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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2934

post #87991 of 93720
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Technology/Business Notes
Cox Targets Cord-Cutters With Internet TV Test in Southern California
By Todd Spangler, Variety.com - Jun. 28, 2013

Cox Communications is the first major U.S. pay TV operator to explicitly aim at cord-cutters, launching a test of a lower-priced TV and cloud DVR service in Orange County, Calif., delivered over its broadband pipes.

The operator’s flareWatch service is $34.99 per month, with access to 97 live channels and 30 hours of network DVR storage. The service is currently available to Cox broadband subscribers in the Orange County market.

The flareWatch service is part of “a small trial” in the area, according to Cox spokesman Todd Smith. “Results and customer feedback will determine if we proceed with future plans,” he said.

The Cox Internet TV service uses Fanhattan’s Fan TV set-top, which provides iPad-like navigation via a touch-sensitive remote control that has no buttons. Subscribers can connect up to three Fan TV boxes, which cost $99 each, to the service. While it’s unlikely that Cox or any other pay-TV provider will adopt the approach to deliver their primary TV services, Fan TV and similar boxes could find a home on the Internet streaming front.

FlareWatch does not provide access to over-the-top streaming-video services, such as Hulu or Netflix.

“Finally, a simpler, easier way to get the entertainment you love,” Cox says in a promo for the service.

Cord-cutting has been a growing concern among pay TV providers, which risk losing price-sensitive video subscribers who instead opt for free, over-the-air TV and cheaper streaming options like Netflix.

One of the key attributes of Cox’s flareWatch is that it delivers a healthy mix of popular programming but at a lower price than traditional cable TV packages.

Beta version of flareWatch provides local broadcast TV and cable nets such as ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Fox Sports West, TWC SportsNet, CNN, CNBC, Nickelodeon, A&E, Discovery, Bravo, USA, TLC, MTV, Fox News Channel, FX, Food Network and Syfy.

Wow, a cableCo that actually gets it. Good for them and I hope they get some takeup on this and expand it further. I also hope Intel can deliver on its planned IPTV initiative but I think in the end the DoJ is going to have to get involved with anti-trust actions against TWC et al to open the channel provider market up.

The real problem that I see for all the cableCos is that today's teens don't seem to be interested in traditional TV at all - I know my late teens son has no interest and neither do any of his friends. They live on YouTube, their phones, and anything else they can find on the net.
post #87992 of 93720
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

The real problem that I see for all the cableCos is that today's teens don't seem to be interested in traditional TV at all - I know my late teens son has no interest and neither do any of his friends. They live on YouTube, their phones, and anything else they can find on the net.

This is the same for my two sons (20 & 18). They watch plenty of "tv" on their laptops, but rarely watch on the big screen sets we have. And even then it's still mostly discs, Netflix or Amazon and not Dish or ota. Although they occasionally will watch what was recorded on my htpc via our home network.
post #87993 of 93720
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Wow, a cableCo that actually gets it. Good for them and I hope they get some takeup on this and expand it further.
The channel lineup looks an awful lot like the old analog Expanded Basic lineup they used to offer. Unless there's something I'm missing, I'd swich to this in a heartbeat if they offered it here in Phoenix. I checked the full channel lineup and all the channels I care about are there. In fact, there are still too many I don't watch, but even having ESPN in this kind of package doesn't bother me. smile.gif
post #87994 of 93720
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jan. 29, 2013

ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

Summertime, and the viewing is sleazy – or, at least, questionable. This time of year, on broadcast network TV, just being a non-repeat qualifies as being somewhat of interest. Tonight in prime time, there are three different examples of Write-Off Theatre – shows that were canceled quickly earlier this season, but have returned over the summer so the networks can burn off unused episodes and lose a little less money on them. Exhibit A: This ABC series starring Anthony Edwards, playing a conspiracy skeptic who ends up swallowed by a major conspiracy involving… I’m not sure. Something about Nazis, aliens, or some mixture thereof. Worth watching? Not on its own. But it’s fresh.

Lifetime, 8:00 p.m. ET

It’s tempting to say “They don’t make made-for-TV biographical movies the way they used to,” but in this case, they do. And Martin Landau, as the drooling old man who becomes the Texas stripper’s significant other, is a piece of casting that makes this new Lifetime film worth watching. And then, of course, there’s Agnes Bruckner in the title role. For a full review, see Ed Bark’s Uncle Barky’s Bytes.

BBC America, 8:30 p.m. ET

The latest edition in this series of specials profiling the various incarnations of the Doctor brings us the Sixth Doctor, played by Colin Baker. He may be to Doctor Who what George Lazenby is to James Bond, but still, here he is. And for those who need a prior primer, BBC America is prefacing this new special with all the previous Doctors Revisited specials, beginning at 6 p.m. ET with The First Doctor.

ABC, 9:00 p.m. ET

Write-Off Theatre, Exhibit B: ABC, as it is with Zero Hour, continues to present unaired episodes of this series in order to reduce its losses.

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET
Write-Off Theatre, Exhibit C: Here’s another series that came and vanished quickly, and, this summer, is returning just as quickly with new episodes. But of tonight’s Phoenix-like TV shows, this is the one that generated some initial enthusiasm here at TVWW. For proof, check out Eric Gould’s original Do No Harm review in his Cold Light Reader column.

Edited by dad1153 - 6/29/13 at 9:08am
post #87995 of 93720
TV Review
Anna Nicole Smith’s story in all its sleazy glory
By Linda Stasi, New York Post

Anna Nicole Smith dreamed of living large. She dreamed of being Marilyn Monroe. What Smith probably never understood is that her tragic idol wanted to live smaller — or at least smaller than the creation she became.

Yet both women suffered the same fate — OD’ing on pills and booze and misery. The big difference is that Monroe only hurt herself, while Smith hurt her children, particularly her son, who died shortly before she did — in the same horrible way.

On Saturday night, Lifetime blows out the doors with “Anna Nicole,” a true-life movie so good, so well-written and yet sleazy enough to satisfy even the cheesiest viewers among us. Yes, that would be me.

It begins when she was a little girl in the dysfunctional home of her mother (Virginia Madsen), a four-times married cop who wasn’t opposed to taking pot shots at her husbands.

While still a teen, Anna (then Vickie Lynn) married the fry cook at a local fast food joint, had a son, Danny, left the fry cook and tried to move back home with the baby, whereupon her mother turned them both away so she could screw around with her latest live-in.

Vickie Lynn (Agnes Bruckner) gets a job at a sleazy local topless joint, dyes her hair platinum, asks a plastic surgeon for implants the size of bowling balls and begins raking in the tips.

The movie follows Smith’s rise, beginning with having a local photog snap racy pix of her when she hears a scout for Playboy is in the area.

But before Playboy comes knocking, billionaire octogenarian, J. Howard Marshall (Martin Landau) is taken to the club by his male nurse and falls madly in love with her.

After she becomes Playmate of the Year, Guess jeans came knocking and she became the iconic face — and body — of the company until they fired her for being so publicly drunk and slutty. So, she married the old man.

But this is more than a tale of the rise of an American goddess. It’s also about the fall of a substance abusing cheap trick who was a worse mother than her own mother ever was, humiliating her son Danny throughout his life with her boozing and whoring around.

When Marshall’s son shows his father photos of her making out with another woman, Marshall says, “She’s some good- looking woman!”

Enter weirdo lawyer Howard K. Stern (Adam Goldberg — a dead ringer) who enables her constantly — from her weight gain to the drugs and booze. He even made the deal for “The Anna Nicole Show,” the horrorreality show where she totally imploded on national TV.

Stern then takes Smith, pregnant with another man’s child, to the Bahamas where she drugged and boozed herself into a stupor.

Watching her in the hospital room with her new baby girl (who amazingly wasn’t born impaired), and knowing that her son will die within hours in that same room from his mother’s pills, is sad and tragic.

Landau is positively perfect as Marshall, Bruckner nails Anna Nicole, Goldberg is eerily spot-on as Stern, and even all the tragic Dannys — Graham Patrick Martin is the teen Danny — get it right.

No, it ain’t rocket science, but it is, for a TV biopic, just right for a steamy summer night.

Saturday, 8 pm, Lifetime
★★★★ (out of four)

post #87996 of 93720
FRIDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #87997 of 93720
TV Review
A unique twist on reality TV, 'Siberia' faces stiff competition
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jun. 29, 2013

NBC acquired the international production "Siberia" and has slotted it for 10 p.m. Monday, which may force the show to live up to its title as a viewer-free wasteland if it's frozen out of Nielsen ratings glory by the competing "Under the Dome" on CBS.

"Dome" opened with a huge 13.5 million viewers watching last Monday, the best summer drama ratings debut since "2000 Malibu Road" in 1992. "Road" lasted only six episodes. So it's possible the air could leak out of "Dome," too, but initially it seems like "Siberia" will be facing a ratings Goliath.

That's too bad because even though the "Siberia" pilot has its missteps, the show's concept is interesting enough to warrant tuning in.

Although "Siberia" is scripted and cast with actors, it's filmed to look like a reality show that sends 16 strangers into the wilds of North Asia's Siberian wilderness -- the show was actually shot in Manitoba, Canada -- where they have a chance to win $500,000 if they can survive the winter.

Host Jonathon Buckley -- all the actors use their real names -- tells contestants in a Phil Keoghan-like accent that there are no rules, but if they cross a certain line near their encampment, they will be out of the game. A red button nearby can be pushed to call for a helicopter to spirit them away.

Mr. Buckley tells the players that their encampment was first settled in 1908 by fur traders who mysteriously abandoned it never to be heard from again, a plot point reminiscent of the Lost Colony of Roanoke on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Most of the first hour is devoted to the contestants' trek from a drop-off point to their camp. It gives "Siberia" the chance to introduce its characters, who are all archetypes familiar to reality show viewers.

There's the conceited, obnoxious country boy (Johnny Wactor), the snooty model (Esther Anderson), the helpful environmentalist (Tommy Mountain), the friendly geek (Daniel Sutton), etc.

A viewer coming into "Siberia" without forewarning could easily confuse it with an actual reality show. It starts to feel different when contestant Sabina shows up at the camp seemingly ahead of everyone else and from out of nowhere. And then the creepy, growling sounds from the woods start and "Siberia" shifts from reality TV mimicry to something closer in tone to "The Blair Witch Project."

Hand-held cameras show a desperate cameraman's point of view as what sounds like a dinosaur chases him through the woods. Or something.

The "Siberia" pilot's downfall is that it takes almost the full first hour to deviate from reality show tropes to clue viewers in that what they're watching is something different from the umpteenth iteration of "Survivor."

Finally, "Siberia" starts to get fun -- and then the first episode is over. It's a good hook to draw viewers back, but only if they stick with the show long enough to make it that far.

Written and directed by newcomer Matthew Arnold, "Siberia" holds the promise of a weekly dose of spooky summer entertainment. Viewers will have to tune in again to see if the show delivers.

10 p.m. Monday, NBC.

post #87998 of 93720
TV/Business Notes
Roseanne Barr Nears Deal for 10/90 Sitcom Order at NBC
By Michael O'Connell and Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jun. 28, 2013

NBC is looking to make a big investment in Roseanne Barr.

The network is nearing a deal with the comedian for a starring sitcom vehicle that will go straight to series under the 10/90 model, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

A collaboration with Nurse Jackie co-creator and former co-showrunner Linda Wallem, the multicamera family comedy will mark Barr's second play for a sitcom return in the past two years. She starred in the failed NBC pilot Downwardly Mobile.

Should the deal go through, it will be Universal TV and NBC's first attempt at the 10/90 template most successfully employed by Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury. The distributor has seen back-90 orders for TBS' Tyler Perry sitcoms and FX's Charlie Sheen vehicle, Anger Management. FX also recently made 10/90 deals for series starring George Lopez, Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence.

Barr, whose Emmy-winning comedy Roseanne ran for 220 episodes, is a proven syndication draw -- no doubt a big factor in appeal for the back-90 option. She signed a production deal with Universal TV in January to develop a starring vehicle for NBC. The pact also saw her appear in three episodes of The Office's final season.

Barr is repped by Paradigm, and Wallem is with CAA.

post #87999 of 93720
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 - Jan. 13)
8PM - Celebrity Wife Swap: Ric Flair/Rowdy Roddy Piper
9PM - Whodunnit?
10PM - Castle
(R - Dec. 3)

7PM - 60 Minutes
8PM - Big Brother SD
9PM - Under the Dome
(R - Jun. 24)
10PM - The Mentalist
(R - Jan. 6)

7PM - America's Got Talent (120 min.)
(R - Jun. 25)
9PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
(R - Apr. 3)
10PM - Crossing Line

7PM - The Cleveland Show
(R - Feb. 17)
7:30PM - The Simpsons
(R - Nov. 18)
8PM - The Simpsons
(R - Nov. 25)
8:30PM - Bob's Burgers
(R - Apr. 15)
9PM - Family Guy
(R - Mar. 10)
9:30PM - American Dad
(R - Jan. 13)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace
9PM - Masterpiece Mystery! - Inspector Lewis, Series VI: Intelligent Design (90 min.)
10:30PM - Call the Midwife
(R - Feb. 3)

5:30PM - Fútbol, Copa de Confederaciones, Final: Brasil vs. España (LIVE)
8PM - Parodiando (120 min.)
10PM - Sal y Pimienta

6PM - Movie: Despicable Me (2010)
8PM - La Voz Kids (120 min.)
10PM - Acceso Total: La Voz Kids
post #88000 of 93720
TV Notes
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks to ABC's 'This Week'
By Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel's 'TV Guy' Blog - Jun. 28, 2013

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will discuss Edward Snowden this weekend on ABC's "This Week." Assange's interview with George Stephanopoulos will air at 11 a.m. Sunday on WFTV-Channel 9.

ABC News gave this preview: "How have Assange and WikiLeaks aided Snowden as he seeks safe passage from Russia? Should Snowden and WikiLeaks' partners be considered whistle-blowers or lawbreakers? And what is the future of WikiLeaks as its controversial efforts remain under scrutiny around the world?"

Also discussing Snowden will be Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project. Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Texas, will talk about her 13-hour filibuster. Discussing the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on same-sex marriage will be Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign and Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage.

The "This Week" panel will be Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal; Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md.; and ABC's Matthew Dowd and Terry Moran.

Also Sunday morning: CBS' "Face the Nation" explores the issue of same-sex marriage with Ted Olson, the former U.S. solicitor general, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. The program airs at 10:30 a.m. on WKMG-Channel 6. Another guest will be Gen. Michael Hayen, former director the National Security Agency and the CIA. State Sen. Davis from Texas discusses her filibuster. The panel will be Fernando Espuelas of Univision America; Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP; James Peterson of Lehigh University; Michael Gerson of The Washington Post; and Jan Crawford of CBS.

"Fox News Sunday" welcomes Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. The program airs at 10 a.m. on WOFL-Channel 35. The other guests are Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. The panel will be Mara Liasson, Juan Williams, Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal and Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post.

NBC's "Meet the Press" will talk to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. The program will air at 9 a.m. on WESH-Channel 2.

CNN's "State of the Union" will welcome Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. The program starts at 9 a.m. and noon. Attorney David Boies will discuss the push for same-sex marriage. A panel on politics brings together Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, Matt Bai of The New York Times, Corey Dade of The Root and former Sen. George Allen, R-Va.

post #88001 of 93720
TV Review
'Ray Donovan'
Liev Schreiber anchors a strong cast including Jon Voight in the could've-gone-wrong-but-doesn't Showtime series
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times - Jun. 29, 2013

"Ray Donovan," a new drama premiering Sunday at 10 p.m. on Showtime, takes the unlikely tack of overlaying a "Boston-Irish dysfunctional family with criminal elements" story — you know the type — onto a backdrop of big-shot Hollywood. And gets away with it.

Created by Ann Biderman ("Southland"), it is on paper not a show I'd expect to like. I grow weary of antiheroes. I tire of the way that TV and movies picture Hollywood just to kick it around.

Notwithstanding the creeps and hacks that doubtless can be found in its corner offices and power corridors, it's also a place where a lot gets done by people committed to good work, who go home to more or less (factoring out the money, privilege and hired help) ordinary lives.

There are some obvious moves early on. Doris Day's dreamy recording of "Hooray for Hollywood" plays as the camera copters in over the Sunset Strip to find the obligatory naked woman. (Dead, and three minutes in, already the series' second corpse — though the rate of nakedness and death quickly declines afterward.) And there is so much expository dialogue in the opening episode that characters who are close kin seem at times to have just met.

And yet, once it finds its rhythm, it works very well — something like "The Sweet Smell of Success" crossed with "The Long Goodbye," in terms of "dirty town" pictures, but with more family feeling. A few caricatures stick out among the characters, but the subtler conceptions, on the page and in performance, win out.

Liev Schreiber plays Ray, a calmly, sometimes brutally efficient high-end private eye and "fixer," working out of the high-end law offices of Ezra Goldman (Elliott Gould) and Lee Drexler (Peter Jacobson). (Irish, Jewish and black characters — a trifecta of the historically marginalized — predominate.) Fit and sleek and expensively dressed, with a close haircut and a modish near-beard, he spends his life in the service of the feckless powerful (some corrupt, some just dumb). He makes bad things go away, as they say, sometimes by doing bad things himself.

The irony is that his very own Bad Thing — in the person of his father, Mickey (Jon Voight), just out of prison and headed west — will not be got rid of easily.

Ray has two brothers he moved with him from Boston to California. Terry (Eddie Marsan) is an ex-fighter suffering from Parkinson's, Bunchy (Dash Mihok), sexually abused as a child by his priest, is an alcoholic in a state of arrested development. Also in the mix are a dead sister and an unsuspected half-brother (Pooch Hall). Everyone is at least a little lonely.

For reasons that aren't discussed, Ray has moved his immediate family out to the subdivided hills of Calabasas, much to the displeasure of wife Abby (Paula Malcomson). He loves them — Kerris Dorsey and Devon Bagby play his teenage kids — but he's too often off solving other people's problems instead of tending to his family's slowly mounting ones. If Ray is more successful and self-controlled than Mickey, we are also meant to see him as tainted, tempted and as at least partially his father's son — though Biderman also takes care to show him acting out of a sense of "moral responsibility" (giving him those very words to say) as well.

Schreiber, whose career has ranged from "Scream" to "Hamlet," is excellent, as ever — it's a fine cast all around — but the show balances on Voight's performance. I resist superlative phrases like "never been better," but certainly I can't remember Voight being any finer than he is here.

There are a few moments in the first episode, during his reunion with Ray, where he seems to be doing a James Cagney imitation. (I thought it might be a homage.) This diminishes in later episodes — I've seen four — as do other things the pilot makes overt: the shakiness of Terry's arm, Ezra's guilty confusion, Ray's dislike of being touched by strangers.

Mickey is on the one hand an eccentric senior citizen who dispenses unusual, unprintable advice (and fistfuls of cash) to his newly met grandchildren. On the other hand, he is the wolf at the gate Ray declares him to be.

What makes him vital, as Voight plays him, is that he seems to exist fully in these conflicting states, hurt that Ray is not happy to see him, even though he is, in some way, out to get him. Voight makes sure we see Mickey as a person, and essentially mysterious, and not a type, known from the start.

post #88002 of 93720
'Dexter' EP Sara Colleton: Dexter Will Find Out the Cost of Being Human
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jun. 28, 2013

It's an emotional time for Dexter's Sara Colleton. The executive producer, who helped launch the Showtime serial killer drama eight seasons ago, is preparing the final episode of the show ever, so even talking to press feels emotional.

"It's the beginning of the end and it's all crushing together," she told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, just days before Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter and company return for the first of 12 final hours to see if both Dexter and his foster sister-turned-killer can survive the season.

So how have producers been preparing for the end? How will Charlotte Rampling's Dr. Evelyn Vogel factor into complicated Morgan family dynamic considering Dexter and Deb's father, Harry (James Remar) turned to her to help create the Dark Passenger? THR turned to Colleton to get the scoop.

The Hollywood Reporter: Can and should Deb and Dexter both survive?
Sara Colleton:
That's such a loaded question, yes they both should survive but we have a very involved season ahead of us so it's not something to anticipate at this moment.

THR: How are you preparing to end the series? Is there anything you haven't done that you've wanted to?
It's been a question from season to season of what's believable based on what Dexter has experienced both from the outside coming in and his emotional journey with human nature and what it is to be a human. Each season has added on to that. I feel like it's come internally from Dexter. We're now in our last season and the central paradox of the show is that Dexter sees himself as a monster but yearns to be human. He's going to find out this year what the cost of self-knowledge is, what the full weight of being a human being is. We know that there is as much ability to experience pain as there is joy and it's not easy being human. It's the irony that he thinks of himself as a monster but we know in some way that he's the most human of us all because he feels everything and denies himself the pleasure to be happy. He feels like he doesn't deserve to feel happy, and that it has to be characterized or colored as a fake life. In spite of everything that's gone down, I still feel Dexter is a fantastic brother and was fantastic husband. In his attempt to fake it, he's really become a better man.

THR: How long have you know what the final scene is? Have you written it?
For two years. [Showrunner] Scott Buck and [EP] Manny Coto are writing that last script. We have it all beaten out and we know what it's going to be and we've known it for a long time. Hopefully it will be satisfying and give some people something to think about with this eight-year journey Dexter has taken and what he's explored and what he's tried to do and what he's tried to become. Hopefully it will resonate with some insight for our audience. We all know that no matter what we do there are going to be a lot of people who are unhappy with it. We're trying to not think about that and just think of what everyone who has been on the show from the beginning feels is right and that's all we can do. No matter what we do we'll still be excoriated.

THR: How will we see Dexter learn what it feels like to be human this season?
This isn't going to come out of the blue; we've seen aspects of it starting in season two. By the end of season one when Dexter had his origin story and realized how he was created, he immediately began question, "Where was my choice? Was I born bad? Was I taught to be bad?" He started dealing with the fundamental aspects of being human. This season, they're all going to come a cropper. All these things he's pondered -- like in season four, he had no idea that by toying with Trinity (John Lithgow) that he was putting Rita's (Julie Benz) life and his family's life in jeopardy but he was feeling like he was on top of his game and could have a great family life, live in the suburbs, be a great dad and be great at my job and keep the Dark Passenger happy. He knew he should have taken out Trinity earlier than he should have in that season but it was a hubris issue. That's very human thing and he was punished in that the thing he cared about most in his life [Rita] was taken away from him. It was a devastating lesson.

THR: What have you learned from past seasons that helped shape how you wrap things up?
Each year has informed the next year in that Dexter has to evolve. He can't stay "just a monster and I'm faking it." He has evolved and recognized that he got human aspects and then the ability to shut all that off and be pure instinct. That's what Dr. Vogel (Charlotte Rampling) is instrumental with this year. She helps him realize and makes him vocalize who he is. She makes him take a stand on who he believes he is after all these years of Harry telling him what he is. Her being here makes him say, "This is who I am and this is who I want to be" and claim it.

THR: Should we consider Vogel -- Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
since she knows who Dexter really is
-- a big bad?
We've given up the idea of the big bad as a character. It's much more psychological. There is the Brain Surgeon, who is just touched upon. We have a long con kind of storytelling this year and you'll see those things grow. Vogel is a very enigmatic and seductive character who has an agenda by coming back into Dexter's life and their relationship will evolve as the season progresses.

THR: Vogel Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
helped create Dexter's code.
What can Dexter learn from her?
Vogel is famous for her somewhat controversial theories on sociopaths and if it wasn't for their existence, mankind as we know it today wouldn't exist; they're the alpha males of society. Instead of hiding in the shadows and dreading and fighting who he is, Dexter should embrace it and realize he's perfect. But she learns more about Dexter Morgan than going into it and that's an interesting thing to see evolve.

THR: Can Debra forgive Dexter after she Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
killed LaGuerta to protect him?
Colleton: Deb comes to an understanding about herself and about who Dexter is based on the series of options he was given and the parameters of information that he was given. She will eventually come to realize that yes, Dexter has done best he could with what he has. No one is perfect.

Dexter's eighth and final season starts Sunday 9 p.m. on Showtime. How do you think the series should end? Hit the comments below with your thoughts and stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed for more Dexter coverage.

post #88003 of 93720
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jun. 30, 2013

AMC, 9:00 p.m. ET

In tonight’s new episode, Holder (Joel Kinnaman) studies the photos of murder victims to look for an overlooked common denominator, while Linden (Mireille Enos) focuses on her prime suspect. At least Holder and Linden are working together in tandem again, if not always in the same room.

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s episode features the return of a pair of long-dormant characters, and their relationship has changed significantly in the interim. Meanwhile, Bill (Stephen Moyer) decides to trust Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) enough to send her out on a devious mission, to visit a professor whose knowledge Bill requires, and return with him. Bll’s advice to her, knowing the teacher’s not-so-secret lechery: “You should wear something inappropriate.” Mission accomplished.

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET
This is the beginning of the eighth and final season for Dexter, which picks up six months after last season’s bloody cliffhanger, in which Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), to protect brother Dexter, pointed her gun at someone other than her sibling. She’s still reeling from that decision – while Dexter (Michael C. Hall) has to deal with a new serial killer on the loose in Miami, and a specialist, played by the attention-demanding Charlotte Rampling, who’s brought in to help. For a full review, and a link to my Fresh Air with Terry Gross NPR report, see Bianculli’s Blog.

HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

Still following the path of his family ancestry wherever it takes him, tonight Tom (Chris O’Dowd) visits yet another distant American relative – who tells him of a movie-star forebear who starred in silent Westerns in the 1920s, as “Tumbleweed Tim.”

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET
Liev Schreiber stars as the title character, a brooding Hollywood fixer in this new Showtime drama series, which also features Jon Voight as Ray’s father, just released from prison after 20 years. Their father-and-son dynamic is the strongest element of a powerful new show – one good enough to add to your weekly viewing list. For a full review, and a link to my Fresh Air with Terry Gross report for NPR, see Bianculli’s Blog.

Edited by dad1153 - 6/30/13 at 4:14pm
post #88004 of 93720
Critic's Notes
The Many Rebellions of ‘Dobie Gillis’
By Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times - Jun. 30, 2013

If you enjoy a study in contrasts, first spend an evening watching any of today’s teenager-centered television offerings — on CW, ABC Family, even TeenNick or the Disney Channel. Then sample a few episodes of “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” which ran from 1959 to 1963 and was one of the first shows to depict life from the teenage perspective.

The differences are astonishing. Sure, teenager-hood today isn’t what it used to be. But still, the innocence of “Dobie Gillis” — Shout! Factory releases a boxed set of the series on Tuesday — is downright jarring when juxtaposed with modern fare.

Yet it is possible to view this inoffensive show not as an artifact of an impossibly quaint age, but as quietly radical, a herald of things to come. You just have to change the filter through which you watch it. These days we equate trailblazing in television with shock value: the guy-on-guy kiss, the graphic rape scene, the flash of prime-time nudity. We forget that change can also come through subversion.

And there was a bit of subversiveness to “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” The show starred Dwayne Hickman as Dobie, who when the series began was a 17-year-old high school student with nothing on his mind but girls. Just what Dobie hoped to do with the scores of young women who drew his attention over the show’s 147 episodes was always left pristinely vague. The implied progression seemed to go from light necking directly to marriage, with nothing in between.

The show was based on a series of stories by Max Shulman, who also created the television series. Through four seasons, Mr. Hickman (who was in his mid-20s when the show began) went from high school student to Army grunt to collegiate Romeo, with he and his friends rarely having a care more traumatic than where to hide a rival football team’s lucky pet goat after making off with it.

Such empty-headed stuff can be fun to watch just for the soon-to-be-familiar faces that turn up. Who’s that in the second episode, playing Dobie’s smooth-dressing rival for the affections of a pretty girl? It’s Warren Beatty, unknown at the time but handsome as heck. The minor character who turns up at a high school event in a June 1961 episode? Jo Anne Worley, still a few years away from “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.”

But is there any substance to the silliness? Fans of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” to pick just one current teenage-centered show, have seen plotlines involving lesbianism, student-teacher romance, shoplifting, bulimia and more. Elsewhere, it’s hard to find a teenage character today who isn’t a child of divorce or a high school that isn’t struggling with racial tension, bullying or pregnancy. There is none of that in “Dobie Gillis.” Just a very white world of simple stories and little stress.

But hold on.

“In its own way, although it was simplistic and seems perhaps naïve because it doesn’t show anything negative about society, it was revolutionary,” said Sheila Kuehl, who played Zelda Gilroy, a recurring character with a single-minded determination to marry Dobie. And Ms. Kuehl knows something about revolution. In 1994 she became the first openly gay candidate to be elected to the California legislature.

From her first appearance in Episode 3, Zelda wanted nothing but to lasso Dobie, who was interested in every young woman on the planet except her. She taunted him with a signature gesture that anyone who watched the series recalls: She would wrinkle her nose at him, causing Dobie to reflexively wrinkle back.

The bit originated, Ms. Kuehl said, when Rod Amateau, who directed scores of episodes, wasn’t satisfied with a particular take.

“Rod said, ‘This scene doesn’t feel done to me; think hard about what we can do,’ ” Ms. Kuehl said. “Well, when I think hard, I wrinkle up my nose.”

The original concept for the series, Ms. Kuehl said, was for Dobie to be paired with a different woman in each episode. “Zelda was a one-shot on paper, just like all the other girls,” she said, adding, “They apparently really liked what I had done.”

That early in the television era, it was still possible to make quick adjustments as a show went along, without cutting through a lot of network red tape. So Zelda became a regular, as did others, like Tuesday Weld’s money-hungry Thalia Menninger.

Ms. Kuehl’s character seems on the surface like a résumé entry that today might leave an accomplished professional like Ms. Kuehl a tad embarrassed. But Ms. Kuehl, who served for six years in the California Assembly and eight in the State Senate and is now running for Los Angeles County supervisor, said Zelda turned out to be a little ahead of her time in some respects.

“I started getting letters from women who were waking up to the women’s movement, saying Zelda was a role model for them,” she recalled.

Why? Because Zelda was the smartest character on the show, and also the most assertive. She knew what she wanted — even if what she wanted was simply one particular guy — and she wasn’t afraid to be vocal about it.

If Zelda nudged the feminist needle ahead, another character, the show’s most enduring one, did the same for the anti-Establishment ethos. He was Maynard G. Krebs, Dobie’s best friend and in many ways his polar opposite. Where Dobie was neat and well groomed, Maynard had a scraggly goatee and an even more scraggly sweatshirt. Where Dobie talked nonstop about girls, Maynard was interested in them only rarely.

Bob Denver memorably incarnated Maynard, whose aversion to work (one trait he shared with Dobie) and casual disregard for rules and social strictures were legendary. Ratty, ridiculous Maynard was a sort of advance scout for the authority-defying years ahead.

“Maynard was one of the key characters, and frankly one of the most popular characters, because he was anti-Establishment,” Ms. Kuehl said. “And we did not see full-blown anti-Establishment until later in the ’60s.”

She called the character “not just iconic, but a harbinger.”

And here’s a weird little footnote: Maynard was, in one episode, also a harbinger for Denver’s future as an actor. After playing the character, Denver, who died in 2005, went on to portray the equally unforgettable Gilligan on “Gilligan’s Island,” early proof that a television actor could have more than one defining role.

As if anticipating that future, a 1961 episode of “Dobie Gillis” called “Spaceville” featured a plot in which Maynard was accidentally launched into space on a rocket ship. In the final scene, the spacecraft had crash-landed on a tropical island. Maynard, looking very much like Gilligan, was seen reclining in a hammock. But this island, unlike the future one, wasn’t uninhabited. He was surrounded by four attractive island women.

Dobie must have been very jealous.

Edited by dad1153 - 6/30/13 at 4:14pm
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SATURDAY'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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Business Notes
Time Warner Cable, with Malone circling, plots acquisitions
By Ronald Grover and Liana B. Baker, Reuters.com - Jun. 28, 2013

Time Warner Cable would rather grow through acquisitions than be bought by billionaire John Malone, and has been eyeing Cablevision, its most coveted target, and No. 3 cable operator Cox Cable, according to three people familiar with Time Warner Cable's thinking.

Time Warner (TWC.N), the second-largest U.S. cable operator with more than 12 million subscribers, has contacted both companies in recent months to discuss options including a merger, according to one of the people, although in neither case have the talks progressed to any serious consideration of a transaction. The source did not say how recent the talks were.

New York-based Cablevision (CVC.N), the No. 5 cable operator, and Georgia-based Cox COXET.UL are controlled by families that have so far shown no interest in selling, according to the people familiar with the matter.

Cablevision's founding Dolan family controls 72.9 percent of the company's stock, according to its proxy statement. Privately held Cox Enterprises is also family-controlled.

Malone, whose Liberty Media (LMCA.O) owns a 27 percent stake in cable operator Charter Communications (CHTR.O), is working out options to acquire Time Warner Cable, according to published reports.

Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt is not interested in a Charter merger, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Since cable pioneer Malone jumped backed into the U.S. cable market with Liberty Media's investment in Charter earlier this year, analysts have predicted a wave of cable consolidation. The U.S. cable TV market is mature and faces rising programming costs.

A fourth person familiar with Time Warner Cable's thinking said that its executives believe a merger with Charter would not benefit Time Warner Cable shareholders because of the large amount of debt it would put on the combined company's balance sheet. They are also skeptical about potential synergies.

The person, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak with the media, said Charter's purchase of the company was a "far fetched notion" that would not appeal to Time Warner Cable's shareholders.

Representatives for Time Warner Cable, Cox and Cablevision declined to comment.

Time Warner Cable's management is more interested in being an industry consolidator, the people say. Cablevision has 3.2 million densely clustered subscribers in the New York metropolitan area, the company said in its most recent earnings statement. That could fit well with Time Warner's New York systems.

Cablevision also has a high-income subscriber base that is viewed as attractive by rival cable companies.

Brean Murray analyst Todd Mitchell said that Cablevision and Time Warner Cable have neighboring cable systems and because their markets do not overlap, there would not be any regulatory issues in a potential tie-up.

Cox, which has 4.5 million subscribers, is also attractive to Time Warner Cable, because it has large holdings on the West Coast, including in southern California, where both companies have neighboring systems. Time Warner Cable has spent billions of dollars on local sports rights for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, and it could tap into Cox's markets with those channels, Mitchell said.

Cablevision, which the Dolan family unsuccessfully tried to take private in 2007, has been grappling with increased competition from rival Verizon FiOs VZ.N. in its main footholds in Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut, and is losing video customers. Analysts say that Cablevision would now be less likely to go private because of its high debt ratio and lower cash flow.

Family patriarch Chuck Dolan, the founder and chairman of Cablevision, who is 86, might be more in the selling mood than he was been before, said one person familiar with the company.

"They don't want to be in it long term anymore," said the person.

Cablevision is a "good asset and would be of interest to Time Warner Cable," as well as other companies, the person said.

(Additional reporting by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Peter Henderson and Steve Orlofsky)

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A little off-topic but, since Jennifer Lopez is a TV personality (producer of shows and former "American Idol" judge), I'm invoking the 'I like this story, so there!' clause. wink.gif

Business Notes
Jennifer Lopez Called Out for Performing at Turkmenistan's Dictator's Birthday Party
By Delia Paunescu, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Jun. 30, 2013

As you would expect, Jennifer Lopez is under fire from human rights groups and generally everybody else for her paid performance at Turkmenistan dictator Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s lavish birthday party on Saturday (you can watch a clip of if here). In a statement released this morning, Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen said the pop star’s choice to appear in the oppressed hermit nation “utterly destroy the carefully-crafted message she has cultivated with her prior involvement with Amnesty International’s programs in Mexico aimed at curbing violence against women.” He added, "What is the next stop on her tour, Syria? The dictator of Kazakhstan’s birthday is July 6, maybe she will also pay him a visit?"

Meanwhile on Twitter, Mia Farrow and her son both lambasted the appearance. Ronan Farrow, himself a human rights lawyer who most recently worked with Hillary Clinton as a special adviser for global youth issues wrote, "Singing happy birthday to dictators while dissidents and journalists die in their torture chambers? Still Jenny from the block, @JLo?" while mother Mia said, "New low for @JLo who just sang for murderous dictator of Turkmenistan- one of world’s most repressive regimes via @RonanFarrow #shame."

According to the AP, Lopez’s camp released a statement this morning explaining that the diva was invited to perform by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), a state-run oil and gas giant that organized the trip to Turkmenistan, and she "graciously obliged" their last-minute request. Her publicist bizarrely added that if Lopez been aware of the country's human rights issues, she would not have performed there. Apparently, no one in Lopez's office knows how to use Google.

If you remember from yesterday, J.Lo’s dancers posted about how much fun they were having at the $2 billion Caspian Sea resort. Today, the tweet from choreographer JR Taylor that read "I wonder where all my Turkmenistan followers are!? Hit me up!" was removed, likely because someone who does know to use Google discovered that, among their many human rights violations (which also include, widespread torture, considering political opposition treason, and making homosexuality illegal), the country’s regime-controlled ISP actually bans sites like Facebook and Twitter.

While it's still not clear how much Lopez earned for this particular appearance, The Guardian remembers that her past performances include the wedding of an Uzbek businessman in Ukraine, for which she was paid a reported $1 million, and one for the Azeri oligarch Telman Ismailov, for which she is said to have received $1.4 million. So, expect her to donate somewhere around $1 million in the next few days.

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TV Notes
'American Ninja Warrior' begins a new course
By Gary Levin, USA Today - Jun. 30, 2013

The ninjas are back.

American Ninja Warrior, a grueling obstacle-course competition, returns for a fifth season Monday on NBC (8 ET/PT), again sharing the series with small cable sibling G4, which began airing its own original episodes Sunday (9 ET/PT).

The show is based on Sasuke, an annual Japanese tournament that has aired on G4 as Ninja Warrior.

"It's like a hard-core Wipeout," says host Matt Iseman, comparing it to ABC's pratfall variation on the obstacle-course genre, which is played for laughs. "Ours is more challenging; it's the greatest test of all-around athleticism," he says. "And there are no do-overs. You only get one chance"

Until last year, the show sent its finalists to Japan to compete on the course in Yokohama. Now there's a replica in Las Vegas, where the four-stage championship round was taped last week and will air in early September. No American has ever completed that course, and only three Japanese have done so in its 16-year history.

But the increasing popularity of obstacle endurance courses such as Tough Mudder and Alpha Warrior have brought new currency — and competitors — to this contest, for which some participants camped out for a chance to compete. (Others submitted videos or attended open-call auditions.) Six hundred participants ran at least part of the course this season.

Early weeks of the show feature footage from tryout rounds held in Venice, Calif., Baltimore, Miami and Denver. Later episodes return to those cities for regional finals, followed by the championship round. This year brings new, tougher challenges, especially the "flying nunchuks," in which competitors leap to grab steel pipes attached to a swaying frame and swing over a pool of water.

"In every city, there are three to four new obstacles," says executive producer Arthur Smith. "We continue to find new ways to test these guys." Could Ninja Warrior become an international competition, with global contestants competing on the same course? "We're thinking about it," Smith says. "It could happen."

In addition to Ninja veterans, such as professional stuntmen and parkour enthusiasts, the show's wider exposure on NBC — which drew 5 million viewers to last summer's finale — has brought more everyday contestants, including several women and couples, an Idaho cattle rancher and an emergency-room doctor. A number of athletes have joined the competition, including the NFL's Shawne Merriman and Kahlil Bell, UFC fighter John Dodson and several Olympians. Others have overcome personal obstacles, such as cancer, diabetes or Tourette syndrome, and some build miniature courses in their backyards.

In Monday's episode, one contestant dislocated his shoulder running the course, happily repaired by that ER doc and rock climber, who was about to compete.

"People are dedicating their lives to training for this show," says Iseman, who is joined as co-host this year by sports analyst Akbar Gbaja Biamila. "It makes me feel lazy when I can't get to the gym."

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TV Review
‘Siberia,’ more chills than thrills
NBC drama suffers all the flaws of an actual reality series
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

Playing a fictional reality-show contestant has to be the easiest acting job in the world. If an actor nails the scene, great. If the scene comes off as forced or hammy, the actor can say that regular people tend to behave artificially in front of the camera.

In NBC’s new drama series “Siberia,” 16 unknown actors play contestants on a fictional “Survivor”-like reality show, and they’re too convincing in their roles. In other words, they’re just as tiresome as the usual casts assembled by reality-competition producers.

If this show had premiered soon after “Survivor,” it would have some satirical potential, but reality TV has already been sufficiently parodied and self-parodied. The show uses the “found footage” gimmick, which is familiar from films like “The Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity” and from the short-lived ABC series “The River” and which also feels stale. The first episode, moreover, fails to provide enough clues or conundrums to make us want to come back for more.

Premiering Monday, July 1, at 10 p.m., “Siberia” opens like a “Survivor” premiere, with the contestants being transported somewhere in a helicopter. The difference is that they’re blindfolded.

Upon landing, the Jeff Probst-like host tells them that they’re in Siberia, near an old wilderness camp from which 14 settlers mysteriously disappeared 100 years ago. He says they have to trek through the woods to get to the camp, which has been refurbished for the show.

They’ll be left to fend for themselves but can request to go home at any time. The contestants who remain in the camp until the end of winter will divide a $500,000 prize.

The host also says that region, Tunguska, is called “the valley of death” by the natives and that something mysterious once happened there. (In 1908, in real life, a meteor or comet is believed to have caused a massive explosion in the area.)

Told that the last two people to arrive at the camp will be eliminated, the contestants race off, following a path marked by red flags. They provide the usual narrative banalities in sound bites.

(NBC, which is going through the motions of maintaining the illusion that “Siberia” is an actual unscripted reality show, hasn’t provided credits, so the actors will likely remain unknown.)

Two characters are clearly trying to be the villain you love to hate. Esther, identified as an Australian model, hides a flag from the people running behind her. After they’ve reached the camp, Johnny, a bull rider from South Carolina, suns himself while the others rub sticks together to start a fire, even though he’s managed to smuggle in a cigarette lighter.

On the other hand, Tommy, an environmental activist from Massachusetts, risks elimination by helping Daniel, a computer programmer from Minnesota, after Daniel twists his ankle. Johnny tells the camera that he thinks Tommy’s kind act is stupid.

After the elimination, the contestants realize that there are only 12 bunks for 14 contestants. Irene, a fashion designer from Taiwan, butts heads with Esther, who insists she will not sleep on the floor. The producers make this conversation as tedious as it would be on a real reality show.

The host has told the contestants that a “revealer box” will periodically open and provide them with helpful things. On the first day, they receive a laminated notice telling them that they should seek out a certain kind of mushroom in the woods, which is poisonous unless boiled.

The first sign of trouble comes when Daniel finds a frog with three legs. Later, the contestants are all relaxing around a campfire and they hear what sounds like a pack of scary animals out in the woods. They flee to their cabins.

Throughout, viewers will be wondering idly which of the contestants will die first. Will it be someone we’re supposed to like, someone we’re supposed to hate or one of the many contestants who are too nondescript to make us care either way? Although the eliminee actually is one of the standouts, viewers will be surprised at how little emotional reaction his or her death provokes.

We eventually see the footage shot by the cameraman just before the death. The clip tells us next to nothing and is far less scary than what we imagined we would see. And as often happens in found-footage projects, viewers will find themselves wondering why the cameraman didn’t drop his camera sooner.

The creators of “Siberia” should have learned a lesson from a previous found-footage show about reality TV, “The Real World Movie: The Lost Season,” a 2002 spoof that ran on MTV. In it, a typical “Real World” cast was murdered one by one, and we were glad to see them go.

The premiere episode of “Siberia” doesn’t make viewers care who lives or dies, and it doesn’t suggest the show has an intriguing mystery up its sleeve. If “Siberia” were airing in the regular TV season, it probably wouldn’t last until the end of winter.

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TV Review
“Venus Vs.” (ESPN)
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Jun. 30, 2013

In the latest wrinkle in its “30 for 30” documentary brand, ESPN has commissioned a series of films devoted to women in sports and the landmark 40-year-old Title IX ruling that mandated equal support for women’s athletics. Presented under the heading “Nine for IX,” the first, “Venus Vs.,” certainly sets a tone for the series, capturing Venus Williams’ fight to bring equal prize money to women’s tennis. Written, co-produced and directed by Ava Duvernay, it’s a solid hour, albeit one that perhaps tries to cover too much ground while also being notable for its Venus-serving omissions.

Set to music that proves a little too urgent and relentless throughout, “Venus Vs.” is at its best when focusing on the energy Williams’ arrival as a teenage phenom brought to the sport, as well as the cultural rift and occasional condescension from tennis snobs in having a young African-American woman invade a country-club game. (A telling sequence revisits Venus being penalized for having one of her hair beads fly off during a match.)

Still, the gist of the story involves the push to equalize tournament compensation, beginning with Billie Jean King’s advocacy decades earlier, when she earned less than half what her male counterparts did. In that regard, the most symbolic domino involves Wimbledon, and the reticent Williams somewhat reluctantly takes a leadership role in the campaign to pressure the tournament to level the playing field.

The fight for equal pay certainly a perfect fit with the “Nine for IX” theme, although the documentary skips over pertinent aspects of Williams’ career, making absolutely zero mention of her relationship with her sister, Serena, and the impact having both of them winning tournaments had; some of the missteps involving their father/coach Richard; and the second-guessing directed their way (not all of it undeserved) for those instances when the sisters wound up competing against each other. Other than a few magazine covers flashing by, this is strictly Venus’ story, which somewhat diminishes the multiplying effect of the Williamses as a duo, addressed more directly in the documentary “Venus and Serena.”

Less gregarious than her younger sister, Venus comes across quite well in the interview portion. Yet despite considerable discussion of the media, there’s virtually no acknowledgement the family might have influenced its negative coverage in any way, as in Serena’s recent flap with rival player Maria Sharapova.

“Venus Vs.” will be followed the next week by “Pat XO,” a fairly straightforward tribute to Pat Summitt, NCAA basketball’s winningest coach, mentor of the Tennessee’s women’s team. The whole “Nine for IX” collection will be available as a DVD set in the fall.

Credit ESPN for using its genre-defining role in sports television to champion longform filmmaking and journalism, as well as more ambitious multitiered projects such as “Nine for IX.” That said, while “Venus Vs.” is certainly worthwhile, there are enough faults to prevent it from completely acing the viewing test.

(Documentary; ESPN, Tues. July 2, 8 p.m. ET)

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

8PM - The Bachelorette (120 min.)
10:01PM - Mistresses
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Johnny Depp; Rebecca Romijn; chef Steve Martorano)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - How I Met Your Mother
(R - Dec. 17)
8:30PM - Mike & Molly
(R - Jan. 21)
9PM - 2 Broke Girls
(R - Apr. 30)
9:30PM - The Big Bang Theory
(R - Nov. 29)
10PM - Under the Dome
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Harry Connick Jr.; members of the U.S. Army present the Top Ten List; comic Dylan Moran)
(R - Jun. 13)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Max Greenfield; Debbie Reynolds)
(R - Apr. 8)

8PM - America Ninja Warrior (Season Premiere; 120 min.)
10PM - Siberia (Series Premiere)
* * * *
11:35PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Adam Sandler; retired professional basketball coach Phil Jackson; Family of the Year performs)
(R - May 16)
12:37AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Seth Rogen; Jeffrey Tambor; The Lumineers perform)
(R - Jun. 11)
1:37AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Chef Ludo Lefebvre; photographer Ian Ruhter; Superhumanoids perform)
(R - Feb. 11)

8PM - Raising Hope
(R - Nov. 27)
8:30PM - The Goodwin Games
9PM - New Girl
(R - Jan. 15)
9:30PM - The Mindy Project
(R - Jan. 22)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Antiques Roadshow: Vintage Milwaukee
9PM - Antiques Roadshow: Chattanoga, TN
(R - Mar. 30, 2009)
10PM - POV: Special Flight

8PM - Dama y Obrero
9PM - Amores Verdaderos
10PM - Qué Bonito Amor

8PM - Oh Sit!
(R - Apr. 29)
9PM - The Carrie Diaries
(R - Feb. 11)

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

11PM - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Journalist Fareed Zakaria)
(R - Jun. 13)
11:31PM - The Colbert Report (Author Jonathan Alter)
(R - Jun. 5)

11PM - Conan (Adam Sandler; Molly Shannon; Nate Bargatze)
(R - Apr. 8)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Denise Richards; Bobby Lee; Annie Lederman; Ryan Stout)
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Technology Notes
Goodbye, Google Reader. Here are 5 alternatives
By Brett Molina, USA Today - Jun. 30, 2013

On Monday, fans of Google's popular Reader application will bid farewell.

Google shuts down Reader on July 1, citing a drop in usage and a shift toward a smaller selection of Google services.

If you're a Google Reader user, now's the time to export your subscriptions. Users can do this by going to Settings, Import/Export and follow the steps to export your subscriptions through Google Takeout, which will download to a computer in a ZIP folder. Most RSS readers will let you import subscriptions (saved as an XML file) easily.

Since Google announced Reader's demise in March, several other options have emerged to potentially fulfill your RSS needs. Here are five alternatives to consider.

Feedly. As of right now, this is the best option in a Google Reader free world. It's flexible, so users can opt for the traditional Google Reader list appearance, or go for a more dynamic magazine view. Feedly also offers the best selection of sharing options, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote. Users can click a Save For Later bookmark as well for reading directly on the app. The service works great as a browser extension on Chrome, Firefox or Safari (and standalone Web client), and features a native app for Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

The Old Reader. For those users seeking just the basics, The Old Reader is a strong choice. Designed to look very similar to Google Reader, The Old Reader is simple and easy to use. Importing and adding feeds is easy, but it seems sharing is limited to the service. So, it's tough to directly share to social networks. But for users who want feeds on the go, Old Reader will work with the iOS app Feeddler.

Flipboard. The mobile app for iOS and Android opts for a more visual approach to story syndication, presenting feeds in a magazine-style format. Along with RSS feeds, users can add updates from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, "flipping" pages with simple swipes on the touchscreen. Simiilar to notetaking app Evernote, Flipboard allows users to clip content from the Web to display in a digital magazine for their mobile devices. The big drawback to Flipboard is users can't read their feeds on a desktop or laptop. It's for smartphones and tablets only.

AOL Reader. One of two new entrants into the RSS reader market, AOL Reader has promise. Several views are available, from a traditional list to a pane view similar to the Microsoft Outlook email client. Users can share stories to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, as well as star items for later reading. However, I couldn't find any options for saving to offline services such as Pocket. Also, feeds didn't seem to update as quickly as other options, but that should improve over time. A native Android and iOS app is coming soon, the reader still functions nicely on a mobile browser. Among other options AOL plans to add soon: Search, Notifications and sharing with other AOL Reader users.

Digg Reader. It's only 24 hours old, but the newest RSS reader from Digg is a clean, simple choice. Sharing is limited to Twitter and Facebook, but users can set up connections to Pocket, Instapaper or Readability to view content later. Users can "Digg" stories, which bolsters a cool Popular section that breaks down the most popular stories appearing on your RSS. There are some important functions missing, such as "Mark as Unread" and "View Unread Items Only" options, but Digg says they plan to add those features quickly.

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TV/Nielsen Notes
With a Solid Hit, CBS Breaks the Summer Ratings Mold
By Bill Carter, The New Yorker Times - Jul. 1, 2013

Maybe this summer, cable is not going to own prime-time television.

Borrowing heavily from the cable playbook, CBS has set out to reverse the trend toward ever-dwindling network ratings — and intense attention directed toward cable dramas — in the summer. In its new series, “Under the Dome,” CBS may have done it.

The opening ratings for “Dome” last Monday qualified as spectacular: more than 13.5 million viewers for the premiere, the biggest audience for a summer drama in more than 20 years. The show added more than three million more viewers when three days of delayed viewing was counted, CBS announced Saturday.

Maintaining numbers like that could mean significant profits for CBS, which created a can’t-miss formula for financing the show that included a presale of the episodes for streaming on Amazon Prime, and now may expect a surge in spending from advertisers looking to reach summer consumers at the same time.

Even more important, CBS’s executives are so encouraged by the early ratings results that they foresee the potential “to create a whole new model for summer programming” said David F. Poltrack, the network’s chief research executive.

That model relies on some traditional network advantages. “One of the things the premiere’s ratings illustrated was the power of network television as a marketing medium,” Mr. Poltrack said. CBS began promoting “Dome” during the spring in its highly rated shows.

But the model is also new for CBS because, in this case, it includes such elements as a highly serialized plotline with science-fiction elements and characters who would not qualify as traditionally likable heroes on the networks.

Those have been among the drama conventions on cable for years, where such shows as “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” on AMC, “Burn Notice” on USA and “True Blood” on HBO have played in the summer. This summer, the cable networks have a full roster of prominent dramas, including “The Newsroom” on HBO, “Ray Donovan” on Showtime and “The Bridge” on FX.

But none of them are likely to come within 10 million viewers of “Under the Dome.” And this is only the first salvo in a network strategy to retake some summer territory. Already numerous projects are in the works at other networks, including shows called “limited series” on ABC, like “Resurrection,” (a town is shaken by the return of long-dead relatives) and “event series” on the Fox network, including the resumption of the action hit “24” and a “Twin Peaks”-style suspense series called “Wayward Pines.”

The last two are being prepared for summer 2014, part of an ambitious effort by Kevin Reilly, the chairman of entertainment for Fox, to shake up the scheduling paradigm that has dominated network television.

“The networks have to stop losing viewers,” said Brad Adgate, the senior vice president for research at Horizon Media. “After the season they just had they can’t afford to lose any more.”

Mr. Reilly at Fox has been saying for several years that it makes no sense for network television to keep doing the same thing year after year even as its audiences shrivel. He announced this spring that Fox would invest heavily in short-run series with high production values and A-list casts. (“Wayward Pines” has already cast Matt Dillon and Melissa Leo.)

But CBS, the network that for years resisted the concept of the serial drama, planted its flag first. “Under the Dome,” an adaptation of a Stephen King novel, was conceived as a cable entry, developed by Showtime. When that network passed, CBS (which owns Showtime) picked up the project specifically intending to reinvigorate a deteriorating summer schedule.

Networks have tried to improvise in summer, spreading a few reality shows around a diet of repeats. But this summer, reality regulars like “America’s Got Talent” on NBC and “Big Brother” on CBS have experienced early ratings erosion. “Those shows are showing the same fatigue that affected ‘American Idol’ in the regular TV season,” Mr. Adgate said.

“Viewing habits have changed,” said Jeff Gaspin, the former head of NBC Entertainment who also oversaw cable networks like USA. “Broadcasters started programming summer years ago because of cable inroads. They mostly tried weak scripted content and ultimately settled on nonscripted.”

Networks introduced low-cost dramas, usually from Canada, like “Rookie Blue” on ABC. None has attained hit status. This summer, CBS had already decided on a slightly more ambitious effort: it renewed a marginally successful crime series, “Unforgettable,” purely as a summer entry. That will start at the end of July.

What makes “Dome” different, Mr. Gaspin said, is its quality. The show received outstanding reviews and mostly glowing comments on social media sites. “What was truly unique here was the pedigree and the event size of the content,” he said.

CBS has generally forsaken any battle for quality points in favor of creating long-term assets, the big reason it has steered clear of serialized shows, which tend not to sell well in syndication markets.

But the increasing impact of subscription services like Amazon Prime and Netflix has opened up the network’s business strategy. For “Under the Dome,” CBS was able to win a commitment of $750,000 an episode from Amazon, a huge price. (The USA Network paid $1.4 million for each episode of the giant ABC hit, “Modern Family.”)

Combined with robust sales to international networks, CBS had already guaranteed it would make money on “Dome” no matter the ratings. Now, having scored impressively with the premiere, CBS could reap a bonanza.

“About 40 percent of movie tickets are sold in summer,” Mr. Adgate said. “The movie companies will pay a premium to buy the best spots.” In last week’s premiere, the show was heavily stocked with ads for movies.

“This show could be a game changer,” Mr. Adgate said. “All the networks are going to do this next summer.” He suggested that interest in work by Stephen King is likely to be ratcheting up. (One project not available is a short story called “The Colorado Kid,” which was already turned into a summer series called “Haven” by the Syfy network, where it averaged 2.7 million viewers last season.)

CBS will not mind a surge in adaptations of Mr. King’s work. Since 1997, his books, including “Under the Dome,” have been published by Simon and Schuster — owned by CBS.

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Broadcast Notes
Tribune Co. buys 19 television stations in $2.7-billion deal
By Meg James, The Los Angeles Times - Jul. 1, 2013

Tribune Co. has agreed to purchase 19 television stations owned by Local TV Holdings in a $2.73-billion deal that is expected to make Tribune the largest television station group in the country.

Tribune and Local TV Holdings said early Monday that they had entered into a definitive agreement for Tribune to acquire all of Local TV's television stations in a cash transaction. Local TV's stations are located in 16 markets, including Denver, Salt Lake City, Cleveland and Kansas City.

The deal would give Tribune 42 television stations, up from 23 stations. The company will become the largest affiliated station group for Fox Broadcasting, owned by 21st Century Fox, with 14 Fox stations. Tribune also would own 14 stations carrying programming of the CW network, a joint venture between CBS Corp. and Warner Bros.

"This is a transformational acquisition for Tribune -- it makes us the No. 1 local TV affiliate group in America, expands the distribution platform for our high-quality video content and extends the reach of our digital products to new audiences across the country," Tribune Chief Executive Peter Liguori said in a statement.

Tribune also would have five CBS affiliates, three ABC affiliates and two NBC stations. The company would own 14 stations in the nation's top 20 markets. The deal would benefit the company by increasing its footprint in such important political battleground states as Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania. In past election years, stations in pivotal states have attracted a wealth of campaign spending.

Local TV, which is based in Newport, Ky., was formed five years ago with the purchase of nine stations previously owned by the New York Times Co. The firm, principally owned by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, continued adding stations to its portfolio.

The boards of both Tribune and Local TV approved the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of 2013 and will be subject to Federal Communications Commission approvals and an antitrust review.

The acquisition is the first major purchase for Chicago-based Tribune since it emerged from bankruptcy protection Dec. 31. It advances the company's mission to focus heavily on local news, which investors believe has opportunities for growth.

As reported last week, earnings at Tribune Co., parent of the Los Angeles Times, fell sharply in the first quarter. The company reported net income of $58.4 million in the three months, a 41% plunge from the $99.1 million in the year-earlier period. Revenue slid 3.3% to $705 million and pretax income declined 7.8% to $80.2 million.

Tribune is making the purchase through a combination of debt financing and cash on hand. The company has received committed financing of up to $4.1 billion from JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, including a new $300 million revolving credit facility to allow Tribune to refinance its current debt.

Jonathan Friesel and Benjamin Diesbach, partners at Oak Hill Capital, thanked the Local TV management team in a statement. "During our partnership together, Local TV has delivered extraordinary growth and become a world-class broadcaster known for its quality programming, technological innovation and strong community service," Friesel and Diesbach said. "We wish Tribune well as they build on the history of success these stations have.”

The acquisition also accelerates a trend of rapid consolidation in the television industry. Earlier this month, Gannett Co. agreed to buy Belo Corp.'s 20 big-city television stations in a deal worth $2.2 billion.

Tribune will have two stations in nine markets, including Denver, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Seattle. Two of Tribune's current stations -- KWGN in Denver and KPLR in St. Louis -- had been managed by Local TV so the deal will bring those stations under Tribune management.

Guggenheim Securities acted as financial advisor to Tribune, and Debevoise & Plimpton and Covington & Burling acted as legal advisors to Tribune on the transaction. Moelis & Company LLC; Wells Fargo Securities, LLC; and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. acted as financial advisor to Local TV, and Dow Lohnes PLLC acted as legal advisors to Local TV, on the transaction.

post #88015 of 93720
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Mr. Reilly at Fox has been saying for several years that it makes no sense for network television to keep doing the same thing year after year even as its audiences shrivel. He announced this spring that Fox would invest heavily in short-run series with high production values and A-list casts. (“Wayward Pines” has already cast Matt Dillon and Melissa Leo.)

Jeez, common sense coming from the entertainment industry? Who would have ever thunk it? My dvr's have become just as busy in the summer as they are during fall/winter.

If the ota networks were run by more competent people (or people with more balls), they would have taken this action several years ago after seeing their numbers dropping and seeing what the cable networks were doing. It's not rocket science to put 2 & 2 together.
post #88016 of 93720
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jun. 30, 2013

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET
Actually, technically, this new TCM offering is a miniseries – in the truest sense of the word. Each element in this “series” is less than a half hour long, so the term mini truly applies. But these are classic Johnny Carson Tonight Show interviews with various celebrities, boiled down to just the conversations themselves – followed, in most cases, by a movie or two featuring that star. All that, and Conan O’Brien hosts these shorts, too – the best payoff of his Turner networks connection since moving from Tonight to TBS. Tonight’s mini-Carson shows are all from the last half of his career, and start off with Drew Barrymore (current co-host of TCM’s The Essentials) in an E.T.-promoting interview from 1982. After that, in order: Kirk Douglas (pre-stroke) from 1988, Mary Tyler Moore from 1978 (the year after the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Neil Simon from 1980, and George Burns in 1989. Then come the movies, starting at 9 p.m. ET with Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, starring Burns and Walter Matthau, from 1975, followed by two other Simon movie comedies: 1977’s The Goodbye Girl at 11 p.m. ET, and 1978’s Caliifornia Suite at 1 a.m. ET. Great new addition to TCM. Keep them coming!

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

This new HBO documentary begins with a captivating fact: That an accused prisoner’s right to counsel, to being represented by a public defender if if he or she cannot afford an attorney, came about only relatively recently, as the result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling after a man represented himself in court for allegedly robbing $5 and some sodas from a pool hall in 1961. That defendant was named Clarence Earl Gideon, but this documentary isn’t about him. After that Gideon factoid is established, it’s about Gideon’s “Army” – today’s pubic defenders, examined by hanging with a few of them in court, and in their offices.

CBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s premiere episode took off like a shot, becoming an instant summer hit – at least for one week. If the interest, and the ratings, hold, for tonight’s Episode 2, then the rules for future summer seasons may be rewritten yet again. So for all those who prefer scripted shows over reality series, root for Under the Dome. And watch, this week, as the characters under glass continue to respond in increasingly extreme ways. Dean Norris stars.

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET
This isn’t a recommendation, just an observation. CBS and NBC both want to enliven their summers a little, and offer some original scripted programming to go along with their reruns and reality shows. CBS presents Stephen King’s Under the Dome, which looks like an instant hit. NBC, by contrast, tonight launches Siberia, a scripted series about contestants on a reality show. Sigh. It’s also virtually indistinguishable, in concept, from a “real” reality show NBC launches next Monday, as a lead-in to Siberia. It's about contestants challenged to survive in a remote location: Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls. Double sigh.

SyFy, 10:00 p.m. ET
Here’s another series that’s working its way towards a finite conclusion. Last week, Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) was turned into a bronze statue, a reversal of which is the top priority of this new episode. (Being turned bronze, in Star Wars fashion, is the third-worst living-statue fate a hero can endure, after being turned gold or silver.) And after tonight’s Season 4 finale, Warehouse 13 will go dormant for a bit, then return with a final, six-episode mini-season. And yes, it all involves this series’ current Big Bad: Paracelsus, played by Anthony Head – who, like the term “Big Bad” to describe a season-long antagonist, came from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

post #88017 of 93720
SUNDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
post #88018 of 93720
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jun. 30, 2013

SyFy, 10:00 p.m. ET
Here’s another series that’s working its way towards a finite conclusion. Last week, Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) was turned into a bronze statue, a reversal of which is the top priority of this new episode. (Being turned bronze, in Star Wars fashion, is the third-worst living-statue fate a hero can endure, after being turned gold or silver.) And after tonight’s Season 4 finale, Warehouse 13 will go dormant for a bit, then return with a final, six-episode mini-season. And yes, it all involves this series’ current Big Bad: Paracelsus, played by Anthony Head – who, like the term “Big Bad” to describe a season-long antagonist, came from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Uther Pendragon (from Merlin) lives!
post #88019 of 93720
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Slower start for Sunday ‘Big Brother’
Bow averages a 1.7 in 18-49s, off 26 percent from last year
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 1, 2013

“Big Brother” is seeing some big ratings declines to start the season.

After Wednesday’s debut saw a 15 percent dip in adults 18-49, the CBS program’s Sunday bow saw an even steeper slide.

“Brother” averaged a 1.7 18-49 rating last night, according to Nielsen overnights, down 26 percent from last year’s Sunday debut.

It was also down from the 2.2 that “Brother” averaged in its Wednesday bow.

“Brother,” now in its 15th season, did finish as the top show of the night, 0.3 ahead of Fox’s “Family Guy” repeat.

Elsewhere last night, ABC saw declines for its two original programs. “Celebrity Wife Swap” slid 23 percent from last week to a 1.0, while “Whodunnit” dipped 23 percent as well from last week’s bow, to a 1.0.

CBS led the night among 18-49s with a 1.1 average overnight rating and a 3 share. Fox was second at 1.0/3, ABC and Univision tied for third at 0.9/3, NBC was fifth at 0.8/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.6/2.

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

Univision started the night in the lead with a 1.2 at 7 p.m. for the Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Spain, with ABC and CBS tied for second at 0.9, ABC for a repeat of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and CBS for “60 Minutes.” Fox was fourth with a 0.7 for reruns of “The Cleveland Show” and “The Simpsons,” and NBC and Telemundo tied for fifth at 0.5, NBC for a repeat of “America’s Got Talent” and Telemundo for the end of the movie “Despicable Me.”

CBS took the lead at 8 p.m. with a 1.7 for “Brother,” while ABC, NBC and Fox all tied for second at 1.0, ABC for “Celebrity Wife Swap,” NBC for more of its “Talent” rerun and Fox for repeats of “The Simpsons” and “Bob’s Burgers.” Univision was fifth with a 0.8 for the end of soccer and start of “Parodiando” and Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “La Voz Kids.”

At 9 p.m. it was Fox’s turn in first place with a 1.4 for repeats of “Family” and “American Dad,” followed by CBS with a 1.1 for a repeat of “Under the Dome.” ABC was third with a 1.0 for “Whodunnit?,” while Univision, Telemundo and NBC tied for fourth at 0.9, Univision for “Parodiando,” Telemundo for more “La Voz” and NBC for a repeat of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

CBS and Univision tied for first at 10 p.m., CBS for a repeat of “The Mentalist” and Univision for “Sal y Pimienta.” NBC was third with a 0.7 for “Crossing Lines,” ABC fourth with a 0.6 for a “Castle” repeat and Telemundo fifth with a 0.5 for “Acceso Total: La Voz Kids.”

CBS also finished first for the night among households with a 3.6 average overnight rating and a 6 share. NBC was second at 2.4/4, ABC third at 2.2/4, Fox fourth at 1.4/2, Univision fifth at 1.2/2 and Telemundo sixth at 0.7/1.


* * * *

TV Notes
G4 and NBC, working in harmony
'American Ninja Warrior' debuts on broadcast after cable
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 1, 2013

Clearly broadcast and cable integration is a key concern for NBCUniversal now that it’s under the ownership of Comcast.

There are a lot of examples of that integration these days, from upfront sales, where broadcast buys are being packaged with cable, to news programming, with Telemundo’s reporters contributing to NBC News’ many platforms.

Another prime example comes tonight with the second-season premiere of “American Ninja Warrior” at 8 p.m. on NBC.

The show is running dual broadcasts this summer. It’s actually in its fifth season on NBCU’s G4, where it premiered Sunday night. The part two of the episode airs on NBC the following night, exposing the show to a new audience that probably didn’t tune in on cable.

The show follows wannabe “ninjas” as they struggle to complete a very tough obstacle course that requires incredible upper body strength. These guys are cut.

The show did well on NBC last summer, ranking as the No. 12 program on broadcast and the only new one in the top 12.

However, there are some questions about its future beyond this summer. G4 will morph into the Esquire Network come fall, and though “Ninja” does draw the young male audience (men 18-49) that Esquire will be courting, Esquire hasn’t firmed up its scheduling plans beyond its initial few months.

post #88020 of 93720
TV Review
'Gideon's Army': HBO documentary looks at the overworked, unsung role of the public defender
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Jul. 1, 2013

“Gideon’s Army” does what the best documentaries have always done: It makes us think about something we’d rather not.

The “Gideon” here isn’t the trumpet player from the Old Testament. He’s Clarence Gideon, a small-time criminal whose conviction was reversed when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that he had the right to a lawyer even if he couldn’t afford one.

That case spawned the public defender industry, and today some 15,000 attorneys across America represent indigent defendants on charges from drug possession to murder.

As a class, they’re overworked and underpaid, and while those profiled here also seem fiercely dedicated, much of “Gideon’s Army” directly or indirectly focuses on the way they almost always must play from behind.

Brandy Alexander, a young attorney in Georgia, has about 180 clients at any given time.

We see her interviewing one of those clients, June, who has been in jail for so long, just awaiting trial, that she’s lost her house. She’s a mechanic and all her tools have been stolen.

With 180 clients, Alexander has little time to investigate June’s case and prepare a defense.

Small wonder that 90% to 95% of defendants plead out — because even those who aren’t guilty decide it’s easier than going to trial.

We see Travis Williams, another PD, signing a contract with his girlfriend on how often he will see her — because otherwise, she says, he will stay buried in his work.

The defendants here aren’t all painted as innocent. But for those who are, “Gideon’s Army” is a somber look at how fragile their last safety net remains.

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

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