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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2886

post #86551 of 93674
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Netflix's 'House of Cards' looks, but doesn't sound, like a hit
The unusual release strategy for the series starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright created initial buzz, but the show hasn't stayed in the cultural conversation.
By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times - Apr. 27, 2013

If "House of Cards" were an actual television show, this would be the day after its finale — a time to analyze the cultural impact of the E-ticket D.C. thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, and to painstakingly mine the end of the first season for clues to the second. There would be hashtags and recaps, heated discussions and lists of things to love and hate.

Instead: radio silence. After all, fans have already seen the finale weeks, possibly months, ago. Or they haven't. Or they're watching it right now. Who knows? Because "House of Cards" isn't a television show; it's the first big scripted drama produced for the former purveyor of DVDs and secondhand streaming content, Netflix. Unleashed at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 1 in its 13-episode entirety, "House of Cards" would, we were told by people who seemed to know, change the world as we know it.

So how come no one is talking about it?


It's funny to see an article like this after all the "ra, ra" articles pronouncing TV as we know it dead due to Netflix getting into the original series game. They were going to take over the world. People would stop watching traditional TV in droves. The world as we know it was coming to an end for linear TV. This was going to be the ultimate game changer for the way TV was made and distributed.

Things still might change, but I feel a lot of the talk was abit too premature and skewed way toward Netflix having a much greater hand than they really do in this game of Poker surrounding "House of Cards".

Meanwhile, all the conversation is on shows like "The Americans" "Orphan Black", "Defiance", "Elementary" and even "Grimm", which few thought could possibly be good before they saw it.

Having said that, I will say that there are some dark changes coming, but mostly to broadcast TV. Of the most buzzworthy shows out there, most are from the cable nets and HBO. Despite still getting a greater share of the audience in most cases, nobody really talks about the broadcast network shows nearly as much.

In other words, as popular as they may be, they aren't conversation starters.

Sure, shows like "Person of Interest" spawn some discussion, but it's the shows further up the dial that people are really discussing.

I will say, though, the author of the article is forgetting one thing: in the case of "House of Cards", people have been really great about not spoiling it for those who haven't watched it yet. As a result, that may be why there isn't as much discussion: people are respecting the spoilers. The result is, it becomes harder to talk about it as much. People are instead asking if you've seen it, or how far along you are instead of jumping right in and talking shop about it.

That's definitely new ground.
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I liked HoC and would have watched it on a weekly basis. At least releasing it all at once created some buzz and might pave the way for a more traditional and successful weekly release in the future.
post #86553 of 93674
Speaking of spoilers for 'House of Cards', that article contained several. I haven't seen it yet, saving it for the proverbial rainy summer day, but several plot points were revealed. Might I suggest editing that post and using tags? Too late for me, but maybe not for others who likewise feel no rush to watch it because of its (for now, at least) unique release strategy.

Of course, that begs another question: With regard to a show like this, where there is no real broadcast window, how long do you wait to discuss it? When is it "safe"? That's probably one good reason why the show hasn't had much... discussion.
post #86554 of 93674
^^^ Sorry about that. frown.gif Added a disclaimer so future readers know what they're about tor read contains spoilers.
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TV Notes
Save Our Shows: Your voice
By USA Today Staff - Apr. 28, 2013

You voted in our annual poll, and now we have the results: Which shows do TV viewers want to keep for another season? Which shows will actually survive? (Percentages don't add to 100, because voters could choose "don't care").


Percent keep: 38%
Percent drop: 19%
Stars: Gary Sinise, Sela Ward, Hill Harper, Carmine Giovinazzo
Seasons: 9
Airs: Friday, 9 ET/PT (Season finale ran Feb. 22)
Season-to-date average:
3.8 million
Outlook: A long shot, but arguably has best chance of "on the bubble" CBS dramas; future depends on how well fall pilots turn out.

ABC, 'Body of Proof'

Percent keep: 34%
Percent drop: 17%
Stars: Dana Delany, Jeri Ryan, Mark Valley
Seasons: 3 (premiered Feb. 19)
Airs: Tuesday, 10 ET/PT
Season-to-date average:
8.6 million
Outlook: Merely OK. Has proven compatible with Dancing With the Stars' results show, and ratings perked up in recent weeks. But plenty of new 10 p.m. dramas are fighting for slots.

CBS, 'Vegas'

Percent keep: 34%
Percent drop: 20%
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jason O'Mara
Seasons: 1
Airs: Friday, 8 ET/PT (as of March 29; old time slot was Tuesday, 10 ET/PT)
Season-to-date average:
12.8 million
Outlook: Dim. Moved to lower-pressure Fridays, where ratings have tanked, and it's CBS' oldest-skewing show.

ABC, 'Last Man Standing'

Percent keep: 30%
Percent drop: 22%
Stars: Tim Allen, Nancy Travis, Molly Ephraim, Kaitlyn Dever, Hector Elizondo
Seasons: 1
Airs: Friday, 8 ET/PT (season finale ran March 23)
Season-to-date average:
7.8 million
Outlook: Pretty strong. Not a big crowd-pleaser but a reliable utility player for Friday family comedy block.

ABC, 'Happy Endings'

Percent keep: 30%
Percent drop: 23%
Stars: Damon Wayans, Casey Wilson, Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton
Seasons: 3
Airs: Friday, 8 ET/PT
Season-to-date average:
2.8 million
Outlook: Largely dependent on fate of adult-comedy pilots, though recent Friday ratings are not encouraging. But USA Network is interested if ABC cancels.

NBC, 'The New Normal'

Percent keep: 29%
Percent drop: 30%
Stars: Andrew Rannells, Justin Bartha, Georgia King, Bebe Wood, Ellen Barkin, NeNe Leakes, Jayson Blair
Seasons: 1
Airs: Tuesday, 9:30 ET/PT
Season-to-date average:
5.1 million
Outlook: A favorite of NBC's chief programmer in spite of modest ratings at challenged network. May benefit from worse problems elsewhere.

NBC, 'Community'

Percent keep: 28%
Percent drop: 23%
Stars: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown
Seasons: 4
Airs: Thursday, 8 ET/PT (premiered Feb. 7)
Season-to-date average:
3.7 million
Outlook: Not good. Under a new producer, this season has not excited even hard-core fans, and NBC is expected to replenish Thursday lineup.

ABC, 'Suburgatory'

Percent keep: 28%
Percent drop: 25%
Stars: Jane Levy, Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines, Carly Chaikin
Seasons: 2
Airs: Wednesday (Wednesday, 8:30 ET/PT as of March 27; old time slot was Wednesday, 9:30 ET/PT)
Season-to-date average:
6.8 million
Outlook: 50/50. ABC wants to try new companions for The Middle and Modern Family, leaving few other homes for this family sitcom, which took a recent ratings dip.

NBC, 'Go On'

Percent keep: 27%
Percent drop: 23%
Stars: Matthew Perry, Laura Benanti, Julie White, Suzy Nakamura, John Cho
Seasons: 1
Airs: Tuesday, 9 ET/PT
Season-to-date average:
6.4 million
Outlook: Mixed. Too dependent on The Voice's lead-in for decent ratings, but it has an established star in Matthew Perry -- and NBC can't cancel everything.

CBS, 'Golden Boy'

Percent keep: 22%
Percent drop: 22%
Stars: Theo James, Chi McBride, Kevin Alejandro
Seasons: 1 (premiered Feb. 26)
Airs: Tuesday, 10 ET/PT
Season-to-date average:
10.4 million
Outlook: Iffy. Steady but unimpressive ratings make it a weak link as CBS plots aggressive new-series development with few other holes to fill.

ABC, 'Malibu Country'

Percent keep: 19%
Percent drop: 29%
Stars: Reba McEntire, Lily Tomlin, Sara Rue
Seasons: 1
Airs: Friday, 8:30 ET/PT (season finale ran March 23)
Season-to-date average:
6.9 million
Outlook: Reba McEntire sitcom's chances are decent. See Last Man Standing.

NBC, 'Whitney'

Percent keep: 18%
Percent drop: 36%
Stars: Whitney Cummings, Chris D'Elia, Rhea Seehorn, Zoe Lister-Jones, Dan O'Brien
Seasons: 2
Airs: Wednesday (8:30 ET/PT as of March 20; old time slot was 8 ET/PT)
Season-to-date average:
2.7 million
Outlook: Ordinarily, weak. But strangely, poll's top "drop" choice can't be counted out completely.

ABC, 'The Neighbors'

Percent keep: 18%
Percent drop: 32%
Stars: Jami Gertz, Lenny Venito, Simon Templeman, Toks Olagundoye
Seasons: 1
Airs: Wednesay, 8:30 ET/PT
Season-to-date average:
6.6 million
Outlook: Tossup for throwback alien family sitcom, though network believes it has improved from weak pilot. Could be headed to Friday.

CW, 'Nikita'

Percent keep: 13%
Percent drop: 25%
Stars: Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca, Aaron Stanford
Seasons: 3
Airs: Friday, 8 ET/PT
Season-to-date average:
1.4 million
Outlook: Low-rated action drama may benefit from Friday home, inhospitable for new series.

CW, 'Beauty and the Beast'

Percent keep: 12%
Percent drop: 24%
Stars: Jay Ryan, Kristin Kreuk
Seasons: 1
Airs: Thursday, 9 ET/PT
Season-to-date average:
1.9 million
Outlook: Renewed on Friday, in part because CW co-owner CBS produces few other series for the network.

CW, 'The Carrie Diaries'

Percent keep: 9%
Percent drop: 35%
Stars: AnnaSophia Robb, Ellen Wong, Matt Letscher, Freema Agyeman, Stefania Owen
Seasons: 1 (premiered Jan. 14)
Airs: Monday, 8 ET/PT
Season-to-date average:
1.5 million
Outlook: Online viewing offsets weak TV ratings, but may not be enough to save this Sex and the City prequel.

* * * *

Here are selected comments culled from the 116,800 voters in this year's S.O.S. survey.

The New Normalshows that there are different families in this world (better thanModern Familydoes), and I would love to see how the multigroup, multigenerational family grows next season. —Chloe Perelgut, Toronto

Happy Endings is such a hilarious show. The writing for the show is so fresh and unlike any comedy on TV right now. The characters are extremely lovable, and the chemistry between the cast is evident in how the actors portray their characters. Please, save Happy Endings!!!! — Aniefiok Udoekong , New London, Wis.

Happy Endings is so original, and makes me laugh out loud during every single episode. Community also has such a devoted audience. What other show can say they have a convention only about their show (CommuniCon)? — Abby Armbruster, Wooster, Ohio

Fans DO care about Beauty and the Beast; in fact, we are obsessed with it. The series may have had a slow start, but now has found its voice. There's romance, action, intrigue and humor. This gem deserves a second season (and more). — Lee Gardner, Glendale, Calif.

Vegas has great stars, big scope, terrific drama and interesting characters. Good shows often need time for people to discover them. I didn't get into NCIS until Season 4; Vegas is already "must-see" for me. — Ace Roberts, Portland, Ore.

From Portugal to 16th Annual Save Our Shows: CSI: New York is an excellent series, was from the first episode of the first season, has excellent actors, stories and scenes that hold the viewer. It is 100% better than its counterpart (CSI). — Adelaide Sintra, Lisboa (Lisbon)

Happy Endings! It's a brilliant situational comedy about a group of quirky, lovable friends. They have a friendship that I myself envy and try to force into my own life with my group of quirky friends. I love that the show's gay guy isn't the cliche but something different for TV. It's very well written and never a dull or slow moment. The show could do great if ABC put it back on Wednesdays with Modern Family and The Middle. — Aaron E. Perry Jr., Dallas

So happy with The New Normal as it takes you through topics and does a good job of either showing how they work or humanizing them to show something in society that needs to change. It is also one of the most touching of any of the current shows on TV. — Andrew Kuempel, Blaine, Minn.

Golden Boy. Excellent actors with good scripts provide for entertaining television. Chi McBride deserves a show that will last for more than a season or two. — Andre Kinney, Lexington, Ky.

Please save The New Normal. It is a landmark concept and, if marketed correctly and written well, would continue to show the public that homosexuality is a natural thing. The world needs more shows like The New Normal, especially ones so well-written and heartwarming. — Alexandra Gates, Berkeley, Calif.

Please keep The New Normal. It's funny and original and so many people love it. Even here in Australia (and we are slower at acceptance than the U.S.), there is a huge following for the show! — Amanda Vido, Melbourne, Australia

Golden Boy is a well-written show with a fabulous plot line and great acting. Speaking as a 21-year old, this is one of the only shows right now that is of serious quality. It's a spin on the cop shows we've seen for so long, but with the qualities of a refreshing story and potential for deep character development. — Alexis Copithorne, Boston

CSI: New York has an excellent cast and great chemistry, and great stories come out of the setting. Golden Boy and Vegas need another year to find their audience. Both have excellent actors. — Barbara Blehm, Greeley, Colo.

Happy Endings is probably the most underrated comedy on the air. It is hilarious and has never been given a fair shot. There have been lags between episodes, episodes have aired out of order and they keep moving days and times. Friday evening is a death sentence. It is just plain sad. — Brandy Woolford, St. Louis

The one show I really hope gets renewed is Vegas, starring Dennis Quaid as Sheriff Ralph Lamb and Michael Chiklis as crime boss and casino owner Vincent Savino. The first half of the season was a bit confusing, not knowing what other characters were going to be a main part of the continuing storyline. But, it's going to be worth watching to find out if Mia Rizzo will follow in the footsteps of Johnny Rizzo, her daddy, and if Mia and Jack ever get back together. — Greg Hanlin, Columbus, Ohio

All the CSIs, Good Wife, Criminal Minds, Elementary. These are all good shows with plots that are addictive. Networks are being overtaken with reality shows with people reacting for the camera. I have my own reality, I don't need theirs. — Carolyn Bell, Crystal Springs, Miss.

In an era where cable is stealing all the ratings and the critical praise, it seems like a good idea to keep some of the smart quality shows like Community and Suburgatory. — Charles Wood III, Denver

While Nielsen ratings may have actually been moderately meaningful in the days of cassette tapes, Pogs, Power Rangers, Sega Genesis and Super Soakers, in today's viral and real-time environment, it's all about social sharing and online communities. I am hoping that the executives at NBC aren't stupid enough to ignore the fact that Community consistently is part of the most talked-about shows online and trends high on the digital sphere. Oh, and it's brilliantly hilarious. I'm just a 20-something, young, tech-savvy professional who is active on all the social media sites. In other words, the very demographic that advertisers drool over. — Chris Niermann, Houston

It takes time to build a good following as people find out how a show really is, of course. Smash is one of the best-acted, most brilliant shows, exposing the average person to Broadway behind the scenes. Give people a chance to find it and get excited about the live theater. — Connie Fountain, Mansfield, Texas

I live in the CST time zone. How I Met Your Mother was on at 7 p.m., and was not suited for family viewing. We need more shows like Last Man Standing and Malibu Country in that time slot!!! — Patti Love, Neola, Iowa

(Rules of Engagement) Patrick Warburton is awesome on that show. The dynamic between the couples is great as well. David Spade's character is funny too. — Greg Guswiler, Bloomington, Minn.

The New Normal is such a fantastic show. It's beautifully and smartly written and portrays the homosexual "lifestyle" as exactly what it is. Normal. It teaches society that members of the LGBT community are deserving of the same rights and treatment as everybody else. — Hannah Thomson, Arlington, Texas

I really enjoy The Carrie Diaries. Having read the books, I became an instant fan, and I think AnnaSophia Robb does an amazing job playing the iconic Carrie Bradshaw. I love the fact that it's based in the '80s and the stories are refreshing and unique. After seeing the season finale, I can see the full potential of this show; has to grow. It somehow reminds me of a John Hughes movie. — Jasmine Jackson, Valley Village, Calif.

Go On is a great show that my husband and I both look forward to each week. The cast works really well together, the writing is excellent and the camera work is really good. — Jennifer Bellinger, O'Fallon, Ill.

Body of Proof is building better characters who interact with each other as clever adults. Give it more time. Golden Boy is another series building interesting characters. — Kathleen Roche, Liberty Lake, Wash

Body of Proof offers excellent drama and mystery, and Dana Delany brings style and humor to the mix. — Sandy Kovar, Omaha

The New Normal is not getting the ratings it deserves due to local networks not feeling "comfortable" airing it. It tackles, although humorously, very real topics spanning the gay community and makes them more real. — Joseph Lara, Austin

Shows like The New Normal show alternate lifestyles in a loving and highly moral way, and are too valuable to be lost. I am not gay, but totally believe in their rights. — Suzanne Smith, Visalia, Calif.

Guys With Kids. Love that show, can completely relate. Why is this show going, and New Normal is still on? This is a weak attempt to copy Modern Family. — David Legault, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.

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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! (Martin Short; Leah Remini; Zac Brown Band performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - How I Met Your Mother
8:30PM - Rules of Engagement
9PM - 2 Broke Girls
9:30PM - Mike & Molly
10PM - Hawaii Five-0
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Mindy Kaling; CIA analyst Nada Bakos; Ben Harper performs with Charlie Musselwhite)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Mary McCormack; Jim O'Heir)

8PM - The Voice (120 min.)
10:01PM - Revolution
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Ben Kingsley; comic Larry the Cable Guy; The Band Perry performs)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Rebel Wilson; chef Anthony Bourdain; "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice'' castoff; Retta)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Mixed martial artist Georges St. Pierre; "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl''; Glossary performs)

8PM - Bones (Season Finale)
9PM - The Following (Season Finale)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Rapid City
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Vintage Phoenix
(R - Jun. 18)
10PM - Independent Lens: The Undocumented (90 min.)

8PM - Porque el Amor Manda
9PM - Amores Verdaderos
9:55PM - Qué Bonito Amor

8PM - Oh Sit!
9PM - 90210

8PM - Pasión Prohibida
9PM - La Patrona
10PM - El Señor de los Cielos

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Jon Hamm)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Music group Iggy and the Stooges)

11PM - Conan (Brad Garrett; Amy Schumer; Old Crow Medicine Show)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Gwyneth Paltrow; Nico Santos; Sarah Colonna; Julian McCullough)
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Critic's Notes
Mark Cuban's AXS TV Adds 'HuffPost Live' Daytime Show
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Apr. 28, 2013

Mark Cuban's AXS TV is bulking up its daytime fare.

The cable network owned by Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest, CAA and AEG has partnered with the Huffington Post's streaming network, HuffPost Live, for a daytime programming block.

Airing Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. EST (7 a.m.-1 p.m. PST) the block will provide a custom viewing experience created specifically for AXS and will feature live HuffPost Live's original and live video content with an on-screen viewer comment stream to encourage real-time participation from viewers.

"Given its focus on becoming the premier cable destination for live programming, AXS TV is a perfect fit for HuffPost Live’s real-time coverage of the day’s news, and a great opportunity to bring social engagement to TV,” said Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group.
HuffPost Live on AXS TV will air five days a week starting May 13, with an app launching in the summer to offer viewers a second-screen experience and opportunity to join the dialog.

Added Cuban: “Adding live daytime programming is a big step in AXS TV’s road to becoming a 24/7 live network focused on pop culture, music and entertainment. With the unique social participation components [HuffPost Live president/co-creator] Roy [Sekoff] and his team at HuffPost Live have built exclusively for AXS TV viewers, we are also underscoring our commitment to form a direct connection with our audience thru our programming and to increase the footprint of social television,” said Mark Cuban, Founder, Chairman and President of AXS TV.

AXS TV launched in July, airing more live concerts and events than any other network, with a cadre of artists on board including Jay Z, Bono, Usher, Aerosmith, Jennifer Hudson and more.

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TV Review
Death in the Desert
PBS’ The Undocumented Unearths a Trail of Immigrant Corpses
By Mark McLaughlin, Examiner.com - Apr. 28, 2013

The Undocumented is not for the squeamish. This latest offering in PBS’ Independent Lens series is about the immigrants who cross the Arizona border but never make it far enough to be classified as illegal aliens. This film by Marco Williams is about those who die trying, those who “in search of the American dream lose it in the desert.”

As many as 200 Mexicans a year perish in the unforgiving Arizona wasteland, their long journey into the United States coming to a grisly and tragic end for lack of food, water and medical care as they struggle through the harsh wilderness. While there are scenes of Border Patrol agents chasing down and rounding up migrants, those are the lucky ones; so many who came before and who will follow after are not so fortunate, as a collection of wooden crosses marking those who died in the crossing attests.

The Undocumented does not try to show the plight of the illegal migrants who made it to Arizona. This film instead presents a coroner’s eye view of dead and decomposing corpses, and of the skeletal remains found in the desert by both government officials and humanitarian organizations.

One of these groups, the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos in Tucson, works to help Mexican families identify and retrieve those remains, often to bring them home for a proper funeral. Another, Human Borders, sends volunteers out into the border area in the hope of finding those who can still be helped before it is too late. They provide water, food and some medical care, but also are duty-bound to call in the authorities who will send the weary wanderers back across the border when they are fit enough to travel.

Director Marco Williams follows the efforts by a few families, especially that of Francisco Hernandez, who hope to find a live rather than a dead relative who crossed the border illegally. Too often, as Kat Hernandez of Derechos Humanos laments, the search even if successful results in the reunion being marked with a funeral rather than a celebration.

The Undocumented is not an easy or entertaining film to watch. It hits the stomach more than it tugs at the heart, and there is no happy ending or even workable solution presented to this ongoing tragedy. Williams does, however, show the Border Patrol in an unusually sympathetic light, especially when he follows Search and Rescue officers whose task has every bit as much to do with saving the lives of illegal immigrants as it does with sending them back across the border.

The Undocumented airs on most PBS stations at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday, April 29. Connecticut viewers who have access to PBS stations in Boston and New York will be able to watch the show Monday night; those who only receive Connecticut Public Television will have to wait for a later date to be announced. The Undocumented is part of the highly-acclaimed Independent Lens series, and is introduced by actor Stanley Tucci.

Network / Air Date: PBS, Monday at 10 p.m. (Check Local Listings)
Rating: ★★★★ (out of five)

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Critic's Notes
Giving a Wide Berth to Artists of Cable TV
By David Carr, The New York Times' 'Media Equation' Blog - Apr. 29, 2013

We used to turn on the television to see people who were happier, funnier, prettier versions of ourselves. But at the turn of the century, something fundamental changed and we began to see scarier, crazier, darker forms of the American way of life.

Pinning down a realignment in the zeitgeist is dicey business, but more than a few people might point to Feb. 7, 1999. On that night on HBO, a character named Tony Soprano went with his daughter, Meadow, to inspect a college. It’s an oft-deployed television trope, but this time it came with a mind-altering twist. While at a gas station on the way to the college, Tony spotted a former associate who had become an F.B.I. informant and entered witness protection. In between the quotidian tasks of touring the campus, Tony hunted the man down and used his bare hands to kill him.

Rather than being revolted, audiences and critics began to chatter, and the episode, the fifth in Season 1 of “The Sopranos,” won an Emmy for outstanding writing in a dramatic series. The rest was television history.

It was not only a profound shift, but a highly lucrative one as well. Built on lush portraits of human pathology, subscription- and ad-supported cable channels gradually became hotbeds of quality and profits, even as broadcast networks withered.

Click on ambitious cable channels now, and you will find a high school science teacher who makes meth when he is not dissolving his enemies in vats of acid (“Breaking Bad”); a successful Madison Avenue advertising executive whose entire life is a lie (“Mad Men”); a forensics investigator who is a serial killer on the side (“Dexter”); and another New Jersey gangster, this one in Atlantic City, who is also very much the family man (“Boardwalk Empire”).

It has been a winning formula, but the execution risk is high. In “Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution,” to be published in July by Penguin Press, the author, Brett Martin, suggests that the programming was produced by men who were as tortured and sometimes as despotic as the antiheroes they hung their plots on.

In his book, Mr. Martin suggests if you want to create original programming, you are going to have to deal with the idiosyncrasies of some very original characters. Artists, and that’s what they were, require a wide berth, even when tens of millions of dollars is at stake.

In this new order, writers suddenly became director-producers, filling their writing rooms with talented cronies, who may or may not have had television experience. Crews would stand by for days while the creators mulled details and handed out freshly printed pages of entire new scenes. Directors, studio executives, even the actors became game pieces in the creator’s effort to build a version of the universe he saw in his head.

“This isn’t like publishing some lunatic’s novel or letting him direct a movie. This is handing a lunatic a division of General Motors,” one television veteran told Mr. Martin, remaining anonymous presumably because he or she hoped to make more television — and more money — with said lunatics.

What becomes remarkable in retrospect is not just the rise of a new kind of storytelling, but the realization that an entire industry was built and controlled by writer-producers, men who typed for a living. Among others, Mr. Martin recounts the rise of David Chase, the creator of “The Sopranos”; David Milch, who came out of “NYPD Blue” to create “Deadwood”; David Simon, a former reporter for The Baltimore Sun who created “The Wire”; and Matthew Weiner, a “Sopranos” alumnus who conjured “Mad Men.”

That cohort and several others produced a small-screen equivalent to the revolution in American cinema during the 1970s, led by Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman and Francis Ford Coppola. The most remarkable narrative ambitions are now defined by a television season more often than a film, and show runners like Mr. Chase became all-powerful overlords of the worlds they created.

“It was necessary for me to always take the point of view that I was obligated to no one and nothing,” Mr. Chase told Mr. Martin.

Big money creates its own leverage, but after a while, HBO became hooked on prestige, approving a fourth season of Mr. Simon’s “The Wire” even though audiences were meager.

Ed Burns, who created “The Wire” with Mr. Simon, captured the leverage of the creative side in this new age by telling Mr. Martin, “I don’t even know what a producer is.”

The suits, in this instance, were responsible for protecting and nurturing a new kind of auteur, not sending studio notes asking him to tweak his vision.

“Original content comes from people who see things in an original way,” said Carolyn Strauss, who was president of HBO’s entertainment division until 2008 and now produces programming, including “Game of Thrones.” “That doesn’t generally come from people who fit the standard mold. You have to move away from that mold and take people as they come. That means you deal with some idiosyncrasies and be a little more flexible.”

Mr. Martin suggests it is hard to summon the lightning in a bottle more than once and theorizes that great work can come only from desperation.

“You had this weird moment in history, a confluence of cultural, business and technological circumstances, that allowed writers to be in charge,” he said. “Amidst all the success, you have networks that had to decide to continue to give these people control, and most could not sustain the appetite for risk as they became more successful. Which is why the greatest shows have moved around the board to different networks.”

Chris Albrecht was the chief executive at HBO from 2002 to 2007 and president of programming before that. He now runs Starz.

“The HBO formula was not magic and not secret,” he said. “You spend a little more money, give people more time and do fewer episodes. The magic comes from people who are obsessed with a story that is in their heads.”

As it turned out, what had been holding television back was not the audiences, but the advertisers. HBO, freed of those bonds as a pay TV service, bet on a show about a fat, conflicted gangster who spent time in a shrink’s office when he wasn’t ordering up murders from the back of a strip club called the Bada Bing.

HBO had figured out that the strategy followed by broadcast networks — trying to please all of the people at least part of the time — was a losing formula for a pay service. Instead it began producing remarkable programming for a discrete audience that would pay a premium for quality. That audience has ballooned to some 30 million viewers and turned HBO into an A.T.M. for Time Warner, a lesson that was not lost on other cable channels. This revolution will continue to be televised.

Reading “Difficult Men,” it’s hard not to begin inventing a cable series in your head about the men who made that kind of programming. Or as Barbara Hall, a television veteran, said in the book, “Big money, big toys and a kind of warfare. What’s not to like?”

Edited by dad1153 - 4/29/13 at 1:54am
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SUNDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
‘Good Wife’ grows in season finale
Averages a 1.6 in 18-49s, up 7 percent over last week
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Apr. 29, 2013

May sweeps began on Thursday and that means a lot of season finales in the coming weeks.

CBS aired one last night, with the fourth-season ender of “The Good Wife” improving over last week.

The show averaged a 1.6 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, up 7 percent over last week.

It was down a tenth from last year’s finale and managed only a third-place finish in the demo in the hour.

But among the adults 25-54 that CBS targets, “Wife” took first at 9 p.m. with a 2.3, and it also won in total viewers with 9 million.

“Wife” has already been renewed for a fifth season.

Elsewhere last night, Fox’s “Family Guy” was the night’s top show in 18-49s with a 2.5 at 9 p.m. Fox won the night, buoyed by “Guy” and “The Simpsons,” up 11 percent from its most recent original two weeks ago to a 2.0, and “American Dad,” rising 6 percent from last week to a 1.9.

ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” dipped to a series-low 2.0 at 8 p.m. With its first new episode in four weeks, “Revenge” averaged a 1.7, up from a 1.5, while “Red Widow” dropped to a series-low 0.7.

NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” also fell from last week, down 6 percent to a 1.5.

Fox and CBS tied for first for the night in 18-49s with a 1.7 rating and 5 share apiece. ABC was third with a 1.5/4, NBC was fourth with a 1.2/3, Univision was fifth with a 1.1/3 and Telemundo was sixth with a 0.3/1.

At 7 p.m. ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and CBS’s “60 Minutes” tied for first with a 1.5 apiece. Fox was third with a 1.0 for a repeat of “The Simpsons” (0.9) and an original “The Cleveland Show” (1.2), Univision was fourth with a 0.8 for the first hour of “Nuestra Belleza Latina,” NBC was fifth with a 0.6 for a repeat of “The Voice,” and Telemundo was sixth with a 0.3 for the end of a Mexican league soccer match.

At 8 p.m. CBS moved into the lead with a 2.3 for “The Amazing Race.” ABC’s “Time” was second with a 2.0, Fox was third with a 1.9 for “Simpsons” (2.0) and “Bob’s Burgers” (1.7), NBC was fourth with a 1.0 for the second half of the “Voice” repeat, Univision was fifth with a 1.0 for more “Belleza” and Telemundo was sixth with a 0.3 for the first hour of the movie “Universal Soldier: The Return.”

Fox jumped ahead at 9 p.m. with a 2.2 for “Guy” (2.5) and “Dad” (1.9). ABC was second with the 1.7 for “Revenge,” followed by CBS’s “Wife” in third with the 1.6. NBC’s “Apprentice” took fourth with a 1.5, Univision placed fifth with a 1.2 for “Premios TV y Novelas” and Telemundo was sixth with a 0.4 for more “Soldier.”

At 10 p.m. NBC’s “Apprentice” led with a 1.6, followed by CBS’s “The Mentalist” in second with a 1.5. Univision’s second hour of “Premios” placed third with a 1.3, ABC’s “Widow” was fourth with a 0.7 and Telemundo’s first hour of the movie “Walking Tall” was fifth with a 0.4.

Among households CBS led with a 6.1/10. ABC was second with a 3.5/6, NBC was third with a 2.8/4, Fox was fourth with a 2.1/3, Univision was fifth with a 1.6/3 and the CW was sixth with a 0.9/1.

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TV Sports
NBC Sports Lacing Up For NHL Postseason
By The Deadline.com - Apr. 29, 2013

The coverage of every game in this year’s NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begins tomorrow with three games — including the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis on CNBC — and will feature as many as as 105 playoff games and possibly more than 260 hours of programming depending on how long each series last, the NBC Sports Group said today. It marks the second consecutive year the NBC networks will televise every game, taking fans into June.

NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, and NHL Network will pitch in. In addition, more games will be live-streamed than ever before: Besides TV Everywhere, NBC Sports Live Extra — the NBC Sports Group’s product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will stream games that air on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and CNBC, including the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. NBC and NBC Sports Network will share duties for the Stanley Cup Final series, with the broadcast network showing Game 1, Game 4, and Games 5-7 (if necessary), and NBC Sports Network televising Games 2-3.

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'The Big C' Final Season: Does Cathy Have to Die?
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Apr. 29, 2013

Showtime sends The Big C off with a four-episode final season, subtitled Hereafter, that will mark a somewhat departure for the dramedy about a woman (Laura Linney) fighting, living and potentially dying after a battle with cancer.

With Hereafter, the series from executive producers Darlene Hunt and Jenny Bicks will shift from 30-minute episodes to four hour-long installments (and compete in the miniseries Emmy category) as Cathy Jamison's final chapter unfolds.

The Hollywood Reporter sat down with EPs Hunt and Bicks as well as Emmy nominee Linney to preview the final season's format changes and what viewers of the series that hits close to home for its creators has in store. Here are 12 things to know about The Big C: Hereafter.

Why four episodes?
"We wanted to do hour-longs this year just to shake things up and have fun," Bicks says. "Four was a good number and it allowed us to span a year again -- we start in September and we go to May." With so much time to cover, each episode will connect to the one before but there will be a significant time jump between each hour. "We are tracking certain progressions of stories for each of the characters over the course of those four episodes."

The seasons of the year are still represented.
Conceptually, each season of The Big C was designed to reflect a season of the year -- season one was the summer and so on. Hereafter begins with the first day of fall, something Bicks says allows the final run to come full circle. "We end up touching each of the seasons within those four so we kind of do a replay of all of the seasons again, which was fun to do," she says. Adds Hunt with a laugh: "It's like life because seasons keep happening."

While each season has traditionally explored one of the five stages of grief, Hereafter will explore two: depression and acceptance.
"Cathy talks about depression and being depressed and what that’s done to her and then we head into a level of acceptance," Bicks says. "But at the same time, the truth of it is if you read anything about the stages of grief, they’re not one after the other all the time. Often they’re on top of each other or one comes back around. This season, we’re exploring everyone having different reactions to what’s happening as opposed to being so linear about it."

Tonally, the show isn't much different …
"Our tone has always been betwixt and between a bit and we sort of just rode the horse in the direction it was going a little bit in terms of it feeling a little weighty and little more like a drama than a comedy on some days," Hunt explains. "We wanted to really lean into that in the last season." So Cathy will still make her typically snarky responses and John Benjamin Hickey's Sean will still be a source of comic relief, but those moments will now have more time to breathe. Notes Bicks: "It felt good to not try to jam so much into half an hour. We would never push our comedy but I think in retrospect letting the moments breathe, both comedically and dramatically felt more right for the show."

… but it is more emotional.
Says Linney:
"It certainly has a slightly different temper. People who enjoy the slightly odd and unique quality that our show has won't be disappointed but it does tackle head-on, emotionally, the challenges of someone who’s battling cancer. But there’s still some pretty wacky decisions that Cathy makes."

Cathy quits chemo, is she giving up?
The first trailer for the final season reveals Cathy's tumors are growing and she's pondering ending treatment. But she's not giving up, producers say. "That’s going to be the perception," Bicks warns. "There have been a lot of pieces written recently about people realizing that chemo has been the thing that doctors tell you to do because either they’re in the pocket of some medical company or they want to believe that they can help you. But in the end, chemo in some cases isn't useful. I find it to be a very brave choice Cathy makes to say, 'I want to live the rest of my life as me, not as some shell of who I was. Why would I live that way?' She can still have hope but at least she can feel like herself again." Adds Hunt: "Is it a cancer show or a show about the inevitability of death? I feel like that moment is also sort of an embracing of the inevitable, which has always been part of my soapbox. So as maybe as disappointing as that moment might be for someone dealing with cancer and thinking she might make a different choice, I hope that it can be a victorious moment, too."

Is it downhill for Cathy after she quits chemo?
Not necessarily."When Cathy quits chemo she’s actually going to feel better so you’re not going to be watching this steady, sad decline of a character," Bicks says. "In episode two, Cathy has her energy back and feels like herself. That was important for us -- we didn't want to do an entire season where you just watch someone get sick an possibly die. Our goal was to really tell the complicated choices and see where it goes."

Cathy will still make crazy decisions.
While Cathy's bold and some would say crazy decision to set back out to sea with the stranger she met in the third-season finale will be explained in the premiere, those types of life choices will continue this year. Says Linney: "Cathy feels most alive when she makes decisions, when she organizes and when she tries to control things so I think it’s just a shift in perspective that she has and she feels like there’s a lot to do. And in some ways that’s invigorating for her."

What does Hereafter represent?
With a subtitle that seems to signify the afterlife, producers say the definition of hereafter is really up for grabs. Bicks says credit for Hereafter goes to her sister after producers had a difficult time coming up with a subtitle. "It’s more about what we’ve been saying all along about how you’re here and then you’re not, that it’s really about mortality in a bigger sense," Bicks says. "There’s here and then there’s after and that you have to live in both places at the same time. It's like that Buddhist thought, 'Every day you live you’re also dying at the same time.'"

Does the title give away Cathy's ultimate fate?
"I wouldn’t necessarily say that she has to die for that title to be valid," Bicks explains. "It just speaks to what we’re thematically about on the show. There’s no one answer to it and we have a great speech that Laura gives later in the season about the words that people use around that idea of like, 'He lost his battle with cancer' and the idea that somehow if you die you’ve lost. Why are we creating a world where when you die, which is a natural thing, you’re a loser, like you didn’t do something right? You didn’t battle hard enough."

What message does series creator Hunt want to send with the final season?
"One of the messages I want to send has always been transcendent of the cancer story, which is living while dying," Hunt says. "We’re all living while dying and we’re more alike than different and you’ll hear Cathy talk about dying, the specificities of dying and how people talk about people who are dying and what that is a lot what this season is. The fact that we’re all going there and yet sometimes we look upon people who seem like they’re closer than we are with such sympathy and with an ability to realize that that’s a little bit of a natural path. Cancer is unique because it’s something you can fight to get more time and sometimes horrifically that takes people what seems like too soon. But then what is the definition of too soon in a lifetime? We’re all just here for a moment and then we’re gone. So for me, I’ve always wanted to explore the universal idea and to get us talking about the realities of death and that it will take us all."

With only four episodes, there are big moments every week.
"The cool thing about only doing four is that each one of them has a lot of story going on and a lot of ups and downs -- especially with Cathy," Bicks says. "There is something rather shocking that happens to Cathy toward the end of the second episode." Adds Liney: "She makes some very big decisions about how she wants to behave and what she wants her lifestyle to be and how she wants her family to function. She makes some very big decisions that are not terribly popular, but she does step into a different place."

The Big C: Hereafter begins Monday, April 29 at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

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TV Sports
ESPN to cover all bases on College World Series coverage
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Apr. 28, 2013

Saturation TV coverage – as seen with the Olympics and NCAA men's basketball tournament – can greatly raise the visibility of big events.

So here's the question: Can TV lead to everybody eventually filling out office brackets for the NCAA baseball tournament?

ESPN, in a plan that will be formally announced today, is trying to make that happen with its College World Series coverage. Consider that during first-round coverage starting May 31, ESPN will carry every game from all 16 game sites – up from games at six sites last year, four in 2011 and just two in previous years.

Meaning, ESPN is going all-in on college baseball tournament tonnage. Its coverage of the first round – the Regionals – could include as many as 112 games over four days.

Last year, ESPN's game plan was only meant to cover as many as 83 games in the entire tournament, which uses a double-elimination format. This year, depending on play, ESPN could end up with 153 games – meaning every game in the tournament.

Why bother? Partly, the idea is to create a version of a whip-around channel, such as the NFL Network's RedZone channel for Sunday NFL action and ESPN's Goal Line channel for Saturday college football and Buzzer Beater channel for college basketball, which is offered on busy weekends and weeknights.

The idea behind those channels: Swing viewers among games where scoring – or something big – seems imminent. For the college baseball tournament, ESPN will debut a Bases Loaded channel, not just for when the bases are loaded but signaling any situation where action is bound to be exciting: a possible no-hitter, a player going for the cycle, an umpire's call leading to a manager going beserk.

But to be able to swing among games, obviously, they have to be covered.

"Viewers love the format of RedZone, Goal Line and Buzzer Beater," says ESPN senior coordinating producer Mike Moore. "If you don't have a particular rooting interest, it's a great way to watch sports. The TV crew becomes your remote for you." (Memo to NBC: You really need a RedZone-like channel to swing viewers among the many simultaneous live events in Olympic action.)

And in a good example of how digital platforms can be integrated with TV channels, ESPN will put most of its expanded CWS coverage on its ESPN3 digital channel, which ESPN says is in about 85 million households. The new Bases Loaded channel will air continuously on ESPN3 – for about 37 hours during the four-day first round – and will show up often on ESPN channels as handy filler during rainouts or between games. ESPN lead CWS analyst Kyle Peterson will be the host of the whip-around show before joining analysts such as Nomar Garciaparra on game action in later rounds.

CWS games already have a toehold on viewers nationally. ESPN's 11 CWS games last year averaged 1% of cable/satellite TV households and ESPN2's four games averaged 0.8%. But even if the expanded coverage doesn't build overall interest, suggests ESPN's Moore, it still serves a function during down time among TV games: "Instead of having a couple guys sitting in a studio talking, we can show games."

Edited by dad1153 - 4/29/13 at 9:14pm
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TV Review
Outside the Comfort Zone and Into Sketch Comedy
By Neil Genzlingner, The New York Times - Apr. 30, 2013

Amy Schumer, a breath of foul-mouthed fresh air as a stand-up comic, seems noticeably less revolutionary in her new series on Comedy Central, “Inside Amy Schumer,” which begins on Tuesday night. It’s primarily a sketch show, and what you get is the same sort of sketch-comedy roulette “Saturday Night Live” has been serving up for years: The good bits are hilarious; the others often kind of just lie there.

The opening episode, for instance, features a sketch in which Ms. Schumer goes way overboard after a first date with a not very appealing guy. She’s picking out their joint cemetery plots; he doesn’t even remember her when she calls.

Amusing? Yeah, probably, to a lot of dating-scene types. But cutting edge? Not very. Sitcoms and stand-ups have been riffing on the “waiting for a day-after text message” theme since before there were text messages, and this version doesn’t do much but string out the conceit a bit further than usual.

But another sketch in the same episode proves that Ms. Schumer and her writers do know how to turn a familiar idea on its head to good effect. Start with one of the most overworked comedy subjects there is: airplane humor. And merge it with — survivalist stories as seen on third-tier cable?

One man tells a horrific story about being attacked by owls. Another describes how he survived a shipwreck. And Ms. Schumer, in the same tortured tones, relates her ordeal of taking a cross-country flight without headphones. Ridiculous and, for Ms. Schumer, understated, a better fit for the sketch format than vulgarity often is.

That, of course, is a significant distinction. Ms. Schumer’s stand-up is so funny because it is a high-wire act: I’m here, I’m raunchy, take it or leave it. There’s a suicidal fearlessness to this approach that, in the stand-up format, earns the audience’s admiration. Similar material folded into a sketch doesn’t draw the same respect. It might get laughs, or it might just cause you to think, “A bunch of smart, funny people in a writers’ room and the best they could come up with was an extended scrotum gag?”

The series does provide glimpses of Ms. Schumer in her comfort zone. Each episode has clips from a stand-up show, reminiscent of “Seinfeld.” They often complement or set up the sketches, a device that helps make the episodes seem less random. On-the-street interviews (“Have you ever had a one-night stand?”) are used the same way; the show would do well to jettison them since they’re nothing but annoying in this series or any of the many others where they have turned up.

Ditto the outtakes at the end of the episodes. These tired trappings make the show feel as if it’s still searching for a way to capture Ms. Schumer’s talents in a form that will translate into a series.

Here’s a hint: Stale gimmicks won’t do the trick, because she’s an original.

Comedy Central, Tuesday nights at 10:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 9:30, Central time.

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TV Director Jack Shea, 3-Time DGA President, Dies at 84
By Todd Cunningham, TheWrap.com - Apr. 29, 2013

Jack Shea, who directed episodes of TV's "The Jeffersons," "Silver Spoons" and "Sanford and Son," died Sunday at his Tarzana home.

Shea, who had been suffering from Alzheimer's, was 84.

In addition to the sitcoms, Shea directed 10 editions of Bob Hope Christmas specials and earned two Emmy nominations. But he’ll be remembered just as much for his work with the Directors Guild of America, according to the guild president, Taylor Hackford.

"He occupied a truly unique position in the history of the modern DGA," he said Monday. "As the West Coast president of the Radio & Television Directors Guild in 1960, he was at the table sitting across from Frank Capra when the two guilds representing television and theatrical directors merged to form the modern Directors Guild of America."

Following the merger, he was elected to the DGA's national board, where he served for more than 35 years before serving as DGA president from 1997-2002. He also chaired the DGA Foundation. In 1992, Shea was honored with the Robert B. Aldrich Award for extraordinary service to the DGA.

Hackford called Shea a pleasure to work with.

“He always had a ready smile and keen interest in everyone he encountered,” he said. “Jack enjoyed life and shared it with everyone around him; as a leader, his gentle manner and the kindest of hearts will be the things we miss the most.”

Shea is survived by his wife of 59 years, TV screenwriter Patt Shea, a three-time Humanitas Award winner who worked on “All in the Family” and “Cagney & Lacey.” He also leaves his children Shawn, Bill, Michael and John Francis III, and grandchildren Amanda, Michael, Dylan, Hudson Patrick, Katie and Jackson.

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Critic's Notes
Spike TV Developing 5 Event Series in Push to Re-Enter Scripted Territory
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Apr. 29, 2013

Spike TV is hopping on the miniseries trend.

The male-focused cable network is eyeing a return to scripted fare, announcing the development of five event series from producers including Hatfields & McCoys' Leslie Greif, among others.

"Our move into scripted special-event series is a major step in the evolution of the brand that now reaches a more balanced audience,” said Sharon Levy, executive vp original series at Spike TV, who will oversee each of the five projects. “Each project features our development’s mission to thrill, inspire, and entertain the viewer. We also see this as a stepping stone to developing original scripted dramatic series.”

The move marks Spike's first attempt at a mini since its July 2007 event series The Kill Point and first original scripted comedy since Blue Mountain State, which ended its three-season run in November 2011.

The mini slate comes as cable networks including History, Discovery and more are looking to the lower-risk miniseries as an entry point into scripted fare following History's success with Hatfields and The Bible.

Here's a look at the slate. (Note: All titles are working titles.)

From Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoy’s), Chris Collins (Sons of Anarchy) and rock God and multihyphenate Gene Simmons (KISS), comes Hit Men, a thrilling look into the untold story of how the mafia took control of the music industry of the 1970s. From rising artists to radio stations to record labels, the impact organized crime had on all facets of the music business in this era was all-consuming and changed the music world forever. The event series will be produced by Thinkfactory Media.

Written by Academy Award-winning writer Bobby Moresco (Crash) and produced by Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels of Asylum Entertainment (The Kennedys), this movie event chronicles the raw and unfiltered rise and fall of Whitey Bulger, one of America's most notorious criminals. This four-hour epic delves deep into the life of Boston’s most infamous organized crime leader, who ruled New England’s criminal underworld with an iron fist for decades. Bulger’s larger-than-life story takes us from his days as a low-level street thug to FBI informant, to mob boss bent on undermining the competition, to the FBI's most wanted list, and fugitive on the lam for 16 years
STORY: Adam Carolla Pilot Among Spike TV's Ambitious Nonscripted Slate

In the 1970s, the United States military set up some very unorthodox and secretive departments to research a wide range of areas from telekinesis to ambient noise to body language. Among these included the Research and Acquisitions Department, designed to covertly find and acquire all artifacts mentioned in religious and mythological texts to determine if any of them truly claimed magical powers. The search came up empty until they came across the legendary Aladdin’s Lamp. The project comes to Spike from the Levinson/Fontana Co. with Brant Englestein (Borgia) as writer.

This project lifts the curtain on the untold behind-the-scenes story of the 2012 terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Based on declassified documents and testimonials from those who were on the ground, this miniseries will shed light on the actual events surrounding the tragic deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, and the heroic actions of CIA operatives that saved dozen of American lives. The untitled Benghazi project comes to Spike from Pilgrim Studios and Emmy Award winner Craig Piligian (Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy, The Ultimate Fighter) who is executive producing, along with Pilgrim Studios’ Beth Miller.

The stories of how technological innovation is transforming the human condition will be at the center of a series of films from Raw TV, the BAFTA Award-winning team behind the critically acclaimed film The Imposter. As technology becomes such an integral part of our lives and our most personal information becomes captured in a "cloud," how does this affect human interaction? From the comfort of a laptop, we are now able to do everything from cheating on our spouses, to sending SWAT teams to celebrities’ homes, to bringing about revolution or crashing financial markets. The connections in the digital age are actually resulting in a disconnection from humanity and this film series will explore this in a way never before seen on television. Raw TV’s credits also include Gold Rush, Locked Up Abroad and Paranormal Witness.

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Business/Legal Notes
Barry Diller says broadcasters are bluffing about going cable
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Apr. 29, 2013

Media mogul Barry Diller said he thinks his Aereo, the startup company that distributes broadcast signals via the Internet, could eventually end up with 20 million to 30 million subscribers.

Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills on Monday, Diller said once Aereo gets a significant subscriber base, it can become an outlet for original content as well as broadcast programming from CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox.

Diller, chairman of IAC, is a backer of Aereo, which charges consumers between $8 and $12 a month to receive broadcast channels through the Internet via a tiny antenna.

Broadcasters are trying to shut Aereo down because, unlike cable and satellite operators, it does not pay them to transmit their programming. So far, Aereo has survived legal challenges from the big broadcasters accusing it of copyright theft.

"No incumbent ever wants to see its territory invaded," Diller said of the lawsuits against Aereo.

Diller added that he thinks the courts will continue to side with Aereo but said he fears broadcasters will push Congress to take a stand against the company.

In recent weeks, both Fox and CBS suggested they would drop broadcast TV and become cable channels if the courts continue to side with Aereo.

Diller dismissed that as an empty threat.

"I think there is literally no chance," he said, adding that the local TV stations that the networks own are still big profit drivers.

But Diller didn't fault the networks for fighting Aereo.

"What fool wouldn't resist change if change would take away a real neat situation?" he said. The neat situation Diller was referring to is the money broadcasters get from pay-TV distributors to carry their signals, known in the industry as retransmission consent.

But he also had a warning for those who are resisting change: "Do not put your hand in front of a train."

Diller, who was an architect of the Fox network and before that headed Paramount Pictures, said it was his hope that Aereo and other new Internet-based distribution systems will ultimately change the way programming is sold to consumers.

He predicted that, at some point, HBO will sell its service on a stand-alone basis through its HBO Go application. Currently consumers must sign up for dozens of channels just to have the option to get HBO.

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

8PM - Splash
9PM - Dancing with the Stars (LIVE)
10:01PM - Murder.Mystery. Amanda Knox Speaks: A Diane Sawyer Exclusive
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Director Jon Favreau; Gabourey Sidibe; Band of Horses perform)
12:37AM - Nightline

9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
10PM - Golden Boy
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Dr. Phil McGraw; Chris O'Dowd; Phoenix performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Larry the Cable Guy)

8PM - The Voice
10:01PM - Grimm (Time Slot Premiere)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Cher and her mother, Georgia Holt; comic Dov Davidoff; Florida Georgia Line performs)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Winona Ryder; comic Marc Maron; Kenny Chesney performs)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Writer Bryan Fuller; "The Iceman''; Blue Hawaii performs)

8PM - Hell's Kitchen
9PM - New Girl
9:30PM - The Mindy Project

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - The Dust Bowl: Reaping the Whirlwind (120 min.) (R - Nov. 19)
10PM - Frontline - Top Secret America -- 9/11 to the Boston Bombings

8PM - Porque el Amor Manda
9PM - Amores Verdaderos
9:55PM - Qué Bonito Amor

8PM - Hart of Dixie
9PM - America's Next Top Model
(R - Sep. 14)

8PM - Pasión Prohibida
9PM - La Patrona
10PM - El Señor de los Cielos

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Robert Downey Jr.)
11:31PM - The Colbert Show (Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy)

11PM - Conan (Ke$ha; Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand from "Deadliest Catch''; Paramore)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Beth Stern; Jeff Wild; Heather McDonald; Jo Koy)
Edited by dad1153 - 4/30/13 at 10:02am
post #86570 of 93674
Isn't Body of Proof being pre-empted for Diane Sawyer's interview with Amanda Knox on ABC?
post #86571 of 93674
Originally Posted by mreedelp View Post

Isn't Body of Proof being pre-empted for Diane Sawyer's interview with Amanda Knox on ABC?

post #86572 of 93674
Originally Posted by mreedelp View Post

Isn't Body of Proof being pre-empted for Diane Sawyer's interview with Amanda Knox on ABC?

Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post


post #86573 of 93674
If Amanda Knox weren’t as attractive as she is there wouldn’t be an interview.
post #86574 of 93674
Originally Posted by Aliens View Post

If Amanda Knox weren’t as attractive as she is there wouldn’t be an interview.

post #86575 of 93674
^^^ If Amanda Know wasn't as attractive as she is she'd still be in jail in Italy. rolleyes.gif

Sorry about the mistake, it's fixed.
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I simply cannot stand Sawyer's smarmy, oozy presentation style. She doesn't report...she emotes.
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MONDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Fox hits a six-week high with finales
Monday lineup grows to its best rating since March
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Apr. 30, 2013

The finales of “Bones” and “The Following” gave Fox a boost last night.

The network drew its best Monday rating in six weeks, averaging a 2.3 adults 18-49 rating and 6 share, according to Nielsen overnights, finishing second on the night behind NBC with a 3.4/9.

“Bones” averaged a 2.1 at 8 p.m., its best rating since March 18 and up 11 percent over last year’s finale.

“Following” drew a 2.6 at 9 p.m., growing 8 percent over last week with its top-rated episode since March 11. The first-year show has already been renewed for next season, as has “Bones.”

Elsewhere last night, NBC’s “The Voice” fell to a season-low 4.1 but was still easily the night’s highest-rated show, with CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” finishing second for the night with a 2.7.

“Voice” lead-out “Revolution” drew a 2.0, even with last week.

ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and “Castle” both averaged 2.0s as well, both down a bit from last week.

“Mother” was even to its most recent episode two weeks ago while lead-out “Rules of Engagement” grew 25 percent from last week to a 2.0. It was CBS’s only original on the night last week.

CBS’s “2 Broke Girls” (2.5) and “Mike & Molly” (2.3) both inched up a tenth from their most recent originals on April 15.

With NBC and Fox out in front, CBS placed third in primetime with a 2.1/6, ABC fourth at 2.0/6, Univision fifth at 1.4/4, Telemundo sixth at 0.8/2 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-eight percent of Nielsen households have DVRs.

At 8 p.m. NBC was first with a 3.9 for “Voice,” followed by CBS with a 2.3 for “Mother” (2.7) and “Rules” (2.0). Fox was third with a 2.1 for “Bones,” ABC fourth with a 1.9 for “Stars,” Univision fifth with a 1.4 for “Porque el Amor Manda,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “Pasion Prohibida” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for “Oh Sit!”

NBC was first again at 9 p.m. with 4.4 for more “Voice,” while Fox moved to second with a 2.6 for “Following.” CBS was third with a 2.4 for “Girls” (2.5) and “Mike” (2.3), ABC fourth with a 2.1 for more “Stars,” Univision fifth with a 1.6 for “Amores Verdaderos,” Telemundo sixth with a 1.0 for “La Patrona” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for “90210.”

At 10 p.m. ABC and NBC tied for first at 2.0, ABC for “Castle” and NBC for “Revolution.” CBS was third with a 1.7 for “Hawaii Five-0,” Univision fourth with a 1.3 for “Que Bonito Amor” and Telemundo fifth with a 1.0 for “El Señor de los Cielos.”

ABC finished first for the night among households with an 8.1 average overnight rating and a 13 share. NBC was second at 6.2/10, CBS third at 4.7/7, Fox fourth at 4.4/7, Univision fifth at 1.8/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.9/1 and CW seventh at 0.4/1.


* * * *

TV Notes
‘Grimm,’ doing the timeslot shuffle
Moves from Friday to Tuesday to close out the season
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Apr. 30, 2013

“Grimm,” NBC’s unique procedural-fantasy mashup, is one of the few broadcast shows that has thrived on Friday nights, putting up decent live viewing numbers and getting a huge boost from DVR viewership.

The show earns a timeslot upgrade for its final few weeks, starting tonight at 10 p.m. when it slides in behind NBC’s highest-rated show “The Voice,” taking the place of the failed reality show “Ready for Love.”

“Love” bombed in just three outings, averaging a 1.3 adults 18-49 Nielsen rating. The network quickly canceled the show and pulled “Grimm” over from Friday as a placefiller through the end of the season.

The drama has already been renewed, and if it draws good numbers, there’s always the chance that it could be moved from Fridays this fall as well.

NBC has serious schedule issues on Wednesday and Thursday nights, where only one of its shows, “The Office,” averages a 2.0 rating or better. “Grimm” could certainly improve on the performance of many of those other programs.

Of course, the network may also feel that “Grimm” is doing fine where it’s at right now and not want to risk moving it next season.

The show is averaging a 1.5 live-plus-same-day-DVR-playback rating and adds another 1.2 rating points when seven-day playback is added, for a total rating of 2.7, easily Friday’s highest-rated program.

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TV Notes
Comedy Central To Launch Late-Night Show Hosted By Chris Hardwick
Funny Or Die Produces, Tom Lennon & Ben Garant To Run
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Apr. 30, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central is expanding its late-night block with a new show hosted by comedian/producer Chris Hardwick and co-produced by Funny Or Die. The untitled show, which will launch in the fall, will air four nights a week at midnight, following The Colbert Report, giving the network a 11 PM-12:30 AM block anchored by The Daily Show. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant will serve as executive producers/showrunners on the Chris Hardwick show, returning to Comedy Central, where they co-created and starred on the cult series Reno 911! The show, Comedy Central’s first midnight strip, will be formatted as a comedic panel show that will have a heavy social-media presence integrated throughout. It is produced by Comedy Central and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die, with Brillstein Entertainment Partners expected to executive produce along with Nerdist Industries, Hardwick and Peter Levin’s production company for multi-platform genre and pop culture content. In addition to the 11:30 PM broadcast late-night talk shows, Comedy Central’s Chris Hardwick program will face another new midnight cable strip — TBS’ series toplined by comedian Pete Holmes, which is slated to launch in July and also air four nights a week.

The Chris Hardwick show expands Hardwick’s relationship with Comedy Central, where he headlined his own stand-up special and a pop culture/tech pilot last year. It also marks the latest high-profile hosting gig for Hardwick, who started off on MTV’s Singled Out and currently hosts AMC’s The Walking Dead aftershow, Talking Dead. Nerdist has a deal with AMC, where it is developing All Celebrity Bowling, and just received a pilot order from Nat Geo for In The Name Of Science. Funny Or Die is producing IFC’s upcoming miniseries The Spoils Of Babylon starring Will Ferrell, Tobey Maguire and Kristen Wiig. In addition to their TV credits, Lennon and Garant have built a strong feature resume, writing such films as the hit Night At The Museum franchise. They recently wrote and directed the Sundance entry Hell Baby, and Lennon co-stars in NBC’s Sean Hayes comedy pilot, which is expected to go to series.

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TV Notes
Pete Holmes: The 3 Agonizing Stages Between Talk-Show Pilot and Talk Show
By Pete Holmes, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Apr. 30, 2013

About six months ago, I met with my hero Conan O’Brien to discuss the idea of hosting my version of a Conan-type talk show after his on TBS. As you might imagine, this opportunity was insanely exciting: It felt like I was 7 years old, eating Cap’n Crunch on a Saturday morning and getting a knock on the door from the real-life Cap’n Crunch, who tells me he wants to help me develop my own breakfast cereal, “Lieut’nant Crunch.” It was just like that — but cooler and more surreal.

What followed were several more meetings where I pretended to be comfortable in front of the Cap’n, and then a pitch in front of the heads of TBS. At the end of the meeting, TBS decided to give us the green light to make three pilot episodes and see where we’d go from there. And in August of 2012, we did. And they were great. But it turns out the “see where we go from there” part was actually the most difficult of the entire experience, far tougher than the pitching or the writing or the shooting. It was six long and agonizing months of waiting before I finally got the call that my passion project is going forward this fall.

Now that I’ve come out the other side, I want to help my comedian peers who might find themselves in the same position. If this post were a pamphlet in a comedian/actor’s doctor’s office, it would be called “So You’re Waiting to Hear About Your Pilot,” or “What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Childless Showbiz Jerks Ddition).”

Month One: Looks Like We Made It.
You just shot your pilot. You’re on top of the world. So many handshakes, so many congratulations, and probably some sort of wrap party where you know everyone’s name down to the last intern and you all throw back bubbling wines from fancy French provinces together. If you took an MRI of my brain at this point, it would’ve looked like the Fourth of July: just pure adrenaline, burning white light, and happiness. That first week off after the wrap is entirely spent trying to wind down, as your brain just released enough endorphins to kill a small pony. And you think, They’ll make us wait, but only as a formality. I’m buying a Segway.

Months Two to Three: I’m Sure She’ll Call.
The second and third months feel exactly the way I felt as a junior-high student waiting for my seventh-grade crush Emily Bravo to call: She wasn’t calling, so I kept picking up the phone to make sure it was still working — and for the rest of the night I was convinced that I had missed her because she had called the split-second I had the receiver off the hook. But getting to make my own pilot exactly how I wanted to was way better than a teenage crush: It was the girl of my dreams — let’s call her “Pilota” — and I actually got one night with her. A balmy night — probably in Spain, yeah. Where our eyes locked from across some sort of gazebo where we were both enjoying a wine tasting/Spanish guitar concert out of Vicky Cristina Barcelona and were so overcome with spontaneous passion for one another that we wordlessly wound up making passionate love in a nearby pile of hay. And at the last minute, I gave her my number, but I forget to get hers. And now I’m back in the States waiting for her to call. Why won’t you call, Pilota? We could be so happy spending the rest of our lives together! POR QUE PILOTA???

Needless to say, the rest of your life gets the volume turned down a bit waiting for a call like that. All other gigs felt like dating other women who, sure, may be wonderful, but none compares to that hay-laying temptress of my dreams. But you keep the faith. She’ll call. She probably just has a malfunctioning weird Spanish phone.

Months Four to Five: Waiting Weight.
Who am I kidding? She’s not going to call. People even stopped asking about my show, probably thinking it’s been so long it’s impolite. I remember talking to comedian Jimmy Pardo about his experience waiting to hear about his own pilot, and we both agreed on one thing: When you can’t control your showbiz fate, you can at least control the amount of ice cream you’re eating. And if you’re like us, it was a lot. Your body is in some sort of trauma around the five-month waiting mark, and your caveman brain, unable to logically diagnose television-pilot-related stress, becomes convinced that it’s experiencing some sort of plague, possibly with locusts and brush fires, and you are not safe and you must sleep twelve hours a night waiting it out and gaining weight for the coming famine. So you eat. And sleep. And get fat. And tell yourself that you’re fine and that if the show goes you’ll drop the pounds and if the show doesn’t go at least you’ll have a nice starting layer to grow your depressed Norbit-but-real bodysuit upon. Every time the phone rings you think it’s news from the network, but more likely it’s Dominos confirming that your Super Bowl Sunday–size order is actually going to a single man’s apartment and not a bowling alley in Milwaukee. Buying that Segway starts to feel like a mistake.

There were, however, little bursts of clean-burning optimism mixed throughout this entire experience. Some of these giant meals and ice creams weren’t eaten alone but rather with my wonderful executive producer Nick Bernstein, who was also medicating his wait with various cheeses. We’d eat together and get all giddy again, planning bits for the show or hypothesizing how one day we might get written up as having “famously eaten together at the same restaurant” where we dreamt big about “one of the greatest television shows in the history of humankind.” Then we’d part ways and head back to our respective burrito comas.

Month Six. F*** Everything.
Around this time, you just want an answer, whether it’s a yes or a no. You barely remember what it was like to have shot the show, or your head writer’s name, let alone the interns’. You’ve managed your expectations and run fantasy scenarios of what you’d do if it’s a yes and what you’d do if it’s a no, but by this point, you’re so numb you’d really just like the mercy kill either way, thanks. Just anything other than this weird, sexless marriage you’re shuffling through, blind on boxed Merlot.
I found out my pilot was picked up while I was eating alone in a Thai restaurant on Valentine’s Day in Vancouver. By that point, I had stopped turning white every time I got a call with more than three agents on the line. I wish I could tell you a great story about dancing a blissful, spontaneous foxtrot with my waitress or yelling “woo-hoo!” so loud a dog died. But all I remember is feeling relief, catching a glimpse of light that would slowly, over the coming months (and to this day), turn into the starbust of happiness and gratitude it is now, and then flatly asking my agents, “Can I tell my parents?”

And that’s the weirdest part about all of this. By the time you get the word, your brain has released so many self-medicating sedatives to protect you from the endless obsessing over how your life could drastically change the next time the phone rings that when it finally does ring, you’re a little bit robbed of a “SIMPLY THE BEST!” moment. Instead, you’re left with — at least in my case — disbelief. But gradually the numbness fades away and slowly, piece by piece, you get little deliveries of the happiness that you’ve been postponing for months. Not one cannon blast, but rather a little Advent calendar of bliss; some days it’s a small, fillingless chocolate behind an elf, and you eventually work your way up to the big salted-caramel-almond sensation hiding behind Santa.

It’s not that bright of a finish to the story. And this is the story of them saying "yes." I can’t imagine what a "no" is like. Although, that’s not entirely true. I spent six months imagining what a "no" would feel like.

My “no” fire drill ran a little something like this: Jon Stewart, Zach Galifianakis, and Johnny Carson all had “failed” talk shows before they found their homes. A few years ago, no one wanted to work with Kristin Schaal. HBO passed on Mad Men. At the end of the day, yes or no, we all have the same job to do as artists and as people: Keep. ****ing. Going. If the girl from Spain does call, great. It was meant to be. Let’s make babies, sweet, sweet Pilota. If she doesn’t, what a dummy. She kinda kissed weird anyway.

Pete Holmes, one of Vulture’s 50 Comedians You Should and Will Know, also hosts the “You Made It Weird” podcast. His TBS show will debut this fall.

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