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Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2941

post #88201 of 93656
I have to admit I'm pretty pumped about this one!

Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Review
'Sharknado': SyFy's latest shark movie, with Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo, is wonderfully bad
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Jul. 11, 2013

“Sharknado” is bad to the bone.

It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous. If you’re a fan of low-budget horror movies and you miss it, you will regret it for the rest of your life.

“Sharknado” tops Syfy’s previous gem “Sharktopus” as effortlessly as a hungry fish drops out of the sky into the swimming pool at a retirement community.

Yes, that happens. And someone tells a retirement community resident, “Run!” And she replies, “I can’t run. I can’t even walk.”

The premise of “Sharknado,” just so no one accidentally mistakes it for “Argo,” is that a huge Pacific storm has morphed into tornados. As the waterspouts gain strength over the ocean off the coast of L.A., they suck up thousands of sharks.

When they move inland and lose power, they spill out the sharks like piñatas gone terribly wrong. The sharks swim along flooded freeways and slam through windows to gobble up people inside.

One shark not only finds a way to secure itself to the top of an SUV going 40 or 50 mph, but it pries open the moonroof to see what kind of tasty morsels are nervously waiting inside.

Nor does the human dialogue lack bite, with lines like “I hate sharks. I’m from Wyoming.”

And don’t think for a minute that being in “Sharknado” makes the actors seem ridiculous. On the contrary, stars Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo make it look like a day at the beach. How often do you find a role where it’s impossible to overact?

“Sharknado” is an hour and a half of your life that you’ll never get back. And you won’t want to.

Network/Time: SyFy, Thursday at 9 p.m.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of five)

post #88202 of 93656
Syfy is running shark movies all day. I'll be watching smile.gif.
post #88203 of 93656
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jul. 11, 2013

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET
Jenji Kohan, whose Weeds recently ended an enjoyable if overly lengthy run on Showtime, joins the ranks of writer-producers taking their wares to Netflix. Based on the memoir by Piper Kerman, Orange Is the New Black stars Taylor Schilling as Piper, a middle-class white woman ratted out by a former lover in a plea bargain, for her complicity in a one-time money-smuggling crime a decade earlier. She turns herself in for an 18-month stint in prison, with her new fiancé promising to wait, and with a whole new world of people and problems awaiting behind bars. The show’s structure is like Oz, with character backgrounds revealed in brief but focused flashback – but Orange is by no means as dark a dramatic color as Oz. In the early episodes, Kate Mulgrew (as the Russian inmate running the kitchen) and Laura Prepon (as Piper’s former, lesbian lover) pop most clearly, and Schilling reels you in quickly as the vulnerable but resourceful Piper. There’s a sense, though, that every member of the Orange team will get his or her chance at bat. As its latest batch of original series goes, Netflix has misfired only with Hemlock Grove. Orange Is the New Black, like House of Cards and Arrested Development, belongs in the winners column. All 13 episodes were made available at 3 a.m. ET today.

IFC, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 2002 comedy qualifies as being ahead of its time, especially with a subplot that brings to mind Herman Cain and scene-stealing supporting performances from both Dave Chappelle and Neil Patrick Harris. But this spoof of blaxploitation films is funniest as an “equal time” attack on white culture as seen through a black prism. Aunjanue Ellis and Eddie Griffin play secret agents working against “The Man,” and Denise Richards – in what probably is the best role of her career (no sarcasm intended) – plays a double agent who works both with and against them.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1963 movie kicks off tonight’s five-film salute to the late, great Ray Harryhausen, whose stop-animation movie work inspired not only several generations of filmmakers, but just about every action videogame ever made. Other films in tonight’s tribute, all featuring Harryhausen’s stop-action work: 1973’s The Golden Voyage of Sinbad at 10 p.m. ET, 1977’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (midnight ET), 1956’s Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (2 a.m. ET), and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (3:30 a.m. ET). Then, as a final capper at 5 a.m. ET, TCM presents a 2005 profile of the man whose pioneering stop-animation film work inspired Harryhausen to try his hand in the same field: I’m King Kong: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper.

USA, 9:00 p.m. ET

Jack Coleman, as Michael Weston’s CIA handler Andrew Strong, shows up uninvited at Fiona’s place, to persuade Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) not to follow through on her plans to skip town. And as fans of this show are well aware, he can make a very Strong argument when he’s so inclined.

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET
Jane Lynch hosts this new casual game show, with the fist night’s guest list including Lisa Kudrow, Martin Short, Kristen Bell and Matthew Perry. One thing you have to say about a new prime-time game show: At least it’s not a new prime-time reality show.


* * * *

TV Review
Incarcerate yourself for 'Orange is the New Black'
By Ed Bark, TVWorthWatching.com - Jul. 11, 2013

Women behind bars. They’ve mostly been confined to pulpy print and the “adult” film industry.

Fox, in its formative years as a broadcast network, had a brief fling with Women In Prison, a 1987 sitcom that quickly got time off for bad behavior in the Nielsen ratings. And that’s pretty much the long and short of it in terms of prime-time TV exposure.

Netflix has much bigger plans for Orange is the New Black, whose 13 Season 1 episodes will all be available for streaming on Thursday, July 11. A second season already has been ordered and rightly so. Adapted from the same-named memoir by Piper Kerman, this is as good and provocative a TV series as you’re likely to see this year. Even if it technically isn’t entirely within the TV realm.

Before getting more specific, let’s briefly marvel at what Netflix has accomplished with its four original series to date. The first, House of Cards, received virtually unanimous acclaim. Hemlock Grove got comparatively harsh treatment from TV critics, but was still better than most of the latter day new stuff coming off the Big Four broadcast network assembly lines. Both series will have sophomore seasons.

The return of Arrested Development in late May was a bonafide event that for the most part seemed to please the show’s ardent fan base. And now comes Orange is the New Black, which is nothing short of a triumph from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan. This includes a standout opening theme song, “You’ve Got Time,” performed by Regina Spektor.

Set in a fictional federal prison, Orange is the New Black is not meant to be as dark, foreboding or violent as a certain long-running HBO series. Episode 1 conveys that message via a prison security guard head Sam Healy (Michael Harney), who tells the newly arrived Piper Chapman (series star Taylor Schilling), “This isn’t Oz. Women fight with gossip and rumors … You do not have to have lesbian sex.”

Not that they’re aren’t ample opportunities. And Piper’s past includes a prolonged “lesbian at the time” affair with Alex Vause (Laura Prepon in a complete U-turn from That ‘70s Show). Alex is the one who introduced her to a heady, risky world of international drug-running after they chance-met at a bar. It’s the reason why Piper, the money mule, is serving a 15-month sentence while her fiance, Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs), tries to wait patiently for her release. Biggs is OK in this role but nothing to write home about, from a prison cell or otherwise.

The series introduces a near battalion of supporting characters, including a notably bulked up Kate Mulgrew (Capt. Kathryn Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager) as a domineering Russian head prison cook named Galina “Red” Reznikov. Initially almost unrecognizable, Mulgrew quickly becomes a revelation. Her performance is fearlessly fierce while also occasionally a little comedic. This isn’t a flat-out “dramedy” by any means. But Schilling in the lead role is often a mood-lightener, except when she’s scared to death of what might befall her.

Netflix made the first six episodes available for review, and all of them run for more than 50 minutes apiece. This is ample time to spotlight the back stories of various inmates, whether it’s stern old “Miss Claudette” (Michelle Hurst), the transsexual Sophia Burset (Laverne Cox) or emotionally bruised Dyanara Diaz (Dascha Polanco), whose near-demonic mother also is part of the Litchfield population.

Episode 1 of Orange is the New Black begins, somewhat misleadingly, with a veritable montage of female nudity. This includes an amorous shower scene with Piper and Alex. Perhaps producer/creator Kohan had a prototypical big tease in mind, providing viewers with what’s come to be expected when women are behind bars. But the series for the most part doesn’t follow through in the next five episodes. There’s graphic sex talk to be sure, and some very out of the ordinary still shots in Episode 6. But this definitely is not a series on a weekly mission to work in at least one group shower scene.

The prison guards, most of them male, include Pablo Schreiber as a swaggering louse known as “Pornstach.” At times he comes close to being a cartoonish character from Reno 911. On the other hand, he’s never dull. “Two speeds in my yard. Walk and shuffle,” he barks with an almost goofy bravado.

His polar opposite is young guard John Bennett (Matt McGorry), a veteran of Afghanistan whose growing attraction to inmate Dyanara is mutual on her part. It threatens to get a bit sappy at times, but so far serves as a palate-cleansing counterbalance to the grunt ’n’ grind, loveless couplings of Pornstach.

The multi-ethnic cast of Orange is the New Black, with black, white and Latina factions, affords the series all kinds of paths and sensibilities to explore. Racial divides come into play, but so does an overall comradeship. Only Episode 4 so far conveys a palpable sense of menace, with a missing screwdriver in play and at least one character who’d very much like to use it on an inmate who spurned her. It’s the strongest hour of the first six — and it bracingly does not end predictably.

Schilling, Prepon and Mulgrew are uniformly terrific throughout, whether in prison garb or flashback civilian clothes. But other characters are equally compelling, giving this series innumerable stories to tell for hopefully many seasons to come.

Based on the first six of 13 episodes, Orange is the New Black has passed virtually every test with flying colors. You might want to incarcerate yourself — on a living room couch — as soon as time allows.


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WEDNESDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
NBC’s ‘Talent’ boosts ‘Camp’ premiere
New show draws a 1.5 in 18-49s, second-best debut
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 11, 2013

The highest-rated Wednesday show of the summer lifted NBC’s new dramedy “Camp” to a decent debut Wednesday night.

“Camp” averaged a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating at 10 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, the second-best bow for any of the nine scripted series that have premiered this summer on broadcast.

It was behind only CBS’s hit “Under the Dome,” whose first episode averaged a 3.3 last month.

“Camp” won its timeslot, with Univision’s “Que Bonito Amor” second with a 1.3.

“Camp” had a big assist from lead-in “America’s Got Talent,” which drew the best rating for any Wednesday show since the regular TV season ended in May.

“Talent” averaged a 2.7 at 9 p.m., also finishing as the night’s No. 1 program.

Elsewhere, CBS’s “Big Brother” continued its week-three ratings surge with a 2.0 for its 8 p.m. episode, up 18 percent from last week’s 1.7.

Fox’s “MasterChef” was the evening’s No. 2 show with a 2.1 from 8 to 10 p.m., down 13 percent from its most recent original episode two weeks ago, when it did not have to face “Talent.”

Fox led the night among 18-49s with a 2.1 average overnight rating and a 7 share. NBC was second at 1.8/6, Univision third at 1.6/5, CBS fourth at 1.4/4, ABC fifth at 0.7/2, Telemundo sixth at 0.6/2 and CW seventh at 0.3/1.

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

At 8 p.m. Fox was first with a 2.1 for “MasterChef,” followed closely by CBS with a 2.0 for “Brother.” Univision was third with a 1.7 for “Porque el Amor Manda,” NBC fourth with a 1.3 for a repeat of “Talent,” ABC fifth with a 0.7 for a rerun of “The Middle” (0.7) and the series finale of “Family Tools” (0.6), Telemundo sixth with a 0.4 for “Dama y Obrero” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for a repeat of “Arrow.”

NBC took the lead at 9 p.m. with a 2.7 for a new “Talent,” while Fox slipped to second with a 2.2 for more “MasterChef.” Univision was third with a 1.7 for “Amores Verdaderos,” CBS fourth with a 1.1 for “The American Baking Competition,” ABC fifth with a 0.8 for repeats of “Modern Family” and “The Neighbors,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for the premiere of the new telenovela “Marido en Alquiler” and CW seventh with a 0.3 for an “Arrow” rerun.

At 10 p.m. NBC was first again with a 1.5 for “Camp,” with Univision second with a 1.3 for “Bonito.” CBS was third with a 1.0 for a repeat of “Criminal Minds,” Telemundo fourth with a 0.9 for “El Señor de los Cielos” and ABC fifth with a 0.7 for “The Lookout.”

NBC was first for the night among households with a 4.5 average overnight rating and an 8 share. CBS was second at 3.2/6, Fox third at 3.2/5, ABC and Univision tied for fourth at 1.9/3 and Telemundo and CW tied for sixth at 0.8/1.


* * * *

TV Notes
NBC hopes for a real ‘Winner’
Reality-game show drew strong numbers in sneak preview
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 11, 2013

It was smart for NBC to run a sneak preview of the new show “The Winner Is” following “The Voice” last month.

The show drew good numbers behind the network’s No. 1 non-sports show.

The question is whether those numbers will hold tonight, when “Winner” debuts in its real timeslot at 9 p.m., without the huge “Voice” lead-in.

The program, hosted by “The Sing-Off’s” Nick Lachey, is a hybrid reality competition and game show. Each week six acts compete against one another to be crowned the best of the bunch.

The twist here is that these aren’t “American Idol”- or even “The X Factor”-caliber singers. These are people who could never win a recording contract but who try to sell their performances based on showmanship and enthusiasm. They are judged by a jury of music lovers who vote for their favorites after each round.

The game show element is this: After each of three rounds, the teams are offered a cash prize to walk away. The prize goes up after every round, but they get nothing if they refuse the cash and are eliminated by the jury. If they choose to stay and advance to the final round, they will be in the running to collect the $1 million prize at the end of the show’s run.

“Winner” averaged a 1.8 adults 18-49 rating in its two post-“Voice” episodes last month, making it the highest-rated debut this summer on broadcast.

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TV Notes
Nickelodeon's 'Sam & Cat' Doubles Season 1 Order
By Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed Blog - Jul. 11, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon is doubling down on iCarly and Victorious crossover spinoff Sam & Cat.

The kids cable network has greenlighted 20 more episodes of the top-rated comedy led by Jennette McCurdy (iCarly's Sam Puckett) and Ariana Grande (Victorious' Cat Valentine), bringing the first season's total count to 40, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.

Sam & Cat, created by veteran comedy producer Dan Schneider, follows Sam and Cat as they become best friends and unlikely roommates who start a babysitting service. The June 8 series debut was Nickelodeon's biggest live-action launch in three years with 4.2 million viewers. The expanded order comes after only four episode airings.

"It's a very tall order but it also feels great. The show has been so well-received and competition is greater than ever these days. Making a hit show is even more challenging today than, say, 10 years ago," Schneider tells THR. "It's a little daunting to do 40 episodes in your first season, but what makes it fun is the success, because we're all sharing in that."

For Nickelodeon, keeping in business with Schneider is key, as he has produced seven successful shows (from Keenan & Kel and Drake & Josh to iCarly andVictorious) for the network. "We're trying to keep our record of excellence going," Schneider says of his Schneider's Bakery production company's track record. "We wanted Sam & Cat to be popular and good and something we were proud of and we feel we pulled that off, and this is a big endorsement of that." Schneider deadpans: "It's nice not to bomb!"

Production on the initial 20-episode order wraps up in the next few weeks (Sam & Cat finishes episode 18 on July 12). After filming concludes on the first half, the writers' room will open up in early September for the second half of the season.

Upcoming guest stars on Sam & Cat include Laverne & Shirley's Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams in their first scripted TV appearance in more than three decades, and the return of Sophia Grace and Rose of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Sam & Cat returns July 13 on Nickelodeon.

post #88207 of 93656
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Saturday Turns Into Burnoff Bonanza for Broadcasters
By Rick Kissell, Variety.com - Jul. 10, 2013

Fans of ratings-challenged series often cling to the flimsiest threads of hope that their shows will stick around.

But there’s one sure-fire sign that the network sees no future for your fave: Said show is airing an original episode on a Saturday night of a holiday weekend.

Last Saturday saw a virtual broadcast burnoff bonanza as four failed shows spread across three networks aired original episodes — to predictably meager ratings.

CBS’ “Brooklyn DA” was the “winner” among them with 2.41 million, followed by ABC’s “Zero Hour” (1.89 million) and “666 Park Avenue” (1.88 million) and NBC’s “Do No Harm” (1.56 million). None was among the night’s eight most-watched programs, according to Nielsen.

These shows ended up playing in firstrun on Fourth of July weekend after ingloriously short runs in their original timeslots. “666 Park Avenue” (pictured above) played nine times on Sunday last fall and was probably the only one of the bunch that could put up a reasonable argument for being pulled too soon.

It averaged a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 — higher than eight scripted series returning this fall on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. (And ABC fared much worse with the show that replaced “666″ in the spring, “Red Widow”).

“Do No Harm” and “Zero Hour” were Thursday dramas that premiered with fairly high hopes in the February sweep — but they each aired just twice on the night. And “Brooklyn DA,” a summer unscripted series, aired twice on Tuesdays before shifting to Saturday last month.

The networks have been using Saturday to burn off shows for years.

Earlier this year, NBC demoted “Smash” from Tuesday to Saturday, where it aired most of its final episodes. And Fox used the Saturdays of Christmas and New Year’s week (as well as New Year’s Eve, a Monday) to unleash remaining episodes of failed fall drama “Mob Doctor.”

CBS was especially clever/cruel in the way it finished off “Made in Jersey.” The net brought it back for original episodes on Saturdays starting with Thanksgiving weekend and said goodbye to the show with back-to-back original episodes on Dec. 29.

The networks burn off episodes on little-watched nights to try to recoup some advertising money after making such a big financial commitment with a series order, typically of 13 episodes in length. But in some cases, like “Made in Jersey,” eight was enough.

A far cry from the 70s (or even the early 80s) when the CBS Saturday night lineup darkened a lot of restaurants and night clubs. In an era pre-DVR (even pre-VCR), people stayed home to watch - All In The Family, M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnett Show. Heck, even ABC had its own pseudo hit - Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell.
post #88208 of 93656
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

Monopoly? Last I looked, there are a LOT of cable sports networks. I rather doubt the decline is a chunk of the population saying "we're not gonna take it anymore" and tuning the channel out because they're angry over their business practices. More likely, the other cable networks have attracted enough of the audience to affect ESPNs numbers. Hockey's on NBCSN, Baseball's mostly on Fox Sports regionals.. even CBS Sports Net is stealing eyeballs and on and on and on. Not a monopoly by any stretch of the imagination.

There are a lot of cable sports networks but ESPN is the main one buying billion dollar rights to sporting events then jacking up the price of thier channel and sending the cost down to cable subscribers. The comments on the link that came witth the article are from people that are angry with ESPN.
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TV Notes
'Betty White's Off Their Rockers' Dropped by NBC
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jul. 11, 2013

Betty White fans, prepare to fly your flags at half-mast.

NBC network has canceled the reality prank show "Betty White's Off Their Rockers" after two seasons.

The show offered a sort of geriatric version of "Punk'd," during which senior citizens would pull gags on people. The series got off to an encouraging start, scoring a 2.2 rating/6 share in the advertiser-sought 18 49 demographic with a Jan. 16, 2012 preview, which was preceded by a 90th birthday extravaganza for White.

However, ratings were not too kind for the second season of the series. "Off Their Rockers" hit a series low of of 0.8/3 last week, though it did grow to a 1.0/3 with its season finale on Tuesday.

White can still be seen on the TVLand sitcom "Hot in Cleveland."

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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
FX’s ‘The Bridge’ Draws 3 Million in Premier
By Rick Kissell, Variety.com - Jul. 11, 2013

FX is off to a solid start with its drama “The Bridge,” which racked up an overall audience on par with the net’s recent “The Americans.”

Based on preliminary Nielsen data, a little more than 3 million crossed “The Bridge” for its 90-minute premiere (10-11:30 p.m.) and a little over 1 million stayed up late to catch the quickie repeat at 11:30.

FX estimates that the two airings drew a gross average audience of about 4.12 million Wednesday — a bit below the 4.23 million who tuned in for the series premiere of “The Americans” in January, a time of the year when many more people are watching television in primetime.

“The Bridge,” a crime thriller exploring the tensions on the U.S.-Mexico border, skewed older than typical FX fare, and the adults 18-49 viewership for its premiere telecast (1.16 million) was down from the roughly 1.5 million young adults who watched “The Americans.”

FX points out that the same-night audience for the premiere of “The Americans” represented only 32% of the final 10 million total viewers delivered by linear telecasts, VOD and online viewership.

“The Bridge,” a co-production of Shine America and FX Prods., is set in motion by a grisly crime along the border. It stars Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir as detectives and follows their investigation of a serial killer along the Texas-Mexico border.

Fox International Channels is a partner on “The Bridge” and will launch the show globally immediately following the U.S. premiere. “The Bridge” will bow in 122 countries across all continents in 35 languages all at the same time.

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TV Notes
Brian Grazer: Netflix in Talks for More 'Arrested Development'
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jul. 11, 2013

Arrested Development could be making a second triumphant return.

Executive producer Brian Grazer said talks are under way with Netflix to do a second season of the cult comedy and fifth season overall.

"We are in conversations with them to do another," the co-chairman of Imagine Entertainment told Bloomberg on Thursday. "They are interested in doing that."

A representative for studio 20th Century Fox Television declined comment on the status of the negotiations but stressed that there are currently no deals in place with the cast or producers for a return.

For Imagine and 20th TV, the process of reassembling its all-star cast was a difficult one, with each of the 15 "chapters" of the comedy focused on a different cast member. Each of the stars (including Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi and Michael Cera) was guaranteed at least one starring episode, with sources telling The Hollywood Reporter ahead of Arrested's May 26 bow that the cast had worked out a complicated deal to reprise their roles from the Fox series.

A second season of Arrested would not be much of a surprise, given it has been a boon to Netflix with the comedy surpassing House of Cards as its biggest hit. Additionally, the series is generating awards-season buzz going into next week's Emmy nominations.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said that he wants more of the series from creator Mitchell Hurwitz. "We would love to do more, and we have a deal in place that says that there could be,” he told THR in a May cover story noting that the challenge would again be the logistics. "They're very in-demand movie and TV stars, and they’re all working full-time and doing this show in between. They did it for the love of the show and for Mitch Hurwitz. If we can muster up that love again, we’d love to do it again.”

For its part, Netflix has renewed the bulk of its original scripted programming including Orange Is the New Black, which premiered this week.

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Business Notes
Time Warner Cable, CBS at odds over distribution deal
By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Jul. 11, 2013

Although neither side is taking shots at each other publicly, there is an undercurrent of tension between Time Warner Cable and CBS Corp. as the two companies attempt to negotiate a new distribution deal.

Time Warner Cable's agreement to carry CBS-owned TV stations including KCBS in Los Angeles, the basic cable channels CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian, and the pay network Showtime expired at the end of June. Since then, there have been a couple of extensions, the latest one running to a few days before the end of the month.

It has been several years since Time Warner Cable and CBS sat across from each other at the negotiation table. The price the cable operator is paying now for the CBS stations is well under $1 per-subscriber, per-month, a person familiar with the matter said.

CBS is looking for a hefty increase. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves has not been shy about making the case that the network should be getting more than popular cable channels. TNT, for example, gets over $1 per-subscriber, per-month, according to industry consulting firm SNL Kagan.

Time Warner Cable is likely eager to get a deal done now because in a few months football will be back and the last thing the cable operator wants is to lose CBS stations that are carrying games.

Conversely, CBS knows that the closer the first games get without a deal, the more leverage it has in the talks.

That said, if sports fans lose football, expect certain members of Congress to use the business dispute as a opportunity to grandstand, attack both companies and demand government action. That is the risk the firms take if they go past the point of no return.

CBS has yet to have a so-called retransmission consent negotiation reach the point where its signal went off a pay-TV distributor because of a contract dispute.

Another component complicating these talks is Showtime. Because it is a premium channel, consumers opt to subscribe to it rather than having to take it as part of their pay-TV package. It is unlikely that Showtime would be yanked along with CBS' other channels as such a move would take money out of both companies' pockets.

Neither side is commenting publicly on the negotiations.

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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
FRIDAY 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 - Shark Tank
(R - Mar. 8)
9PM - What Would You Do?
10PM - 20/20
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Johnny Depp; Rebecca Romijn; chef Steve Martorano)
(R - Jul. 1)
12:37AM - Nightline

8PM - Undercover Boss: PostNet
(R - Dec. 7)
9PM - Hawaii Five-0
(R - Mar. 25)
10PM - Blue Bloods
(R - Dec. 7)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Melissa McCarthy; Idris Elba; Dale Watson and His Lonestars performs)
(R - Jun. 4)
12:37AM - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Jeff Daniels; Sarah Tiana)

8PM - Camp
(R - Jul. 10)
9PM - Dateline NBC (120 min.)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (Bill Hader; former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer; Passenger performs)
12:36AM - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Kristin Scott Thomas; Sam Rockwell; Ciara and Future perform with The Roots)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Chef Curtis Stone; White Lung performs)
(R - May 13)

8PM - Bones
(R - Feb. 11)
9PM - The Following
(R - Mar. 4)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Washington Week
8:30PM - Need to Know (Season Finale)
9PM - American Masters: A Letter to Elia (90 min.)
(R - Oct. 4, 2010)
10:30PM - Ribbon of Sand
(R - Feb. 25, 2008)

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

8PM - Cult
9PM - Cult (Series Finale)

8PM - Dama y Obrero
9PM - Marido en Alquiler
10PM - El Señor de Los Cielos

10PM - Real Time with Bill Maher (LIVE; Journalist Bobby Ghosh; TV personality Mike Rowe; columnist Matt Lewis; political consultant Liz Mair; professor Cornel West)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Stephen Moyer; Chris Franjola; Jen Kirkman; Brody Stevens)
(R - Jul. 3)
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TV Notes
Justin Hartley Joins ABC’s ‘Revenge’, Raul Esparza Upped To Regular On ‘Law & Order: SVU’
By The Deadline.com Team - Jul. 12, 2013

Justin Hartley has been tapped to play a major role in the upcoming third season of ABC’s Revenge. The former Smallville and Emily Owens MD star will play Patrick, the long-lost son of Victoria (Madeline Stowe), in a multi-episode arc that was a hot one to nab around town. E! first reported the news. His addition is the latest most on the ABC soapy drama, which recently opted not to return Ashley Madekwe’s character Ashley to the cast for next season. It also said goodbye to Connor Paolo, whose character Declan Porter died in the Season 2 finale. The ABC Studios series also will have a new showrunner in Sunil Nayar, after Revenge creator/executive producer/showrunner Mike Kelley departed. Hartley’s repped by Innovative Artists.

Raul Esparza is being bumped up to series regular on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. He plays Assistant DA Rafael Barba on the Wolf Films/Univeral Television drama, which returns for its 15th season beginning September 25 and stars shooting next week in New York. Said executive producer Warren Leight: “Making him a series regular is a small way of acknowledging his enormous contribution to our show.” Esparza is repped by ICM Partners and Elin Flack Management.

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Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Jul. 12, 2013

FX, 7:00 p.m. ET

This 2010 Coen Brothers remake of the 1969 John Wayne movie casts Jeff Bridges in the role of crusty U.S. Marshal Rooster – and puts most of the weight of the movie on Bridges’ shoulders. He handles it effortlessly, and with a twinkle in his eyes. Well, make that eye. Hailee Steinfeld co-stars as the persistent young girl who hires Cogburn to help her find her father’s killer, and Matt Damon plays another person who joins their quest. It’s a well-staged, enjoyable Western, driven primarily by Bridges’ sly turn in the saddle.

The CW, 8:00 p.m. ET
This is a note, not a recommendation. The show that CW canceled and yanked from its schedule almost immediately after it premiered, then brought back for a summer burn-off run, presents its final episodes tonight in a yawn-inducing doubleheader. At this point, Cult has so few fans, and viewers, they don’t even qualify as a cult. More like a gaggle.

Flix, 8:00 p.m. ET

It doesn’t quite compute that this Michael Cimino movie is now 35 years old. But my, what a movie – so intense, it’s at times almost unwatchable. Yet it’s an important movie to see, because of the astounding work by its impeccable young cast. Robert De Niro already had made Mean Streets, Taxi Driver and The Godfather: Part II by the time he got to this 1978 Vietnam war movie, but The Deer Hunter was of that same high caliber. Yet he’s not the only standout here: Christopher Walken, John Savage, and John Cazale match him in intensity, and Meryl Streep, as the proverbial girl back home, shows strong proof of her early talents as well.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

In 1967, film critic turned filmmaker Francois Truffaut wrote a book – a series of detailed conversational interviews, actually – in which he and Alfred Hitchcock examined and discussed every one of Hitch’s films. (The book was called Hitchcock/Truffaut, and a revised edition, covering Hitchcock’s final films, was published in 1985.) The original book, a marvel of detail and insight and cinematic passion from both men, was one of my inspirations to become a critic. And the year after that first book was published, Truffaut went off and made this 1968 movie, a full-length homage to Hitchcock utilizing many of the details he’d probed in their conversations together. Jeanne Moreau plays a woman who reacts to her husband’s death by seeking revenge on those men she feels responsible – using her feminine wiles as her primary murder weapon. To make the Hitchcock connections even sweeter: the musical score is by Bernard Herrmann, who wrote the music for Psycho, and the story is based on a novel by Cornell Woolrich, whose work also inspired Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

Among tonight’s guests is someone who’s never failed to deliver both outrage and outrageousness at his seat on Bill Maher’s roundtable: Cornel West.

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TV Notes
Broadcast Nets Poised to Pounce on Zimmerman Verdict
By Brian Steinberg, Variety.com Team - Jul. 12, 2013

ABC News is preparing to air a special report when jurors in the much –covered George Zimmerman trial reach a verdict, a signal that a story that has primarily been considered one more platelet in the lifeblood of the cable-news cycle is about to become something of a national event.

ABC News said Friday it will air a special report to the ABC Television Network when the Zimmerman verdict is reached. ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams and correspondent Matt Gutman, both who have been covering this case from the start, will offer reporting and analysis. The two staffers will report on the verdict for all ABC News platforms including “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Good Morning America,” and “Nightline.”

The other broadcast networks have yet to disclose their plans, but could do so if it seems clear the jury in the trial is likely to move quickly toward a decision.

The event is a potentially explosive one. The Zimmerman case, in which a 29-year-old one-time volunteer for a neighborhood watch in Sanford, Florida has been charged with the shooting death of a teenager, Trayvon Martin, has been closely followed. Zimmerman is white and the teenager was African American, raising issues of class and race. Zimmerman has plead “not guilty” and claimed self-defense.

On late Friday morning, eastern time, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, HLN and CNN were all providing live coverage of the defense’s closing arguments. An MSNBC spokeswoman said the network planned ”rolling” coverage of the event. At the broadcast-network newscasts, the trial has been covered gradually, but has rarely been the lead of “CBS Evening News,” “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” or “NBC Nightly News,” according to the Tyndall Report, a service that tracks the content of the broadcast-network evening newscasts,

Between July 1 and July 5, all three network newscasts covered the trail,, but the lead of each telecast was given to coverage of Arizona wildfires or unrest in Egypt, according to Tyndall. CBS led with coverage of the Zimmerman trail on July 5, Tyndall said.

“On the nightly newscasts, ABC and NBC are filing on a daily basis,” with correspondents Gutman and Ron Mott, respectively, Tyndall said in an interview, while CBS has used correspondent Mark Strassman “sporadically,” he said, or five times out of the first 14 weekdays of the trail. “By my reckoning, CBS makes the right call here. Zimmerman is rarely rated newsworthy enough to qualify as the nightly news lead item: gay marriage, the hotshot firefighters, the coup in Egypt, the Asiana Airlines crash have all pre-empted it from the top spot.”

Whether an actual verdict in the trial changes that sentiment remains to be seen.

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Notes
Broadcast Nets Poised to Pounce on Zimmerman Verdict
By Brian Steinberg, Variety.com Team - Jul. 12, 2013

ABC News is preparing to air a special report when jurors in the much –covered George Zimmerman trial reach a verdict, a signal that a story that has primarily been considered one more platelet in the lifeblood of the cable-news cycle is about to become something of a national event.

ABC News said Friday it will air a special report to the ABC Television Network when the Zimmerman verdict is reached. ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams and correspondent Matt Gutman, both who have been covering this case from the start, will offer reporting and analysis. The two staffers will report on the verdict for all ABC News platforms including “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Good Morning America,” and “Nightline.”

The other broadcast networks have yet to disclose their plans, but could do so if it seems clear the jury in the trial is likely to move quickly toward a decision.

The event is a potentially explosive one. The Zimmerman case, in which a 29-year-old one-time volunteer for a neighborhood watch in Sanford, Florida has been charged with the shooting death of a teenager, Trayvon Martin, has been closely followed. Zimmerman is white and the teenager was African American, raising issues of class and race. Zimmerman has plead “not guilty” and claimed self-defense.

On late Friday morning, eastern time, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, HLN and CNN were all providing live coverage of the defense’s closing arguments. An MSNBC spokeswoman said the network planned ”rolling” coverage of the event. At the broadcast-network newscasts, the trial has been covered gradually, but has rarely been the lead of “CBS Evening News,” “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” or “NBC Nightly News,” according to the Tyndall Report, a service that tracks the content of the broadcast-network evening newscasts,

Between July 1 and July 5, all three network newscasts covered the trail,, but the lead of each telecast was given to coverage of Arizona wildfires or unrest in Egypt, according to Tyndall. CBS led with coverage of the Zimmerman trail on July 5, Tyndall said.

“On the nightly newscasts, ABC and NBC are filing on a daily basis,” with correspondents Gutman and Ron Mott, respectively, Tyndall said in an interview, while CBS has used correspondent Mark Strassman “sporadically,” he said, or five times out of the first 14 weekdays of the trail. “By my reckoning, CBS makes the right call here. Zimmerman is rarely rated newsworthy enough to qualify as the nightly news lead item: gay marriage, the hotshot firefighters, the coup in Egypt, the Asiana Airlines crash have all pre-empted it from the top spot.”

Whether an actual verdict in the trial changes that sentiment remains to be seen.


Zimmerman is HISPANIC.
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Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
Mixed results for NBC’s new shows
'Hollywood Game Night' draws a 1.3 in 18-49s
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 12, 2013

NBC’s new “Hollywood Game Night” drew okay ratings in last night’s debut, though another new show on the network, “The Winner Is,” was limp.

“Hollywood” averaged a 1.3 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen, rising from a 1.2 in its first half hour in the 10 p.m. timeslot to a 1.4 in its second.

The show won its timeslot, finishing 0.1 ahead of Univision’s “Que Bonito Amor.”

But earlier in the night NBC’s other new show didn’t fare as well. “The Winner Is,” which averaged a 1.9 behind “The Voice” in a two-episode sneak peek last month, managed just a 1.0 at 9 p.m.

Of course without any substantial lead-in no one would expect “Winner” to draw the numbers it did behind “Voice.” But “Winner” finished fourth in its timeslot and drew only half of what CBS’s “Big Brother” and Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” averaged in the same hour.

Elsewhere last night, the increased competition from “Game” seemed to take a toll on ABC’s competing “Rookie Blue” in the 10 p.m. slot. The drama fell 17 percent from its most recent original episode two weeks ago to a season-low 1.0.

Earlier in the night, ABC’s “Wipeout” averaged a series-low 0.9 at 8 p.m.

CBS and Fox tied for first for the night among 18-49s, each with a 1.6 average overnight rating and a 5 share. Univision was third at 1.4/5, NBC fourth at 1.0/3, ABC fifth at 0.9/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.6/2 and CW seventh at 0.2/1.

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

At 8 p.m. CBS was first with a 1.8 for reruns of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men,” followed by Univision with a 1.5 for “Porque el Amor Manda.” Fox was third with a 1.1 for a repeat of “Hell’s,” ABC fourth with a 0.9 for “Wipeout,” NBC fifth with a 0.8 for “And the Winner Is,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.4 for “Dama y Obrero” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for a repeat of “The Vampire Diaries.”

CBS and Fox tied for first place at 9 p.m., each with a 2.0 rating, CBS for “Brother” and Fox for a new “Hell’s.” Univision was third with a 1.6 for “Amores Veraderos,” NBC fourth with a 1.0 for a new “Winner,” ABC fifth with a 0.8 for “Motive,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.5 for “Marido en Alquiler” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for a repeat of “Beauty and the Beast.”

NBC took the lead at 10 p.m. with a 1.3 for “Game,” with Univision second with a 1.2 for “Que Bonito Amor.” ABC was third with a 1.0 for “Blue,” Telemundo fourth with a 0.9 for “El Señor de los Cielos” and CBS fifth with a 0.8 for a repeat of “Elementary.”

Among households, CBS led the night with a 4.0 average overnight rating and a 7 share. ABC was second at 2.9/5, NBC and Fox tied for third at 2.5/4, Univision was fifth at 1.9/3, Telemundo sixth at 0.8/1 and CW seventh at 0.4/1.


* * * *

TV Notes
Best tube bets this weekend
The top draws on broadcast and cable and in sports
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Jul. 12, 2013


Best bet on broadcast
: CBS, “Late Show with David Letterman” 11:35 p.m.
Melissa McCarthy and Idris Elba both guest.

Best bet on cable: IFC, “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” 10 p.m. Season premiere. Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Andy Samberg guests.

Top sporting event: WGN, “Major League baseball,” 4 p.m. Late-afternoon matchup between the Cardinals and Cubs in Chicago.


Best bet on broadcast
: ABC, “666 Park Avenue,” 9 p.m.
Jane finds out what really happened to her mother in the failed show’s series finale.

Best bet on cable: Lifetime, “The Nightmare Nanny,” 8 p.m. A mom returns to work after she finds what she thinks is the perfect nanny for her daughter, but then her daughter disappears.

Top sporting event: Fox, “Soccer,” 3 p.m. The U.S. takes on Cuba in a second Gold Cup group game.


Best bet on broadcast
: Best bet on broadcast: NBC, “Crossing Lines,” 10 p.m.
Anne Marie finds a connection between the case of a rich teen taken hostage and a similar case in Florence.

Best bet on cable: Best bet on cable: HBO, “The Newsroom,” 10 p.m. Season premiere. Apparently the show is now a historical drama. The second season opens as the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 approaches.

Top sporting event: TNT, “NASCAR Racing,” 1 p.m. The Sprint Cup Camping World RV Sales 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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Business Notes
Hulu Sale Called Off by Fox, Disney, NBCU
By Lucas Shaw, TheWrap.com - Jul. 12, 2013

Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal have called off their planned sale of Hulu and will invest $750 million in the online video company, they announced on Friday.

The owners had been exploring a sale for the past several months, accepting offers from as many as seven different companies. Everyone from Yahoo to private equity firm Silver Lake Partners to DirecTV made offers, but the number of interested bidders diminished as the owners insisted on receiving at least $1 billion for the company.

An insider close to the bidding said that DirecTV bid aggressively but that the withdrawal was a "strategic decision." It is the second time Hulu's owners have attempted to sell the company only to pull back.

In between those two attempted sales, CEO Jason Kilar departed the company in January, leaving Hulu without clear executive leadership. Andy Forssell (pictured), the former head of content, took over as interim CEO after Kilar left i.

Many of the bidders balked at the terms of the deal, as the owners placed what one dubbed 'onerous' demands with regard to content. As TheWrap reported, many of them, owners of TV networks like NBC, ABC and Fox as well as a litany of cable channels, wanted the rights to hold back certain shows from Hulu.

They also wanted to prevent certain shows from appearing on Hulu for 30 days after they aired. That ran counter to what made Hulu unique in the first place. Hulu was the first website to legally host a wide range of new TV shows just after they aired.

However, the owners have often disagreed about which shows should be available, when they should be available and whether they should be availabel via Hulu or Hulu Plus, Hulu's subscription service.

In this case they decided its best future involved their continued ownership.

“Hulu has emerged as one of the most consumer friendly, technologically innovative viewing platforms in the digital era," Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. "As its evolution continues, Disney and its partners are committing resources to enable Hulu to achieve its maximum potential."

The extended sale process spurred many to doubt if a dael would close, as Hulu's owners previously tried and failed to sell the company. Hulu first began soliciting bids in March, and actually accepted the first round in May.

Hulu accepted final bids last Friday from DirecTV, Chernin Entertainment along with AT&T and Guggeheim Partners (allied with private equity shop KKR). Yet Guggenheim bailed earlier this week and the owners then took the company off the table.

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Critic's Notes
TV Picks: 'Comedy Bang! Bang!,' 'Newsroom,' 'Only the Young'
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times - Jul. 11, 2013

"Comedy Bang! Bang!" (IFC, Friday). Scott Aukerman's funny, not entirely faux talk show, developed from a podcast of the same name -- but with roots also in "Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis," the studiously awkward Web series he has produced and directed -- returns to IFC for a second season. (At 20 episodes, its twice the length of the first). Tonally, it is a kids' show for adults, a kind of mix of "Fernwood 2Night," "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" and "Pee Wee's Playhouse," with the earnest, unfocused flavor of public access cable (carefully re-created). Some parts are unscripted -- from actual "informative" conversation to the common creation of a false reality -- and others are elaborately staged. (Running through the new season's second episode is a "Fantastic Voyage" parody in which a miniaturized medical team, led by Christopher Meloni, enters Aukerman's body to cure his cold; a segment in the first finds hairy one-man bandleader and comic foil Reggie Watts going "Tron," as he enters the Internet to fetch some tweets (there to meet Selma Blair and Lance Reddick). The rhythms of the show stay dry and deadpan even in moments of excitement, while the lack of an audience creates a kind of persistent mist of uneasiness: Why is no one laughing? Guests on the season opener include Andy Samberg as himself, or a version thereof, and Jordan Peele as a psychic; next week brings Aziz Ansara and man-of-many-faces Nick Kroll as the show's craft services supervisor.

"The Newsroom" (HBO, Sundays). Aaron Sorkin's cable-news comedy-drama returns for a second season, the first having been the cause of vigorous conversation (annoyed, offended, disappointed, disgusted -- though some positive, too), much of it surprised despite the fact that the series was wholly in the vein of every other show he's made. (Just a little more so, which is possibly why the shock.) The third Sorkin show to be set in the world of television, it combines the political pondering and posturing of "The West Wing" with the "we're-live-in-two" backstage dramedy of "Sports Night" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and shares their signature mannered theatricality, gussied up with a kind of naturalism that still looks theatrical. Like its predecessors, this is a wish-fulfilling story of an idealized workplace, overseen by a boss who really, really cares and staffed with people who love, love, love, love their jobs -- while still finding time to moon and spoon from here to June, in a George Stevens-Howard Hawks kinda way. Politically, Sorkin arranges voices pro and con around whatever hot topic is up for discussion, albeit usually weighted toward the humanist take -- this year, which is set in 2011, giving the writer the benefit of hindsight, you will hear of Twitter, Libya, the presidential primaries and the Occupy movement. The new season looks to be more focused, but I care less about the point-making and plot, anyway, than I do for the music and the motion -- I just let them wash over me, and it feels all right.

"Only the Young" (PBS, Monday). Twentysomething Cal Arts alumni Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims return to the Santa Clarita Valley to make a documentary film (presented here under the auspices of the series "POV") about being young in a distressed place and time, and about the pockets of beauty and relief they find there. The teenage trio of Kevin, Garrison and Skye are their intertwined subject -- skateboarding, punk-rock churchgoers in Black Flag and Minor Threat T-shirts. Tippet and Mims follow them through breakups and reconciliations and pledges and changes of allegiance, through radical haircuts and hair colors, from Halloween to Christmas to Valentine's to graduation day. They clearly love these kids, and, as if honoring that fact, don't attempt to abstract any lessons from their lives or herd them into thematic order. We see that Kevin has carved something into his arm, but there's no context offered, only the moment, without explanation or conclusion. (Garrison: "You're kind of freaking us out." Kevin: "I've done this before, why are you freaking out now?") Whatever editorializing there is here comes in the images themselves, which are artful without being arty, composed to reveal life rather than imposed upon it. They are tender as well toward the bleached blue California sky, the scrubby hills and high tension lines, the abandoned houses and secret creek-sides, housing tracts built to create an illusion of affluence, the ironic desolation of an abandoned miniature golf course. "This used to be a waterfall, I think," says Garrison. "But now it's just a fall."

Turner Classic's Francois Truffaut festival continues (TCM, Friday) with a night of the director's noir pieces -- some of them quite sunny and colorful and (though Gallic in the execution) all from American sources: "The Bride Wore Black" (1968), a serial revenge story starring Jeanne Moreau, adapted from the Cornell Woolrich novel (written as William Irish), and in which you will recognize Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill"; "Confidentially Yours" (1983), Truffaut's final film, a Hitchcock-y mystery-romance with Fanny Ardant playing Nancy Drew for the benefit of Jean-Louis Trintignant, based on Charles Williams' "The Long Saturday Night"; "Mississippi Mermaid" (1970), with Jean Paul-Belmondo seduced from respectability by Catherine Deneuve, adapted from Woolrich's "Waltz into Darkness"; the rollicking black comedy "Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me" (1973), from Henry Farrell's novel, with sociopath Bernadette Lafont a deadly Scheherazade; and the invaluable "Shoot the Piano Player" (1960), from David Goodis' novel "Down There," with Charles Aznavour as a concert pianist, more tender than tough, hiding out in the demi monde.

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Technology Notes
Popularity of 3-D television on the wane
By Maria Sciullo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When it comes to 3-D television, the picture is anything but clear.

Described by one network executive as a "science experiment," the popularity of 3-D could be drawing to a close in the United States. Programming choices and consumer awareness are dwindling after a three-year campaign.

"I know the manufacturers and the content guys. They put a lot of resources into educating people, but it just didn't resonate," said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis for Long Island-based The NPD Group, which provides international market information and advisory services.

But industry experts haven't completely thrown in the towel. Chuck Pagano, executive vice president and chief technology officer of ESPN, told industry trade Multichannel News, "We gave it a shot to see where it landed. ... We'll at least be ready to entertain it again [if 3-D makes a comeback]."

Last month, ESPN announced it would phase out its subscription 3-D service by year's end, effectively sounding a death knell. Part of a June 12 tweet on ESPN 3-D's official Twitter feed read: "Even with strong production, a lack of demand from majority of consumers. Thanks for your loyalty."

Across the pond, the BBC also is finding a drop-off in consumer interest despite offering a wider range of programming than in the States. FIFA World Cup soccer and Wimbledon have been part of its 3-D offerings, as well as the comedy program "Mr. Stink," and "Strictly Come Dancing," the reality show on which "Dancing With the Stars" is based.

The BBC's two-year trial for this range of programs ended last month. A three-year agreement with Sony and the All England Lawn Tennis Club to broadcast Wimbledon ends with today's finals.

On Thursday, BBC announced it will put 3-D program development on hold at the end of 2013, with no plans to resume until 2017.

At the same time, sales of television with 3-D capability are on the rise. This might seem strange, but it makes sense. The global information company IHS forecasts 8.8 million 3-D televisions will be shipped in the U.S. this year, up from 6.2 million in 2012. But growth will significantly slow after that.

"This [ESPN announcement] won't impact sales of 3-D TVs in the short term since most high-end TVs will continue to include this feature. ... This is a push from TV manufacturers," said Veronica Gonzalez-Thayer, an analyst for IHS Electronics & Media and member of the TV systems research team.

"Consumers have come to expect a lot of premium features when spending more for a TV, like Internet connectivity -- 'smart TV' -- and 3-D, even if they don't plan to use such features."

A 2012 NPD Group study indicated that among the sports fans surveyed, just over half -- 56 percent -- were interested in watching events in 3-D, compared to 70 percent in 2011.
Of course, 3-D technology still makes its mark at the movies, on video game consoles and in some areas of medical and scientific imaging. Some countries, such as South Korea, have readily adopted 3-D on flat-screen televisions.

What is 3-D TV?

Most people first experience 3-D from attending blockbuster summer movies such as "Avatar" or "Man of Steel," which hyped the added-value experience. Three-dimensional viewing -- whether it's on a screen at the multiplex or in your living room -- means the content is presented in stereo, or two separate signals of content.

The viewer, who must wear special glasses, sees one stream with the left eye, the other with the right. The brain does the heavy lifting from there, putting them together to form a field of vision with greater depth.

There are two kinds of glasses. The relatively cheap, passive kind handed out at the movies and the expensive active kind -- costing anywhere from $50 to $150. Most manufacturers throw in a pair or two with the television set, and the two types are not interchangeable. Active glasses alternately shutter what the left or right eyes take in, and this sometimes causes the viewer to experience a flickering sensation.

"There's an interesting trade-off," said Martin Banks, chairman of the visual science program at the University of California at Berkeley. "The active glasses provide higher spacial resolution. So you can see finer detail in stereo 3-D than you can see with the passive glasses, but the passive technology does better in time; there are some issues that occur over time, like seeing motions smoothly."

Although some studies -- including one at UC Berkeley -- suggest viewing 3-D television can lead to visual fatigue, Mr. Banks said, "I don't think there is a smoking gun here. I don't think there is anything that points to a concern, but having said that, anything that's new, there could be some unforeseen thing that we have not anticipated."

The biggest complaint from consumers is the need to wear the glasses, which many perceive as an inconvenience. It's a moot point for a small portion of the population at large -- anywhere from 2 percent to 12 percent by some studies -- that is incapable to seeing images in 3-D.

Proponents of 3-D marvel at the immersive experience, which promises to put the viewer into the picture. Opponents argue that wearing these glasses is annoying, not to mention expensive for the family or group that wants to watch together.

To watch television in 3-D, there are a number of necessary components. First the set has to be 3-D-enabled, meaning it has the technology to take those separate signals and create the viewable image.

Then, there are the glasses. In the past, some advertisers and broadcasters have fudged the precise meaning of "3-D," putting out Super Bowl commercials or, as the BBC did in 1993, a special 30th anniversary "Doctor Who" special.

In these cases, viewers could wear passive glasses that created the sort-of experience of 3-D.

Today's viewers need content, whether it comes from a cable provider such as Comcast Xfinity or Verizon FiOS. Many new Blu-ray players offer 3-D versions of discs.

"It's not a plug-and-play sort of thing, where you get the TV and you're off and running," Mr. Arnold said, adding that this contributed to 3-D's slide in popularity. "You have to add the pieces to that, and I think that's not so much confusing for consumers but it's just more things to buy.

"And in this age, where we've gotten demand for 3-D devices but our wallet is smaller, it's kind of a big proposition to ask."

Beyond 3-D

Despite manufacturers' three-year push to advertise the glories of 3-D television, consumer awareness has been weak. Many people assumed televisions that are 3-D-enabled were much more expensive with the feature -- not true -- or that regular 2-D content could not be viewed on them -- most definitely not true.

"These are fairly basic concepts, but they just didn't come across," Mr. Arnold said.

It hasn't helped that consumers already are looking at a new Next Big Thing. The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas featured sneak peeks at 4K high definition.

Pixels are the tiny one-color dots that comprise digital images. On screen, a higher pixel count allows images to be shown larger before they begin to "break up." The current standard HD and full HD are 720 and 1080 resolution.

The new 4K would be four times as sharp, and with an eye to the future, ESPN has announced its new digital production center in Bristol, Conn., will be capable of someday broadcasting in 8K. Sony recently debuted a $699 media player that comes preloaded with 10 movies, including "The Amazing Spider-Man."

This Ultra HD boasts 8 million pixels versus the 2 million found at 1080 resolution.

The 4K high definition really shines on televisions larger than 50 inches. In order to appreciate the finer detail, viewers must sit closer to their TVs.

"If you're too far away, you're wasting your money," Mr. Banks said. "It's a nice, big field of view and you can feel like you're almost in the scene. And that should be cool."

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THURSDAY's fast affiliate overnight prime-time ratings -and what they mean- have been posted on Analyst Marc Berman's Media Insight's Blog
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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
'Sharknado' Draws 1.4 Million for Syfy
By Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Jul. 12, 2013

With social media celebrating the arrival of Syfy original movie Sharknado on Thursday night, the cable network had a decent outing in the ratings.

In its inaugural broadcast, Sharknado brought in 1.4 million total viewers, with 566,000 among adults 18-49, 617,000 in the 25-54 demo and 209,000 in the 18-34 grouping.

Syfy says the median age for Sharknado, 46.8, was the youngest for an original movie on the network since October 2011's Zombie Apocalypse.

Compared to previous Syfy TV movies, Sharknado is on par in the ratings. To compare, June's Independence Day-Saster averaged 1.3 million, April's Battledogs drew 1.5 million and March's Chupacabra vs. the Alamo lured 1.5 million.

Starring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid, the campy, low-budget movie about a tornado full of sharks destroying Los Angeles dominated the TV conversation Thursday night, generating hundreds of thousands of tweets, including some from Hollywood and D.C. heavyweights. At one point during the evening, Sharknado was generating about 5,000 tweets per minute.

Thomas Vitale, Syfy's executive vp programming and original movies, told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday that though the unexpected social media presence is welcome, it doesn't necessarily mean the viewers will follow. "Whether or not you can design a show that would get this kind of buzz on a week in and week out basis [remains to be seen]," Vitale says.

Premiering Sharknado on a Thursday, often seen as the biggest night of the week for television viewership, was intentional. (Syfy programmed a shark-themed marathon of B-movie fare as a lead-in to Sharknado.) "Thursday is a hot night on television. It’s one of the biggest nights for TV," Vitale said. "When we wanted to try a different night, we thought Thursday was going to be one we were going to experiment with."

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A number of off topic posts have been removed.
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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
'Storage Wars' Star Ordered to Pay $122,000 in Legal Fees
By Tim Kenneally, TheWrap.com - Jul. 12, 2013

Does Dave Hester owe A&E a bundle in legal fees? Yuuuup.

The former "Storage Wars" star -- who's suing A&E Networks and "Storage Wars" production company Original Productions in a complaint that claims the show is staged --- was ordered to pay $122,692 in legal fees to A&E and Original, after they prevailed in an anti-SLAPP motion.

In a tentative ruling, Hester was ordered to pay $96,735 to A&E and $25,957 to Original.

On the bright side for Hester, it could have been worse. A&E originally asked for $138,194, while Original wanted $43,283.

The reduction came after Hester objected to the claims regarding the staffing and hours that A&E and Original claimed to have expended on the motion. A&E said it had employed eight attorneys and four paralegals for the motion, while Original said it had used three attorneys.

Hester sued A&E and Original in December, claiming that he had been fired for complaining that the show had been rigged. Specifically, Hester alleges, the show's producers plant valuable items in storage lockers, which competitors then bid on, supposedly without knowing what's inside them.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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TV Reviews
'The Crash Reel': Snowboarder Kevin Pearce's Rise and Fall
By Dorothy Rabinowitz, Wall Street Journal - Jul. 12, 2013

Films that exceed expectations come and go, leaving audiences properly grateful, if not for much. Then there's a documentary like "The Crash Reel"—about a star athlete whose career was cut short by a critical brain injury—which goes flying past all the clichés and treacle-soaked heroics embedded in this theme to a wondrously hard-edge life all its own. No small achievement when you consider that it's a life that draws virtually all of its power from the film's singular portrait of family bonds.

The portrait is filled out by a remarkable two decades' worth of footage of snowboarding champion Kevin Pearce and his friends and family. Everything in those pictures speaks to the passion he had for the sport—unlike any he'd found in schools and studying—for developing his skills at flips and spins on snowboards. He was young, barely into his teens, when he began to win one competition after another, and then one commercial sponsor after another. And finally, a surefire contender for membership on the U.S. Olympic team.

He was the kind of goal-driven athlete who never stopped training, and lived for the effort—though for all that bottomless ambition, he and his pack of snowboarder friends exuded a joyful innocence that's captivating. It's what makes for the seductive power of the first half of the film, along, that is, with stunning scenes of snowy landscapes and of daredevils flying up and down steep slopes on rickety-looking snowboards.

Still, when it comes to seductiveness the film (directed by Lucy Walker) offers nothing to equal the entire Pearce family of Vermont—Kevin's father, Simon, a highly successful entrepreneur; his mother, Pia; and his three brothers. The youngest, David, is a riveting presence. He's the family's Down syndrome child, now a young man—urgent, full of passion for his adored athlete brother, the raw voice of anguish over Kevin's accident that the other members of the family try to contain in themselves.

In its picture of the family constellation lies all of the film's strength, all testimony to its ambition, its capacity to fascinate with a revelation, an unexpected digression from the drama's main focus—namely, the plight of its central figure, Kevin, the beloved son and brother, whose hopes for his career are now gone. And that's not the only loss he'll have to confront. The film's final quarter provides a phenomenally detailed exposition of the damaging effects—some seemingly subtle, most all too obvious—that come with the kind of brain injury that Kevin Pearce sustained.

Kevin's father, Simon, reflects on his own inability to succeed at school—he was severely dyslexic—and on finding his self-regard and subsequent happiness in work. His own father had been wise enough to understand and had never opened a school report card. Mia, Kevin's mother, recalls her initial fear—soon dispatched—that she might not be able to deal with a Down syndrome child. David, that child now nearly a man, reveals details of the unhappiness he feels when he thinks about his condition, a description impressive in its eloquence. Everybody here is, in one way or another, a central figure—which is to say quite a lot for this family picture.

That's not to suggest that Kevin Pearce's fate doesn't loom large—his story is the core of this penetrating chronicle, never devoid of life or a capacity for surprise.

Monday, July 15 at 9 p.m. on HBO

* * * *

In its three-part series on milestones in Nazi technology, which begins with a documentary on Hitler's Atlantic Wall, built to prevent Allied invaders from breaking through to occupied Europe, there is no lack of statistics. The wall extended for 4,000 miles. The number of German bunkers was 15,000. Three million tons of concrete and steel were required for the building of the wall. No lack, either, of engineering and military experts scrambling around the sizable remainders of this project while commenting on the details of the design and construction. Or of a soundtrack offering boomlets of ominous sound for dramatic effect—how well this croaking annoyance approximates the deafening sounds of those guns on D-Day we can well imagine.

There's much to be said for a film on this theme, and something to be said even for this one when it focuses on a set of facts with any consistency. That isn't often. The narrative tone doesn't help, lurching as it does between semihysteria and scholarly murmurings. Take your pick. It's not easy to imagine a film about the Atlantic Wall and D-Day itself that could be tedious enough to induce a yearning for sleep. This one comes close.

Begins Wednesday, July 17 at 10 p.m. on PBS

* * * *

In the latest entry in Investigation Discovery's "Pretty Dangerous" documentary series, which takes up the irresistible subject of beautiful con women who seduce successful men of means deluded enough for fall for them, the con artist passes herself off as an heiress. Not an ordinary one either. This perpetrator, Tereza Solomon, posed, according to the film, as an heir of no less notable a historic figure than Hyam Solomon, the immigrant supporter of the American Revolution who helped finance the Continental Army.

This was not the only one of her extravagant claims—she also claimed to be a doctor and a representative embarking on a foreign mission for the president—but it's the most interesting one. In the case covered in the film, she succeeded in bilking a well-to-do real-estate dealer in Philadelphia. A man—as is nearly always true of victims of this sort—not accustomed to the energetic attentions of a beautiful woman. Not, it has to be said, that Ms. Solomon could properly be described as such, but energetic she was. Curvaceous, too, according to her driver, whom she also cheated out of money. What's irresistible about these cases, invariably, isn't the psychology of the perpetrators. It's that of the betrayed males, often highly intelligent, and still capable of believing the most wonderfully absurd claims—each more impossibly obvious than the one before—from a certain kind of woman.

Saturday, July 13 at 8 p.m. on Investigation Discovery

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

8PM - Zero Hour
9PM - 666 Park Avenue (Series Finale)
10PM - 20/20

8PM - Elementary
(R - Oct. 25)
9PM - 48 Hours Mysteries
10PM - 48 Hours Mysteries

8PM - Movie - An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky (2013)
10PM - Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls
(R - Jul. 8)
* * * *
11:29PM - Saturday Night Live (Zach Galifianakis; Of Monsters and Men performs; 93 min.)
(R - May 4)

7PM - MLB Baseball: Regional Coverage (LIVE)
* * * *
11PM - Hell's Kitchen
(R - Sep. 10)
Midnight - The Goodwin Games
(R - Jul. 1)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - Austin City Limits: Miranda Lambert, Jeff Bridges (R - Nov. 5, 2011)

8PM - Sábado Gigante (3 hrs.)

6:30PM - La Voz Kids
9PM - Movie: Kung Fu Panda (2008)
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Amar Bose, Bose Corporation’s founder, has died at 83
By Nate Nickerson, MIT News - Jul. 12, 2013

Amar Bose, a former member of the MIT faculty and the founder of Bose Corporation, has died. He was 83.

Dr. Bose received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate from MIT, all in electrical engineering. He was asked to join the faculty in 1956, and he accepted with the intention of teaching for no more than two years. He continued as a member of the MIT faculty until 2001.

During his long tenure at MIT, Dr. Bose made his mark both in research and in teaching. In 1956, he started a research program in physical acoustics and psychoacoustics: This led to his development of many patents in acoustics, electronics, nonlinear systems and communication theory.

Throughout his career, he was cited for excellent teaching. In a 1969 letter to the faculty, then-dean of the School of Engineering R. L. Bisplinghoff wrote, “Dr. Bose is known and respected as one of M.I.T.’s great teachers and for his imaginative and forceful research in the areas of acoustics, loudspeaker design, two-state amplifier-modulators, and nonlinear systems.”

Paul Penfield Jr., professor emeritus of electrical engineering, was a colleague of Dr. Bose, and he recalls what made Dr. Bose different. “Amar was personally creative,” he said, “but unlike so many other creative people, he was also introspective. He could understand and explain his own thinking processes and offer them as guides to others. I’ve seen him do this for several engineering and management problems. At some deep level, that is what teaching is really all about. Perhaps that helps explain why he was such a beloved teacher.”

Dr. Bose received the Baker Teaching Award in 1963-64; he would receive further awards in later years. In 1989, the Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching was established by the School of Engineering to recognize outstanding contributions to undergraduate education by members of its faculty. The award was established in order to serve as a tribute to the quality of Dr. Bose’s teaching; it is the School’s highest award for teaching. In 1995, the School established another teaching award, the Junior Bose Award: recipients are chosen from among School of Engineering faculty members who are being proposed for promotion to associate professor without tenure.

“Amar Bose was an exceptional human being and an extraordinarily gifted leader,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said. “He made quality mentoring and a joyful pursuit of excellence, ideas and possibilities the hallmark of his career in teaching, research and business. I learned from him, and was inspired by him, every single time I met with him. Over the years, I have seen the tremendous impact he has had on the lives of many students and fellow faculty at MIT. This proud MIT graduate, professor and innovator was a true giant who over decades enriched the Institute he loved with his energy, dedication, motivation and wisdom. I have never known anyone like him. I will miss him. MIT will miss him. The world will miss him.”

In 1964, Dr. Bose started Bose Corporation based on research he conducted at MIT. From its inception, the company has remained privately owned, with a focus on long-term research.

“Dr. Bose founded Bose Corporation almost 50 years ago with a set of guiding principles centered on research and innovation. That focus has never changed, and never will,” said Bob Maresca, president of Bose Corporation. “Bose Corporation will remain privately held, and stay true to Dr. Bose’s ideals. We are as committed to this as he was to us. Today and every day going forward, our hearts are with Dr. Bose; and we will do everything we can to make him proud of the company he built.”

In 2011, to fulfill his lifelong dream to support MIT education, Dr. Bose gave to MIT the majority of the stock of Bose Corporation in the form of nonvoting shares. Under the terms of the gift, dividends from those shares will be used by MIT to sustain and advance MIT’s education and research mission. MIT cannot sell its Bose shares, and does not participate in the management or governance of the company.

In expressing appreciation to Dr. Bose on the occasion of the gift, MIT’s then-president, Susan Hockfield, said of him, “His insatiable curiosity propelled remarkable research, both at MIT and within the company he founded. Dr. Bose has always been more concerned about the next two decades than about the next two quarters.”

“Amar Bose was a legend at MIT,” said MIT Chancellor Eric Grimson, who served as a faculty colleague of Dr. Bose in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “He was an incredible teacher, an inspiring mentor, a deep and insightful researcher. He has influenced multiple generations of students, both directly through the classroom and laboratory, and through the many students he influenced who have themselves pursued careers as faculty, propagating Professor Bose’s approach to mentorship and teaching.”

Dr. Bose was given many awards and honors during his lifetime. He was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar, an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Vanu G. Bose, son of Dr. Bose, said, “Personally, my single greatest educational experience at MIT was being a teaching assistant for my father in his acoustics course (6.312). While my father is well known for his success as an inventor and businessman, he was first and foremost a teacher. I could not begin to count the number of people I’ve met who’ve told me that my father was the best professor they ever had and how taking 6.01 from him changed their life.

“My father’s 66-year relationship with MIT was an integral part of his life. He would often talk about his mentors, professors Ernst Guillemin, Norbert Wiener, Y. W. Lee and Jerome Wiesner, as having played critical roles in shaping his life and work. It was because of everything that MIT did for him that my father was so pleased to be able to give back to MIT through his gift.”

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Critics' Notes
The shows to watch when you're watching more than one
By Robert Bianco, Lorena Blas, Jayme Deerwester, Gary Levin, Patrick Ryan and Brian Truitt, USA Today - Jul. 12, 2013

Slow, sultry summertime is perfect for binge-watching classic (and current) TV hits. USA TODAY staffers offer some familiar and unexpected suggestions for catch-up viewing.

NBC, 1981-87
Now: Amazon, Hulu Plus, DVD
Stars: Daniel J. Travanti, Veronica Hamel, Michael Conrad, Michael Warren, Charles Haid, Bruce Weitz
Why it's binge-worthy:
This almost unimaginably influential classic from producer Steven Bochco cut through TV's Dukes of Hazzard fantasy landscape like a breath of hot urban air. With its huge, diverse ensemble, its interweaving stories and its grasp of life as it was being lived in rough big-city neighborhoods, Hill Street brought a new pace, realism, relevance, maturity and cinematic style to television. If this is the Golden Age of TV drama, Hill Street is its founding father — and it's still more honest about race than most of its children.
Peak moments: Start with the pilot, of course, with its incredibly shocking ending. And don't miss the third season's Emmy-winning opener (the first TV script from NYPD Blue and Deadwood's David Milch), a complex outing about the rape and murder of a nun by two black men that climaxes with Joyce and Frank's fair, famous debate about justice and the law, or the equally famous episode that season in which an angry Ray Calletano uses an awards banquet to confront the police department's anti-Hispanic bias.
What to skip: Bochco was fired at the end of the fifth season, so watch just enough of the sixth to see Dennis Franz join as Lt. Norman Buntz and then move on. — Robert Bianco

AMC, 2008-13; final season premieres Aug. 11.
Now: Netflix, , iTunes, Amazon, AMC on Demand, DVD
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris
Why it's binge-worthy:
A show about the drug trade should lead to lost weekends. But the performance of its two leads will keep you hitting the play button like it's a crack pipe. Five years ago, the notion of the goofball dad from Malcolm in the Middle as a manipulative drug lord would have been laughable. But Cranston sold it — as evidenced by his three consecutive Emmys. You can't help but admire his work, even as you begin to dislike Walter White for his increasingly uncontrollable ego and the way he treats his family. You'll find yourself rooting instead for meth-cooking apprentice Jesse Pinkman, as Aaron Paul slowly transforms the character from mere comic relief to a man with a conscience and the confidence to finally leave the drug world behind. You just hope it will let him out alive.
Peak moments: In Season 2, Walter and Jesse come perilously close to getting caught red-handed in their rolling meth lab by Walt's brother-in-law Hank, a DEA agent. Season 3 features a pulse-pounding parking lot shootout between Hank and two cartel gunmen as well as a violent confrontation between him and Jesse. From there, the tension is ratcheted ever higher with Walter matching wits against new boss Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and his fixer Mike (Jonathan Banks) at work and estranged wife Skyler (Gunn) at home through the end of Season 4.
What to skip: Subplots involving Hank's kleptomaniac wife Marie (Betsy Brandt), and Skyler's affair with her boss. — Jayme Deerwester

CBS, 1971-1979
Now: Hulu (seasons 1 and 2), DVD, Antenna TV, syndication
Stars: Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers
Why it's binge-worthy:
The working-class Queens home of Archie and Edith Bunker hardly seems like a revolutionary place, but producer Norman Lear broke the timid rules of television by injecting timely social issues, such as racial prejudice, sexism and Vietnam -- and the jarring sound of a toilet flush -- into the family sitcom. The series thrived, earning 22 Emmys, and was TV's top show for five seasons. Family made it easier for other programmers to address difficult topics and spawned hit spinoffs Maude, The Jeffersons and Good Times.
Peak moments: Family hit the ground running, shocking and amusing the public as it addressed the off-limits topic of sex in its opening episode and touched on miscarriage, homophobia and racial prejudice in its first season. A classic moment came in Season 2, when Sammy Davis Jr., playing himself, shocked bigoted Archie (O'Connor) with a kiss on the cheek.
What to skip: Archie Bunker's Place, a 1979 successor that moved the focus from the Bunkers' home to a nearby tavern. The show's familial bonds faded. It's tough to follow a classic. — Bill Keveney

ABC, 1964-66
Now: DVD
Stars: Gene Barry, Gary Conway
Why it's binge-worthy:
The first and best of Aaron Spelling's all-star anthologies (think Love Boat or Fantasy Island), this weekly murder mystery is an electronic stroll through a '60s Hollywood reunion. The near-endless list of familiar faces includes Gloria Swanson, Dick Clark, William Shatner, Mickey Rooney, Buster Keaton, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles and my personal favorite, Betty Hutton. You'll never find anything else like it.
Peak moments: Every episode in the first season, the only one currently available, offers a vastly entertaining look at a Hollywood that no longer exists, which includes a money-saving production built around a few established sets that were redressed each week. Binge on just a few episodes, and you'll begin to recognize them. For a Burke's drinking game, hoist one every time you spot an oft-used Chinese screen, or the curved staircase that graces almost every mansion's entrance hall.
What to skip: In a failed effort to cash in on the TV spy craze, ABC removed Captain Burke from the police department in the third season and turned the show into Amos Burke – Secret Agent. And ABC revived the series in 1994-95. Even if you could find those episodes, don't. — Robert Bianco

WB/UPN, 1997-2003
Now: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, DVD, Syfy, Chiller
Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz, Alyson Hannigan
Why it's binge-worthy:
Even though Buffy aired on smaller networks, creator Joss Whedon created a cult classic that brought horror, sci-fi and genre material to the masses. Starring Gellar as the title "chosen one," Buffy told one girl's coming-of-age story amid a scary real world — which, in her case, meant demons, the undead, werewolves and a high school on top of a Hellmouth. The series introduced a stake-swinging, witty-bantering superheroine and her Scooby gang of quick-witted outsider friends and loyal "Watcher" Giles (Anthony Stewart Head).
Peak moments: The vampire Angel (Boreanaz) losing his soul after a night of intimacy with Buffy (Gellar) in Season 2 kicked off an outstanding string of episodes, while the Emmy-winning hour "Hush" — mostly devoid of dialogue — and the musical "Once More, with Feeling" showed Whedon at his most creative.
What to skip: The beginning of the seventh and final season was the most convoluted part of the series as it featured a slew of girls cropping up as potential Slayers in case Buffy dies for good, which added an excess of personalities to the tight ensemble cast the show had for much of its run. However, Buffy got its groove back for the good guys' climactic battle against the hellish forces of Nathan Fillion's evil preacher Caleb. — Brian Truitt

ABC, 1988-92
Now: DVD
Stars: Dana Delany, Marg Helgenberger, Robert Picardo, Michael Boatman
Why it's binge-worthy:
Children of the '80s will remember this drama with the cool music their parents loved and hot-looking women who came of age amid the horrors of the Vietnam War. In addition to the well-crafted story lines in the show, the sounds of the era recalled good times (and bad). And it's a chance to see where Body of Proof's Delany and CSI's Helgenberger earned their stripes.
Peak moments: The pilot introduced nurse Colleen McMurphy (Delany), supposedly spending her last week in Vietnam. Episodes in later seasons featured real veterans relating their experiences in Vietnam, intercut with scenes from previous episodes. In the finale, McMurphy attends a China Beach reunion in Ohio, recalls her last day in Vietnam and travels to Washington, D.C., where the characters are reunited.
What to skip: Season 4 made for a jarring shift as the show jumped 20 years later. It was too much of a leap. Still, watch the two-part finale for a sense of closure. — Lorena Blas

HBO, 1992-98
Now: DVD, Amazon, iTunes, VH1 Classic
Stars: Garry Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn, Janeane Garofalo, Wallace Langham
Why it's binge-worthy:
Sanders, a satire about a late-night talk-show host and his staff, was the first to successfully tap into the vain, back-stabbing, egomaniacal world of showbiz, sparked by Shandling's role as a frequent guest host for Johnny Carson. Dozens of celebrities signed on for self-parodying sendups, fawning on camera while sniping behind the scenes. Though overshadowed by Frasier at the Emmys and Seinfeld as a cultural touchstone, Sanders was among HBO's first original-series hits and influenced future shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock.
Peak moments: The show's sixth and final season, when Larry calls it quits, guest host Jon Stewart prepares to take over the show, and Sanders drops his "no flipping" advice to viewers in Flip, a celebrity-filled, Emmy-winning finale. And virtually any episode focused on insecure sidekick Hank ("Hey, now") Kingsley (Tambor).
What to skip: The show had its lesser moments, but each season offered a blend of vitriol and pathos that inside-Hollywood series rarely mastered. — Gary Levin

ABC, 1994-95
Now: Amazon, Hulu, DVD
Stars: Claire Danes, Jared Leto, Tom Irwin, Bess Armstrong, Wilson Cruz, A.J. Langer, Devon Gummersall, Lisa Wilhoit
Why it's binge-worthy:
The series can be dated — from the mismatched, flannel-crazy fashion to the Sonic Youth and Buffalo Toms music —but Winnie Holzman's writing is undeniably timeless. Partnering strong female characters with controversial subjects such as teen drug use and school violence, it's no wonder that Lena Dunham calls this coming-of-age drama an inspiration for HBO's Girls. Realistic, often gut-wrenching insight comes from the internal dialogue of 15-year-old Angela Chase (Danes) or a tender conversation between her parents as they bemoan their increasingly distant daughter.
Peak moments: Life has a habit of letting literature and theater parallel real life, forcing characters to make realizations about themselves. While such moments might induce Liz Lemon-worthy eyerolls (Jordan's Shakespearean revelation that he loves Angela), they can also break your heart (Rayanne's teary Our Town rehearsal in the fittingly named "Betrayal" episode). Also, any chance we get to see Danes' infamous cry face is an episode highlight.
What to skip: The series was canceled after just one season, so why not give all 19 episodes a chance? If you must skip one, then make it Halloween. Although Jordan and Rickie bond, and we're given insight into Angela's younger sister, Danielle, the main story finds Angela talking to the '60s-greaser ghost of a student who died in the school gym. Even for a character that lives inside her head, it felt out of place. — Patrick Ryan

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FRIDAY'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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