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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2848

post #85411 of 93684
TV Notes
Steven Spielberg Developing Stanley Kubrick's 'Napoleon' as a Miniseries
By Jane Kellogg, The Hollywood Reporter - Mar. 3, 2013

Steven Spielberg says he is working on another Stanley Kubrick screenplay with the late filmmaker's family.

"I've been developing a Stanley Kubrick screenplay for a miniseries -- not for a motion picture -- about the life of Napoleon," Spielberg told French TV network Canal+ (watch the clip of the interview in the video below -- about 9 and a half minutes in.)

Kubrick wrote the script in 1961 but ultimately abandoned the Napoleon biopic in the '70s because of budget and production challenges. The late filmmaker is famed for his obsessive perfectionism, so his estate should find comfort working in the able hands of Spielberg.

Spielberg and Kubrick were collaborators on 2001's AI: Artificial Intelligence, conceived by Kubrick in the 1970s and later written and directed by Spielberg. Spielberg paid tribute to Kubrick in October at the LACMA Art + Film Gala.

Kubrick was devoted to the research involved, spending years extensively exploring the French emperor's life. A LACMA exhibit highlighting Kubrick's work shared a 1971 draft letter to studio execs, telling them, “It’s impossible to tell you what I’m going to do except to say that I expect to make the best movie ever made," as well as an offer letter he wrote to Oskar Werner for the title role; he also kept a very polite hand-written inability letter from actress Audrey Hepburn, stating that she had decided not to work for a while, but “will you please think of me again someday?”

Unfortunately it's too late for Werner and Hepburn to partake, but surely Spielberg has some of today's fine actors in mind for the piece.

post #85412 of 93684
Critic's Notes
In Pursuit, on Wheels and on Foot
By Mike Hale, The New York Times

Most of us have no way of judging how realistically television shows portray the lives of police officers. If you scan Web sites where law enforcement professionals gather to chat, however, you can assemble a list of series that get some grudging praise for being slightly more authentic than the norm: “Adam-12,” “High Incident,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Homicide,” “The Wire” and — many a deskbound cop’s favorite — “Barney Miller.”

When it comes to current series, perhaps the most often mentioned is TNT’s Los Angeles beat-cops-and-detectives drama, “Southland,” which began its fifth season this month. Civilians may not be able to gauge the show’s verisimilitude with any certainty, but television watchers can attest that it feels more real than any other cop series at the moment.

This is partly a matter of technique — an expert melding of hand-held camera work and jittery editing to achieve a restless immediacy — and partly a matter of writing. Under the supervision of the executive producers Christopher Chulack and John Wells (who worked together on another show cops profess to like, “Third Watch”), the dialogue is mostly plain-spoken, and the story lines, which give the patrol officers equal time with the detectives, have a carefully constructed appearance of everyday randomness.

Success for the overworked, mostly dedicated characters is not guaranteed, and at times it’s close to illusory, an unusual state of affairs among mainstream crime dramas. The foot pursuits that have become a trademark of the show exact a painful toll of bruises, bloody noses and dangerous wounds. Miraculous coincidences aren’t unheard-of, but neither are they a weekly occurrence.

If you haven’t caught on to “Southland” yet, the time may be approaching when you’ll need to do it through DVD sets or streaming video — the show’s realism, no matter how artfully achieved, has not helped its ratings. TNT rescued “Southland” after its lowly rated first season on NBC, but the numbers have only become worse. Last year the series averaged fewer than two million viewers in its original broadcasts on Tuesday nights, and the approximately 1.2 million who watched each of this season’s first two episodes (now at 10 p.m. on Wednesday) were the smallest audiences in the show’s history.

Three to four times as many people watch TNT’s other police dramas, “Major Crimes” and “Rizzoli & Isles,” and it’s not hard to guess what viewers prefer about those shows: the comforts of familiar mystery plots with a light comic bounce, and characters who can be counted on to behave the same way every week, or at least revert to type before the closing credits.

In Season 5 of “Southland” several major characters have been behaving in ways bound to alienate both fellow cops and casual viewers. Officer Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie), recipient of an award for bravery, has begun to exhibit a self-righteous, gung-ho bluster that has turned off his more skeptical partner, Sammy (Shawn Hatosy). Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King), testy at the best of times, has been driven so far around the bend by her new baby that she can barely bring herself to enter her house at the end of a shift.

And a show that has always tended toward the downbeat has been even more bleak than usual. In the first two weeks, pragmatic but questionable decisions by cops have led to the deaths of an old man and a young boy. Adams has lied to a rape victim to trick him into admitting he’d been raped; Officer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz), the show’s moral bellwether, has been forced to shoot a man in the back when a traffic stop went bad. One character’s mother has died; another’s lover has left him.

“Southland” is not a perfect show, by any means, and sometimes it balances its gloominess with epiphanies that are undeniably pat, if not excessively heavy-handed by the standards of basic cable. As the seasons have passed, its lapses into preachiness and formulaic plotting have increased. Weaving two or three seemingly everyday story lines into a satisfying narrative every episode is a delicate trick, and when it doesn’t work, you’re left with something that feels inconsequential. The temptation to resort to proven dramatic and emotional strategies — that is, melodrama — must be strong.

But “Southland” still gets it right most of the time, and stands above the more popular police and forensic dramas that satisfy our appetite for predictability while insulting our intelligences to greater or lesser degrees. It acknowledges the arbitrary, contingent, inexplicable nature of human behavior in the way its stories circle and lurch and stop midstream, and in the way it crowds the frame with unnamed cops and masses of angry or bored or hyped-up bystanders. It pays attention to everyday conversation, and disdains the haiku of superhuman detection and analysis that substitutes for dialogue and action on other shows.

Most important, it does right by its actors, many of whom are better on “Southland” than they’ve been elsewhere. Ms. King and Mr. Cudlitz have been exemplary since Season 1, and Dorian Missick, as Adams’s remarkably levelheaded partner, has been their equal since he joined in Season 4.

Like most cop shows, “Southland” posits a daily face-off between idealism and cynicism that’s probably pretty far removed from anything a typical police officer confronts. But it keeps the line between them fuzzy. When Cooper’s new partner has a meltdown in the line of duty and says, “You have to be crazy to want this job,” there’s no speech or lecture in reply. Cooper just murmurs, “You don’t have to convince me,” and walks away.

post #85413 of 93684
TV Review
‘Switched at Birth’
Sitcom shines in all-sign-language episode, with subtitles, starring Katie Leclerc and Marlee Matlin
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Mar. 2, 2013

In a bold and compelling extension of what it does every week, “Switched at Birth” presents an entire episode Monday in American Sign Language (ASL).

With the exception of a few strategically spoken words at the beginning and end, the whole episode is signed, with subtitles for those not fluent in ASL.

Most satisfying, it never feels like a novelty or a gimmick. On the contrary, the episode itself quickly turns into one of the show’s best, as the students at the Carlton School for the Deaf rally to stop the school’s imminent closure.

Daphne (Katie Leclerc) leads the protest, which she ties in spirit to a real-life 1988 student revolt at Gallaudet University in Washington. Students there took over a building and refused to leave until the school agreed to hire a deaf president.

In Monday’s “Switched,” sympathetic guidance counselor Melody (Marlee Matlin) recalls how she was part of that protest. Now, as a school official, she finds herself assessing how she feels about what her current students should do.

Melody’s dilemma joins a number of nice touches through the show, including a scene where deaf students discuss their plans while a hearing person, in the background, is talking on a cell phone. Like the students, viewers don’t hear it. They only see that it’s happening.

Consistent with its storytelling all along, this episode of “Switched” doesn’t ennoble anyone. Deaf students can be maddening and insensitive. Teen romances get awkward, and Daphne has a tense scene with her hearing friend Bay (Vanessa Marano) that tests their bonds while underscoring the larger battle over what deaf students really need.

If you don’t regularly watch “Switched,” watch this one anyway.

Network / Air Date: Monday at 9 p.m., ABC Family
Rating: ★★★★ (out of five)

post #85414 of 93684
Critic's Notes
At AMC, Zombies Topple Network TV
By David Carr, The New York Times' 'Media Equation' Column - Mar. 3, 2013

When a show about the walking dead on basic cable beats every network show in the ratings demographic that advertisers care most about, you have to wonder who the real zombies are.

A zombie, after all, is something that continues to roam, and tries to devour all in its path even though its natural life is over — a description that does not sound that far-fetched when it comes to broadcast networks.

During its run last fall, “The Walking Dead” was the highest-rated show among viewers 18 to 49, the most-sought age group, with a bigger audience than network winners like “The Big Bang Theory,” “American Idol,” “The Voice” and “Modern Family.”

Now the zombies are back for the second half of the show’s third season, and they continue to gnaw on everything in their path, including the broadcast networks’ historical claim to being the only place to find a mass audience. Three weeks ago, the zombies owned Sunday night, attracting 7.7 million viewers in the 18 to 49 range, more than any broadcast show in the land.

It gets better (or worse, if you are a network). AMC has a spinoff chat show about zombies called “The Talking Dead,” and even that is making waves. That same Sunday three weeks ago, “The Talking Dead” drew almost 2.8 million viewers ages 18 to 49, trumping NBC not just for the night, but for all of February.

Being a cable network, it’s clear, is less of a disadvantage than it used to be, as broadcast networks become just one more click on a seemingly infinite dial.

A couple of things are at work here. For years, inertia kept viewers locked on the big broadcast channels, but these days, consumers are roaming omnivores, hunting down whatever has heat and water-cooler value. And network appointment viewing has given way to foraging and bingeing.

AMC, along with its studio partners, has always made sure that if someone wants to catch up with America’s favorite zombies, or “Breaking Bad” or “Mad Men,” two of its other hits, then past seasons are readily available — on demand, on Netflix or on iTunes. As a result, the audience for “The Walking Dead” is up 51 percent overall last year, and it is one of the most consistently talked about shows on social media.

It’s worth noting that the gap between basic cable and broadcast television has gradually shrunk as satellite and telecommunications companies have joined the fray. There are about 115 million television households in America, and some 99 million of them have access to AMC. On the networks, old franchises are tiring, new efforts are flopping in record time and a show like “The Walking Dead,” whose audience grew slowly and steadily over three seasons, is just not in the playbook.

“AMC sold the show to Netflix early, so when people started talking about it, it was there for the watching,” said Alexia Quadrani, a media analyst at JPMorgan.

Last Thursday, I visited Josh Sapan, the chief executive of AMC Networks, at his office across the street from Madison Square Garden. You might expect him to be celebrating his zombies’ success, but you’d be wrong. Mr. Sapan has been at AMC for 25 years and he is too superstitious to tempt the gods like that. As a collector of lightning rods — he has acquired more than a hundred, two of them on display in his office — he knows that sticking out has a cost.

“I would have put big odds against a cable show winning over network five years ago,” he said. Still, he warns, “People’s taste in what is popular can be very fleeting and short-lived. There is some alchemy at work here that is hard to diagnose and replicate.”

“It’s a big moment to those of us who are in the business,” he added, “but I don’t think the general public, especially young people, even think about where programming comes from.”

The zombies have not devoured all Mr. Sapan’s challenges. Even though advertising in the fourth quarter is up 16 percent over the previous year, earnings at AMC fell short of Wall Street estimates because of a costly fight with Dish Network and expensive outlays to service debt.

And he’s right to give the American audience, a notoriously fickle bunch, a wide berth. Ask NBC, which went from first to worst this season in nothing flat. As my colleague Bill Carter pointed out, the peacock was on top of the pile in 13 of 15 weeks from September to December, according to Nielsen. Since then, it has dropped below not only its broadcast brethren but also Univision, the Spanish-language network.

“The Walking Dead” was actually NBC’s for the asking in 2011. At a news tour for television reporters in January, Kevin Reilly, who is now at Fox but was a top programmer at NBC when the show was still up for grabs, talked about the one that got away.

“ ‘The Walking Dead’ is an extraordinary thing,” Mr. Reilly told reporters. “I bought the script at NBC from Frank Darabont. I developed it. I loved it.”

But NBC was back on its heels at the time, and Mr. Reilly ended up letting it go. “I thought it was good, but it was an early draft,” he said. “And then, when I left and I heard it went over to AMC, there was just a lot of serendipity involved.”

In fairness, “The Walking Dead” would have never made it to network prime time in all of its gory glory because of broadcast standards. Not long ago, I was wedged in the back of an airplane and took solace by catching up on Season 3 on my iPad. The guy next to me was sawing into some meat of unknown agency and looked over at my screen, where a pack of zombies were lustily feasting on human innards. “Really, dude?” he asked. “Zombies?”

AMC is also home to “Breaking Bad,” where a former science teacher turned meth chef has been known to use chemistry to dissolve the bodies of people who got in his way. Think about the box that the broadcast networks are in. Audiences expect spicy and sometimes dark narratives, but because the networks are still in the business of not offending mass audiences, they cannot even grab a hit when it comes lurching through the door. And A-list actors who used to demand that their work show up on the big networks are now after their agents to get them onto a prestige cable show.

“The talent which used to complain about being on something like AMC now want to be where good stories are being told,” said Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG Research. “All around, it’s a very seismic change in the television industry.”

It’s programming that rules now, not platform or position on the dial. I watch all kinds of AMC shows and I couldn’t tell you what channel on the cable box they live on — even if a zombie were after me.

post #85415 of 93684
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
At AMC, Zombies Topple Network TV
By David Carr, The New York Times' 'Media Equation' Column - Mar. 3, 2013

When a show about the walking dead on basic cable beats every network show in the ratings demographic that advertisers care most about, you have to wonder who the real zombies are.


AMC is also home to “Breaking Bad,” where a former science teacher turned meth chef has been known to use chemistry to dissolve the bodies of people who got in his way. Think about the box that the broadcast networks are in. Audiences expect spicy and sometimes dark narratives, but because the networks are still in the business of not offending mass audiences, they cannot even grab a hit when it comes lurching through the door. And A-list actors who used to demand that their work show up on the big networks are now after their agents to get them onto a prestige cable show.


Good read!
post #85416 of 93684
Originally Posted by xnappo View Post

Bummer. I thought it was promising.


And I liked Zero Hour also!frown.gif
post #85417 of 93684
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
At AMC, Zombies Topple Network TV
By David Carr, The New York Times' 'Media Equation' Column - Mar. 3, 2013

Live viewers are watching The Walking Dead on AMC. The viewing dead are watching NBC. biggrin.gif
post #85418 of 93684
Originally Posted by tomhunter8 View Post

Live viewers are watching The Walking Dead on AMC. The viewing dead are watching NBC. biggrin.gif

You mean the brain dead are watching NBC! biggrin.gif
post #85419 of 93684
Originally Posted by borntocoast View Post

You mean the brain dead are watching NBC! biggrin.gif

I think they are watching ABC. wink.gif
post #85420 of 93684
Originally Posted by rebkell View Post

I think they are watching ABC. wink.gif
Maybe not. They sure weren't watching Zero Hour...
post #85421 of 93684
Critic's Notes
Comedy Undercard: Family Matters vs. Step by Step
By Denise Martin, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Feb. 28, 2013

Vulture is in the midst of its Sitcom Smackdown, a three-week contest that pits the best sitcoms of the last 30 years against each other to crown the ultimate winner. But while that bracket focuses on the greatest, most innovative modern comedies, it couldn't cover all of the series that live on in our hearts, the ones that may not fit those highfalutin parameters but which we could talk about for days. To give these other series their moments to shine, every day we’ll be pitting two like-minded comedies against each other: We’ll pick our winner, and readers will then vote for their own. Today: It’s more family-on-family, as we pit Family Matters against Step by Step.

Today's contenders: Family Matters (1989–1997) vs. Step by Step (1991–97)

Both shows were hatched by the same team — William Bickley and Michael Warren, and Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett, whose family comedies, beginning with Full House and Perfect Strangers, kept ABC’s TGIF stocked throughout the nineties. Family Matters was spun off from the latter show, and it followed the home life of elevator-operator Harriet Winslow, her cop husband Carl, their kids, and one very annoying neighbor. Two seasons later, Miller and Boyett launched the family comedy Step by Step.

Home turf: Chicago and Milwaukee

Famous parents: Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard) and Patrick Duffy (Dallas)/Suzanne Sommers (Three’s Company)

Nerd alert: The Winslows’ neighbor Steve Urkel, who enjoys cheese, polka, and is prone to accidents, and Carol’s son Mark, who wears glasses and likes computers and gadgets.

Snubbed sibs: Judy, the youngest, most neglected Winslow disappeared after season four (when actress Jaimee Foxworth had reportedly asked for a raise) and the family made like she never existed in subsequent years, and Brendan, the youngest, quietest Lambert, who was written out after season six.

Resident idiot: Waldo Geraldo Faldo, Eddie’s simpleminded BFF (catchphrase: “Sup”), and Frank’s nephew Cody, a Keanu-style dimwit who liked to hit on step-cousin Dana (catchphrase: “Dude!”).

Abstinence rules: In “Like a Virgin,” Eddie is teased in the locker room when word gets out that he’s never had sex, but he ends up being comfortable with it, and in “Virgin Territory,” J.T. and Cody plan to lose their V cards to a couple of “easy” girls but wind up wanting to wait.

Hokey (but we still know all the words) theme song lyrics: Well then there must be some magic clue inside these tearful walls/ Cause all I see is a tower of dreams/ Real love burstin’ out of every seam (from "As Days Go By," written by Jesse Frederick, Bennet Salvay, and Scott Roeme), and The deeper we call/ the stronger we stay/ And we’ll be better/ the second time around (from "Second Time Around," also written by Frederick and Salvay).

Are the shows any good? Not really. The entire Winslow clan (except for Estelle) did nothing but bully Steve for entire seasons! And all the kids on Step by Step are obnoxious and not lovable, all the parental lessons tired (from TGIF overload by that point), and most of the jokes came from the kids putting each other down.

The moment of truth: Of all the TGIF families, Step by Step’s supersize clan had the least memorable stories and the blandest, brattiest kids. Like The Brady Bunch, only no one is nice. The lone standout was Staci Keanan, and only because of lingering fondness for My Two Dads. Steve Urkel’s clinginess annoyed the Winslows, but they always apologized for being jerks because the bottom line is that he was a well-meaning person. Audiences clearly favored that kind of character, too. He became the star of the show with his own signature dance and breakout alter ego. (Could you have remembered any of the names of the Step by Step kids if you hadn’t read them above?) Also, the writers of Family Matters actually matured Laura and the family over time.

Winner: Family Matters. Carl and Urkel actually weren’t a bad buddy comedy when paired off on their own adventures.

post #85422 of 93684
TV Sports
Will new Fox sports venture offer challenge to ESPN?
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Mar. 3, 2013

On Tuesday, Fox will finally discuss its hush-hush project that's been the talk of TV sports circles for a while: The launch of what will arguably be the biggest head-to-head challenger to ESPN.

In so-called upfront presentations to advertisers in New York City, Fox will fill in the blanks on when it will convert its Speed Channel, now in more than 80 million of the roughly 100 million U.S. households that get cable or satellite TV, into a broader-interest channel tentatively called Fox Sports 1.

The big question: While there are plenty of niche sports channels, is it too late for anybody to take on ESPN when it comes to on-air sports buffets?

Fox has created a formidable pantry it can tap for TV tonnage to support the new channel. It has added or renewed deals for MLB action, NASCAR, UFC mixed martial arts, World Cup soccer, college football and basketball -- including a deal for TV basketball rights to the seven Catholic colleges leaving the Big East that's expected to become official Tuesday.

Still up in the air: To juggle and cross-promote that programming, Fox is likely to create a second spin-off channel -- a Fox Sports 2 -- out of its Fuel channel, which is in at least 30 million TV households. What's still unclear: Whether the second channel will launch with FS1 or come later.

Fox's challenge to ESPN's channels isn't exactly David vs. Goliath, say financial analysts, but it will be lopsided in the beginning. Nomura Equity Research analyst Michael Nathanson argues that "ESPN is well protected for many years (given) its sports rights (for event coverage) are locked up into the next decade."

Credit Suisse analyst Michael Senno estimates that the new Fox Sports channel, expected to debut by late summer, will try to get cable operators to pay monthly fees of $1.25 per subscriber -- a big jump from the current 26 cents it charges for Speed.

But that wouldn't be anywhere close to the revenue produced by programming on ESPN which, says research firm SNL Kagan, charges cable operators monthly subscriber fees -- $5.13 -- that are by far the highest in TV. (That's well above popular channels such as CNN (57 cents) and MTV (39 cents).

Chase Carey, chief operating officer for Fox parent News Corp., in one of Fox's few public comments on the channel launch, said at an investment conference last year that "people are going to say we're going after ESPN. ESPN is a different game."

It certainly is, but Fox may counter with creativity: Retired talk show host Regis Philbin recently hinted on CNBC that he might have a new role on FS1.

Still, David Banks, of RBC Capital Markets, notes Fox has "succeeded as an insurgent in two other (TV) categories" -- launching the Fox broadcast network in the 1980s and the Fox News Channel in the 1990s. No matter whether Fox's general-interest channel ever approaches ESPN's reach, Fox will be better positioned to get more money from advertisers -- who last year spent $13.3 billion on TV sports. For advertisers, it's programming they know most viewers watch live instead of via their recorders -- which allow them to skip through the commercials.

Sunday, Fox spokesman Dan Bell said the network had no comment.

For viewers, the new Fox venture might finally provide a whole new experience: Watching ESPN get a run -- or at least a jog -- for its money.

On tap: ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys Sunday says ESPN still hasn't finalized its long-awaited deal with retiring Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis, who is expected to work Monday Night Football pregame shows, many Sunday NFL pregame shows and occasional weekday SportsCenter shows. No matter how he does on-air -- and players coming straight from the field can be surprisingly good or bad -- the idea that he's a somewhat polarizing figure as well as clearly famous makes him catnip to TV networks. One thing that separates Lewis from some ex-players who get TV gigs: After his long NFL career and product endorsements, he probably won't be motivated by the comparatively meager pay of TV work. ... ESPN's College GameDay Saturday will air its first-ever shows from two sites on the same day. It starts at Georgetown (which hosts Syracuse) in Washington, D.C. (10 p.m. ET on ESPNU/11:00 p.m. ET on ESPN) and then heads to North Carolina (which hosts Duke) for its prime-time version (9:00 p.m. ET). Hey, it's publicity and hype on two campuses.

Spice rack: Give NBC NHL analyst Mike "Doc" Emrick style points for originality after Detroit's Tomas Tatar scored in the Red Wings 2-1 loss to Chicago Sunday -- "a steak for Tatar!" A raw call. ... TNT's Shaquille O'Neal on the perennial TV ratings draw that as of today would not make the post-season -- the Los Angeles Lakers. O'Neal asks a good question: "When was the last time you saw a team with four potential Hall of Famers say, 'We just want to make the playoffs.' '' ... ESPN/ABC studio analyst Bill Simmons, at 43, is already sounding like he's ready to growl at the neighbor kids for knocking balls in his yard. Sunday, Simmons lamented that "players today are too buddy, buddy. ... The bad blood (between teams) that I grew up with seems like it's gone." And what about that noise that kids today listen to and call music!

Say what? After first raising the idea Friday, ESPN/ABC's Magic Johnson Sunday again beat the drum for LeBron James to enter the NBA's dunk contest -- "what I'd like him to do is dominate NBA All-Star Weekend like Michael Jordan did." Johnson is offering $1 million in prize money for the contest winner, and Sunday on ABC got analyst Michael Wilbon to kick in $1,000 to the total. Granted, the NBA regular-season is pretty meaningless in the big picture. But is it so boring that NBA talking heads have to get excited about something that would happen 11 months from now. ... It didn't take Dennis Rodman long to be won over after his recent visit to North Korea. Turns out dictator Kim Jong Un is "a great guy" who "don't want war," Rodman said on ABC's This Week news show Sunday. He later declined an ESPN interview that was supposed to follow. What a pity.

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TV Notes
Heidi Klum To Join ‘America’s Got Talent’ As Judge
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Mar. 3, 2013

NBC is expanding the judging panel of America’s Got Talent to four judges with the addition of Project Runway host Heidi Klum for the upcoming eighth season. NBC is expected to make an official announcement soon. Klum joins returning judges Howie Mandel and Howard Stern and new judge Melanie Brown.

For its first seven seasons, AGT had a three-person judging panel, most recently with Stern, Mandel and Sharon Osbourne last season. Fox’s American Idol has gone back and forth between a three- and four-judge panel, while NBC’s The Voice and Fox’s The X Factor have only featured four mentors.

TMZ broke the news of Klum’s appointment after obtaining a photo of the set of AGT‘s New Orleans auditions that features the judges board with her name alongside those of Stern, Mandel and Brown.

post #85424 of 93684
TV Notes
Jimmy Fallon could replace Jay Leno by next year: Report
By Ray Rahman, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Mar. 3, 2013

Jimmy Fallon might do what Conan O’Brien attempted to do back in 2010: Replace Jay Leno in the coveted Tonight Show seat.

According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, NBC is planning to announce Leno’s retirement as soon as this May, with the change going in effect in time for the 2014 TV season. Leno’s replacement at 11:35, sources say, will almost surely be Jimmy Fallon, who’s been helming the 12:35 Late Night hour. NBC has denied the story, while a rep for Leno said “we do not speculate on rumor.”

Of course, we’ve heard this before. A few years back, Leno stepped down to give the spot to O’Brien — and we all know how that worked out. But the landscape has shifted since then — most notably thanks to the youthful Jimmy Kimmel Live, which ABC recently slated as The Tonight Show‘s direct competitor. Beyond that, whispers of Letterman’s retirement (his contract is up in 2014) have been turning into soft murmurs. A move by NBC to install Fallon in the 62-year old Leno’s spot would pit the two Jimmys against one another for the ever-important target demo.

post #85425 of 93684
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - The Bachelor (120 min.)
10:01PM - Castle
(R - Oct. 29)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Sean "Diddy'' Combs; Ben Hoffman; Sean Rowe performs)
12:35AM - Nightline

8PM - How I Met Your Mother
(R - Oct. 1)
8:30PM - Rules of Engagement
9PM - 2 Broke Girls
(R - Oct. 1)
9:30PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Oct. 8)
10PM - Hawaii Five-0
(R - Jan. 20)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Bruce Willis; 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model Kate Upton; Little Big Town performs)
(R - Feb. 12)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Katheryn Winnick; Jeffrey Dean Morgan)

8PM - The Biggest Loser (120 min.)
10:01PM - Deception
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Seth MacFarlane; Jenna Elfman; Norah Jones performs)
(R - Feb. 8)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Jude Law; Mike Tyson; technology editor Joshua Topolsky; Bad Religion performs; Michael Bolton performs with The Roots)
(R - Jan. 30)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Dominic Monaghan; Regina Spektor performs)
(R - Jan. 31)

8PM - Bones
9PM - The Following

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Spokane, WA (R - Mar. 31, 2008)
9PM - Market Warriors
(R - Nov. 12)
10PM - Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (120 min.)
(R - Oct. 2)

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

8PM - The Carrie Diaries
9PM - 90210

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Paul Rudd)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Kirk Bloodsworth)

11PM - Conan (Jane Lynch, Justin Chon, Sarah Darling)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (NeNe Leakes; Chris Franjola; Nico Santos; Jen Kirkman)

Edited by dad1153 - 3/4/13 at 3:14pm
post #85426 of 93684
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 4, 2013

Encore, 8:00 p.m. ET

This is the 2004 movie that led to the 2006 NBC series, and a few things are significantly different. The small Texas town is Odessa, not Dillon. The football team is called the Permian Panthers, and their head coach is named Gary Gaines, and played by Billy Bob Thornton. But there are some strong similarities, too - the movie's director is Peter Berg, who helped adapt Friday Night Lights as a weekly series. And the coach's wife, though a very small role in the film, is played by Connie Britton, the same actress who signed on to play Tami Taylor, the wife of Kyle Chandler's Coach Eric, on NBC. But whether you compare or contrast, or just enjoy this movie on its own, it's a gripping experience.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Robert Donat plays an extraordinarily caring teacher, a schoolmaster who loves the classics and the students in his charge, in this 1939 movie that is itself, by now, one of the classics. But there’s another reason to watch these days: When Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan sold his series, it was by describing the dramatic arc of his leading character, who goes from science teacher to meth dealer and murderer, as “Mr. Chips becomes Scarface.” Tune in, then, to see Walter White’s “Before” picture.

Sundance, 10:00 p.m. ET
Part 9.
This is the mini-sequel fans of this series have been waiting to see. It’s one of two new installments, presenting new evidence in the case of convicted murderer Michael Peterson. If you harbored any reasonable doubts about his guilt before – or about his innocence – prepare to be challenged all over again.

Showtime, 11:00 p.m. ET

Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin are David Steinberg’s guests on tonight’s edition of his smart, rewarding talk show about comedy. And Martin and Steinberg, in particular, go way, way back. Steinberg was a guest on the third and final season of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, reprising a controversial “comic sermonette” bit that helped get the Smothers Brothers thrown off the air. Among the young writers on the show that season? Steve Martin, with his first regular job in show business.

Sundance, 11:00 p.m. ET
The concluding half-season of Breaking Bad doesn’t show up until this summer. Meanwhile, though, Sundance has gotten rights to repeat the series from its first episode, two episodes every Monday night – beginning tonight with the brilliant episode that started it all. It starts with Bryan Cranston in his tighty whities, gun in hand – and never slows down from there.

Edited by dad1153 - 3/3/13 at 10:43pm
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Critic's Notes
Comedy Undercard: Sabrina, the Teenage Witch vs. Clarissa Explains It All
By Jesse David Fox, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Mar. 1, 2013

Vulture is in the midst of its Sitcom Smackdown, a three-week contest that pits the best sitcoms of the last 30 years against each other to crown the ultimate winner. But while that bracket focuses on the greatest, most innovative modern comedies, it couldn't cover all of the series that live on in our hearts, the ones that may not fit those highfalutin parameters but which we could talk about for days. To give these other series their moments to shine, every day we’ll be pitting two like-minded comedies against each other: We’ll pick our winner, and readers will then vote for their own. Today: It’s the battle for the title of Best Melissa Joan Hart Show, with Clarissa Explains It All squaring off against Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

Today's contenders: Clarissa Explains It All (1991-1994) vs. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1995-2003)

Melissa Joan (Catherine) Hart was born April 18, 1975 in Long Island, New York. She started acting when she was four – commercials and junk – until she got her big break right before her 15th birthday when cast to star on Nickelodeon's Clarissa Explains It All. Hart played a quirky, kind of cynical, media-savvy teenager, who was both motivated and a bit out-there. She dreamed of being a journalist or the first female rapper in space. Five seasons, but only three years, later Clarissa graduated high school, and Hart got cast to play another quirky, motivated but out-there teen, Sabrina. Oh yeah, Sabrina was a witch. Between the two shows, Hart, entertained tweens for 12 years (her TV career was a tween itself).

Invention: Both Clarissa and Sabrina played with the sitcom form a little. Clarissa was incredibly quick for its time, featuring 30 Rock-esque cutaways, an array of on-screen graphics, and a really active score. Also, the show was built around Clarissa speaking directly to the camera, telling the viewer her thought process, which was new for kids' TV. Also, it was one of the first kid shows with a female live-action lead that was watched equally by girls and boys. In the case of Sabrina, having a witch at the center allowed for a lot of messing around. Most notably Sabrina, more than you probably remember, played with genre and parody. In one episode, because two witches cast silence spells in the same house, the entire third act was shot as a silent movie.

Guardian sitcom dynamic: In the case of both shows, the guardians were almost always responsible for the B-story. Sabrina's aunts, Hilda (Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (Beth Broderick), were a classic odd couple. Clarissa's parents, Janet (Elizabeth Hess) and Marshall Darling (Joe O'Connor), were another in a long line of oafish sitcom husbands and their smart, attractive wives.

Annoying housemate: Ugh, Clarissa's brother Ferguson (Jason Zimbler), was the worst-guson (I'm not sure if that is an actually line from the show, but it sounds like it could've been.) He was written to exhibit every terrible trait a little brother can have, including an obsession with Dan Quayle. Sabrina lived with Salem, a talking black cat (voiced by Nick Bakay). He was turned into a cat because of his attempts to take over the world. Despite this background, all Salem did was toss out zingers.

Lovable male lead: Clarissa's best friend was a Sam (Sean O'Neal), a happy-go-lucky dude. He was just a loveable guy with a unibrow. They tried to date once, but realized they were better as friends. Their completely platonic relationship was rare on television at time, and still to this day. Harvey (Nate Richert) was Sabrina's on-and-off boyfriend. (They end the series on.) He was a loveable idiot-type and a sensitive jock.

Tiger Beat pandering: Clarissa: James Van Der Beek appeared in an episode, as a dude who falls for Clarissa's punk-rock alter ego. Sabrina: Andrew Keegan appeared in an episode as a nerdy magician. It was basically the only time he didn't play a good-looking, cool guy.

Opening credits gimmick: They both had opening credits for a time that involved Melissa Joan Hart trying on different outfits (though, I can't find the Clarissa one online). Sabrina's credits were best known for ending with a new outfit each time, causing Sabrina to make some brilliant/dumb pun. Clarissa's credits were all about that song, which you won't be able to get out of your head this weekend.


Influence (if you really think about it): Besides 30 Rock as mentioned before, all of Clarissa's narration and talking to the camera feels like it inspired Sex and the City. Also, Tessa on Suburgatory feels very post-Clarissa. A talking, worldly pet, who wants to take over the world: Tell me that doesn't sound like Family Guy's Stewie and Brian put into one cat? Also, we can neither confirm nor deny whether Dan Harmon learned to do parody on TV from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Are the shows any good? Totally, for what they were. Both were essentially shows for tweens. If you watch either today, you'll probably think the jokes stink, but the same would be true if you watched Shake It Up or whatever Disney shows are on now. Both were really good at their time and at least done with some vision. Some of Clarissa's visual gimmicks still ring interesting and the talking to the camera stuff is pretty fun. Also, the show is so obviously done on the cheap that it gives the thing a cute "let's put on a show" vibe. (The not so great acting contributes to this feeling as well.) Sabrina was a late-era TGIF show, so you can't expect too much, but Salem and the sisters are still kind of funny and the show had some really fun guest stars (Dick Van Dyke, Raquel Welch, etc.).

The moment of truth: You can't underestimate the power of someone in your general age group talking directly to you about the things that matter most in the world (i.e. pretending to be sick for school). The show is hokier and a bit rougher around the edges than Sabrina, but it had a real voice. It's hard to go back and watch either, because the jokes are pretty bad, but at least Clarissa feels like something super specific to the time.

Winner: Clarissa Explains It All. Take that, Ferg-face.

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No political comments, please.

TV Notes
Olbermann Reportedly Seeking Return To ESPN But They Aren’t ‘Prepared To Bring Him Back’
By Andrew Kirell, Mediaite.com - Mar. 3, 2013

According to a New York Times report, controversial cable news host Keith Olbermann is eying a return to television via ESPN, his employer from 1992 until 1997.

The Times reports that just as he is in the midst of a lawsuit with former employer Current TV, Olbermann is seeking to return to ESPN, the sports news network that made him famous.

The former MSNBC host reportedly dined with ESPN president John Skipper at the Four Seasons Restaurant in NYC. “Keith Olbermann, both personally and through a couple people I know, reached out to say, ‘Gee, I would love to have dinner,’ ” Skipper said of their discussions. “I agreed to dinner with Keith because I assumed he’d be provocative and witty and fun to have dinner with, and he was indeed lots of fun. We talked sports and politics, and we had a nice chat. He is very interesting.

Skipper added that it was “clear” that Olbermann was seeking an “entry point” for return.

While Olbermann declined to tell the Times any details of the dinner, he said that he “had the privilege to spend some time with John Skipper,” adding that “[h]is vision and charm were readily apparent, and judging by his leadership, his family name was prophetic.”

Senior executives at ESPN told the newspaper that since the dinner, Olbermann’s reps have sought to get him an opportunity with the network that employed him during the mid-’90s. During his tenure at the sports network, Olbermann hosted SportsCenter with Dan Patrick before a brief move to ESPN2 and later to his progressive political talk show at MSNBC.

As with most places that have employed Olbermann, some ESPN’ers were glad to see him leave, the Times reports, because “he managed to alienate a sizable group in the company, who found him exasperating to work with.”

As for whether a return to ESPN is likely, Skipper told the paper: “After the dinner, at that point, there was no real appropriate place for Keith to come back, nor did I feel like I was prepared to bring him back.”

“We don’t have a policy that says we won’t bring somebody back. We’re running a great business, and when we think we can get quality content, there’s no such thing as a condemned list,” he explained, adding that ESPN is “not an easy place to get back into” because of how quickly departures are replaced with new talent.

post #85429 of 93684
Originally Posted by rebkell View Post

I think they are watching ABC. wink.gif

And also Fox.

The smart people are watching MeTV for free.
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EXCLUSIVE: 'Walking Dead' Actor Explains Why He Returned To 'Clear'

Lennie James speaks with MTV News about returning to the zombie drama for the first time since the series premiere.

By Josh Wigler (@RoundHoward)

WARNING: "Walking Dead" spoilers lurk ahead!

He's back — but does he clear?

On the latest episode of "The Walking Dead," actor Lennie James returned to the AMC drama as hardened survivor Morgan Jones, last seen in the pilot episode living with his son and unable to kill his zombified wife. In this week's episode, "Clear," Morgan reunited with series lead Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), but as a pale imitation of the man he once was; his son is dead, killed by the very same wife and mother Morgan was unable to put down in the series premiere. Standing in the wake of the tragedy is a thoroughly broken Morgan, who spends the rest of his days killing — or "clearing," as he puts it — all of the walkers he can.

James spoke with MTV News about what led to his "Walking Dead" return, his thoughts on what's happened to Morgan, and whether we'll see the fan-favorite character again.

MTV: It's exciting to see Morgan back on the show. That's something the fans have wanted to see since the series premiere. How did it come together?

Lennie James: The time tables worked out, and the story has gotten to a point where I suppose they needed a bit more of Morgan. We managed to make the dates work. I'd been in contact with [executive producer Gale Anne Hurd] on and off over the years; she'd check in with me and I'd check in with [AMC]. We finally made it work. It was fairly straightforward, how it came about in the end.

MTV: Morgan is a very different man when we meet him again. He's unhinged, understandably so, given what he went through. What did you think of where the writers took the character?

James: It's one of the things that most excited me about going back: the opportunity to navigate the journey. You very much get to see the journey that Andrew Lincoln's character is on, but you don't get to see Morgan's, even though they essentially set off at the same time. Having the opportunity to encompass what that journey might have been in one episode was one of the things that was most exciting about it. I think the writers and the guys at "Walking Dead" did a fantastic job. It was a really exciting episode to film, to fill that gap between the pilot and episode 12 of season three. That was the joy of going back. The way they've done it, almost from the moment you see him again, you realize that this guy has been on one hell of a journey.

MTV: The story of what happened to his son is brutal. It connects back to the pilot in a very clever way: Morgan had the chance to put his wife down, but he couldn't do it. He suffers the consequences of that decision, as she kills his son. What did you make of that circularity?

James: I think what it is, is really well-written things are really easy to film and really easy to get your head to the space where it needs to be and come up with the goods. That's what I was offered up with this script. That story, the initial one with Morgan being unable to shoot his wife, really resonated with fans. I think that was a hook, the reason why people were so interested to see Morgan come back, to round off that particular circle and say, yes, he did kill his wife — but it was after an even more tragic event that forced him to finally do it. You get the sense of why this guy is completely cray-cray. [Laughs]

MTV: Throughout the episode, Morgan keeps talking about having to "clear." That's the title of the episode as well. Can you explain what "clearing" meant to you and to Morgan?

James: He's a man who's grieving, a man who feels he's being punished, and a man who on one level wishes he was dead. But he's not dead. I think at that point, some people with death wishes, they take huge risks. For Morgan, his risk, the only justification he can find in the crazy world he finds himself in — his wife is gone, and his son is gone, and the only thing he can find to justify that is he must be here for a purpose. And his purpose is to wipe out as many of the walkers as he possibly can, to wipe out everybody. That's all that's left for him. That's the road he's on. He's a man on a mission; he's a man with no name. The only thing he can achieve, and the only sense he can make of not killing his wife and only doing it after she'd bitten his son, is that somewhere, the Gods, the universe, something is saying, "Your job here is to kill." That's what he means. It's his job to "clear."

MTV: Does that speak to why he didn't go off with Rick in the end? That he's already on a mission, and what Rick is offering will distract him from his purpose?

James: Yeah. And I think in a very strange way, what Rick is offering seems like normalcy in this crazy, crazy world of "The Walking Dead." He can't handle anything structured and organized. He can't handle being around too many people. To a certain extent, he has no control over who and why he might kill. In a way, for me, his not going is an act of strange friendship with Rick. "I can't go with you because I don't know what might trigger the next 'clearing' I have to do."

MTV: Of course, Morgan's still alive at the end of the episode, so the door is open for another appearance.

James: If they want me, if they offer something as juicy as what was offered on this particular episode, then I'd seriously consider [returning]. I enjoy my time on "Walking Dead." There are very few shows, almost no shows out there like it. I've really liked my time in Atlanta and my time working with Andy Lincoln. If all of those things match up again, then why not? But I have no idea if I'm in their thoughts or if it's even a possibility at this point.
post #85431 of 93684
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

No political comments, please.

TV Notes
Olbermann Reportedly Seeking Return To ESPN But They Aren’t ‘Prepared To Bring Him Back’
By Andrew Kirell, Mediaite.com - Mar. 3, 2013

According to a New York Times report, controversial cable news host Keith Olbermann is eying a return to television via ESPN, his employer from 1992 until 1997.

The Times reports that just as he is in the midst of a lawsuit with former employer Current TV, Olbermann is seeking to return to ESPN, the sports news network that made him famous.

As with most places that have employed Olbermann, some ESPN’ers were glad to see him leave, the Times reports, because “he managed to alienate a sizable group in the company, who found him exasperating to work with.”

I always enjoyed the quote an ESPN executive made about Keith after he left: "Keith doesn't just burn bridges, he napalms them." tongue.gif
post #85432 of 93684
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

I always enjoyed the quote an ESPN executive made about Keith after he left: "Keith doesn't just burn bridges, he napalms them." tongue.gif

He was really good on SportsCenter all those years. I certainly would not purposely tune in to watch him now knowing he's a die hard liberal. biggrin.gif
post #85433 of 93684
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
At AMC, Zombies Topple Network TV
By David Carr, The New York Times' 'Media Equation' Column - Mar. 3, 2013

During its run last fall, “The Walking Dead” was the highest-rated show among viewers 18 to 49, the most-sought age group, with a bigger audience than network winners like “The Big Bang Theory,” “American Idol,” “The Voice” and “Modern Family."

Chance to get a free plug in that SNF was actually the #1 highest rated show 18-49.

Oh wait i mean S.N.F. on N.B.C. wink.gif
Edited by dcowboy7 - 3/4/13 at 8:19am
post #85434 of 93684
SUNDAY'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)
Unremarkable debuts for ABC and NBC
ABC's new 'Red Widow' averages a 1.4 in18-49s
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 4, 2013

The premiere of ABC’s new drama “Red Widow” didn’t make much of a ratings splash.

Neither did the return of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

“Widow” averaged a 1.4 adults 18-49 rating from 9 to 11 p.m. Sunday night, according to Nielsen overnights, tying the recent premiere of “Zero Hour” as ABC’s lowest-rated drama bow of the season.

“Apprentice,” meanwhile, aired in the same two-hour timeslot and managed just a 1.6, the show’s lowest-rated premiere ever.

The veteran NBC reality show did win its final hour in the demo with a 1.7, though that’s only counting broadcast competition.

It was a night of low ratings across every broadcast network.

Only three shows (Fox’s “The Simpsons,” ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” and CBS’s “The Amazing Race”) drew better than a 2.0.

“Race” was the night’s top show with a 2.4 at 8 p.m., building 26 percent from last week, when it squared off against ABC’s Oscars.

Also at 8, Fox’s “Simpsons” drew a 2.3, while ABC’s “Time” averaged a 2.1, a series low.

CBS and Fox tied for first for the night among viewers 18-49, each with a 1.8 average overnight rating and a 5 share. ABC was third at 1.6/4, NBC fourth at 1.3/4, Univision fifth at 0.7/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.4/1.

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 7 p.m. CBS was first with a 1.7 for “60 Minutes,” followed by ABC with a 1.6 for “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Fox was third with a 1.4 for a repeat of “The Simpsons” and a new “Cleveland Show” (1.5), NBC fourth with a 0.8 for repeats of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers,” Univision fifth with a 0.6 for “Aqui y Ahora” and Telemundo sixth with a 0.3 for the movie “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who.”

CBS led again at 8 p.m. with a 2.4 for “Race,” with ABC and Fox tied for second at 2.1, ABC for “Time” and Fox for “Simpsons” (2.3) and “The Cleveland Show” (1.9). NBC was fourth with a 1.3 for “Dateline,” Univision fifth with a 0.7 for “Lo Que Mas Quieres” and Telemundo sixth with a 0.4 for the end of its movie and the start of the movie “Knowing.”

Fox took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 1.8 for a repeat of “Family Guy” (1.9) and “Bob’s Burgers” (1.7), while CBS and NBC tied for second at 1.6, CBS for “The Good Wife” and NBC for “Apprentice.” ABC was fourth with a 1.5 for “Widow,” Univision fifth with a 0.8 for more “Lo Que Mas Quieres” and Telemundo sixth for “Knowing.”

NBC moved to first at 10 p.m. with a 1.7 for more “Apprentice,” followed by CBS with a 1.5 for “The Mentalist.” ABC was third with a 1.4 for more “Widow,” Univision fourth with a 0.8 for “Sal y Pimienta” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 for its movie.

CBS led the night among households with a 6.2 average overnight rating and a 10 share. ABC was second at 4.3/7, NBC third at 3.2/5, Fox fourth at 2.1/3, Univision fifth at 1.2/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.4/1.


* * * *

TV Notes
For ‘Bachelor,’ sexy without the sex
'Born Again Virgin' Sean revs up interest in ABC's show
By Diego Vasquez, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 4, 2013

When a show has been on the air as long as “The Bachelor,” it’s rare to see any ratings growth.

But in season 17, TV’s longest-running find-a-mate reality show is seeing gains over the past two seasons.

Tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC, “The Bachelor: The Women Tell All” episode sets up next week’s season finale, where Sean will make his final choice.

The credit for the ratings gains clearly lies with Sean. Rejected by “Bachelorette” Emily Maynard last summer, Sean has pledged to remain celibate until he weds his future wife, leading the tabloids to dub him the “Born-Again Virgin.”

Considering all the fooling around that usually goes on during “Bachelor,” this is an interesting twist, and one the women are sure to dish heavily on in tonight’s episode, the annual sob-fest in which the rejected ladies gather and discuss their experience on the show.

“Bachelor” has lifted ABC’s fortunes on a night where it wasn’t even a competitor last fall with the fading “Dancing with the Stars.” The network has won or tied for first on the past two Monday nights with “Bachelor” drawing its two best ratings of the season.

Last week the show averaged a 2.9 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen, and the week before it drew a 3.0, the show’s best non-finale rating in two years.

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Business Notes
Jeff Bewkes Says Pay TV Providers Have No Reason To Fear Cord Cutting
By David Lieberman, Deadline.com - Mar. 4, 2013

Don’t tell the Time Warner CEO that cable and satellite subscribers are fed up with rising prices, and tempted to replace them with some combination of free TV and Web services such as Netflix. Pay TV is “getting to be a better deal for consumers and a better deal in the opinion of consumers,” Jeff Bewkes told investors at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom conference. “Even in this recession, you don’t have cord cutting.” What’s more, TV viewing is up at a time when “you have increases in the quality and programming budgets of all these networks.” When companies including Time Warner Cable and Dish Network offer low priced packages with relatively few channels “nobody buys them.” And TV Everywhere will make consumers more attached to pay TV. “It’s all going on demand, on every Internet device you have for free because you have a subscription.” What if he’s wrong, and consumers want something cheaper? Time Warner will still be fine, Bewkes says. “We all know that the reason [prices are] up is the sports fee, it’s not anything else. Half of citizens don’t want that.” But 90% of his company’s affiliate fees come from four networks including TNT and TBS that are built around entertainment. If consumers want bundles without sports then “we’ll be in their bundles.” And low priced offerings would lower the threshold for subscribers to also subscribe to HBO. “That would be great for HBO,” Bewkes says.

He’s also not concerned that Web streaming services will pose a serious threat — even though he says that Netflix’ political drama House Of Cards is “pretty good.” The Internet company and others including Amazon and Hulu “can’t afford to buy all of the live programming” or popular, non-serialized syndicated shows such as sitcoms that drive TV ratings. “You know the numbers. They can’t go that far.” If the newcomers do become more powerful, Time Warner could adapt — even if it meant giving up the $350M it collected last year from subscription VOD. “These contracts are short term, so they can be recalibrated,” he says. Could he envision a day when Time Warner networks go online? “It would have to be economically accretive to us,” he says. “And so far, nobody’s done it.”

Edited by dad1153 - 3/4/13 at 10:57am
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TV Notes
'Walking Dead' creator Robert Kirkman creating exorcism TV series
By James Hibberd, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Mar. 4, 2013

Robert Kirkman is working on a new comic book and horror series combo.

The Walking Dead creator and executive producer is writing a script based on his upcoming comic book series set in the world of exorcisms.

Kirkman is developing the script for Fox International Channels, which distributes The Walking Dead to non-U.S. territories. The project follows a young man who has been “plagued by possession since he was a child. Now an adult, he embarks on a spiritual journey to find answers but what he uncovers could mean the end of life on Earth as we know it.” To get a series a green light, the project would likely have to get a U.S. network on board too to distribute the show in North America (which shouldn’t be a problem if the script is compelling given the success of The Walking Dead).

“Exorcism has captivated movie audiences all over the world but has never been explored on television,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, executive vp of global scripted programming and original development at FIC. “Robert Kirkman, who forever changed the scope of cable TV with The Walking Dead, possesses an unparalleled talent of telling big concept stories in a smart and incredibly genuine way. We couldn’t be more excited to be working with him on this project, which we see as a reinvention of the genre.”

Added Kirkman: “Sharon Tal Yguado and the entire team at Fox International Channels have been instrumental in making The Walking Dead the worldwide success that it has become. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to continue working with this forward-thinking and extremely talented group.”

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Business Notes
Comcast Cable Boss Talks Rising Content Costs, Pay-TV Sub Trends
By Georg Szlai, The Hollywood Reporter - Mar. 4, 2013

Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit on Monday discussed rising programming costs and improving pay-TV subscriber trends at an investor conference. He once again signaled that quarterly video subscribers could eventually record growth.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank 2013 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., Smit said, "Programming cost is always something we are concerned about."

Asked about possible threats to take down networks, Smit said his team was "conscientious" about rising costs, but emphasized: "We're focused on providing value to the customer [via great content and discovery]. We have very good relations with programmers. Generally speaking, I am more focused on creating value than cutting costs on the programming side."

After a 7 percent program-cost increase last year, he said Comcast will see low double-digit percentage gains in 2013 due to recent carriage-deal renewals with Walt Disney, especially ESPN, and News Corp./Fox and retransmission consent fees.

But Smit emphasized that Comcast has been getting more content and rights across new platforms in programming deals. And it has focused on making content discovery easier for customers.

All that, along with better marketing and retention measures, has helped boost video revenue and subscriber momentum.

Pay-TV subscriber losses have narrowed for nine straight quarters, and the fourth-quarter loss of 7,000 would have been a gain when excluding the impact from Hurricane Sandy, Smit said, reiterating previous comments.

While he didn't say when Comcast could record pay-TV subscriber growth again, he said: "It is a great business. We are investing behind it, and I believe there is a lot more coming in video."

Asked about the outlook for continued broadband subscriber growth, Smit said high-speed Internet service penetration has grown to 36 percent, but some markets have reached over 50 percent.

Overall, he said he sees no reason why broadband penetration can't reach the 85 percent to 90 percent of video penetration. "It is becoming more core to people's lives," he said.

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TV Review
‘LA Shrinks,’ more than we wanna know
New Bravo series brings us into the private lives of therapists
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 4, 2013

What is the psychiatric equivalent for the saying “Physician, heal thyself”? Maybe “Therapist, treat thyself”?

That’s basically what goes on in Bravo’s new reality show “LA Shrinks.” The series follows three attractive psychologists as they counsel patients and work on their own issues.

The patients’ counseling sessions are racy but nothing we haven’t seen on previous too-much-information TV shows. The shrinks’ own issues are the sort of relationship problems that recur in the personal-life scenes in most of Bravo’s series about successful professionals. The result is a skillfully assembled hour with a lot of clamor but few surprises.

In the premiere episode, airing tonight at 10, we meet the three therapists featured on the show, all of whom say that their patients’ issues give them insights into their own problems. This isn’t always borne out by the episode.

Venus Nicolino, a Ph.D who lives in a mansion with her husband and four boys, counsels a couple whose sex life is dysfunctional because the woman is unhappy with the man’s physical endowment, but not in the way one might expect. After some graphic discussion, Nicolino tells the camera that this specific complaint usually means that the woman is afraid of sex.

Sure enough, the woman tells Nicolino that she had a convent education that taught her that sex is dirty. Nonetheless, she’s open to having another woman join them in bed. One starts to get the feeling that everyone involved — including Nicolino, who at one point yells at the man, “Worship the vajayjay” — is just trying to be outrageous in order to get as much screen time as possible.

The second shrink is a Ph.D. named Gregory Cason, who is in a long-term “monogamish” relationship. In the premiere, he works with a woman who has anger issues. We see footage of her shouting variations on the most common obscenity, both while driving and while being treated.

Since anger management isn’t the sort of thing that keeps us tuned in, the patient describes in graphic detail how the handles her problem: by having vigorous sex with her boyfriend.

Eris Huemer, whose credentials aren’t specified, treats a couple with issues about frequency: She is frustrated because they have sex about once a week; he seems to think that is fine.

Huemer’s personal life most closely mirrors her patients’ issue: She tell us that she and her husband haven’t had sex in months, and she tells him that she wants to have a baby soon, since, she says, “I’m 38 years old, and my biological clock is ticking away.”

To make this discussion special, Huemer hires a chef to prepare an aphrodisiac dinner. This is the sort of thing that happens more on reality shows than in reality. As they dig in, Huemer points out to her husband that asparagus resembles a certain body part, then puts a stalk in his mouth.

Cason tells us that he was drawn to therapy because his father had anger issues and was vocally anti-gay. He’s worried that if he invites his father to his upcoming commitment ceremony, his sisters won’t attend. Even now, he says, “I’m scared s—less of telling my father I want to marry another man.”

Nicolino seems to have the most tranquil home life, even though she and her husband are raising four boys under 7: their own two sons and two of their nephews. In a pre-commercial tease, her husband suggests it’s time for them to have another child. She responds with a phrase using the aforementioned common obscenity.

Of course, when that scene comes around later, she laughs immediately afterwards.

Intimate but forced, these slices of the therapists’ personal lives, set in comfortable and chic upper-middle-class décor, look and sound just like the scenes in the homes of the various PR professionals, real estate dealers and stylists who have their own Bravo shows.

Throughout, there is simply too much self-exposure, both emotionally and physically. We see Huemer in her underwear and Nicolino in her bathtub.

The patients share things that we — never mind their friends and co-workers —simply don’t need to know.

Maybe Americans will tire of this kind of oversharing and not only stop participating in these shows but also stop watching them. But as therapists say, first we have to want to change.

post #85440 of 93684
Business Notes
Cable continues dominance of on-demand movie sale
By Mike Snider, USA Today - Mar. 4, 2013

Cable companies continue to dominate the home video-on-demand market, but telecom TV operators are increasing their share.

Consumers spent $1.3 billion ordering movies and other video-on-demand from their pay TV service in 2012, according to The NPD Group's 2012 VideoWatch VOD Report.

Cable TV companies such as Comcast and Time Warner controlled more than half (56%) of the VOD movie market, but that is down from 60% in 2011, the report says. Telecom TV operators such as Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse increased their share by 4 percentage points up to 18% in 2012 from 14% in 2011. Satellite TV operators DIRECTV and Dish Network increased their share of the VOD movie market slightly, earning 27%, up from 26%.

Verizon and AT&T also generated more revenue per subscriber on average, too. The average telecom pay TV subscriber spent $25.29, compared to $13.83 for cable TV operators. Satellite companies got about $10.33 per subscriber.

"Verizon FIOS and AT&T U-verse still considerably lag cable operators in the number of service subscribers; however they are actually growing their share of the MPVD VOD-movie-rental market," said Russ Crupnick, NPD's senior vice president of industry analysis, in a statement accompanying the report's release. "Telecom operators are leading their competitors when it comes to earning additional revenue from VOD movie rentals."

The report covered only revenue generated by separate per-movie rental fees, not pay TV subscriptions or Internet services such as Netflix. The total electronic home video market was estimated at about $6.4 billion in 2012, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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