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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2859

post #85741 of 93720
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Yep, you can make a good case that almost all of the good scripted shows are on cable now, because the networks always play it safe with entirely predictable stuff that rarely interests most of us.
I think you mean "most of us" on this Forum. smile.gif
post #85742 of 93720
Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

Me neither, but the problem is, they seem to put about as much effort into their dramas these days as they do reality shows....just about nothing.

These days, it's like they have manuals for each show type, listing every cliche and "plot twist" they can potentially use. When that show dies, they put it back on the shelf until the next show of that type gets green lit.
Absolutely, I can't tell you how many times I've had a sense of deja vu watching many scripted shows on the major nets - I would hear the same type of characters saying the same exact words in the same exact situations. I could swear that an L&O:SVU even recycled, word for word, a script that they had used different actors with a few years ago again this year. It confused me so much that I checked a few sites just to be sure it was a brand new episode, and it was, but it wasn't really...
post #85743 of 93720
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 20, 2013

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

This particular night's theme is music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney - which, in the past, hasn't delivered as strongly it should have. But perhaps this year's singers, and their song choices and arrangements, will be different. But when will George Harrison get some love from this show?

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Beautiful images, taken from all of the NASA Apollo space missions, are collected in this 1989 documentary. It’s a small step for a man – to reach the remote and press “record.”

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

A series of dangerous moves and counter-moves puts both the KGB and FBI on high alert – but FBI agent Stan (Noah Emmerich) is distracted by something else. Specifically, by Nina (Annet Mahendru), his Soviet mole, to whom he’s become dangerously attracted.

USA, 10:00 p.m. ET

Maggie Lawson, as Juliet, gets to play opposite some very interesting guest stars in this series – guest stars who play her relatives. Playing her con-man father, in a previous episode, was William Shatner. Tonight we meet her stepdad, Lloyd, played by Jeffrey Tambor. And he doesn’t exactly play well with others – at least not with Henry, the show’s resident old crank, played by Corbin Bernsen.

TCM, 11:30 p.m. ET

This landmark 1956 science fiction movie is best known, perhaps, for introducing the iconic Robby the Robot, and perhaps for spinning the plot of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest into a futuristic adventure film. But in addition to all that, I like it for two other reliable pleasures: watching Leslie Nielsen play it straight as the romantic lead, and watching Anne Francis as… well, I could just stop the sentence after “watching Anne Francis.”


* * * *

Critic's Notes
Why 'The Americans' is Working — Very Well
By Eric Gould, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 20, 2013

When it was announced, The Americans not only seemed anachronistic, but potentially dull. It didn't seem to have the stylish nostalgia Mad Men had going. While the swinging sixties were visually fun, a throwback to the Reagan era, early 1980s, was what? Largish lapels, mustaches, bulky gas-guzzling cars with wide rear ends? And as subject matter, the Cold War seemed well-known, and well tread.

Underwhelming aesthetics of the decade aside, what a political history lesson The Americans has turned out to be. Those old enough to remember well recall the time when both sides relied on MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – as the main method of deterring nuclear war between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. And for those too young, it's a worthwhile look at our life before cell phones, the Internet, and what the political climate was like before the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed.

There also is the extremely well-crafted work being turned in by creator Joe Weisberg and executive producers Graham Yost and Joel Fields. As a good period piece should, The Americans brings history forward, and as it recites the past, it makes its own commentary on the present.

There are the intense, Emmy-worthy performances by Keri Russell (top photo) and Matthew Rhys, portraying Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, two KGB spies in arranged marriage with two children living in suburban Washington D.C. As intense and unfailing as Elizabeth is, Phillip is sometimes questioning of the worth of his mission, and the effects they may have on their children – who have been born in America. Both parents, however, are extreme, bad-ass operatives, willing to go anywhere, or through anyone, to continue their mission.

FBI agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) is also as idealistic, but not without a few similar cracks of his own as the Cold War has extracted its own costs from him and his family, shrouded as he is in secrecy. Next Emmy season, Emmerich should be a shoo-in for a supporting actor nomination.

On the surface, The Americans is a good analog for modern times: a docile domestic state with an enemy within, hiding in plain sight. While Al-Qaeda was puny, and never had the network and capabilities of the Soviet Union, the two situations are characterized by similar conditions – a peaceable U.S. homeland, with little to do with armies on the battlefield. But underneath, it's a brutish contest of espionage and guerrilla tactics – in the case of The Americans, sometimes to the death.

The Americans plays this historical analog out further, exchanging our suspicion and contempt with that of the enemy's. When Phillip and Elizabeth see Reagan on television in early episodes, what we see as an arch-conservative, and certainly a staunch patriot, they plainly see as a mad man.

It's a startling, but sly and brilliant, reversal. For the briefest of moments, we can equivocate the intensity of their patriotism, their deep rooted political beliefs, with ours. We see ourselves mirrored in the other – and it's a shining, short, moment when scripted television is able to turn the lens back onto the viewer.

It's not a thing easily done, and The Americans has done it with an integrity that is unassailable.

Ironically enough, tonight's upcoming episode (Wednesday, 10 p.m., ET) is entitled "Mutually Assured Destruction." Phillip and Elizabeth must stop an agent who's spun out of control, while Stan and the FBI hunt the same man. If the first half-dozen episodes are indicative, this next installment should have its full-tilt share of suspense. (The spy game in The Americans is not for the faint of heart.) Yost and the team, as they do on Justified, tear off large chunks of story lines, and The Americans has moved along in large, thrilling giant steps all season.

Along with AMC, FX is now clearly the envy of broadcast networks, with a stable of dramas and comedies that are smart, well-crafted and provocative. (Although neither network is infallible, and has had its share of clunkers.) Alongside The Americans, FX currently is running Yost's Justified, and also has Louie and American Horror Story as their top, acclaimed shows. And, as AMC did in 2011 bringing an adaptation of Denmark's The Killing to American audiences, FX similarly will adapt The Bridge, last year's Scandinavian/Danish hit. That brooding thriller followed the hunt for a serial killer on the border of Denmark and Sweden. (The FX version this summer will set the story on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.)

Not bad for a cable channel now out-dueling the best that the networks have to offer. Add The Americans to that effort. Filed under "success."

post #85744 of 93720
TUESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #85745 of 93720
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
ABC’s ‘Splash’ makes one in its debut
Celebrity diving show draws a solid 2.6 in 18-49s
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 20, 2013

Reality is proving a winner for ABC at midseason.

After a good run for “The Bachelor” and a strong premiere for “Dancing with the Stars” earlier this week, the network’s latest reality program to score is “Splash.”

The celebrity diving show got a decent start last night, averaging a 2.6 adults 18-49 rating at 8 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights.

“Splash” marked the network’s best reality show debut in two years, and it was the highest-rated unscripted series bow on any broadcast network since “The X Factor” in September 2011.

It placed second in the 8 p.m. timeslot to CBS’s dominant-as-usual “NCIS,” which drew a 3.1. And it was the No. 3 show of the night overall behind “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

Perhaps most promising for ABC, which promoted “Splash’s” debut heavily during “Stars” on Monday night, the show’s rating rose from a 2.5 in its first half hour to a 2.7. That shows people liked what they saw.

“NCIS” finished as the night’s top show in both 18-49s and total viewers, where it averaged 19.1 million.

CBS won every half hour of the night in 18-49s, and 10 p.m. drama “Golden Boy” rose 13 percent from last week, when it had repeats as a lead-in, to a 1.7.

Fox’s second week of “Kitchen Nightmares” fell 9 percent from last week, to a 2.0. This week’s episode was an hour, while last week’s was two.

CBS finished first for the night among 18-49s with a 2.6 average overnight rating and a 7 share. ABC and Fox tied for second at 2.0/6, Univision was fourth at 1.4/4, NBC fifth at 0.9/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.5/1 and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

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

At 8 p.m. CBS was first with a 3.1 for “NCIS,” followed by ABC with a 2.6 for “Splash.” Fox was third with a 2.0 for “Hell’s Kitchen,” Univision fourth with a 1.3 for “Porque el Amor Manda,” NBC fifth with a 1.0 for an hour of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” and CW and Telemundo tied for sixth at 0.4, CW for “iHeartRadio Album Release Party with Justin Timberlake” and Telemundo for “Pasion Prohibida.”

CBS maintained its lead at 9 p.m. with a 2.8 for “NCIS: LA,” while ABC remained second with a 2.1 for the special “Dancing with the Stars: Exclusive First Look.” Fox was third with a 1.9 for “New Girl” (2.2) and “The Mindy Project” (1.7), Univision fourth with a 1.6 for “Amores Verdaderos,” NBC fifth with a 0.9 for “Go On” (1.0) and “The New Normal” (0.7), Telemundo sixth with a 0.7 for “La Patrona” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for a repeat of “Beauty and the Beast.”

At 10 p.m. CBS led with a 1.7 for “Golden Boy,” with ABC second with a season-high 1.5 for “Body of Proof.” Univision was third with a 1.4 for “Amor Bravio,” NBC fourth with a 0.8 for “Smash” and Telemundo fifth with a 0.4 for “El Rostro de la Venganza.”

CBS was also first for the night among households with a 9.5 average overnight rating and a 15 share. ABC was second at 5.7/9, Fox third at 2.7/4, NBC fourth at 2.0/3, Univision fifth at 1.9/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/1 and CW seventh at 0.5/1.


* * * *

TV Notes
Real or real sad: A ‘Survivor’ meltdown
A returning contestant loses it on CBS reality show
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 20, 2013

The question seems to rear every few years as the reality television craze marches on: Where is the line between entertainment and bad taste?

The issue was raised again on CBS' “Survivor” last week, when Brandon Hantz, a second-time contestant, had an epic and very ugly meltdown.

Tonight at 8 p.m. the contestants hash out the aftermath of Hantz’s departure.

Hantz had been acting erratically during the entirety of this “Fans vs. Favorites” season, which casts former “Survivor” contestants in one tribe and new players in the other. Hantz ticked others in his tribe off by throwing away their food, among other antics.

He was voted off last week after behaving like a lunatic toward others in the tribe and ranting about the game, the rules and the other players.

That led to a lot of discussion online about whether Hantz should ever have been allowed to return to the show, after showing similarly erratic behavior during his first season.

CBS notes that every player undergoes psychological testing before they are cast, and Hantz was deemed fit to participate.

Real life sometimes includes similarly uncomfortable behavior. The question is whether it’s up to reality show producers to censor that or show it.

“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” for example, was heavily criticized for moving forward with its second season after the suicide of one housewife’s husband. And a contestant on several VH1 reality shows famously killed his ex-wife and later himself a few years back, prompting a re-examination of reality TV standards and practices.

Still, reality shows return to these lurid set-ups for the obvious reason, ratings. Last week’s heavily promoted Hantz meltdown episode averaged a season-high 2.7 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen.

post #85746 of 93720
TV Notes
‘CSI’ Signs New Deal With Star Ted Danson, Is Renewed For Next Season By CBS
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Mar. 20, 2013

Just like it recently did with NCIS and its star Mark Harmon, CBS has signed a new contract extension with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation leading man Ted Danson and simultaneously renewed the veteran crime drama for the 2013-14 season. I hear Danson, whose original two-year deal for the show was up this season, has signed another two-year pact. His salary has been well over $200,000 an episode. Also set to return next season are co-lead Elisabeth Shue and original cast members George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Paul Guilfoyle and Robert David Hall, along with Wallace Langham, Elisabeth Harnois, David Berman and Jon Wellner. The renewal will extend CSI‘s run to 14 seasons. With CSI: Miami ending last May and CSI: NY expected to follow it this year, the mothership series is expected to be the only CSI on the air next season. On NBC, first spinoff Law & Order: SVU actually outlasted the original Law & Order series and the second spinoff Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

“The writers and producers have done an amazing job evolving CSI, reinventing the show around an incredible leading man in Ted Danson, the acclaimed Elisabeth Shue and our beloved and talented core of original cast members,” CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said. Added David Stapf, president of CBS TV Studios, which produces CSI. “CSI is one of the top global franchises and is seen in almost every country in the world.” CSI recently won the International TV Audience Award for the “most watched show in the world” for a third consecutive year and fifth time in seven years. On CBS, it has shored up the Wednesday 10 PM slot where it moved after a long run in the tentpole Thursday 9 PM position. Season to date, CSI is No. 1 in the hour in total viewers (11.85 million), adults 18-49 (2.9/08) and adults 25-54 (3.8/09). CSI is executive produded by Jerry Bruckheimer, showrunners Carol Mendelsohn and Don McGill, creator Anthony Zuiker, Jonathan Littman, Louis Milito, Ann Donahue, original star William Petersen and his producing partner Cindy Chvatal.

post #85747 of 93720
TV Notes
Judge Bans Airing of Lifetime TV's Chris Porco Movie
By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Mar. 20, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: In a development that could reverberate throughout the entertainment industry, a New York Supreme Court judge has taken the bold step of enjoining the broadcast of Lifetime Television's telefilm Romeo Killer: The Christopher Porco Story, which was scheduled to air Saturday.

The film is based on the true story of the murder of Peter Porco and the attempted murder of his wife, Joan Porco; the resulting criminal investigation; and the prosecution and conviction of their son, Christopher Porco, for those crimes. The case drew national news attention, and Lifetime's planned film drew a lawsuit from the convicted killer, who alleges that Romeo Killer violates his rights.

On Tuesday, Judge Robert Muller issued an injunction that not only prevents the airing but also prohibits Lifetime from promoting the film, which stars Matt Barr as Chris Porco, Lolita Davidovich as his mother and Eric McCormack as the case's lead detective. In reaction, Lifetime is filing an emergency application to vacate or stay the injunction on appeal. According to court documents, the cable network says it stands to lose more than $1 million if it is not given immediate appellate relief.

As of Wednesday morning, there was no mention of Romeo Killer on Lifetime's homepage, and its promotional links to the telefilm had been disabled.

Read the Appeal Here

Throughout the years, publicity rights has become a bigger and bigger issue in entertainment. The laws vary by state but generally protect an individual's likeness from being exploited. Increasingly, the boundaries between an individual's right to protect an image and First Amendment allowances on free expression aren't particularly clear, and some lawyers wonder if the confusion might chill speech.

This has the potential of being one of those cases.

Porco sued Lifetime, claiming that the film violated New York Civil Rights Section 51, the state's version of publicity rights, which allows a person to seek redress if his or her "name, portrait, picture or voice is used … for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade without the written consent first obtained."

The jailed killer, who hasn't seen Romeo Killer, alleged that the movie was a “substantially fictionalized account … about plaintiff and the events that led to his incarceration."

Lifetime counters that "the essential elements of the movie are true and accurate and based on court and police records, interviews with persons involved, and historical and other documents."

The cable network also points out that Porco's story has been told on CBS' 48 Hours Mystery and the TruTV series Forensic Files.

Without even getting a summons, Lifetime now has been ordered to not air its telefilm. Muller has issued an injunction, finding that "Defendant appears to concede that the movie is fictionalized." The judge has said that he is "not persuaded" that monetary damages would be sufficient redress and also has waved away Lifetime's concern that the injunction represents a "prior restraint" on its free speech rights.

According to an appeal that Lifetime is filing -- obtained by The Hollywood Reporter -- "The Supreme Court’s order is unprecedented and would cause grave and irreparable damage not just to Lifetime but to the constitutional protections for speech."

Lifetime cites many landmark rulings that are supposed to restrain judges from making prior restraints on free expression and says: "This is not a case where national security concerns are in jeopardy. It is not even a case involving potential irreparable injury from the disclosure of trade secrets or other confidential information; it involves a movie based on the public facts of a murder prosecution. While plaintiff may not want the story of his crime repeated in a television movie, the constitutional protection of speech and press on matters of public concern flatly prevent the issuance of an order enjoining the broadcast of the movie."

The defendant also makes the case that its film fits the "newsworthy" exceptions to New York's publicity rights law and that claims of a story being "fictionalized" don't overcome that.

Lifetime also says that Porco hasn't made a sufficient case about the irreparable harm he'll face if the film is aired and says that the balance of hardships tips entirely in its favor.

After spending $2 million to acquire the rights to the film and nearly $1 million to promote the movie as "appointment viewing," Lifetime says an injunction would have a "devastating financial and reputational impact" on the network, that it "will lead to a reluctance among cable affiliates and advertisers to spend money on Lifetime," that TV viewers "will come to see Lifetime as unreliable and not trustworthy" when they find that the program doesn't air as scheduled, that advertisers will have to be made whole, that local cable operators will be out from their own investments in advertising and more.

Says the network, "Even now, Lifetime employees are scrambling to comply with the Supreme Court’s order at great cost in human and financial resources."

post #85748 of 93720
Technology Notes
More DVR Owners in U.S. Never Watch the TV They Record
By Marc Graser, Variety - Mar. 20, 2013

There’s binge watching and then there’s never watching at all.

A new study by Motorola Mobility claims that 41% of the content recorded on DVRs in the United States is never watched and deleted. Worldwide, that stat is lower, at around 36%.

Still that’s a significant number as networks increasingly want timeshifted viewing through DVRs, VOD and web-streaming platforms to be counted as part of Nielsen’s Live-plus-7 ratings measurement — or viewing captured within seven days of a program’s premiere telecast — when they broker deals with advertisers.

At the start of the fall TV season, 46% of U.S. homes had a DVR, up 30% over the previous year.

And that’s helped increase the amount of TV consumption, which is up 90% around the globe this year to 19 hours, according to Motorola Mobility’s Fourth Annual Media Engagement Barometer.

The U.S. has the highest weekly TV consumption at 23 hours of TV and six hours of movies watched, while Sweden and Japan have the lowest at 15 hours and two hours, respectively, the study found.

Worldwide, 29% of weekly TV viewing is recorded content, with 76% of those surveyed saying they watch news broadcasts live.

More than 77% of those surveyed said they record because there is other content airing at the same time, while 68% globally record programming to skip ads. That percentage is higher in the U.S. (74%) and the U.K. (75%). Another 72% say they are hoarders, simply collecting TV programming on their set-top boxes.

The TV biz, of course, wants to turn more of those individuals into viewers.

But more recorded programming would be watched if it could easily be transferred to mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, Motorola Mobility found. That’s because tablet owners tend to watch more recorded content.

Around 80% of a tablet user’s content is recorded, versus 65% among non-tablet owners, according to the study. On average, tablet owners also watch 6.7 hours of movies a week versus the average of 5.5 of non-tablet owners.

“Consumers want to be in control of the way they experience their videos,” John Burke , senior VP and general manager of converged solutions at Motorola Mobility. “Increasingly, they’re using tablets and smartphones to view [and control] content, and they expect this experience to transition seamlessly across their favorite programs, whenever and wherever they like.”

Naturally, Motorola Mobility, owned by Google, has an interest in increased usage of mobile devices given that it makes Android smartphones and tablets, set top boxes, DVRs and other devices that record or play video programming.

Motorola interviewed 9,500 consumers in 17 countries for its report.

post #85749 of 93720
Critic's Notes
Thank Goodness For The Past-Due '90210' Cancellation
By Liat Kornowski, HuffingtonPost.com - Mar. 20, 2013

Forgive me grownups for I have sinned. I've been watching "90210" -- the new one, not the one we all watched growing up in the '90s -- since pretty much the beginning. I know it's a teen show and I know it's not a fan (or critics) fave, but I liked it. Or at least I did until this season, this preposterous soap opera of a season, and so I say -- thank God, and good riddance. This is just the right time to pull the plug, CW. Thank you.

The initial appeal of the show was clear: A group of extremely attractive people in very stereotypical roles, with more money than I can ever dream of, messing around with each other and getting into trouble. What's not to love? Naomi's bitchy ways won me over, Liam's abs didn't hurt (he's like a young Matthew McConaughey this one, always taking his shirt off), and Annie and Dixon's wholesome family gave the show its realistic anchor. Hell, even original Kelly and Brenda were on board.

For a while there, we had a good run, even though the stories made no sense and at some point, it became just a glamorized "Lord of the Flies." But it was fun, wacky, their problems seemed plausible -- teen pregnancy, drug abuse, coming out, dealing with cancer -- albeit excessively overdone. Then this season, they lost me. Don't get me wrong, I still watch it. But I'm pretty much hate-watching it now, and I'm glad to learn the heads of CW are doing the same.

The storylines have gone so far off the deep end, even the characters look worn out. Naomi, 20 and soon to be divorced, is not her feisty self, but rather a washed out version of her former high school drama queen. Silver's BRCA gene issues have made her way too uptight and obnoxious. Liam's near kidnapping by the hands of a crazed fan no one saw coming has little to do with the more gratifying love-triangle, motorcycle crashing former plot. Even Ade's repetitive meltdowns are exhausting, so much so that they drove off the only sweet, genuine character we've seen in a while, Megan. And speaking of newbies, what is up with Michaela and does anyone else not trust her?!

To the point though: I'm glad it's over. I might miss them for a little while, my deranged "what are their last names?" bunch, but it's time. They have nowhere to develop the series (as evidenced by the unintended killing off of all common sense) and when these things happen, it's better to put good/decent/OK shows to rest. I am looking forward to the finale though -- I don't rule out meteors crashing, a deadly swine flu epidemic, or Annie waking up yet again to find out it all has been a dream. Oh and Prince Jackson. We'll always have West Bev!

post #85750 of 93720
I hate to agree with some of you, but I must. I think I simply watch too much TV and there are only so many plots, etc., out there. One thing I've noticed about cable shows is that they aren't in as much of a hurry. Cable show plots don't end after 1 hour, they continue over multiple episodes. Then too, so many actors show up all over the place. Last night's NCIS:LA was a good example. Don't some of these actors ever go away? rolleyes.gif
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Business Notes
Using ‘Sponsored Content’ to Keep Viewers Watching
By Stuart Elliott, The New York Times - Mar. 20, 2013

Television networks and channels are becoming increasingly involved in the creation of commercials that appear during their shows, hoping to counter the growing penchant among viewers for zapping or zipping through conventional commercials.

The reason behind those efforts to keep consumers interested in ads rather than avoiding them is economic. In the coming “upfront” negotiations, marketers will be asked by the networks and channels to buy commercial time — and, in all likelihood, pay more for it. But marketers may be reluctant to do so if viewers do not make time to watch commercials.

The new buzz phrase on Madison Avenue for the creation of sponsored content is content marketing, although it is also being called content advertising and native advertising. More familiar terms for the trend include branded content, branded entertainment and advertorials.

Among the purveyors of programming that are most active in developing commercials for marketers is Scripps Networks Interactive, the parent of cable channels that include DIY, Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel.

As the company starts a series of 2013-14 upfront presentations, in markets like Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York, a primary selling point of its executives is to create commercials that are styled like program content — some even featuring the hosts of shows who appear on the channels.

“Each spring, we have lots and lots of account-specific meetings with agency folks, and sometimes the client is in the room,” said Jonathan LaConti, vice president for ad sales at the New York office of Scripps Networks Interactive. “We create solutions to meet their needs.”

In making a commercial composed of sponsored content, “we want to be really careful,” Mr. LaConti said, that it “looks really natural” rather than like a sales spiel. And if a host of a Scripps Networks Interactive show is involved, the sponsor ought to be “closely aligned with his brand,” he added, to prevent perceptions of selling out.

As a result, the production of such spots can be “terribly complicated,” said John Dailey, senior vice president of Eastern region ad sales for the home category at the New York office of Scripps Networks Interactive.

And “a lot of nail biting” can occur, he added, describing “a day in November when, if we did not get a signed talent agreement” for a host who was to appear in a commercial, “we would not have been able to get it on the air in time for the date we’d identified.”

But the additional work is worth it to marketers, Mr. Dailey said he believed, because they “feel that cuts through the clutter,” particularly when “consumers can access the content across a number of touch points,” meaning online as well as on television.

And the additional work is worth it to Scripps Networks Interactive, which during the upfront market before the 2012-13 season, booked consolidated ad sales of more than $1 billion, said Jon Steinlauf, executive vice president for ad sales and marketing at the New York office, the first time that milestone was reached.

Some deals the company makes to produce customized commercials for marketers are valued at more than $10 million apiece. They include an elaborate agreement with the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company in which the MEC media agency, part of the GroupM unit of WPP, was “a terrific collaborator,” Mr. Dailey said.

That deal involves, in addition to commercials on four cable channels that are to begin this week, online ads and advertorials in two magazines, Food Network Magazine and HGTV Magazine, published by a unit of the Hearst Corporation in a joint venture with Scripps Networks Interactive.

“The zapping is getting easier and easier,” said Jim Lyski, chief marketing officer at Scotts Miracle-Gro in Marysville, Ohio. “For our brands to thrive in the new media world, we have to put a lot of effort into content creation and content curation.”

“When we do, the ads are remembered and break through and are considered highly relevant,” he added, because consumers “are almost volunteering to watch” the customized commercials, which they perceive as “in the context of what they’re already watching; it flows naturally.”

Another marketer that has teamed with Scripps Networks Interactive for a significant content-creation agreement is the Land Rover brand sold by the Jaguar Land Rover North America unit of Tata Motors, working with two WPP agencies, Y&R and Mindshare.

The deal includes customized commercials for television and the Web, under the rubric “Travel Channel’s Road to the Unexpected,” featuring a Travel Channel host, Don Wildman, driving Land Rovers in Bolivia, Britain, Jamaica and Quebec, and accompanying teasers — yes, commercials for commercials — to promote the spots.

“When you co-create with Travel Channel, they bring the perspective of their consumers to the project and help us begin a dialogue with them,” said Danielle Koffer, managing director for client leadership at Mindshare in New York,

“This is the fruits of our labors from last year’s upfront,” she added. “We’ll be looking to do more in this year’s upfront.”

Kim McCullough, brand vice president at Land Rover in Mahwah, N.J., said, “We’re looking for extended partnerships that can provide content throughout the year, not only on TV but also online, and gives us content for social media.”

For instance, Mr. Wildman, on his Twitter feed last week, told his followers, “In my next life I’m coming back as a Range Rover.” The comment was subsequently reposted by Land Rover from its Twitter feed.

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TV Notes
Leno-NBC feud shows perils of taking on a man with a microphone
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times - Mar. 20, 2013

Two rules to live by are, don't argue with a man who has a microphone, and don't bite the hand that feeds you.

At NBC, both are being ignored.

Jay Leno, who gets well-paid to tell jokes and interview celebrities as host of NBC's "Tonight Show," has recently turned to his own network's prime-time struggles for material. It started last month when Leno cracked that it's so bad at NBC that "‘The Biggest Loser’ isn’t just a TV show anymore; it’s our new motto.” He followed that up with this dig: “It’s so bad, NBC called Manti Te’o and asked him to bring in some imaginary viewers.”

Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment, didn't take too kindly to Leno's cracks. He sent the host an email expressing his dissatisfaction with the material. That naturally didn't sit too well with Leno, who fired back that people in his position often poke fun at their own network's foibles.

If Greenblatt was hoping his email to Leno would convince the host to look elsewhere for jokes, he was sadly mistaken. Instead, Leno turned up the volume. During his Tuesday night monologue, Leno talked about a woman who sees everything upside down and then added, "In fact, she thinks NBC is at the top of the ratings."

Normally the spat between Leno and Greenblatt would be dismissed as much ado about nothing. A late-night host taking shots at his network and the network president getting irked is about as newsworthy as a dog biting a man.

But this is going on amid speculation that NBC is debating whether it is time to get Jimmy Fallon, whose show follows Leno at 12:30 a.m., ready to take over as host of NBC's key late-night franchise. Those rumblings come in the wake of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel moving to 11:30 p.m. and making a splash with viewers. While Leno is still in first place with both viewers and the coveted adults 18-49 demographic, he is not as dominant as he once was.

NBC has tried to downplay the Fallon talk. Given its woes in prime time and in the morning (where ABC's "Good Morning Amerca" now beats "Today") this does not seem like the ideal time to tinker with one of the few things working for the network.

Also, let's not forget how NBC fared the last time it tried to replace Leno.

Interestingly, a person close to NBC suggested that it was Leno's camp, in true Machiavellian fashion, that was spreading the Fallon rumors -- which started around the time of Greenblatt's email -- just to put the network brass on the defense.

At this point, Leno has the upper hand. He's still tops in the ratings. But he's made his point. To continue the attacks won't really serve the audience (the jokes aren't that funny) or score him points with his bosses.

As for Greenblatt, perhaps it'd be best to focus more on fixing NBC's prime time and less on Leno's jokes.

post #85753 of 93720
TV Notes
And now, veteran shows on the bubble
All suffer from flagging ratings, and some are pricey to boot
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 20, 2013

With two months to go until the networks present their fall schedules to advertisers at the upfront, it looks as though a handful of veteran shows are at risk of getting the ax.

Most of them are on CBS.

The network, which ranks No. 1 for the full season, has seen “Rules of Engagement,” “The Good Wife,” “The Mentalist” and CSI: NY” drop to series-low ratings this season.

“Wife” is probably safe. It has critical and awards show cachet that no other CBS program can match, and it draws a relatively upscale audience.

Plus CBS just sold the program into syndication and signed a lucrative online deal with Amazon and Hulu Plus, so it’s unlikely to be canceled anytime soon.

But “Mentalist,” “CSI: NY” and “Rules” probably won’t return.

“Mentalist” is averaging a 1.8 adults 18-49 Nielsen rating this season in its 10 p.m. Sunday slot, down sharply from a 2.6 last season, when it aired Thursdays at 10.

“CSI: NY,” now in season nine, has also struggled, drawing just a 1.4 on Friday. Because of its age, the show is expensive to produce and probably not worth it for such a low rating.

“Rules” has been on the brink of cancellation before but then been revived. This time that seems unlikely. Two of the show’s stars have already been cast in other pilots, and its ratings have fallen from last year.

In addition to those four shows, here’s a look at the broadcast networks’ other veteran shows on the bubble:


Third-year comedy “Happy Endings” has been relegated to Fridays, rarely a good sign. But if ABC believes the comedy can perform better than low-rated first-year sitcom “The Neighbors” on Wednesday nights at 8:30, “Endings” could get a reprieve.

“Body of Proof,” a third-year drama, will probably be canceled after falling to series lows in 18-49s. Comedy “Last Man Standing,” though not a big ratings hit, is nonetheless a good fit on Fridays and will probably be back.


“Glee” hasn’t yet been renewed, but that’s considered a formality; despite lagging ratings, it’s still a successful and defining show for Fox.

But second-year drama “Touch” will likely be axed after sliding to dismally low ratings on Friday nights in season two. Had it been scheduled for any other night it perhaps could have survived.


The network has four comedies on the bubble: “Up All Night” “Whitney,” “Community” and “Parks and Recreation.” “Parks” will undoubtedly return for season six, but “Whitney” will probably be canceled and “Community” receive an abbreviated fifth season order.

“Night” will definitely be axed after a midseason makeover failed.

Dramas “Parenthood” and “Grimm” have strong enough ratings to return, but “Smash’s” future dimmed after returned with super-low ratings last month. The move to Saturday likely sealed its fate.

The CW

“Hart of Dixie” and “Nikita” will probably return despite low numbers because of the cancellations of “Gossip Girl” and “90210.” The network needs something to fill up its schedule.

* * * *

In broadcast ratings for the week ended March 17:

Among adults 18-49
, Fox was first for the week with a 1.9 average rating and a 6 share, followed by ABC and CBS at 1.7/5, Univision at 1.3/4, NBC at 1.1/3, Telemundo at 0.5/2, CW at 0.4/1, ION at 0.3/1, UniMás at 0.2/1, Estrella at 0.1/0 and MundoFox and Azteca at 0.0/0.

Top five English-language Big Five shows (18-49s): 1. CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” 4.8; Tie-2. Fox’s “American Idol-Wednesday” and ABC’s “The Bachelor: After the Final Rose” 3.8; 4. ABC’s “The Bachelor” 3.5; 5. CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” 3.3.

Top five English-language Big Five shows (total viewers): 1. CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” 15.90 million; 2. CBS’s “Person of Interest” 14.34 million; 3 Fox’s “American Idol-Wednesday” 13.44 million; 4. CBS’s “NCIS” 13.18 million; 5. CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” 12.18 million.

Show on the rise: ABC’s “The Bachelor,” Monday, 8 p.m. The season finale posted a 3.5 among 18-49s, a season high and up 25 percent from a 2.8 the previous week, as well as up 9 percent versus the previous season finale.

Show on the decline: CBS’s “Two and a Half Men,” Thursday, 8:30 p.m. The comedy posted a solid 3.3 rating among 18-49s, but that was down 15 percent from a 3.9 the previous week.

post #85754 of 93720
NYC in the house....

Fallon in for Leno fall 2014 moving to NYC.

Fallon should do the show as that boston dude from SNL 'Tawmy tell me you got dat....wicked awesome."

Zazoo could be his sidekick.
post #85755 of 93720
I think what NBC needs to do is clean house.

Dump 80% of the stuff, including Leno who is so far past his expiration date it's pathetic. Revamp Today into something worth watching again, move Fallon to Tonight and re-imagine the old Tomorrow show as a hip forward thinking late night destination, a TED like place with fun, thought provoking guests.

Put a stake in Trump's heart and that idiocy that passes for a "reality" show he hosts, and be more cable like and do 13 week series that do not disappear for months on end only to resurface to half the ratings they had. If a show warrants it, like Grimm for me, do 13 then do a back 6 to gear up for next season, again like cable. Develop a 60 Minutes like program and stick with it, I can't count how many variations NBC has tried over the years and all have failed. Develop a few edgy sitcoms and stick with a plan for longer than 3 months.

There you have my armchair solution to NBC's problems free of charge.
post #85756 of 93720
NBC didn't learn their lesson with the Conan "Tonight Show" debacle and apparently never heard the phrase "History Repeats Itself" ... I like Fallon where he is, I think moving Jay out and putting him in at the 9:30 slot will flop just like Conan did...
post #85757 of 93720
TV Notes
‘Tonight,’ With New Host, Set to Reclaim Its New York Roots
By Bill Carter, The New York Times - Mar. 21, 2013

NBC has settled on two new stars for “The Tonight Show”: Jimmy Fallon and New York City.

The network has made a commitment to Mr. Fallon, the current host of its “Late Night” program, for him to succeed Jay Leno as the next host of “Tonight,” according to several senior television executives involved in the decision. As part of the agreement, the show would move from Burbank, Calif., back to New York, where it started in 1954 with Steve Allen as host.

NBC has not completed a deal with Mr. Fallon yet, but his assent is considered mostly a formality, since the move would represent a significant step up for him. And the network has not settled on an exact timetable for the switch, though it is expected to take place by fall 2014 at the latest, said the executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussions were still continuing.

One senior executive who has been involved in the discussions said on Wednesday that “there is no way on earth that this is not going to happen.”

The move to Mr. Fallon would be a significant cultural, and geographic, shift. Mr. Leno delivers a more traditional Las Vegas-style comedy act that is viewed as a link to previous hosts, including his immediate predecessor, Johnny Carson. Mr. Fallon, 38, offers a more contemporary and varied brand of entertainment, with a heavy reliance on the Internet. His best material gains additional life on sites like YouTube, and he actively courts interaction with his viewers by having them submit comedy ideas through Twitter.

NBC has been desperate to avoid a repeat of the circuslike atmosphere that accompanied previous transitions on “Tonight,” the executives said. The changing of the guard is one of the biggest personnel decisions in television, and has always been fraught with intrigue and back-room maneuvering.

Three years ago, NBC’s effort to replace Mr. Leno with Conan O’Brien ended in recriminations and a definitive reversal; Mr. Leno was reinstated as host after only seven months, and NBC endured weeks of negative news coverage. In the early 1990s, Mr. Leno and David Letterman engaged in an often acrimonious competition to replace Mr. Carson.

But a transition totally free of tumult may be difficult to accomplish. Already there has been sniping between Mr. Leno and NBC’s top entertainment executive, Robert Greenblatt, over some stinging jokes Mr. Leno made in his monologue about the failure of NBC’s prime-time schedule.

Mr. Greenblatt, who is responsible for that schedule, directed some pointed criticism at Mr. Leno in an e-mail to him. Mr. Leno stood his ground in a response, asserting that jokes spoofing the network are part of the job for a late-night host.

Mr. Leno, who will turn 63 next month, has continued to take shots at NBC’s management. On Monday, he joked about how the snakes that St. Patrick drove from Ireland came to the United States and became NBC executives.

The network has sought to temper the feud while it works out its plans for the show’s future — which center on Mr. Fallon.

Mr. Leno’s “Tonight” show still regularly leads in the late-night ratings. But by turning to Mr. Fallon, NBC hopes to counter what it regards as its biggest late-night competitor of the future, Jimmy Kimmel, who in January moved his show on ABC from midnight to 11:35 p.m.

Many TV executives speculated that NBC could not afford to wait too long to promote Mr. Fallon, or it might risk having Mr. Kimmel, 45, lock up the young-adult viewers who are the economic lifeblood of late-night television.

NBC has quietly begun work on a new studio in its headquarters building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza as the home for the new “Tonight Show,” two executives said. The studio is part of a general reconstruction of the building being undertaken by Comcast, which this week completed a full takeover of NBCUniversal.

An NBC spokeswoman declined to comment on the move, other than to say the network was building a new state-of-the-art studio for Mr. Fallon.

There are many reasons that Mr. Fallon would prefer to remain in New York, where he has starred on “Late Night” for four years. He is a native of New York State (from Saugerties, just south of Albany) and his longtime association with the producer Lorne Michaels could be kept intact if he stayed in New York. Mr. Fallon made his reputation at 30 Rockefeller as a star on Mr. Michaels’s centerpiece show, “Saturday Night Live.”

Perhaps most important, Mr. Fallon could ensure the continued participation of his house band, the Roots, who have been an integral part of the show and whose members are close to Mr. Fallon.

A move to New York would also return “Tonight” to its roots, after an absence of more than four decades. Beginning in 1954, it was broadcast every evening from Manhattan, first from the Hudson Theater with Mr. Allen as host, followed by Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, both of whom worked at 30 Rockefeller. But in 1972, Mr. Carson, looking for easier access to Hollywood guests, as well as a different lifestyle, moved the show permanently to Burbank.

Mr. Fallon now occupies the studio where Mr. Carson was working in the 1960s and early 1970s. His “Late Night” show is broadcast at 12:35 a.m. Eastern time, after Mr. Leno on “Tonight.”

A New York “Tonight Show” will join a metropolitan landscape already filled with late-night comedy programs, including “Late Show With David Letterman” on CBS and shows featuring Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central. One lingering question is what NBC will do with its “Late Night” franchise, which has always been based in New York.

Mr. O’Brien hosted that program before Mr. Fallon, and it had been speculated before his ascension to “Tonight” that he might try to keep working in New York, where he had thrived. But at the time, NBC insisted “Tonight” had become a Hollywood-centric show and needed to stay in California.

Mr. Fallon quickly impressed NBC’s new management under Comcast, and his succession has been widely expected for at least a year. The only question has been when.

The potential timetable for the change — sometime in the next 18 months — has been tied to Mr. Leno’s current contract, which ends in fall 2014, as well as the need to sign Mr. Fallon to a new deal.

Another complicating factor has been Mr. Leno’s success in the ratings.

In recent weeks, he has continued to finish first — always in the category of total viewers and usually among viewers ages 18 to 49, the most sought-after group for late-night advertisers.

As one of the executives involved in the planning of the shift to Mr. Fallon put it: “And then Jay manages to stay ahead of Kimmel. How often has that guy been underestimated?”

post #85758 of 93720
TV Notes
'Hot in Cleveland' Gets Season 5 Order From TV Land
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Mar. 20, 2013

Things won't be cooling down in Cleveland anytime soon.

TV Land has ordered a fifth season of its hit comedy "Hot in Cleveland," starring Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeve and Wendie Malick.

The 24-episode season will bring the total of episodes for the series -- TV Land's maiden foray into original scripted comedy -- to 104 episodes.

The new season will begin filming this fall.

Earlier this year, CBS Television Distribution announced that it had sold "Hot in Cleveland" for syndication to 92 percent of the country for a September 2014 launch.

“This is an incredible milestone for the show and for TV Land,” network president Larry W. Jones said Wednesday. “To have our first scripted sitcom make it to the syndication level is a huge accomplishment. We have a brilliant creative team both in front of and behind the camera. We are so proud to be on this exciting ride with them.”

post #85759 of 93720
TV Notes
'Fresh Prince,' 'Martin,' 'Wayans Bros.' Coming to BET
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Mar. 20, 2013

Two years after Teen Nick found ratings success with the return of '90s hits Doug and Clarissa Explains It All, BET is going retro.

The network said Wednesday that it has acquired off-network rights to '90s comedies The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, Martin, The Jamie Foxx Show and The Wayans Bros.

In a licensing deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television, the series will air on BET and Centric, with Viacom corporate sibling Nick at Nite retaining rights to continue airing Full House and Living Single, which will air on MTV2.

"A deal of this magnitude underlines the importance of securing well-known, proven hit programming as a part of the foundation of a successful network schedule," said Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution president Ken Werner said. "These series perform strongly across ethnic and age demos, maintaining their original fan bases while consistently being discovered by new audiences."

Added BET Networks chairman and CEO Debra Lee, "We're thrilled to bring our audience more of the classic hits and award-winning actors they love on both BET and Centric."

The deal was brokered by Barbara Zaneri, BET's exec vp program strategy, program scheduling and acquisitions, and Tom Cerio, exec vp cable sales at Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

Airdates for the series have not been announced.

Teen Nick's '90s revival became a hit with viewers in 2011 when it aired blocks of popular series including Doug, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, All That, Clarissa Explains It All, Double Dare, The Ren & Stimpy Show and Salute Your Shorts.

post #85760 of 93720
TV Notes
Three ways to follow March Madness without TV
By Bret Molina, USA Today - Mar. 20, 2013

For diehard hoops fans, Thursday kicks off the most wonderful time of the year: the NCAA Mens' Basketball Tournament. It also could mean agonizing at work while a buffet of afternoon basketball games tip off, with no television in sight.

Luckily, you can still keep track of March Madness (and kill any office productivity in the process). Here are a few ways to follow along from your computer or your mobile device:

NCAA March Madness Live. This might be your best option for watching live hoops from your desktop or laptop computer. Unlike last year, when users had to pay $3.99 for access, it's now free. There's one big catch: users must log in through their cable TV service provider to access live games. Most of the major cable companies such as Time Warner, Verizon FiOS and Xfinity are available.

Once logged in, users can watch games, check out replays or review the official bracket. There's even a "Boss Button" that lets users hide their screen in case a supervisor pays a visit.

The service also features free smartphone and tablet apps for Apple iOS and Google Android, in case you're on the go.

Sportacular. If a simple app with scores and stats is enough to tide you over, consider Yahoo! Sportacular, which is arguably the best sports app available for iOS and Android. It's easy to navigate, features a clean interface and updates consistently. Plus, it's free.

If there's any reason to quibble about Sportacular, it's the lack of a bracket-style presentation that makes it easier to track, but it's not clear whether an update between now and Thursday changes that. Another free app to consider is ESPN's Bracket Bound 2013.

Twitter. New March Madness options makes the social network an intriguing option for any online hoops fan. Twitter users who follow @marchmadness can get real-time video highlights. No more worries about missing a buzzer beater or an incredible play.

Edited by dad1153 - 3/21/13 at 3:36am
post #85761 of 93720
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 - Celebrity Wife Swap: Kuncaitis/Zdazinsky (Season Finale)
9PM - Grey's Anatomy
10:02PM - Scandal
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Ellen Pompeo; reality-TV star Sean Lowe; Lianne La Havas performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

7PM - 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament: South Dakota State vs. Michigan (LIVE)
9:30PM - 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Akron vs. Virginia Commonwealth (LIVE)
* * * *
12:35AM - Late Show with David Letterman (Tina Fey; Jesse Tyler Ferguson; Solange performs)
(R - Feb. 27)
1:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Cold Open with Tom Hanks; Quentin Tarantino)
(R - Dec. 20)

8PM - Community
8:30PM - Parks and Recreation
9PM - The Office
(R - Feb. 14)
9:30PM - 1600 Penn
10:01PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
(R - Feb. 13)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Dwayne Johnson; professional NBA player Chris Paul; Atlas Genius performs)
12:37AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Drew Barrymore; Thandie Newton; Brandi Carlile performs; Leo Nocentelli performs with The Roots)
1:36AM - Last Call With Carson Daly (Rapper Angel Haze; rapper Sirah; Big Black Delta and Grape St. perform)

8PM - American Idol (LIVE)
9PM - Glee

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The 'This Old House' Hour
9PM - Frontline: Inside Japan's Nuclear Meltdown
(R - Feb. 28, 2012)
10PM - Antiques Roadshow: Spokane, WA
(R - Apr. 14, 2008)

8PM - Porque el Amor Manda
9PM - Amores Verdaderos
10PM - Amor Bravio

8PM - The Vampire Diaries
9PM - Beauty and the Beast

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Paul Rudd)
(R - Mar. 4)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art)
(R - Feb. 27)

Midnight - Conan (Amy Poehler; Kevin Pollak; Ke$ha)
(R - Dec. 4)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens; Bobby Lee; Morgan Murphy; Kurt Braunohler)

11PM - Brand X with Russell Brand
post #85762 of 93720
Critic's Notes
NBC Would Be Crazy to Give Jay Leno's Tonight Job to Jimmy Fallon
By Josef Adalian, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Mar. 20, 2013

It is written in the the late-night history books that Jay Leno made The Tonight Show his own on July 10, 1995, when he asked recent prostitute shopper Hugh Grant, "What the hell were you thinking?" It became an iconic line that pops up in every Leno analysis, and today it applies yet again – this time as a question posed to the NBCUniversal executives who apparently are intent on showing Leno the door (again), this time to make room for Jimmy Fallon, who will bring the show back to New York City. Industry sources quoted by The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times surmised that the network was making the move because, after Jimmy Kimmel's recent move to 11:35 p.m. if NBC didn’t get their Jimmy on earlier, ABC would control late-night for the next hundred years. Sounds reasonable, and if you're one of the many Leno-haters out there, you've probably spent the afternoon doing a happy dance: Ding-dong, the Chin is dead! But let's leave aside emotion and Conan vengeance for a moment. As much as NBC execs might think they're being forward-thinkers by putting in place the next-gen Tonight Show host, there's lots of evidence to suggest this is the second time the network will live to regret a decision to oust Jay Leno.

First, let's get this out of the way: The argument in favor of keeping Jay at 11:35 has nothing to do with whether or not Fallon would make a good successor. Anyone who saw his five shows with Justin Timberlake last week knows that the man has grown into a confident, appealing and very, very funny host. Being able to Slow Jam the News before midnight would be a very good thing indeed. The argument against Fallon-for-Leno has nothing to do with quality – and everything to do with stability. If you hadn't noticed, it's been an awful season for new shows in primetime, with only three or four new shows drawing respectable numbers. But amidst all the new-show rubble, what's been fascinating to watch is how some of the oldest shows on TV have become more powerful as of late: CBS's The Big Bang Theory and ABC's The Bachelor are actually adding audience (even as most shows are bleeding viewers); NBC's Biggest Loser and The Office have been the network's top-rated shows in recent weeks; Fox's ancient animated comedies on Sunday are off a bit but still pull more young adults that much newer shows.

What's more, TV industry insiders say they're seeing some anecdotal evidence suggesting that viewers are more likely to watch familiar shows live or on the same night they air than they are newer shows, since people have established viewing patterns around legacy series. Leno may not be sexy and he might not be critically beloved, but he has an incredibly loyal audience. NBC has been in free-fall in primetime since January, but Leno has not only held steady, but actually increased his lead over long-time rival David Letterman. During the February sweeps, for example, Leno's margin of victory over Dave among adults under 50 was 8 percent; in February 2012, it was only 2 percent. Leno's ratings are down, but so are Dave's, and so is virtually everything in primetime. What's key is that Leno's lead over his rivals, including the buzzier Kimmel, is as solid as his chin.

There's a temptation to think that Fallon, who's younger and hipper, would automatically boost NBC's numbers. But that's what NBC thought would happen when Conan replaced Jay. It didn't. Back in 2004, when Conan's move to 11:35 was announced, I was very much in favor of a changing of the guard. I actually think former NBC chief Jeff Zucker was smart to lock Conan in years ahead of time and to attempt a transition well before David Letterman considered retiring. The way Zucker then panicked and pulled the rug out from under Conan when Zucker's let's-put-Jay-in-primetime plan flopped was despicable, but the fact is, ratings did drop soon after Conan took over. I'd like to think that, had Zucker been patient, O'Brien would have stabilized and all would have been well. (Fun fact: NBC was drawing bigger ratings with Conan in early 2010 than they are now with Leno.) Unfortunately, we'll never know, but here's what does seem likely: The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon will very likely pull in lower ratings than the current version.

For one thing, so far Kimmel hasn't actually improved ABC's late-night standing all that much, despite tons of hype and some great episodes (such as Matt Damon's brilliantly-executed takeover of the show). Yes, Jimmy Kimmel Live is drawing more viewers than it did at midnight because of its earlier slot. But when Nightline aired in the same time period last year, ABC was able to accurately claim it had the top-rated show in late-night, even with younger viewers (in part because the show ended earlier than its rivals). But in the recent February sweeps, Jimmy Kimmel Live actually ranked third in the 11:35-12:35 a.m. timeslot. This isn't an indictment of Kimmel, but a reflection of both the loyalty of Leno and Letterman fans, and the fact that younger viewers have already abandoned networks for other late-night options. While we in the media love to play up the whole Jay-Dave-Jimmy "late-night war," the fact is that the broadcast networks are already losing the war for younger viewers. Adult Swim, with its low-budget schedule of animation and quirkiness, regularly draws more viewers under 50 than the networks do. Comedy Central's The Daily Show often gets the same or bigger numbers than Jay, Dave and Kimmel, albeit a half-hour earlier. Instead of automatically bringing in a ton of new, younger viewers with Fallon, what NBC might actually end up doing is inviting the very, very loyal core of Leno viewers to try something new – like maybe that shiny young Kimmel fellow. Or that cranky Dave guy they've never been fond of, but, hey, he's old and familiar and why don't we give him another chance, Doris. Or, maybe that backlog of primetime shows eating up space on the DVR.

The motto for broadcast television executives in today’s world of overall declining ratings should be that old saw “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” One of the reasons why CBS is the number one network with viewers of all ages and young viewers is because they don't mess with success unless they have to. Rules of Engagement has zero buzz and only does well when it's behind a hit show, but it has a faithful audience and people like it. Likewise, Two and a Half Men costs lots and lots of money and nobody really likes Ashton Kutcher…except for the 14 million people who watch the show each week. So even though producer Warner Bros. will make CBS pay through the nose, guess what's going to be back on CBS next fall? And Letterman, while often trailing Leno, is still relatively stable, as network TV goes. So while it's possible David Letterman could announce his retirement tomorrow, if he does so, it'll be because he wants out: Any time I've tried to get Eye execs to reveal their game plan for a post-Dave world, all they've said is, in essence, “Letterman has the job as long as he wants it.”

The point is, broadcast TV as we've known it is dying fast, but until it completely croaks, it makes sense to hold on to what works as long as you can. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno may not be beloved, and Leno himself may be considered a black-hat for plotting against Dave and then Conan, but getting rid of one of the only shows on NBC that actually wins its timeslot is pretty much the definition of…well, maybe not insanity, but certainly of arrogance. Plus, switching Tonight hosts will necessitate a huge marketing and publicity push, which will take away resources (and executive attention) from where it’s sorely needed: its flatlining primetime schedule. (Were you aware that Monday's season finale of the NBC drama Deception ranked seventh in its time slot, losing not only to broadcast networks but also cable fare on MTV, ESPN, A&E and USA? The more you know!)

Of course, the decision to upturn the one timeslot that is holding steady comes from the same network that chose to save a few dollars by limiting the episode order for Parenthood and has yet to renew it for next season even though the show has higher demo ratings than most things on the network and is actually still adding audience. It's quite possible that NBC's motivating factor for ditching Leno next year isn't a desire to win the future, but rather to save some dough. Late night insiders I've spoken with over the last few weeks say that, even after the massive budget cuts NBC imposed on Leno last summer, his show is still incredibly expensive and brings in far less ad revenue than it used to. Conan's Tonight Show cost far less to produce than Jay's does, and it's very likely Fallon's will cost even less. NBC may be betting that it can draw the same audience for much less money, thus bumping up profits. If Fallon ends up bleeding viewers vs. Jay, however, that theory may not work out.

Assuming nothing changes, the Leno-Fallon transition could happen as early as next year. NBC's mind may be made up. But if the ink is not yet dry, perhaps Peacock executives might consider another, possibly less risky option. Instead of shaking up late night, why not experiment in primetime with an idea that might have been just a few years ahead of its time. Zucker got destroyed for putting a talk show in primetime, but the fact is, The Jay Leno Show was drawing better numbers than Smash, and it cost a whole lot less. Leno wasn't ready for primetime, in part because he still wanted to be on Tonight and in part because he had zero desire to depart from his time-tested formula. The show looked cheap and small. But instead of stripping Leno five nights a week, what if NBC decided to put Fallon on at 10 p.m.? His week of shows with Timberlake was more entertaining than anything else NBC aired last week (except Parks and Recreation, of course). And Fallon and his team are constantly coming up with viral videos, sketches, and other new ways of putting on a fun show. There's no reason NBC would have to commit to a massive timeslot switch upfront: Why not just give Fallon an eight-week test at 10 o'clock this summer, with repeats airing in his normal late-night slot? There will be plenty of superstars looking to hype their summer blockbusters or concert tours; maybe they could stick around for a week of shows like Timberlake. If it flops, Fallon's audience will still love him in late-night. And if it works, NBC's avoided a massive headache while possibly going a long way toward solving its primetime woes.

It's inevitable that Jay Leno will leave The Tonight Show, and it's logical that Jimmy Fallon replaces him. But NBC needs to delay that eventuality for as long as it can while it first works to fix its much, much bigger problems.

Edited by dad1153 - 3/21/13 at 3:54am
post #85763 of 93720
Nielsen/Critic's Notes
On NBC, Broad Comedies, Broadway Haven't Worked - But Here's What Might
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Mar. 20, 2013

NBC has made big bets this season on Broadway and broad comedy, and neither has paid off so far. But one bold gamble still might.

The network has suffered abysmal primetime ratings this season (see chart in link below) and faced a new public relations fiasco on Wednesday with a report that Jimmy Fallon was taking over late night from Jay Leno. In primetime the network's most inspired tactic in recent years has been positioning shows when and where audiences least expect hits -- and then outperforming expectations.

NBC may be in a position to do it again this spring, with help from some returning winners and America's favorite cannibal psychologist. There could even be the slightest of hopes for the doomed-looking "Smash," a favorite of NBC entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt.

Greenblatt has been criticized for saying NBC wants broad new sitcoms rather than the Thursday night shows that for years have earned more respect than ratings. The broad shows, it turns out, aren't scoring either.

But few have noted NBC's other big move this season: trying to bring Broadway to the rest of America. Besides granting "Smash" a second season, the network gave sitcoms to each of the leads of the Tony-winning hit, "The Book of Mormon."

That hasn't worked especially well, either.

"New Normal," with "Mormon" star Andrew Rannells, is averaging a just-adequate 2.1 rating in the key 18-49 demo. Meanwhile, "1600 Penn," with Rannells' "Mormon" co-star, Josh Gad, has a dismal 1.5.

That's the same rating "Animal Practice," the broadest NBC comedy of the season, had before it was canceled.

"Smash," which also has a 1.5, has been relegated to Saturday, the lowest-rated night for television. Networks often use Saturday nights as a place to burn off episodes of soon-to-be-canceled shows.

And things had been going so well for NBC: Last season, it slightly edged out ABC for third place in the demo, after years of languishing in fourth. It was especially good news for Greenblatt, because it was the first full season he was in charge.

In the fall, NBC shocked its rivals by finishing first in the demo. (CBS, which has an older audience, still led in total viewers, as it has for years.)

As NBC won its first November sweeps in nine years, Greenblatt tried to lower expectations, saying he didn't expect to finish the season on top.

"I'd be astonished if we ended up to be No. 1," he told TheWrap at the time. "But I'd be thrilled if we landed at two, and I'd be really, really pleased if we were just in third place. ... I feel pretty confident that we are not going to end up in fourth place again."

NBC has since slipped to third place. But Greenblatt doesn't seem pleased at all.

Last week, the New York Times reported that he complained to Jay Leno about mocking NBC's ratings on the "Tonight Show," which led to a pointed back-and-forth with the host.

Comedians, like Leno, try to open and finish strong. And that's what NBC hopes to do, too.

It owed its fall success especially to "Sunday Night Football," "The Voice" and "Revolution." This season and last, "SNF" has emerged as television's highest-rated show overall, a position "American Idol" held the previous eight years.

NBC used "The Voice," which became a surprise hit two years ago, to launch "Revolution" to become broadcast television's highest-rated new show and drama this season. ("The Walking Dead," airing on AMC, is the top drama on all of television.)

CBS and Fox surpassed NBC this winter thanks in part to CBS airing the Super Bowl, and the return of Fox's weakened "Idol."

But this is where NBC hopes things will get good again.

The network previously found a hit at an unlikely time on April 26, 2011, when "The Voice" emerged from nowhere. (Actually it was The Netherlands – the show is based on a Dutch format.)

As Fox worked on "X Factor," its long-gestating "Idol" offshoot, NBC developed "The Voice" in a few months and hurried it to air at a time when its broadcast rivals had already debuted most of their 2010-11 shows. "The Voice" was an instant hit.

NBC brought back "The Voice" the following spring, and then again this past fall, giving the time slot after it to "Revolution."

Now, NBC is debuting a spring edition of "The Voice" with a slightly different cast.

It's a risky move, because viewers seem to be losing their affection for sing-offs: "The Voice," "Idol" and "X Factor" have all slipped in the ratings this season.

Last year, when it fell behind "SNF," "Idol" earned a 6.3 demo rating for its more popular Wednesday edition. This season, it is down to a 5.4, as of last week.

Fox's Wednesday "X Factor" has similarly dropped from a 4.4 last season to a 3.6 this time out, and "The Voice" on Mondays has fallen from a 6.2 last year to a 5.2 in the fall.

But timing may be on NBC's side.

Fox sprung its revamped "Idol" -- with new judges Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj -- in January, when plenty of shows were returning or having mid-season premieres.

But NBC won't premiere the next cycle of "The Voice" -- with new judges Shakira and Usher -- until Monday. And when it comes back, it will again be followed by its fall partner, "Revolution."

Cable shows like "Game of Thrones" and "Mad Men" are also returning, but broadcast networks have already fired most of their best shots. So "The Voice" and its new judges may again steal viewers' attention, just as they did in 2011.

And NBC has another show that may have some teeth. "Hannibal," inspired by Thomas Harris' "Silence of the Lambs" villain, debuts April 4.

The buzz is good -- and the show arrives when other networks lack anything similarly bold. (Fox's "The Following," obviously influenced by "Silence," debuted in January and has earned decent ratings.)

"Hannibal" is certainly in for a struggle. An NBC adaptation of the film and novel "The Firm" fell flat last year.

And many promising dramas have died in the Thursdays-at-10 timeslot for "Hannibal," including "Prime Suspect," "Awake" and "Do No Harm." That lowers expectations a bit.

But NBC has a knack for finding success where others haven't. "Grimm" has succeeded on Fridays, the worst night for TV besides Saturdays.

And you can't even count Saturdays out for NBC.

Last week, the Justin Timberlake-hosted "Saturday Night Live" scored a 3.4 rating -- NBC's best in the demo for this calendar year. That was both a testament to Timberlake's star power, and NBC's bad luck in primetime.

But it also proved that sometimes shows can thrive in the unlikeliest of places. NBC's dream now is that maybe "Smash" can find a Saturday audience, too.

If it does, it will be the kind of tale that inspires Broadway musicals.

Edited by dad1153 - 3/21/13 at 4:02am
post #85764 of 93720
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 21, 2013

Various Networks, Check local listings

It’s a full day of basketball, with CBS, TNT, TruTV and TBS all taking part. The earliest game televised is Michigan State (25-8) vs. Valparaiso (26-7) on CBS at 12:15 p.m. ET, followed on TruTV by Butler (26-8) vs. Bucknell (25-8) at 12:40 p.m. ET. Top-seeded Midwest team Louisville plays last-second squeak-in North Carolina AT&T (20-16) at 6:50 p.m. ET on TBS, while top-seeded West team Gonzaga plays Southern (23-9) at 4:10 p.m. ET, also on TBS. In prime time tonight, the CBS games include VCU vs. Akron at 9:45 p.m. ET. Play ball!

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s the latest vote-off episode, after last night’s Lennon-McCartney theme-night performances. So now the question is, Who gets voted off? And don’t worry: There will be an answer. Let it be.

IFC, 8:00 p.m. ET

Martin Sheen looks almost impossibly young in this 1979 Francis Ford Coppola epic – but what amazes me the most, watching it now, is that I have to keep reminding myself that none of the explosions, and no shots of the fleet of helicopters, were accomplished with computer trickery. Yes, the opening credits sequence may have been accomplished with a brilliantly realized scale model – but much of what you see is full-scale. And fully amazing.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1959 movie dramatizes the infamous Leopold and Loeb trial, with Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman portraying the young men accused of murder as a “thrill crime” with no motive other than for the sheer thrill of it. Orson Welles shines as their attorney, with one of the best closing arguments ever performed in a film.

Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s musical assignment for the New Directions kids: guilty pleasures, songs and performers they enjoy even though they’re embarrassed to admit it. And yes, you guessed it: the Spice Girls are amply represented.

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TV Sports
Mountain West to pick up new TV exposure
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Mar. 21, 2013

The Mountain West is creating buzz this week for placing five teams in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

And now it's increased its visibility via a new TV deal with ESPN. The network hasn't had a deal with the league since 2005, for football and basketball.

The deal, which takes effect next year and runs through the 2019-2020 season, includes ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC televising at least three Boise State home football games nationally -- and the rest of those homes on some ESPN platform, which could include ESPNU or ESPNEWS. The school, perhaps because its blue artificial turf is eye-catching to channel-surfers, draws strong ratings.

In addition, ESPN gets rights to up to 16 other conference football games and 31 conference-controlled men's basketball games.

CBS, for its CBS Sports Network cable channel, also has Mountain West TV rights. Last year, CBS sub-licensed 10 MW games to the NBC Sports Network cable channel -- which averaged 0.1% of U.S. cable/satellite TV households.

With Fox launching a new FS1 sports channel in August, and NBCSN getting more aggressive in trying to land TV rights to more events, ESPN's Mountain West deal gives it rivals one less opportunity.

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TV Notes
‘Forecasting the End,’ grit your teeth
Weather Channel series is sure to scare the pants off viewers
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 21, 2013

For some reason, experts on TV — whether they’re climatologists, economists or epidemiologists — tend to smile when they’re predicting disasters. It’s unclear whether they’re trying to soften the blow or they simply like delivering bad news.

The Weather Channel’s new series “Forecasting the End” is full of smiling scientists who talk about various horrible ways that we all could die, starting, in the premiere episode, with the possibility of a near collision with another planet. Focusing more on the results than on the causes of the catastrophe, the episode isn’t particularly enlightening, but it isn’t boring either.

Airing as one of two half-hour episodes this Thursday, March 21, at 9 p.m., the first episode warns us that a “rogue planet” — that is, a planet that has escaped its own star’s gravitational attraction and is moving at hundreds of miles per second through space — could enter the solar system. The problem isn’t so much that it might collide with earth but that its gravity could change our orbit.

The main threat, according to the experts who serve as talking heads, is that earth’s relatively circular orbit could change to an elliptical one. Even though the graphics show the new orbit as being partly closer to the sun and partly farther away, the scientists mainly focus on the threat of warming.

News footage of droughts, fires and tropical storms illustrates the consequences. Since the same sort of footage is often used to illustrate discussions of more conventional global warming, the discussion looks and feels familiar.

It gets more scary — and evidently more fun for the smirky scientists — when they start to discuss extremely high temperatures, which would cause the flooding of most of the major cities on the planet and possibly create super storms — one expert calls them “hypercanes” — with wind speeds of 500 miles per hour.

Another frightening possibility is that the rogue planet could drag earth out of its orbit entirely and send it wandering off into space. Rather fancifully, a scientist suggests that as the planet gradually loses the sun’s light and heat, humans could tunnel underground for warmth.

It’s probably just as well that no one talks about what would happen if earth were pushed in the other direction and gradually pulled in by the sun’s gravity. But we never learn whether or why this is more or less likely than the other scenarios.

The episode ends with a visit to an observatory in Hawaii that is searching for rogue planets. Although we hear the ominous news that scientists at the observatory are particularly interested in one such object that’s about the size of Jupiter, we ultimately learn that none of the planets they’ve spotted seems to be heading our way.

So our final impression is that everything we’ve been warned about in this episode of “Forecasting the End” is extremely unlikely and we really needn’t worry.

Maybe that’s why the experts have been smiling all along.

post #85767 of 93720
WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #85768 of 93720
TV Notes
Steve Kornacki, New Host of MSNBC's 'Up', on Replacing Chris Hayes, Moving to Weekends
By Erik Hayden, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Mar. 20, 2013

Chris Hayes may be leaving weekends for primetime, but the new host of MSNBC's Up, Steve Kornacki, hopes to maintain a sense of continuity for viewers even as he develops his own style for the show.

"We want to try to work with the template they’ve created," said Kornacki in a phone interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "Obviously, I’m not Chris, Chris isn’t me. I can’t be a carbon copy of him. If I tried to be, I’d fail, the show would fail. They’ll be some differences, but they’ll sort of evolve."

Over the past week, the network has announced a series of scheduling shifts.

Ed Schultz's Ed Show has been moved from primetime to Saturday and Sunday afternoons beginning in April, and Hayes was named as a replacement for the 8 p.m. weekday time slot. On Tuesday, Kornacki, previously a co-host on The Cycle, was named the new host of Up, which airs on weekend mornings from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET.

Kornacki, who is also the senior political writer for Salon.com, tells THR that the basic format of Up will be the same, although he will continue to work to assemble interesting panels. "We’re going to work with the idea of putting the panel together that maybe you’re not likely to see on 25 other shows," he says.

"I will be open to guests from across the ideological spectrum if they’re willing to be reflective and not just there to deliver talking points," Kornacki elaborates. "I think that’s what really set the show apart with Chris, and that’s something that I want to keep going."

The new host noted that the show itself shouldn't be defined by ideology but by the merit of the ideas presented.

"I think a lot of progressive ideas were expressed through Up," Kornacki says. "But I think the common thread through all the ideas that have been expressed on that show, whether they’re progressive or whether they’re coming from the right, is that they’re intelligent ideas -- they’re ideas that are worthy of discussion and worthy of exploration."

As for moving from a weekday schedule on The Cycle, which airs at 3 p.m. daily, to the weekends, Kornacki mentions that he'll need to get used to waking up earlier.

"The alarm clock going off at 4:30 a.m. in the morning is going to be very new to me on Saturday and Sunday mornings," he says. "I’m not sure I’m ready for that, but I’ll have to be."

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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
CBS’s ‘Criminal Minds’ jumps in return
Veteran CBS drama rises 15 percent from last original
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 21, 2013

Absence apparently made the hearts grow fonder for fans of “Criminal Minds.”

Ratings for the veteran CBS drama shot up for its first original episode in three weeks.

“Minds” averaged a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating at 9 p.m. last night, according to Nielsen overnights, up 15 percent over its most recent original on Feb. 27.

It finished as the night’s No. 2 show behind Fox’s “American Idol,” and it gave lead-out “CSI” a boost. The latter also saw a big increase over its last showing on Feb. 27, up 21 percent to a 2.3.

“Idol” was the night’s top show with a 3.5, down a tenth from last week.

A number of other shows saw decreases last night, including ABC’s “Suburgatory,” off 12 percent to a series-low 1.5; CBS’s “Survivor,” falling 7 percent from last week’s season high to a 2.5; and NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” which slid 15 percent from its most recent original three weeks ago, to a 1.7.

Fox led the night among 18-49s with a 3.5 average overnight rating and a 10 share. CBS was second at 2.6/7, Univision third at 1.7/5, NBC fourth at 1.4/4, ABC fifth at 1.2/3, CW sixth at 0.9/3 and Telemundo seventh at 0.6/2.

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

At 8 p.m. Fox was first with a 3.4 for “Idol,” followed by CBS with a 2.5 for “Survivor.” Univision was third with a 1.6 for “Porque el Amor Manda,” ABC fourth with a 1.3 for a repeat of “The Middle” (1.2) and a new “The Neighbors” (1.4), NBC fifth with a 1.0 for “Whitney” (1.1 at 8 for an original, 0.9 at 8:30 for a rerun), CW sixth with a 0.9 for “Arrow” and Telemundo seventh with a 0.4 for “Pasion Prohibida.”

Fox was first again at 9 p.m. with a 3.7 for more “Idol,” and CBS remained second with a 3.0 for “Minds.” Univision was third with a 1.9 for “Amores Verdaderos,” ABC fourth with a 1.6 for a repeat of “Modern Family” and a new “Suburgatory” (1.5), NBC fifth with a 1.5 for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” CW sixth with a 0.9 for “Supernatural” and Telemundo seventh with a 0.8 for “La Patrona.”

CBS took the lead at 10 p.m. with a 2.3 for “CSI,” with NBC second with a 1.7 for “Chicago Fire.” Univision was third with a 1.5 for “Amor Bravio,” ABC fourth with a 0.7 for a “Nashville” rerun and Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 for “El Rostro de la Venganza.”

Fox also finished first for the night among households with a 7.7 average overnight rating and a 12 share. CBS was second at 6.5/11, NBC third at 3.2/5, ABC fourth at 2.7/4, Univision fifth at 2.0/3, CW sixth at 1.5/2 and Telemundo seventh at 0.7/1.


* * * *

TV Sports
For college hoops, newfound parity
Yesterday's Cinderellas are today's top seeds
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Mar. 21, 2013

A decade ago Gonzaga was the sort of Cinderella underdog that March Madness fans love to cheer for. Now it’s a No. 1 seed that’s one of the favorites to make the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four.

Gonzaga, which faces 16th seed Southern University today at 4:10 p.m. on TBS, is one of 64 squads that will play 32 games over the next two days on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV.

The Bulldogs’ rise is just one example of how parity has come to rule college basketball.

Squads from mid-major conferences such as the Colonial Athletic Association and Atlantic 10 have made the Final Four in recent years, while one-time college powerhouses like Kentucky and North Carolina have missed the tournament altogether.

The top seeds are still favored to easily advance from their first games, but the points spread is much smaller than it was a decade or two ago, 20 points rather than 30 or 40.

Parity is the result of many things, not the least of which is the large number of top recruits who now play just one or two years of college ball before heading to the NBA Draft.

That puts the top colleges that recruit such kids at a disadvantage, because they have to replenish their benches so frequently. It explains why Kentucky, which won last year’s NCAA title, was booted from the second-tier NIT tournament in the first round earlier this week.

It also makes it easier for mid-major teams to compete. Most of their players remain through their senior years, meaning they build up three or four years of experience in the tourney. That’s invaluable at a time when confident teams often perform better than young nervous ones, regardless of the talent level.

Parity has been good for first- and second-round ratings because of the large number of upsets.

Last year ratings for the Thursday through Saturday portion of the tournament hit their best average in 18 years, drawing a 5.3 Nielsen household rating across all four networks.

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TV Notes
NBC hoping for a ratings 'Revolution'
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

NBC's "Revolution" was a bright spot for the network last fall, helping to boost its ratings. But the show -- and its higher-rated lead-in, "The Voice" -- hasn't aired since late November, and NBC's ratings once again swim with the fishes.

Will there be yet another reversal of fortune for the peacock network when its successful Monday night lineup returns next week?

"Any time you're off the air for four months you hold your breath and you hope fans come back," series creator Eric Kripke said. "But we take solace and encouragement from a few things, which is there's a long history of genre television really working with these large breaks in between, like 'Walking Dead' or 'Game of Thrones.' "

"Revolution" (10 p.m. Monday) is set in an America without electricity when militias have taken over. Ruthless leader Monroe (David Lyons) kidnapped Danny Matheson (Graham Rogers), prompting his sister, Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), to set out with her Uncle Miles (Billy Burke, "Twilight") to get him back.

"The second half of the season is such a different mission and quest and energy than the first half that it really does feel like a natural break," Mr. Kripke said in a conference call with reporters last week. "The first half's drive to find Danny was prologue to it, opening up into a much larger and more epic and exciting story."

Mr. Kripke, who previously oversaw The CW's "Supernatural," said the break also gave the show's writers an opportunity to step back and take stock of what they had done.

"Our pace of mythology reveals was probably a tiny bit slow," he said. "At the time you're so focused on establishing character and establishing world. ... But once I looked back at all the completed episodes, if I had a criticism in the storytelling it was that I was feeling the same impatience that the audience was feeling over the last couple. ... I had that vibe of, OK get to it, get to Danny, let's get to the next part."

When viewers last tuned in to "Revolution," Charlie was successful in freeing Danny and their mother, Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell, "Lost"). And then, somehow, Monroe's minions were chasing them in a helicopter. Monroe has power.

Monday's 11th episode of "Revolution" sets the stage for more big revelations.

"In Episode 13 Rachel reveals pretty much every single thing there is to know about why the blackout happened," Mr. Kripke said. "That scene's a hard swallow every time because you're, like, wow, we're just saying it. Your baked-in, sure-weather instincts are not to have the scene that reveals every single thing in three minutes."

He credits co-executive producer Jon Favreau, who directed the pilot, with encouraging the writers to get on with it.

"We were discussing the problem that as a character Rachel knew why the blackout happened and she was back in and among heroes, she wasn't captive anymore, and we were really wrestling with the question, why wouldn't she just tell them?" Mr. Kripke said. "Jon was able to provide much needed perspective, just looked at me and he was like, she would tell them so have her tell them. ... And so we reveal really why the blackout happened, but the card I think we have up our sleeve is the explanation really opens the door to much greater story possibility."

That also means a more visible Rachel in the second half of the season.

"Rachel's quest is specific, and she's incredibly proactive. She's making a straight line toward what it is that she needs to do," Ms. Mitchell said. "She also unloads everything; the entire secret, the entire history in one crazy conversation in Episode 13. So I think that people will enjoy the fact that she has a lot to say and that her admonition or her quest is very powerful and proactive, which I love in a character."

Mr. Kripke said although the show has a unique concept, his focus is on the characters.

"Look, here's the truth of episodic television: You want every episode's storyline to be great, but the reality is the sheer volume of work means that some are great and some of your stories as a writer [stink] out loud," he said. "But if the characters take and the actors create amazing characters, which I think they're doing, then viewers get invested. I don't think they get invested in any particular storyline, they get invested in the characters. And if the characters are working, then the series works. Conversely, it doesn't matter how cool your concept is. If the characters aren't appealing or relatable to the audience, then it will never work."

The question for "Revolution" now is whether the appeal of the show and its characters has diminished in the show's time away. Will viewers even know "Revolution" is back given NBC's overall decline in audience since last fall?

"Like any good player we just keep our head down and focus on our game," Mr. Kripke said. "We're coming back with 'The Voice,' and the fact is there is no bigger show on television and there's no better lead-in. We're very, very happy and grateful to have such a monster hit as our lead-in."

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