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post #85951 of 93675
TV Notes
'American Idol' Creator Simon Fuller Settles Lawsuit With Fox Over 'X Factor'
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com

"American Idol" creator Simon Fuller has made nice with the show's network Fox, after suing Fox over credit and fees from its other singing competition, "The X Factor."

Fuller has settled a lawsuit he filed against Fox Broadcasting Company and "Idol" production company Fremantle, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

In his suit, filed in July 2011 -- before the American version of "The X Factor" premiered -- Fuller sought an executive producer credit and fees from the show.

Fuller's British series "Pop Idol" gave birth to "American Idol." After "Idol" judge Cowell launched the British version of "The X Factor" in 2004, Fuller filed suit, claiming that "X Factor" stole from "Pop Idol."

Fuller claimed he agreed to drop his suit if he was given an executive producer credit and a fee for the American version of "X Factor," which launched in 2011.

Fox had no comment for TheWrap on the settlement Friday. However, at the time the suit was filed, the network told TheWrap that the suit was "without merit," and that Fuller had done nothing to earn an "X Factor" executive producer credit or financial compensation for the show.

"Mr. Fuller has not been hired, nor performed any duties, on the U.S. version of 'The X Factor.' His suit seeks payment and credit as an executive producer despite his neither having been approved by the required parties, nor hired, as such. We believe this lawsuit is without merit and we expect to prevail," Fox told TheWrap at the time.

At the time, Fuller's representative told TheWrap in a statement that Fuller had attempted to settle the conflict privately, to no avail, and that he had "no other choice but to pursue legal action."

post #85952 of 93675
TV Review
'Mr. Selfridge': Another 'Masterpiece' for PBS
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com

I’m not among the men who positively hate to go shopping. Nonetheless, the come-on for PBS’ 10-hour Mr. Selfridge doesn’t seem to be much to hang one’s hat on.

“Jeremy Piven stars as a wheeling-dealing American who shows early 1900s Londoners how to shop,” it says on the review DVD containing the first five hours. Wow, sounds about as enticing as a two-hour QVC necklace segment.

Instead it’s terrific fun as well as involving drama. Mr. Selfridge, premiering Sunday, March 31 at 9 p.m. ET with a two-hour chapter, may not provoke the full-blown tizzy that Downton Abbey has for the Masterpiece Classic franchise. Still, it very much works its own charms, with Piven gradually getting a firm grip on his real-life title character while four very estimable women exert varying pulling powers on him.

This is Piven’s first TV role since his career-changing, very showy turn as agent Ari Gold on HBO’s Entourage. And he has lots to do over the course of a splendid tale airing on consecutive Sundays from March 31 through May 19. (Two-hour installments book-end the one-hour episodes on April 7, 14, 21 and 28, and May 5 and 12; Check local listings.)

Piven’s Harry Gordon Selfridge already is in full bloom as the story begins. He has transformed Chicago’s Marshall Field’s into a department store powerhouse and now intends to do the same in his own name in stuffy 1908 London town.

On a rainy day that hardly befits his ebullient temperament, he drops into the Gamages emporium and asks to see an array of gloves. But the store clerk, young Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus), says it’s not done that way. Customers are supposed to know what they want without picking over the goods.

“What if I said I was just looking?” Harry asks.

“This is a shop, sir. Not an exhibition,” he’s told by an officious manager who then fires Agnes for giving Harry a closer look. She winds up in this American dreamer’s employ as the drama’s principal embodiment of lower class trials and tribulations.

The grand and imposing multi-storied Selfridge store hasn’t been built yet. But its Oxford Street site has been selected and financial backing assured until Harry’s business partner suddenly backs out. He eventually cuts a clandestine deal with the very well-connected Lady Mae Loxley (Katherine Kelly), who will expect some favors in return.

“We are going to show the world how to make shopping thrilling!” Harry proclaims.

Piven’s performance initially seems to be too pronouncement-prone while the performances around him are appreciably less stagey. But he grows into the role, convincingly selling Harry as a grand and sometimes endearing entrepreneur who always enjoys making entrances.

Harry is also an addicted philanderer, but earns his employees’ single-minded devotion by treating them fairly and rallying them to the cause. Which basically is showmanship, teamwork, service with a smile and the accrued profits that go hand in hand.

The other women in Harry’s life are his dutiful but discontented wife Rose (Frances O’Connor) and a sexy, singing showgirl named Ellen Love (Zoe Tapper). Both are strong characters, giving Mr. Selfridge a quartet of intriguing women whose sub-stories keep things consistently interesting.

Some of the supporting male characters have their moments, too, with Henri Leclair (Gregory Fitoussi) most prominent among them as the dashing “best window display man in the world.” He’s fond of clerk Agnes Towler’s helpful suggestions while striving in-store restaurant waiter Victor Colleano (Trystan Gravelle) is intent on courting her and someday opening his own eatery.

There’s also strapping Roderick “Roddy” Temple (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), an aspiring young painter whose involvement with Rose kicks in after a chance meeting at an art museum.

As in Downton Abbey, the men invariably are formally dressed and the women be-gowned and bejeweled unless they’re “the help.” The Brits and Masterpiece Classic have a hammerlock on sumptuous period pieces. And Mr. Selfridge doesn’t disappoint. It’s breezy, but with substance. Soapy but not too sudsy. So enjoy the drama, the fashion and the pure joy in Harry’s voice when he commands, “Back to your posts with vim and vigor!”

One and all no doubt would run through a battalion of mannequins for him.

GRADE: A-minus

post #85953 of 93675
TV Review
‘All-Star Celebrity Apprentice,’ so tired
Once again Omarosa is hogging the cameras on the NBC show
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

Back in 2002, the WB premiered a celebrity knockoff of “The Real World” called “The Surreal Life.” A last-minute addition to the cast was Jerri Manthey, who had been a standout contestant on “Survivor.”

One of the other stars of that first season, the former child actor Corey Feldman, expressed indignation that a mere reality-show contestant was deemed suitable to mingle with real celebrities like him.

Fast-forward a decade: People are comfortable with the idea that reality performers can be celebrities; the covers of gossip weeklies routinely feature various Bachelors, Idols and Teen Moms.

What’s more surprising is that on the current season of NBC’s competition series “Celebrity Apprentice,” an all-star edition featuring returning contestants, the one who is making by far the biggest impression is Omarosa, whose only real claim to fame is two previous appearances on the series, once when it was titled simply “The Apprentice” and featured non-celebrities and once in its current version.

Omarosa’s style of play, a skillful combination of credit hogging and blame avoiding, has so far helped her avoid being fired by Donald Trump. But whereas a decade ago, watching a reality villain succeed had some novelty value, we’ve since seen far too many other smirky egotists run circles around their rivals while constantly talking about how smart they are.

We’ve also seen too many reality shows in which has-beens and B-listers make fools of themselves, either because they have an inflated sense of their own importance, charm or intelligence or because they’re no longer quite all there.

In the shadow of Omarosa’s ruthless efficiency, this spectacle is more pitiful than usual. The show still has decent ratings, but as far as its entertainment value goes, “Celebrity Apprentice” deserves to be fired, or at least retired.

Now airing on Sundays at 10 p.m., the current season started out four weeks ago with 14 arguably famous people. Divided into teams of two, they have been assigned various business-related tasks, which usually involve promoting a product.

The “project manager” on the team that is judged to have won gets a donation to a favorite charity. The losing project manager is up for elimination, along with two teammates of his or her choice.

The first week’s competition could hardly be considered a competition at all. The teams cooked meatballs, which they sold for charity. What they actually did was phone in favors from rich friends. The team led by the country star Trace Adkins won because the oil mogul T. Boone Pickens donated $100,000. Trace’s team didn’t even open to the public for business.

The term “meatball” generated a lot of bad double entendres. The actress Lisa Rinna said she was using a recipe created by her husband, Harry Hamlin, so they called their product “naked balls with Harry’s sauce.”

The losing project manager made the mistake of entrusting Omarosa with the accounting, so the villainess had the opportunity to lowball her estimates of how much each of her teammates brought in. She thus managed to get Trump to fire the rocker Bret Michaels, the only previous winner in the cast.

The rest of this season’s episodes have had more typical “Apprentice” challenges, with the usual blatant product placement: In the second week, for example, the teams traveled to a Florida theme park owned by NBC’s parent company, where they set up photo booths intended to promote the park’s attractions. As her team’s project manager, Omarosa excelled, designing a booth with three different sections.

But in the next two weeks, she spent her team’s time making it clear that she disagreed with the project managers’ choices, so that she couldn’t be blamed in case of a loss. She also slacked off, taking easy assignments and not fulfilling them. Both times, her team lost.

Incredibly, in both cases, the project managers — Michael Jackson’s sister La Toya the first week and the game-show model Claudia Jordan in the second — didn’t nominate Omarosa for elimination, even though they described her as having contributed the least to the project. Trump assumed that they were afraid she would outtalk them during his deliberations, and he fired them.

Trump’s position as arbiter on this show has always involved a conflict of interest. Since he’s also an executive producer, he has a clear incentive to keep controversial contestants who will keep the ratings up, regardless of their game skills.

He also seems to have a soft spot for Omarosa. He repeatedly points out that she was voted the greatest villain in the history of television. (Given his penchant for hyperbole, we should take this claim with a grain of salt.) He may simply like having her around because then he’s not the most obnoxious person in the room.

The comic-relief contestants are less funny than usual. The former NBA star Dennis Rodman is both inarticulate and disappointingly subdued.

There’s a line when a person stops being eccentric and starts being sad. The actor Gary Busey — who always looks as if he might explode but then says things like “Everyone that I see carries a rainbow around their shoulder” — may be putting on an act, but he’s crossed that line.

For now, “Celebrity Apprentice” is “The Omarosa Show.” She’s not so much someone you love to hate as someone you’d love to see leave, but Trump probably realizes that viewers will leave along with her.

post #85954 of 93675
TV Notes
HBO's 'Game of Thrones' returns for its third season with bigger dragons, more characters
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HBO's fantasy-drama "Game of Thrones" returns at 9 p.m. Sunday for its third season, but at this point new viewers who try to jump in will likely be left to wonder what's going on. "GOT" producers David Benioff and D.B. (Dan) Weiss want the show to have more fans, but they have no interest in hand-holding. After all, they ditched on-screen location identifiers early in the show's first season.

"We want more people in the tent, and we and HBO are doing everything we can to invite more people in, but in terms of diving in in the middle of season two or season three, it's just not that kind of show, in the same way 'Breaking Bad' or 'The Wire' wasn't that kind of show," Mr. Weiss said in a teleconference Wednesday. "It's a story with a beginning, middle and end."

This third season is based on roughly the first half of "A Storm of Swords," the third book in author George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy series, "A Song of Fire and Ice."

As the new season begins, the Lannisters maintain their hold on King's Landing after surviving an attack by the forces of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). But the most sympathetic Lannister, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), remains a family pariah despite saving the day. His nephew, cretin King Joffrey (Jack Glesson), finds himself manipulated by the charming Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer, "The Tudors"). Viewers get to meet Margaery's grandmother, Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg), a tart-tongued, fantastic addition to the series. She's sort of the "GOT" version of a dowager countess-type character.

"Season three is probably our biggest in terms of the number of new characters and storylines. It's as big as we're going to get," Mr. Benioff said. "The universe expanded to a certain point and now it's going to begin to contract, and that's something we're going to look forward to as pieces get removed from the chess board."

North of The Wall, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) infiltrates the largest army Westeros has ever seen. Robb Stark (Richard Madden) continues to wage war while his mother, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), sends Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) to trade Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) for her captive daughter, Sansa (Sophie Turner), a road trip that grows more harrowing by the day.

Producers said the logistics of this season -- shooting in five countries with two and sometimes three main units filming simultaneously -- posed the biggest challenge for the show to date. And then there was the scene that involved filming with a bear named Bart.

"It was different from our usual shoots because with Bart every time he had a good take, we had to give him positive reinforcement so everyone on the crew had to clap and say, 'Good job,' " Mr. Benioff said. "And for the entire scene we were blasting country music from the back of a pickup truck because that keeps Bart calm and happy. We're used to everything being quiet and making sure cell phones are off so that was quite a different experience."

Because the show has such a large cast, not every character is glimpsed in Sunday's season premiere. Producers said they intended for Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) to show up in a scene in the season premiere, but when they watched early cuts of the episode, they decided there were just too many plotlines, and hers would be better served if that first scene moved into episode two to pair with another Arya scene.

"It's a giant jigsaw puzzle," Mr. Benioff said, "and we try to solve most of it in the writing stage, but oftentimes we realize it could be better once we have a chance to see things on screen."

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), whose dragons are growing larger, visits Slaver's Bay in her ongoing effort to raise an army to retake the Iron Throne in King's Landing. "GOT" builds to a most-likely-to-make-you-cheer-out-loud moment in the fourth episode with a scene involving Daenerys. The build isn't necessarily by design, but it is of necessity.

"David was mentioning Bart the bear and how he needed an Oreo cookie every five seconds to keep focus and we give our audience more credit than Bart the bear," Mr. Weiss said. "We don't need to be chucking Oreos into their mouths right from the outset. They know we're building something complex and there is a setup phase and a payoff phase and we think the payoff is well worth it."

Of course, what fans most worry about is that the TV show will catch up to the book series, and then what happens? Producers have attempted to slow their march by breaking the third book into two seasons, but Mr. Martin has written only through book five of an expected seven-book series. (The first book was published in 1996; book five came out in 2011.)

"My guess is we spend more time worrying about that than the fans since it directly affects our careers," Mr. Benioff said. "It's been an issue since we started."

The producers said they spent a week with Mr. Martin in February talking about where the saga is going.

"We knew major events, but this was more intense, sitting for hours on end in a hotel conference room scribbling down notes, pumping him for as much information as we could," Mr. Benioff said, noting that it's helpful for producers to know where the story is going so they can plan ahead. "It will be better for all concerned if the books come out before the seasons do so we can adapt them, but with that said, we won't take a hiatus. The little kids are growing older and the show has momentum now. We're just hopeful it will all time out."

When: 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO.

post #85955 of 93675
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

But, for those that can hear. having it dubbed allows the viewer to enjoy the program.

Eh, I know a lot of people who do not enjoy watching dubbed foreign language movies and have no issue reading the subtitles. I am one of them. It has no effect on the enjoyment of a movie, whereas dubbing is about as enjoyable as watching an English-language movie that has an audio syncing error.

I will not watch any foreign production without the original language track.
post #85956 of 93675
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

I beg to differ.

I am not going to argue with you on this. I deal with this everyday. If you chose to believe different, have at it.
post #85957 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Rob Reiner on 'Meet the Press'; Richard Land on 'This Week'
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel's 'TV Guy' Blog

Cardinal Timothy Egan, archbishop of New York, will be a guest on ABC's "This Week" and CBS' "Face the Nation."


Tee Hee, Timothy must have been elected Pope. His name changed! It is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, not Egan.... smile.gif
post #85958 of 93675
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Washington/Technology Notes
U.S. May Sell Airwaves That Help Broadway Sing
By Edward Wyatt, The New York Times - Mar. 30, 2013

Or they could do what they did for decades and cast actors who could project their voices to the back of the theater.
post #85959 of 93675
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

Sorry, you are indeed correct.
Unless you are the foreign language person who would prefer to be able to watch the action on the screen without having to constantly read the sub-titles. Yes, I know that closed captioning is the only viable option for those that are deaf, or hard of hearing. But, for those that can hear. having it dubbed allows the viewer to enjoy the program.
For some people, that's true - children, in particular.

But, you missed my point: this is AVS. There are a greater number of people who want OAR, the best quality video and audio and the original audio tracks with subtitles for languages they don't speak. Arguing for dub tracks here is like asking for a sushi restaurant to serve burgers and fries.

Honestly, with more shows having characters that speak other languages for certain dialog, I think even the masses are getting more used to subtitles. As time goes on, if that trend continues, seeing them for entire movies and shows will be less of an issue.
post #85960 of 93675

Please be nice to your fellow AVS members and trim your quotes. You really didn't need to repost the complete posting. The title would have been enough.

post #85961 of 93675
Originally Posted by PJO1966 View Post

Or they could do what they did for decades and cast actors who could project their voices to the back of the theater.
That's not as easy to do these days with all the complicated sets that can result in someone not facing the audience or being blocked at certain times. Plus, there are shows with extensive physical performances and wire work (including the required harnesses) that can make it harder to project.

Finally, more and more shows have the orchestra in a completely different part of the building - or another building all together to allow more stage space and seating. The result is an amlified orchestra with various audio effects added in that could overpower the singers.

A show like Spider-man or the Lion King would be impossible to pull off without mics just due to the costumes and masks alone.

No, what really needs to happen is for the goverment to stop pimping themselves out to every whim of the telco companies and force them to make better use of the spectrum they have.

I system that includes greater use of micro-cells that cover a lot of smaller areas would allow greater amounts of frequency re-use. Further, combining that with greater use of ground fiber for transferring data from the receiving cell to the internet would free up a lot of spectrum. The problem with that is it would cost the telcos more money and effort than simply buying up everyone elses frequencies.

Eventually, there won't be a bit of public spectrum left that isn't being sold back to us for premium dollars. That $70 a month phone plan will look like a bargain in a few years all while making future data caps making the current ones look downright generous.

It's amazing how the more support the government gives to an industry, the less customer friendly it becomes. I think the banking industry falls into that, as well.
post #85962 of 93675
I'm not a huge tennis fan, but I can't believe CBS cut away from it tennis coverage today because the match was going into OT in order to show the NCAA basketball game. They instead continued coverage on the Tennis Channel. Well what if you don't get the TC, or worse yet, you recorded the match only to find that you didn't get the ending to it? Why wouldn't CBS just stay with the tennis match and join the basketball game in progress, or better yet, but up a split screen of both?

Poor choice by CBS.
post #85963 of 93675
Originally Posted by TheRatPatrol View Post

I'm not a huge tennis fan, but I can't believe CBS cut away from it tennis coverage today because the match was going into OT in order to show the NCAA basketball game. They instead continued coverage on the Tennis Channel. Well what if you don't get the TC, or worse yet, you recorded the match only to find that you didn't get the ending to it? Why wouldn't CBS just stay with the tennis match and join the basketball game in progress, or better yet, but up a split screen of both?

Poor choice by CBS.
Poor choice?

Not likely. The NCAA game will crush tennis in the ratings.

Honestly, it's more a poor choice of any sporting event to risk going up against anything related to March Madness. Granted, it sounds like bad luck the match ran over, but that's the risk.
post #85964 of 93675
May not have been a choice. May have been contractual.
post #85965 of 93675
Originally Posted by MRinDenver View Post

May not have been a choice. May have been contractual.
That too.

It's likely there are specific terms that CBS must follow with their NCAA contract.
post #85966 of 93675
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post


Please be nice to your fellow AVS members and trim your quotes. You really didn't need to repost the complete posting. The title would have been enough.


Noted. My apologies.
post #85967 of 93675
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

Eh, I know a lot of people who do not enjoy watching dubbed foreign language movies and have no issue reading the subtitles. I am one of them. It has no effect on the enjoyment of a movie, whereas dubbing is about as enjoyable as watching an English-language movie that has an audio syncing error.

I will not watch any foreign production without the original language track.
Add me to that list. I can't remember the names of the films now, but I know that both on Netflix streaming and on Premiums as well, I have occasionally come across movies that were dubbed instead of being subtitled, and I couldn't watch them. It even bothers me when Hong Kong films dub Cantonese over the Mandarin tracks (I don't speak either one, but I know the difference, and it's easy to spot a bad dub anyway). I think the only movies where I'm okay with it are with Studio Ghibli films, since they usually get A-list English-speaking actors to do the job, and since it's animated, you don't really notice it anyway.
post #85968 of 93675
SATURDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #85969 of 93675
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

We now return you to your regularly scheduled bug/snipe infested programming.


Wrong thread for that, too.


Please don't encourage it here.

post #85970 of 93675
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 31, 2013

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET
Season 2 of this stellar series, with its generous doses of both humor and drama, gets underway today. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan and want more of that sort of thing, here you go. Check local listings.

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

What a strong season this show is having. And what great use of its guest stars. Matthew Perry was wonderful last week, as a rival candidate on the painful end of Peter’s fist – and this week. Dylan Baker returns as creepy killer Colin Sweeney, who has a new wife (played by Morena Baccarin of Homeland) – and, once again, Alicia (Julianna Margulies) as his often flustered counsel.

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET
Jeremy Piven goes from modern L.A. in Entourage to turn-of-the-century London (the 20th century, that is) in this new series from Andrew Davies, who gave us those tasty adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Little Dorrit and so much more. Piven is at this show’s center, as an American businessman who goes to London to revamp and all but invent the modern department store. But it’s the women around him who rule, and demand the most attention, starting with Zoe Tapper as selfish showgirl Ellen Love, Aisling Loftus as shopgirl Agnes, Frances O’Connor as neglected wife Rose, and Katherine Kelly as the imperious Lady May. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan and want more of that sort of thing, here you go. Check local listings.

AMC, 9:00 p.m. ET
Last week’s episode was another stunner, managing to serve up a surprise – and a major dramatic moment – that caught even the most ready-for-anything fans by surprise. And we don’t even have time to shake that off, because tonight’s episode has Rick and company squaring off against the Governor in the battle that’s been brewing all season. Expect a high death count, and not just among the already dead.

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ETT
This new season manages to escalate things slowly, but surely, to a point where they’ve never been before, and Season 3 of Thrones benefits from the increased volatility. The best plot line, in the seasons sent for review, concerns the efforts of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke, pictured) to assemble an army strong enough to claim the Iron Throne. Her search for that army leads to my favorite Game of Thrones scene to date, which involves some very liberal translations of different languages.

post #85971 of 93675
TV Reviews
The Dawn of Shopping
By Nancy deWolf Smith, Wall Street Journal

When "Mr. Selfridge" began airing in the U.K. earlier this year, everyone was asking: Is this the next "Downton Abbey"? It was a legitimate question. People were longing for a new fix and both are sprawling dramas that begin in Edwardian England. Each series also has a large cast attired in period costume and multiple plotlines that weave through every episode to keep us hooked from week to week.

But there the comparison ends. "Downton" is set in a stately home and "Mr. Selfridge" revolves around a brash American entrepreneur and the eponymous department store he opened in London in 1909. While the former qualifies as aristo porn, there's hardly a blue blood in sight in "Mr. Selfridge." No big loss. This new PBS Masterpiece series written by Andrew Davies is plenty addicting without the lords and ladies, opening a treasure box of tales about love, loss, ambition and the spirit of a new age.

Harry Gordon Selfridge didn't invent every marketing technique he brought from Chicago to London. But he injected those and more into English life and they worked like a shot of adrenaline to the heart. Since commerce was considered "not done" by the upper classes, it was the people without pedigrees—from the elevator girls to an emerging middle class and the newly wealthy—who were the first to feel the jolt. Selfridge helped make shopping glamorous, and once ordinary folk could dream of owning a few of the pretty things that had seemed a birthright only of the upper classes, the effect was liberating.

This cheerleader to the dreamers was the quintessential self-made man. He's played by Jeremy Piven, most recently famous as the crass and hyperactive superagent to the stars, Ari Gold, in HBO's "Entourage." With the arrival of this new series, most memories of Ari are wiped out. Yet Selfridge's cheerful energy and exuberant optimism do mask a world of demons. When the public show is over, darkness falls and Mr. Piven's face collapses like a pricked balloon. Selfridge had some bad habits, from showgirls to ruinous gambling. It's hard to know exactly what psychic turmoil may have raged beneath the surface. In Mr. Piven's depiction, we get the whiff of a manic depressive.

The series opens with Selfridge visiting a traditional English store, where the saleslady is forbidden to show him more than one pair of gloves at a time and the rest are hidden from view. When he asks to see more, an imperious manager puts the customer in his place: "This is a shop, sir. Not an exhibition."

What Selfridge has in mind for London is the antithesis of this approach: a store overflowing with beautiful merchandise on full display, to be seen, stroked, tried on and purchased from obliging and knowledgeable sales people. His stated goal is to make shopping thrilling. "I want merchandise that people will desire…that people don't know they will desire until they see it right in front of their eyes."

This early adapter will introduce many now-familiar marketing gimmicks. There are early-bird specials to tempt thrifty shoppers and hired celebrities to draw gawking crowds into the store. A scientific first includes a display of the first pilot—and his plane—to cross the English Channel. A swag bag for the Russian ballet sensation Anna Pavlova may include a special emerald necklace. But it also has perfume and petticoats that every one of the ballerina's fawning fans can find on sale at counters nearby. A window display featuring an automobile is designed to induce a buying frenzy for foot muffs, lap robes and other motoring accessories.

All this is the platform for a cornucopia of stories involving the store's owner. employees and customers. Selfridge has done a deal with a beautiful temptress to get financing to build his store, and we never know how or when payment will come due. His beloved but neglected wife, Rose (Frances O'Connor, who was Fanny Price in "Mansfield Park"), may have found an antidote for loneliness with a group of bohemian artists. Thieving dock loaders, jealous salesgirls, drunken fathers, sexually predatory female customers, suicidal singers, thwarted romance—all these and many more fill each episode with excitement or intrigue.

The most relatable character may be Agnes (Aisling Loftus), the dignified salesgirl with a troubled family life but also a woman with the taste and drive to see her through to great things. The most affecting pair are the secretive middle-age lovers—the accessories department head, Miss Mardle (Amanda Abbington) and the store's chief of staff, Mr. Grove (Tom Goodman-Hill). Curled in each other's arms, they may be the Bates and Anna of "Mr. Selfridge."

The most enigmatic man of the first few episodes has to be Henri Leclair (Grégory Fitoussi), the French window dresser with a hot artistic temper and, perhaps, an eye for Agnes. The award for most attractive must go to the store's Palm Court restaurant waiter Victor (Trystan Gravelle). He's a kind man and fond of Agnes. But she's preoccupied, and Victor's matinee-idol looks make him irresistible to all the ladies who lunch. So what's a handsome fellow with hopes of starting his own restaurant supposed to do?

That Mr. Gravelle happens to look a little like Rob James-Collier, who plays Thomas the underbutler on "Downton Abbey," is just a wild and crazy coincidence.

Sundays, 9 p.m., PBS

* * * *

As season three of HBO's "Game of Thrones" begins, members of the House of Lannister are back in control in King's Landing, and many of the various challengers from lands far and near who tried to dethrone the Lannisters last season are regrouping for another go. As ever, "Game of Thrones" is about the relentless pursuit of power and what this does to machinators and pawns alike. More and more, though, it also seems to be about the strength to follow dreams of being free—to choose a different destiny than the one that lineage, tradition or even fate may dictate.

The tapestry of characters in George R.R. Martin's fantasy kingdom has grown so huge now that only the most avid fan can hope to identify them all, let alone keep track of the family ties, alliances and enmities which make this quasimedieval world so dangerous to nearly everyone in it. Judging by its first four episodes, season three will have the requisite amount of bloodletting and even some new twists on torture.

One thing that will make such pain bearable even for the faint of heart are the deepening themes of magic. Like the princeling and others with the gift of seeing as though they were inside the eyes of a crow far up in the sky, we will be transported as well. On the emotional-development front—never very large here—look for a deepening understanding between the tall warrior Brienne and her royal captive. And hold tight for perhaps the most glorious sequence ever filmed for the series, involving the dragon-owning, throne-questing princess Daenerys and 8,000 robotlike slave soldiers at the very moment when her destiny as a leader becomes crystal clear.

Sundays, 9 p.m., HBO

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TV Notes
The 'Walking Dead' Cast Bids Glen Mazzara Farewell
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Mar. 31, 2013

AMC's The Walking Dead will close out its third season Sunday with the final episode overseen (and written) by departing showrunner Glen Mazzara.

Mazzara first joined Walking Dead during season one, contributing freelance scripts to the zombie drama. He took over showrunning duties from the since-departed Frank Darabont -- who adapted Robert Kirkman's comic series -- midway through the show's second season. In that time, Mazzara's accelerated storytelling approach has earned both critical praise and record-breaking ratings, with the series ranking as the No. 1 show across cable and broadcast in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic. Among total viewers, Walking Dead averages more than 11 million total viewers per episode.

In addition to the series' pacing, Mazarra has added new characters in the Governor and Michonne, two favorites from the Kirkman comics on which the AMC series is based.
"He's done a fantastic job and the testament is on the screen. It's been brilliant working with him. He's the man who cast me and brought me into the show, I have great love and affection for him," David Morrissey, who plays the Governor, said of Mazzara. Added Danai Gurira (Michonne): "I love Glen and I know he's an amazing showrunner and will continue to be one in the future on many different realms and ways. I wish him all the best."

Mazzara, however, is already looking to his next act. In fact, he recently signed an overall development deal with Fox TV Studios, for whom he once worked alongside Shawn Ryan as a writer and executive producer on The Shield years earlier. As part of the new arrangement, Mazarra is expected to develop cable projects for the News Corp.-owned studio.
The move comes some three months after Mazzara announced jointly with AMC that he would be exiting Walking Dead, citing creative differences. He indicated at a January conference that he didn't have the authority that his role as showrunner role would imply. "When you’re the creator, you can say, 'This is what the show is,' " he said at NATPE. "I didn't create the show. I didn't create the comic book, so I'm just glad I was able to contribute." (Scott Gimple, who joined the series during season two, will take the helm when season four returns for its likely October bow.)

Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, who has been with Walking Dead since Day 1, had nothing but good things to say of her experience working with Mazzara. "He has been fantastic and a great collaborator and I know he's going to continue to have both commercial and critical success," she noted.

Star Andrew Lincoln, whose beleaguered former sheriff Rick Grimes is the focal point of the series, got emotional when asked to share parting words for Mazzara. "I've said everything I needed to say to him in private. It's too difficult a question for me to answer," he told THR. Steven Yeun (Glenn) was far more willing to weigh in when asked: "I love Glen. He worked his ass off for our show and whatever it is, it is," he said, adding: "Thank God I have no control over that stuff otherwise I would be beating my head in. But much love to Glen. He's a jolly person with great stories. Just the fact that he's willing to listen to every cog in this giant machine says leaps and bounds about him."

For his part, Mazzara used the WonderCon stage Saturday to bid farewell to the series. "What's been great about The Walking Dead is, it's really been the holy grail of storytelling," he told fans during a genre showrunners panel at the annual Anaheim convention. "To find work that connects with people on such an emotional level isn't something I take lightly. Hopefully I can do that again with some future show. To connect with an audience that has been so passionate has been a wonderful experience and I thank everyone for that; it's meant a lot."

The Walking Dead's season three finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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

8PM - Dancing with the Stars (120 min., LIVE)
10:01PM - Castle
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Shaquille O'Neal; Demi Lovato performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - How I Met Your Mother
(R - Oct. 15)
8:30PM - Rules of Engagement
(R - Feb. 4)
9PM - 2 Broke Girls
(R - Dec. 3)
9:30PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Oct. 1)
10PM - Hawaii Five-0
(R - Nov. 19)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Shia LaBeouf; comic Jeff Altman; The Band Perry performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Author J.R. Martinez; Toby Keith performs)
(R - Nov. 13)

8PM - The Voice (120 min., LIVE)
10:01PM - Revolution
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Matthew Perry; Kristen Schaal; Goo Goo Dolls perform)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Alec Baldwin; Emilia Clarke; the latest "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice'' castoff; Janelle Monae performs; DJ Jazzy Jeff performs with The Roots)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Justin Bartha; Lunarcy; Vacationer performs)

8PM - Bones
9PM - The Following

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Cincinnati
9PM - Kind Hearted Woman (120 min.)

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

8PM - The Carrie Diaries
9PM - Hart of Dixie
(R - Feb. 26)

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author Mary Roach)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Sigourney Weaver)

11PM - Conan (Seth Rogen; Earthquake)
(R - Apr. 1)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Thandie Newton; Chris Franjola; Arden Myrin; Josh Wol)
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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Apr. 1, 2013

Bravo, 8:00 p.m. ET
This is the Season 8 opener of The Real Housewives of Orange County, the grandmother of this particular strain of Housewives reality shows – and yet I can honestly say I’m just as enthusiastic about this series now as I was when it began. And for tonight’s season opener, Bravo offers us glimpses of Tamra Barney’s bachelorette party. No longer does the phrase “Barney and friends” mean, on TV, we’re about to see a purple dinosaur. Just watch out for some other sort of brightly colored gyrating reptile.

USA, 8:00 p.m. ET

Three hours of Monday Night Raw in prime time? Somehow, that doesn’t seem like enough. The Rock is back as a guest fighter, promoting his upcoming pay-per-view WrestleMania bout against John Cena. How bout that! And if you think tonight’s three-hour installment serves only as a 180-minute commercial for a subscription TV event, well then, you’re just not getting in the WWE spirit. This series isn’t hitting rock bottom. It’s a hit with the Rock, bottom line.

Bravo, 9:00 p.m. ET

I missed this new Bravo series when it premiered last month, because I presumed it was a sober documentary about the 2010 census, suggesting that Los Angeles was losing population compared to a decade ago. But I was wrong. L.A. Shrinks turns out to be new Bravo reality show, following the private practices, and private lives, of three “high-end” therapists (including Venus Nicolino, pictured) treating patients in the City of Angels. Wow! Who wouldn’t want to see a show about that? You’d have to be crazy to miss it. In which case, I guess, you really shouldn’t miss it.

TLC, 9:00 p.m. ET

TLC presents two episodes of this “moppet beauty pageant contestant” reality-show series tonight in prime time. They aren’t new episodes – but does anyone tune in to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to learn anything new? Or learn anything, period? But this show is worth championing, I feel, because of its subtle insights. Like, for example, how it helps, on occasion, to superimpose even English-speaking, U.S.-born natives with subtitles.

Flix, 10:00 p.m. ET

In terms of film comedy, you could draw a straight line from Charles Chaplin as the Little Tramp to Julia Sweeney as Pat, the person of unidentified gender, in this 1994 movie. I don’t know why you’d want to, or what it might mean – but you could. Everyone knows that every Saturday Night Live sketch should be turned into a full-length movie… just ask Will Ferrell, who starred with Chris Kattan as the Bubati Brothers in that 1998 big-screen comedy film, A Night at the Roxbury. He must have learned a lot from that experience, because every movie he’s made since has been an improvement. As for It’s Pat, it also co-stars Charles Rocket, who left SNL after accidentally launching the F-bomb on live TV. And Kathy Griffin, who plays herself. Just think: “Pat,” Kathy Griffin and Charles Rocket all in one movie… and yet they never made a sequel. Let’s hope for them all: It’s Still Pat. Holding Pat. And, of course, the dramatic-departure spinoff: Pat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Edited by dad1153 - 4/1/13 at 11:12pm
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TV Sports
CBS handles Kevin Ware injury with restraint
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Apr. 1, 2013

Usually, sports television means sticking to the script.

But when Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware suffered a dramatic injury against Duke on CBS Sunday, game coverage was left, as analyst Clark Kellogg put it, "in totally uncharted territory for everybody in the building, for players, for us."

CBS' response was textbook -- it let its pictures do the talking.

After Ware went down, Kellogg and play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz quickly realized it was time to largely shut up. After the injury occurred with Louisville up 21-20 with 6:33 left in the first half, they wisely avoided speculating about how the game might be affected -- or what exactly had happened to Ware. Instead, they spoke sparingly, with Nantz suggesting we "look at the love on this team for their fallen teammate" as viewers were shown shots of stricken Louisville players.

CBS couldn't really avoid showing a replay of the injury, given that TV coverage should at least give viewers access to anything they'd see if they were in the stands. CBS aired the cringe-inducing replay twice. Kellogg stated the obvious, but it seemed appropriate: "You never want to see that." (And on its halftime studio coverage, CBS was sensible. Host Greg Gumbel said there would be no replay -- "with the severity of that injury, we are not going to be showing it here.")

But the CBS shots, from producer Mark Wolff and director Bob Fishman, seemed almost more compelling than replays of the injury itself. The closeups of seemingly mortified fans were jarring. The footage of Louisville coach Rick Pitino wiping away tears was a striking visual. And CBS followed the news, including showing Ware being driven away in an ambulance.

Pitino, on CBS post-game, recalled what Ware did after the injury: "All he's saying is, 'win the game,' when the bone is sticking six inches out of his leg."

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus, in New York Sunday, told USA TODAY Sports that on-site production staffers made the initial call on limiting replay shots while network executives made the decision not to include it in halftime coverage. "We're not going to show it again today and I don't think we'll show it in the future," said McManus, albeit he acknowledged no one can control what footage will rattle around in cyberspace. Still, CBS deserves credit for its restraint.

CBS also deserves credit for a smooth transition to a game that it had justifiably hyped as a big event. After CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson at halftime reported Pitino told her that Ware had told his teammates "don't worry about me," Kellogg launched second-half coverage by saying the injury had been "a difficult gut shot for everybody in the building. ... But it's all about execution now."

And on the same day CBS was showing how to ably handle violent injuries, NBC was showing how they could be mishandled. NBC's NHL studio coverage Sunday included a slow-motion replay on Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby Saturday literally getting his teeth knocked out by a flying puck. That day-old footage should have come with some kind of introduction, as NBC host Liam McHugh noted after it aired: "Looking back, we probably should have warned people. If you're eating Easter dinner, we apologize."

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This article appeared before last night's season finales of both "The Walking Dead" and "Talking Dead."

TV Review
Chris Hardwick's 'Talking Dead' walks off with zombie fans
AMC's companion show to 'The Walking Dead' has turned into a surprise hit, smartly harnessing social media to draw fans into the zombie-focused conversation.
By Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times - Mar. 30, 2013

As the latest installment of AMC's zombie apocalypse, "The Walking Dead," airs on a recent Sunday night, Chris Hardwick calmly sits in a slightly tacky living room set in a small studio at CBS Television City. He silently reviews his notes on his iPhone and strategically positions his interview cards as the crew bustles around him and a (human) audience waits quietly in nearby bleachers.

The episode ends with a major character in dire straits — Andrea (Laurie Holden) is shackled and bound in a torture chamber devised by her ex-lover, the evil Governor (David Morrissey). As the final credits roll, the lights come up in the studio and Hardwick's somewhat incredulous expression is beamed live to the legions of "Walking Dead" viewers.

As the camera zooms in, Hardwick, wearing tennis shoes, a kaleidoscopic tie and a black jacket that looks a half-size too small, turns into "Dead" man, talking.

"Are you kidding me with that?" exclaims the 41-year-old comedian, host of AMC's surprise hit zombie chat-fest "The Talking Dead." "Andrea is being held captive in the chamber of horrors? What happens now?"

Broadcast directly after the phenomenally successful "The Walking Dead," "The Talking Dead" has taken on a life of its own, evolving from a half-hour companion show into a full-fledged, hour-long monster mash whose ratings in the coveted 18-49 demographic surpass a host of prime-time shows on the major networks.

Armed with an unabashed geek love for the series, Hardwick gleefully dissects every bite and slice from each episode while also juggling a panel of celebrity guests — all either associated with or just fans of the mother show. Led by Hardwick, who also hosts BBC America's cult favorite "The Nerdist," the panel dives into "Walking Dead" trivia, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and fields questions from viewers both in-studio and via email and phone calls.

"It's like a post-game show for the Super Bowl," said Brad Adgate, an analyst for New York-based ad firm Horizon Media. "This show has really capitalized on the power of social media. 'The Walking Dead' is one of the most popular shows on Twitter and Facebook, and this devoted following has always elevated 'The Talking Dead.'"

Last Sunday's episode of "The Talking Dead" averaged 4.5 million viewers, an increase of its weekly average of 3 million viewers. The midway point of the third season in February drew in 4.1 million viewers. Executives say about half of the "Walking Dead" audience stays tuned for "The Talking Dead."

Joel Stillerman, AMC's head of original programming, said he thought "The Talking Dead" would find its audience when it launched in the second season, "but I would be lying if I said I thought we would get these kinds of numbers. To see how it's grown is really a testament to the show, and to Chris. There's just this incredible energy surrounding the show in social media."

Even more significantly, "The Talking Dead" is one of the least expensive series on AMC's prime-time slate — the set is spare, there's no band and the production is low-frills. While declining to say how much the show costs, Stillerman said "it's a good business model. We get a nice return on our investment."

Although rumors have circulated that AMC may take a companion-show approach to its other series such as "Breaking Bad" or "Mad Men," Stillerman said nothing immediate is in the works.

The foundation of "The Talking Dead," of course, is conversation, which flows from a loose talk-show format. It isn't hard to book popular guests — in addition to Holden, other visitors include Robert Kirkman, who created the comic book series on which the show is based, and other writers, rocker Dave Navarro, writer-director Kevin Smith and comedian Patton Oswalt.

The only requirement for guests is that they be genuine fans of the graphic novel or the show — "The Talking Dead" is not the place for celebrities to hype their latest project. For instance, Aisha Tyler, who co-hosts the daily syndicated "The Talk" and is one of the voices on FX's animated comedy "Archer," did not mention those shows on her recent appearance (but Hardwick did plug her "Girl on Guy" pod cast).

The show's conversations range from plot point to character motivation. Earlier this month Holden explained to Hardwick why it would have been morally difficult for her character to commit the cold-blooded murder of the Governor.

Another weekly highlight is the show's "in memoriam" segment, which pays tribute to those characters — particularly zombies or "walkers" — who met a bloody fatal end during the episode. A recent episode saluted the "tree-hugging walker" and "hippie chick walkers."

The show's success has lifted Hardwick, who has turned his geekdom into a cottage industry: He is the founder of Nerdist Industries, a pop-culture/nerd empire that includes a website, a YouTube channel, pod cast and a comedy-variety show that airs on BBC America.

"Not every show needs an after-show," Hardwick said in an interview. "But 'The Walking Dead' is just one of those shows where you really need to talk about it after it's over. I wish there could have been a show like this after 'Lost.'"

He approaches his "Talking Dead" duties like a true fan. He'll watch "The Walking Dead' episode to be discussed the night before the show and purposefully avoids getting too far ahead of the audience.

"I want my enthusiasm to be genuine," he said. "I don't want to know anything that is coming up. Ideally, I want this show to be a big hug before going to bed."

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Nielsen Notes (Syndication)
With Longer Days Comes Lower Ratings
Most syndies down with onset of Daylight Savings Time
By Paige Albiniak, Broadcasting & Cable

The return of longer days sent syndie ratings further down in the week ending March 17. Levels of people using television plummeted by more than 2.8 million viewers on average from the prior week. Syndies also suffered massive preemptions during the week due to the election of Pope Francis I on March 13.

CBS Television Distribution's talk-show leader, Dr. Phil, was one of only three shows in the category to outperform over last year. NBCU's Steve Wilkos and Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams were the other two.

Phil slipped 10% from the prior session to a 2.8 with a week of mostly repeats, but managed to grow 8% over last year. Phil also led the talkers among daytime's key demographic of women 25-54 at a 1.6.

Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael made it eight straight weeks in second place, despite slipping 7% to a 2.5. Sony Pictures Television's Dr. Oz dropped 8% to a 2.3, but climbed into third place overall among the talkers. Warner Bros.' Ellen, in reruns, fell 15% and into fourth place at a 2.2. NBCU's Maury eased 5% to a 2.1.

NBCU's Steve Wilkos, which has been blooming in its sixth season, held steady for the week while improving 17% from the same week last year. CTD's Rachael Ray retreated 7% to a 1.4, tying Wilkos and NBCU's Jerry Springer, which was flat.

CTD's The Doctors declined 7% to a 1.3, although its March 11 interview with actress Valerie Harper, who was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, climbed 14% from the prior week to a 1.6, marking the show's highest-rated non-sweep episode of the season.

Wendy Williams surged 20% for the week and year to a 1.2.

Warner Bros.' Anderson Live, which wasn't live for the week, dropped 18% to a new season low 0.9. Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle fell 20% to a new season low 0.4.

The talk rookies all were at or near new season lows. Disney-ABC's Katie declined 17% to a new low 1.5. NBCU's Steve Harvey was flat at a 1.3. CTD's Jeff Probst dropped 14% to a new season low 0.6, tying Twentieth's Ricki Lake, which made it two weeks in a row at its season low. NBCU's Trisha lost 17% to a 0.5.

Court shows also found the going rough. CTD's court leader, Judge Judy, dropped 10% from the prior week to a 6.6, but was still up 5% from last year at this time. Judy also was the only court room to improve for the year, while every other court was down by double digits year to year.

CTD's Judge Joe Brown, now in the final months of its 15-year run, relinquished 16% to finish at a new season-low 2.1. Warner Bros.' People's Court also tumbled 16% to tie Brown. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis slumped 7% to a new season low 1.3. Twentieth's Judge Alex and Divorce Court both slid 8% to a 1.2. Entertainment Studios' America's Court stumbled 14% to a new season low 0.6, while freshman Justice for All and We the People both were flat at a 0.4 and 0.2, respectively.

Game shows weren't having much fun either. CTD's Wheel of Fortune skidded 11% to a 6.7, still good enough to be the first-run leader. CTD's Jeopardy! also dropped 11% to settle at a 6.2, and for the second week in a row was within half a point of Wheel, the closest the two strips have been all season. Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud faded 8% to a 4.8, falling below the 5.0 mark. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which will be betting on new host Cedric the Entertainer next season, eroded 8% to a 2.2, while NBCU's bucked the downtrend to climb 9% to a 1.2.

The veteran magazines all faded. CTD's leader Entertainment Tonight was off 8% from the prior week to a 3.4. CTD's Inside Edition deteriorated 13% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' TMZ yielded 5% to a 2.0. NBCU's Access Hollywood was down 16% to a 1.6. Warner Bros.' Extra receded 13% to a 1.4. CTD's new omg! Insider gave back 7% to a 1.3, although its companion, omg! Insider Weekend improved 13% to a 0.9. Finally, Twentieth's newcomer Dish Nation climbed 10% to a hit a new season high 1.1.

Among the off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros' The Big Bang Theory sank 8% to a 6.9, leading all of syndication. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men also erased 8% landing at a 4.9. Twentieth's Family Guy gave back 5% to a 3.5. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother moved 4% lower to a 2.6. SPT's Seinfeld and Twentieth's King of the Hill both declined 4% to a 2.3. Warner Bros.' Friends fell 5% to a 2.1. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond retreated 5% to a 1.9.

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After Barbara Walters, Who Will Stir the TV-News Biz?
By Brian Steinberg, Variety

By the end of May 2014, the cultural behemoth known as “TV News” will no longer include Barbara Walters, arguably its best known link to the medium’s earliest days. When she goes, so too will the most obvious reminder of what the news biz once was.

Yes, Dan Rather is out there hosting his show on AXS, and Tom Brokaw shows up occasionally on the sundry news networks of NBCUniversal, but it’s Walters – never mind her perch at “The View” or those kooky celebrity interviews – who started as a “Today Girl” just as NBC’s flagship morning show entered its second decade on the air and has a tie to the time when TV news had its greatest authority, credibility and integrity.

Let’s be honest: Those days are gone.

Today’s news moves much more quickly and has much less room for the reportage that grounds stories in facts. Indeed, across the three big cable-news outlets, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, ”coverage of live events during the day, which often require a crew and correspondent, fell 30% from 2007 to 2012 while interview segments, which tend to take fewer resources and can be scheduled in advance, were up 31%.” In this rapid-fire era of some of the biggest news nuggets surfacing on Twitter before they do anywhere else, TV news is often shoot first, aim later, and the quick pace of a dozen buzzing voices yammering hugger-mugger around a topic turns even the most serious debate into something you might see on ESPN.

You can argue that NBC’s Brian Williams – he of the leading nightly newscast – is today’s TV-news exemplar, but his ubiquity on everything from “Saturday Night Live” to “30 Rock” sometimes casts him more as an authority on the antics of the character his daughter plays on HBO’s “Girls” than on the European financial crisis. At ABC, Diane Sawyer is a model of trustworthiness, given her tenure on “60 Minutes” and “Good Morning America,” but at her age, her TV tenure is likely closer to its finale than its debut.

So what new forces are emerging in the news kitchen as the medium’s “first” generation fades from the airwaves? They are working in a trickier time. According to Pew, “the combined viewership for the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts dropped 2%, to 22.1 million” in 2012, while at the three biggest cable-news outlets, “audience figures started to show signs of languishing.”

Below, a few rather speculative thoughts about a small handful of leaders and people who might bear watching in the days and weeks to come:

Behind The Screen

Jeff Zucker
The former chief exec of NBC Universal has already started putting his mark on CNN, the outlet that often seems to represent vanilla in the three-flavor Neapolitan that is cable-news today. A bevy of ABC News personnel have arrived at the network in an effort to boost its overall relevance. A new Chris Cuomo-led morning show and a Jake Tapper afternoon program are likely the first part of a larger shake-up of CNN’s air. But CNN could arguably use a single face, someone with the gravitas to cover a terrorist attack on U.S. soil but who can also leap on whatever flotsam and jetsam are cresting on social networks. That would bolster the notion that CNN is the place people turn to when an explosive news event comes to the fore. One could argue the network hasn’t had that sort of person on board since the days of Bernard Shaw or Aaron Brown.

Alexandra Wallace: When reports surfaced earlier this week that NBC had made an overture to Anderson Cooper about replacing Matt Lauer on “Today”, it was Wallace, the senior NBC News executive who oversees “Today,” who came out to defend the show’s current host – not Patricia Fili-Krushel, the executive put in place to oversee all of NBC Universal’s news operations, or NBCU CEO Steve Burke. Executives in rival newsrooms see bigger things ahead for Wallace, who must now steer “Today” out of its hot-seat and find a way to triumph over ABC’s “Good Morning America.” After all, these executives note, the top seat at NBC News itself (which reports to Fili-Krushel) has not been filled since Steve Capus departed earlier this year

Behind The Desk

Willie Geist
Plucked from an early-morning roost on MSNBC , he now fills a seat on “Today” during its 9 a.m. hour. His “Morning Joe” tenure gives him an ease when discussing the issues of the day but his personality tends toward the light-hearted. Does NBC see a greater role for him in the morning going forward?

Anderson Cooper: With his own show on CNN, a contributing role at “60 Minutes” and a call from NBC Universal about hosting “Today,” it’s clear this affable anchor has bigger things in his future – if he wants them.

Chris Hayes: After working substitute anchor and weekend roles, he joins MSNBC’s weeknight lineup starting April 1. On a network packed with anchors who use a lot of hand-wringing and tut-tut-tuts to get their points across, Hayes has relied on intelligent discussion and, well, an air of calm. Does that work in MSNBC’s primetime?

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Critic's Notes
TV Taps the Foreign Idea Factory
By Mike Hale, The New York Times - Apr. 1, 2013

Ideas may not fall out of trees, but they do come in the mail from Sydney and Tel Aviv. Of the 100 or so pilot episodes being shot as candidates for the broadcast television networks’ fall lineups, at least a dozen are based on shows from Argentina, Australia, Britain or Israel.

Copying foreign TV shows is nothing new. But back when “All in the Family” and “Three’s Company” were hits in the United States, there was no way to see their British models, “Till Death Us Do Part” and “Man About the House,” short of getting your hands on a bootlegged videotape.

That has changed, though not completely. Amazon and the Internet don’t have everything, at least not legally or with the correct regional DVD encoding. You can, however, watch both “Homeland” and its Israeli inspiration, “Prisoners of War,” or both the American and British versions of “The Office” or “Shameless.”

And with a little planning you can see foreign originals before American copies are made, expanding your cultural horizons and increasing your water-cooler credibility. Here are five shows being remade for American audiences that can be seen easily online or on DVD. Check them out and, when their remakes aren’t picked up by the networks, you can be the first to say, “I knew that would never work here.”

‘GAVIN & STACEY’ (BBC, 2007-10) = ‘FRIENDS AND FAMILY’ (FOX) This sweet, funny, slightly cloying British comedy traces the ups and downs of the title characters’ relationship, from online to long-distance to uneasily married, getting comic mileage from the contrast between Gavin’s English suburban environs and attitudes and Stacey’s seedy surroundings on the Welsh seaside.

The central relationship (Mathew Horne and Joanna Page) could be more irritating than interesting, but the series offers an assortment of hilarious supporting performances to rival the variety of a Cadbury Milk Tray: Alison Steadman as Gavin’s overbearing mother, Rob Brydon as Stacey’s high-strung but loving Uncle Bryn and the show’s creators and writers, James Corden and Ruth Jones, as Gavin and Stacey’s best friends, Smithy and Nessa, larger than life in every way. Mr. Corden, demonstrating long before the play “One Man, Two Guvnors” that he is not just a comedian but a great comic actor, is sufficient reason to watch the show.

It seems like a good guess that the American version will swing the focus away from Smithy and Nessa, played by Dustin Ybarra and Ashlie Atkinson, and toward Gavin and Stacey, played by the more familiar Jason Ritter (“Parenthood,” “The Event”) and Alexis Bledel (“Mad Men,” “Gilmore Girls”). Jane Kaczmarek and Kurt Fuller are likely to be funny as Gavin’s parents, but their casting also indicates that the pilot’s tone may be more American sitcom-standard and less like the poignant (if sometimes prosaic) realism of the original.

‘PULLING’ (BBC, 2006-9) = ‘PULLING’ (ABC) This show, at least in its early episodes, still feels like the one that a lot of American comedies want to be. Featuring three unrepentantly randy women, it’s brutally frank about sex, booze and lowered expectations while also being smart and raucously funny. Donna, the central character played by the Irish comedian Sharon Horgan (who created and wrote the show with Dennis Kelly), leaves her lumpen fiancé on their wedding day and spends the rest of the series torturing him with her indecision. She’s a working-class cross of Jennifer Saunders’s Edina from “Absolutely Fabulous” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Elaine from “Seinfeld” with the shallowness and narcissism ratcheted up in ways that feel both more real and more absurd.

The one flaw in the six-episode first season of “Pulling” is a reverse on the “Gavin & Stacey” situation: where Mr. Corden and Ms. Jones were better performers than writers, Ms. Horgan was a much better writer than performer. While technically adept, she didn’t transmit much of a personality. It’s not fatal, though, because Rebekah Staton and Tanya Franks are so good as Donna’s roommates, the blissfully delusional airhead Louise and the angry, degenerate drunk Karen. (Many of the show’s 13 episodes begin with one of the women waking up and slowly discovering who or what is in bed with her.)

The American pilot has received a lot of advance applause for casting Kristen Schaal and Jenny Slate in those roles, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be any better. (June Diane Raphael of “NTSF:SD:SUV” will play Donna.) The real question is whether the writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (both of the American “Office”) can retain any of the original’s hair-raising, wildly gross sense of humor or any of its occasionally heartfelt turning-30 melancholia.

‘RAKE’ (AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 2010-PRESENT) = ‘RAKE’ (FOX) Richard Roxburgh, the well-known movie character actor (“Moulin Rouge,” “Van Helsing”), stars in this mix of legal drama, black comedy and social satire. He plays Cleaver Greene, a poetry-spouting lawyer who lives in the red-light district of Sydney, Australia; is in love with a prostitute; and goes to the cafe downstairs in his bathrobe to get his morning coffee. Cleaver resembles a lot of antiheroes on American premium cable, but this Australian model is more low key, and his conniving and self-righteousness have an amusing edge of resignation.

While Cleaver tries to avoid certain bookies and sabotage his favorite hooker’s budding relationship with a prosecutor, he takes on weekly cases that involve typical TV-lawyer tilting at windmills — in the early episodes he defends a self-confessed cannibal and a proud bigamist — but that thankfully emphasize humor over melodrama.

“Rake” could be translated to an American milieu, even on a broadcast network, without too radical an overhaul, and it’s promising that Peter Duncan, a creator of the original, is working on the pilot with the talented writer Peter Tolan (“Rescue Me”), and that Sam Raimi will be the director. Even more promising: the protagonist, now called Keegan Joye, will be played by one of America’s most gifted portrayers of kindhearted sleazeballs, Greg Kinnear.

‘SECOND SIGHT’ (BBC, 1999-2000) = ‘SECOND SIGHT’ (CBS) A series of four feature-length stories, “Second Sight” takes a staple premise of the modern British crime drama — arrogant male detective paired with young, headstrong female subordinate — and plays a clever, if literal-minded, game with it. Detective Chief Inspector Ross Tanner, a left-brainer with an attachment to hard, visible evidence, develops a rare eye disease, forcing him to turn to the more instinctual, psychological, stereotypically feminine methods embodied in the first episode by an attractive young detective who sees Tanner’s infirmity as a chance to advance her own career.

Beyond that premise there isn’t anything distinctive about the writing or plotting in “Second Sight,” and the three-hour opening story is slowed to a crawl by discussions of Tanner’s condition and headache-inducing shots from his point of view. There’s no reason to think that Michael Cuesta (“Homeland”) can’t come up with something better for the American pilot. What’s less likely is that Jason Lee will be as charismatic or as fun to watch as the original Tanner: Clive Owen, who appeared in “Second Sight” around the same time that the movie “Croupier” was making him a star in the United States.

‘SPY’ (SKY, 2011-12) = ‘SPY’ (ABC) Darren Boyd won Bafta and British Comedy best-acting awards for playing the hapless father accidentally turned MI5 agent in this sitcom, which exhibits a common British quality: the ability to do dark, absurdist humor with an air of realism and characters who are recognizably human and occasionally sympathetic. It’s something we rarely get from American broadcast TV, and when we do, as in ABC’s recently canceled “Don’t Trust the B — — in Apartment 23,” we don’t watch it.

The show’s humor flows from the sheer terror Mr. Boyd’s Tim feels in the presence of his 9-year-old son, Marcus (Jude Wright), a combination Einstein and 007 with the blond, bland good looks of the alien children in “Village of the Damned.” Mr. Boyd and Mr. Wright have a nice chemistry in the original; it will be up to Rob Corddry and Mason Cook (the young Burt in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”) to recapture it for the American pilot.

Going Global

Some foreign shows being made as American television pilots are available on DVD and online:

‘GAVIN & STACEY’ Amazon, iTunes, Netflix (Season 1); BBC, six DVDs, $79.98.

‘PULLING’ Amazon (Season 1), Hulu, iTunes; MPI, one DVD, $24.98, Season 1; one DVD, $24.98, Season 2.

‘RAKE’ BFS Entertainment, three DVDs, $39.98, Season 1.

‘SECOND SIGHT’ BFS Entertainment, five DVDs, $44.98.

‘SPY’ Hulu; BFS Entertainment, two DVDs, $29.98.

post #85980 of 93675
Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

But, you missed my point: this is AVS. There are a greater number of people who want OAR, the best quality video and audio and the original audio tracks with subtitles for languages they don't speak. Arguing for dub tracks here is like asking for a sushi restaurant to serve burgers and fries.

uh huh……..

Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Mar. 31, 2013

TLC, 9:00 p.m. ET

TLC presents two episodes of this “moppet beauty pageant contestant” reality-show series tonight in prime time. They aren’t new episodes – but does anyone tune in to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to learn anything new? Or learn anything, period? But this show is worth championing, I feel, because of its subtle insights. Like, for example, how it helps, on occasion, to superimpose even English-speaking, U.S.-born natives with subtitles.


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