMZ reported. His age is unknown.

Balelo, who also was jokingly called "Rico Suave" on the show for the snazzy attire he wore to auctions, was reportedly found in his car, which had been left running at his auction house in Simi Valley, Calif., after dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

TMZ reported that Balelo was arrested Saturday for a drug-related offense. After his release from jail, a distraught Balelo called his fiancée and told her that he might hurt himself.

After the two spoke at his office for a couple hours, he took a nap and, upon waking, seemed better. His fiancée left Sunday night.

The next morning, one of his employees found him dead in his car. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

According to IMDb.com, Balelo appeared on several episodes of A&E's Storage Wars over the past few seasons. On the show, he often angered other bidders by showing up with large amounts of money and easily outbidding all his rivals.

post #85117 of 93727
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Nielsen Overnights (Cable)
'Walking Dead' Returns With Series Best 12.3 Million Viewers
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Feb. 11, 2013

In the adults 18-49 demo, the episode -- up against the Grammys on CBS -- scored 7.7 million total viewers, the strongest telecast in basic-cable history in the metric

That cant be right.
The jan 2011 bcs championship game telecast on espn had 27.3 million viewers so mustve beat 7.7m in 18-49.
post #85118 of 93727
MONDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #85119 of 93727
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Happy Valentine’s: ‘Bachelor’ bumps up
Veteran ABC relationship reality show jumps 13 percent
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Feb. 12, 2013

Apparently viewers were in the mood for love last night with Valentine’s Day looming later this week.

ABC’s long-running find-a-mate reality show “The Bachelor” soared to a season high, up 13 percent over the previous week.

“Bachelor” drew a 2.7 adults 18-49 rating from 8 to 10 p.m., according to Nielsen, growing from a 2.4 last week.

It was one of just three shows on the Big Four to see gains last night. Another was lead-out “Castle,” which increased 11 percent to a 2.0 at 10 p.m., where it finished one-tenth behind timeslot competitor “Hawaii-Five-0” on CBS.

NBC’s new drama “Deception” was the other program to see week-to-week improvement, up 18 percent to a 1.3 at 10 p.m.

Though CBS won the night, all of its shows were off from last week. “How I Met Your Mother,” which hit a season-high 4.0 last week, had the biggest decline, down 20 percent.

The 9 p.m. comedy “2 Broke Girls” was the night’s top show with a 3.5, sliding a modest 5 percent from last week.

Fox’s new 9 p.m. drama “The Following” saw its biggest week-to-week drop since debuting last month, dipping 17 percent to a series-low 2.4. It has seen big upticks from DVR viewership so far.

CBS finished first for the night among 18-49s with a 2.8 average overnight rating and a 7 share. ABC was second at 2.5/7, Fox third at 2.3/6, NBC fourth at 1.8/5, Univision fifth at 1.6/4, and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.5/1.

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

CBS led each hour, starting with a 3.0 at 8 p.m. for “Mother” (3.2) and “Rules of Engagement” (2.8), followed by ABC with a 2.6 for “Bachelor.” Fox was third with a 2.2 for “Bones,” NBC fourth with a 2.0 for “The Biggest Loser,” Univision fifth with a 1.7 for “Por Ella Soy Eva,” CW sixth with a 0.6 for “The Carrie Diaries” and Telemundo seventh with a 0.5 for “Pasion Prohibida.”

At 9 p.m. CBS was first with a 3.2 for “Girls” (3.5) and “Mike & Molly” (2.9), followed again by ABC with a 2.8 for more “Bachelor.” Fox was third with a 2.4 for “Following,” NBC fourth with a 2.0 for another hour of “Loser,” Univision fifth with a 1.8 for “Amores Verdaderos,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.7 for “La Patrona” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for “90210.”

CBS finished first once again at 10 p.m. with a 2.1 for “Hawaii Five-0,” with ABC second with a 2.0 for “Castle.” NBC and Univision tied for third at 1.3, NBC for “Deception” and Univision for “Amor Bravio,” and Telemundo was fifth with a 0.4 for “El Rostro de la Venganza.”

CBS took the night among households as well with a 6.1 average overnight rating and a 9 share. ABC was second at 5.7/9, Fox third at 5.0/7, NBC fourth at 3.1/5, Univision fifth at 2.0/3, and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.7/1.

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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Feb. 12, 2013

HBO, 7:30 p.m.

Don’t worry, be watching: This tiny documentary, a true family special, follows the vocally acrobatic Bobby McFerrin as he instructs four talented, eager young students in a master class on vocal improvisation, then sings with them onstage in a live performance.

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Some of the best Frontline shows are when they turn around reactive documentaries almost instantly, examining political and social problems while the body is still warm. That’s the case tonight, when the subject is the so-called “fiscal cliff” – and where the frustration, on all sides of that chasm, is palpable. A perfect appetizer for tonight’s State of the Union main course. Check local listings.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

The best movie ever made? The American Film Institute crowned this 1941 film as such – not a bad honor, for a guy making his directorial and starring big-screen debut. That would be Orson Welles, the young pioneer who took all the tricks he had learned in radio and combined them with brand new ones. The result: A fascinating, visually rich and resonant movie about the life and death of a media mogul.

Various Networks, 9:00 p.m. ET

All the major broadcast networks, even Fox, will carry this year’s State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama, his first such address since being elected for a second term. Watch for it on the standard cable news networks, as well.

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

This week, following a particularly grisly new piece of evidence, Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) gets off on the wrong foot. Or, at least, tries to follow the clues one step at a time. What he’s found is a severed human foot – all that remains, for now, of the person Raylan is seeking. And he’s not the only one…

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TV Notes
FX’s ‘The Bridge’ Picked Up To Series
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Feb. 12, 2013

FX has handed out a 13-episode order to The Bridge, its drama pilot from writers Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid starring Diane Kruger and Demián Bichir. Filming on the series, co-produced by Shine America and FX Prods, begins in April for a July premiere. It marks Shine’s first major U.S. scripted series since the 2008 acquisition of Reveille.

Based on the Danish/Swedish series Bron, which was set on the border of Denmark and Sweden, The Bridge is set on the border between El Paso and Juarez. It centers on two detectives — one from the U.S., Detective Sonya Cross (Kruger), and one from Mexico, Marco Ruiz (Bichir) — who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Homeland writer/executive producer and Cold Case creator Stiehm and novelist and TV writer-producer Reid wrote the adaptation, which the two executive produce with Shine America’s Carolyn G. Bernstein and Lars Blomgren of Shine Group’s Filmlance, which co-produced the original series with Denmark’s Nimbus Film. The Bridge co-stars Ted Levine, Annabeth Gish, and Thomas M. Wright; Matthew Lillard guest starred in the pilot directed by Gerardo Naranjo (Miss Bala).

“For years networks having been trying develop a drama series set on the U.S.-Mexican border without any success,” said FX president John Landgraf. ”I’m thrilled to say that Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid have become the first to crack that creative code and they have done so magnificently. There have been great films set in that world — No Country for Old Men and Lone Star come to mind — but never a great TV series. This one is special. The setting, the writing, the direction, and the way it is brought to life by Demián Bichir, Diane Kruger and the rest of the cast makes for truly riveting drama.”

In addition to The Bridge, FX has two high-profile pilots that are on fast track for series orders: The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro and Lost‘s Carlton Cuse, and Middle East drama Tyrant, from Homeland executive producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff and Six Feet Under alum Craig Wright. FX’s latest original drama, The Americans, got off to a strong start last month before a major second-week drop.


* * * *

TV Notes
BBC Axes ‘The Hour’
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Feb. 12, 2013

The Hour won’t be back for a third season after all. The BBC today pulled the plug on the one-hour drama about a 1950s BBC newsmagazine show. “We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through,” the BBC said. Staring Skyfall’s Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai and The Wire’s Dominic West, the six-episode drama debuted in 2011 on BBC Two in the UK and was seen on this side of the pond on BBC America.

While The Hour started off with strong viewership in the UK, its audience had fallen by almost half by the second season. The show was nominated for an Emmy and three Golden Globes last year, including Best Miniseries or Made For TV Movie.

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Business/Legal Notes
Trial Begins in Dish Network's $150 Million Lawsuit Against ESPN
By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Hollywood, Esq.' Blog - Feb. 12, 2013

This week, a New York courtroom is the scene of a potentially revealing look at how carriage deals are made in the TV industry.

On Monday, a jury heard opening arguments in Dish Network's lawsuit against ESPN for allegedly breaching the terms of a licensing agreement. The satellite company is claiming more than $150 million in damages emanating from the Disney-owned sports division's deals with other pay-TV distributors like Comcast, DirecTV and TIme Warner Cable.

At the trial, Barry Ostrager, a lawyer for Dish Network, gave an overview of what Dish is alleging.

"In violation of this most-favored nation provision, ESPN provided more favorable terms to Dish's competitors and made the calculated decision not to offer those terms to Dish," said Ostrager, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

This is the third major piece of litigation involving Dish in the past year.

The other two cases involved the ongoing legal war with broadcasters over Dish's ad-skipping DVR AutoHop and the settled lawsuit over the termination of AMC's Voom HD Network on the Dish Network.

This third case between Dish and ESPN, which has been pending in a New York federal court since 2009, might end up being most notable for shedding light on various confidential contracts throughout the TV industry.

To win on its claim that the MNF provisions of its contract was violated, Dish will need to show that others in the industry got more favorable treatment. And to prove that, jurors may be shown side-by-side comparisons of contracts and hear testimony from expert witnesses explaining the nuances of the business.

"This is a complicated case," said one of Dish's lawyers in a pre-trial hearing during this case. "These are not simple claims. There are 13 of them. They're based on 18 contracts; they're based on provisions that the parties have disputes over how to interpret language, not only in the DISH-ESPN agreement, but also the meaning of the terms in these other third-party contracts."

As for what exactly Dish believes that other distributors got but it didn't, the claims have been amended as the parties have engaged in discovery with each other.

Among the claims, Dish alleges that other carriers were able to unbundle ESPN's various channels (ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN2, ESPN-HD…) onto different tiers and packages. Dish also alleges that a competitor like Comcast was able to distribute a channel like ESPNU to bars and taverns on an a la carte basis. There's also been the suggestion by Dish in the case that it is unhappy with how a competitor like Time Warner has been able to distribute ESPN on the internet without requiring subscribers to pay for that digital service.

Because the lawsuit involves confidential contracts, much of the proceedings until Monday have happened in secret thus far,and most court filings have been submitted under seal or with heavy redaction. Thus, it's not entirely clear how Dish is making its case.

But this week, that changes as both parties fight in open court.

The proceedings could influence the particulars of a new deal between Dish and ESPN, which reportedly is set to expire this year.

An attorney for ESPN told the jury on Monday that the trial shouldn't be an invitation for the satellite company to win better terms for itself in the midst of the current one.

Diane Sullivan, the Weil, Gotshal & Manges lawyer for ESPN, said, "Dish got a fair deal; they want a better deal."

post #85123 of 93727
TV Notes
BBC Axes ‘The Hour’
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Feb. 12, 2013

The Hour won’t be back for a third season after all. The BBC today pulled the plug on the one-hour drama about a 1950s BBC newsmagazine show. “We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through,” the BBC said. Staring Skyfall’s Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai and The Wire’s Dominic West, the six-episode drama debuted in 2011 on BBC Two in the UK and was seen on this side of the pond on BBC America.

While The Hour started off with strong viewership in the UK, its audience had fallen by almost half by the second season. The show was nominated for an Emmy and three Golden Globes last year, including Best Miniseries or Made For TV Movie.


mad.gif WTH BBC. They even left the end of the second series on a sort of cliff-hanger. One reason why I like UK television is that they usually don't pull the crap that US TV does: cancelling a show and leaving you hanging.
post #85124 of 93727
Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post

mad.gif WTH BBC. They even left the end of the second series on a sort of cliff-hanger. One reason why I like UK television is that they usually don't pull the crap that US TV does: cancelling a show and leaving you hanging.

I'm just going to believe Freddie survived and lived happily ever after with the producer chick. Otherwise I won't sleep tonight. smile.gif

Man, I really loved this show.
post #85125 of 93727
Business Notes
Comcast Buys Rest of NBC in Early Sale
By Amy Chozick and Brian Stelter, The New York Times' 'Media Decoder' Blog - Feb. 12, 2013

Comcast gave NBCUniversal a $16.7 billion vote of confidence on Tuesday, agreeing to pay that sum to acquire General Electric’s remaining 49 percent stake in the entertainment company. The deal accelerated a sales process that was expected to take several more years.

Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast, said the acquisition, which will be completed by the end of March, underscored a commitment to NBCUniversal and its highly profitable cable channels, expanding theme parks and the resurgent NBC broadcast network.

“We always thought it was a strong possibility that we’d some day own 100 percent,” Mr. Roberts said in a telephone interview.

He added that the rapidly changing television business and the growing necessity of owning content as well as the delivery systems sped up the decision. “It’s been a very smooth couple of years, and the content continues to get more valuable with new revenue streams,” he said.

Comcast also said that NBCUniversal would buy the NBC studios and offices at 30 Rockefeller Center, as well as the CNBC headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Those transactions will cost about $1.4 billion.

Mr. Roberts called the 30 Rockefeller Center offices “iconic” and said it would have been “expensive to replicate” studios elsewhere for the “Today” show, “Saturday Night Live,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and other programs produced there. “We’re proud to be associated with it,” Mr. Roberts said of the building.

With the office space comes naming rights for the building, according to a General Electric spokeswoman. So it is possible that one of New York’s most famous landmarks, with its giant red G.E. sign, could soon be displaying a Comcast sign instead.

When asked about a possible logo swap on the building, owned by Tishman Speyer, Mr. Roberts told CNBC, that is “not something we’re focused on talking about today.” Nevertheless, the sale was visible in a prominent way Tuesday night: the G.E. letters, which have adorned the top of 30 Rock for several decades, were not illuminated for an hour after sunset. But the lights flickered back on later in the evening.

Comcast, with a conservative, low-profile culture, had clashed with the G.E. approach, according to employees and executives in television. Comcast moved NBCUniversal’s executive offices from the 52nd floor to the 51st floor — less opulent space that features smaller executive offices and a cozy communal coffee room instead of General Electric’s lavish executive dining room.

Comcast took control of NBCUniversal in early 2011 by acquiring 51 percent of the media company from General Electric. The structure of the deal gave Comcast the option of buying out G.E. in a three-and-a-half to seven-year time frame. In part because of the clash in corporate cultures, television executives said, both sides were eager to accelerate the sale.

Price was also a factor. Mr. Roberts said he believed the stake would have cost more had Comcast waited. Also, he pointed to the company’s strong fourth-quarter earnings to be released late Tuesday afternoon, which put it in a strong position to complete the sale.

Comcast reported a near record-breaking year with $20 billion in operating cash flow in the fiscal year 2012. In the three months that ended Dec. 31, Comcast’s cash flow increased 7.3 percent to $5.3 billion. Revenue at NBCUniversal grew 4.8 percent to $6 billion.

“We’ve had two years to make the transition and to make the investments that we believe will continue to take off,” Mr. Roberts said.

The transactions with General Electric will be largely financed with $11.4 billion of cash on hand, $4 billion of subsidiary senior unsecured notes to be issued to G.E. and a $2 billion in borrowings.

Even with the investment in NBCUniversal, Comcast said it would increase its dividend by 20 percent to 78 cents a share and buy back $2 billion in stock in 2013.

When it acquired the 51 percent stake two years ago, Comcast committed to paying about $6.5 billion in cash and contributed all of its cable channels, including E! and some regional sports networks, to the newly established NBCUniversal joint venture. Those channels were valued at $7.25 billion.

The transaction made Comcast, the single biggest cable provider in the United States, one of the biggest owners of cable channels, too. NBCUniversal operates the NBC broadcast network, 10 local NBC stations, USA, Bravo, Syfy, E!, MSNBC, CNBC, the NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Universal Studios, and a long list of other media brands.

Mr. Roberts and Michael J. Angelakis, vice chairman and chief financial officer for the Comcast Corporation, led the negotiations that began last year with Jeffrey R. Immelt, chief executive of General Electric, and Keith Sharon, the company’s chief financial officer. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Centerview Partners and CBRE provided financial and strategic advice.

The sale ends a long relationship between General Electric and NBC that goes back before the founding days of television. In 1926, the Radio Corporation of America created the NBC network. General Electric owned R.C.A. until 1930. It regained control of R.C.A., including NBC, in 1986, in a deal worth $6.4 billion at the time.

In a slide show on the company’s “GE Reports” Web site titled “It’s a Wrap: GE, NBC Part Ways, Together They’ve Changed History,” G.E. said the deal with Comcast “caps a historic, centurylong journey for the two companies that gave birth to modern home entertainment.”

Mr. Immelt has said that NBCUniversal did not mesh with G.E.’s core industrial businesses. That became even more apparent when the company became a minority stakeholder with no control over how the business was run, according to a person briefed on G.E.’s thinking who could not discuss private conversations publicly.

“By adding significant new capital to our balanced capital allocation plan, we can accelerate our share buyback plans while investing in growth in our core businesses,” Mr. Immelt said in a statement. He added: “For nearly 30 years, NBC — and later NBCUniversal — has been a great business for G.E. and our investors.”

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TV Notes
Mun2 moves forward with airing final season of Jenni Rivera's reality series
By Yvonne Villareal, Los Angeles Times - Feb. 12, 2013

Two months after the death of Latin music star Jenni Rivera, an April 14 premiere date was announced for the final season of her Mun2 reality show "I Love Jenni."

The third and final season, filmed just before Rivera's Dec. 9 plane crash in Mexico, will include final footage of Rivera and current footage of her family as they rebuild their lives.

Before the new season rolls out, the network -- part of NBC cable networks and a division ofTelemundo -- will present an hourlong special, "We Love Jenni," which will air April 7 and feature interviews from Mexican singer Thalia, rapper Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dogg), regional Mexican stars Ticanes de Tijuana, and others.

The queen of banda had been a significant presence on the network. She served as an executive producer of “Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis & Raq-C,” a reality show that centered on eldest daughter Janney “Chiquis” Marin, and her friend, Latina radio personality Raquel "Raq-C" Cordova. It would lead to spinoffs, including one that put Jenni at the center.

"I Love Jenni," which Rivera also executive produced, premiered in March 2011 and gave viewers a glimpse into Rivera’s chaotic lifestyle as a mother of five and a full-charge music star. It would become the highest-rated original reality series for the network.

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TV Notes
Netflix to Launch First Original Kids Series With Dreamworks
By Alexander C. Kaufman, TheWrap.com - Feb. 12, 2013

Netflix will release its first ever original kids series with DreamWorks Animation, the company announced Tuesday.

Based on the DreamWorks film "Turbo," which will be released this summer, "Turbo F.A.S.T." will debut exclusively on the streaming service in December. It joins a slate of original Netflix programming that includes the new drama "House of Cards" and new episodes of "Arrested Development" that will begin airing in May.

"Turbo: F.A.S.T." (which stands, obviously, for Fast Action Stunt Team) will be available in the 40 countries where Netflix offers its service.

“Families love Netflix, so creating an original series for kids was a natural for us. And we’re doing it in a big way by adapting "Turbo," this year’s DreamWorks Animation summer tentpole movie,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix. “DreamWorks Animation has a long track record of creating incredibly successful characters and stories that delight people of all ages. We’re thrilled to add Turbo the series as well as all new DreamWorks Animation films, starting with their 2013 slate, to Netflix.”

Added DreamWorks Animation’s CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg: “Netflix boasts one of the largest and fastest-growing audiences in kids television. They pioneered a new model for TV dramas with 'House of Cards,' and now together, we’re doing the same thing with kids’ programming."

Turbo follows the adventures of an ordinary snail who dreams of going fast -- and soon does.

Netflix has stood out from cable and broadcast networks by offering every installment of its original series at once, allowing viewers to watch them whenever they want.

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TV Notes
Dan Harmon Rants About the ‘Garbage’ That Is TV
By Jesse David Fox, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Feb. 12, 2013

Grantland followed Dan Harmon on some dates of his recent Harmontown live podcast tour. In between tidbits like that the second season of Community was "brought to you by Adderall" and that Harmon once put a Sharpie up his butt to see if he was into that sort of thing, is one good old-fashioned diatribe. When asked why 30 Rock was able to stay on the air as a poorly rated yet very smart show, Harmon goes off, espousing a very "everything is ********" message. He calls all TV, regardless of quality, "a bunch of goddamn baby food made out of corn syrup." Read the whole thing below. Don't worry, it has a George Orwell reference.

When 30 Rock lands on the cover of Rolling Stone, when any television show is lionized for being "smart," someone's laughing all the way to the bank — some company, it used to be General Electric, but now it's Comcast. That there's a difference between any of this **** is the greatest joke that television ever told. I mean, as the creator of Community, I'm telling you: It's all garbage. And the idea that my garbage, y'know, needed a better time slot or deserved an Emmy or didn't deserve an Emmy, the idea that it was better or worse than 30 Rock or Arrested Development or Freaks and Geeks and all that **** — you only have to take a couple steps back before you realize that you're looking at a bunch of goddamn baby food made out of corn syrup. It's just a big blob of ****ing garbage. The medium is dispensed to people who can't feed back, can't change it, who only get it in 20-minute chunks interrupted by commercials, and you're watching either really well-written jokes or so-so-written jokes or terribly written jokes, but you're just watching jokes written by a bunch of people who all have one thing in common: They're not allowed to say whatever they're thinking! They're not allowed. You're definitely not getting truth; you're getting lies.

Read the rest here.

Edited by dad1153 - 2/12/13 at 11:47pm
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TV Notes
‘Up All Night’ To Do 1 Multi-Camera Episode
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Feb. 12, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: We will get a glimpse of what a multi-camera Up All Night would look like after all. I have learned that NBC plans to film one multi-camera episode of the sophomore comedy without star Christina Applegate, who departed the series on Friday. I hear the episode will be directed by master multi-camera helmer James Burrows, who is doing three pilots this season. When NBC in October decided to turn softly rated single-camera comedy Up All Night into multi-camera, the network ordered five episodes to be shot in front of a live audience. That order has now been cut to one. It is unclear whether Applegate will be replaced; there had been rumors that NBC was eying other actresses, including Friends alumna Lisa Kudrow. The future of Up All Night is still up in the air while co-stars Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph are getting pilot offers. NBC had no comment.

The multi-camera version of Up All Night is being shepherded by Linda Wallem, the show’s third showrunner following Jon Pollack and Tucker Cawley. Up All Night creator/executive producer Emily Spivey left the show last month. At TCA last month, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke called the multi-camera revamp “a bit of an experiment”, but “we think it’s really one worth taking.”

In its original incarnation, Up All Night was a family comedy about new parents played by Applegate and Arnett, which was inspired by Spivey’s real-life experiences going back to work soon after giving birth. The workplace element was expanded and switched from a PR firm to an Oprah-like talk show when Rudolph was cast as Applegate’s boss, and there has been speculation that the series will shift even further in that direction when it becomes multi-camera.

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TV Notes
Netflix Says “House of Cards” Is Its Most-Watched Program
By Ina Fried, AllThingsD.com - Feb. 12, 2013

Taking a page from Amazon’s Kindle playbook, Netflix says its homegrown series “House of Cards” is its most-watched title, but declined to give any numbers.

“I don’t want to give ratings, because it is a real apples-to-oranges comparison with network ratings,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said, speaking at our D: Dive Into Media conference. “We’re thrilled.”

Sarandos said that, the way he looks at it, the question is, did Netflix get more for its millions by creating the show than it would have by spending that money elsewhere? The answer to that, he said, is yes.

In another positive sign, nearly all of the early viewers who watched the first episode watched multiple episodes, Sarandos said. And, of course, Netflix has already ponied up $100 million for two seasons of the show.

Sarandos was asked what levels of viewership it would take for him to give details.

“I honestly have no motivation” to talk numbers, he said, noting that there are no advertisers.

In another break from TV tradition, the service is offering the whole 13-episode first season at once. It also streamed the first episode for free.

Sarandos said the company will do more original programming, but insisted that “we’re not trying to dismantle television.”

Edited by dad1153 - 2/12/13 at 11:47pm
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
WEDNESDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - The Middle
8:30PM - The Neighbors
9PM - Modern Family
9:30PM - Suburgatory
10PM - Nashville
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (James Franco; chef Nigella Lawson; Fall Out Boy performs)
12:35AM - Nightline

8PM - Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites (Season Premiere, 90 min.)
9:30PM - The Big Bang Theory
(R - Nov. 8)
10PM - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha; Robert DeLong performs)
12:37AM - Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Russell Brand; Allison Williams)

8PM - Whitney
8:30PM - Guys with Kids
9PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
10PM - Chicago Fire
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Anne Hathaway; journalist Lester Holt; Eli Young Band perform)
12:37AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Sarah Jessica Parker; comic Steve Harvey; animal handler Jeff Musial; Kacey Musgraves performs)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Reality-TV star Todd Ray; Kamikaze Kitchen; Niki & The Dove perform)

8PM - American Idol (120 min.)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Nature - Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo
9PM - NOVA: Earth from Space (120 min.)

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

8PM - Arrow
9PM - Supernatural

8PM - Pasión Prohibida
9PM - La Patrona
10PM - El Rostro de la Venganza

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author Fawzia Koofi)
11:30PM - The Colbert Report (Musician Dave Grohl)

11PM - Conan (Kathryn Bigelow; Lupe Fiasco featuring Guy Sebastian)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Richard Simmons; Bobby Lee; Arden Myrin; Matt Braunger)
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TV Reviews
TNT Brings the Best of Cops, Scripted and Unscripted
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Feb. 12, 2013

Another day in Southland is another day perhaps framed by a mundane, ungrateful public or, more likely, freak havoc from out of nowhere.

The police drama known for its jittery camera work and its stressed-out officers returns for its fifth season this Wednesday, February 13 at 10 p.m. ET on TNT. In two weeks, (Wednesday, February 27, 9 p.m. ET) TNT rolls out a new police reality series, Boston's Finest, which has the banality of real police work, but surprisingly no less the drama than its fictional cousin.

With every ilk of fantastical procedural detective drama out there, Southland has always felt real, in the style of its street cop predecessors Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire and its 1967 grandaddy N.Y.P.D. (starring the late, great Jack Warden).

As difficult as your commute and mortgage might be, so it goes for the Southland characters. Officers Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) and Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) (left) are often ultra-critical of each other, but still maintain working respect in the field. Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) has a newborn baby and now struggles as a sleep-deprived single mom.

And Alpha-dog Officer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz, top photo, left) is breaking in yet another new recruit (they verbally haze the newbies as "boots") but is approaching retirement and looks to be mellowing a slight bit, taking it down a notch from his usual Robocop routine.

Cooper waxes philosophical to a new recruit, "Treat it like a circus. All of it. If it starts to get to you — 'Circus'… I haven't gone postal yet."

C. Thomas Howell also returns in another comic run as cut-up and squad-room clown Officer Dewey Dudek. He's a wily veteran, but an annoying smart-aleck who alienates almost everyone but Cooper.

Howell's banter, and the often coarse slang of the other cops in Southland, rivals Justified as an example of a series that creates a world set in its own rhythm of language. That, combined with its ultra-compact editing, moves it forward in quick, hard-hitting chunks, and it's this construction that takes maximum advantage of television as a medium.

While never reaching the hard-boiled, sucker-punch mayhem of Southland, Boston's Finest is no less compelling to watch. It's in the style of Terrance Wrong's 2012 NY Med, a reality series that showed real hospital surgeons and nurses on the job, and a bit of their personal lives to round out the full picture.

Produced by South Boston native, and New Kids on the Block alumni Donnie Wahlberg, the series follows gang units, fugitive units and patrol cops (such as officer Jenn Penton, top photo and left). Sometimes they're doing the drudgery, and sometimes they're getting shot at, and it's this straddling of the ordinary and dangerous that refreshingly strives to be everything that smarmy, semi-staged reality shows like Cops are not.

Says Wahlberg in a TNT press clip (and who knows a few thing about celluloid cops, having played several and is currently starring in the CBS police drama Blue Bloods), "A lot of networks had approached me about doing a show about the Boston Police Department, but they wanted shows about guys kicking down doors and beating people over the head ... we're focusing on human beings and what goes beyond the police work and makes these people tick. What is it that drives them to do the job that they do?"

Boston's Finest is a worthy addition to the record of law and order as it locates itself on the everyday normal streets — streets that can quickly and absurdly become dangerous. One moment the police can be involved in a fugitive arrest, and approach cars on traffic stops with drivers they know have warrants out on them, and then it's off to pick up the kids at day care. No drama there, but it's with a gun in the holster, and that's some cognitive dissonance most of us cannot appreciate.

Kudos to TNT for taking these police genres and bringing something more, something smart to both.

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TV/Business Notes
Fatal helicopter crash spurs concern over reality TV safety
The crash that killed three at Polsa Rosa Ranch occurred during production of a reality show, a genre that has seen other deaths
By Richard Verrier and Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times - Feb. 12, 2013

A helicopter crash in northern Los Angeles County that killed three people was one of the worst film set accidents in recent years and is likely to further fuel debate over whether working conditions on reality TV programs are unsafe.

Three people, including the pilot and a cast member, were killed in a helicopter crash early Sunday morning at the Polsa Rosa Ranch in a remote area near Soledad Canyon Road in Acton, authorities said.

The 730-acre ranch, which straddles the Santa Clara River and borders the Angeles National Forest, is a popular spot for filming. It was used for Disney's upcoming film "The Lone Ranger."

The helicopter crash occurred during production of a reality TV show called "Untitled Military Project" for the Discovery Channel, according to a permit filed with FilmL.A. Inc., which had granted permission to film a helicopter landing and takeoff at the site between 5 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday.

The show was being produced by Eyeworks USA, formerly 3 Ball Productions, best known for its "The Biggest Loser"series. Producers had clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration, said Phil Sokoloski, spokesman for FilmL.A. The nonprofit group, which handles film permits for the city and the county, did not have a monitor on the set, but the L.A. County Fire Department did assign an advisor to the site, Sokoloski said.

It's not clear what caused the crash, which is under investigation by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

A spokeswoman for Eyeworks USA declined to comment on the cause of the crash, citing the pending investigations, but said no pyrotechnics were involved during filming.

"We are cooperating fully with the authorities," Eyeworks USA said in a statement. "We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those involved."

Discovery Channel confirmed Eyeworks was shooting a TV show for the cable channel when the accident occurred but declined to provide other details.

This is the second fatal incident involving a Discovery Channel production in a year. Last June, a woman was killed by errant smoke bombs during filming of a pilot for a proposed Discovery Channel series set at a shooting range in Colorado.

The helicopter crash in Acton was the worst film set accident in California since 1982, when star Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed by a helicopter that crashed into them during filming of "Twilight Zone: The Movie." The helicopter was flying low at the time and was caught in a pyrotechnics stunt. The deaths led to scrutiny of safety standards and prompted tougher rules for film crews.

A cameraman died in May 2011 after a helicopter crashed during filming of the G4 reality TV series "Campus PD" in Pennsylvania. Producers had been shooting aerial footage of police cars near theIndiana University of Pennsylvania campus.

Sunday's fatal accident was the second in less than a year at Polsa Rosa Ranch. A diver working on "The Lone Ranger" drowned there in September while prepping a tank for an underwater shooting scene.

Although the circumstances of Sunday's crash are unclear, the incident could trigger more scrutiny of the reality TV sector. A recent report in the Los Angeles Times showed that some reality TV programs cut corners on safety, exposing cast and crew to hazardous working conditions. A combination of tight budgets, lack of trained safety personnel and pressure to capture dramatic footage has caused serious and in some cases fatal incidents, The Times reported.

"It certainly raises a red flag," said State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who heads the Senate's Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. "I've asked my committee to investigate."

Lieu's office has been looking into possible safety infractions by reality TV shows.

"The problem that we've had is that obviously California law can't reach out to other states or foreign countries where a lot of these shows are filmed," Lieu said. "If we start getting instances [of accidents] in California, then we need to take steps to make reality TV safer."

Scott Sternberg, a reality producer whose company has made such shows as "Disaster in the Gulf" and "On the Case With Paula Zahn," said the accident this weekend reminded him of the "Twilight Zone" helicopter crash.

"It immediately made me think of Vic Morrow," Sternberg said. "I assume the producers needed to get this [helicopter] shot. The question is, are we pushing too far?"

The Los Angeles County coroner identified the victims as David Gibbs, 59, of Valencia, helicopter pilot; Darren Rydstrom, 45, of Whittier, crew member; and Michael Donatelli, 45, of Indiana, Pa., cast member.

The incident was reported to Cal/OSHA. The agency has not yet opened an investigation, "but we're looking into the accident and trying to figure out if we have jurisdiction," a spokesman said.

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Technology Notes
Consumers upset over Microsoft Surface Pro supply
By Anthony Shields, USA Today - Feb. 13, 2013

Telling people that a product is short in supply and high in demand is probably on page one of the big book of retail tricks. Hearing that demand has far exceeded supply usually piques the interest of those consumers who are on the fence about buying a product, prompting sales. But consumers are having the exact opposite reaction to the low supply of 128 GB Microsoft (MSFT) Surface Pros tablets, which were made available at the launch this Saturday. After the tablet sold out at Best Buy, Staples, and Microsoft's online store in mere hours, many disappointed customers and industry observers took to the Internet to voice their frustration over Microsoft's purported attempt to game the system.

Sites like the Surface Pro blog, run by the device's general manager Panos Panoy, and Reddit have been flooded with hundreds of comments by disgruntled consumers unable to purchase the tablet. While some are simply criticizing Microsoft for failing to meet demand, others are threatening to shift their business to Apple and Google because of their disapproval. Considering that the Surface RT only accounted for 3% of tablets shipped in Q4 2012, the last thing Microsoft can afford is losing customers to rival brands.

The problem is made even worse by Microsoft's lack of transparency regarding tablet sales numbers. To date, Microsoft remains tight-lipped on how many Surface RTs it has sold, and it is likely that consumers will never know just how many Surface Pros were produced for the launch event. While the secrecy protects Microsoft's brand image to some degree, it has led analysts to make unfavorable predictions, with some now claiming that the RT might have only sold 1 million units in all of Q4.

To be fair, considering that the Surface RT may not have been a hit, perhaps Microsoft sincerely miscalculated the demand for its higher priced tablet. It's more than possible that the Surface Pro's higher price and untested positioning as a tablet/laptop hybrid made Microsoft uncomfortable with initially producing the tablet in large amounts, or that retailers didn't want to carry it in great numbers. In an interview with PCWorld, NPD consumer electronics analyst Stephen Baker largely supports this sentiment by saying, "Did they sell out because retailers only had two or three per store?... Maybe, but I don't see anything in the previous volumes of the previous product that would indicate this was going to be a huge seller."

Despite the mixed reviews, the Surface Pro seems to have a better following than its predecessor. According to a survey by Forrester Research, the Surface Pro seems to be the preferred tablet among information workers who are considering a tablet for use at work, meaning that as many as 200 million new customers could be interested in the tablet. In addition, units for the 64 GB model are still available, though consumers seem less interested in this version because of its insufficient memory. It's possible that Microsoft didn't realize that the 128 GB model would be so much more appealing; had the company known that it would have been the preferred model, perhaps it wouldn't have wasted as many resources on the 64 GB version.

Minyanville contacted Microsoft to ask about the shortage, but the company's spokesperson declined to comment. The company did release a media statement saying that it is very happy that the demand for the Surface Pro is "so great" and that it's working to get more units out to consumers as quickly as possible.

Although a specific date for a restock has not been set, the company would be wise to get more units out quickly before consumer disapproval becomes consumer attrition.

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TV Notes
CBS Expands Content Deal With Amazon
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Feb. 13, 2013

On the heels of CBS closing a deal with Amazon for summer series Under The Dome, whose episodes will be available on the streaming service four days after their premiere, the two companies today announced an expansion to their content licensing agreement for older shows.

Several series from CBS TV Distribution and Showtime Networks, including America’s Next Top Model, Everybody Loves Raymond, Jericho, The L Word, Undercover Boss and United States of Tara, will become part of Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service, joining previous offerings Medium, The Tudors, the complete Star Trek franchise, I Love Lucy and more.

“CBS was one of our earliest content partners for Prime Instant Video and our Prime customers have consistently told us how much they love having access to great CBS and Showtime shows,” said Brad Beale, Director of Digital Video Content Acquisition for Amazon.

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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Feb. 13, 2013

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET
For years, I watched every episode of Survivor. But my enthusiasm ran out a few years ago, about when this show’s novelty and imagination did the same. For a while, Survivor was able to keep things moving with inventive twists and inspired casting – but all of these “all-star” and “fan” retreads, and now re-retreads, just seem tired, and more than a little desperate. Survivor began 13 years ago, and has generated two cycles per season for most of its existence. Few TV series last that long, and there’s a reason. Hence, its inclusion here tonight isn’t so much a recommendation as a question: Isn’t it time Survivor gave up trying to “outlast” every other show on television?

Bravo, 8:00 p.m.

Consider this the Hugh Jackman sequel. The actor is returning to this series, and to the interviewee chair opposite James Lipton, to cover the most recent decade or so of his career. I have one question, however, before Lipton starts posing his: Since Jackman already has answered Lipton’s end-of-show stock questions about his favorite swear word and such, what will he be asked to do for an encore? Name his second-favorite obscenity?

ABC, 9:00 p.m. ET

Clive Bixby is back! Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day again on Modern Family, and Phil (Ty Burrell) once again trots out his role-playing alter ego to spice up things with his wife Claire (Julie Bowen). She, of course, has her own alter ego, Juliana – and tonight, once again, they try their hardest to go out in the real world, as Clive and Juliana, and “meet cute.” Good luck with that.

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s new installment is called Earth From Space, and takes a long look (especially in terms of distance) at our planet, and its ecosystem, to show how closely everything is related. Also related: Since most TV signals these days are transmitted via satellite, it’s fair to say that if you tune in tonight, you’ll be watching Earth from Space… from space. Check local listings.

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

Not sure about whether to give this new series a third chance? Here’s one smart reason to do just that: Beginning tonight, Margo Martindale begins a recurring role as the new handler of Soviet sleeper agents Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings (Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys). Martindale, of course, won an Emmy for her riveting performance as Mags Bennett on Justified – so it’s worth checking in, for a while, just to see what kind of evil she can brew up with this new role.

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TV Review
‘Failosophy,’ living up to its name
MTV funny-photos show doesn't work too hard at being funny
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Feb. 13, 2013

For more than a decade, lazy TV producers have tried to fill time with funny online video clips, to which they usually add commentary from presumably witty people. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. The only such show with any staying power has been Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0.”

The folks behind MTV’s new series “Failosophy” are even lazier. The show uses lame online photos and social-media posts as the subject of commentary by a panel of comedians. Since that’s not enough to fill a half hour, we also get some non-web-based features that fit the theme of failure.

The use of text and still photos no doubt makes editing easier, but we don’t watch TV to see non-moving pictures. Neither the host nor the panelists come up with enough good jokes to justify our time, and the extra features are pedestrian. The show is a fail, without even being epic.

Premiering this Thursday, Feb. 14, at 10:30 p.m., “Failosophy” is hosted by a young comedian named Hasan Minhaj, who, like Dane Cook, tries to compensate with enthusiasm for what he lacks in wit. He starts off the show by presenting some tweets that people have posted to the hashtag “honest hour.”

One tweet we see is “Hot and sticky this afternoon. But had a fun morning with my husband…If you know what I mean. Ha ha.” To this, someone has replied, “MOTHER!”

“That’s why I’m not friends with my mother on Facebook,” says Minhaj, adding, “I know you can block friends, but can you block memories?”

In a similar vein, we see a post reading, “Your great aunt just passed away. LOL.” The writer is shocked to learn that “LOL” means “laughing out loud” and not “lots of love.”

Minhaj then introduces a panel of three comedians — Nicole Byer, Mike Cannon and Jared Freid — who participate in a segment titled “Date, Roommate, 911.” They look at three self-posted photos and say which of the three they would like to go out with, room with or turn in to the police.

Since the photos seem to be from costume parties, the fail factor is debatable. Byer says that she would date a hairy guy wearing a blonde wig and a coconut bra “because he is sexy.” This somehow gets a big laugh from the studio audience. Minhaj reacts as if she had just said something outrageous and hilarious.

Since this isn’t a live broadcast, the panelists could have been prepped so they’d have something funny to say. As is, the best line is Fried’s: He says that he would call 911 on Byer’s date, “because I’ve been missing a coconut bra for about a month now.”

Historians of comedy will be interested to see that people are still using “mahjong” as a joke word.

In a pre-commercial-break segment called “Street Stories,” regular folks share tales of personal fails. One woman says her most embarrassing childhood memory was being hit in the eye with a kite; she had to wear an eye patch afterwards. A man says his biggest fail was trying to go streaking but tripping over his pants.

After the break Minhaj asks the panel to answer two questions posted somewhere on the internet: “What happens if you pee in the pool?” and “Will your male part get bigger if you let a bee sting it?”

The panel does a little better in this segment, but not enough.

We then see a few embarrassingly unsexy self-shot photos, some more personal stories — a guy talks about a friend of his who made out with a transvestite — and a segment making fun of a woman who described herself as a quiet person on Facebook but posted a status update about popping a brand-new bra.

In the most elaborate segment, the show dramatizes a story submitted by video chat. A young man says that he once “boo-booed” on himself during an exam because the teacher wouldn’t let him go to the bathroom. The funniest thing about the bit — the actors lip-sync the narration — is a lift from Funny or Die’s “Drunk History.”

If for nothing else, the bit stands out because someone put some effort into it. The rest of “Failosophy” proves that if you want to succeed or fail, you at least have to try.

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TUESDAY'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)
On a slow night, Univision dashes ahead
Finishes first with a 1.6 18-49 rating, just ahead of NBC
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Feb. 13, 2013

On a night littered with reruns leading into the State of the Union address, there was only one original show on the Big Four networks.

That paved the way for a rare weeknight victory for Univision, which also won every hour of the evening with its original telenovelas.

Univision drew a 1.6 adults 18-49 rating and 4 share in primetime, according to Nielsen overnights, just ahead of No. 2 NBC with a 1.4/4.

“Amores Verdaderos” was the night’s top show with a 1.8 at 9 p.m.

However, the Big Four’s numbers for the SOTU should go up when final numbers come in later today. The overnights do not account for time zone differences and measure only timeslot data.

ABC had the only original show of the night on the Big Four with “The Taste.” It averaged a 1.5 at 8 p.m., down 17 percent from last week.

ABC finished third for the night at 1.3/3, followed by CBS in fourth at 1.2/3, Fox fifth at 0.9/3 and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.5/1.

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

At 8 p.m. Univision led with a 1.6 for “Por Ella Soy Eva,” with ABC and CBS tied for second at 1.5, ABC for “Taste” and CBS for a repeat of “NCIS: Los Angeles.” NBC was fourth with a 1.3 for reruns of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers,” Fox fifth with a 1.1 for repeats of “Raising Hope” and “New Girl,” and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.4, CW for “When in Rome” and Telemundo for “Pasion Prohibida.”

Univision was first again at 9 p.m. with a 1.8 for “Amores Verdaderos,” followed by NBC with a 1.6 for the president. ABC was third with a 1.2, CBS fourth with a 1.1 and Fox fifth with a 0.8, all for the president, with Telemundo sixth with a 0.7 for “La Patrona” and CW seventh with a 0.6 for its movie.

At 10 p.m. Univision led once again with a 1.4 for “Amor Bravio,” while NBC remained second with a 1.2 for State of the Union coverage. ABC was third with a 1.1 for State of the Union and a repeat of “Modern Family,” CBS fourth with a 1.0 for the president and a “Mike & Molly” rerun and Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 for “El Rostro de la Venganza.”

CBS was first for the night among households with a 4.5 average overnight rating and a 7 share. NBC was second at 3.4/5, ABC third at 2.9/4, Univision fourth at 2.0/3, Fox fifth at 1.5/2, CW sixth at 1.0/2 and Telemundo seventh at 0.7/1.

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TV/Business Notes
'Happy Endings' Moves to Fridays as ABC Shuffles Midseason Schedule
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Feb. 13, 2013

ABC is shuffling its midseason schedule, moving Happy Endings to Fridays and doubling down on reality on Tuesday.

The network is ditching comedies on Tuesdays in favor of a two-hour block of unscripted offerings starting Tuesday, Feb. 26 when Celebrity Wife Swap takes over the 8 p.m. hour previously occupied with freshman entry The Taste, which will now move back an hour to 9 p.m.

The Taste takes over the time slot previously held by the recently canceled Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 and struggling cult comedy Happy Endings.

Happy Endings, despite a recent uptick for its recent double dip on Tuesdays, will move to Fridays at 8 p.m. with back-to-back episodes beginning March 29, taking over the time slots previously occupied by Last Man Standing and Malibu Country, which will both have aired their respective season finales.

“We love those two shows. They're incredibly distinctive, and they’re water-cooler shows,” ABC Network Groups president Paul Lee told a roomful of reporters in January at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour about Apt. 23 and Happy Endings. At the time, Lee stopped short of commenting on whether either show will live beyond this season. Apt. 23 was axed shortly after.

For ABC, the double dose of reality comes after the network this season attempted to launch a second night of comedy, transplanting both Happy Endings and Apt. 23 from their previous Wednesday slots. The demise of Apt. 23 and banishment of Happy Endings to Fridays mark the latest woes to come from the crowded Tuesday comedy field. Fox's critical darling Ben and Kate failed to make it to the end of the season, while NBC's fellow freshman entries Go On and The New Normal have both struggled of late without benefit of The Voice as a lead-in.

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