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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2850

post #85471 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Technology Notes
Browsing the web on an iPad stinks–and Apple likes it that way
By Hank Nothhaft, Jr., GigaOM.com - Mar. 3, 2013


One surprising - or perhaps not so surprising knowing Apple- thing I found when I tried to get Ad blocking software for my Ipad was that Apple has so locked down the ipad that ANY browser you install must use Safari as it's base. All you are adding is some different graphics.I had to resort to an IP address filter to eliminate Ads on my ipad, a really stupid way of doing things. I hope someday we get a truly stand alone browser on the ipad.
post #85472 of 93675
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
(R - Dec. 12)
8:30PM - The Neighbors
9PM - Modern Family
(R - Jan. 9)
9:30PM - Suburgatory
10PM - Nashville
(R - Feb. 6)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Jessica Simpson; Jim Jefferies; Luke Bryan performs)
12:35AM - Nightline

8PM - Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites
9PM - Criminal Minds
(R - Sep. 26)
10PM - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
(R - Sep. 26)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Melissa McCarthy; David Morrissey; David Byrne & St. Vincent perform)
(R - Jan. 28)
12:37AM - Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Christina Hendricks; author Jackie Collins)

8PM - Whitney
8:30PM - Whitney
(R - Jan. 2)
9PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
(R - Oct. 10)
10PM - Chicago Fire
(R - Dec. 5)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Ben Affleck; Kristen Bell; Rodriguez performs)
(R - Jan. 11)
12:37AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (First lady Michelle Obama; Scarlett Johansson; The Avett Brothers perform)
(R - Feb. 22)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Director David O. Russell; musical group Twenty One Pilots; Tift Merritt performs)
(R - Feb. 5)

8PM - American Idol (120 min., LIVE)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Nature: Braving Iraq (R - Nov. 7, 2010)
9PM - NOVA: Separating Twins
(R - Feb. 8, 2012)
10PM - Inside Nature's Giants: Sperm Whale
(R - Aug. 7, 2011)

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

8PM - Arrow
(R - Jan. 23)
9PM - Supernatural
(R - Nov. 14)

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author Neil deGrasse Tyson)
11:30PM - The Colbert Report (Artist Brendan O'Connell)

11PM - Conan (Matthew Fox; Anthony Jeselnik; Ian Edwards)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Kate Walsh; Bobby Lee; Kerri Kenney-Silver; Heather McDonald)
post #85473 of 93675
TV Notes
Jon Stewart to Take Summer Break from 'Daily Show' to Direct a Movie
By Michael O'Connell and Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Mar. 5, 2013

Jon Stewart is taking temporary leave of The Daily Show.

The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that the host of 14 years will be away from Comedy Central's late-night stalwart for 12 weeks during the summer, starting in June -- including eight weeks while the show produces new episodes.

In Stewart's place, Daily Show correspondent John Oliver will sit at the desk of the series, which tapes and airs original episodes Monday through Thursday.

Stewart is taking the break to make his feature directorial debut with Rosewater. Stewart also wrote the screenplay for the adaptation of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari's New York Times best-selling memoir Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.

Bahari's book tells the story of his 2009 arrest by the Iranian government while covering an election protest. He subsequently was interrogated and tortured during the next 118 days.

OddLot Entertainment and will produce and finance the feature, with Stewart, Gigi Pritzker and Scott Rudin also producing. Eli Bush will executive produce.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart has long been the flagship property of Comedy Central. Stewart's work on the show and spinoff The Colbert Report has earned him dozens of Emmy nominations, and last year he accepted his 10th consecutive Emmy for best variety series.

Prior to taking over The Daily Show from Craig Kilborn in 1999, Stewart had a career as an actor, with roles in such films as Big Daddy, Playing by Heart, The Faculty and Half Baked.

Stewart is repped by UTA.

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Critic's Notes
Comedy Undercard: Perfect Strangers vs. Dharma & Greg
By Margaret Lyons, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Mar. 5, 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 of the mismatched duos, Perfect Strangers and Dharma & Greg.

Today's Contenders: Perfect Strangers (1986–93) vs. Dharma & Greg (1997–2002)

Every generation gets the Odd Couple it deserves. Actually, I don't know if that's exactly true — but it seems true when we're talking about these pairings. Strangers followed the uptight Larry and his whimsical immigrant cousin Balki, while Dharma followed the uptight Greg and his whimsical yoga-teacher wife Dharma. Everyone learns from each other! Sure, culture clashes ensue, but at the end of the day, these pairs are inseparable. Bring on the goofy neighbors!

Sitcom phylum: Strangers was produced by Miller-Boyett Productions, who also produced Laverne & Shirley, Bosom Buddies, Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, Full House, Family Matters, and Step by Step. Dharma & Greg is from Chuck Lorre, who also created and produced Grace Under Fire, Cybill, Two and a Half Men, and The Big Bang Theory.

How dopey is dopey? Balki Bartokomous eats strange food, wears strange clothes, uses unusual phrases ("Well, slap my face and call me Zsa-Zsa!"), and does not generally subscribe to the germ theory of medicine. Dharma is upbeat and wears clothes straight out of Phoebe Buffay's closet. Balki would be out of place anywhere other than his home nation of Mepos, whereas Dharma just gets a little bit ditzy on occasion.

How straight-laced is straight-laced? Cousin Larry egotism and ethnocentrism backfire in every episode. Trust Balki's cockamamie ways for once! Greg is pretty enchanted by Dharma's open-mindedness and perkiness, and she's comforted by his stability.

Any associated dancing? Balki does a Dance of Joy. Dharma & Greg does not have specific choreography.

Do the people around them find these pairings ridiculous? On Strangers, not only does no one find it ridiculous, but the two also strike up romances with a pair of intellectually mismatched women. On D&G, their families are skeptical of their union at first, but grow to accept and embrace it.

Are the shows any good? Perfect Strangers is … not. I say this as someone who loved the show when it first ran — when I was a child. But upon rewatching, well, pull my ears and call me Dumbo, it has not aged well. Dharma, on the other hand, really has. When it aired, it felt like an also-ran compared to Friends or even Mad About You, but watching it now, it's surprisingly self-assured. Comedy has trended away from happy-couple stories, and it's too bad.

The moment of truth: Balki Bartokomous will always occupy a sacred place on my comedy altar, in a way that neither Dharma nor Greg ever will. I have more affection for Strangers. But having rewatched a bunch of episodes of both shows, I can say that I will never rewatch another Perfect Strangers recreationally, but I can imagine the day when I'd chillax to a Dharma & Greg marathon.

Winner: Dharma & Greg.

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TV Review
‘Dukes of Melrose,’ second-hand celebs
Lots of Hollywood name-dropping in this new Bravo reality show
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 5, 2013

In reality shows about the work lives of people with a peripheral connection to show business, there comes a point, usually in the premiere, where the people brag about all the A-list stars they’ve worked with. For some reason, we never see them actually working with those A-listers.

Bravo’s new series “Dukes of Melrose,” set in an L.A. store that deals in vintage fashion, takes this scenario to such an extreme that it’s possible the series is trying to parody it. In any case, the real stars of the show are the high-end and haute couture clothes and accessories that the shop’s owners acquire.

Although shopaholics will probably have a good time drooling over the merchandise, the show’s other claims to our attention — the peripheral glow of celebrity and the shticky banter between the store’s two owners — come up short. If the names Louboutin and Givenchy don’t excite a viewer, neither will the show.

Premiering this Wednesday, March 6, at 10:30 p.m., “Dukes of Melrose” stars Cameron Silver and Christos Garkinos, who are partners in a secondhand clothing boutique called Decades. Cameron buys and sells his merchandise; Christos handles his on consignment, which is much less risky financially.

“I’m the Robin Hood of fashion,” Christos tells us. “I consign from the real rich and I sell to the less rich.”

Having only recently combined their businesses, the two men clash constantly. Christos is more cautious, or perhaps that’s the way he has been instructed to act for narrative purposes.

So when the partners are negotiating with an L.A. socialite over the purchase of some ’80s couture gowns, Christos is outraged when Cameron seems to help the woman up her prices.

Although this could be a result of the editing, Cameron comes across as one of those people who try to make their every utterance witty, with a strong emphasis on double entendre. Describing their most difficult business period, Hollywood awards season, Cameron says, “Some things are going to be easy and some are going to be rock hard.”

Sitting side by side, the partners tell us what the season is like: Cameron says, “Awards season is filed with celebrities, stylists — everybody from Gwynnie — Gwyneth Paltrow — Nicole Kidman . . .”

“Nickie,” says Christos.

“Riahnna — Reeree,” says Cameron.

“Madge — Madonna,” says Christos, concluding by saying, “I mean, how much name-dropping do you want?”

One likes to hope that the partners are in on the joke when we immediately cut to a visit from one of their celebrity clients: the actress and comedian Rachel Harris. Looking for a dress to wear to the Independent Spirit Awards — the first two episodes of “Dukes of Melrose” were shot during the 2012 awards season — she settles on a Jil Sander dress that Cameron and Christos’ style consultant Eri is wearing.

Eri lends her the dress free of charge, sending Christos into a tizzy.

The celebrity clients in the second episode are more recognizable. Christos helps find a dress for the TV actress Garcelle Beauvais to wear to Elton John’s Oscar-night party. When she invites him to be her plus-one, he says he feels like he’s going to the prom.

Cameron is enlisted to come up with a look for Melissa McCarthy, a Best Supporting Actress winner last year for “Bridesmaids.” Since she isn’t couture size, he has to find a suitable dress that can be knocked off by a tailor. (Like Madge and Reeree, Missy is nowhere to be seen in these episodes.)

As usually happens in workplace reality shows, the partners are up against a deadline and the producers manage to create a crisis, namely that McCarthy has lost some weight, so her dress needs last-minute alterations. “Trying to find a tailor on Oscar weekend,” Cameron says, “is like trying to find the very last vial of Botox in Hollywood.” Or like trying to say something witty every time the camera is pointed at you.

Fashionistas won’t care about the level of wit when Christos and Cameron visit various stylists and socialites and rummage through their treasure troves of vintage dresses, bags and shoes. What non-fashionistas will take away from these scenes is the waste. Christos says that most women “hunt and gather” fashion. Once they buy something, he says, they might not even wear it.

The aforementioned socialite says that she purchased one gown from a Paris couture house for $55,000 to $65,000 in the ’80s but then she was photographed in it at the White House, so she hates to wear it again. Cameron and Christos offer her less than one fifth of the gown’s original price, not adjusting for inflation.

Of course, if “Dukes of Melrose” were funnier, those thoughts wouldn’t occur to anyone.

post #85476 of 93675
TV Sports
Challenge ESPN? How Fox Sports Can Rival the Worldwide Leader
By Lucas Shaw, TheWrap.com - Mar. 5, 2013

Fox ruined the worst kept secret in sports television on Tuesday, announcing plans for a national sports network that launches Aug. 17. News Corp. COO Chase Carey said the key to the new cable network was to “not try to beat ESPN,” but the million-dollar question remains: What does Fox Sports 1 have to do to rival the worldwide leader in sports?

ESPN is the 800-pound gorilla of the sports media world, one of the most profitable networks on TV and one of the most successful media companies of the last quarter century. Fox Sports 1 has a chance to do the unthinkable: upset the balance of power.

It has the money and support of parent company News Corp., which has helped use the NFL and other sports rights to turn its broadcast network into an equal of CBS, NBC and ABC.

Fox shocked the sports world in 1993, acquiring the rights to NFL games and luring top broadcasters, such as John Madden and Pat Summerall, from CBS.

Sensing that soccer is finally ready for prime time in the United States, it outbid ESPN and others for the rights to soccer's premier events, the 2018 and 2022 World Cup. Many of those games can now appear on Fox Sports 1.

"If there's one thing [News Corp. CEO] Rupert Murdoch has proven over time it's that he understands the value of content better than perhaps anyone else in the history of the media business," Scott Rosner of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative told TheWrap. "He also understands there's not content considered must-have like sports content. That strategy has worked time and time again. There's no reason to think it shouldn't here."

Fox also has an advantage that no previous challenger has had before -- broadcast rights.

The biggest arms race in television is bidding for the rights to broadcast major sporting events, be it the World Cup, the Olympics or the NFL. Rights have soared into the billions with every network shelling out at least $1 billion a year to air NFL games.

ESPN still holds the most cards, from its ownership of Monday Night Football and NBA rights to college football's BCS Championship Game and Big East basketball.

CBS and NBC relaunched nationwide sports cable networks in 2011, the CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network. These networks are not failures, but they lack the marquee programming needed to lure a huge audience.

NBC Sports Network's main offering is NHL hockey, a popular but not nationally beloved sport, while CBS Sports Network has had to make do with college sports and niche pro sports like lacrosse and arena football. Turner Sports has rights to high-profile sports like the NBA, MLB and college basketball, but it has no dedicated network.

Fox jumps out of the gate with rights to major events, such as college football, college basketball, NASCAR, soccer and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In 2014, the MLB, including playoff games, will arrive as well.

But Fox still has what many generously describe as a long, uphill climb.

The new network must contend with a competitor that does not just hold rights to more sporting events but has a hugely popular website (espn.com), an array of mobile offerings, a national radio network and the most popular entertainment programming in sports.

While Monday Night Football and the BCS Championship Game bring in the most viewers, ESPN shows like “Sports Center” and “Pardon the Interruption” keep those viewers coming back throughout the day. ESPN has also turned pre-game programming into entertainment, from its hugely successful "College GameDay" on Saturday before college football to "Sunday NFL Countdown."

“To distinguish themselves from CBS and NBC, the one thing they need to do is create original programming that is news and entertainment oriented,” Dan Durbin, director of USC's Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society, said of Fox. “ESPN has set its mark with Sports Center. They put on sports, but everything else is some form of entertainment.”

Yet, Durbin pointed out, Fox was a pioneer in this very field. Executives David Hill and Ed Goren tried to make sports entertaining to non-sports fans in the 1990s, turning their Sunday NFL pregame show into a lively talk show, revolutionizing on-screen graphics with the FoxBox and creating now defunct comedy shows like "The Best Damn Sports Show Period."

“Fox showed they have ability to create original entertainment programming,” Durbin said. “But they’re going to have to expand that greatly.”

Fox knows this and has already announced that Regis Philbin will have a daytime talk show. Fox will also launch a daily football show, an extension of its popular Sunday pregame show featuring the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Erin Andrews.

“Fans are ready for an alternative to the establishment,” Fox Sports Media Group Co-President and COO Eric Shanks said in a statement, “and our goal for FS1 is to provide the best in-game experience possible, complemented by informative news, entertaining studio shows and provocative original programming.”

The bigger issues for Fox are time and economics. ESPN has been at more than 30 years. While the network was a wreck for its first few years of existence, as deliciously described in Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller's recent oral history "Those Guys Have All the Fun," it has spent decades since engendering the loyalty of sports fans. It also has used that position to lure top talent, including a who's who of former players and top flight journalists.

Indeed, ESPN has turned that loyalty into profit. Every cable subscriber pays $5.15 a month for ESPN and its various channels, the highest fee in cable. Fox Sports 1 will replace Fox's Speed Channel, which gets 22 cents a month.

While viewership of major sporting events should push that figure upward, it will take time.

"ESPN not only has the programming but the benefit that subscriber fees provide as a moat to protect them from the competition," Ed Desser, president of sports media consultancy Desser Sports Media, told TheWrap. "I don't see Fox being able to meaningfully compete with ESPN in the foreseeable future."

As for ESPN, the network seems undaunted by a new player: "We like our position. We have always had vigorous competition, so there is really nothing substantially new here. Others are, however, beginning to recognize what we have long known: the power of live sports, especially in light of technological advances, is substantial and brings tremendous value in today's entertainment landscape."

Yet there are also a few things that could tilt in Fox's favor.

Most major rights are locked up for the foreseeable future, but the next available are one-half of NASCAR -- Fox already has the other half locked up while Turner and ESPN split the rest until 2014 -- and the NBA, whose broadcast contracts expire after the 2015-2016 season. While ESPN has been the NBA's partner for a decade, there's also the possibility of more football.

"The NFL right now is the dividing point for content in the U.S. market," Durbin said. "If you have the NFL, it justifies you. if you don't, you're chasing. The NFL still has not saturated the market and there may be a point in the future where they have something going every night from Thursday to Monday. For Fox Sports 1, that would give them a major card."

And then there's Fox's one trump card.

While ESPN has some of the media worls' most potent marketing campaigns, Fox has a unique corporate infrastructure to market and promote Fox Sports 1. In addition to its broadcast network and cable channels likes FX and Fox News, Fox boasts 22 regional sports networks that hold the broadcast rights to more than half of the teams in the NBA, NHL and MLB.

Broadcasts of those sporting events can feed right into FS 1’s planned news show at 11 p.m.

“Fox has all these regional sports networks that Disney doesn’t have,” Brad Adgate, SVP of research at Horizon Media told TheWrap. “I’m curious to see how much Fox leverages them. This is the most serious challenge to ESPN, which hasn’t had too many serious challenges.”

post #85477 of 93675
Originally Posted by Matt L View Post

One surprising - or perhaps not so surprising knowing Apple- thing I found when I tried to get Ad blocking software for my Ipad was that Apple has so locked down the ipad that ANY browser you install must use Safari as it's base. All you are adding is some different graphics.I had to resort to an IP address filter to eliminate Ads on my ipad, a really stupid way of doing things. I hope someday we get a truly stand alone browser on the ipad.

Atomic browser has a very good ad filter.
post #85478 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
The Best Sitcom of the Past 30 Years, Round One: Community Vs. The Larry Sanders Show
By Heather Havrilesky, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Mar. 5, 2013



Another moment of idiocy that renders another Vulture analysis completely irrelevant.

I was early to recognize that Community could be great and unique and still love the first three seasons, but to put it in a higher position than Larry Sanders is just stupid.

Larry Sanders redefined TV sitcoms, developed the idea of celebrities playing parody versions of themselves to a masterstroke, created not just funny characters but characters with actual personality and not just joke props, had genius casting and in its entire run barely had a dud.

Community exists largely as a pop culture riff in a surreal environment. Remove those references and the show doesn't stand well. I watched Sanders in its entirety again last year and apart from the decor and some of the monologues that show can stand on it's own purely on the strength of the characters.
post #85479 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Sports
Challenge ESPN? How Fox Sports Can Rival the Worldwide Leader
By Lucas Shaw, TheWrap.com - Mar. 5, 2013

The NFL still has not saturated the market and there may be a point in the future where they have something going every night from Thursday to Monday. For Fox Sports 1, that would give them a major card."

Cant happen as of now.

Congress actually has a rule that the NFL can not have games on friday after 6pm or Saturday beginning the second friday in september and ending the second saturday in december.

That goes back to the 60s when Rozelle & congress setup antitrust rules.
post #85480 of 93675
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 6, 2013

BBC America, 7:00 p.m. ET

The exciting news that Steven Spielberg is working with the Stanley Kubrick estate to complete the director's never-realized Napoleon epic is more than enough reason to revisit a Kubrick film that works every time you watch it anyway. This 1980 adaptation of the Stephen King novel is one of the spookiest movies ever made - and Jack Nicholson is the demented beating heart of it.

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

Last night, we finally got our first live edition of this year’s Idol incarnation, and left with several first impressions. First, the women challengers are not the overwhelmingly impressive batch of singers the judges have claimed them to be. As for the judges this year: Keith Urban is a nice-guy singer in the Adam Levine mold, Mariah Carey loves the sound of her own voice whether she’s singing or talking, Nicki Minaj is the most blunt judge of the group (but also the Steven Tyler-type wild card, in terms of her tossaway remarks), and Randy Jackson, who should sue himself for plagiarism, already has pegged several contestants as being “in it to win it.” Tonight, the guys sing.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Last year, TCM host Robert Osborne, at the third annual TCM film festival event, had a special sit-down interview with the reclusive Kim Novak. Tonight, that interview is televised, followed by a quartet of Kim Novak films. There’s no Vertigo, but the films do include 1955’s Picnic (at midnight ET) and the same year’s The Man With the Golden Arm (at 2 a.m. ET), as well as our next Wednesday Best Bet, Bell, Book & Candle.

TCM, 9:00 p.m. ET

This 1959 comedy reteams James Stewart and Kim Novak, who had starred, the year before, in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. In that movie, he played a man obsessed with her. In this movie, he plays a man who isn’t — not, that is, until she casts him under her spell. Literally, because she’s a witch. And when she casts a love spell, the look in her eyes sells it. Completely.

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

This series has upped its game quickly and commendably, as it becomes more and more like a game of international chess. The Americans have recruited a Soviet informant by threatening to reveal that she’s stolen things from the Soviet embassy in the States, where she works. The Soviets, in turn, suspect that someone in their employ has been turned by the U.S. feds – and tonight, they try to ferret out the mole. Or mole out the ferret. And even Russian undercover agents Elizabeth and Phillip (Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys) are under suspicion.

post #85481 of 93675
Originally Posted by dcowboy7 View Post

Cant happen as of now.

Congress actually has a rule that the NFL can not have games on friday after 6pm or Saturday beginning the second friday in september and ending the second saturday in december.

That goes back to the 60s when Rozelle & congress setup antitrust rules.

Yep, it would impinge on high school football on Fridays and college football on Saturdays....
post #85482 of 93675
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)
Fox wins with an extra edition of ‘Idol’
Special Tuesday semifinals edition averages a 3.4
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 6, 2013

In what’s becoming a familiar story for “American Idol,” the Fox singing competition saw its ratings fall, but the network still won the night by a sizable margin anyway.

“Idol” averaged a 3.4 adults 18-49 rating from 8 to 10 p.m. last night, according to Nielsen overnights, off 11 percent from last Wednesday’s edition.

It was a special episode for “Idol,” which always expands from two to three nights during the semifinals.

It marked the first time this year that the show has aired against CBS’s “NCIS,” and the veteran drama actually drew a slightly higher rating than “Idol,” a 3.3 to the latter’s 3.2, during their shared hour at 8 p.m. It was the first time “NCIS” has ever topped “Idol” in their timeslot.

But “Idol” improved to a 3.5 in its second hour to lift its overall rating to 3.4, finishing as the top-rated show of the night.

Elsewhere last night, ABC’s “Celebrity Wife Swap” tumbled 38 percent from last week’s series high, featuring Kate Gosselin, to a 1.5.

Week two of CBS’s “Golden Boy” fell 11 percent to a 1.6 at 10 p.m., where it had a two-week preview before moving to its usual Friday 9 p.m. slot.

Fox led the night among 18-49s with a 3.4 average overnight rating and a 9 share. CBS was second at 2.6/7, Univision third at 1.8/5, ABC fourth at 1.3/4, NBC fifth at 0.9/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.6/2 and CW seventh 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.

CBS started the night in the lead with a 3.3 at 8 p.m. for “NCIS,” followed closely by Fox with a 3.2 for “Idol.” Univision was third with a 2.0 for “Por Ella Soy Eva,” ABC fourth with a 1.5 for “Swap,” NBC fifth with a 1.1 for repeats of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers,” CW sixth with a 0.6 for “Hart of Dixie” and Telemundo seventh with a 0.4 for “Pasion Prohibida.”

Fox took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 3.5 for more “Idol,” while CBS slipped to second with a 2.8 for “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Univision was third with a 1.9 for “Amores Verdaderos,” ABC fourth with a 1.2 for “The Taste,” NBC fifth with a 1.0 for “Go On” (1.1) and “The New Normal” (0.9), Telemundo sixth with a 0.9 for “La Patrona” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for a repeat of “Beauty and the Beast.”

CBS regained the lead at 10 p.m. with a 1.6 for “Boy,” with Univision second with a 1.5 for “Amor Bravio.” ABC was third with a 1.2 for “Body of Proof,” NBC fourth with a series-low 0.7 for “Smash” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.4 for “El Rostro de la Venganza.”

Among households, CBS was first for the night with a 9.5 average overnight rating and a 15 share. Fox was second at 6.9/10, ABC third at 3.1/5, Univision fourth at 2.2/3, NBC fifth at 2.0/3 and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.7/1.


* * * *

Nielsen Notes
‘American Idol,’ down but hardly out
It's no longer unbeatable. And yet it's still a top show

Tonight at 8 p.m. the male semifinalists perform live in Las Vegas on Fox’s “American Idol.”

Whether it provides a ratings kick for the show, which is averaging a 5.2 Nielsen rating among adults 18-49 this season, is uncertain.

There were a flurry of headlines last Thursday morning when ABC’s “Modern Family” finished ahead of “Idol” in the overnight ratings for the first time ever.

It turned out, when final ratings were released later in the day, that the two shows had tied with a 3.9 apiece, but it seems inevitable that sometime in the next few weeks, “Family” will finally pull ahead of its rival, which has hit 10-year lows recently.

Does such a ratings win really mean anything beyond spurring another round of breathless headlines?

Well, no. The importance is more symbolic than anything.

For many years, “Idol” was unbeatable, unchallenged by anything else on broadcast and by far the highest-rated show on any night.

But last season the cracks began to show, and “Idol” slipped behind “The Big Bang Theory” on a handful of Thursdays. It still finished as the No. 1 entertainment show on broadcast for the season.

This year there are more cracks. “Bang” is outrating “Idol” for the season, and the show is no longer capable of lifting its lead-outs like it once was.

This isn’t the year that “Idol” became just another show; it’s still one of the top two on TV at midseason. But next year that probably won’t be true, and another judges’ table shakeup probably won’t change that.

“Idol” is on the way down. Yet it makes it that much easier to appreciate how dominant it was during the up years.

post #85484 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

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.
So is that DVR data coming only from Nielsen households? I recently got a TiVo and it reconnects with the internet nightly, I gather from what I'm told. Is it also downloading your recording information for resell to ratings concerns?
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Originally Posted by Emaych View Post

Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

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.
So is that DVR data coming only from Nielsen households? I recently got a TiVo and it reconnects with the internet nightly, I gather from what I'm told. Is it also downloading your recording information for resell to ratings concerns?

ALL Nielsen data comes solely from Nielsen households.
post #85486 of 93675
Directv said they are considering sharing nfl sunday ticket with other providers or even just dropping it when their current contracts ends after the 2014 season.

Be interesting to see what happens or it could be just a negotiating ploy to keep the next deals $$ down.

But with the redzone channel now so readily available sunday ticket isnt the end all that is used to be.
post #85487 of 93675
Originally Posted by dcowboy7 View Post

Directv said they are considering sharing nfl sunday ticket with other providers or even just dropping it when their current contracts ends after the 2014 season.

Be interesting to see what happens or it could be just a negotiating ploy to keep the next deals $$ down.

But with the redzone channel now so readily available sunday ticket isnt the end all that is used to be.

Might get the price down for D*. If the NFL opens full games up to cablecos, they'd better be ready for some big pushback from the networks. It's one thing to have just a DSS provider selling access to all the games. But if EVERYBODY could do it, that waters down the audience for the networks. And they're not going to pony up nearly as much.
post #85488 of 93675
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

ALL Nielsen data comes solely from Nielsen households.
Thanks for your response. That would seem fairly self-explanatory. This was the quote which caused me to question DVR ratings data: "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." The first bit refers to compiling DVR ratings info, then makes mention of Nielsen households. It is uncertain in my mind whether the DVR data referred to in the first bit is solely, or even at all, Nielsen household data. And the real question I have is whether TiVo collects your personal recording history on the sly through the downloading it does through the internet. If anyone has that answer, I'd be curious to know....
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In 1969 My Family was chosen to be a 'Nielson Family" and each member of the family was given a Diary to record what we watched. The one thing I remember about this was not a single one of the shows I like to watch got cancelled that year! biggrin.gif
post #85490 of 93675
Originally Posted by Emaych View Post

And the real question I have is whether TiVo collects your personal recording history on the sly through the downloading it does through the internet. If anyone has that answer, I'd be curious to know....

Have you read their privacy policy?
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Critic's Notes
It’s Still Winter, Unless You’re a Fall TV Pilot
Fall TV Pilot Season Is in Full Swing
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - Mar. 6, 2013

The terror gripping broadcast television as viewers continue to run away — 8.6 million to “Duck Dynasty,” 13.1 million to “The Bible,” who knows how many to “House of Cards” — has meant boom times for TV’s most ephemeral product: the network pilot.

The big five networks have ordered nearly 100 pilot episodes for the 2013 fall season, up significantly from last year, when everyone was talking about how many pilots there were. Right now they are being cast and shot at a furious pace so that the fall schedules can be announced in May, and, as always, a great majority of them will be seen by no one but the people who make them and the programmers who reject them.

All that we know about these embryonic series are the names involved and the plot descriptions, but that’s enough to dream on. Who wouldn’t have wanted to see “Downwardly Mobile” last fall on NBC, with Roseanne Barr and John Goodman running a trailer park? O.K., maybe not you. Does it change your mind to know that it would have kept “Guys With Kids” or “The New Normal” off the air?

Without pretending to know which projects have the best chance of success — beyond the Michael J. Fox sitcom already picked up by NBC and the latest “NCIS” spinoff at CBS — here are eight pilots that are intriguing for one reason or another: a star, a writer, a director, a premise. Will they be any good? We’ll probably never know.

ABOUT A BOY (NBC) Nick Hornby’s novel, which already spawned a film starring Hugh Grant, now gives birth to a comedy pilot directed by Jon Favreau, with the always-on-the-verge actor David Walton (“Perfect Couples,” “Bent”) as the jerk waiting to be reformed. The attraction here: Jason Katims of “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood” wrote the pilot.

BELIEVE (NBC) Major filmmakers like Jonathan Demme, Phillip Noyce and Martin Scorsese have directed TV pilots in recent years, but it’s still exciting that Alfonso Cuarón is involved in writing and directing this drama about a convict chosen to protect a superpowered 10-year-old girl. It sounds like a good match for Mr. Cuarón, who has made some of the most darkly enchanting movies about childhood of the last 20 years: “A Little Princess,” “Great Expectations” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” the best of the films in that series. (Even the great sexual coming-of-age tale “Y Tu Mamá También” was about teenage boys.)

An unknown actress with the noticeable name Johnny Sequoyah will play the girl. One of the producers is J. J. Abrams, which increases the chances of a pickup, though his attention is split between “Believe” and an untitled science-fiction show at Fox that crosses “Robocop” with “Blade Runner.”

BEVERLY HILLS COP (CBS) This could easily be terrible, but the idea of Eddie Murphy once again playing Axel Foley — now the father of a Beverly Hills cop (Brandon T. Jackson) — in a pilot written by Shawn Ryan of “The Shield” is pretty irresistible. This makes the list over “Crazy Ones” (CBS), the David E. Kelley pilot starring Mr. Murphy’s fellow geriatric stand-up star Robin Williams.

BOOMERANG (FOX) The spies-in-plain-sight genre may be about played out, but this one sounds like fun: Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”) and Anthony LaPaglia (“Without a Trace”) as the heads of a family of government-employed assassins. John Wells (“Southland,” “ER”) is one of the producers, and the director is the talented Craig Brewster (“Hustle and Flow”).

HOSTAGES (CBS) The distinguished Australian actress Toni Collette (“The United States of Tara”) takes another stab at American television, this time with just one personality: that of a surgeon whose family is kidnapped just before she operates on the president. Other bright spots in the cast include Tate Donovan, Dylan McDermott and James Naughton. On the other hand, it’s a Jerry Bruckheimer production, which augurs a certain breathless conventionality.

MOM (CBS) Allison Janney plays Anna Faris’s mother — both ends of that equation sound pretty enticing. Chuck Lorre is the writer of this comedy, which could be good (“The Big Bang Theory”) or bad (“Two and a Half Men”).

RAKE (FOX) Greg Kinnear could have a lot of fun as the disreputable, adulterous, tax-dodging lawyer in this drama based on a popular Australian series. Peter Tolan (“Rescue Me,” “The Larry Sanders Show”) is writing the pilot with Peter Duncan, creator of the original.

UNTITLED D.J. NASH PROJECT (NBC) One of TV’s best character actors, J. K. Simmons (“The Closer,” “Oz”), gets a chance to headline in this comedy about divorced parents raising a son. His ex-wife is played by Parker Posey, whose eccentrically flinty persona has never found a long-term home on television. Mr. Nash’s background includes writing and producing for “Hank,” “ ’Til Death” and “Traffic Light.”

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Originally Posted by Emaych View Post

Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

ALL Nielsen data comes solely from Nielsen households.
Thanks for your response. That would seem fairly self-explanatory. This was the quote which caused me to question DVR ratings data: "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." The first bit refers to compiling DVR ratings info, then makes mention of Nielsen households. It is uncertain in my mind whether the DVR data referred to in the first bit is solely, or even at all, Nielsen household data. And the real question I have is whether TiVo collects your personal recording history on the sly through the downloading it does through the internet. If anyone has that answer, I'd be curious to know....

TiVo doesn't try to hide the fact that it gathers information on viewing habits and sells it to advertisers. There are many web pages describing what they do. One is http://www.tivo.com/business/mediaresearch/index.html

Also, http://www.techspot.com/news/37106-google-partners-up-with-tivo-to-gather-dvr-viewing-habits.html
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Nielsen Notes
TV's Midseason Ratings Catastrophe
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter - Mar. 6, 2013

If fall is the television season's sink-or-swim deep end, then midseason is the kiddie pool. Fewer launches, lower ratings expectations and softer competition often pave the way for such slow-growing hits as Grey's Anatomy, The Office and, most recently, Scandal.

But nearly all of the 2012-13 midseason entries have drowned so far and, with the exception of Fox's renewed Kevin Bacon hit The Following, have done so in rather gruesome fashion.

"There used to be the same reset button after Christmas that there was over the summer," says one network insider. "You don't see that anymore. If you don't have Kevin Bacon, you're going to have some issues."

Observers blame the low quality of midseason offerings and increased competition from a slew of new shows and the usual cable players (AMC's The Walking Dead, for instance, scored a huge 6.1 rating in the key 18-to-49 demo for its Feb. 10 midseason premiere, besting American Idol, The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family). It used to be surprising when a cable series topped broadcast; now it happens nightly.

NBC, falling below Spanish-language broadcaster Univision during the February sweep and seeing a historic low for its swiftly canceled drama Do No Harm, no doubt has suffered most. The comedy 1600 Penn and drama Deception continue to air on borrowed time, and when The Silence of the Lambs prequel Hannibal premieres in April, it will enter a grim 10 p.m. Thursday slot.

On March 1, ABC yanked its thriller Zero Hour after three episodes; it pulled in half the audience that the ill-fated Last Resort did in that Thursday hour. Red Widow, in the equally troubled 10 p.m. Sunday slot, is estimated to have matched Zero Hour's middling debut rating of 1.4 in the 18-to-49 demo. The Carrie Diaries, The CW's Sex and the City prequel, recently bottomed out with a 0.4 rating. It's barely outperforming Gossip Girl, which languished on Mondays during its last seasons. And Cult, falling short of the low bar set by Emily Owens, M.D., has been shuffled to Fridays.

Making these newcomers look somewhat better by comparison are returning scripted series pushed from the fall. Fox's Touch and NBC's Smash and Community, all of which saw big changes behind the scenes, seem to be free-falling.

CBS remains relatively immune to the midseason curse, if only because it seldom has leftovers. Lone newcomer Golden Boy performed OK in its Tuesday sampling; the cop drama officially bows March 8. (CBS also had an unscripted launch in The Job, which was axed after two weeks.)

Insiders attribute the success of Following (3.0 rating and a 57 percent boost to a 4.7 in Live+7) to Bacon's star power, as well as Fox's marketing efforts to persuade viewers to DVR the premiere. "Once we saw how the fall was going, that there wasn't even sampling among new series, we wanted to get that season pass in ahead of time," says Fox COO Joe Earley.

Some believe other nets will follow Fox's lead and launch bigger, safer shows at midseason next year. Notes one insider: "Maybe you launch your first-tier shows that are buzzworthy and have the big stars in January, and you hold your second-tier shows till the fall, when people are willing to experiment a little more."

How low can they go? Here's a snapshot of diminishing returns for new and returning shows...

•Body of Proof* (ABC) - 1.2
•Deception (NBC) - 1.1
•Zero Hour (ABC) - 1.0
•1600 Penn (NBC) - 0.9
•Smash* (NBC) - 0.8
•Do No Harm (NBC) - 0.7
•The Job (CBS) - 0.7
•Touch* (Fox) - 0.7
•The Carrie Diaries (The CW) - 0.4
•Cult (The CW) - 0.3

Source: Nielsen. Lowest-rated airings in the 18-49 demo.
*Returning series

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Critic's Notes
Why NBC shouldn't yank 'Smash' yet
By Lynette Rice, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - Mar. 6, 2013

We’ve seen it many, many times — low-rated shows yanked early in their runs, before characters are fleshed out, worthwhile plot-lines have unfolded and viewers are given the chance to really experience the show in the first place.

So naturally, the assumption is that Smash, NBC’s musical drama that stars Katherine McPhee and the woefully underrated Megan Hilty — should be headed to the trash bin because its second season ratings have been even more unimpressive than the year before: Tuesday’s episode dropped 22 percent to a new series low of .7 in adults 18-49 and 2.6 million viewers. And since other shows have been pink-slipped this season after averaging much higher ratings than what Smash was luring (See: Partners, Whitney, The Last Resort and Zero Hour), the clock should have already stopped on the Broadway-based series, right?

Though the knee-jerk reaction by most network execs is that there’s always something better out there to program, replacing a low-rated show with a new one doesn’t always work. Case in point: ABC’s decision to cancel The Last Resort, which averaged a 2.0 rating in 18-49, and replacing it with Zero Hour, which pulled in a measly 1.3 before the network cancelled it, too. News magazines as replacements aren’t any better, since advertisers often prefer placing ads in scripted fare. “History dictates that unless you have a reality show that’s just so over the top, whatever you replace it is going to do worse — especially if you replace it with something quickly,” says one longtime broadcast TV executive. “You just don’t get a chance to market it.”

There are exceptions, but they generally only happen on CBS. Since the network excels at programming shows that share similar and remarkably popular themes, it can quickly cancel an out-of-the-box series like Made in Jersey (1.1) rejigger the night with procedural repeats, and end up doing even better. Conversely, Fox didn’t get any better of a pop with comedy reruns after pulling the freshman comedy Ben & Kate (1.5) — a fresh little confection that deserved time to grow — earlier this season.

Sometimes, it pays in the long run to stay the course with low-rated shows, especially when there’s nothing new to air, instead. (The Peacock does have the much-anticipated Hannibal starring Hugh Dancy but it’s using that to replace the hole left on Thursdays by the cancelled Do No Harm). NBC’s consistently low-rated Parenthood always seemed like a candidate for a quick and dirty cancellation, but its 2.8 rating this season looks pretty dang impressive at a time when NBC is attracting headlines about how it’s getting clobbered by Univision. Now it seems like a sure thing for fall. And say what you will about those hate-watchers: Smash deserves credit for breaking out if the box and trying something new. Nobody expects this show to go a third year, but can’t we at least see Bombshell make it to Broadway?

At least Smash won’t have to tread water for long: Beginning March 25, The Voice will return to help buoy the network on Mondays and Tuesdays. That development, alone, may prompt NBC to hold its breath a little longer on Smash, which is a passion project for network topper Robert Greenblatt.

In the meantime, NBC’s been trying hard to say something positive about the musical series, like how its the most upscale drama on the broadcast nets this season because its watched by homes with $100K-plus incomes. The riches like their Anjelica Huston, it seems!

“It’s a tough call. You never know,” says a Big Four suit about canceling shows early. “But these days, you really need to look long and hard at what you have versus what you have coming up. A bird in hand — even if it’s a small bird — can be better.”

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Critic's Notes
TLC’s ‘What Not To Wear’ To End After 10th Season
By The Deadline.com - Mar. 6, 2013

The network’s longest running primetime series will come to a close this year after airing its upcoming tenth season, TLC announced today. BBC Worldwide Productions created the American program as a spinoff from the original British version in 2003.

The reality make-over show became a signature property for TLC hosted by fashion experts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. What Not To Wear‘s final run will begin on Fridays in July with episodes featuring “more dramatic transformations, bigger ambushes, shopping sprees on a grander scale, and special guest appearances”.

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TV Notes
Adding Ferrell and Stiller, IFC builds on its offbeat-comedy rep
'Portlandia' has audiences laughing as it recalibrates the channel's personality. Looking for more, IFC picks up Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller projects.
By Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times - Mar. 6, 2013

IFC is out to prove that big things can come out of small, quirky shows.

Sparked by the success of "Portlandia," the series poking gentle fun at Portland, Ore., and its offbeat residents that has charmed both critics and viewers, the basic cable network has enlisted A-listers Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller as it aggressively ratchets up in hopes of becoming a leader in alternative comedy fare.

Ferrell, who is currently filming the sequel to his hit "Anchorman," and frequent partner Adam McKay, are executive producers of "The Spoils of Babylon," which will be produced by Funny or Die, their comedy video website that is an outgrowth of their production company.

The six-episode project will be a parody of lavish miniseries such as "The Thorn Birds." Like that project, "The Spoils of Babylon" will be an adaptation of a bestselling novel spanning generations and multiple characters — except that the book doesn't really exist. The "novel," by fictional famous author Eric Jonrosh (Ferrell), centers on a family who made it rich in the oil business.

"IFC is either really courageous or really stupid," Ferrell said in a statement, "which makes them the perfect partner for us."

Also greenlit is a sketch comedy show starring the Birthday Boys, who have been featured on Funny or Die's website and are frequent performers at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Hollywood. The executive producers are Stiller and Bob Odenkirk, the latter of whom created HBO's sketch comedy series "Mr. Show" and has lately been seen as shady attorney Saul Goodman on AMC's "Breaking Bad."

Both projects are slated to premiere late this year.

Jennifer Caserta, president and general manager of IFC, said the new projects fit perfectly into the network's motto of "always on, slightly off," which has been its mantra for the last few years as it gradually shifts its focus from independent film while also vying to put its stamp on a crowded cable comedy field occupied by Comedy Central, Adult Swim and other networks.

"There was already something unique about the network," Caserta said, "but we needed to refine and expand beyond indie film."

The network was created in 1994 as the Independent Film Channel, concentrating on low-budget movies by filmmakers working outside the studio system. But as many other cable networks such as AMC, TLC and History discovered, the focus proved to be too narrow and executives explored ways to expand viewership with original programming and the resurrection of popular shows.

IFC aired repeats of "Arrested Development," "Freaks and Geeks" and "Mr. Show," and viewers reacted favorably.

"We saw a way to remain true to our independent roots while expanding our brand," Caserta said. "In two short years, we've built our reputation."

A turning point that gained the network industry credibility and helped lure Ferrell and Stiller was the audience and critical response to "Portlandia," which just completed its third season and stars Fred Armisen of "Saturday Night Live" and Carrie Brownstein. The series doesn't deliver huge ratings, but it has won a Peabody Award, been nominated for writing and directing Emmys, and attracted several big names as guest stars.

Said Armisen in an interview, "They supported us in every possible way. They spent a lot on advertising for the show."

Caserta said, "We've definitely reaped the benefits of 'Portlandia' being our signature show. It's a credit that we wear proudly."

In an email, Ferrell quipped about why he brought "The Spoils of Babylon" to IFC, which he used to watch occasionally to catch an obscure film.

"I think IFC is proving to be one of the few places willing to take creative risks with comedy, a place where the artist is trusted and allowed to follow through with whatever their distinct voice may be," he said. "I think that's why they will be pitched more and more projects. That, and the fact that they have a great dental plan."

Added Odenkirk, "IFC is an eclectic network with a really smart audience. The executives are willing to take some risks as they look for something different. That will be very valuable for our group."

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TV Notes
The 'Big Bang' boom propels hit sitcom
By Bill Keveney, USA Today - Mar. 6, 2013

BURBANK, Calif. -- For a show about genius physicists, The Big Bang Theory[/red] shows little understanding of television's laws of gravity.

The hit CBS comedy (tonight, 8 ET/PT) has strapped rocket boosters onto its ratings in its sixth season, up substantially in viewers and especially among the young adults advertisers prize. It's hitting highs at a time of life when the typical show is arcing toward earth and cancellation.

Big Bang is also the No. 1 show in syndication, and the two occurrences are not unrelated. Heavy local repeat broadcasts are combined with plentiful rerun offerings on cable's TBS (on Tuesdays, for example, between cable and many local stations, viewers can watch seven repeats over a four-hour period). Those repeats, which both began in 2011, are pulling in new viewers, who discover they like Bang and head to CBS for new episodes.

"You kind of have to handcuff yourself to a pole in the street to not ever see our show at this point, because it's on every second," says Simon Helberg, who plays engineer and newlywed Howard Wolowitz.

But the boom in Big Bang, created by sitcom vets Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, likely is more than a simple syndication phenomenon. Over the seasons, the ensemble has expanded, adding new characters and story lines as well as depth and complexity, always a balancing act on an already-popular series. And this season the critically acclaimed comedy has been even more willing to show its heart.

"I think this is our strongest season. It's my personal favorite," says Johnny Galecki, who plays physicist Leonard Hofstadter, the more socially skilled half of the offbeat roommate duo at the nucleus of Bang. "To do the story arcs we're now doing, we didn't really do that too much in the first few seasons. And the relationship stories, it takes a while to earn that with an audience with comedy."

But the show doesn't push it too far, says Jim Parsons, who has won two Emmys for his portrayal of Leonard's roommate, the abrasive, exacting Sheldon Cooper. "I feel like (the writers) are very careful to keep it from getting sentimental. That would suck the laugh out of the room."

The characters certainly have evolved since the series started in 2007. Back then, it was Leonard and Sheldon; their pretty, more socially adept neighbor, Penny (Kaley Cuoco); and their brilliant, nerdy scientist friends, Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar). The guys had Star Trek and comic books, but not much going on in the way of relationships.

Their universe has expanded. Leonard's on his second, and more grounded, go-round with Penny; self-styled ladies man Wolowitz is now an astronaut married to microbiologist Bernadette (Melissa Rauch); and innocent, chaste Sheldon has a steady gal, neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik). There's even hope for tongue-tied Raj, who recently met a woman, Lucy (Kate Micucci), whom he may be able to communicate with without having to be drunk.

But don't expect smooth sailing. "These guys are not just going to wake up one morning and be the coolest kids in town. They're going to progress, but they're going to progress slowly," Nayyar says. "These guys are getting older, too. And as you get older, your priorities are going to slightly shift. You are going to start thinking about family and love."

Parsons reminds, however, that it's taken six seasons, longer than the lives of most TV shows, to get this far. "It seems illogical, but what I think has made (the show) develop and given it depth is the painfully slow pace at which they are developing. I think that lends a realistic credence to them. These aren't major changes."

Time and the arrival of newer characters, such as Amy and Bernadette, have helped flesh out the originals, says executive producer Steven Molaro, who took over day-to-day operation of the show this season. ""If you told me in Season 1" that Wolowitz would be a married astronaut, "my reaction would have been, 'Well, that sounds ridiculous.' But when you watch it happen over the course of six years, it seems completely plausible and a beautiful thing to watch."

"You can take any two characters in this group and put them in a room, and something funny is going to happen, which is great," Cuoco says.

For Lorre, who has had more than his share of successes (e.g., Two and a Half Men, Grace Under Fire, Cybill) and headline-generating headaches (e.g., Two and a Half Men, Grace Under Fire, Cybill), Big Bang is unalloyed bliss.

"I don't take it for granted that a TV show should work so beautifully and joyfully on so many levels," he says. A show is "a very stressful environment. It's a family environment for many, many years and, like any family, things go wrong and things go right and I've seen both. And I certainly cherish when it goes right."

More pop and bang at beginning

There wasn't much big about Big Bang at its start. During its first season, it aired only eight modestly rated episodes before going on the shelf for four months due to the long writers' strike. That loss of time could have depleted a fledgling series, but the writers, cast and crew redoubled their efforts when they returned, Galecki says. "If anyone had a toe outside of the water before the writers' strike, we just all dove in as soon as we came back."

It worked. After averaging just 8.4 million viewers in that abbreviated first season, the ratings bang has gotten bigger each season save for the fourth, when it moved from Monday to Thursday, where it established a new night of comedy for CBS. This season, Big Bang is up 16%, averaging 18.8 million viewers, making it the No. 2 entertainment show in viewers and No. 1 in young adults (up 11%).

It regularly beats once-dominant American Idol, and a January episode crossed the 20-million-viewer threshold. It's also tops in syndication, averaging 11.2 million viewers a week.

The Comic-Con favorite has leveraged its popularity in the geekosphere, too. A new species of Brazilian orchid bee, Euglossa bazinga, was named for Sheldon's catchphrase; the character also has an asteroid (246247 Sheldoncooper) named after him. Physicist Stephen Hawking and astronaut Mike Massimino have guest-starred as themselves, and Leonard Nimoy has done a voiceover as Star Trek's Spock.

"It's wonderful," Lorre says. "Imagine that you're working on a sitcom and you look around and go, 'Oh, there's a Nobel Prize winner here on the stage today. And there's folks from NASA here today.' And, oh, by the way, yeah, Stephen Hawking will do your show. It's crazy, it's just thrilling. It's been an amazing experience to see the kind of people who want to come play with us."

There's a mutual respect. "Bill and I never set out to write a show about nerds. When we first developed The Big Bang Theory, what was interesting was, could we build a show around extraordinarily intelligent characters who nevertheless have difficulty adapting to daily life?" Lorre says.

A microcosm in one scene

Big Bang is taped before a studio audience on a sound stage at Warner Bros., but some scenes are shot in advance. During a "pre-shoot" for the episode airing next week, the gang comes over to Howard and Bernadette's place to talk about a letter left to Howard by the father who had abandoned him. Howard doesn't want to read it, but they know what it says. Each member of the group seeks to provide solace by offering Howard a different version of what the letter says.

The scene has science, something called "quantum superposition." It has humor: Sheldon's description is ridiculous and instantly perceived as false. And it has emotion: They all care for Howard and he is moved. "I think the writers do such a fantastic job balancing the humor and the heart," Rauch says. "The fact that Sheldon interjects something in the midst of all this heart-wrenching stuff is perfect."

Some scenes can be touching and funny in the same instant, as when Sheldon chooses Amy to be his emergency contact. "It still gets a ha-ha-ha when people saw that Sheldon made Amy the contact. (But) I think that's about the most transformative thing our characters could do for each other," Bialik says.

Prady credits Molaro for adding extra emotion. "These are stories that I think would have been uncomfortable in Season 2, but in Season 6, now that we know these characters so well, they feel right," Prady says.

Where these relationships will go from here is anybody's guess. The writers say they don't plan too far ahead, letting stories gain their own momentum. The actors say they just don't know what's going to happen.

Cuoco hopes that Penny and Leonard will be together at the end of the series, but that's just it -- hope. "We could be broken up next week. It's always been so up in the air, which I've actually really liked about it because I feel like it's very true to life."

The actors won't predict how long the show will run. Save for Parsons, who offers a Spock-like specific: 10 years. "I may be wrong. I'm not saying it like a pat on the back. I'm just trying to be logical about it."

Galecki surmises the show is past the halfway point, but feels it hasn't hit that mark in terms of the stories left to tell. The actors say they want to stay on the ride until it ends.

"I'm still trying to grasp that we're here," Helberg says. "It's fun being on a show that in its sixth season is making headlines."

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TV Notes
More TV fans are taking the long view and turning into marathon watchers of their favorite shows
By Rachel Rosenblat, New York Daily News - Mar. 6, 2013

There are few things you can consume in marathon binges and still be left wanting more. But in the last few years, TV has become so propulsive, buzzy and reliably good, it's inevitably become the new potato chip: You can't have - er, watch - just one.

With the explosion of downloading and online-streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and iTunes), it hardly matters what season a show is currently in - you can hunker down to catch up anytime.

“Marathon watching is a huge trend for us,” says Nada Antoun, Netflix’s global communications manager. “We have so many full series of TV shows that our members will sit there and watch over the course of a weekend.”

Last month, Netflix released the original series “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, as a full 13-episode season - a seeming validation of our binge preferences. (Further affirmation we like to consume a season at a time, the series has done incredibly well for Netflix.)

Plus programs delivered through streaming services can be transferred from device to device, making it easy to start watching something on your home TV and finish watching it on your phone, on the way to work.

Michelle Marsh, an office manager at a nonprofit, recently has developed a nearly life-stopping addiction to “Lost,” which ended on live TV three years ago. “I tried to watch an episode when it was actually on the air, and I had no idea what was going on,” she says, “so it’s been on my back burner of things I want to see.” Since she started watching the series on Netflix three weeks ago, the show has moved from back burner to top priority. “It’s bad. I’m already on season three, and averaging a season a week. Of course, I could be doing errands, laundry, the gym, things I need to do - you know, showering - but I start it and don’t stop. On Netflix, you don’t even have to press anything to play the next episode, it just starts within 20 seconds. So you literally don’t have to move.”

Marsh says that last Saturday, she started watching at 3 p.m. and “at around 2:30 a.m., I had to force myself to go to sleep. There’s 120 episodes total, and I’d say it’ll take me three more weeks to finish the series.”

Avi Levine, a 31-year-old entrepreneur, is in the middle of bingeing on “The West Wing,” seven years after it went off the air, and he recently finished off the first four seasons of “Breaking Bad,” AMC’s hit drama, over several marathon sessions. He says the pleasure of bingeing is about the promise of something great, settling in for long stretches to enjoy a show everyone you trust has already validated.

“Instead of flipping (channels) on TV, I have this guaranteed great thing ahead of me. And when a show does an excellent job of character development and develops gradually enough, you can’t help but watch the whole thing at once.” He says that on a given Friday night, “it’s not unreasonable for me to sit down at 7 p.m. and be there until 3 a.m.,” adding that he devoured the first season of “Homeland” in 24 easy hours.

Alex Milwee, a PR account director, may have had the promise of something great - Emmy-winning and critically adored “Downton Abbey” - but he steadfastly avoided the show, which airs on PBS as part of Masterpiece Classic.

“My parents are English, so I grew up watching Masterpiece Theatre and Masterpiece Mystery,” he says. “There’s so much amazing British TV, and I was annoyed that all my friends seemed to be suddenly jumping on the bandwagon, just because Maggie Smith had a bunch of great lines,” he says.

But just before the third season premiered this January, “I bit the bullet,” Milwee says, “and got pulled in immediately.” He spent a weekend holed up with the first two seasons. “I think I told my friends I had the flu,” he adds.

Even for those who can’t fathom being couch-bound for infinite stretches, inclement weather can provide a solid excuse for bingeing. “My husband and I decided to start watching ‘The Walking Dead’ during some huge storm,” says Elizabeth Penaloza, a data analyst. “We would watch five at once, and the first night I had zombies in all of my dreams. It was terrifying,” a common grievance among binge watchers of some of the darker dramas.

“After that, we were determined to finish the season but would only watch in increments of two at a time, and in between we’d take Bravo breaks. You need fluff in between the scary stuff."

With streaming technology, bingeing is the new normal. The only challenge in the Internet Age, says finance coordinator Mike Posillico, is avoiding recaps and spoilers when you’re still midbinge. “If my friend walks up to me on a Monday, I’ll say, ‘Don’t say anything about “Game of Thrones!”’ Posillico says. “That comes before the hello.”

The Top 10 TV legal downloads*

1. “Downton Abbey,” Season 3
2. “Downton Abbey,” Season 2
3. “The Walking Dead,” Season 3
4. “Game of Thrones,” Season 2
5. “Breaking Bad,” Season 5
6. “Downton Abbey,” Season 1
7. “Psych,” Season 7
8. “Homeland,” Season 1
9. “Game of Thrones,” Season 1
10. “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”

*According to iTunes

post #85499 of 93675
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
THURSDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - Shark Tank
(R - Oct. 19)
9PM - Grey's Anatomy
(R - Jan. 17)
10:02PM - Scandal
(R - Feb. 7)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (NBA player Kobe Bryant; Dominic Monaghan; Rival Sons perform)
12:35AM - Nightline

8PM - The Big Bang Theory
8:31PM - Two and a Half Men
9:01PM - Person of Interest
10:01PM - Elementary
(R - Dec. 6)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Jennifer Lawrence; writer Alan Zweibel; A$AP Rocky performs)
(R - Jan. 15)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Zach Braff; Alison Brie)

8PM - Community
8:30PM - Parks and Recreation
(R - Jan. 17)
9PM - The Office
(R - Jan. 24)
9:30PM - 1600 Penn
10:01PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
(R - Oct. 17)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Anne Hathaway; journalist Lester Holt; Eli Young Band performs)
12:37AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Joel McHale; TV weatherman Al Roker; Matt Pond performs)
1:36AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (Filmmaker Benh Zeitlin; director Roman Coppola; Damien Jurado performs)
(R - Feb. 6)

8PM - American Idol (90 min., LIVE)
9:30PM - Glee (60 min.)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour
9PM - Inside Nature's Giants: Sperm Whale
(R - Aug. 7, 2011)
10PM - Antiques Roadshow: Spokane, WA
(R - Mar. 31, 2008)

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

8PM - The Vampire Diaries
(R - Jan. 24)
9PM - Beauty and the Beast
(R - Jan. 31)

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (NY Giants Coach Tom Coughlin)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Author John Sexton)

11PM - Conan (James Franco; Robert Kirkman; Jamie N. Commons)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Jeff Wild; Loni Love; Julian McCullough)

11PM - Brand X with Russell Brand
post #85500 of 93675
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 7, 2013

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

High school must have been awkward and embarrassing for the geeky brainiacs on this show the first time around. But they’re older now, and even wiser – so when they’re invited to speak about science to a high school class of young ladies, things will be completely different, right? If you think that, welcome to your first viewing of The Big Bang Theory.

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

The on-the-shelf banishment of this sitcom continues to show, drastically and almost absurdly. Having a Halloween episode in the dead of winter, necessitated by NBC’s decision to bench this series until midseason, was awkward enough. But now, in March, comes a Thanksgiving episode. But timing, in this case, isn’t everything, because it’s still worth watching – because Jeff (Joel McHale) finally comes face to face with his long-estranged dad. And the dad is played by guest star James Brolin.

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

After two days of live performances by the 20 singers who have made it thus far in this year’s competition, tonight that numbers will be cut in half, ending up with the year’s Top 10. It’s the viewers, not the judges, who are making the cuts this time, but expect, on this live outing, that the judges still will have plenty to say. Especially Nicki Minaj, who seems to have no seven-second delay in her own head, and Mariah Carey, who seems to have no sense of time being of any urgency whatsoever.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s TCM lineup is a cinematic salute to Paris, with four movies set in Paris presented back to back (to back to back). The evening begins with 1960’s Can-Can, starring Shirley MacLaine as a scandalous dancer in Paris of the 1890s. In addition to the high-kicking exposed legs of the can-can dance itself, MacLaine also performs in an on-stage set piece called the “Garden of Eden ballet." When it was shown, prior to the film’s release, during Soviet premier Nikita Krushchev’s visit to Hollywood during his 1959 tour of the U.S., he called that ballet “The most decadent thing I have ever seen.” He didn’t mean it as a positive review – but don’t you want to watch it now?

Fox, 9:30 p.m. ET

Tonight’s new episode of Glee pits the boys against the girls – and one of the acts by the girls treads heavily upon the Marilyn Monroe territory claimed by NBC’s Smash. The young ladies take on Monroe’s famous “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” number – but also update it by mashing it up with Madonna’s “Material Girl.” You go, girls.


* * * *

Critic's Notes
Little Lost Shows: TV That Died Too Soon
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 6, 2013

Enlightened hasn't been cancelled, but from all the talk on the web since Sunday's season finale, you would think it had. The buzz may be well-founded because of some insider knowledge, but in TV, the numbers seldom lie. According to some reports, Enlightened was averaging 200-300,000 viewers this season, and that puts it in Terriers territory — and that's not good. In fact, for HBO, which used to own Sunday night with such shows as The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, it's relatively dismal, and it's almost a lock that Enlightened won't be back.

And that's a shame. Lots of stories were running last week calling Enlightened the best show that no one was watching. It is. Stars and co-creators Mike White (right) and Laura Dern brought something very worthwhile to series television: literary-like depth to characters, and a story that took small, surprising steps mirroring everyday life in all its awkwardness.

Enlightened's theme of being courageous instead of comfortable was quiet and relevant at almost every turn. Dern's character, Amy Jellicoe, despite her selfish, sometimes reckless methods, made us consider: Do we live just for work? Does grace mean only quiet suffering? Do we chase what it is we desire, or are we able to pursue what is sustaining?

No so bad for a little TV show. It got us thinking about some other small favorites that should have lasted longer, but didn't.

There were some recent ones; the twisty Awake (2012), the equally twisty Rubicon (2010, with James Badge Dale), and the aforementioned, scruffy Terriers (2010, with Donal Logue). Those got a full season before getting the ax, and we were able to get closure on most of their story lines.

There were some shows, like Enlightened, that got two or three seasons, but we wished had gone on. Men of a Certain Age (2009-10) comes immediately to mind. The oddball Pushing Daisies (2008-09), a fanciful tale of a pie-maker (Lee Pace) able to bring the dead back to living by his touch, is another.

There was Eli Stone (2008-09), about the lawyer whose larger-than-life hallucinations lead him to think something greater might be going on. Many other good shows, though, like Caprica (2010), the almost uniformly acclaimed prequel to Battlestar Galactica, did not make it past one season.

A quick call to David Bianculli, Fearless Leader of TVWW, had him instantly pulling a few less recent examples out of the Way Back Machine: Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds (1977-81), the PBS "talk show" that had panel discussions between actors playing significant historical figures. He also eulogized CBS's He & She (right, 1967-68) often cited as the forerunner to The Mary Tyler Moore Show family of sitcoms; the landmark HBO western Deadwood (three short seasons from 2004-06); and The Great American Dream Machine, the PBS political sketch comedy show/documentary series/unpredictable hodgepodge that lasted a single brilliant season (1971-72).

Some TVWW contributors, their impeccable taste being above reproach (and I write that with all humility), while having picked out sure winners for the past five years, have not been above buying into some that did not even make a full season. I was pleased with Allen Gregory (2011) for its retro-hiptser animation style and its irreverent subject matter (seven episodes.) And I was waayyy out in front of this year's Do No Harm, which got cut after a total of exactly two. (But, hey, The New York Times was with me on that one.)

None of us will miss this season's The Mob Doctor or the certifiably incoherent Zero Hour, but the possible demise of Enlightened got us thinking about shows that really touched us, and have stayed with us long after they were gone.

If you have any favorites that got away too soon, let us know.

Edited by dad1153 - 3/6/13 at 11:55pm
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