or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › HDTV › HDTV Programming › Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information - Page 2973

post #89161 of 93807
Originally Posted by humdinger70 View Post

Here. Here.

You mean "hear hear". (it's a Brit thing)

KO can be entertaining when he stays on his meds. And also when he doesn't. Being a slow week, it's probably worth a watch.
post #89162 of 93807
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

TV Sports
ESPN President John Skipper: 'We Will Continue to Report This Story'
By Marisa Guthrie, The Hollywood Reporter - Aug. 23, 2013

From ESPN's ombudsman,
"So what just happened? Beats me. At best we've seen some clumsy shuffling to cover a lack of due diligence. At worst, a promising relationship between two journalism powerhouses that could have done more good together has been sacrificed to mollify a league under siege. The best isn't very good, but if the worst turns out to be true, it’s a chilling reminder how often the profit motive wins the duel."

Full read here.
post #89163 of 93807
Call Directv Risk, Identity Theft
Despite the risk of identity theft and fraud, DirecTV asks for the Social Security numbers of people who aren't even signing up for service but are merely checking out costs.
By David Lazarus
August 26, 2013, 5:39 p.m.

Here's a hard-and-fast rule: Don't give your Social Security number to anyone unless it's absolutely necessary.

More than 12 million Americans fell victim to identity theft last year, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Losses topped $21 billion, with the costliest data breaches involving fraudsters gaining access to people's Social Security numbers.

With all that in mind, it's hard to imagine any business nowadays would ask consumers to part with their Social Security number except for the most important of reasons.

Unless that business is a cable, satellite or phone company.

David Lazarus' column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and followed on Twitter @Davidlaz. Send tips or feedback to david.lazarus@latimes.com.
post #89164 of 93807
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Part 1 of 3.

TV Sports/Business Notes
College Football’s Most Dominant Player? It’s ESPN
By James Andrew Miller, Steve Eder and Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Aug. 25, 2013


Part 2 of 3.

TV Sports/Business Notes
At Louisville, Athletic Boom Is Rooted in ESPN Partnership
By Steve Eder, Richard Sandomir and James Andre Miller, The New York Times - Aug. 26, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In February, the president of the University of Louisville, James R. Ramsey, traveled to Florida to meet with donors and alumni.

Dr. Ramsey is an economist, and he led off on the dismal side of the ledger, from the challenges facing the economy to dwindling government financing for higher education, including a sharp drop in aid from the State of Kentucky.

But about halfway through his PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Ramsey declared that for all the gloom, things were not so bad at Louisville. Average test scores for incoming freshmen were way up, as was the university’s graduation rate. The research budget had quintupled since 1998.

Louisville’s athletic department was on a roll, too, what with a recent invitation to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, the football team’s victory in the Sugar Bowl and its coach’s decision not to pursue job opportunities with rival universities.

“U. of L. is on an upward trajectory,” one of Dr. Ramsey’s slides proclaimed. “Even ESPN is talking about us!”

What ESPN was not saying was that Louisville’s rise, both academically and athletically, was in large part the product of its partnership with the sports television giant.

Over the past dozen years, to feed its unending appetite for live football, ESPN has made Louisville Cardinals midweek games a mainstay in prime time. In turn, Louisville has made exposure on ESPN the centerpiece of a campaign to rise above its commuter-school roots and become a powerhouse in college sports.

“If it wasn’t for ESPN, we would be a fraction of what we are today,” Tom Jurich, Louisville’s longtime athletic director, said in an interview in his office on April 1 as the university savored its latest basketball success: the men’s and women’s teams were each on the way to the Final Four. The men went on to win the N.C.A.A. title.

“We owe them so, so much,” Mr. Jurich said of ESPN. “They were willing to take a chance on us.”

Louisville’s ascent is a case study of how an institution of higher learning can become all but inextricably conjoined with ESPN, an institution of higher profits. It illustrates not only ESPN’s power to make kings among athletic programs, but how profoundly its presence can affect an entire university and its institutional priorities.

Some people on campus wonder if those priorities have become a bit skewed.

“We worry that the university gets too much identified with the athletics,” said Tom Byers, an English professor and a self-described big fan of Louisville sports. “I would love it if we competed with professors with the same kind of financial resources. But that’s not the world we live in.”

What ESPN offered Louisville, beyond millions of dollars in fees for television rights, was prime-time exposure on the leading sports network, putting Cardinals football in front of national audiences of fans, donors, recruits and prospective students.

The cost to Louisville? It had to be ready to play whenever ESPN could fit the Cardinals into its schedule.

“Louisville came to us and said, ‘We’ll play anyone, anywhere, anytime,’ ” said Mark Shapiro, a former head of programming and production at ESPN. Indeed, “anytime, anywhere” became Mr. Jurich’s motto in his early years as athletic director.

When he took over in 1997, the athletic department struggled on an annual budget of about $14 million and attracted little outside attention for sports other than men’s basketball. Today, the budget has swollen to about $77 million, and it will increase significantly with the move to the A.C.C. in 2014.

The arrangement has also been a boon to ESPN. The Cardinals’ prime-time games quickly became ratings winners, convincing others that playing at midweek, while unconventional, could be a blessing in the form of exposure.

“It was a programmer’s dream,” Mr. Shapiro said. “We already had N.F.L. on Sunday nights, N.H.L. and M.L.B. on multiple nights, Thursday night college football. We were all filled up. So I said, ‘How about Tuesday nights?’ They seized it, and over time their results have been spectacular.”

Football as a Foundation

When John W. Shumaker became president of Louisville in 1995, he met with the university’s trustees to chart a way forward. While the university was “respectable,” they agreed, it could be much more. It could be a player. And sports could be its window to the world.

Louisville was still a youngster as far as public universities went, having shed its roots as a small, private college to join the Kentucky state system in 1970. Even its academic strengths in medicine, business and engineering were not widely known beyond a campus bordered by brownfields and railway ruins.

On the sports side, the men’s basketball program was running on the fumes of its two national championships won in the 1980s under the Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum. The athletic department, which had recently joined the new Conference USA, was vastly underfinanced, its teams housed in outdated facilities. Some teams were saddled with penalties because of N.C.A.A. infractions.

Mr. Shumaker’s grand plan, in a nutshell, looked like this: If the athletic program took hold, Louisville could move to a bigger, better conference with a better television deal, putting the whole university — academics and athletics — on a wider national stage.

The key to the whole thing was football. In the economics of big-time college athletics, football is the alpha and the omega — generally by far the most profitable sport, because of the size of the crowds, the sponsorships and the lucrative television agreements. Perhaps two dozen elite universities make enough money from football, and to a lesser degree basketball, to subsidize their entire athletic departments. What Louisville had to do first, Mr. Shumaker decided, was replace the “not very attractive” and decidedly second-tier Cardinal Stadium, which opened in 1957, just after the graduation of Johnny Unitas, Louisville’s greatest football star.

By the time Mr. Jurich arrived from Colorado State in late 1997, Louisville was in the final stages of building a $63 million, 42,000-seat, state-of-the-art stadium, with naming rights sold to the Papa John’s pizza chain, a prominent Louisville-based business. Mr. Jurich’s task was to put together a better, more watchable football team to go with it. The 1997 team had gone 1-10, finishing last in Conference USA. The university had only five postseason bowl appearances in its history.

Mr. Jurich quickly hired a new coach — John L. Smith, known for his high-scoring, pass-happy offense. “First to 49 points wins,” Mr. Smith liked to joke.

It was fast-break football, made for television. And it was just what ESPN was waiting for.

In the early 2000s, the network, ever expansive, was looking to broaden its college football offerings beyond the traditional Saturday and the increasingly, if grudgingly, accepted Thursday. Most big-name, major-conference universities, though, were not interested in hosting midweek games, given the extensive setup and the disruption to classes and campus life.

What ESPN needed for a new Tuesday night franchise were teams that craved exposure but knew they would not get it on Saturday afternoons flooded with more than 100 games. Conference USA jumped. Before the 2001 season, it signed an eight-year ESPN agreement, reportedly worth about $80 million, that included at least 10 televised games each year, including games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Universities were not required to participate, and some bristled at the scheduling as sacrilege that took away from the “purity” of the game.

But Louisville, with its national ambitions and with little campus life to disrupt — only about 2,000 of nearly 15,000 undergraduates lived in dormitories — was more than happy to play at midweek.

On Oct. 16, 2001, Southern Mississippi visited Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for what was billed as the first regular-season college football game on a Tuesday night. Louisville won, 24-14.

“I think that tonight, with two of our marquee teams playing on national television, it gave our conference very significant national exposure and gave Southern Miss and Louisville great national exposure,” Mike Slive, the Conference USA commissioner at the time, told The Clarion-Ledger, in Jackson, Miss. Mr. Slive is now the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.

That game was one of five regular-season contests that Louisville played on ESPN or ESPN2 in 2001. The next year, the Cardinals appeared six times during the season, including a Tuesday game, three Thursday games and a Saturday game starting at 9:30 p.m. “They loved putting John L. Smith on,” Mr. Jurich said of the coach, who led the Cardinals to a 41-21 overall record and bowl games in each of his five seasons.

There were inherent challenges in running a football program that rarely played on Saturday. To keep the Cardinals tuned up, Mr. Smith, a believer in regimen, essentially banished the regular calendar and created his own. No matter when his team played, he decreed that the next day would be Sunday, with signs in the locker rooms to reinforce the point.

“It was really crazy, but it was fun and exciting,” Mr. Smith said. “From where we started to where we left, it was well worth it.”

True, alumni grumbled about having to go to the campus on weeknights. “Some of the fans and the press were critical and thought we were violating all the norms,” recalled Mr. Shumaker, who left the university in 2002.

But while the new calendar unsettled some hometown fans, it also won new ones across the country.

“We became America’s team at midweek,” Mr. Jurich said.

That familiarity also created a far wider, and deeper, pool of recruits. “All of a sudden we were able to recruit the Deion Branches and Elvis Dumervils and those types of guys,” Mr. Smith said, referring to two players he coached at Louisville who went on to the N.F.L.

In 1999, Stefan LeFors, a high school quarterback in Louisiana, saw the Cardinals play a wild overtime game against Army on ESPN and decided to send a tape of himself to the Louisville coaches.

“That was my only reason Louisville was on my list,” said Mr. LeFors, who ended up as the starting quarterback under a new coach, Bobby Petrino, who was hired after Mr. Smith left for Michigan State after the 2002 season.

Under Mr. Petrino, the new weeknight tradition continued, and so did the team’s ascent. On Nov. 2, 2006, Louisville fans, wearing black in solidarity, packed Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for what was then the biggest football game in modern Cardinals history: a Thursday prime-time clash with West Virginia. The Cardinals were undefeated and ranked No. 5 nationally; the Mountaineers were No. 3. Louisville won, 44-34.

A week later, the Cardinals traveled to Rutgers for another Thursday night game. They lost in the closing moments, but by season’s end, the reversal was complete: in less than a decade, Louisville had gone from near-winless obscurity to a 12-1 season, including a conference championship and an Orange Bowl victory.

Without question, ESPN’s investment had paid off. The back-to-back November games still rank among the top 20 in total viewers for a college football game on ESPN. No longer did the network have to entreat schools to play on weeknights.

“As we cleared more homes, bigger conferences saw more dollars and better exposure,” said Loren Matthews, a former ESPN executive who died in March. He added: “Schools would say: ‘We’ll play on any night. Do you want us to start at 9, or do you want us to start at 6?’ ”

Better Conferences, Bigger Venues

Central to Louisville’s transformation plan was the belief that success on the field and brand recognition on television would make the university a highly sought prize in the wave of realignment sweeping college athletic conferences. The Big East, a “better” conference, eventually came calling, and in 2005, Louisville moved up. Last year, with the Big East crumbling, Louisville moved up yet again, to an even better conference, the A.C.C.

Better mostly meant richer. Last year in the Big East, Louisville received about $4 million from television rights. The move to the A.C.C., which becomes effective next summer, is likely to quadruple that, with roughly $16 million from the conference’s agreement with ESPN.

Television revenue is only part of it, though. The re-engineered football team and a reinvigorated basketball program under Rick Pitino, who arrived in 2001, have allowed Louisville to press local corporations and other private donors for larger sums to support the athletic department and help finance what university promotional materials describe as a $256 million “athletic building boom.” (Those 2012 promotional materials also catalog Louisville’s achievements during seven years in the Big East, including 53 conference championships, 122 all-Americans, 10 Olympians and a College World Series.)

“Anytime a donor base is feeling good, you’ve got to capitalize on that excitement,” said Mark Jurich, the athletic department’s chief fund-raiser, a former Louisville baseball player and the athletic director’s son.

Louisville has capitalized to the extent that swaths of campus can seem a bit like a corporate-branded sports theme park.

First came Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, built on the site of the old South Louisville Rail Yard and renovated in 2010 at a cost of $72 million, with 13,000 new seats and rows of lucrative suites. For its workouts, the football team has the Trager Indoor Center (Republic Bank). The baseball team plays at Jim Patterson Stadium (local entrepreneur and philanthropist). There are the Musselman Golf Center, the G. Garvin Brown III Rowing Center and the Ralph Wright Natatorium.

The men's and women's basketball teams play at the $238 million KFC Yum Center in downtown Louisville. The arena, which is owned by the state and the city, opened in 2010 and would rank among the largest N.B.A. venues.

The building continues: next year, the men’s and women’s soccer teams will move into a $16.2 million stadium and training complex. A major donor to the complex is Dr. Mark Lynn, the owner of a chain of optometry practices whose four children attended the university.

“When I see the University of Louisville on ESPN and getting the name recognition, it makes you proud,” said Dr. Lynn, who has committed $5 million to the project. “It is not just good to see and fun to watch. You feel very proud you are a part of that university.”

Athletic acclaim, of course, was never supposed to be an end in itself at Louisville. The idea was to jump-start a transformation of the university as a whole. These days, the 30-second advertising spots shown during ESPN telecasts of Cardinals games announce the university’s academic advances to the world: the students who perform better, graduate more often and more readily choose to live on campus. The 36 total Fulbright scholarships in 2010, 2011 and 2012 — more, university officials point out, than the total at Dartmouth or M.I.T. The swelling research budget and the fivefold increase, since 1998, in the number of endowed professorships and chairs. All of this helped by the donations that have increasingly poured in, about $1 billion since 2004.

In the annals of ESPN and college sports, Louisville’s story is clearly the story of a winner.

Still, the national debate about the role of college athletics is hardly silent here. There are those who are ambivalent, who love their Cardinals but are disquieted by the growing professionalization, the way sports can seem to suffuse the place.

Partly, it is an optics problem — all the new buildings in an era of relentlessly declining state subsidies and rising costs. (To be fair, that new construction is financed by donations, and the athletic department, a separate nonprofit entity, brings in enough revenue to largely pay for itself, aside from a few million dollars from students and the university. Lately, the department has also sent money back to the university — $350,000 annually, plus a one-time $2 million donation to finance a pay raise for the faculty and staff, whose salaries had been frozen.)

“Like many academics, I’m a little uneasy about the big business of college athletics,” said Mr. Byers, the English professor.

Mr. Byers has been here for 33 years. He remembers carrying his young son outside to celebrate after the men’s basketball team won the N.C.A.A. championship in 1986. He says the people in the athletic department, particularly Mr. Jurich, are among the best at what they do and seem to care deeply about the student-athletes.

Still, he said: “It is a little frustrating that when that side seems to be thriving, we on the other side are so dependent on the state and are dealing with cutbacks. I’d love it if the academics side could go to the athletics side, just once, and shake them and get some of that money.”

Others on campus point out that the construction boom has left some campus buildings behind. Last October, mold spores were found in one of the dorms, Miller Hall.

“You’ve got all this construction money going to athletics,” said Rae Hodge, a recent editor of the student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal. “But the mold condition was so bad students had to move out.”

Joseph Steffen, a biology professor for 30 years and the chairman of the faculty senate, said there had been a “bifurcated response” among his colleagues.

Some, he said, “clearly see this as detracting from the academic side.” Others, he said, understand that athletic success, televised nationally on ESPN, “gets our name in the news, gets us into places where perhaps others don’t go, and gets us recognition from nonathlete students who might want to come here.”

He added: “You see the student groups and student activity and the band. All of that gets a little extra revved up when they know they are going to have that national exposure.”

Ten years ago, when Louisville was just beginning to see the fruits of its partnership with ESPN, Mr. Jurich arranged to have a 60-foot-long banner put up next to a row of abandoned soybean silos facing Interstate 65, welcoming visitors to “The Ville, the Best College Sports Town in America.”

To a lot of people, even a lot of people in Louisville, it was magical thinking. With the University of Kentucky down the road in Lexington, Louisville was not even the best sports town in the state.

Today, it looks more like a prophecy fulfilled.

Said Mr. Jurich, “I don’t think anyone could have looked at the crystal ball and said that would have happened.”

Edited by dad1153 - 8/27/13 at 2:52am
post #89165 of 93807
Nielsen Notes (Cable)
MTV VMAs' viewership soars 66% over last year to 10.1 million
By Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times' 'Company Town' Blog - Aug. 26, 2013

The 2013 Video Music Awards on MTV -- which featured a much-criticized performance by Miley Cyrus and a brief reunion of the boy band 'N Sync -- drew 10.1 million viewers Sunday night, according to Nielsen, up 66% from last year.

The telecast garnered a rating of 7.8 in the network's core 12-34 demographic, up 47% from 2012. The event is the top cable entertainment broadcast of the year in the 12-34 demographic.

Viewership of the event took a nosedive last year. The 2012 telecast, which competed with a speech by President Obamaat the Democatic National Convention, had a total viewership less than half the size of 2011's still-record tally of 12.4 million.

Sunday night's event also blew up on social media.

Miley Cyrus' medley of her "We Can't Stop" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," in which Cyrus displayed her twerking abilities, danced with a foam finger and stripped down to her underwear, generated a record 306,000 tweets per minute, beating the reaction to Beyonce's Super Bowl performance.

post #89166 of 93807
TV Review
‘Surviving Evil,’ crime stories told well
Victims barely escape death in the Investigation Discovery series
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine

As they say, old news is good news. Actually, they don’t say that, but sometimes it’s true.

Investigation Discovery’s new documentary series “Surviving Evil” retells some horrifying but — as the title suggests — eventually redemptive true stories of people who barely escaped death at the hands of deranged criminals. Although all of the stories received extensive press coverage after they happened, most of them will still be news to most viewers.

The stories are so compelling that it would be hard to screw them up, and the show doesn’t.

The first episode, airing next Wednesday, Aug. 28, at 10 p.m., has a trump card: The series’ host, the actress Charisma Carpenter, survived an attack in 1991 by the serial rapist whose crimes and arrest are recounted in the hour.

Then 22 and living in San Diego, Carpenter went for a late-night swim with two male friends, unaware that the rapist had been attacking women on the city’s beaches at night. In both Carpenter’s case and that of the other victim who appears on the episode, Charmaine Agnos, the attacker first tried to subdue the male companions.

Forced at gunpoint to bind one of her friend’s hands with a belt, Carpenter deliberately left the belt loose. This allowed the two men to attack the criminal.

Reenactments in documentaries are usually corny, but the ensuing scuffle is truly suspenseful. The suspense is heightened by the fact that only one of the men appears on camera now, so we don’t know the other one’s fate.

The bravery of Carpenter’s friends led to the criminal’s arrest. When his identity is revealed, it provides an additional shock.

The second episode provided for review tells the story of Lisa McVey, who was 17 when she was abducted in 1984 by a serial killer and rapist named Bobby Joe Long, who had been preying on prostitutes in Tampa, Fla.

McVey tells the camera that she had been living with her grandmother, whose boyfriend had been sexually abusing her, and that she was planning to commit suicide the night she was abducted. Long kept McVey hostage for 26 hours, raping her repeatedly.

Keeping her wits about her, McVey managed to gain his sympathy, and he released her. Even though she was blindfolded for most of the 26 hours, she provided the police with enough information about Long’s car that they were able to arrest him.

Though it’s difficult to talk of a happy ending to a story like this, the episode ends on an inspiring and moving note.

A third episode tells the stories of a woman who was left to die in a garbage bin by her ex-husband and, more briefly, of a courageous elementary-school principal who confronted an insane man who entered the school wielding a machete.

On too many of Investigation Discovery’s shows, the victims die a sad death, and the narrators seem to relish sharing the bad news. On “Surviving Evil,” Carpenter’s empathy with the heroes of the stories adds to their impact.

A little empathy and inspiration never get old.

post #89167 of 93807
TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
TUESDAY Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)

8PM - Extreme Weight Loss (120 min.)
10PM - Body of Proof
(R - Apr. 23
* * * *
11:35AM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Sharon Stone; Dane Cook; Jamie N Commons performs; Baby Bachelor with reality-TV star Desiree Hartsock)
(R - Aug. 5)
12:37AM - Nightline

(R - Apr. 23)
9PM - NCIS: Los Angeles
(R - Mar. 5)
10PM - Person of Interest
(R - Nov. 29)
* * * *
11:35PM - Late Show with David Letterman (Anderson Cooper; Olivia Munn; Robert Randolph and the Family Band perform)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (Emily Mortimer; comic Barry Rothbart.)
(R - Jun. 14)

8PM - Hollywood Game Night
(R - Aug. 22)
9PM - America's Got Talent (120 min., LIVE)
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Josh Duhamel; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform)
12:36AM - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Dan Aykroyd; Paula Patton; Brad Paisley performs; Booker T. Jones performs with The Roots)
(R - Jul. 30)
1:36AM - Last Call with Carson Daly (Astronaut Buzz Aldrin; Big Black Delta performs)
(R - May 17)

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

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
8PM - In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music From the Civil Rights Movement
(R - Feb. 11, 2010)
9PM - The March
10PM - Independent Lens - The Powerbroker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights
(R - Feb. 18)

8PM - Porque el Amor Manda
9PM - La Tempestad
10PM - Qué Bonito Amor

8PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30PM - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
(R - Aug. 6)
9PM - Capture

8PM - Dama y Obrero
9PM - Marido en Alquiler
10PM - Santa Diabla

11PM - Conan (Vin Diesel; Steve Schirripa; The Mowgli's)
(R - May 23)

11PM - Chelsea Lately (Animal expert and author Bradley Trevor Greive)
post #89168 of 93807
Critic's Notes
Bianculli's Best Bets
By David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com - Aug. 27, 2013

HBO, 7:45 p.m. ET

Ang Lee won the Oscar last year for directing this 2012 adaptation of the Yann Martel novel, an epic fable of sorts about a young man who is cast adrift with an unlikely fellow survivor at sea: a Bengal tiger. A stunningly beautiful, impressively ambitious movie.

The CW, 8:00 p.m. ET

Regular comic cronies Colin Mochrie, Ryan Styles and Wayne Brady are joined tonight by a real knockout: boxing champion Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali. And when she shows up to play along, she doesn’t take the gloves off.

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Sidney Lumet directed this 1971 crime caper movie with such inventive usage of its Manhattan locations, that some people watch this Sean Connery movie just for the scenery. I do, too – but in my case, the scenery in question is co-star Dyan Cannon, who’s lovely.

Comedy Central, 10:00 p.m. ET
The first round of Comedy Central’s version of this sop-errific series ends tonight, with the focus on the Wild West – and drunken tales that include stories of Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and others at the Alamo.

Showtime, 11:00 p.m. ET

In tonight’s new episode, Fiona (Lisa Kudrow) accepts and tries to counsel some new clients, including a young couple whose relationship, until Fiona does her “magic,” has been entirely on line. They’re played by young actors who already have done fine work on other TV shows, but on broadcast TV: Mae Whitman on NBC’s Parenthood, and Darren Cross on Fox’s Glee.

post #89169 of 93807
Nielsen Notes (Cable)
President Obama Exclusive On CNN’s ‘New Day’ A Ratings Bust
By Dominic Patten, Deadline.com - Aug. 26, 2013

Seems like exclusives aren’t generating any heat for CNN’s new morning show. New Day’s August 19 sitdown with Prince William brought new ratings and viewership lows and now the heavily hyped August 23 interview with President Obama actually saw a demo decline compared with the week before. With more than 40 minutes of the three-hour morning show dedicated to co-host Chris Cuomo’s interview with Obama, New Day pulled in 280,000 total viewers and 91,000 among adults 25-54. While overall viewership bopped up 9% from New Day’s August 16 show, that demo dropped 11% from the 102,000 25-54s watching the week before. This was the President’s first appearance on New Day, which debuted June 17. Last week’s results must sting even more for CNN being that presidential interviews usually provide a ratings bounce. And you can’t blame those limp numbers on it being summer — Obama’s August 7 visit to The Tonight Show gave the Jay Leno-hosted show its best results since the president’s last appearance in October 2012.

Still there was some less than bad news for Jeff Zucker’s pet project out of the Obama interview. August 23’s New Day was up to third place in the demo from the fourth spot it held August 16: Fox & Friends drew 202,000 among 25-54 and CNN sister station HLN’s Morning Express had 103,000 in the demo on August 23. With 80,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo Friday, MSNBC’s Morning Joe fell 30% from the previous week’s third spot to fourth. New Day also came in third place in overall viewers behind Fox News’ 1.107 million and MSNBC’s 312,000 from 6 AM-9 AM on Friday. A big 39% drop at Morning Express also gave New Day the third spot total viewership spot. hough it held the top spot in both categories, FNC’s Fox & Friends saw its demo result down 15% from August 16 and its viewership up 15%.

post #89170 of 93807
TV Review
“Olbermann” (ESPN 2)
By Brian Lowry, Variety.com - Aug. 27, 2013

While Fox Sports 1 has been mounting a national alternative — including a talkshow that should even make Regis Philbin blush — ESPN has been gradually adding to its arsenal, signing former Foxsports.com columnist Jason Whitlock, numbers guru Nate Silver and Keith Olbermann, whose nightly sports program, “Olbermann,” made its ESPN2 debut Monday. Olbermann is a notoriously high-maintenance employee, and as the New York Times noted in a profile where everyone is still all smiles, he’s put many stops between now and his last ESPN gig 16 years ago. Still, he does bring a smart, playful approach to a sports space that seems increasingly simple-minded and blustery. So until he gets angry and quits, this ought to be pretty good.

Admittedly, Olbermann’s style — honed during all those years delivering “special comments” on MSNBC — translated into a sports context can feel a little bit like using a rhetorical bazooka to kill a housefly. Including Whitlock as a guest, he opened the show with nearly 20 minutes devoted to New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, skewering the media — and specifically the New York Daily News’ beat reporter, Manish Mehta — for creating a faux controversy around the injury to quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Yet Olbermann wasn’t wrong when he called this a “time of media madness, where controversy has replaced reporting.” And that’s especially true in terms of sports coverage, which caters to the loudest voices in sportstalk radio and those columnists willing to engage in the verbal equivalent of professional wrestling for a few minutes on “Around the Horn.”

Of course, ESPN is a major player in fostering that environment, and the network is also having its journalistic credentials questioned, having backed out of a “Frontline” documentary about the NFL and concussions for reasons that remain suspicious, given the network’s multi-billion-dollar investment in the league. While it’s the kind of target Olbermann would have found difficult to resist in another place, at another time, that particular controversy went overlooked in his first show. No sense biting the hand that feeds you right away, presumably.

Instead, Olbermann amused himself with highlights, funny videos, a modified “Worst Persons of the World” segment featuring sports figures, and a lot of flashbacks to Olbermann’s early bad-mustache days at ESPN. There was a solid interview with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and the chat with Whitlock, which other than their exchange about race and sports — and Olbermann lauding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for badmouthing the Daily News’ Mehta — was as close to politics as the host ventured.

Still, Olbermann seemed to find largely the right tone, mixing sports and comedy, taking advantage of his writing skills (Sanchez has a “bruised right shoulder joint — by Spike Lee,” he quipped) and positioning himself as a sports-inflected counterweight to latenight talk.

“Olbermann” premiered coming out of U.S. Open tennis coverage, and while the host already looks pretty comfortable already, the program has a week or so to find its footage before the ripest of targets — the NFL, college football, the baseball playoffs — kick in after Labor Day. Certainly, there’s room to tinker with the balance — fewer goofy highlights, say, and more on issues like performance-enhancing drugs, which would capitalize on Olbermann’s journalistic chops without deviating from the basic formula.

Olbermann closed with his signature tribute to Edward R. Murrow — “Good night, and good luck” — but given the modest rating demands on this secondary channel and how well the format suits him, he might not need much of the latter. As for just how many good nights the Olbermann/ESPN2 marriage has in it, with Olbermann, that’s always the several-million-dollar question.

ESPN2, Weeknights at 11 p.m. ET

post #89171 of 93807
Technology Notes
Devices Lead the Way to a Smarter TV
By Brian Stelter, The New York Times

Someday, our televisions will be smart. With a flick of the wrist or a voice command, couch potatoes will be able to binge-view “Scandal” or children will watch any episode of the Disney series “Dog With a Blog.” Maybe just thinking about Walter White will bring up “Breaking Bad” on the big screen.

But for now, most television sets are dumb. They do a good enough job handling the signals coming through an antenna or a set-top box, but to take advantage of the wealth of programming available through online services and apps, you generally need to attach a streaming device to the TV.

These devices are like portals to a parallel universe of television programming, one that is getting bigger all the time. They provide access to all the episodes of the Emmy-nominated “House of Cards” and stockpiles of timeless black-and-white films, courtesy of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, as well as to the Web comedies and endless viral videos on YouTube. This year, Netflix cited the proliferation of these devices — “inexpensive smart TV adapters,” it called them — when it predicted that on-demand and mobile TV would replace the older, scheduled way of watching shows.

The company also stated that “smart TV sales are increasing and eventually every TV will have Wi-Fi and apps.” Many of the new sets on display at Walmart and Best Buy already do. But until all TVs get smart, it falls on the backs of these streaming devices — most of them handy, but none of them yet perfect — to help a staid TV dip a cord into the future.

THE GAMERS Millions of Americans already have a streaming device connected to a TV. Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii video game consoles offer streaming video options and are among the most popular ways to tap into Internet TV.

With a few simple clicks, the consoles can download apps for services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. Downloading them is free, but many require a paid subscription to actually stream video. (An Xbox also requires a subscription to the Xbox Live service for use of its Internet interface.)

The consoles’ controllers make navigating through lists of TV shows a breeze. And with the Xbox and PlayStation, there is also the option of buying an individual episode or season of a show through the Xbox Video Store or the PlayStation Store, in case it is not available on one of the streaming services.

THE BEAMERS A problem with the gaming devices is that they tend to take a couple of minutes to boot up. (And with all the video available, time is of the essence. After all, there are hours and hours of “The Walking Dead” to catch up on.) That is not the case with a couple of other popular options, including Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast, that can also beam videos from a phone or laptop to the TV screen.

Why “beam”? You might start watching a YouTube video on your iPhone and decide that you want to show it to your family — in that case, you would click a button on a smartphone and stream it on the TV set. Or you might be curious about a concert streaming live on YouTube. You can find the live stream on a laptop and push it to the big screen.

When it comes to Apple TV, probably the most powerful of the beaming devices, the name can be misleading. It is not a television set or a cable channel or a full-blown competitor to Netflix. Rather, it’s a sleek black box, shaped like a hockey puck, that connects to a TV set. Not surprisingly, given Apple’s penchant for design, Apple TV is probably the most attractive of all the Internet TV adapters on the market.

Apple promotes the device’s $99 price, but it is actually more expensive — you will need to buy an HDMI cable to connect the box to the back of your TV. And the device’s AirPlay beaming function works only with Apple phones, tablets and computers, so it’s not as appealing if you are not in the Apple family already.

The newest way to “beam” comes from Google’s $35 Chromecast, which looks like a flash drive and plugs into an HDMI port on your TV. Using your home Wi-Fi, it will project on the TV whatever you are watching on your mobile device or computer. Google Android, Apple and Microsoft Windows devices are all welcome here.

But Chromecast does not come with video apps the way Apple TV or the video game consoles do. So finding TV episodes or films is all done on the mobile device or laptop being used, which can make Chromecast feel too constricting.

On the other end of this plug-in spectrum are boxes like the Roku, which can be found online for as little as $40, and the slightly more expensive WD TV Play from Western Digital. These boxes have apps galore, even for streaming services you’ve never heard of. But the Roku, the best known of this bunch, is just beginning to enable beaming from other screens.

There are surely more of these boxes to come — Amazon is said to have one in the works, for example.

THE FUTURE Of course, truly smart TVs with Internet connectivity will increasingly negate the need for special adapters. But in the meantime, the adapters are the best window into the television revolution.

After a short while with Netflix via Apple TV or YouTube via Xbox or Hulu via Chromecast, you might wonder why anyone pays for cable or satellite television anymore.

But the truth is that many of the best, freshest TV shows and films are still protected behind cable’s high walls. All the evidence until now suggests that for most people Internet streams are a supplement to cable, not a replacement. But they’re a really useful supplement — they provide convenience and a sense of control that cable cannot currently match.

Soon our definition of the very word “cable” may change: Sony, Intel, Google and other companies are interested in selling a cablelike package of channels via the Internet, challenging incumbents like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Apple seems to be taking a different tack, collaborating with those incumbents to make it easier for viewers to watch TV on their own terms.

For now, it may be best to think of the streaming devices as Trojan horses for the technology giants that manufacture them. Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon all want to make TV smarter, and these devices are a start.

post #89172 of 93807
TV Notes
PBS revisits '63 march
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The 50th anniversary of the 1963 civil rights March on Washington that included Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech has been featured prominently on cable networks over the past few days, and PBS will have its own effort, "The March" (9 p.m. Tuesday, WQED-TV), a one-hour film narrated by actor Denzel Washington.

Director John Akomfrah interviewed a host of civil rights leaders, supporters and ordinary citizens who attended the march, and he rounded up newly discovered and familiar film footage of the event.

"There were some extraordinary bits of footage that I had no idea existed," he said earlier this month at a PBS press conference. "And some came in literally as we were about to finish everything."

That includes footage from three sets of home movies made by attendees.

"I was surprised at the lack of material as well as the abundance," Mr. Akomfrah said. "A lot of the TV coverage has been lost, quite a bit has been trashed, frankly. And it surprises you because you think that something that iconic would be preserved."

Mr. Akomfrah said more important than finding lost footage was hearing stories from people who were there.

"When you sit down with 25 people and they talk to you about an event which happened when you were 21/2, you're left with this major ethical responsibility," he said, "because the question then is how are you going to make it faithful to what they've all said. To have 35 hours that has to boil down into an hour is not easy."

Stanford University history professor Clayborne Carson, a march participant, said he marvels at changes over the past 50 years, saying getting a job as a college professor was not on his radar as a possibility in 1963.

"I might as well have said ,I would be living on Mars," he said. "The notion, in 1963, that someday I would come back to Washington to build a memorial for that person who was up on the podium on the platform at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 [was inconceivable]. And then, of course, coming back in 2009 and witnessing the inauguration of an African-American president and remembering that day how far away from power we were in 1963. We were literally as far away on the Mall as you could get from the Capitol. And that physical distance was representative of a power difference between where we were."

Roger Mudd, who covered the march for CBS News, said the march sent a signal to the nation that the civil rights movement was a national movement.

"With the assassination then of President Kennedy, President Johnson was able to use that assassination as a major lever to get the civil rights bill through," Mr. Mudd said. "I don't think any of that would have happened without the March being as successful as it was."

Clarence Jones, an aide to King at the march, said the "I Have a Dream" speech was not the speech King had intended to give.

"As he was reading from the text of his prepared speech, there came a point when Mahalia Jackson, who was sitting on the platform, said, 'Tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream,' " Mr. Jones recalled. "Now, I had often speculated that she had heard him, in other places, make the reference to the dream. On June 23, 1963, in Detroit, he had made a very express reference to the dream. But when Mahalia shouted to him, I was standing about 50 feet behind him to the right and to the rear. And I watched him just take the text of this speech and move it to the left side of the lectern, grab the lectern, and look out. I said to somebody standing next to me, 'These people don't know it, but they're about ready to go to church.' And I said that because I could see his body language change from the rear where he had been reading, like giving a lecture, to then going into his Baptist preacher mode. So the rest of the speech was spontaneous and extemporaneous."

In addition to the PBS telecast of "The March," additional online content at www.pbs.org/black-culture/explore/march-on-washington/short-story-vignettes/gallery/ includes interviews conducted with march participants by PBS member stations, including Pittsburgh's WQED. Local interviewees posted online include Phil Hallen, Paulette Potter and Sala Udin.

post #89173 of 93807
Originally Posted by bgooch View Post

Call Directv Risk, Identity Theft
Despite the risk of identity theft and fraud, DirecTV asks for the Social Security numbers of people who aren't even signing up for service but are merely checking out costs.
By David Lazarus
August 26, 2013, 5:39 p.m.

Here's a hard-and-fast rule: Don't give your Social Security number to anyone unless it's absolutely necessary.

More than 12 million Americans fell victim to identity theft last year, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Losses topped $21 billion, with the costliest data breaches involving fraudsters gaining access to people's Social Security numbers.

With all that in mind, it's hard to imagine any business nowadays would ask consumers to part with their Social Security number except for the most important of reasons.

Unless that business is a cable, satellite or phone company.

Well now. I'm moving in a few months into a new house. I'd like DirecTV. But there's no way I'm giving them my SS number. Does this mean I'll have to go with DISH or the local cable company? confused.gif
post #89174 of 93807
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

Well now. I'm moving in a few months into a new house. I'd like DTV. But there's no way I'm giving them my SS number. Does this mean I'll have to go with DISH or the local cable company? confused.gif
Nearly anybody who checks your credit needs your social security number.
post #89175 of 93807
Originally Posted by BoilerJim View Post

Nearly anybody who checks your credit needs your social security number.

But I don't expect my television provider to have to check my credit. Maybe they always have; can't remember - I've had my current provider (TWC) for over a dozen years now. But it seems a little extreme, especially when all you're asking for is a quote.

Fact is, every time you give out your SS # you're that much closer to identity theft.
post #89176 of 93807
That was one of the big turn-offs to me was when they said they needed my SS number for a quote. I've been a victim of identity theft and it's the most horrid thing to go through. So I did not get a quote.
post #89177 of 93807
Originally Posted by MRM4 View Post

Yet another program not to watch on ESPN.

I'm sure you will not be missed. You don't seem to be his audience. Too low brow.
post #89178 of 93807
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

But I don't expect my television provider to have to check my credit.

This past spring I was a “victim” (it was my own stupidity) of identity theft, so when DirecTV asked for my SS# I was very hesitant. But I called their legit website number so I knew I was talking directly to them, not someone who called me up and asked for it. They all do it. I just received my credit reports and there was no inquiry by DirecTV. They’re probably just CTA in case you skip town with all of their equipment.

BTW, never respond to an email (or phone call) from any company who requests updates or asks for info no matter how legit it looks. Always go to the company website and sign-in.
post #89179 of 93807
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

But I don't expect my television provider to have to check my credit. Maybe they always have; can't remember - I've had my current provider (TWC) for over a dozen years now. But it seems a little extreme, especially when all you're asking for is a quote.
Having been a customer of DirecTV for over a decade I can tell you from personal experience that their pricing is a continually moving target. Even if you pass their "credit check" the CSR you happen to get can make a lot of difference in what you pay. Even long time customers famously talk about playing "CSR roulette" to find a rep willing to offer the best deal. Have a look at the website DBSTalk.com for tales about dealing with both DirecTV and DISH. Of course, you should probably take the stories from those claiming the biggest concessions with a grain of salt. smile.gif
post #89180 of 93807
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

But I don't expect my television provider to have to check my credit. Maybe they always have; can't remember - I've had my current provider (TWC) for over a dozen years now. But it seems a little extreme, especially when all you're asking for is a quote.

Fact is, every time you give out your SS # you're that much closer to identity theft.

I don't recall ever needing to do this for a "quote," but then again when I signed up - way back when - I didn't get a quote, I bought the equipment outright and installed it myself. Plus I wasn't really dealing with D* directly, it was a middleman (Pegasus and it's predecessors along with USSB.)

OTOH, when I was flirting with jumping over to E* ... for some reason they wanted your "exact" street address and all sorts of other info that wasn't really necessary to provide a simple quote. (At least they didn't ask for SSN ... but that was a few years ago too.)

Anyway, I do agree that if this is happening, then something is very rotten ...
post #89181 of 93807
Always paid the bill with a credit card automatically, so D* never needed nor asked for anything more than the Amex number. Brighthouse, otoh, asks for SS either way. And you have to confirm the last four digits before they'll change your programming or do anything billing related.

So, if you're asking for a price quote, let them know you're paying by credit card and see if they don't skip that whole SS# thing.

Or it could be I've also been with them so long my experience predates this.
post #89182 of 93807
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

Always paid the bill with a credit card automatically, so D* never needed nor asked for anything more than the Amex number.
DirecTV treats credit card autopay customers quite differently than those who allow a checking account draft or pay by debit card. Your credit card is charged on the day their statement is generated unlike other customers whose payment method is not debited until the actual due date which is three to four weeks after the statement date. With credit cards you haven't even seen the statement before you've paid it making disputing any charges you may deem incorrect much more inconvenient...maybe even impossible.
post #89183 of 93807
TV Notes
8 of Fall TV's Biggest Questions
Can NBC Reclaim Thursdays? Will Robin Williams Deliver a Hit?
By Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com - Aug. 26, 2013

This is a rebuilding season for broadcast television.

Ratings are down, and last season produced only two modest hits, NBC's "Revolution" and Fox's "The Following." "American Idol," once TV's biggest show, has parted ways with all but one of its judges. Cable, Netflix, and companies we haven't evn heard of yet are all cutting into viewership.

But are broadcasters rebuilding enough? Some of their most ambitious ideas are from the past: Michael J. Fox and Robin Williams anchoring sitcoms. A "24" reboot. And – get this – Jennifer Lopez as an "American Idol" judge. (She's not official yet, but her boyfriend says it's a go.)

Here are the biggest questions networks face this fall season:

1. Can NBC Reclaim Thursday Nights?
NBC has a long, proud tradition of great Thursday comedies, from "Cheers" to "The Cosby Show" to "Seinfeld" and "Friends" and "30 Rock." But America's favorite place for Thursday comedies is now… CBS, home to "The Big Bang Theory," TV's most popular sitcom.

NBC is bringing in "Family Ties" vet Michael J. Fox and "Will & Grace" favorite Sean Hayes to try to bring family shows back. They'll have to overcome CBS and Fox's musical shows, "X Factor" in the fall and "Idol" in the winter.

2. Can Michael J. Fox Deliver a Hit?
He's a hero for his work on Parkinson's, and an inspiration for refusing to let it end his career. But will viewers watch NBC's "The Michael J. Fox Show," given its focus on a man battling a serious disease? They've accepted serious themes in comedies before. And they've even tuned in for the often depressing "Breaking Bad." That show's excellent Betsy Brandt plays Fox's wife.

3. Same Question, for Robin Williams.
Williams is one of the biggest movie stars to swoop into television. Yes, he's hurt his reputation with some painfully cloying family films. But he has an Oscar for a reason. The question is whether viewers will see his weekly presence on David E. Kelley's "The Crazy Ones" as a gift, or a waste of his talents. He may be best served to hold back: The CBS sitcom has a great secret weapon in James Wolk, last season's breakout star on "Mad Men."

4. Can 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Draw 'Avengers' Fans?:
The TV budget for ABC's "S.H.I.E.L.D." means it won't have A-listers, multimillion-dollar effects or Joss Whedon writing and directing every week. After the pilot, he hands off to his brother and sister-in-law, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

But thanks in part to them, "S.H.I.E.L.D." still has one of the most important things that made "The Avengers" a hit: It doesn't take itself too seriously. And Jed Whedon and Tancharoen came up with one of the best parts of the pilot. Seems the mortals might be just fine without super soldiers and Gods of Thunder.

5. Will CBS Have Its Time Warner Dispute Settled in Time?
CBS hasn’t been too hard-hit by Time Warner blacking out its stations in several major markets this month. But September is the plunging cliff at the end of their game of chicken.

If the two sides can't reach a resolution on retransmission fees, the top-rated network will start the season with a major handicap. Of course, Time Warner subscribers may get so fed up that they switch providers by then.

There's no cause for optimism so far: CBS CEO says he's "frankly mystified" by what he considers TWC's stubbornness.

6. What About the CW?
The network, which targets 18-to-34-year-olds, is competing for the viewers most likely to be bailing out on TV for the internet. It's best hope is finding buzzy, can't-miss shows that people frantically discuss online, like "Gossip Girl" used to be.

It's unclear whether it has them with fall series like the "Vampire Diaries" spinoff "The Originals" (pictured) and the historical romance "Reign." But at least the CW is hedging its bets, by making smart deals with Netflix to make its shows available for streaming.

7. Is the Music Over?
"The Voice" and "X Factor" have sliced into the "American Idol" pie, and last year all three shows were down. "X Factor" has revamped its judges' panel, again, and "Idol" is in the process of doing the same. The question is whether "Idol" can reinvent itself yet again.

It worked pretty well last time when Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joined the show. If not, Fox will just have to settle for "Idol" claiming eight years as television's top show.

8. Should There Even Be a Fall Season?
With shows like CBS's "Under the Dome" and Fox's end-of-season "24: Live Another Day" and "Wayward Pines," broadcasters are trying to program year-round to picking up viewers during slow times of year, like cable does.

Many have questioned whether we still need the old model, in which pilots are pitched, picked up and shot early in the year, then ordered to series in the spring, and finally aired in the fall or the amorphous time of year called "midseason." With shows like CBS's 13-episode "Hostages" and several networks' limited-run series, networks are also looking at shorter seasons.

In a Netflixed world where viewers can watch what anything, anytime, the idea of a September-through-May season that runs for 24 episodes may seem antiquated. But it does have its uses. "The Good Wife" co-showrunner Robert King recently told the New York Times that if not for the predictable timeline, network executives "wouldn’t know when to go on vacation."

post #89184 of 93807
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Part 1 of 3.

TV Sports/Business Notes
College Football’s Most Dominant Player? It’s ESPN
By James Andrew Miller, Steve Eder and Richard Sandomir, The New York Times - Aug. 25, 2013

Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Part 2 of 3.

TV Sports/Business Notes
At Louisville, Athletic Boom Is Rooted in ESPN Partnership
By Steve Eder, Richard Sandomir and James Andre Miller, The New York Times - Aug. 26, 2013


Part 3 of 3.

TV Sports/Business Notes
To Protect Its Empire, ESPN Stays on Offense
By Richard Sandomir, James Andre Miller and Steve Eder, The New York Times - Aug. 27, 2013

The network produced 35,000 hours of programming in 2012, including at least half of all live athletic events televised in the United States. It is a prodigious cash machine, regularly generating nearly half of the operating profit of Disney, its parent company. Wielding its wealth, it buys the rights to nearly all it desires: $15.2 billion for “Monday Night Football,” $5.6 billion for Major League Baseball and $7.3 billion for a 12-year deal to broadcast the new college football playoff system, to name just a few. From its sprawling 123-acre campus in Bristol, Conn., ESPN operates seven national channels, an industry-leading Web site, a magazine and international sites like ESPNcricinfo.com, for cricket fans.

So it may be hard to imagine that the sports media conglomerate has arrived at one of the most precarious moments in its nearly 34-year life.

The more than $6 billion in cable fees flowing annually to ESPN from almost 100 million homes is threatened as growing numbers of consumers cut ties with cable providers to avoid rising bills for pay TV, turning instead to video streaming services. In Washington, a renewed push to undo the bundling of channels into cable packages and allow viewers to simply pay for those they want has even drawn the support of Senator Richard Blumenthal, who represents ESPN’s home state.

ESPN’s viewership numbers plunged earlier this year, and that was before the debut this month of Fox Sports 1, a 24-hour network funded lavishly by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. Fox Sports 1 is likely to shape up as ESPN’s most formidable head-to-head rival.

All of this, particularly consumers’ move away from pay TV, is reverberating in Bristol. “This is the most complicated environment we’ve faced in a long time,” said John Skipper, the president of ESPN.

But ESPN has shown over the past decade that it will fight tenaciously and opportunistically to protect an empire it built by using the billions of dollars it collected from cable fees to gobble up the rights to more and more sports events.

In the mid-2000s, ESPN’s appetite for programming was so voracious that the Justice Department looked into complaints that the network was engaging in anticompetitive practices — an inquiry that ESPN executives first acknowledged in recent interviews. The complaint centered on ESPN’s practice of buying rights to more college games than it had the capacity to televise, leading to accusations that by “warehousing” games, it was depriving colleges of exposure and other networks of potentially valuable programming.

Although no action was taken against ESPN, it began to share programming with the competitor that brought the complaint, and it went on to create ESPNU, a channel dedicated to college sports.

During the same period, Washington was leveling one of its periodic attacks on what Mr. Skipper calls ESPN’s “beautiful business model” — the rising monthly fee that now stands at $5.54, according to the media research firm SNL Kagan, and is paid by homes with expanded basic cable packages, almost all of which include ESPN.

With cable packages known as bundles under repeated attack, ESPN and Disney have gone on the offensive, making it one of their priorities in Washington. Beyond lobbying and campaign donations, they have hosted lawmakers in Bristol and in Burbank, Calif. They brought their stars to Washington, where ESPN, the network that turned competition into 24-hour fare, has often found an eager audience among political players.

“I was proud to call on senators, congressmen, F.C.C. commissioners, staff and talk about ESPN,” said George Bodenheimer, ESPN’s president from 1998 to 2012. “And by the way, many, many of those folks enjoyed talking about ESPN.”

A Fight Over Bundles

Given ESPN’s usual reception in Washington, it was perhaps surprising that Mr. Blumenthal decided last month to co-sponsor legislation with Senator John McCain aimed at undoing bundles — a signal that the cable pricing debate had returned.

“The bill certainly puts consumers first and definitely requires the industry to make a change,” Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat, said. “But on the whole, ESPN should fare relatively well, because it has an extraordinarily loyal customer base.”

Bundles are clusters of channels that media companies like Disney sell to cable, satellite and telephone companies. Disney’s bundle features the stations owned by ABC, as well as the Disney Channel, Soapnet and the seven national ESPN channels. Companies with powerful bundles like Disney’s have the leverage to add channels and negotiate for higher monthly fees from providers, which are passed on to viewers.

So powerful is the ESPN-fueled bundle that one veteran cable operator described negotiations with Disney as “total surrender.”

As ESPN has added costly programming, it has consistently been able to raise its fees and has used that money to outspend its competitors and sustain a media empire unlike any other.

A former ESPN senior executive recalled a gathering of his colleagues where “everyone toasted to the concept of compounding”— that is, increases in subscriber fees that several years grew at a compounded annual rate of 20 percent. The current $5.54 average monthly price for ESPN is more than four times the fee for the next most expensive national network.

But the main issue for bundle opponents in Washington and among consumer advocates is that while an expanded basic package offers subscribers a smorgasbord of programming for a single fee, they are most likely paying for channels they never watch. ESPN is a prime example. Of the network’s nearly 100 million households, an average of just 1.36 million viewers watched in prime time during the second quarter of this year. Although marquee programming like “Monday Night Football” drew big numbers, the average number of viewers over a 24-hour period in the second quarter was 713,000.

“There is no regulation that says, ‘Wait a minute, is it mathematically positive, or reasonable, for 75 million who don’t want ESPN to pay for the 25 percent who do, at a false price?’ ” said Barry Diller, the media executive who is backing the technology of a company called Aereo that streams broadcast channels online and is viewed as a challenge to cable.

Bundling by media giants, Mr. Diller said, “is some game if you’ve got it: ‘Wow, what do I have to do to have this absolute pricing power in a totally closed system?’ ”

Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, declared at a 2004 hearing that cable executives gave consumers “all the choice of a Soviet election ballot.” Mr. McCain has been a persistent critic of bundles, and for about 10 years he has pushed for a so-called à la carte plan, which would allow viewers to get only the channels they want.

ESPN, with Disney at its side, has been among the chief defenders of bundles, calling them a great value for consumers given the diversity of the programming. Without revenue from bundles, Disney has argued, it would have to increase the monthly fee for viewers who want ESPN to about $15 a month.

ESPN has long been able to deploy an array of weapons on the field of politics.

In 1999, at a sports-infused reception hosted by ESPN at the Capitol, politicians were photographed posing as sports stars on a mock cover of ESPN the Magazine. They could also pose with actual athletic legends: Muhammad Ali, Johnny Unitas and Carl Lewis.

“Senators and congressmen lined up acting like schoolboys waiting to get their picture taken with these guys,” one former Disney lobbyist recalled.

As the cable debate heated up in the mid-2000s, ESPN and Disney representatives played the usual Washington game: testifying to Congress, lobbying on Capitol Hill, meeting with Federal Communications Commission officials and making campaign contributions.

But they also had moves all their own. When Michael Powell, the F.C.C. chairman at the time, needed a platform in the fall of 2004 to pitch to consumers his campaign to convert to digital television, he was welcomed to the halftime show of “Monday Night Football” on ABC, another Disney property.

According to interviews with Preston Padden, Disney’s chief lobbyist at the time, and Mr. Bodenheimer, Mr. Powell’s request for airtime was made to Mr. Padden and approved by Mr. Bodenheimer, who as ESPN’s president was also running ABC Sports. Mr. Bodenheimer relayed his decision to the ABC production truck in Baltimore.

Mr. Bodenheimer recently said he granted Mr. Powell’s request because digital TV was a “critically important subject for all television viewers.”

Critically important to ESPN was an F.C.C. study of cable economics that was under way. Mr. Powell, who declined to comment, supported bundled programming, and a month after his October appearance he released the study, which said an à la carte plan would most likely raise consumer costs by 14 percent to 30 percent and reduce the diversity of channels.

One focus of ESPN and Disney’s largess was Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican and the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which had purview over television legislation.

In 2004, Mr. Barton had helped derail a legislative move aimed at breaking up bundles. On Super Bowl weekend in February 2005, with the cable controversy bubbling, Disney paid to bring Mr. Barton and his wife to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., records show. ESPN did not carry the game, which was played in Jacksonville, Fla. But in Orlando, Disney was busy entertaining advertisers.

ESPN gathered some of its executives to talk to Mr. Barton about the absence of a college football playoff, an issue that the congressman would eventually explore in hearings.

“It was Preston Padden’s show and Joe Barton’s agenda,” one participant in the meeting said. Mr. Barton’s travel disclosure form for Feb. 5 to 7, 2005, shows that Disney spent $3,354 on the Bartons’ lodging, $1,616 for airfare and $1,200 for meals. He recorded the purpose of the trip as “Speak to executives and fact finding.”

A spokesman for Mr. Barton declined to comment beyond saying that the report “speaks for itself.”

Within a few weeks, Disney and ESPN employees made donations of $7,500 to Mr. Barton’s political action committee, according to an analysis of records from the Center for Responsive Politics. Disney’s corporate PAC contributed $5,000 more, adding to the $10,000 it had donated to Mr. Barton in 2004. Over the years, Disney and ESPN executives, and the Disney PAC, have donated $58,500 to Mr. Barton and his PAC.

Those contributions were a fraction of their donations. ESPN and Disney and their employees have donated more than $400,000, much of it since 2000, to representatives and senators who are key players on issues important to Disney, including cable.

The cable fee debate came to a head again in 2006. Mr. Powell’s replacement at the F.C.C., Kevin Martin, released a report that found an à la carte plan could actually reduce costs for 40 percent of households with cable. The industry blasted the report.

In June 2006, Mr. McCain formally proposed legislation that would effectively break up bundles. But it failed by a 20-to-2 vote in the Senate commerce committee.

Mr. McCain said of Disney’s lobbying effort, “They beat me like a drum.”

Mr. Padden played down both the threat and Disney’s role in defeating it. “À la carte is an easy sound bite, but it can’t withstand any level of scrutiny,” he said.

But Matthew Polka, the industry lobbyist for small cable operators, said, “On à la carte, there was no stronger opponent than Disney and ESPN.”

And ESPN has no more stubborn nemesis than Mr. McCain. This past spring, with cable rates and ESPN’s monthly fees continuing to rise, he revived an effort aimed at undoing bundles.

“Why do I pick on ESPN?” Mr. McCain said in an interview in May. “I’m not picking on them. But they are the most glaring example of what people are required to watch — I mean pay for — even if they never watch it.”

Challenges From Rivals

ESPN has used the billions of dollars in cable fees to build a moat of programming around its empire, which is likely to be tested in the coming challenge from Fox Sports 1, which made its debut on Aug. 17. ESPN’s business strategy has been to aggressively buy the rights to as much programming as possible for as long as it can to impede the growth of rivals, including Fox and sports channels owned by NBC and CBS.

With ESPN having locked up the rights to so many professional and college sports contracts beyond 2020, the bidding war between it and Fox Sports 1 over the few remaining prizes is expected to be fierce. One, the Big Ten Conference, has a 10-year, $1 billion deal with ESPN that expires in 2017, but Fox has already built influence through its 49 percent ownership of the Big Ten Network. The National Basketball Association, which Fox covets, has deals through 2016 with ESPN and TNT.

ESPN’s omnivorous strategy has given it such dominance that at one point in the mid-2000s, according to interviews and documents, Justice Department lawyers in Washington began questioning whether ESPN was engaging in anticompetitive behavior in handling college athletics.

No other network invested as much in college sports as ESPN or had the available time to carry more games. But by 2004, it owned the rights to far too many games to fit them on ESPN or ESPN2.

“We had an enormous amount of inventory that we weren’t using, and there was a fear that the conferences would accuse us of warehousing,” said Mark Shapiro, a former executive vice president of ESPN.

College conferences focused their frustrations on the exclusive contracts they signed with ESPN that prohibited them from taking games that ESPN held the rights to, but did not televise, and reselling them to other national networks.

“We felt that ESPN wanted our rights just to embargo them from other networks,” Wood Selig said, recalling part of his tenure as the athletic director at Western Kentucky from 1999 to 2010. “Like, ‘If we don’t show them, nobody else could.’ ”

Mr. Selig, now the athletic director at Old Dominion, added, “That was the sentiment on a lot of campuses.”

In 2004, College Sports Television complained to the Justice Department. As a fledgling network, CSTV did not have the money to buy the rights to major conferences, but it could afford the rights to midmajor and smaller conferences like the Western Athletic, the Atlantic 10 or the Mountain West. Yet no conference with an ESPN contract could, without ESPN's consent, make a deal with CSTV or any other national rival.

In meetings with Justice Department lawyers, CSTV laid out its case. It presented a report portraying ESPN as a monopolist that controlled the college sports market by using restrictive contracts, by refusing to sell unused games to competitors and by telling conferences they risked losing exposure on ESPN if they fled to CSTV.

In the 2003-4 season, the report noted, 163 Division I-A football games and 561 men’s basketball games were not televised nationally because ESPN refused to let conferences resell them.

“The most powerful exhibits we showed the Department of Justice laid out what the conferences were getting paid and how few of the games were actually aired, with the rest remaining in the warehouse,” said Chris Bevilacqua, a founder of CSTV. “Something was out of whack.”

The Justice Department began an inquiry in the spring of 2004. ESPN lawyers cautioned executives to take it seriously and save all relevant internal e-mails, two ESPN executives said. The lawyers also told officials not to use words like “dominate” and “markets” in public — to avoid raising the hackles of the government — and to play up the consumer benefits of the broad array of rights ESPN controlled.

The Justice Department spoke to conference commissioners, and one government lawyer, Lawrence Frankel, sought information about contracts from CSTV, according to e-mails and documents obtained in part through the Freedom of Information Act. The Justice Department declined to comment.

In a first public acknowledgment of the inquiry, Mr. Bodenheimer said in an interview, “It came and went quickly because there was nothing there.” He added: “It wasn’t an issue for us. We contracted for product and we aired as much of it as we could.”

Around the same time, though, warehousing became an issue in contract talks between ESPN and the Western Athletic Conference. Karl Benson, the WAC commissioner at the time, instead wanted to make a deal with CSTV that promised more money and more TV appearances than ESPN was offering. But the athletic directors at WAC universities wanted to stick with ESPN, which had far more subscribers and offered wider exposure.

According to a CSTV executive who talked to him shortly afterward, Mr. Benson said he asked John Wildhack, a longtime senior executive at ESPN, “How can you continue this exclusive practice in the face of this continuing D.O.J. investigation?” In the conversation, Mr. Benson described the ESPN executive’s response as “very dismissive.” Mr. Benson did not dispute this account.

Through a spokesman, Mr. Wildhack said he did not recall the incident but said, “Negotiations always cover the gamut of emotions.”

In the end, the government took no action against ESPN, but CSTV executives achieved their real goal: rattling the giant enough to change the way it did business with conferences. “If all they did was open an investigation, we won,” Mr. Bevilacqua said.

During the time the Justice Department was asking questions, CSTV signed an exclusive deal with the Mountain West Conference, which ESPN had previously carried. Soon after, CSTV made deals to carry Conference USA and Atlantic 10 games with ESPN, a rare moment when ESPN shared national cable rights with a rival. CSTV credits the government inquiry for ESPN’s change of heart.

But Mr. Bodenheimer said the Justice Department’s attention had no impact. “Look,” he said, “people — competitors — see the success of ESPN and say, ‘I want some of that; I want that, too.’ ”

What ESPN wanted was to maintain its dominance in college sports — and all sports. Given its many conference contracts, starting a college network would be relatively easy. The new network, ESPNU, would reduce any warehousing and let Disney make more money when it was added to Disney’s bundle of channels.

“If we could have a network that would give us a new platform and build a new revenue stream, why not?” said Mr. Shapiro, the network’s former executive vice president.

One ESPN executive involved in the start-up said: “This was about warehousing. We needed the real estate.”

At CSTV’s offices at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, there was no gloom that ESPN had targeted it for a direct hit. ESPNU was validation of CSTV’s focus on college sports.

“We had a party the day they announced ESPNU,” said Tim Pernetti, a former CSTV executive. “We were the new guy on the block, and this was all about good gamesmanship.”

Nearly a decade later, ESPNU is a prominent part of the Disney bundle, with more than 75 million subscribers paying an average of 20 cents a month, leading to $180 million in annual revenue.

CSTV, which was later sold to CBS and became CBS Sports Network, has nearly 50 million subscribers. Still, CBS lacks a vast array of conference rights or a strategy of spending the billions of dollars that ESPN does to get them.

Mr. Skipper, who became ESPN’s president early last year, said the story of ESPNU was not about the Justice Department or warehousing, but about a company that was relentlessly competitive.

“It was much more a response to CSTV and the fact that we wanted to establish a leading position,” he said. “They had first mover advantage, and once again we were able to do the right things and emerge as the leader in that space.”

Looking to the Future

Almost from its beginning, ESPN has controlled its destiny. One network wasn’t enough? It built several more. Altering the course of sports television wasn’t enough? It built Internet, international, mobile, radio, print and applications businesses that have perpetuated its dominance.

Central to that success has been a mastery of technology. ESPN runs two research laboratories that develop graphics, mine data, create equipment and package highlights and audio to feed the voracious appetite of fans who cannot get enough sports information from TV. Its ESPN3 online network is capable of showing an unlimited number of games — a godsend to some universities, including some that so crave national exposure that they are willing to pay the costs of production. It created one channel, the Longhorn Network, devoted to a single university, Texas, and is starting a second, the SEC Network, for the powerful Southeastern Conference, in 2014.

Now ESPN is working on an interactive screen project, code-named 2016, that would let viewers simultaneously watch multiple ESPN channels or videos, send social media messages, buy products, watch commercials and summon statistics at the touch of a button.

“ESPN has no reason to have any fear as long as it keeps innovating,” Mr. Shapiro said.

Yet ESPN does not appear to have a revolutionary advance that is capable of altering the industry the way the network did when it went on the air in September 1979.

Even as ESPN moves forward, the landscape it pioneered is rapidly changing. It recently announced cuts of up to 400 jobs, yet it will hire as needed, especially in growth areas. Although the revived à la carte legislation has an uphill battle to passage, it underscores a persistent concern with the rising costs of ESPN and other sports networks.

Beyond established cable rivals like NBCSN and CBS Sports Network, ESPN has a new and bold competitor in Fox Sports 1, which has a strong portfolio of rights. Mr. Skipper has made several early moves to strike back at Fox, hiring the political and sports statistician Nate Silver from The New York Times and bringing back Keith Olbermann to host a nightly show on ESPN2.

Meanwhile, companies like Google, Sony and Intel are planning virtual cable services that would be delivered on the Internet. They could lure consumers from traditional pay television as low-cost alternatives to traditional pay TV while also competing for major sports properties when ESPN’s contracts eventually expire. Mr. Skipper said he would make deals with these upstarts, but only on ESPN’s terms: they must take all of ESPN’s offerings, not just the ones they want.

With the rise of new competition come questions about the fate of existing customers.

Consumers are fleeing pay TV at a quickening pace: 898,000 in the past year, nearly twice the number in the previous year, the analyst Craig Moffett said. And in the past two years, ESPN has lost more than one million subscribers.

What’s more, ESPN ratings plunged 32 percent in the quarter that ended in June.

Mr. Skipper’s task — very different from that of predecessors who built ESPN into a powerhouse — is to negotiate a deeply uncertain future.

“It’s a high-class problem,” he said.

Brad Adgate, senior vice president for research at Horizon Media, said the triple play of decreased cable customers, fewer ESPN subscribers and lower ratings was a “worrisome trend,” but he suggested that ESPN was hurt in the last quarter by reduced interest in the N.B.A. playoffs. “This is not a perfect storm,” Mr. Adgate said. “A lot of big media companies are envious of the model Disney has. Every earnings report, ESPN is always there, a very solid part of their revenue.”

ESPN is relying on its built-in strengths: the dozens of sports and thousands of games on ESPN’s networks that are live and unavailable on other networks; the loyalty of viewers who grew up on ESPN and can hum the “SportsCenter” theme; the passion of fans who crowd every campus where “College GameDay” makes its Saturday morning stops; and the WatchESPN app, which lets more than 20 million users watch all its networks’ live action on mobile devices accessible only with pay-TV subscriptions. An app like WatchESPN is designed not only to keep people connected to ESPN but also to reduce cord-cutting by cable subscribers.

Mr. Skipper described WatchESPN as “a significant measure to preserve the current system. And if you can’t preserve it, it’s our best opportunity convert to something new.”

He added that while he could not imagine more than 10 percent of pay-TV subscribers cutting the cord, “big numbers don’t have to flee the system to have a profound effect on ESPN.”

His strategy is based on carrying live sports well into the next decade and beyond, thanks to Disney’s cash. Mr. Skipper has held onto the rights to the Rose, Orange and Sugar Bowls, then doubled down for the new college football playoff. He has retained control of “Monday Night Football” and Major League Baseball rights, extended SEC rights through 2034 and agreed to share Pacific-12 rights with Fox.

Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG Research, said ESPN should not be overly concerned because it is stocked with live sports in a video universe that considers it must-see content.

“The landscape has threats,” Mr. Greenfield said. But he added, “The value of sports is going dramatically, even exponentially, higher.” Even if the bundle breaks, he said, ESPN will be one of the very few companies “that will have established a relationship directly with consumers.”

Mr. Skipper, too, believes that ESPN has created a powerful defensive strategy out of live sports contracts that last a decade or two.

“We can’t stand by and say change is unlikely, but we’re taking the steps to preserve and adapt,” he said. “The ecosystem may change, but these unique events cannot be replicated anywhere else.”

Jo Craven McGinty contributed reporting.

Edited by dad1153 - 8/27/13 at 10:28am
post #89185 of 93807
Business Notes
Viacom-Sony Revelation Reeks of Hidden Agendas
By Andrew Wallenstein, Variety.com - Aug. 27, 2013

If the pay-TV universe can be thought of in terms of world wars, we may have just witnessed the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The planet didn’t know it at the time, but that 1914 shooting essentially precipitated World War I.

Standing in for the archduke almost a century later is a reported pact that will see Sony Corp. license the collective cable channels of Viacom for a new broadband-delivered TV service expected to launch by the end of the year. If this deal is real, the entrenched triumvirate of cable, satellite and telco distributors have essentially received a declaration of war from what may be just the first of a new breed of challengers that could include Intel, Google and Apple.

But it’s a big “if.” Not only are neither Sony nor Viacom officially acknowledging the pact, but Sony has yet to utter a word of confirmation that its virtual-MSO service even exists. Google and Apple’s own TV plans are far from concrete; only Intel has been public about its intent, which hasn’t scotched doubts that the chipmaker will actually make it to market.

However, the vaporourness of this long anticipated challenge to pay-TV hegemony may mean there’s ulterior motives behind why we are seeing the Sony-Viacom deal floated at this time.

Consider the common corporate parentage of Viacom and CBS Corp., which both count Sumner Redstone as the chairman of their respective boards. CBS is currently embroiled in a nasty multi-week standoff with Time Warner Cable over the terms of their affiliate deal.

What better way for Redstone to remind TW Cable that MSOs aren’t the only game in town than for one of the biggest content companies to throw some weight behind a new market entrant. By giving just a whiff of substance to the possibility that Sony could get in the game, Redstone is warning TW Cable that it has the power to create a new competitor for them.

The cable operator probably isn’t even the only negotiator Redstone is sending a message. Consider Intel, which has seen its own vow to bring its OnCue service to market by year-end compromised by an inability to lock down a single programming deal.

Of course, Viacom is going to do everything it can to squeeze every dollar it can out of Intel for the rights to its channels. And what better way to put some pressure on Intel than to make it seem like another company with a similar service is making headway.

All this maneuvering and breathless anticipation might lead one to believe that Sony or Intel or whoever is going to launch something so revolutionary that incumbents like TW Cable will instantly crumble to dust. Hardly.

For one thing, there’s plenty of other programming companies beyond Viacom that Sony will need to get on board. And even if that happens, the basic “bundle” structure of pay TV will remain intact, though it’s a good bet you will see more options as to what packages of channels can be bought. But a la carte simply isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

And if you’re hoping Sony or Intel will be able to undercut the incumbents on price, that’s also highly unlikely. The price to get into the game with premium programming is going to be so exorbitant that there is no way those costs won’t be passed on to consumers.

So before saluting the dawn of a new era in pay TV, consider that a Sony-Viacom deal may not really be an opening salvo. What may seem like a wake-up call could really be a false alarm.

post #89186 of 93807
Nielsen Overnights (18-49)
NBC’s ‘Ninja’ matches a season high Monday
Averages a 1.7 in 18-49s, up 13 percent over last week
By Toni Fitzgerald, Media Life Magazine - Aug. 27, 2013

NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” powered to its best rating since its premiere on Monday night.

“Ninja” averaged a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating at 8 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, equaling the season high set for its July 1 bow.

“Ninja” was up 13 percent over last week and won the timeslot. It also gave a boost to lead-out “Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls,” which surged 18 percent over last week to a 1.3 at 9 p.m.

ABC’s “Mistresses” also grew in the 9 p.m. hour, up 11 percent over last week to a 0.9 in its new timeslot debut. The show had been airing at 10 p.m.

CBS had the No. 1 show of the night yet again with “Under the Dome,” which drew a 2.5 at 10 p.m., up a tenth over last week.

CBS led the night among 18-49s with a 1.7 average overnight rating and a 5 share. Univision was second at 1.4/4, NBC third at 1.2/4, ABC fourth at 0.9/3, Fox fifth at 0.8/2, Telemundo sixth at 0.5/2 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.

NBC started the night in the lead with a 1.7 at 8 p.m. for “Ninja,” followed by Univision with a 1.5 for “Porque el Amor Manda.” CBS was third with a 1.2 for repeats of “How I Met Your Mother” and “2 Broke Girls,” ABC fourth with a 1.1 for a repeat of “Shark Tank,” Fox fifth with a 0.8 for reruns of “Raising Hope,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.4 for “Dama y Obrero” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for a repeat of “Hart of Dixie.”

At 9 p.m. CBS and Univision tied for first at 1.5, CBS for reruns of “2 Broke Girls” and “Mike & Molly” and Univision for “La Tempestad.” NBC was third with a 1.3 for “Alive,” ABC fourth with a 1.0 for “Mistresses,” Fox fifth with a 0.7 for repeats of “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project,” Telemundo sixth with a 0.6 for “Marido en Alquiler” and CW seventh with a 0.2 for “Breaking Pointe.”

CBS took the lead outright at 10 p.m. with a 2.5 for “Dome,” with Univision second with a 1.2 for “Que Bonito Amor.” NBC was third with a 0.7 for “Siberia,” Telemundo fourth with a 0.6 for “Santa Diabla” and ABC fifth with a 0.5 for a repeat of “Castle.”

Among households, CBS was first for the night with a 4.3 average overnight rating and a 7 share. ABC was second at 2.7/4, NBC third at 2.3/4, Univision fourth at 1.9/3, Fox fifth at 1.2/2, Telemundo sixth at 0.7/1 and CW seventh at 0.4/1.


* * * *

TV Notes
A puzzle of a development for ‘Liars’
ABC Family drama promotes its spinoff with a clever twist
By Louisa Ada Seltzer, Media Life Magazine - Aug. 27, 2013

Many TV programs these days use Twitter for promotions, from having cast members live-tweet an episode to giving away show-related prizes on the social media site.

But some networks are using even more sophisticated means of promoting their shows on Twitter, including ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” which airs its fourth-season summer finale tonight at 8 p.m.

In October the network will premiere a spinoff of “Liars” called “Ravenswood,” and viewers have been eager to get the scoop on what the new drama will be about.

Rather than simply release a photo taken on the “Ravenswood” set, ABC Family incorporated it into a Twitter promotion.

During tonight’s finale, “Ravenswood” star Tyler Blackburn will tweet out a portion of that picture, which contains a clue about the spinoff’s content.

ABC Family will release the other three portions of the picture via the accounts of other stars of the show after Blackburn’s original tweet, with the hashtag #RavenswoodReveal, has been retweeted 1,022 times (the show is premiering on Oct. 22, or 10/22).

Fans can then put all four portions of the photo together to see the clue.

Undoubtedly the details about “Ravenswood” will come out quickly, as “Liars” is one of the most social shows on television. It regularly ranks among the 10 most-tweeted-about TV programs of the week, drawing upwards of 200,000 to 300,000 tweets per episode.

It’s also ABC Family’s top show and the No. 10 returning program on cable this summer among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Turner Networks, averaging 2.08 million viewers per episode in the demo.

post #89187 of 93807
Originally Posted by Jon J View Post

DirecTV treats credit card autopay customers quite differently than those who allow a checking account draft or pay by debit card. Your credit card is charged on the day their statement is generated unlike other customers whose payment method is not debited until the actual due date which is three to four weeks after the statement date. With credit cards you haven't even seen the statement before you've paid it making disputing any charges you may deem incorrect much more inconvenient...maybe even impossible.
I'm fine with that. But it's not impossible. In fact, one call to Amex and the payment's reversed until it can be settled. I do not allow any online access to my bank accounts. Prevents hacking. Don't own a debit card and never will. Plus, I'm a SkyMiles junkie. So there's that. biggrin.gif
post #89188 of 93807
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Consumers are fleeing pay TV at a quickening pace: 898,000 in the past year, nearly twice the number in the previous year, the analyst Craig Moffett said. And in the past two years, ESPN has lost more than one million subscribers.

What’s more, ESPN ratings plunged 32 percent in the quarter that ended in June.


And as they continue to make multi-million deals with pro and college sports (passing the costs on to consumers in the form of higher cable fees), I don't see this trend ending anytime soon. mad.gif
post #89189 of 93807
Nielsen Notes (Cable)
A&E’s ‘Longmire’, ‘Glades’ Hit Season Highs In Finales While Awaiting Renewal Decision
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Aug. 27, 2013

It was a good finish for A&E drama series Longmire and The Glades last night. The Season 2 finale of Longmire drew 4.4 million total viewers, 1.1 million adults 18-49 and 1.5 million A25-54, all season highs. Similarly, the Season 4 closer of The Glades averaged 3.4 million total viewers, 1.1 million A18-49 and 1.3 million A25-54, also season highs. But neither of the series knows its future beyond last night’s episodes. Last year, Longmire was renewed four weeks into its freshman run, while A&E pulled the trigger on a fourth season of The Glades in mid-September.

There are several factors that likely play into A&E’s wait-and-see tactic on the two dramas. First, the network has a new management team as part of the recent reorganization at A&E parent A+E Networks, so they likely are re-examining the entire network portfolio. Additionally, neither of the two series is owned by A&E — Longmire comes from Warner Horizon and The Glades from Fox TV Studios — which usually gives networks extra incentive. A+E is now putting an emphasis on building its newly launched A+E Studios headed by former A&E head Bob DeBitetto. And A&E is in a very different position than the same time last year, boasting a bona fide scripted hit in Bates Motel.

Still, Longmire remains A&E’s most-watched series. Yes, it skews older, but it still averaged some 5.4 million viewers (Live+7, most current) in Season 2, 19% more than Bates Motel, which rules the A&E demo roost. And Longmire‘s second season improved on Season 1 in the younger demos (up 6% in 18-49 and up 18% in 18-34) while keeping the total viewership virtually unchanged. The Glades is having a tougher time with season-to-season comparisons as its Season 4 is down double digits from Season 3 across the board. Still, it was the first A&E scripted series to stick and helped establish the network’s scripted brand.

A&E is expected to make renewal decisions in the next couple of weeks.

post #89190 of 93807
TV Notes
George Eads Taking Leave of Absence From 'CSI' After Writer Fight
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Live Feed' Blog - Aug. 27, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will be without one of its original stars for at least several episodes this coming season.

George Eads will take a leave of absence from the long-running drama after engaging in a heated exchange with one of the show's writers, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The actor, who has played Nick Stokes since the series premiered in 2000, will appear in the first three episodes of CSI's upcoming 14th season.

Producer CBS Television Studios declined to reveal a date for his return but said he would be back later this season.

"George Eads will not appear in several episodes during the first half of the season. We look forward to him returning to CSI very soon," a rep for CBS TV Studios said in a statement to THR.

The actor signed on to return as a regular, along with the rest of the cast, when CBS renewed the series in March. His absence, sources say, is not considered an attempt to renegotiate his contract. Eads -- and co-star Jorja Fox -- were both briefly fired from CSI in 2004 after a short-lived salary standoff with the network and studio.

Instead, Eads was unhappy with the creative direction of his character, sources tell THR, and clashed with an eight-months-pregnant co-writer of a recent episode. Word of the incident is said to have gotten back to showrunner Carol Mendelsohn and resulted in a meeting that ended with Eads threatening to quit. A rep for Eads declined to comment.

Eads is one of only three actors who have been with CSI from the start (Paul Guilfoyle and Eric Szmanda are the others). Fox left and later returned to the show.

Sources tell THR that Eads' absence will be addressed in the fourth episode of the season when Catherine (Marg Helgenberger, who will reprise her role in the landmark 300th episode) hand-picks his character to receive special training at Quantico.

CSI returns on Sept. 25 on CBS.

Edited by dad1153 - 8/28/13 at 12:39am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: HDTV Programming
AVS › AVS Forum › HDTV › HDTV Programming › Hot Off The Press: The Latest TV News and Information