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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2911

post #87301 of 93688
Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

...and yet, exactly 5 of those shows are from any of the big 4 networks....and one is likely a burn-off before cancellation (Unforgettable).

Yep, the broadcast networks are really ramping up that year 'round programming schedule.

As usual, cable is leading the way in summer programming (including several series not listed in the article) - all while giving the broadcast networks a run for their ratings during the regular season.

The broadcast networks have no one but themselves to blame for lowering ratings.
While it in no way changes the concept of your post, that most summer series are on cable, according to this post
Unforgettable is actually going to be a retooled 13 episode second season, with a mostly different cast, as opposed to just a burn-off.
Supporting Cast Of Resurrected CBS Drama ‘Unforgettable’ Overhauled For Season 2
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Jul. 18, 2012

CBS’ Unforgettable beat the odds by scoring a 13-episode second-season renewal after getting cancelled in May. But not everyone from the drama procedural’s cast will be back when series returns next summer.

CBS and producing studios Sony Pictures TV and CBS TV Studios locked in stars Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh before the series’ pickup last month. Also signed for Season 2 is Jane Curtin, who joined the series as a new regular halfway through the first season. The three were considered key to Unforgettable‘s renewal.

As for the rest of the series’ regular cast, none is expected to continue as producers are evaluating the show’s creative direction. “CBS made some creative changes and the supporting cast will not be returning next season,” Season 1 Unforgettable regular Daya Vaidya tweeted earlier this month. “Yea, Nina, Roe, Mike and Tanya r gone,” she wrote, referring to the characters played on the show by her and fellow regulars Kevin Rankin, Michael Gaston and Britt Lower.
post #87302 of 93688
Originally Posted by earletp View Post

While it in no way changes the concept of your post, that most summer series are on cable, according to this post
Unforgettable is actually going to be a retooled 13 episode second season, with a mostly different cast, as opposed to just a burn-off.
That still sounds cancelled to me...
post #87303 of 93688
TV Notes
Mariska Hargitay Inks New Deal to Return to 'Law & Order: SVU'
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - May 25, 2013

It's official: Detective Olivia Benson will be back.

Mariska Hargitay has closed a new deal with studio Universal Television to return to NBC's long-running procedural Law & Order: SVU, the actress announced Saturday.

"Happy weekend. It's official. Season 15--I'LL BE BACK!" she announced via Twitter page.

NBC renewed Law & Order: SVU in late April in anticipation that Hargitay would return.

Wednesday's season 14 finale Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
left the door open for Hargitay's Benson, with the character last seen at home -- not expected to return to work for two days and being held at gunpoint by serial rapist the team had been attempting to take down.

Over the years, rumor has swirled on whether she would continue on with the Dick Wolf procedural with buzz about a reduced role put to rest every year.

SVU has averaged a 2.1 rating with adults 18-49 in its Wednesday time slot. Heading into its 15th season, the show is not the juggernaut it once was but remains a consistent performer on a night that has been problematic for NBC. It will return to the Wednesdays at 9 p.m. slot in the fall, where it will largely face the same competition from Criminal Minds and American Idol/The X Factor.

Hargitay is repped by CAA.

Edited by dad1153 - 5/25/13 at 10:58pm
post #87304 of 93688
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)

7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R - Nov. 25)
8PM - Wipeout
(R - May 16)
9PM - Motive
(R - Feb. 3)
10PM - Rookie Blue
(R - May 23)

7PM - 60 Minutes: Killing Bin Laden
(R - Feb. 23)
8PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Oct. 25)
9PM - The Good Wife
(R - Jan. 6)
10PM - The Mentalist
(R - Nov. 11)

7PM - The Voice (120 min.)
(R - May 20)
9PM - Smash (Series Finale; 120 min.)

5:30PM - NASCAR Racing: Sprint Cup: Coca-Cola 600 (LIVE; five hours)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - National Memorial Day Concert (LIVE; 90 min.)
9:30PM - National Memorial Day Concert (90 min.)

7PM - Premios OYE! 2013 (LIVE)
8:50PM - Fútbol Mexicano Primera División - La Liguilla, Final: Club América vs. Cruz Azul (LIVE)

6PM - Movie - Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
8PM - La Voz Kids (120 min.)
10PM - Especial: El Señor de Los Cielos
post #87305 of 93688
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - May 26, 2013

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET
Like locusts, Arrested Development showed up for a while, made a lot of noise, then went into invisible hibernation. That was seven years ago, when the Fox comedy series from 2003-06, which won the Best Comedy Emmy one of those years, was canceled way too prematurely. Now, almost incredibly, it lives again, as a 15-part sequel featuring the original cast members in a tag-team structure. The insanity, as before, is overseen by series creator Mitch Hurwitz, who brings his Bluth family of endearing misfits to Netflix. Beginning at 3 a.m. ET today, you can binge, any time you wish, on any or all of 15 new episodes – none of which was available for preview. But on reputation and respect alone, I’d say dive in, quickly and often. Jason Bateman stars.

BBC America, 8:00 p.m. ET

Actually, by tuning in a few hours earlier – beginning at 6 p.m. ET – you can get up to speed on all the Doctors leading up to tonight’s new special saluting the Fifth Doctor, Pete Davison. (Salutes to Doctors 1-4 are repeated in half-hour installments from 6-8 p.m. ET.) The Fourth Doctor, the popular Tom Baker, was a tough act to follow, and Davison inherited the role with a different approach entirely. This special shows how – then shows some episodes from his original 1981-84 run, including that decade’s interpretation of the Cybermen.

NBC, 9:00 p.m. ET
There’s no denying that this show lost both steam and direction in Season 2, thanks to a new show-runner, and a dwindling lack of support from NBC. After burying this season on Saturday night, it now televises the final two episodes as a Sunday night finale – but on Memorial Day weekend. Even so, it builds to a finale worth watching: a faux version of the Tony Awards, in which the two musicals developed and partly presented on this show are vying for a Best Original Musical Tony. And for one last time, on-again, off-again competitors Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee are on again – specifically, on stage.

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Michael Douglas stars as Liberace, and Matt Damon as one of his malleable young secret lovers, in this new HBO Films dramatization about a portion of the showy entertainer’s onstage and offstage life. Steven Soderbergh directs, and manages to capture both the boldly audacious outrageousness of Liberace’s Vegas performances and the quiet insecurities of his behind-the-scenes demeanor and lifestyle. Behind the Candelabra may sound like an excuse for mere attention-getting stunt casting, but there’s a lot more respect given to the telling of Liberace’s story.

AMC, 10:00 p.m. ET

I’m a week behind on Mad Men – so I have to catch up before tonight’s show. But based on the promos, which famously reveal almost nothing anyway, poor Don (Jon Hamm) isn’t having too good a time of it, when the time is the summer of 1968. And neither, apparently, is poor Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser).

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TV Notes
'Homeland' producers, Rand Paul on ABC's 'This Week'
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel - May 25, 2013

This weekend on the Sunday morning talk circuit:

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will be a guest on CBS' "Face the Nation" at 10:30 a.m. on WKMG-Channel 6. Discussing the national government's response to disasters will be Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Examining the White House's response to recent controversies will be David Gergen of Harvard University and Michael Gerson of The Washington Post. A panel on summer weather brings together David Bernard of WFOR in Miami, Heidi Cullen of Climate Central, Jeffrey Kluger of Time magazine and Marshall Shepherd, president of the American Meteorological Society. Joseph Persico discusses his book "Roosevelt's Centurions: FDR and the Commanders He Led to Victory in WWII."

Gov. Fallin is also a guest on CNN's "State of the Union" at 9 a.m. and noon. Discussing the Oklahoma disaster are Melodee Colbert-Kean, mayor of Joplin, Mo., and Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. A panel on politics features former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, Clarence Page of The Chicago Tribune and CNN's Ron Brownstein. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, evaluates President Obama's speech on terrorism. Actor Joe Mantegna previews the National Memorial Day Concert, which airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on PBS.

Former presidential candidate Bob Dole will be a guest on "Fox News Sunday" at 10 a.m. on WOFL-Channel 35. Other guests are Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. The panel will be Brit Hume, Juan Williams, Charles Lane of The Washington Post and Nina Easton of Fortune magazine. The program salutes Bill Kraus and Steve Newton, co-owners of Mission BBQ Restaurants.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will be a guest on ABC's "This Week" at 11 a.m. on WFTV-Channel 9. Another guest is Gen. John Allen (USMC, ret.), the former commander of International Forces in Afghanistan. The program talks to Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, executive producers of "Homeland" on Showtime. The panel brings together Adm. Dennis Blair (ret.), former director of National Intelligence; Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.; ABC's Jim Avila; Maggie Haberman of Politico; and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times and author of "The Way of the Knife."

NBC's "Meet the Press" will not be seen this weekend.

post #87307 of 93688
TV Review
‘Hit the Floor,’ no, grab the remote
VH1's new scripted drama is an exercise in clumsiness
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

People in the computer field have a saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” That bit of wisdom applies to more than just data processing. For example, in the performing arts, if actors are given stilted, artificial dialogue, their performances will be bad.

That’s the main problem with VH1′s new series “Hit the Floor,” a scripted drama about the female dancers working for a fictional basketball team. The actors’ lines are either crammed with exposition or deliberately oblique in a way that promises we’re going to get a big revelation later. The plot is equally awkward and fake.

Fans of slutty choreography will be occasionally entertained, but the best that the rest of us can hope for is a “so bad it’s good” experience. Unfortunately, the producers have gone to the trouble of casting some recognizable actors who have seen better days. Rather than star power, these people add a constant undertone of sadness.

Premiering Monday, May 27, at 9 p.m., the show focuses on Ahsha (Taylour Paige), whose mother, Sloane (Kimberly Elise), wants her to go into banking. Ahsha, however, wants to become a dancer for the Los Angeles Devils basketball team.

We learn that Sloane was one of the original Devil Girls because Ahsha says to her, “You were an original Devil Girl.” Sloane, who left the troupe suddenly while still young, keeps saying in various oblique ways that being a Devil Girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Warning: Huge Secret to be revealed! But when Ahsha sneaks off to an audition, Sloane lets the girl pursue her dream.

The next few scenes are an expository-dialogue festival. Ahsha’s nice-guy boyfriend, German (Jonathan McDaniel), tells her that he was “the captain of the basketball team that you cheered to division champs.” The hard-as-nails manager of the Devil Girls, Olivia (Charlotte Ross), tells the recently hired coach, Pete (Dean Cain), “You’re a former all-star coming back to coach your own team.” No one ever responds, “Why are you telling me things I already know?”

The head of the squad, Jelena (Logan Browning), like all head cheerleaders, is a mean girl. Since Ahsha is not only sweet but also a gifted dancer, Jelena immediately starts plotting to undermine her.

When Ahsha fails to pull off one stunt during the auditions, Jelena says that since Ahsha can’t do it, she’ll have to do another move that’s far more dangerous. This bit of foreshadowing leads nowhere. Worse, we later see Ahsha performing the original stunt effortlessly.

The episode opens with a scene of a faceless girl packing her bags quickly. Through many oblique references we gradually figure out that this was Mia, a Devil Girl whose departure remains a mystery.

The episode ends with the revelation of a Huge Secret that most viewers will have guessed early on and then dismissed because it would be too trite and obvious. This doesn’t bode well for those hoping that the Mia mystery will turn out to be interesting.

In a preview of the next week’s episode, a person promises not to divulge the Huge Secret but does so loudly enough to be heard by the very character who shouldn’t hear it.

Toward the end of the episode, when the cuts are announced, they are staged like a talent-show elimination: In dramatic lighting, pairs of girls are told to step forward to learn their fate. We never learn why Olivia didn’t simply post a list of the new lineup.

A failure at drama or even melodrama, “Hit the Floor” also botches the comedy. To avoid getting cut, a sympathetically portrayed stripper-dancer named Kyle (Katherine Bailess) offers some kind of sexual favor to the team’s unattractive owner, Oscar (Don Stark). This is supposed to be funny. Previously, Oscar makes a distasteful reference to waxing.

At least we get many scenes of women in skimpy clothes thrusting their hips. To their credit, the young female cast members perform their own dancing skillfully, but the choreography is pedestrian and pandering. The many close-ups of bosoms and rear ends, with moves redolent of lesbian sex, suggest that the show isn’t aimed at lovers of fine dancing.

The series’ original title, “Bounce,” was a hint to jiggle fans that their fetish would be serviced. The producers probably decided on “Hit the Floor” because “Hit a New Low” was too on-the-nose.

post #87308 of 93688
TV Notes
Latest 'Development' with Mitch Hurwitz
By David Mermelstein, Wall Street Journal

Los Angeles.- News that the zany, brainy television comedy "Arrested Development" is returning with new episodes after a seven-year hiatus has brought joy bordering on ecstasy to the show's fans, an uncommonly avid group. But the true fanatic is Mitchell Hurwitz, the creator of the series, which chronicles the misadventures of the rich, dysfunctional Bluth family in fast-paced episodes of intricately structured absurdity. In its three seasons on the Fox network, the show won critical kudos and six Emmys but never a large audience. Now it's back, with the original cast intact, in 15 half-hour episodes. And though Fox is again producing the series, the network is not broadcasting the show. Instead, starting on Sunday, Netflix will begin streaming all the new episodes, as it did with the series "House of Cards" in February.

Mr. Hurwitz sat for an interview at his house in Pacific Palisades late last week only after he'd finished editing the fourth season in its entirety. Yet he didn't seem tired as he chatted in the light-filled study where he'd done much of that work. More important, for a man gambling his reputation on resurrecting a series that never really penetrated the popular consciousness, he appeared surprisingly relaxed, allowing only a trace of gallows humor to color his sunny disposition. Dressed in blue jeans and a gray shirt unbuttoned to reveal a black T-shirt, Mr. Hurwitz, who turns 50 at the end of the month, was about to dissect the long process of reviving "Arrested Development" when a backhoe suddenly roared into view outside—an aptly jarring juxtaposition that could have been lifted straight from the series, which frequently parodies California's volatile housing market.

"What was undeniable was that it wasn't a passive viewing experience," Mr. Hurwitz said, referring to the show when it aired on Fox. "You couldn't watch it while making dinner. But it was fun if you paid attention. I didn't want to do a safe show. I wanted to do this adventurous comedy."

He got his wish. And if mass appeal has thus far eluded the series, those who have met the writer on his own terms have been amply rewarded. "I'm always trying to hide things in plain sight," Mr. Hurwitz said about a signature aspect of the show. "When people see the show, it will seem straightforward, but if they keep watching, they'll see there's more than meets the eye."

And the ear. For wordplay is central to the identity of "Arrested Development." "I've always thought the title was one of the reasons the show didn't catch on," Mr. Hurwitz lamented. "Too many meanings, too many conceits. I should have called it 'Welcome Matt,' and I'll bet you people would have gotten it."

Perhaps. But Mr. Hurwitz—who double-majored in English and theology at Georgetown University before his break writing for the sitcom "The Golden Girls" in the early 1990s—just can't help himself. His scripts for "Arrested Development" are rife with double-entendres and obscure references. Still, a clown needs an audience. "The whole thing in comedy is connecting to other human beings," he said. "Anyone who says they don't care about their audience is lying. It's all about communication. I love that the audience is responding by getting the details and spreading the word. If a tree falls in a forest and no one laughs, then you've killed a perfectly good tree for nothing."

Yet Mr. Hurwitz's relationship with his devoted fan base is not anxiety free. "I can get overwhelmed by audience expectations," he acknowledged. "On the one hand, I really want audiences to dig this, but I have to be OK with them not liking it at first. Back when the series was on Fox, people tended to hate the episodes immediately after they aired, even though they loved the show. That happened a lot, especially when we'd bring in new characters. So there will be people who are disappointed with the new episodes, but I'm hoping the show will be rich enough to sustain repeated viewings."

Calls came swiftly to find the Bluths a new home following Fox's cancellation of the show in early 2006. Showtime discussed reviving the series, and a feature film has long been rumored—with the writer himself directing. Indeed, Mr. Hurwitz regards the Netflix episodes as a prelude to a motion-picture adaptation. "The movie is outlined," he said. "The show is Act One. And my conceit is that the new episodes are what everybody's been doing for the past five years."

Viewers familiar with the show from its run on Fox will find the new material structured differently. Rather than carom from character to character, as the series once did, the new episodes focus primarily on a single character, beginning with the ostensibly normal son, and the series' center of gravity, Michael Bluth (played with po-faced conviction by Jason Bateman).

Though Mr. Hurwitz puts a fine gloss on this shift, alluding to the anthology series that distinguished TV's early years, the structural change happened for largely practical reasons: The cast's younger members—especially Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Tony Hale and Mr. Bateman—had become so busy thanks to their exposure on the show that they could no longer be corralled simultaneously, at least not easily and for long periods.

But if the new structure solved some problems, it created others. "I boarded the whole story instead of writing 15 scripts," Mr. Hurwitz said, "and then I walked everyone through the show. Everybody had to go out on a limb. Sometimes, I'd be in the middle of writing a scene when I'd realize something wasn't known yet by that character. It was a lot to track, and a lot changed. I thought it would be easier to do this way, but it wasn't. There was more freedom creatively, and less interference from the network, but also more internal obstacles."

Having expended considerable effort on "Arrested Development" for more than a decade, Mr. Hurwitz has a lot riding on this regeneration. Success, however that's defined, may mean a foray into movies and new opportunities. But what if the show's moment has passed? The thought has naturally crossed his mind, though he maintains that he doesn't dwell on it. "Here's what I'm proud of," he said. "How hard I worked at it. I gave it everything. It cost me a lot. Whether it's good in the larger scheme is beyond the point. It was about making it in this instant, sitting here laughing with people like Michael Cera and Will Arnett."

post #87309 of 93688
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 #87310 of 93688
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - The Bachelorette (Season Premiere, 120 min.)
10PM - 20/20 Special - Bringing Up Baby: Royal Edition
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Jason Bateman; Chadwick Boseman; Alice in Chains performs)
(R - Apr. 10)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - How I Met Your Mother
(R - Nov. 12)
8:30PM - Rules of Engagement
(R - Feb. 11)
9PM - 2 Broke Girls
(R - Feb. 25)
9:30PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Feb. 27, 2012)
10PM - Hawaii Five-0
(R - Apr. 9)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Regis Philbin; performance from Broadway's "Cinderella'')
(R - Apr. 2)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Ben Kingsley; Alia Shawkat)

8PM - The Voice (120 min.)
10:01PM - Revolution
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Rebel Wilson; feline behaviorist Jackson Galaxy; Hanson performs)
(R - Apr. 9)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Tom Cruise; Jordana Brewster; Shuggie Otis performs)
(R - Apr. 12)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (TV personality Steven Rinella; "The Central Park Five''; Fidlar performs)
(R - Dec. 11)

8PM - Raising Hope
(R - Nov. 20)
8:30PM - The Goodwin Games
9PM - New Girl
(R - Nov. 13)
9:30PM - The Mindy Project
(R - Jan. 15)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Seatle
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Vintage Alabama
(R - Jul. 9, 2012)
10PM - Independent Lens: Detropia (90 min.)

8PM - Porque el Amor Manda
9PM - Amores Verdaderos
10PM - Qué Bonito Amor

8PM - Movie: Memorial Day (2011)

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Author David Sedaris)
(R - May 9)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Dr. Daniel Lieberman)
(R - May 16)

11PM - Conan (Zooey Deschanel; Bret McKenzie; JAPANDROIDS)
(R - Feb. 25)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Mandy Ingber; Nico Santos; Loni Love; Kurt Braunohler)
post #87311 of 93688
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - May 27, 2013

Encore, 8:00 p.m. ET

Any time the conversation turns to truly bizarre movie teamings (then again, maybe you have less geeky friends than I do, and your conversations never turn there), this 1969 movie is one of the trump cards to remember. It’s the answer to the question, “What film co-starred Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore?” (Bonus question: “And had Mary Tyler Moore playing a nun?”) Hard as all that is to believe, try this: Elvis played a doctor. And the movie was made only one year before the Dick Van Dyke Show actress reinvented herself as the titular star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

HBO2, 8:00 p.m. ET

One of the best Memorial Day offerings possible, if you’re looking for a war movie. Since this 1998 Steven Spielberg is on HBO2, it’ll be shown unedited, and uninterrupted, which is key. And while many performances in this harrowing WWII drama are terrific, including that of Tom Hanks, the one to watch today is the title character. He’s played by Matt Damon, who can also be seen on the HBO networks this weekend co-starring as the gay lover of Michael; Douglas’ Liberace on the new Behind the Candelabra telemovie.

Lifetime, 8:00 p.m. ET

After the excellent job done by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as Johnny Cash and Jude Carter in the 2005 biopic Walk the Line, I’m not sure why we need another study of June Carter. And while few people, I imagine, are waiting to see Matt Ross as the Man in Black, the sound, as well as the sight, of singer Jewel as June should be worth the tune-in. But if someone tries to Cash in and make another biography of this couple, what titles and theme songs are left? A Boy Named Sue?

SyFy, 8:00 p.m. ET

Want a truly brainless diversion for the holiday? This Syfy movie slipped by me when it premiered last year, starring Michael Madsen, the standout sadist of Reservoir Dogs, as the guy who has to go up against a giant snake with killer teeth – capable of, well, look at the photo. But you have to give props, if not propellers, to a snake that can down a helicopter in midflight. Similarly, you have to salute the folks at Syfy, for recognizing the idiotic purity of combining the names of two killer creatures to make a third. It’s not as easy a hybrid concoction as you might think. What’s possible for a follow-up film? Tarantulasaurus rex?

PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

This may sound like a Syfy movie, but this new Independent Lens documentary, Detropia, actually tries to capture the city of a Detroit at a particular moment in time – a moment when the beleaguered city may or may not be about to experience a resurgence. It’s by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, the team that made Jesus Camp. Check local listings.


* * * *

Critic's Notes
Netflix’s ‘Arrested Development’ Revival: Binging on TV Perfectly Made for Binge Viewing

I’ve just completed a 15-episode Arrested Development binge on its return opening day on Netflix — and wow, was it worth it. It’s as hilarious as it is ingenious…

Creator Mitch Hurwitz, in reassembling the cast and revisiting the story line of this beloved, Emmy-winning Fox sitcom from 2003-2006, didn’t just return to form. He reinvented the form — turning Arrested Development into something so literally twisted, so cleverly and intricately intertwined, it’s like a double helix of comedy.

The 15 episodes, most of which are super-sized in length (up to 36 minutes long, with no commercials), constantly feed back into each other, slowly but surely doling out more information about what’s right in front of you.

Remember the season of Breaking Bad when you saw something floating in the swimming pool in the opening of the first episode, but didn’t understand its significance until that year’s season finale? Imagine that intensely advanced plotting applied to comedy — and you’ve got Season 4, the Netflix season, of Arrested Development.

The treats are so plentiful, the surprises so rewarding and unexpected, that it would indeed so spoiling the fun to click off a list of specifics. But in the most general of terms, you’re in for a puzzle where pieces are delivered one at a time.

The true identity of a character in one episode is revealed to be another character, in disguise, a dozen episodes later. When series narrator Ron Howard, playing himself as the co-head of Imagine, talks to Jason Bateman’s Michael Bluth in front of a snapshot photo booth, we see flashes going off inside — but don’t learn who’s in there for many more episodes.

Everything is so astoundingly interwoven, it’s the first TV series that all but demands to be seen in binge mode. Wait too much time between episodes, and you may fail to derive maximum enjoyment from the subtle echoes and amplifications running through this instant classic of a season.

British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, in 1973, wrote and staged a trilogy of plays called The Norman Conquests, all of which depicted events in the same house during a single weekend — but from the perspectives of different rooms. Each play revealed information that deepened the understanding of the whole, and made it a richer experience. That’s what Arrested Development Season 4 is like: a prism that gets more brilliant, and more colorful, the more time you spend with it.

Each character, and each actor, is given what amounts to a spotlight episode, where they come front and center. But writers Hurwitz and Jim Vallelly, and the rest of the creative staff, don’t isolate those characters — just push them to the forefront, while revealing more nuggets along the way.

Without giving anything away, I can, and want to, hand out specific praise for a few of the regular cast members. Bateman, always the stoic and howlingly funny dry center of Arrested Development, does an even better job this time around as Michael Bluth, which I wouldn’t have thought possible. So does Michael Cera, as Michael’s son George-Michael: They’re the heart of this series, and they’re especially strong, and even touching, when they share scenes.

And while all the regulars — including Jeffrey Tambor, Tony Hale, Will Arnett, David Cross, Alia Shawkat and Tony Hale — are a delight, Jessica Walter (as the Bluth matriarch) and Portia de Rossi (left, as adopted daughter Lindsay) really get some meaty scenes through multiple episodes. De Rossi, especially, gets to don a red wig and play temptress, in a subplot that’s only one case of mistaken identity among many.

Hard-core Arrested Development fans will be delighted to know that many of their favorite guest stars from the original run return for this 2013 incarnation, including Henry Winkler and Liza Minnelli. Ron Howard’s contributions here, with his perfectly timed and delivered narration as well as his several on-screen appearances, are key, too.

And so many guest stars pop in that virtually every episode supplies a few special treats. Encountering them unexpectedly is part of the joy here, but there are so many that it seems fair to mention just a few, to demonstrate both the breadth and depth of the 2013 guest stars.

They include not only Kristen Wiig, flawlessly impersonating Walter’s Lucille Bluth in flashbacks, but Andy Richter (in multiple roles), Isla Fisher (far right, who’s a scene-stealer here, and fabulous), John Slattery (far afield from his Mad Men role of Roger Sterling), and even Bernie Kopell from The Love Boat. And trust me: I barely scratched the surface.

It takes about four episodes for the plot of this year’s Arrested Development to fully reveal itself. But by that time, I had laughed so often, and so loudly, that the time seemed to fly by. Comedy is a very personal thing, and different people will laugh at different stimuli. I’m fairly certain, though, that there’s something in Arrested Development for everybody, and on a regular basis.

For me, for whatever reason, it was whenever one of the cast members was trapped in the same camera frame as the ostrich — something you simply don’t see every day — or just a line of dialogue or particularly loopy plot point. You may have to be familiar with Walt Disney’s very first Mickey Mouse cartoon to get the line, “Oh, my God, he Steamboat Willie-ed it!”… but if you are, you’ll probably be just as pleasantly stunned as I was by the perfectly weird, weirdly perfect use of that analogy.

There’s a lot of talk today about the so-called “second screen” experience — information and interactive stuff you can call up on your tablets or smartphones while watching TV, to enhance the experience. Arrested Development, I’m thrilled to report, is an anti-second screen experience. What it presents on the main screen is so clever, so complicated, and so consistently delightful, if you look away or try to multi-task, you’re guaranteed to miss something really, really good.

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TV Review
‘Ring of Fire': Jewel sparkles as June Carter Cash in Lifetime's biopic of country music's classic couple
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - May 27, 2013

June Carter Cash is the kind of performer you just naturally tend to like, and you’ll like her even more after seeing this new biopic.

You won’t necessarily know much more about her, because this glowing portrait by her son John Carter Cash tends to keep on the sunny side.

As a portrait of the life of June and her husband Johnny Cash, it’s more superficial than the one painted by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in the movie “Walk the Line” a few years back.

But Jewel does no dishonor to June here, and Matt Ross is a suitably gritty Johnny.

If the acting isn’t remarkable, we get a sense of what life was like in one of country music’s royal families.

The music was great. The road to making it wasn’t smooth.

“Ring of Fire” doesn’t ignore the years when June and her mother had an almost full-time job keeping Johnny away from the pills.

Neither does it seems as intense here, however, as it has seemed in Cash biographies or in June’s own autobiography.

“Ring of Fire” plays, legitimately enough, as a son’s memories of a mother he adored. It’s sort of sweet, albeit not perfect history.

The film does shine in one area, and it picked the right one: the music. Jewel does June’s music very nicely, Ross is passable as Johnny, and the film gives some generous minutes to the songs that made June’s original Carter Family famous, including her mother, Maybelle.

The music not only sets a satisfying tone for the film, it reminds us that those songs deserve to endure as long as there are flowers in the wildwood.

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

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
MONDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET.

9PM - 2 Broke Girls[/b] (R - Feb. 25)


9PM - New Girl
(R - Nov. 13)

Finally! The ratings war I had been looking for. Too bad it is both reruns on a holiday.
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Cable Notes
Cord cutters are hurting pay television
The top nine cable companies lost about 264,000 video subscribers in the first quarter of 2013 alone.
By Michael Grotticelli Broadcast Engineering

The U.S. pay television industry has suffered a net loss of about 80,000 subscribers over the past year — its first-ever annual net subscriber loss. This was compared to a net gain of about 380,000 over the prior year.

The top nine cable companies lost about 264,000 video subscribers in first quarter 2013, and about a 1,560,000 over the past year — compared to a loss of about 1,535,000 subscribers over the prior year

A new study by Leichtman Research Group found that the 13 largest multichannel video providers in the U.S. — representing about 94 percent of the market — added about 195,000 net additional video subscribers in the first quarter of 2013. That was down compared to a net gain of about 445,000 in the first quarter a year ago and a net gain of about 470,000 in the first quarter of 2011.

These first quarter gains, however, were not enough to offset subscriber losses from the second and third quarters in 2012, leaving major multichannel video providers with a net loss.

“First-time ever annual industry-wide losses reflect a combination of a saturated market; an increased focus from providers on acquiring higher-value subscribers; and some consumers opting for a lower-cost mixture of over-the-air TV, Netflix and other over-the-top viewing options,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.

GigaOM reported Leichtman’s statement was quite a turnaround. The research firm’s head executive has been an outspoken skeptic of the cord-cutting phenomenon. In a 2010 New York Times story, Leichtman called cord cutters “really just a bizarre breed of people, usually in New York or San Francisco, who don’t watch a lot of television in the first place.”

The new figures confirm a definite trend of cord cutters having an impact on pay television as viewers move to watching more inexpensive television over the Internet.

post #87315 of 93688
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

Cable Notes
Cord cutters are hurting pay television
The top nine cable companies lost about 264,000 video subscribers in the first quarter of 2013 alone.
By Michael Grotticelli Broadcast Engineering

The U.S. pay television industry has suffered a net loss of about 80,000 subscribers over the past year — its first-ever annual net subscriber loss. This was compared to a net gain of about 380,000 over the prior year.

The top nine cable companies lost about 264,000 video subscribers in first quarter 2013, and about a 1,560,000 over the past year — compared to a loss of about 1,535,000 subscribers over the prior year

A new study by Leichtman Research Group found that the 13 largest multichannel video providers in the U.S. — representing about 94 percent of the market — added about 195,000 net additional video subscribers in the first quarter of 2013. That was down compared to a net gain of about 445,000 in the first quarter a year ago and a net gain of about 470,000 in the first quarter of 2011.

These first quarter gains, however, were not enough to offset subscriber losses from the second and third quarters in 2012, leaving major multichannel video providers with a net loss.

“First-time ever annual industry-wide losses reflect a combination of a saturated market; an increased focus from providers on acquiring higher-value subscribers; and some consumers opting for a lower-cost mixture of over-the-air TV, Netflix and other over-the-top viewing options,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.

GigaOM reported Leichtman’s statement was quite a turnaround. The research firm’s head executive has been an outspoken skeptic of the cord-cutting phenomenon. In a 2010 New York Times story, Leichtman called cord cutters “really just a bizarre breed of people, usually in New York or San Francisco, who don’t watch a lot of television in the first place.”

The new figures confirm a definite trend of cord cutters having an impact on pay television as viewers move to watching more inexpensive television over the Internet.


Cord cutting has been happening for years now. The percentage of households with pay-tv subscriptions has been declining for several years. The overall numbers have been up because the overall number of households have gone up. Cord cutting is the real reason why the networks are threatening to go to pay-tv, not Aereo, Aereo is just a convenient cover for this. I'm sure the networks have been planning this before Aereo entered the picture. Otherwise how could a network like CBS be ready to switch in just a matter of weeks, like they claimed?

And any company looking to purchase Hulu is pretty foolish. Disney, Fox and Comcast will screw you over in a heartbeat. If they screwed Hulu while they owned it, they would get a lot of heat from consumers groups and the government. But they can withhold content from an independent Hulu by claiming that a contract couldn't be agreed upon. It's owners not wanting an alternative to the current system is the reason why Hulu has never lived up to it's potential.
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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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Ed Shaughnessy, 'Tonight Show' Drummer for Decades, Dead at 84
By Todd Cunningham, TheWrap.com - May 26, 2013

Ed Shaughnessy, a drummer on TV's “The Tonight Show” for nearly three decades, has died at the age of 84.

He passed away at his home in Calabasas, a Los Angeles suburb, on Friday according to multiple media reports.

Shaughnessy grew up in New Jersey in the 1930s and began playing drums while in his teens. He soon began playing jazz drums in New York City and became a staff musician at CBS in the 1950s. He also became a well-known big band drummer, playing with stars such as Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey.

In 1963, Shaughnessy joined the Tonight Show Band, and he played throughout the show’s Johnny Carson years, mainly under bandleader Doc Severinsen.

As a teenager, he apprenticed with trumpeter Charlie Ventura and joined Benny Goodman’s band in 1950. He went on to work in the Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie orchestras, and would record with Gene Ammons, Dizzy Gillespie, Oliver Nelson and Jimmy Smith, among others.

The mutton-chop whiskered musician performed with Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, and George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet.

Shaughnessy also recorded with legendary Indian tabla player Alla Rakha and played with cutting-edge artists of his time, including bassist Charles Mingus and trumpeter Don Ellis.

Ed is survived by son Daniel Shaughnessy, daughter-in-law Nicah Shaughnessy and three grandchildren. Another son, Jimmy, died in a 1984 traffic accident.

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Nielsen Overnights
'Smash' Gets Quiet Sendoff, NASCAR Tops Sunday
By Michael O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - May 27, 2013

Fox's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup topped Sunday night during the Memorial Day weekend. Fast National returns have the race averaging a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 -- though time zone adjustments pushed last year's comparable event up by two tenths of a point. The race, which aired between 7 and 10 p.m., averaged 6.98 million viewers.

Smash (0.5 adults) wrapped up its sobering sophomore season at 9 p.m. The two-hour series finale was up a tenth of a point from its last-Saturday showing on May 11. NBC averaged a 0.5 rating with adults 18-49 and 2.4 million viewers for the night.

ABC and CBS both aired encores, averaging a respective 0.6 and 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 2.96 and 4.5 million viewers.

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TV Review
'Hit the Floor' (VH1)
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com

Although the obvious comparison is to CW’s short-lived cheerleader drama “Hellcats,” “Hit the Floor” — a terrible title for VH1’s soap about, to cut to the chase, the Laker Girls — bears a closer resemblance to Lifetime’s “The Client List,” in that it’s so trashy and terrible, it’s kind of good. Graduating to a professional squad in Los Angeles (the appropriately tempting Devil Girls) the show provides all the requisite ingredients — sex, money, sports and an excuse for the camera to pan leeringly over glistening bodies. VH1 hasn’t taken many shots in the scripted genre, but this one should score.

Drawing from just about every cliche imaginable, the series begins with newbie Ahsha (Taylour Paige) at tryouts, eager to follow in the footsteps of her single mom (Kimberly Elise). Fresh-faced and naive, Ahsha quickly befriends squad member Raquel — a single mom (Valery Ortiz) with a deadbeat ex — but runs afoul of the imperious team leader Jelena (Logan Browning), who sees her as a threat.

The cheerleaders answer to manager Olivia (Charlotte Ross), and the basketball team is coached by Pete (Dean Cain), whose players seem helpfully oblivious to his admonitions not to mess with the cheerleaders. Then again, since one of those trying out, Kyle (Katherine Bailess), is a stripper trying to maximize her tips, well, let’s just say rules were made to be broken.

Created by James LaRosa, “Hit the Floor” (originally dubbed “Bounce,” which isn’t much better) has plenty of moments where the dialogue approaches wince-inducing levels — like the player who hits on Ahsha by saying, “I see my chance to score and I attack” — and talks about the Devil Girls as if they were some sort of sacred religious order.

Yet even that oddly works to the show’s advantage, if only for sheer kitsch factor. Moreover, the setting not only provides “Dallas”-like glamour but an additional roster of temptations thanks to its Los Angeles setting. Similarly, the backdrop creates a built-in excuse for incorporating elements, including choreographed dance numbers and music, from a number of other popular shows.

It’s all highly calculated, obviously, but still kind of hard to resist — and as lighter summer fare overlapping with the NBA playoffs, it’s pretty well timed. Like VH1’s earlier “Single Ladies,” the multiethnic cast should also attract a variety of audiences, even if the gals are far more convincing as cheerleaders than most of the guys are as pro basketball stars.

“I may not be the best dancer here, but I know how the world works,” Kyle tells Ahsha — a bit of stripper wisdom that, for better or worse, applies to the TV world, too. Now get limbered up, Devil Girls, and go strut your stuff.

VH1, Monday May 27, 9 p.m.

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TV Review
‘Family S.O.S.,’ largely ‘asseptable’
TLC series, starring Jo Frost, may bring hope to some viewers
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

The reality shows about visiting child experts — ABC’s “Supernanny” and Fox’s “Nanny 911″ chief among them — always start with at least one extraordinarily difficult kid who is reformed in just an hour of TV time. Although the process can be fun and enlightening to watch, we usually feel that big parts of the story must have been left out.

In TLC’s new series “Family S.O.S. With Jo Frost,” Frost, the star of “Supernanny,” not only fixes some troubled children but also repairs their parents’ relationship. Even though the premiere episode lasts 90 minutes, the process feels improbably rushed, and one gets the sense either that important steps and details have been cut or that the ending has been tidied up for TV.

But like most of these shows, the episode will provide moments of recognition for anyone who has ever been a parent or a child. We can’t help rooting for the family and hoping that the happy ending at least approximates reality. Generously disposed viewers will get something out of “Family S.O.S.”

In the premiere, airing Tuesday, May 28, at 9 p.m., Frost visits the Quinn-Davis family, in Huntington Beach, Calif. Frost say they’re a blended family “who are not quite blended right now.”

The husband, Don, has two sons from his previous marriage, Derek and Justin, and the wife, Julie, has three daughters, Ashley, Amber and Emily, and one son, Chad. In a recipe for disaster, all the children seem to be in or near adolescence.

Although Frost doesn’t single anyone out, the main problem seems to be Amber and Emily, both of whom love disobeying or insulting their mother. Julie seems to resent Don’s efforts to help, seeing them as criticism of her children and an implied comparison with his.

Teenage Chad has been sober for two years after doing rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. Although one would expect this to be the family’s biggest issue, it causes relatively little friction.

As a first step, Frost has the family members sit in the dining room — she says this will be the first time in months they’ve all been in the same room — and say what they think is pulling the family apart.

After some hesitation, Julie says that she’s upset with the way Amber talks to her, and Chad says Amber thinks she’s too cool for the family.

Julie and Don discuss their fights over the kids, and Derek, in tears, says that he’s unhappy all the time at home and resents Don for using him as a sounding board.

Chad volunteers that he thinks that all Frost is accomplishing is getting everyone upset for a TV show. Later, he accuses Julie of doing and saying things she would never say in real life. This acknowledgement of the built-in falsity of the process is refreshing.

Ashley says nothing and then vanishes for the rest of the show; she doesn’t even reappear for a family portrait at the end.

That night, Julie has to go to pick up Amber at a party where there’s underage drinking. She takes the girl to the emergency room, where Amber vomits.

The next day’s discussions are much worst. Both Frost and Julie have to chase after Amber when she walks out.

The camera cuts to a sign in the house that says, “A daughter is a special gift from God.”

Later, it’s Emily’s turn to treat her mother with disrespect. Both girls have perfected that smirk that teenagers use as a shield when their parents are trying to be serious.

Frost’s procedures are similar to those she used with little children on “Supernanny.” She makes the parents write down rules and chores, insists that children listen and makes everyone express their feelings. Don and Julie’s discussion of their problems in communication are particularly painful to watch.

The process begins to work, but we know this more because the soundtrack music switches to a more hopeful tone. Soon the more troubled family members are talking about how they’ve had a breakthrough. If this seems quick, it’s probably going to seem even quicker in subsequent episodes, which will be only an hour long.

Although viewers will suspect that Ashley isn’t the only thing mysteriously left out of the episode, the family earns our sympathy. Frost’s working-class English accent is endearing. Although she has dropped her “Supernanny” catch phrase — “That’s not asseptable” — she makes up for it with references to getting the family “togevvah.”

Viewers who are willing to take it on faith that the Quinn-Davises have turned a corner will be moved, and all of us will recognize a little of our own dysfunctionality in them. “Family S.O.S.” isn’t great, but it’s asseptable.

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WARNING: Spoilers for the new Netflix season of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT in this article. Skip if you plan to watch the show.

Critic's Notes
‘Arrested Development’: Why Netflix’s Revival Failed
By Jace Jacob, TheDailyBeast.com - May 27, 2013

If you have an Internet connection, you know Arrested Development returned from the dead on Sunday, with all 15 episodes of the show’s fourth season available on Netflix on the same day.

This strategy falls in line with the other original series rollouts that the streaming platform has launched this year, from House of Cards to the abysmal Hemlock Grove, given the belief that Netflix wants to offer the viewer “choice” as to how it consumes content: will you watch just one episode or will you binge on the entire season, watching anywhere from eight to 13 hours of television in a single day or weekend?

There’s something to be said for choice, but there’s also something to be said for restraint on the part of the viewer. The to-binge-or-not-to-binge internal conversation may be happening only in social media-obsessed households, where FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) trumps the time commitment necessary to stay ahead of everyone else you know. I previously compared binge-viewing to eating a bag of potato chips, but I also think that there’s an unintended consequence of such behavior: the viewing purge. This doesn’t happen with typical episodic television, where there is time between installments to consider, analyze, and evangelize about the show you’re watching. Typically, there is time to engage in conversation with fellow viewers, whether that be at that perpetual cliché of office conversation, the watercooler, or a virtual one on Twitter or Facebook. Television, after all, is meant to be a communal activity, an experience that is shared and ongoing, whose conversation twists and bends as the season goes on.

That’s not the case with Netflix shows, which—thanks to the binge-viewing phenomenon—the conversation around appears limited to a narrow timeframe immediately after the release of the full season. Sure, there will be people who will watch weeks or months down the line, but the volume of the conversation is highest during those first few days, where people take to Twitter to share quotes, discuss plot elements, or share their progress.

So when Netflix released all 15 episodes of Arrested Development on the same day, the company clearly intended to have the show follow the same patterns as its previously released fare, knowing that the diehards would devour all 15 episodes while others would look at Netflix as a time-released delivery system, choosing when and where to watch an episode.

The show may prove to be a ratings success for Netflix (though the company will never disclose viewing figures), being was one of the most highly anticipated television events of the year, but the problem is, creatively, Season 4 of Arrested Development isn’t very good.

That’s difficult to swallow, particularly as an obsessed fan of the first three seasons who proselytized on behalf of the show while it was on the air, urging people to watch this wildly inventive, endearingly quirky, oddball comedy. Arrested Development was cleverly biting and bitingly clever, offering its viewers a deeply layered narrative that utilized inside jokes, callbacks, and a lexicon that valued word play and malapropisms. It was not an accessible show, per se, but one that demanded intense dedication on the part of its devoted viewers, who would rattle off quotes said by members of the Bluth clan at any chance they got.

But Season 4 of Arrested Development, once again helmed by creator Mitch Hurwitz, is an entirely different kettle of fish (or pot of hot ham water) than the original. Whereas the first three seasons were subtle, there is a decided lack of finesse here. Season 4 feels like an anvil being dropped on the heads of the viewers, one with a note attached that reads, “LOVE ME. PLEASE LOVE ME. LOVE ME,” all in caps. The humor feels broader and more overtly self-conscious. It trades far too easily on callbacks to the early seasons, a sort of unpleasant fan service that is depressing to watch.

The revival catches up with the Bluths after the cliffhanger ending of the cult show’s low-rated third season, when Lucille (Jessica Walter) commandeered the Queen Mary after being revealed as the true mastermind behind the real estate empire’s most dastardly plots, and follows them through the housing market crash and their attempts at economic (or personal) “recovery.”

Due to necessity, the format is different for Arrested’s fourth season; each episode focuses on a specific Bluth (Michael, Lucille, Tobias, etc.) as locking down the schedules for all of the actors for the entire production was impossible. Instead, an episode doesn’t have a B- or C-storyline, but just a single arc, shuttling backwards and forwards in time, to bring the audience up to date on the efforts of George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) to build (or not build) a wall on the U.S./Mexican border or whatever new depravity GOB (Will Arnett) has embraced. (Bees, limos, and Christian magic are all on the table.)

This new format relies on all of its characters being able to carry an episode on their own (though a few other characters often do turn up throughout), and I’ll be honest here: they’re not always able to. The season opener, which focused on comedic straight man Michael (Jason Bateman)—who loses everything and goes to live in the dorm room occupied by his son, George Michael (Michael Cera), at college—was painful, partially because it showed a lack of understanding of why the original show worked with Michael at its center. (It also lacked the shrewd sense of humor that defined the show’s original run.) Initially, Bateman’s Michael managed to keep the dysfunctional Bluth family together at the cost of his own desires or needs; he was the magnetic north keeping the Bluths on track. But scattered, the Bluths here aren’t a family, they’re strangers who occasionally cross paths and that’s a tricky proposition for a show whose focus is a single family.

It all feels like prologue for the planned Arrested Development film that Hurwitz has been trying to make since the show went off the air in 2006. In fact, there is so much narration—used here as a crutch rather than the comedic tool it was during the show’s Fox run—that the entire 15-episode season feels like a “Previously on Arrested Development” segment told over eight hours. (The narration is one of the revival’s huge missteps. While Ron Howard’s voiceover previously provided some of the show’s smartest cutaways and gags, here it feels belabored and cheap, a way to inject even more exposition into a show that is largely just that.)

These episodes are meant to be interlocking, to bend inwards and reveal new dimensions of scenes we’ve seen before from new perspectives, teasing mysteries that will be solved down the line—Who is GOB sleeping with at the model home? Why is there an ostrich in Lucille’s penthouse? What is going on between George Michael and Maeby (Alia Shawkat)? Why is no one at Lucille’s trial?—but being forced to watch dull scenes again and again is a form of torture rather than narrative ingenuity.

That’s especially true because these episodes feel interminably long. The Fox show had to clock in at 22 minutes or thereabouts because of ad breaks, but with no commercials on Netflix, the show isn’t organized around act breaks or indeed acts. Without this necessary structure, these episodes drag on, sometimes running at 35 minutes long. Which would be fine, if they were brimming with humor, but these episodes often felt plodding and rudderless, in need of significantly tighter editing. The original Arrested Development had to be inventive in order to get past network censors, wary advertisers, and indeed the format of a half-hour broadcast network comedy. But without those limitations, it feels like Season 4 has run amok, with Hurwitz being able to put seemingly everything on the page into each episode. There’s power to be found in having to choose, and any writer will tell you of the Sophie’s Choice that follows when a story—or episode—runs too long, but tightening most often does strengthen the material.

That sort of scrupulousness would have served Season 4 of Arrested Development well. Instead, the plot meanders and drags out. Unfunny jokes—Michael being voted out from the dorm room, Survivor-style—are revisited, while “reveals” are glimpsed way ahead of the narrator confirming viewer suspicions. (If you’re not going to make me laugh, at least surprise me in some way.) The proliferation of actor cameos adds to the uneasy feeling of self-awareness, though there are a few moments that made me chuckle (The “and Jeremy Piven” nightclub shout-out to the title credits of HBO’s Entourage being one), but these moments feel few and far between.

It makes financial sense why Netflix would want to bring back canceled-too-soon Arrested Development and I understand why fans—and I still count myself among their number, despite my reaction to the revival—wanted to take another trip into the world of the Bluths. But, as the song says, you can’t always get what you want. Scripted television, regardless of the platform by which it’s delivered—is meant to be about satisfying what the viewer needs rather than what it wants, a distinct difference that Hurwitz should have embraced. Unfortunately, for Arrested Development, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that they’ve made a huge mistake.

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Business/Technology Notes
Multiplatform World: TV Everywhere Complexities Remain Daunting
By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News

New York – Pay TV operators continue to expand their TV Everywhere offerings, but the underlying systems are becoming increasingly complex as content is targeted to more devices and required to handle a growing variety of video and metadata formats.

It’s a daunting task, but one that needs to be handled, if pay TV operators are to keep pace with the changes that their viewers are demanding.

Early on, TV Everywhere systems were essentially bolted onto the legacy platforms. That was okay for the early phases of deployment, but operators must now strive to build back office systems and workflows that can handle the load and merge with the existing systems, panelists said here Thursday at the Multichannel News/B&C “TV in a Multiplatform World” conference.

“Television has always been about logistics solved by technology,” said Brick Eksten, president and CEO of Digital Rapids, noting that there’s a real concern about how to address a “generational gap around younger audiences and how they consume content. For them, the experience is more about how and when and where they can view it.”

Operators such as Time Warner Cable are among those addressing this shift, having deployed TV Everywhere apps that deliver live and on-demand content to iOS and Android devices, as well as Roku boxes. “We understand the complexities of what’s happening with our customers,” said TWC group vice president of video Alix Cottrell.

“The logistics are getting more complex as you get to more formats,” said ClearLeap vice president of product management Dave Mowry, noting that programmers are behind the curve particularly from a workflow perspective as they look to link up their traditional TV and VOD systems to the new TV Everywhere world. “The first implementations were experiments…we’ll have to rethink the infrastructure,” he added.

Vubiquity chief marketing officer Laurie Lawrence said myriad video codecs, bit transfer rates and metadata formats are making the underlying systems more technically tangled. “But at the end of the day, consumers want a high quality video experience” no matter what screen they’re viewing it on,” she said.

She said the metadata issue isn’t relegated to information that’s put in front of consumers about the shows they are watching. Metadata associated with business rules that pertain to licensing rights for TV Everywhere content varies by provider. “Everybody has a different opinion,” Lawrence said, noting that gathering those business rules and applying them “is important and complex.”

“I don’t think it’s a technology problem,” Eksten said of the metadata management issue. “It’s a logistics problem. Some are better positioned to handle it than others.”

TWC, like other pay TV operators, is starting to shift interfaces into the cloud not just for mobile devices but for set-tops as well. The challenge of managing all of that metadata will ease as that information is decoupled from the device, Cottrell said.

Panelists also warned that the migration to more IP-delivered video, particularly the streaming of live events, will cost more bandwidth and apply more stress on legacy systems.

Even if live streams are multicast to groups of customers, the pausing of that TV stream by individual users will generate gobs of unicast streams. “There has to be sufficient bandwidth to deliver those services,” Azuki Systems vice president of engineering Rob Hickey said, noting that many operational wrinkles could be ironed out if operators utilize a common video format in the cloud and lean on client devices to handle the conversions and other heavy lifting.

But the solution to the overarching issue on the horizon could go much deeper than that, said Tom Lattie, vice president of product management at Harmonic. “There’s no magic bullet” on how to scale unicast streams to tens of millions of users that are watching broadcast TV today, he said.

But operators are thinking it through and trying to streamline, combine and simplify how they deliver all of their video services to all conceivable screens. As an example, Lattie said Harmonic has responded to a request for proposal from a large MSO that has a “headend refresh” underway that envisions the deliver of legacy MPEG-2 video alongside multiscreen IP, adaptive video streams via a unified headend platform.

TV Everywhere is “a path they [operators] can’t turn back on. You need to fold it into your everyday operations,” Lattie said.

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WARNING: Spoilers for the upcoming season of "The Glades" in this article.

TV Notes
The Glades Season 4 Preview: Zombies and Strippers to Come!
By Jim Halterman, TVFanatic.com - May 27, 2013

The Glades Season 4 gets underway tonight on A&E, with Matt Passmore's Jim Longworth fighting crime in the Florida Everglades with his signature grin and sarcasm intact.
But will his romance with Callie (Kiele Sanchez) thrive after the marriage proposal at the end of last season? And what did the actors tease about strippers and zombies (?!?) being a part of the new season?

I ventured to the show’s set in Miami earlier this year to talk to the cast and was able to pull together 10 teases for the new season that could help make The Glades addition to your summer programming schedule...

Ready For marriage? “I think he thinks he is,” said Passmore, laughing on set. “For a guy that's always on the front foot, always fixes things, he's always the smartest guy in the room [but] you try that with the woman you love [and] you're gonna be wearing your badge around your neck…[Callie] doesn’t take any of his shtick.”

Callie complications: “This proposal I think is much more complicated for her,” Sanchez teased. “And I think that Callie understands all too well that jumping into things and following your heart [may not be] the best decision, always. And her struggle for independence and to be independent as a single mom versus love and a new relationship is sort of where she's at…that's her struggle.”

Sanchez also said the answer to Jim’s proposal won’t come easily - but will be dealt with.

Wacky happenings: Carlos Gomez, who plays Longworth’s BFF Dr. Carlos Sanchez, said to expect the crime solving to move away from the norm: “I think the cases are going to be a lot wackier than you’ve seen them before... It’s not going to be as edgy. I think what’s good about our show is the relationship between the characters so I think you’re going to see a lot of more of what’s happening with us away from the cases and stuff.”

Comfort food: Passmore elaborated on his co-star's point: “We’re not the show where we have car chases and-and tackling perps and stuff like that. There's a definite format to the show and it's comfort food. It's literally something you can sit back with your Sunday night meal and you don't have to work too hard but it just feels good.”

Magic Jim? There is a case coming up featuring strippers, but will we see Longworth go ‘undercover,’ so to speak? “I don't think we have the budget for a G-banger good enough for Jim,” Passmore said with a laugh. “Or maybe that's just the powers that be that have said ‘We don't want to see that.’”

In other words, sorry: we may not see Passmore’s Magic Mike moves.

Mom drama: Callie has to consider her teenage son, Jeff (Uriah Shelton) in her marital decisions…and it won’t be easy. “As we've seen in the last year too,” Sanchez previewed, “[Jeff is] getting more and more difficult to kind of deal with and that struggle of dealing with this…I hope that we explore that more and I think it's not going to be so easy for him.”

More Daniel: Fan favorite Daniel, played by Jordan Wall, is excited that we’ll learn more about this character in season four: “This season I actually was surprised by something. We'll find out about Daniel and we'll get a little peek at his family life.” He also teased that meeting his family (including a sibling) will shed light on why quirky Daniel is the way that he is.

Zombies: There’s an episode involving zombies coming later in the season. Michelle Hurd, who plays Colleen Manus (aka Jim’s boss), couldn’t give many details but she called it “interesting” and said while she’ll be in her usual role of heading up the investigation, she did confirm one thing. “I’m not going to become a zombie. I am not a zombie.”
A new Jim? Passmore said that while we’ve seen Jim with many different ladies over the years, he wanted that to change in Season 4: “I made [the writers] promise at the end of last season, I was like, no more women. Let's start exploring some relationship stuff rather than just ‘oh, watch out 'cause I might fall for this person.’”

Huge sacrifices! Passmore, who is Australian, likes his beer - but he’s sworn off it during shooting, though not because he’ll be shirtless a lot this season: “The horrible thing about a beer gut is it shows through no matter what.”

THE GLADES returns tonight at 9 p.m. om A&E.

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Critic's Notes
‘Smash’ Crash: After Finale, Seeking Lessons for TV
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - May 27, 2013

Hollywood has a way of deriving the wrong lessons from both failure and success. So in bidding a final farewell to “Smash” — which wrapped up its tumultuous two-season run with a “Let’s dump this on Memorial Day weekend” two-hour finale Sunday — a few parting thoughts.

Whenever something ostensibly risky doesn’t work, TV execs — particularly those laboring at the major networks — like to use that to bolster their impulse to stick to the tried and true. In this case, many argued before the series premiered that it’s primarily elites on the coasts who attend musical theater, so it’s easy for showbiz types to delude themselves into thinking there’s a mass audience for a series about a Broadway show. Frankly, this argument is as old as “Cop Rock,” which — unlike “Smash” — didn’t even open.

Still, “Smash” didn’t fail because it was a musical soap opera. It failed because (unlike “Cop Rock”) it was a bad musical soap opera — or more specifically, because the promise of its first few episodes and thrill of discovering its female leads vying for the part of Marilyn Monroe, Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty, wasn’t sustained past episode three. The margin for error might be smaller for a show like “Smash,” but assuming that’s true, there were nevertheless far too many creative missteps to survive.

The producers, moreover, stumbled not with the relative unknowns they assembled, but foremost with the recognizable names, particularly Debra Messing and to a lesser degree Anjelica Huston. In short, they seemingly didn’t trust a show about hungry young Broadway wannabes to get by on theatrical talent, but rather felt compelled to surround them with stars, whose plots were almost uniformly teeth-gnashing. Stunt casting in the later episodes (Sean Hayes, all is not forgiven) only made matters worse.

As New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood shrewdly observed, the series repeatedly engaged in “the kind of compromises that can turn an edgy, fresh show into something that resembles a bland, assembly-line-produced product: precisely what ‘Smash’ turned out to be.” Indeed, it’s hard to say “Smash” lacked the courage of its convictions, because in hindsight, it’s hard to discern what those convictions were.

Finally, NBC did the show no favors by continuing to cling to its “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” public-relations approach when many perceived (correctly, I’d argue) that the program had gone off the rails creatively in addition to losing a sizable chunk of its audience. That included NBC Entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt adhering to his description of the program as “an unqualified success,” when you didn’t need to be a research ace to recognize the claim didn’t hold water.

The closing hours highlighted just how seriously the show had lost its way, which included producing music videos that dispensed with any connection between original songs being rehearsed and performed on stage and people walking down the street (multiple people, in the case of a tepid cover of Queen’s “Under Pressure”) belting out tunes. Fittingly, the final image (and SPOILER ALERT, assuming anyone cares) was a McPhee-Hilty show-stopper, which only reinforced, in a melancholy way, just how much the initial spark had been lost.

During the finale, Messing’s character huffs at one point that the press “will twist anything for a story.”

Perhaps so. But in the case of “Smash,” the media vultures didn’t really need to bother. The show failed. But that’s not a referendum on musicals, or serialized dramas, or shows with too many gay characters, or networks trying to do something a little bit different or outside their comfort zones.

It’s simply a referendum on “Smash.”

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TV Notes
Comedy Central Renews ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ For Second Season
By The Deadline.com Team - May 27, 2013

The sketch comedy show fronted by comedian Amy Schumer will return for Season 2, Comedy Central confirms. Schumer Tweeted the news on Monday. Inside Amy Schumer airs Tuesdays at 10:30 PM on Comedy Central. It debuted last month with strong ratings, notching 1.6 million total viewers and 1.2 million adults 18-49 and a 2.4 rating among men 18-34 in its first episode.


* * * *

TV Notes
Brooke Burns To Host GSN’s ‘The Chase’

EXCLUSIVE: Brooke Burns has inked a deal to host GSN‘s The Chase, the network’s new rapid-fire quiz show adapted from the British original that pits a team of four contestants against a resident genius. NBC Sports’ Dan Patrick had been up for the hosting gig before negotiations fell through at the last minute, sources tell Deadline.

Burns is also attached as host to GSN’s dating show Where Have You Been All My Life, announced as part of GSN’s development slate at last month’s upfront. Filming on The Chase, an ITV Studios America production, is set to begin within a few weeks.

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'Smash': Exec Producer Josh Safran on the series finale and what season 3 would have been
By Tim Stack, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - May 26, 2013


After two seasons, the curtain has closed on NBC’s ambitious musical Smash. The series climaxed with Marilyn Monroe musical Bombshell winning big at the Tonys, including awards for Ivy (Megan Hilty) and composers Tom (Christian Borle) and Julia (Debra Messing). It also marked the end of an attempt to reboot the series under new executive producer Joshua Safran (Gossip Girl), who replaced series creator Theresa Rebeck. EW talked to Safran about the surprising finale, what season 3 would have looked like, and Rebeck’s criticism of his Smash.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you know this would be the series finale and not the season finale?
It was like day two of episode 15 when the premiere aired. So 16 and 17 are the two-hour finale – 17 had already been broken and not broken as a series finale. Then after the ratings came through from the première, it was like maybe it would be, maybe it wouldn’t be. Then, as the next airing happened two weeks later, it was clear. The plot actually didn’t change — it was always the Tonys and the people who win and lose were the same people whether it was season finale or a series finale. We had to cut for time because the finale ended up being 15 minutes over, and those scenes will be on the DVD. But after Karen is at Table 46 at the end of the episode, before Jimmy comes to talk to her, an agent played by Nadja Dajani comes over to her and says, “I know you didn’t win tonight, but I want to tell you I think you’re incredible and I don’t just think you’re a stage star — I think you’re a movie star.” It would have paved the way for what the plan for season 3 was.

The plan for season 3 in my mind was a Hollywood movie musical. It would shoot in New York. I felt like after two seasons of watching two shows full trajectories, I didn’t want to repeat the story again so I thought I would take the season off and do a movie musical still using Broadway actors, still using Broadway stages, maybe it would have even been set in the world of Broadway. Who knows because we didn’t even get that far but it would have given audiences a season to [see] a different way of muscials being put together and then you could come back to Broadway in season 4. You see the seeds that are in the finale.

Like with Luke McFarlane’s character Patrick.
Yeah, and it was going to be maybe Derek was going to direct it or maybe he wouldn’t direct it or Tom would direct it? And they’d need a new composer so Jimmy would compose with Julia. It’s all there. So that’s the Smash that would have been.

So the long answer is we knew after it was broken [that it would be the final episode] but while I was writing it, I was reshaping it to be a series finale.

Is it hard to have to continue to work on something when you know it’s ending?
The problem is we didn’t even know we were moving to Saturdays until after we wrapped. So I think there was still a hope that maybe the audience would return. So we didn’t even know it was a series finale until well after we wrapped. I started reading the tea leaves so I started constructing it that way. But I still left enough open – like not everyone gets their fully happy ending.

There were certain choices I made. The neon sign was initially going to say “Big Finish” for their song and I decided you know what, it’s the end. A little Meta moment.

We all were getting the sense but no one wanted it to end. I think the thing I will be saddest about is this crew and cast was so incredible and so invested. They still are. That team will never come together again — it just doesn’t work that way. No one stopped giving their all or checked out, from the writers to the editors to the crew and the cast. The only thing that happened was budgetarily the Tonys weren’t to the level that previous episodes like opening night of Bombshell. But I still think we made it work. The stage was our stage in Greenpoint and the house was the Marquis.

The opening scene of the last hour where the whole cast sings “Under Pressure” feels a little like a curtain call. Was that the only time they’ve ever all been together?
That was the only time they’ve ever had a song together. They were all together at Table 46 in episode 15. But yeah, “Under Pressure” was an interesting moment because I thought singing “This is our last dance” is pretty cool.

The final number, “Big Finish,” with Karen and Ivy, reminded me of the finale of Chicago with Velma and Roxie.
That’s exactly what Marc and Scott and all of us were going for. It was actually going to be a much more bittersweet song. The initial plot which was shot but cut out of the episode is that Tom and Julia are not writing their speech, the song that’s going to be performed at the Tonys is what they were writing and they couldn’t figure out what to write about. Jimmy was going to come in and give them the idea to write “Big Finish” and that was going to show you the seeds of Julia and Jimmy and Tom working together. But we cut that storyline out because we needed the time and the relevant story for Jimmy is moving on from his past and the same for Julia. So initially, the writing of the song was going to be a little bit more bittersweet and summing up the year. It was going to be more of a valedictory song where now it’s more of a Chicago-y song. It’s great and it was so great to end on the girls together.

I’m still surprised that Ivy came out the winner in all of this because season one she was basically the villain. I know you put her through major character rehab.
We always knew that the real love stories of the season were Derek and Ivy, Jimmy and Karen, and Julia and Tom. In the very beginning of the year when the writers all got together and we had to make the big pitch to the network and the producers, that was always in it. But who was going to win was a closely guarded secret. Only I knew who was going to win the Tonys for a really long time. Then at a certain point I told the writers. We always knew that Bombshell was going to win. The question of whether it was Ivy or Karen, I actually made the decision very early on that Karen wouldn’t win. The question was going to be whether neither of them won or whether Ivy won. For a while, it was going to be maybe Ivy wins supporting and neither of them would win actress, so we went back and forth on it. About halfway through the season, because Ivy had gone through so much in season one and season two, was all about the phoenix from the ashes for her and for everybody. We just knew halfway through it has to be Ivy. She’s just been through too much and that role is so iconic and you’ve seen her deliver it so well.

The only thing that was a last-minute addition was that Derek wasn’t going to win choreography — he was going to win nothing. Then we all talked about it and we all realized it was more realistic that he would win and that people wouldn’t necessarily embrace that but the work would still be respected. Derek’s private demons are what he really needs to deal with, not being snubbed. So that was pretty much the last change that was made before we shot the finale.

I’m still shocked that Julia ended up with Michael Swift.
That was a seed for season 3. That was a season 3 Easter egg. Our goal was to bring him back and do image rehab for his character. That actually wasn’t a series finale decision. She was always going to see Michael Swift and we were going to wonder whether she was going to be with him next year. But the way in which that happened changed. Initially she was going to bump into him at the Tonys and they were going to have an interaction in which she was very happy to see him and he wasn’t happy to see her. So it was going to be a reversal of season one and for season 3 she was going to find out that she had to work with him but he didn’t want anything to do with her and she was still in love with him. But in the end, when we knew it was most likely a series finale, we just kept it to the scene at the door.

So was Patrick (Luke MacFarlane) also going to be in season 3?
Yes. I mean, we obviously didn’t get that far to make a deal with Luke, but our goal was to create a relationship for Tom that was real and lasting and not filled with the baggage of all he had gone through with Sam.

So was Patrick really gay?!
Yes. That makes me nervous because that was my big fear. In the script he said “I’m not gay” and then they kissed. But the actors very much loved the [other way]. But I worry that it reads for the audience that Tom takes advantage of Patrick. No, Patrick is really gay.

I didn’t think he took advantage of him. I just thought maybe that was a cliffhanger for a season 3 story.
We were interested in a season 3 idea of Tom working with this man who he was in love with and [who] was in love with him but who wasn’t out. So he finally found the relationship that worked but there was this huge stumbling block.

What would Eileen’s storyline have been for season 3?
We realized that Ivy would have still been in Bombshell so she would not have been able to do the movie and she would have been pregnant. The idea would have been to still have been following Broadway with Eileen, sort of like a B-story while following the movie on the A-side and watching how Eileen made the jump like some theatrical producers have done into film. But Eileen was going to be our way to still stay in the theater. One of the things we talked about was creating a powerful film producer who was going to be her love interest, sort of a Harvey Weinstein.

Was there any thought that Jennifer Hudson’s Ronnie would come back?
Jennifer’s always doing so many things. The Daisy story would have been Ronnie without the sexual harassment angle. We always knew that Derek’s demons would come back to haunt him but before we broke that story, we talked somewhere around episode 6 or 8 about Ronnie being the one that took over for Anna and won the Tony. If we had done that then we would have made the Diva in lead opposite Karen and Ivy. It would have been Karen and Ivy sort of having this person that they respected and they were close to being the person that was their biggest rival. But we couldn’t get Jennifer back because of scheduling.

And it was always the plan for Kyle to die?
Yes from the pitch that got me the job.

What was the last scene you shot for the finale?
Our last two days of production were in the Marquis for the house of the Tonys. So one by one everybody had their last scenes of either winning their awards or their reaction from the audience. So Anjelica’s last scene was her scene with Karen outside. I think Kat was the last one who wrapped, so I’m pretty sure the last thing we shot was when Jack comes down and gets Kat and Krysta out of their seats to go get Daisy. Megan’s last scene was at the back of the house right before that when Derek goes to get Anna and Karen.

Was it emotional?
Oh yeah. As I said, these people loved this show and loved working on it so much. The whole two days was a cavalcade of tears and hugs and crew pictures and applause every time someone wrapped. Megan even came back after she wrapped for Kat’s wrap.

One of my favorite days of the whole year was the night of “Under Pressure” because we shot in [an] empty Times Square from 9pm to 5am. Everybody was in that sequence. We were just hanging out in the lobby of the Marquis. It was also one of the coldest nights of the year. We had recently cut together the production numbers for 15 so I remember showing the cast “Grin and Bare It,” “I’m Not Sorry,” and “The Right Regrets.” It was just lovely. It was like a party that lasted well into the night.

There were so many songs we wanted to do and the DVD will have some numbers. There was a number that was actually cut from the first hour [of the finale], which will be online that night on NBC.com, a cut number of Eileen actually singing an Edith Piaf song in French. Another full version of “I’m Not Sorry” will be on the DVD with Anna and Karen from the downtown production. It was cut from episode 11 for time.

Did you get to tell the Smash vision that you wanted? Are you happy with this?
Yes. I really am. I’m really proud of it. It is very close to the pitch that I came in with. Of course it was a very steep learning curve. I was learning up until the last day, as was everybody. There’s definitely stuff that we would have worked through in season 3 but I’m very proud of the show and I always will be and I’m glad it exists so I got to be a part of it.

Theresa Rebeck was critical of the season. I’m not sure if you read what she wrote.
I did. I saw it. The emails on Buzzfeed? I have the utmost respect for Theresa. She created an incredible world and incredible characters and I’m so honored that I got to play in her sandbox for this whole season. Obviously, any viewer is allowed their opinion and if that’s her opinion. She’s allowed to have it. I disagree with it because I’m very proud of the show, but I’m not gonna say that she can’t have her opinion and I hope one day she and I get together and have a cocktail and a couple laughs.

So what’s next for you?
I’m gonna develop. Gossip Girl was 5 years of my life and we didn’t really get a hiatus because it was so many episodes a year. And Smash was so high-octane, high-energy, and high-stress. So I’m developing. I’m writing a couple features. The remake I wrote of Endless Love for Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage [is] shooting now. My goal is to just keep going. I love TV and I love movies.

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Business Notes
Viacom's Sumner Redstone celebrates 90 with big bump in net worth
By Meg James, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - May 27, 2013

Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone celebrated his 90th birthday Monday.

Friends, family and business associates had planned a surprise Memorial Day birthday party in Los Angeles for the media mogul, even though Redstone has never been a big fan of birthdays -- or surprises.

Not to worry. Redstone has plenty of reasons to celebrate this year. Just last week, Viacom stock hit an all time high. Redstone also received an early birthday present from Viacom's board, of which he serves as chairman. The group voted to raise Viacom's quarterly cash dividend to 30 cents a share, up from the current 27.5 cents a share.

Redstone holds more than 40 million shares of the company's voting stock, so the additional 2.5 cents a share will provide him with some extra pocket change -- $3.7 million -- in the coming year.

Over the course of a year, Viacom's 30 cents a share quarterly dividends will produce $48 million in cash for Redstone.

That comes on top of Redstone's executive compensation. Last year, Viacom paid Redstone $20.4 million in salary, bonus and stock benefits in his role as executive chairman, according to regulatory filings. (That amount does not include the more than $31 million in pay and benefits that Redstone received in 2012 in his role as chairman of CBS Corp.)

Redstone, at 90, remains one of the mostly handsomely compensated executives in corporate America.

Still, Redstone's most generous gift came from his greatest love of all -- the financial markets. During the last six months, Viacom's stock has soared to nearly $70 a share, up from about $49 a share in November.

Those gains amount to an $850-million increase in value for Redstone's shares. The tycoon's holdings in Viacom now are worth nearly $2.9 billion.

A Viacom spokesman on Monday noted that Viacom investors also have shared in the riches. The 2.5-cent quarterly dividend increase was worth about $49 million for the company's Class B common stock shareholders, spokesman Jeremy Zweig said.

And the share price increase since November represents slightly more than $10 billion in increased value for the common stockholders, Zweig said.

Stock in CBS Corp., which Redstone also controls, similarly has been on a tear. Redstone's holdings in CBS are worth about $2.2 billion.

Happy Birthday, Sumner.

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TV Notes
Dan Harmon Exploring Possible Return to 'Community'
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - May 27, 2013

Dan Harmon may be heading back to Greendale.

The creator of NBC's Community is in talks with studio Sony Pictures Television to return in some capacity for the series' upcoming fifth season, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Details on just what role the former showrunner would have with the series remain unclear.

Harmon broke the news during his Harmontown podcast on Sunday, according to HollyWookiee.com, which had a reporter present for the taping. According to the site, Harmon told the audience that he has been asked to return to Community, and later asked that it be edited out of the podcast -- which has not yet been released online.

NBC renewed the Joel McHale starrer May 10, a day after the comedy wrapped its fourth season even year-over-year with its third frame -- which was overseen by Harmon. David Guarascio and Moses Port took over this season, with some critics noting Community had lost the edge it had under Harmon.

Following his turbulent run on Community -- which included an unflattering voicemail from series co-star Chevy Chase-- Harmon has been vocal about his firing from the show he created. "I would have fired me," he told KCRW's The Businessin August. "Sony was always so bummed out about the way I wrote and thought, and they always fantasized about doing the show without me."

Harmon also acknowledged the Chase brouhaha during his podcast taping, joking that he would only return in the actor -- who exited the show in November -- would be brought back to the series as well.

A spokesperson for Sony Pictures Television told THR that there was nothing official to report at this time.

For NBC, Harmon's return would help solidify Community -- one of only two returning comedies the network has for 2013-14. (The series was left off its fall schedule with a midseason debut again.)

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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 - Extreme Weight Loss (Season Premiere, 120 min.)
10PM - Body of Proof (Series Finale)
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Ed Helms; Jewel performs)
(R - May 20)
12:37AM - Nightline

(R - Feb. 26)
9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Oct. 23)
10PM - Brooklyn DA (Series Premiere)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Paris Hilton; Miriam Tucker, who swallowed and recovered a diamond; Atlas Genius performs)
(R - May 2)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Ellen Page; radio host George Stroumboulopoulos)

8PM - The Voice: Recap
9PM - The Voice (LIVE)
10:01PM - The Office
(R - May 16)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Craig Ferguson; 100-year-old actress Connie Sawyer; Emeli Sandé performs)
(R - May 8)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (John Krasinski; director Eli Roth; professional boxer Floyd Mayweather; The Breeders perform)
(R - May 7)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Rapper Guilty Simpson; journalist Sacha Gervasi; The Heavy perform)
(R - Dec. 12)

8PM - So You Think You Can Dance (120 min.)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - In Performance at the White House - Carole King: The Library of Congress Gershwin
9PM - CONSTITUTION USA With Peter Sagal: Built to Last?
10PM - Frontline: Outlawed in Pakistan

8PM - Porque el Amor Manda
9PM - Amores Verdaderos
10PM - Qué Bonito Amor

8PM - Hart of Dixie
(R - Oct. 30)
9PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R - Oct. 5)

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Bill O'Reilly)
(R - May 22)
11:31PM - The Colbert Show (Author David Sassoon)
(R - May 20)

11PM - Conan (James Franco; Robert Kirkman; Jamie N. Commons)
(R - May 7)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (The Wanted, The Wanted Life; James Davis; Jen Kirkman; Mo Mandel)
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TV Reviews
“Outlawed in Pakistan" (PBS), "Brooklyn DA” (CBS)
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - May 26, 2013

Two news programs concern themselves with justice Tuesday night, and the one people are less likely to watch is clearly the more worthy and extraordinary. A PBS “Frontline” production, “Outlawed in Pakistan” deals with the alleged gang rape of a young girl, and the devastating consequences on her and her family. CBS News, meanwhile, plays the good soldier with “Brooklyn DA,” a by-the-numbers docu-series offered as original summer filler, in much the way ABC News steadily delivers such alternative fare to its network. If it’s an either-or choice, the verdict here isn’t close.

Written and directed by Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann, “Outlawed” chronicles the story of Kainat Soomro, who claims to have been kidnapped and repeatedly raped by four men at the age of 13. Instead of outlawing her or putting her to death, her family stands behind her, in a culture where the woman is blamed and labeled “impure” simply for leveling such charges.

Still, the evidence is hardly cut and dried, inasmuch as none was collected, and there’s no DNA testing to prove Kainat’s case in the face of denials from the accused. Yet as her lawyer puts it, given the stigma associated with such claims by young women (we’re told matter-of-factly Kainat will never be able to marry), “Why would this girl lie?”

What follows is both maddening and heartbreaking, told (almost exclusively through subtitled first-person accounts and interviews) with sensitivity and restraint. “All I want is justice for you,” Kainat’s mother tells her, but over the course of legal proceedings the producers covered for nearly four years, the prospect of “justice” seem increasingly elusive.

“Brooklyn DA” is all about justice, too, but in a much more TV-friendly manner, in the same way “Law & Order” producer Dick Wolf spit out a few reality shows — with titles like “Arrest and Trial” — amid the hundreds of spinoffs (or maybe it just feels that way) his show has birthed.

Produced under the aegis of “48 Hours” matriarch Susan Zirinsky, “Brooklyn DA” follows different prosecutors handling separate cases, using a spare but heavily scored style that seeks to bring some entertainment value to the documentary format. In tone, the closest equivalent would be Terence Wrong’s various acclaimed series for ABC, from “Hopkins 24/7″ to “NY Med.”

“Brooklyn DA” does provide some behind-the-curtain looks at the legal process (including a superior helping a young attorney massage and strengthen her opening statement for court), but for any regular viewer of TV legal dramas, there’s not a lot here you haven’t seen before, in one form or another.

That’s not to criticize CBS News for being a team player, except for this: News divisions get relatively few at-bats beyond their traditional newsmags in primetime these days, and it’s disheartening how often those exercises are delivered in the form of true crime (a la ABC’s “Revenge for Real”) or silly consumer come-ons like ABC’s “The Lookout,” which so bastardizes “news” the network opted to drop its “Nightline” affiliation. That’s despite the fact there are so many genuine stories out there to cover, some of them with actual ratings potential.

Instead, such exercises remain largely confined to PBS and HBO — catering to those hearty few willing to watch something like “Outlawed in Pakistan.” And if, as with Kainat’s story, that often appears to be an uphill battle, for those who still embrace the idea of news as opposed to infotainment, it’s a fight worth waging.

Documentary; PBS, Tuesday May 28, 10 p.m.

Series; CBS, Tuesday May 28, 10 p.m.

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